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abUse the Force

Star Wars abUse the Force divinityofnumber

Welcome to abUse the Force, a Star Wars Living Card Game series focused on the Jedi and Sith affiliations. My name is divinityofnumber and over the coming weeks I'm going to be diving into these two factions with strategy and card analysis. First up we take a detailed look at the new Jedi objective set, A Message From Beyond.

Since we have all played the Core Set to death, it was quite exciting to begin experimenting with the integration of new cards from the first SW:LCG Force Pack, The Desolation of Hoth (hereafter, DOH). The DOH provided neutral cards for both the light and the dark side, as well as new objectives for Jedi, Sith, Rebel Alliance, and Imperial Navy affiliations. This constituency was not surprising, given that the coming deluxe expansion will serve to more fully develop the Scum and Villainy and Smugglers and Spies affiliations. With this post, I hope to speak concisely yet helpfully about the new DOH Jedi objective, A Message From Beyond.

A Message From Beyond
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The A Message from Beyond objective allows its controller to damage it, in order to return the top enhancement card from the discard pile to the hand. This ability becomes more or less appealing, depending, of course, on what the topmost enhancement in the discard pile is. I would be more inclined to use this ability to retrieve Trust Your Feelings or Old Ben’s Spirit than Shii-Cho Training, for example. However, for the Jedi player simply eager to augment Yoda, any enhancement will do. In short, the objective has obvious synergy with its own cards, since it includes two enhancements. Furthermore, it has general synergy with other Jedi objectives that include enhancements, such as In You Must Go and A Hero's Journey, and also with characters that benefit from being enhanced, such as Yoda. The 5 damage capacity and 1 resource of A Message From Beyond seem relatively standard and unremarkable.

Old Ben’s Spirit
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Old Ben’s Spirit is a nice addition to a deck archetype that is heavily dependent on the workings of a few key characters: Yoda, Luke, Obi-Wan, and perhaps Han or others in certain builds. Old Ben’s Spirit must attach to a character, which is not a problem for most mono-Jedi builds or Smugglers-Jedi builds that I have seen, since they are relatively character heavy. Also of value is that this card reads, “when enhanced unit would be destroyed”, which saves the unit not only from being destroyed due to being damaged, but also saves the enhanced unit from effects such as Force Lightning. Additionally, this card has synergy with In You Must Go, since it can be played for free while In You Must Go is one of your revealed objectives. Furthermore, Old Ben’s Spirit has recursion ability via damaging A Message From Beyond, which is nice. If only this card could have been themed as being the message from beyond that Luke receives while lying in the snow on Hoth, which would make it a Hoth objective. But, perhaps in time we will see more Dagobah objectives and some mechanic with them. Another benefit of this card is that the objective includes two copies, leaving you with four of them if you choose to run two copies of A Message from Beyond.

Calm
Calm is a decent card, and I think better than most will perceive it to be at first glance. It is conditional, which means that there will be many instances in which it sits in your hand unable to be played for its main effect. But, it does carry two force icons, making it a moderately effective card in an edge battle. That said, running A Message From Beyond makes the Jedi deck even more enhancement heavy, increasing the probability that you will indeed have a character with two or more enhancements on it. So, if you happen to have a qualifying character, Calm’s ability is quite nice, especially at a cost of zero. If you have no qualifying character, discard it in your draw phase, or pitch it into an edge stack.

Weapon Mastery
This card has potential to be useful, but I think somewhat less so than Calm. With A Message From Beyond, your chances of having a character with one or more enhancements is increased. And, at a cost of zero, Weapon Mastery has the ability of effecting a nice surprise kill. Furthermore, it has two force icons, which is nice. It seems as though this card will be discarded or thrown into an edge stack in the early game, or used for a surprise kill in the mid to late game.

Heat of Battle
This is a nice card to have, especially in the early turns for the Jedi. The first offensive, after the dark side sets up, is often crucial for a quick Jedi win; if you cannot affect the board in some way on your first offensive, things often look bleak, as the dark side then proceeds to deploy even more of a barricade on the subsequent turn. Heat of Battle allows some additional surprise damage, which is great in the early turns.

The Verdict?
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So, what do Jedi players do with this new objective set? The question that I want to address with this article is whether or not it is worth it to replace Obi-Wan with his dead self? The main objection to this that I have seen across the various SW:LCG fora is that it leaves the Jedi deck too character-light. However, your copies of Old Ben’s Spirit are essentially characters, meaning that the deck now has four more significant threats. But, Old Ben’s Spirit is not itself a character, simply a way to keep a character on the board. Thus, it is vulnerable to any dark side card that destroys, captures, or in some way nullifies an enhancement. The first thing that comes to mind is Tear This Ship Apart. If the dark side attains more cards that return characters to the hand, destroy enhancements, steal enhancements, capture units, etc., then A Message From Beyond will diminish in effectiveness and not be as appealing. As amazing as Forgotten Hereos can be (allowing you to draw a much-needed card at the perfect moment, giving you that epic first turn Jedi Mind Trick on a Vader or an Emperor, or locking the dark side board down with Big Ben himself), we all feel the pain of drawing Obi-Wan in the early game without the resources to get him onto the board. A Message from Beyond allows the Jedi player to play a lesser-cost character, and potentially keep them alive longer.
So, what does the community think? Is Big Ben worth more dead than alive? Has he become more powerful than you could have imagined?
  • HappyDD likes this


5 Comments

why only jedi and sith?

why only jedi and sith?


Because others are covering the other affiliations. We are trying to go for something similar to the House articles for AGoT.
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RedSquadronK
Apr 11 2013 03:20 PM
I think it's also good to note that other Osets like The Secret of Yavin 4 and Last Minute Rescue can combo pretty well with both AMfB's self-damaging recursion ability and getting to play Old Ben on Guardians so they can almost infinitely soak damage. Yet if you are running all of those support sets, you start losing your heavy hitters.

Also, in my experience Weapon Master has a lot more potential to be useful than Calm, but maybe that's just me.
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Ironswimsuit
Apr 12 2013 04:04 AM
The Yoda That Wouldn't Die.
    • divinityofnumber likes this
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divinityofnumber
Apr 12 2013 12:44 PM
It is rather fun, if you ever get the chance, to cancel the effects of Old Ben's Spirit with It's Worse. :mellow:
    • RedSquadronK likes this