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Release Review: Spirit of Rebellion (Pod 262)

Farsight: This is quite an impressive objective ability even if it can be turned off by damage. Card advantage is a bit of a difficult concept in this game compared to others because of the way we draw back up to reserve, but that doesn’t mean that turning your non-Smuggler units into guaranteed two for ones isn’t good. Even if it doesn’t hurt them in the long turn you are still improving your position in edge battles for that turn. The fact that neutral units can trigger this means it’s not entirely terrible even in mostly smuggler decks (though it certainly does hurt Jyn). While the rest of the pod doesn’t support discard themes, this ability is strong enough to make it worth considering, at least, in discard decks that use pods like Chopper, Zeb, and Gamblo. Also worth noting, if you’re really into the ability: since it is triggered by actually playing a unit, not putting one into play, most of the ways the light side has of ambushing in units will not work. Still, if you happen to pair this up with either Core Ackbar or Ewok Ambushers you can still sneak in extra value.

GreedoShotFirst: I think that having a card advantage against your opponent is always crucial for light side and this can happen from drawing cards (like Asteroid Sanctuary) or from having your opponent discard as in this case. Early game, this is really useful when many Dark Side players are setting up their board and are only left with 2-3 cards in hand for a defensive edge battle. Given that it can react on something as low cost as a nudj makes it really useful in the early game. Mid to late game, it is easily turned off and likely loses some of its potency as Dark Side can maintain a board state and build hands for larger edge battles.

Dav Flamerock: I’m sure glad this card has the “while unbloodied” text on it, because this effect is strong. We’ve seen hand denial be a potent strategy on Vader’s Fist, and we’ve also seen its inverse counterpart (the new reserve-increasing affiliations) be just as potent and popular. While Spirit of Rebellion maybe isn’t as crippling as Vader’s Fist (they get to choose the card they lose, you need a non-Smuggler unit, and it doesn’t kick in until your deployment phase), even losing only 1 card every turn is going to make it a lot more difficult for the dark side to win edge battles. When all objective sets are made with roughly equivalent edge values these days, every card matters in a big way.

AussieJedi: Here’s a 5/1 objective with an ability that could be really something. The reason I like this ability is that it reduces the amount of cards that the dark side has for an edge battle, but it definitely should have been a random card. I think that this is going to be a objective with a target on it’s back when it’s time to resolve engagements.

Farsight: This cycle is certainly starting with a bang for the light side, no? Statswise, she’s pretty much exactly a Core Luke, so all good there. Having a white unit damage instead of blast damage just reinforces what you can tell from reading her ability – she’s all in on offense, making her three pips and elite ability nice but not essential. While she is on the attack, she’s one of the scariest units smugglers have gotten in some time. No more fooling around with discard tricks like Chopper, or pilot buffs with Nien Numb, Jyn is just here to pile on the damage. The strongest half of her ability is the rebel side so let’s start there. Cassian is the best target for her, but there’s plenty of other people in the faction you wouldn’t mind double striking with – Hera and the Ghost from the last cycle, Bren Derlin, Endor Han, and any version of Home One will all go great with Jyn. As with Cassian’s ability, buffing her targets with icons from the new fate card will make her even better. Sadly the Rebels do not have an equivalent to the Bo-rifle or lightsaber, though they do have Custom Paint Job to give you some extra cards from Jyn. The Jedi side of her ability is certainly a step down from the Rebel one, since you get the cards not only after deployment but also after your first edge battle (unless you can somehow fit Bullseye into a deck with her as well), but we all know and love Asteroid Sanctuary’s ability and this is pretty similar. Worth noting – unlike Cassian’s ability, her ability is not once per turn, but once per engagement which means that if you can unfocus her after striking you really go crazy with her reaction.

GreedoShotFirst: Jyn herself is an amazing unit with icon distribution similar to Luke Skywalker making her a major hitter in this game. She runs into some difficulty in all that you need to do as a Dark Side player is maintain a board with more control than Jyn’s deck does. Gladiators, Xizor, and Palpatine can all accomplish this and if you lock out the friend she is swinging with, the ability is less impressive especially since they need to be with her in the engagement. Given that her pod doesn’t have many tactics, this may be an issue for decks wanting to have her see a lot of play.

Dav Flamerock: I don’t care what else is on the card, but when I see a unit with two black bombs I’m suddenly very interested. Jyn is a lot like Zeb in that regard: she has no ability to control the board, but she gets enemy objectives dead fast (especially if she fights with a Rebel unit!) Unlike Zeb’s ability to gain conditional targeted strike to try to control the board, Jyn has elite to make her more resilient to tactics icons, and her block of text makes her really potent when fighting with Jedi or Rebel units. The Jedi’s card draw is cool, but honestly I’m most interested in her ability to make other Rebel units double-strike. That could be Cassian, of course, to clear even more focus tokens from your units, but it could also be someone like Hera who has a black tactics or Kyle Katarn who has targeted strike. She’s a bit all-in on destroying objectives, but good lord is she good at what she does.

AussieJedi: Another Rogue One character and this time its Jyn. A strong main that brings some strong offensive power to the table. She permits Cassian to have her strike a second time. Super thematic. Gameplay mechanics here, or should she be coupled with a Jedi on the able, her card draw is superb.

Farsight: I don’t really get this guy. It seems like the only thing he can reliably do is trigger the objective ability, and that isn’t even always activated or on the table. With two pips and an unfocusing ability it seems like he might be there to hold the Force, but he won’t be able to contest the Force the turn he strikes. Also, with two white icons he’s an annoying liability in any conflict you might want to send him into, good only when you can guarantee unopposed strikes. Maybe he could have borrowed shielding from Cassian’s saboteurs, since they’re too good anyway. All together, this is disappointing even for a chud, and is seemingly only is around to trigger this pod’s objective and fate card.

GreedoShotFirst: Well, if you aren’t a fan of MTFBWY, this guy will help a little with the ability to hold Force by removing a token at the start of the Force phase. This will help open up some doors into Smuggler/Rebel builds which with the increased reserve value on affiliation cards may be of some benefit. Since his icons are white, dark side likely won’t over commit to locking him out. Conversely, you will likely only attack with him when it is really safe and you don’t expect him to die from it.

Dav Flamerock: Crafty Smuggler doesn’t look like much, but he’s got it where it counts. White icons are awkward, so I expect he’ll be on the Force more often than not… and I’m kinda ok with that. Because his text doesn’t refer to a specific Force phase, he’s actually going to clear 3 focus tokens during a single turn cycle, meaning he can do all sorts of things like fight and remain ready, attack and defend both, or even attack into the dark side and become ready in time to take the Force back at the end of the dark side’s turn. He doesn’t outshine any typical chuds, but he does something unique and is worth his cost.

AussieJedi: Not a bad chud, but his abiity is where he shines. Being able to strike and then at the beginning of the Force phase be able to contribute Force icons is immeasurably fantastic. He really is superb at forcing opponents to commit to defending an attack simply because he has the potential to cause two damage with unopposed if he is left to his own devices, three if he benefits from a treatment of Allies of Necessity fate card.

Farsight: Here is the start of what looks like a new set of enhancements for this cycle, and it’s… fine? The light side already got three influence objectives last cycle that range from decent (Ezra) to excellent (Zeb), and have always been pretty decent with cross-faction decks. These will be more exciting on the dark side, for sure. Two for one enhancements are also never that exciting and this one doesn’t even have an extra ability. In lieu of talking more about this boring card I’m going to write about an extremely important issue – FFG went way overboard with the words Alliance and Allies this cycle, and we’re only one pack in. We’ve got this card, the Allies of Necessity fate card (three separate copies!), the Desperate Allies affiliation card, all in a pack named Allies of Necessity. How on earth are we going to keep these things straight? Could someone at FFG use a tiny part of the ridiculous money I’m sure they’ve made from the Star Wars license to purchase a thesaurus?

GreedoShotFirst: This resource is SOOOOOO useful. Need a Smuggler resource for Bo Rifle? No problem. I typically try and keep this open for such occasions. This is also is useful for cards like Bamboozle when all your opponent can see are neutral resources left. When playing this make sure to be careful for the card Seedy Cantina and do NOT get into an edge battle you intend to lose by double your force icons.

Dav Flamerock: Honestly, there’s not a ton to say about Necessary Alliances. It’s the new resource for this cycle that I expect every affiliation to get, it’s a “2-1” resource (of which we’re well familiar), and it has Influence to make sure the new multifaction mechanics are consistent. It’s cool, it’s functional, but it’s super not flashy.

AussieJedi: This is the card that needed to come with Cassian to make his set a must-of inclusion. A 2 cost enhancement that provides an influence resource. That is beautiful stuff.

Farsight: I’m surprised the game doesn’t have more word for word copies of cards that exist on both light and dark sides, but here’s one of the most obvious ones we’ve ever got. He Doesn’t Like You gets a change in color, and nothing else. Changing from dark side to light does mean that this card goes from the defensive side to the offensive side, which I think increases its value. What also makes this better is that the light side lacks for unit removal outside of targeted strike, and that’s what this basically is. You can even use this on defense which makes it even better than targeted strike. This could make defensive Yodas even more fearsome than they already are. All in all, a useful and versatile removal spell placed in a faction that can make excellent use of it.

GreedoShotFirst: Light side is now able to get targeted strike without it printed on the card and having it on defense is really valuable especially against aggressive DS decks. The unfortunate thing about this is that you might be sacrificing this unit by not striking the participating opponent, so please make sure it is a unit worth giving up.

Dav Flamerock: Here’s a card we’ve seen before, but on the dark side! Of all the removal options in the game, this is my favorite, as it allows you to take out troublesome units that your opponent won’t risk in an engagement while still requiring you have the ability to resolve enough guns to kill them. The light side has often struggled with having enough board control (not named Yoda) to keep up in a game where resolving strikes is the most important thing. This is the most fun way they could have gotten such a board control element—especially in Jyn’s pod, which is notoriously singleminded and vulnerable to disruption. This card may not be great with bomb-heavy Jyn, but it’ll keep her from being walked all over by your opponent, since you can use someone else’s guns to ambush the big threatening Vader or Tarkin or whoever.

AussieJedi: It’s great to see the second set in the pack get a pretty great event in its set. It’s cheap and can really close out your opponent into losing a unit from out of nowhere. Should you attack with Jyn and have placed the Allies fate card in, then she can take out deadly units like Stormtrooper Assault Team or the always frustratingly annoying Grand Moff Tarkin in her sleep.

Farsight: Pretty much everything I said about this card in Cassian’s pod review still applies here. It’s a solid fate card, not as automatically reliable as Heat of Battle or Target of Opportunity because your units need to live long enough to strike to get the full power of the card, but with the potential to have its power multiplied by units that can get in more than one strike per engagement. It’s worth noting since it’s in Jyn’s pod that while her ability combined with Cassian lets them strike in two different offensive engagements, this card will wear off after the first one. Keep that in mind while planning out your attacks.

GreedoShotFirst: This may be one of the best fate cards since Seeds of Decay. EXTREMELY easy to turn on, this can make a much larger impact in destroying an objective by seemingly innocuous units. Also gives a third gun on defense to certain units making them fantastic defenders especially if they have a tactics as well (remind you of anyone?).

Dav Flamerock: Once again, we see Allies of Necessity. Since Jyn pushes you pretty hard into multi-faction, I expect this should be able to turn on a bunch (assuming you can profitably attack in a pair) and if you can resolve two strikes then this will be the actual best (non-Twist) fate card in the game. Otherwise it’s just okay.

AussieJedi: What’s not to say about this card that I haven’t said in the last article for Rebel’s, simply that two is better than one for this card. This can definitely help chuds really cause some devastating damage on units and objectives.

Final Grades

Farsight Rating:
While I think this pod is a little less powerful by itself than Cassian’s – mainly thanks to the fact that his chud units are way better – I think this one has more possible synergies with different archetypes, with the resource and Jyn’s ability. While his pod has several control elements, this one is pretty much all about the damage that you can get from Jyn and friends put together. The dark side has been able to turtle up in a frustratingly effective way these last few years with pods like Enforced Loyalty and Heartless Tactics, and if it takes all out offense like this to break through that then I’m all for it. She also plays very well with the new seven reserve and two resource affiliations, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see more pods coming this cycle that combine strongly with this one.
Overall Grade: B+

GreedoShotFirst’s Judgment:
Overall Grade: B+

Dav’s Set Statistics:
Edge Rating: Above Average (1 Good, 1 Bad)
Important Unit Cost: 4
Resource? Yes
Blast Icons:  on Jyn and  on Crafty Smuggler
Tactics Icons: None
Overall Grade: B+

AussieJedi Rating:
I think that this set is looking to be in a much more focused deck that really has a goal, whereas the Rebel set is more flexible.  This set has a few more Force icons that the Rebel set, but I think the smuggler set here can dish out a bit more firepower. I’m also not sure that this set necessarily needs to take one of the newer affiliation cards, and can be slotted into a regular 7/3 or 6/4 split deck, and i think that is a pretty good thing.
Overall Grade: B+

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