January 31st Scheduled IACP Balance Updates

As we announced in a previous article, the Season 7 release and playtesting date has been postponed to April 25th to give players more time to enjoy the updates and additions IACP has made in competitive tournaments and league play. In place of a Season release originally scheduled for today, we instead announced that we would be releasing some tweaks and balance updates to existing cards that we felt needed to be rebalanced after observing 3 months of Season 6 competitive tournaments and league play.

These updates are intended to be at a similar level to the last time we had to update previously approved cards for power level reasons, which was at the end of the Season 3 competitive play period with the updates to Royal Guards and Knowledge and Defense. These rebalancing changes are ones that we feel are small enough to implement outside of a playtesting season, and that will have a positive impact on how these cards interact with the wider metagame, while also minimizing the impact on these cards core designs and functionality for players that are enjoying their use during the competitive season.

After monitoring the Season 6 competitive metagame and considering player feedback, the Steering Committee is announcing the following updates to 4 IACP cards and 1 FFG card, effective immediately. The Official Changes and FAQ document and printable sheets for all 6 seasons have been updated with these changes, and we are working with our partners that assist with other skirmish related resources to make sure they are updated promptly as well.

Moving forward, all cards that are updated outside of the playtesting season will have a special label included at the bottom of the card. Cards that have had their costs or abilities changed to be more or less effective will have the “Rebalanced” label somewhere on the bottom of the card to indicate they were changed after being approved by the community, and these cards will be included on the ballot of the next Community vote at the end of the next playtest season to give the Community a chance to vote on these updated cards. Cards that have been updated so that their wording more closely matches the original intention of their design will have the “Errata” label, but will not be voted on in future community votes as the only change is a templating one rather than a change in power level.

The Official Changes & FAQ document, as well as the printable card sheets (which are now separated by Seasons) have all been updated with these changes. In addition we’ve also released Spanish and Italian language versions of the Official Changes & FAQ with these updates, with a French language version document and translated versions of every card being worked on as well. Thank you to our translation team of community volunteers for their hard work on these translations.

Errata – Wild Fire (FFG, Tyrants of Lothal)

  • Timing wording changed from “while attacking” to “when you declare an attack”

With the reintroduction of CT-1701 back into competitive viability with his Season 6 reincarnation, his unaltered unique Command card has been getting a lot more play. Even though Wild Fire’s original printing uses the vague “while attacking” templating, because it removes dice from the dice pool and doesn’t remove dice results the way that Heightened Reflexes and Tough Luck do, Wild Fire has to be played before dice are rolled, which has been confirmed by the game’s most experienced rules authority.

But due to a poor choice by FFG to use the vague “while attacking” templating for this card, many many players have incorrectly assumed that this card could be played after dice were rolled to cancel the results of 2 defense dice, leading to bad feelings upon discovering they had missed their opportunity to play the card.

To help bring this card in line with the templating used on every other command card in the game that removes defense dice from the defense pool and make it clearer to players using the card, especially on Vassal where we can easily replace a card’s text, we are errataing this card to use the correct “when you declare an attack” templating. This is not a functional change to how this card already worked, simply a templating improvement to help prevent players from using the card incorrectly.

Errata – Clan of Two (Season 4)

  • Now allows initial deployment of Child companion in the same space as it’s base figure
  • Now allows Child companion to be pushed to the same space as it’s base figure

This errata came about during Season 6 when it was pointed out to us by a member of the community that we had misread how the companion rules affected how adjacent spaces are determined for card effects that affect companions. When designing this card we had thought that because a companion was considered adjacent to figures that shared a space with it, we could just use “adjacent” while ascribing movement to a companion to mean any space on or adjacent to another figure, and therefore would not need to increase the text line count on the card by including the extra words “your space or” on the card twice. 2 Seasons later we realized this was an incorrect reading of the companion rules and this had major gameplay implications specifically for how the Mandalorian played with the Child companion to enable Protective Fire.

After this misreading of the rules was pointed out to us, we then started to enforce that Clan of Two could not deploy or push the Child companion to the same space as it’s base figure, but we found that this question kept coming up and that this was confusing and unintuitive to many people and that the more natural reading of this card is to assume that it can deploy and push the Child to any space on or adjacent to its base figure, so we are updating the text to work the way it was originally designed and the way most people assume it works when they read it for the first time.

Rebalance – The Mandalorian, Phoenix Rising (Season 6)

  • Mudhorn Crest ability Removed (Clan of Two now costs 1 to attach)
  • Protective Fire now requires Clan of Two card in your army
  • Beskar Spear attack is now Green/Yellow instead of Red/Yellow, Pierce 2 reduced to Pierce 1

Original Version after Season 6 Community Vote

The Mandalorian (Phoenix Rising) had quite the journey during the Season 6 playtesting period before settling on its final form a month before the end of the playtest period in v6.2, and was the only card from Season 6 that did not receive enough full approval votes to gain Approved status. In Season 6 competitive play we were able to get a better picture of what this figure was able to do in its final v6.2 form. Mando has been an extremely common sight in the Season 6 metagame and has won a VST and the competitive league, and has consistently placed highly in other competitive events held since the Season 6 playtesting period concluded. A big part of it has been how strong the Beskar Spear attack ended up still being despite being reduced to 2-dice, thanks to easy access to Focus, command card modifiers, great surges, a built-in reroll and Pierce 2, and having speed 5, Mobile and Reach to strike from very safe positions.

However the thing that became much more clear as the season went on was how much value Clan of Two and the Child companion was bringing for 0 points to a figure that likely was already worth more than its 10 point cost. In addition to the extra durability given by Force Heal and Force Exhaustion, this included things like using the Field Tactician command card to allow Mando to effectively move 10 spaces with Mobile and still have an action to attack. Force Heal also stymied attempts by the community to counter the power of Mando’s Protective Fire with Stun. Though Stun could hold back Protective Fire for 1 round at least, Mando was otherwise barely affected by harmful conditions as long as the Child was in play. Mudhorn Crest was also making it difficult to justify playing Clan of Two on any other guardians. Why play 8 point Mando with Clan of Two when you can just pay 1 more point for a huge upgrade?

We received suggestions from multiple players during and after the Season 6 community vote that removing Mudhorn Crest would be a good fix for this Mando that simplifies his text box a bit and we are taking these players up on their suggestion. This means players that have enjoyed running Mando at 10 points will continue to be able to do so, but for Mando to have access to his full suite of abilities, including Protective Fire, he will cost 11 points instead of 10. We’ve included a requirement in Protective Fire’s text that Clan of Two must be in Mando’s army to use it to help prevent confusion about what happens when the opponent has Clan of Two and the Child in their army and the Mando player doesn’t, and more importantly to provide new players to IACP with direction on what card they should be looking for that creates the Child companion, as otherwise this card would be referencing a specific companion that it is not able to create.

In addition to this, we recognize that even without Clan of Two, the amount of damage that Mando is able to deal in a single activation with Beskar Spear is a bit too high for a 10 point figure, especially as a Hunter with such great movement. The Steering Committee felt that it made sense to tone down the damage from Beskar Spear, while keeping his base attack the same would reward more varied tactics than just an aggressive rushdown and retreat strategy, so Beskar Spear has been reduced to a Green Yellow attack with Pierce 1 instead of Red Yellow with Pierce 2.

Rebalance – Overwhelming Impact (Season 5)

  • Cost increase from 2 to 3
Trivia: this card was originally only intended for Heavy Weapon figures, but we realized Wookiees really needed some help while designing Season 5 and that both the effect and the art we had chosen for the card could work for both traits.

This card was designed with the dual purpose of both punishing strategies that focused on extreme defense stacking to prevent players from dealing damage, and to buoy two previously under-supported figure traits that were lacking in good offensive command cards.

We had originally debated back and forth whether this card should cost 2 or 3. It has the potential to add 3-4 damage or more to an attack even against a single defense die by ignoring multiple defense symbols from things like innate defense bonuses and tokens, while adding a damage and a surge. We decided to keep it at 2 points in Season 5 because we thought there would be enough situations where this card didn’t have any defense symbols off the dice to ignore and was only adding 1 damage and 1 surge to an attack, which was worth about 2 points, and that the dual bonuses of both increasing the playability of Heavy Weapon and Wookiee lists, which were rarely seen at the time, and possibly reducing the power of defense stacking were two things that would be good for the game as a whole.

After 2 seasons of seeing the card in action, we’ve realized that much more often than not this card will get the opportunity to add 3, 4, sometimes 5 damage rather than just the bare minimum, which puts it far above the power of a 2 point card. Additionally, Heavy Weapons and Wookiees are no longer fringe strategies, as Heavy Stormtroopers, Wookiee Warriors and even Rebel Sabs have proven themselves as competitively viable figures, and new powerful Heavy Weapon figures were also introduced in Season 6 with Cara Dune, Z-6 Troopers, and the Flametroopers. These traits certainly don’t need a handicap anymore, and though this card is not exactly an oppressive force on the metagame at 2 points, we believe that this card at 2 points sets a bad example for the power level we are trying to maintain in the game, and at 3 points, every Heavy Weapon or Wookiee list will still want to include this card as a powerful tool for pushing damage through against a heavily defended target.

Rebalance – Guild Programming (Season 4)

  • Cost increase from 1 to 2

Originally costed for an IG-11 that was attacking with 2-dice on each attack, this was another card whose cost was considered borderline at the time of its approval. Many players did feel this card was too strong to be 1 point in a vacuum. However at the time in Season 4, IG-11’s lack of a Hunter trait really did limit his options for strong offensive command card options, and Scum was really hurting for strong figures to combat the new more competitive options being introduced in the other factions that were geared towards defeating Scum Hunters. At 1 point this card was strong on the table but was seemingly balanced out by IG-11’s other limitations.

2 seasons later and IG-11’s offensive options have expanded quite a bit from what was available in Season 4, including a new offensive command card for Droids and Bib Fortuna’s Illicit Arms ability, which can both be combined with this card to create especially devastating Rapid Fire attacks. The real kicker however would have to be Doctor Aphra’s Excavation ability allowing this card to be played an additional time in a game. Excavation was balanced around a consistent power level for 0 and 1 point command cards not named Take Initiative, and this card’s power level is not accurately reflected in its 1 point cost. With these contextual changes in mind, this card is being re-costed from 1 point to 2.

Thank you to everyone who continues to play and enjoy IACP content and events for Imperial Assault skirmish. We hope that the project continues to make Imperial Assault skirmish fun, fresh, and worthy of your time, and we remain committed to creating the best Imperial Skirmish competitive experience we can, with your help of course.

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