We say that once an IACP card goes through public testing and voting and becomes approved, that means the card becomes permanent and no further changes will be made to that card unless it later becomes clear that a change is needed to protect the health and balance of the game. This gives IACP players a greater sense of stability knowing which cards are “locked in”, especially as IACP is essentially a print and play game. We want to try to avoid hassling players with having to constantly print out new copies of cards from past seasons.
We are still committed to doing everything we can to let approved cards stay untouched if possible. However, the Steering Committee has been reassessing whether rigidly adhering to not changing approved cards, especially the ones that have failed to perform competitively despite the community’s vote of confidence, is conducive to meeting our larger goal of increasing competitive viability of otherwise popular characters that have been marginalized, or even non-existent in Imperial Assault before the IACP. We also don’t like having cards in IACP that aren’t contributing anything to the game because nobody is playing them. At that point they may as well not exist.
Looking back at seasons past with the data we have from the present, it becomes obvious when an older design just hasn’t lived up to its potential in the way that was hoped. And these aren’t figures that were initially good when they came out but became victims of power creep from later seasons. That just isn’t really something we’ve seen that much of in IACP. There are a fair number of IACP figures that just never got off the ground from the beginning.
Again though, changing Approved cards is not something that the Steering Committee takes lightly. These are cards that the majority of the community at the time of their release said they liked and wanted to be permanently added to the project. Changing approved cards also means more cards that need to be playtested and more variables we need to account for when balancing the game overall, and also creates memory issues for players that have gotten used to approved cards working a certain way. For that reason, we have chosen 5 cards that we felt would be well served by a 1 point cost reduction. These changes are simple, they don’t change any other text or stats on the card, and they are for figures that we know have not contributed to the meta in the way we had hoped even since their introduction.
We feel that the changes to these cards will help to bring them back to competitive relevance while retaining their abilities and flavor. 3 of these cards are IACP creations that had their power tuned down significantly after their debuts without getting a matching decrease in price, and now their lower cost should match their more modest abilities. These 3 Hunters will hopefully become viable options for players seeking to employ their services.
2 of these cards are FFG originals that had their points decreased very early on in IACP. While Jedi Luke has seen some niche success in IACP, especially with the introduction of his master, Yoda, he has still constantly played second string to Han Solo when it comes to queen pieces in Rebel lists due to his higher cost and less reliable damage output. We feel that Luke Skywalker deserves to be a premiere figure choice for Rebel lists, especially in light of recent media representation, and this new cost better reflects his card’s capabilities and should make him a more competitive choice. The AT-ST had always been a meme figure before the IACP, and unfortunately a 3 point reduction and introduction of tailored support in Imperial Retrofitting were not able to raise the AT-ST above meme status. We hope that this additional point reduction, in addition to new support for Heavy Weapons, will help this iconic Imperial vehicle spread fear of the Empire’s authority.
In addition to these changes, we also have a change that we are going to try undoing. While the nerf to the Hunter card Assassinate served an important role in the early days of the IACP when other traits had a lot of catching up to do, the game has now come to a place where the Assassinate nerf feels more like an unfair burden on a trait that is already perceived by some to be struggling against a far more diverse metagame, rather than a just punishment. We listened to the community and over and over again we have heard you saying “Change back Assassinate”. Of course not everyone in the community is happy to see Assassinate come back to full power. Therefore, for Season 5, we will be testing Assassinate in its original version to see if we can finally remove this nerf, and its spreadsheet of prohibited interactions, from the IACP Official Changes.
And yes, unlike the changes that were made to approved cards for balance reasons at the start of Season 4, all of these changes will be part of the testing period for Season 5, and they will be put on the Season 5 Community vote for approval. If they do not reach the required 70%, they will go back to their previous IACP versions. Additionally, any future nerfs to approved IACP cards that are deemed necessary will also go through a community vote after being introduced at the beginning of the season, to make sure that any rebalancing changes meet with community approval.
We understand that going back on changes that we’ve already committed to can in some ways feel disruptive and disorienting to players, and we will try to keep those changes in small doses and small quantities, but we hope that these changes offer a maximum benefit to the game while minimizing any disruption to the IACP experience.
Season 5 spoilers are almost finished, but we still have 2 more cards left to spoil for the Season. Check back tomorrow for the final spoiler article, and look for the official changes document to be updated on Monday, February 1st.