In light of the data we’ve collected from Season 3 tournament and casual play, and in light of the comments and feedback from the players who have been playing both competitively and casually during season 3, the Steering Committee has decided to update two cards from Season 3 to help address issues with these cards that have resulted in negative play experiences for many of our players. These changes will take effect on August 3rd, but unlike the Season 4 changes, these changes will be immediately effective in Season 3 Approved play. While we generally want to avoid making changes to approved cards if we can, fixing cards that are causing balance issues and widespread NPEs in the game is a circumstance that we have said we will break the emergency glass to change an approved card.
Before we reveal the changed cards (hey, don’t scroll down yet, eyes here), we want to point out that these adjustments were made with the understanding that the meta is likely to change with the introduction of a new map and with 27 new cards being added to the game in Season 4. Because there are so many changes coming, we wanted to be extremely specific, purposeful, and focused about what we changed and why because we know that any changes we make to approved cards can be potentially disruptive to players that have already printed out cards for use. These changes are meant to address specific problems that we believe were causing these cards to be generally unfun to play against, and we hope that these changes will leave these cards competitively viable and fundamentally allow them to retain the same play promise that they originally offered in terms of playstyle and list-building. Alright, go ahead and look.
Change #1: Royal Guards
- Forward Vengeance no longer triggers off of Companions
- The static +1 (+1 evade) has been removed
- Instead, the ability to gain 1(evade power token) has been added to their “: Stun” ability.
The change to the Royal Guard is two-fold. First, we are removing the ability to trigger Forward Vengeance off of a Junk Droid, or any other companion. We’ve decided that the ability to create an interesting combo with the Ugnaught Tinkerer to focus multiple Royal Guards by killing your own Junk Droid with something like Palpatine, 0-0-0 or Onar, is not worth more than the frustration players have experienced playing against it.
The other thing we heard from people and noticed about the Guards ourselves was that it was extremely hard to deal significant damage to them even with some of the strongest attacks in the game, especially when they had a block power token from Extra Armor, and that killing one felt equally difficult to taking down a Queen Piece. We realized that their innate +1 was making it very difficult for figures to use their strongest surge abilities to break through the Guard’s additional defenses from cards like Extra Armor and Zillo Technique. By replacing the auto +1 with an gained from their Stun surge ability, we retain part of what we felt was an important aspect of the elite Royal Guard’s original FFG design and identity, but limits how often the Guards will have that extra evade on defense, and prevents them from stacking their bonus evade with a block power token as they were able to before.
You may be wondering why we’re leaving the Royal Guard Champion untouched when he has a similar combo with the Junk Droid and something like Palpatine. We felt that changing just the Guards was enough to break up the Junk Guard strategy that was becoming a problem for everyone, and we wanted to limit how many approved cards we were going back to change. The primary complaints we were getting about the combo was regarding the Royal Guards and not the Champion, and using the Royal Guard Champion in this way is a lot trickier and requires more risky positioning than just Focusing up all your Royal Guards next to your deployment zone.
Change #2 – Knowledge and Defense
- Knowledge and Defense can only add a black die to the defense, and can no longer add a white die
With the Royal Guards losing one of their abilities that was giving Jedi so much trouble, we are predicting Rebel Jedi will see a resurgence in play and performance, similar to what was seen at the beginning of Season 3. Knowledge and Defense has proven to be a powerful command card for the Rebel Force Users list, allowing them to convert excess surges into extra defense against future attacks. By analyzing 23 available game logs and livestreamed games in which Knowledge and Defense was played, we found that on average the card is re-drawn 1.7 times in a game, with instances of redrawing the card 3 and 4 times being the outlier rather than the norm.
Based on complaints we were hearing about the card, the problems came when players were choosing to add a white die to their existing white defense die, which increased their chances of rolling a from 1/6 to 1/3, and was causing a Negative Play Experience for many. Because of that, we are changing the card to only be able to add a Black die. We feel this will make the card feel more consistent and less luck-based by removing the ability to potentially add multiple dodges during a game. We will continue to monitor the card’s performance in terms of how many times it gets re-drawn and how much impact it is having on games as a 2 point card with a very limited range of playable figures.
The Steering Committee thanks all of you that continue to enjoy and support Imperial Assault skirmish through the IACP project, whether it be online through Vassal and TTS, on your kitchen table at home, or hopefully someday at your local game store again. We thank you, and we hope that you stay safe, and fight on. See you all in Season 4.