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abUse the Force - Embers of Nope

Star Wars abUse the Force divinityofnumber

Let’s start with the objective itself. Embers of Hope gives us the standard 5 damage capacity and 1 resource, so nothing remarkable there. It is a Tatooine objective, which does not mean much right now, but it might in the future. The main feature of this objective is its ability: While this objective is undamaged, your opponent cannot draw cards through card effects. My first question is about the wording on this objective, given the announcement of the Balance of the Force deluxe expansion, namely that it will include some multiplayer modes. I assume that this effect would apply to both of your opponents in a 2v2 scenario, which might make it a nice effect in a multiplayer game.

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So, what exactly is Embers of Hope going to stop your DS opponent from doing? Drawing cards through card effects. This means that opponents will miss out on drawing cards from card effects that specifically mention the drawing of cards, such as the AT-ST’s effect, Reaction: After this unit enters play, draw 1 card. Embers of Hope also shuts off the ability of Prophet of the Dark Side, Dark Precognition, Bossk, Counsel of the Sith, and Feeding the Pit. But, an important thing to note here is that Embers of Hope does not prevent your DS opponent’s reserve value from increasing, allowing them to draw more cards during the draw phase. So, your DS opponent will still be able to gain extra cards through things like The General’s Imperative, Reconnaissance Mission, and Jabba’s Reach, since they are not effects that allow players to draw cards; they are card effects that increase a player’s reserve value.

Page 12 of the rulebook states, “At the start of the draw phase, the active player may choose one card in his hand and discard it. After he has discarded a card, or chosen not to, the active player must return his hand to a number of cards equal to his current reserve value, drawing from his deck or choosing and discarding from his hand as necessary.” So, the DS player is drawing cards equal to his or her reserve value not due to a card effect, but due to a fundamental process of the game itself. That is to say that there is no card effect telling the player to draw cards.

Furthermore, page 4 of the latest FAQ reads, “[4.5] Card Effects: A Card Effect is any effect that comes from the resolution of text printed on a card. Card effects can be preceded by a triggering condition and/or a cost. Triggering conditions and costs are not considered effects.

So, my reading of this is that the draw of cards through an increased reserve value is too distal to be affected by Embers of Hope. Given the wording of the FAQ, the effect of Reconnaissance Mission, for example, is that the player’s reserve value is increased; the effect is not the drawing of cards, rather the increase in the reserve value, which will eventually mean more cards via the rules of the game, not card effects. So, if Embers of Hope’s wording prevented your opponent from having an increased reserve value, then it would shut off things like Reconnaissance Mission. But, as it is currently worded, I would argue that Embers of Hope only shuts down things such as Dark Precognition, Prophet of the Dark Side, and the AT-ST, for example. If Embers of Hope stopped your DS opponent from drawing up to more than 6 cards via an increased reserve value, why wouldn’t it stop them from drawing cards altogether, since even the base reserve value of 6 is still drawn up to by drawing cards?

In sum, Embers of Hope’s ability is a bit lacking. It shuts off some things, but only does so while undamaged. The DS has multiple cards that can increase reserve value, and also Fall of the Jedi, which allows for more hand-filtering, which results in more draw. So, there are many ways for the DS to keep the extra draw turned on that Embers of Hope doesn’t touch.

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While we’re on the subject of damage, let’s talk about Moisture Farmer. With all of that scorching hot Tatooine sun beaming down on his bald head, one would think that he would wear a hat or a least some type of loose cloth covering. Embers of Hope provides two copies of Moisture Farmer, which is something to consider. As I have mentioned in previous columns, if an objective contains two copies of a certain card, it had better be a pretty good card, since you will be seeing it often. He can protect a Tatooine location, which means that, given the current card pool, he can protect A Hero’s Journey, Embers of Hope, Questionable Contacts, and Rumors at the Cantina. A Hero’s Journey and Questionable Contacts can use all of the protection that they can get. The 4 damage capacity makes a Hero’s Journey an attractive target for the DS, and, especially if you have used it, the ability on Questionable Contacts makes it an attractive target. So, the protect ability on the Moisture Farmer is better than I gave it credit for at first glance. But, even given that ability, this unit is still lackluster, in my opinion. With one force icon, one edge-dependent unit damage icon, and one health, this is a fragile and weak unit. He offers some support, but the Jedi already have other, better support pods and units. For example, would you rather draw a Moisture Farmer or a Guardian of Peace?

Next up is Force Precognition. This card gives any Force User the ability of Obi-Wan, making your opponent place his or her first card into the edge stack face up. One downside is that this enhancement is pointless to put on Big Ben himself. It technically increases his number of enhancements, which makes things like Weapon Mastery or Calm more useful, but in and of itself the effect is useless on Obi-Wan, one of the Jedi’s bigger Force Users. So far, Force Precognition can be used to enhance Daughters of Allya, Gotal Outcast, Jedi in Hiding, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. Obviously winning edge battles is an important part of this game. But, part of me would rather throw Force Precognition into an edge stack than play it and make use of the ability. My first impression of it has been that it is potentially useful, but by no means a powerhouse.

What about Makashi Training? This enhancement adds Targeted Strike to a Force User unit. That could be nice on Yoda, Obi-Wan, or the Jedi in Hiding, but is pointless on Daughters of Allya and the Gotal Outcast; it is nearly pointless even on Obi-Wan, and only becomes good with Yoda if you have won an edge battle. Luke already has Targeted Strike, and the other currently available Force Users just don’t simply become more amazing by adding this enhancement. In fact, for several of the Force Users, this enhancement is almost pointless.

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Now for the real powerhouse of this set, Secret Guardian. How I wish that Embers of Hope had included two copies of this. Certainly, the potential for trickery here makes control players everywhere giddy. Wait for your opponent to declare attackers, drop in a surprise unit and defend, drop in Lando and then push them out (if you have the resources available), drop in Han and then ping them for one damage by declaring him as a defender; the possibilities here are amazing. On your turn, attack a couple of times with some minor units and get the DS focused out, and then drop in Obi-Wan and keep some of their units out of the game on their next turn. Or, get the DS to focus out and then drop in Luke or Han for a surprise snipe-kill. Because of the timing flow-chart, one cannot use Secret Guardian to drop in a unit just to win the Force Struggle; there is no player action window in the Force Phase before the Force Struggle resolves (see rulebook p.31).

What is the current verdict for Embers of Hope? I personally do not see this as being a Tier 1 pod right now, for the reasons that I have mentioned: the ability on the objective is fine, but not amazing; Moisture Farmer seems useful, but quite useless in many easily conceivable situations; the two enhancements both have plenty of scenarios in which they are useless or at least underwhelming; the Jedi have much stronger support pods available to them already.

Did I miss something big? Do you disagree? Have you found this objective set to be a top performer? Let’s discuss in the comments; I am interested to hear about other experiences testing out this set.

Thank you for reading abUse the Force!


8 Comments


Ironswimsuit
Aug 08 2013 05:51 AM
This is a good deck cycling pod. Every card costs one or less. Aside from Bruce Willis, all the cards have two force icons, so edge is easier to obtain. This pod makes running a typically low resource jedi deck possible. The force user restriction for the enhancements is a bit of a bummer, but it gives that early game jedi in hiding something to do when you've been stuck with a crap hand. Yeah, I know, force choke exists, but if you need to free up that reserve to get your characters or a secret guardian, do whatever it takes. The objective itself is deceptively amazing in that it's easy for it to become an automatic target. People like their card draw, even if it's better to blow up something else.

Now let's talk about Bruce. This guy is an Espo who actually does something. He keeps Luke's pod alive, allows Han's pod some wiggle room, can score some unopposed damage, and if need be, can thwart some otherwise unopposed jabs by the DS.
Eh, i dont think its as bad as it looks - but i think its a pod for a jedi deck that does not yet exist. Jedi still suffers from having 2 decent pods and 100000 support pods untill we see some new jedi action pods unlike sith, jedi dont win via turtling.
So many potential uses for secret guardian! I feel like you could pull some cool shenanigans with leia there too. And I had forgotten that questionable contacts was a tatooine location, pretty cool stuff there.
I agree. The pod desperately needs more Force Users with unit damage to come out. If there was a really nice force user that had a few guns the set would be great, since it would make both enhancements much better. A 2cost/2HP/2Unit Damage guy like the Renegade Squadron Operative (with Force User trait) would be perfect, especially if it came in a pod with a 4cost/3Unit damage force user beater type character.

Unfortunately for now, the pod is pretty lackluster because as the reviewer noted, the only Force Users that really benefit much from the enhancements dont really need them or gain no benefit from them.

RedSquadronK
Aug 08 2013 03:34 PM
One thing not mentioned in the article that could potentially be good is chaining the Protects. (I'm pretty sure the rules allow this.) You Protect your objective from a damage with the Moisture Farmer, then Protect that damage with a Guardian or Wookie (with Life Debt). Then if you have Questionable Contacts, rinse and repeat. Not the most powerful combo, but could be cool...

Ironswimsuit
Aug 08 2013 04:39 PM

RedSquadronK, on 08 August 2013 - 03:34 PM, said:

One thing not mentioned in the article that could potentially be good is chaining the Protects. (I'm pretty sure the rules allow this.) You Protect your objective from a damage with the Moisture Farmer, then Protect that damage with a Guardian or Wookie (with Life Debt). Then if you have Questionable Contacts, rinse and repeat. Not the most powerful combo, but could be cool...

You can chain the protects.
I've really enjoyed Secret Guardian. Recently I had Obi, Yoda, and The Redemption on the table. Since I attacked with everybody, the Sith player blocked with everybody. He won the edge, killed Obi and focused Yoda into oblivion. With The Redemption I took Obi to hand then dropped him in with Secret Guardian for an unopposed attack to knock off that 3rd objective. The force is STRONG with that card.

DavFlamerock
Nov 26 2013 02:55 PM
I know I'm dredging, but I'm excited about some interesting new tech...

Kyle Katarn (from the upcoming force pack cycle) combos horrifyingly well with Makashi Training and Secret Guardian. The event triggers his comes-into-play effect and lets him block with three unit damage, while the enhancement gives him much needed targeted strike (for 3). I'm still unsure about the moisture farmers (they seem so weak!) but I'm looking forward to giving this pod a try with Kyle.