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SWLC "A Dark Time" Force Pack Review

Star Wars LCG Community Review

We'll only be rating the pods as a whole in these series. No in-depth analysis on the individual cards, as everyone already has an established opinion on them and it would take more time than what we can afford. Sorry to disappoint.
While the following isn't particularly precise, the different scores could be seen as:
1 - Poor - Probably a combination of subpar cards, low edge and lack of synergy. Should prove to be a weak addition to a deck even when building around it.
2 - Bad - Overall a weaker pod that can have its moment when properly supported, but usually stays within the realm of "just fun".
3 - Average - A fair choice that is simply outclassed by other options in most cases. May prove to be the superior pick in very particular decks.
4 - Good - All-around solid and can most likely pull its weight by itself.
5 - Great - Cohesive set with with several strong elements which can fit in a plethora of decks. Or it may be somewhat niche but incredibly strong in certain archertypes.


Self Preservation: 5.5 out of 10 possible points.
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BakaMatt (3/5) – Pushing an enhancement theme, this set includes a very nice free enhancement in the form of Soresu Training. It's a great card that slides onto any key Force User, shoring up their defensive capabilities. The event Unwavering Resolve helps a bit to keep control of the force when you decide to go in full guns blazing or your Yoda happens to eat some tactics focus. Heat of Battle is a decent fate card that can muck up the combat math when it lands. The objective text is an always-on increase to your power during the force struggle, even if it is weaker than similar objectives that straight up add to your total. What's not to like? The two Gotal Outcast units don't do anything much unless you waste an enhancement on them. While being eligible for a wide swath of Jedi enhancements due to their Force User trait, it's much more desirable to drop that Soresu Training or other enhancement onto your Luke, Yoda, or Obi-Wan. Strangely enough, I think the Gotals would be welcomed in the Smugglers faction as a cheap 2-blast unit that can decently throw in for the force on the eary turns. However, in the Jedi toolbox, the design strongly pulls to relying on a few heavy hitting units, all of whom who are better at the force struggle. With two out of the five cards already dismissed as usually edge fodder, that leaves a decent package behind in terms of enhancement, fate and event, but there are far better options to choose from in the game that also come with a worthwhile unit or two.

Majestaat (2.5/5) – I've played with this set much more than I should have, and as much as I like it, the feast or famine nature of the Gotals make this too inconsistent a pick for competitive play. When you get two, and they're the only units in the pod, it just hurts.
The objective is nice to take the Force early even with cheap units, or break those very close struggles against Sith. It's, however, unfortunate that the Gotals provide absolutely nothing on defense. At most, they might to stop unopposed damage. But more often than not, they'd die a pathetic death trying to do so.
In the ideal scenario, they are very efficient blast, and have the relevant Force User trait, which is juicy for both core and BtS Obi. But generally speaking, you won't get much mileage out of them unless you're purposedly building around them, in which case chances are you're running a subpar deck in the first place.
I want to like Unwavering Resolve more, as it really screams Jedi. Sadly, between the required resource and its single pip, it's often been a dead card in hand for me.
Heat can come in huge to put on top of your existing damage to take by surprise a key DS unit. Not the case here, as we have zero guns. Makes me wish it was a Target of Opportunity instead, further pushing the identity of the set to "control the Force and then smash face with blast".
Soresu Training is the golden card here. A main with this T1 is so strong that I used to run 2x Self Preservation just to increase my chances. Then we got The Survivors, which does a pretty similar job and is bundled with great cards all around. Is the set terribad? No, but it is outclassed for sure.

Prepare for Evacuation: 6 out of 10 possible points.
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BakaMatt (3/5) – This is one of the few odd Hoth keyworded sets that does very little in a dedicated Hoth deck, but cares little enough that it's still viable in general builds. Battle of Hoth is three-pips into the edge even when its text is blank, and Prepare for Evacuation has an interrupt, so it can trigger from it's own destruction. Protect Vehicle is a handy ability to have, especially with the traditionally low damage capacity on many of the rebel fighters. With two copies of Renegade Squadron Escort, Prepare for Evacuation isn't a bad choice as even a one-off, but the need to splash into Smugglers to play can be enough of a reason to cut from a deck in favor of Mobilize the Squadrons for fighters or Solidarity of Spirit for Capital builds. Ion Cannon Burst can help drop a single vehicle from the defense, but will often fall short of greatness when it faces either a field devoid of vehicles, or inversely, an overloaded board. To be fair, though, in the rare cases Burst does hit its mark, it can enable a gamechanging turnaround. The whole package would be a contender today if it weren't for the baffling inclusion of the Bulk Transport. This expensive unit brings no blasting value and its reaction seeks character units. In a set extremely weighted to a vehicle build, the Bulk is nothing but edge fodder. In a deck full of characters, no one wants to include this set and have dud draws of protect vehicle chuds. It's a head scratcher include (like the Hoth Survival Gear was in the Hoth Operations set) that unecessarily penalizes playing the set and makes it a lesser option than the more focused ones we've seen since the Hoth cycle.

Majestaat (3/5) – That objective is absolutely disgusting in Hoth-heavy builds, where this would actually get a solid 4. There's that really annoying Hoth Ops or Attack Pattern Delta out? Well, you either leave it there or destroy it and take a big tempo hit. Was especially painful during the early days of the game when Sith Executor was so prominent.
The Escorts are a borderline necessity to he unreasonably fragile Speeders, and are generally good in any vehicle build thanks to the protect keyword and black blast. The vehicle trait used to be stronger since all DS would play was Force Choke. Characters are still more vulnerable to different effects than vehicles, generally speaking, but the advantage isn't so clear as it used to be.
On the other, Ion Cannon Burst is far more playable now than back in the day. Navy runs some nasty vehicles like the Chimaera. Fighters are also viable, and Dr. Aphra makes me think Droids could very well become a thing. It's still more likely for it to be dead than not, but when it can go off, it should be quite impactful.
Battle of Hoth is almost always useful with its 3 pips. If you get to heal or *gasp* ping for damage, that's icing on the cake.
Obviously, it would be rare for a Hoth pod to NOT include something that makes absolutely no sense. Rejoice, because we get the Action-series Bulk Transport here. Admittedly, its ability is strong and its stats aren't the worst. But why the hell does it interact with characters when you're obviously running this in a vehicle-heavy build? Edge fodder 90% of the time. Resources the other 10%, and only because you're bricking so hard you have no other play. Good thing it has two pips. Learn a thing, Jawa Trading Crawler!
If FFG ever dares to grace us with more (and good) Hoth sets, this could see a lot more play. Though realistically, this will cycle out before that happens.

Serve the Emperor: 3.5 out of 10 possible points.
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BakaMatt (2.5/5) – This one's all around horrible and the only reasoning I can come up with is that it's original incarnation must have been bonkers and it got hit with a swift and brutal nerfbat late in development in order to keep releases on schedule. The objective is about the only good card in the mix, giving a decent flat bonus. The two copies of Prophet of the Dark Side are only good for deck thinning as non-impact units, but even then, the draw is conditional! What? It's an awful trend found later in the set with Anger, which is a Force Lightning that gets telegraphed, is limited to characters, and requires winning a force struggle. To close out the trifecta of inefficient cards with awful conditions, we have Force Push, an event that has amazing card text... up until the word non-unique. It's like this objective set challenges at every opportunity to try and find the strong points. You could argue that the Sith faction is very strong at getting the force and the objective helps push this agenda, but at least give some value to needing to make that leap as we're effectively playing a zero unit objective. There is the Anzati Elite, but given its very fragile frame, I don't suggest investing the four resources it takes to get it to the table. Force Push didn't need the extra restriction, the Anzati is way too costly, and Anger could probably have been reduced to 2 cost. Even with those changes, I expect this set wouldn't be lighting the competitive scene on fire, but it would at least be palatable.

Majestaat (1/5) – Garbage set. I despise this one. The objective is okay. Lets you keep the pressure up without completely forgoing the Force Struggle. If you like it, do yourself a favor and run the vastly superior Ghosts of the Dark Side pod for that. They didn't even bother to make the objectives slightly different. Okay, this one has the Coruscant trait, but that's like having no difference at all.
The Prophets are mostly superfluous. Cards that replace themselves are generally good in card games, but these guys have almost zero impact. What's worse, the draw is restricted.
The Anzati Elite will be an edge card more often than not. If you don't have some protectors out, it's just too risky to pay 4 for something that dies to ping damage. Even with protectors, Brainiac would still make you cry.
Anger is a waste of good Vader art. It's expensive and has restrictions over restrictions. If it somehow goes off, you likely received a good amount of damage because of the tempo loss for playing it and the LS puposedly ignoring the Force Struggle. Sith should just stick to its events like they always have.
Or not... because Force Push is actually a terrible Sith event. Like Anger, it's just way too restrictive. Also has a poor edge value.
Do yourself a favor and pretend this set doesn't exist. I don't see it ever becoming any better.

A Dark Time for the Rebellion: 7 out of 10 possible points.
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BakaMatt (4/5) – This is a fine aggressive suit of cards. The MTVs are a bit disappointing for their cost, but if you're including this set, you're expecting to punch into objectives so there are worse options out there. Starck, on the other hand is a fine unit. I wish he had elite, but a decent damage capacity and a five icon spread aren't anything to sneeze at. The Moorsh Moraine does a weaker impression of Orbital Bombardment, but fits the swarm strategy encouraged here. It doesn't stack, but the second copy edges fine at two pips. Heavy Fire is an excellent on-demand Target of Opportunity right before striking and also serves to sneakily turn on Starck or the MTVs. And Dark Time itself is a very good flop at the start of the game, putting that pressure on right from the start. There isn't a whole lot more to say about this set, except that it's one of the few Hoth cases where the whole package makes sense.

Majestaat (3/5) – A cohesive Hoth pod? This is madness.
In all seriousness, that objective can be a major pain in the ass. Yes, your opponent controls the effect, so it's actually quite hard to destroy any objective or unit with it, but it is free, unconditional damage nonetheless. Can't complain.
If you get both copies in the opening flop and/or Defense Protocol, every turn will be a headache for the LS.
Starck isn't by any means bad, being a main that basically sacrifices a useful keyword for an impressive array of combat icons. While those aren't terribly hard to acquire, they won't be active 100% of the time. What's really bad is you only have them while attacking. That makes him an unimpressive early drop.
The MTVs are okay chuds. It's just that, for better or worse we've been seeing really powerful 2-drops lately, so they feel very lackluster in the grand scheme of things. I bet they'd have another printed or bonus combat icon if they were to get redesigned today, or maybe a second pip. That makes a world of difference for chuds.
The Moorsh Moraine is basically a worse Orbital Bombardment. It's slightly cheaper, but can't provide that big a bonus when you have a developed board. Either way, none of them see play often because investing a whole turn in such enhancements can easily cost you the game due to the tempo loss.
Finally, we have Heavy Fire. It's so simple but oh so good. A free black gun or blast is all you need to throw your opponent off. Would really love to see it reprinted sometime.
All in all a straightforward package that knows what it wants to do, and does it okay, without really caring about Hoth nonsense to work, allowing you to run it in virtually any aggressive deck. Unfortunately, being just okay doesn't cut it anymore. You need your cards to be more consistent, or have higher rewards if you're taking the risk. With no resource to support your deck, or something like a Target of Opportunity to get your bonus icons at the right time, it turns out to be too unreliable at crucial times, being too dependant on the objective, and your opponent giving you a hand with where the damage goes to.

The Hunt for Han Solo: 6.5 out of 10 possible points.
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BakaMatt (3.5/5) – It's hard to place this one, as it does some great things but has the potential to whiff hard. The Z-95 Headhunters are not super impressive stat lines, but they threaten capture out of hand. If you snag a key unit before your opponent can deploy them, it can heavily swing things in your favor. If you don't, you'll be wishing you invested those three resources into something heavier to hold down the fort. The headhunters are surprisingly beefy at three damage capacity, and the Ugnaught, who stands in for the set's resource generator, synergies by letting you heal them every time you capture. That makes the units often better off ignored, due to their low unit and blast. The Cloud City Incinerator gives a more permanent solution to those cards you snag, ensuring they won't be rescued later, but it's a tough sell to invest both the card and resources for that opportunity. In all, this set has the making of a choke strategy, but the pieces are just a touch too slow to pull it off successful in most games. If you can pull ahead, or if your opponent has a stunted early game, it can coast you through the remainder of the game. Carbonite Chamber Activation is a pretty sweet effect for stalling out Yoda, although it misses just about every other main you'd want to hit and vehicles entirely. The objective is a bit difficult to plan around, but can be bonkers when paired with some of the stronger available Scum sets.

Majestaat (3/5) – That objective is potentially broken. Back in the day we didn't have much reliable capture, but we actually have repeatable capture on good units now, like Ephant Mon and GA4-LOM. Heck, this doesn't even need the card to be captured from play, so the likes of Xizor and Tat Crash will do a good enough job. As if that wasn't enough, this isn't limited to once per turn. In a dream scenario I honestly hope never becomes a reality, this objective can single-handedly refresh your whole board, objectives included.
The Headhunters are the meat of the set, and man they're beefy. But at 3 cost you simply need more bang for your buck. With a single pip, only one unit damage and one blast damage, they're poor in every role. They didn't need to be so weak when their ability is already inconsistent, and your opponent can make it a certain miss by edging his units. These could certainly use a second pip and an extra edge-enabled icon.
Upnaught is good overall. You need a resource in this expensive set, and he packs a useful ability that's easy to trigger with the tools currently available to Scum.
The fact Carbonite Chamber Activation can focus down Yoda is already an amazing feat in itself. Dead against vehicles, and weak against character decks heavy on 4-costers, so it's a good thing it's got two pips.
We close the set with the Cloud City Incinerator. I've never understood why it works only while the DS controls the Force. I can see why you would want to burn captured cards, but hey, you're paying 2 just for that and often times you get more from keeping the captured card to fuel many of your effects. Either remove the restriction here or give it a resource.
In the end, it's got some nice synergy and cool theme here. It's a shame the Headhunters are so damn expensive for what they do. You could run a deck built around the objective, but you're giving up way too much because, quite frankly, no card here is stellar.

No Cobra this time. He's having problems with his computer.
I don't like to do things this way, only BakaMatt and me this time, but I couldn't keep waiting for things to fix themselves.

Regarding the pack, this is a forgettable one. There are a few good cards, and if you, like me, have a Speeder deck built at all times, then you may want Prepare for Evacuation. But that's about it. Most pods in the game do have their niche that can make them shine at least in particular scenarios. That's not quite right this time. As I said in the review, there are alternatives that do very similar things without being as weak overall.

Assault on Echo Base is next. No idea on when we'll have that one though. Really want to wait and see if Cobra can sort things out. And only if he confirms he can't/doesn't want to keep working with us, I'll try to find someone else wishing to fill the spot.

And that's it this time. I extend my gratitude to the review team and the readers who motivated us to do this. I'm sure there's room for improvement. If you got any ideas, feel free to comment or PM me so we can make the next article even better.
I must say, however, that there's a limit to how many images can be uploaded. That's why I only selected a few images per pod.

If you're looking for more reviews, you can find them in our forum thread here.

May the Force be with you all!
  • Ironswimsuit, BaraBob, Thaliak and 1 other like this


Sep 04 2017 12:41 PM

The best thing about Self Preservation is the objective card art.

    • Majestaat likes this

Totally, it's really amazing. Somehow reminds me of an angry dad :x