Striking a Balance
Developer Jeremy Zwirn on the New Rules Reference Update
“I will make it legal.”
–Darth Sidious, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
A new version of the Star Wars™: Destiny Rules Reference is now online! While this update doesn't feature dramatic changes, there are a few important card errata and a couple notable characters removed from the Balance of the Force that are worth your attention, especially before you head to your next event. These changes will formally go into effect on June 10th. Today, Star Wars: Destiny developer Jeremy Zwirn goes into detail on why these adjustments were made and how they may affect your next game.
Jeremy Zwirn on the Rules Reference Update
Hello Star Wars: Destiny players!
The release of the base set, Convergence, ushered in an exciting time for the game with the first ever Standard rotation. The metagame has since shifted with several new decks and strategies emerging. Some of these cards have been deemed necessary to be addressed to help maintain fun and healthy gameplay. Some of the following cards have been given errata and/or been removed from the Balance of the Force.
Snoke (Way of the Force, 4) has played a major role in the metagame ever since last autumn. His power action is unquestionably one of the strongest in the game and has most often been used to generate additional resources, which can then be used to play potent cards like Vader's Fist (Across the Galaxy, 13) on the first turn. Snoke was added to the Balance of the Force late last year to diminish some of his most powerful pairings and that was effective. With the release of Convergence and rotation, Snoke has gotten new partners while other decks rotated out, which has resulted in him becoming a dominant fixture again. The heart of the problem is his power action and that has now received errata to only work on your dice showing damage. Players can no longer use his power action to produce more resources, which means his most common pairings will no longer be viable. In addition to this errata, Snoke has been removed from the Balance of the Force Standard and Infinite Holocrons to restore some of his originally intended pairings, such as with Kylo Ren (Two-Player Starter, 1).
Aayla Secura (Legacies, 29) has been taken off the Balance of the Force for both the Standard and Infinite Holocrons. The metagame has changed since Aalya Secura was added to the Balance of the Force list nearly a year ago. After a second-place finish at the World Championship last year and many other high placements, Blue hero is no longer one of the best colors. Now, many more cost-effective characters have been introduced to the game, giving players more choices for teambuilding instead of commonly defaulting to a character like Aayla. Also, villains have been outperforming heroes lately and removing Aayla Secura from the Balance of the Force should give heroes a needed boost.
Creating exciting, boundary-pushing cards is always a goal of designing Star Wars: Destiny. The thrill of seeing and playing these cards can be extremely fun and memorable. Sometimes we push a card too far, and Force Storm (Convergence, 14) is one such example. With enough dice showing focus, you could play Force Storm, rapidly charge it by repeatedly resolving its special, and deal a large amount of damage in a single round, sometimes a game-winning amount. The consistency of this happening on the second or third turn was too high to ignore. Now, you must exhaust Force Storm to place a resource on it, which keeps the card at a strong power level and makes it difficult to abuse.
Similar to Force Storm, this is another exciting card could lead to an immediate win. In combination with elite Kes Dameron (Convergence, 73) and his two-focus side, you could resolve one of his character dice and roll it back into your pool with the LAAT Gunship (Convergence, 84) an unlimited number of times. An infinite loop that involves a character and only one other card is too consistent and game-breaking to have in the game. Therefore, the Gunship has gotten errata that forces you to immediately resolve its die or remove it in order to prevent you from repeatedly turning it to its special. This maintains the intent of the card to be exciting and strong without the negative play experience of an endless loop.
Support characters, or characters that generally can’t win the game by themselves, have come a long way since the game’s release. Most of these types of characters from the Awakenings cycle weren’t strong enough to see Tier 1 competitive play and it was a goal of ours to push some support characters until they did. In regards to Watto (Convergence, 38), mission accomplished. Watto has great dice, a solid power action, and a powerful ability that protects his dice from removal. This combination at relatively low points has made him one of the best characters in the game. One of the most frustrating pieces of playing against Watto is how hard it is to remove his dice. Thematically, this ability reflects how the stubborn Toydarian cannot be mind tricked. In order to maintain this aspect while making him more interactive, this ability has been given errata to protect his dice from only Blue events. This should open up the interplay of removing his dice considerably without sacrificing theme.
I'm looking forward to seeing how these changes affect the metagame! May the Force be with you!
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