In a strange
Twist of Fate, it seems that the eagerly-awaited upcoming deluxe expansion, Galactic Ambitions, has been released already in Spain. As such, we have provided a Galactic Ambitions Preview!
While this isn’t the first time this has happened, this seems to be unbelievably early for a deluxe that, at the earliest, wasn’t expected to drop for another three months. Not only that, but rather than getting a Force Pack a week early (which has happened), this release was an entire deluxe expansion featuring fourteen unique pods. That’s as if they released the rest of the Endor cycle all at once, and well before it was expected to drop! Thanks to the fact that this is now available for purchase in Spain, FFG has done the reasonable thing for their local (American) audiences and published the complete spoiler of the expansion on their community website, CardGameDB. For those who don’t feature the CardGameDB forums and might not be aware of the deluxe, or might want an introduction to it, I’m going to briefly outline the contents of the box so that you can start thinking of what you’re going to want to do with these cards when they do become available.
But first, a quick FAQ:
- While available in Spain, this expansion is not legal for tournament play. Treat this as a pre-released deluxe at GenCon: some people have it in hand, but it’s not legal for tournament use anywhere until the (not-yet-announced) street date arrives.
- We don’t have any idea when this deluxe is scheduled to be released, but it’s unlikely to be any time soon. So don’t get too caught up in building decks with these new cards, as they’re unlikely to come out for another three to six months. That said, due to this unexpected early release (to FFG as much as us), it might get pushed out sooner.
- Such an early and unplanned release means that the traditional preview cycle for the expansion will be skipped, and we’re unlikely to see any new SWLCG news for a while beyond tournament reports. That said, expect to see articles discussing these cards in depth on this site leading up to its eventual release. As a Red player on both sides, you can imagine how excited I am to finally get this long-awaited deluxe.
- No, I have no idea why the dark side cards are numbered before the light side cards in this expansion, which is different from every other expansion to date. Sometimes FFG does strange things!
And Now, On To The Main AttractionDark Lord of the Sith (Pod 217)
The Sith half of the deluxe focuses on a new version of Darth Vader, who eschews his usual damage-dealing mechanics for a more intimidating, focus-heavy version. The pod comes with an event and a fate card that both place focus tokens on enemy units (generally before they can strike), and Darth Vader himself gets more powerful if your opponent controls a lot of focused units. He has no lightsaber to gain targeted strike, but as he has a slightly different version of targeted strike already (it only works on exhausted units, but also works on defense), it’s unlikely to matter. It also has a very strong, albeit unique, resource, a powerful Stormtrooper with shielding, and a mono-Sith-only objective that will probably feel similar to
The Tarkin Doctrinein actual play.
Encounter at Stygeon Prime (Pod 218)
Finally showing his face from the popular Rebels TV show with some absolutely fantastic art, the Inquisitor is all about streamlining the focus-and-damage-based tricks that Sith already has into a single engine. The Inquisitor himself is a strong defensive unit with a built-in ability to exchange a card you don’t want for the top card of your deck and a lightsaber that’s pretty generic but can make him extremely deadly. His support unit is kinda like a one-cost Trooper with a black tactics, except that your opponent gets to choose where that focus token goes. One enhancement turns any source of damage into a tactics icon (makes
Force Chokereally strong) while the other turns one of your objectives into
Enforced Loyaltyunless they’re willing to attack it every turn.
Power of the Dark Side (Pod 219)
Darth Vader may be the big main character in this deluxe, but Emperor Palpatine isn’t going to be left out this time. In short, this Emperor does stand up to the Emperor in the Core Set, which is currently considered to be the Sith staple. At six-cost Palpatine trades one tactics icon for two unit damage, and instead of recurring powerful Sith events he has the ability to refresh another Main when you win a Force struggle so you can attack and defend with Darth Vader. He has a resource as expected, but most of his pod revolves around
committing your opponent's unitsto the Force and then punishing them for losing a force struggle. His event and objective damage or destroy enemy committed units, and his support unit is an exact Sith counterpart to the powerful
Jedi Wolfmen, in that it’s a unit with two black guns, edge 1, and can return from the discard pile when it dies. This is another powerful Sith set I expect to see a lot, but the importance it places on the Force struggle might make people go for the more generically-useful Core Palpatine.
Dark Defenders (Pod 220)
You might not have expected a Pilot pod in a Sith expansion, but here it is!
Black Squadron Pilotmakes a triumphant return, as does Backstabber, but this time Backstabber costs less and does a more Sith-like thing when he sneaks into play: he focuses an enemy unit. This is a very defensive TIE Fighter pod, which is something pretty new, but it does that very well: both Backstabber and
Seeds of Decayput focus tokens on enemy units, the new Black Squadron unit (yes, it’s the whole squadron!) operates as an almost exact replica of
Aquaris Freeholderson the dark side, and the event lets you spend one to go find any Black Squadron card in your deck. The biggest strength of Black Squadron is that its cost reduction doesn’t depend on what your opponent does, and it can be dropped into play for free with
Vader's TIE Advanced. It can also be
Death from Aboveed, which is pretty incredible.
Hunters of the Jedi (Pod 221)
Brothers of the Sithintroduced us to the Sithspawn trait, and this pod delivers more support for what will probably become an archetype of its own. It’s kinda like a set that has four vanilla units, but for vanilla units they brawl pretty well. The Tuk’ata are Force Sensitive
Tusken Raiders, which is good enough on its own, and the Terentateks are giant Mains that will basically always kill whatever they hit, though they can only kill one thing at a time. That this set has a resource is fantastic, since that means you can safely run it with a greater variety of other Sith (or Scum) pods, but the most powerful card will probably be the objective. Losing a Tuk’ata or a
Dark Side Apprenticeis a pretty minor cost to get a free Terentatek or
Out of the Mists (Pod 222)
Zuckuss and 4-LOM make their triumphant return (not that they were bad, necessarily), in the form of a pair of capture-based bounty hunters. Zuckuss has
Force Precognitionand 4-LOM can capture a support unit when he strikes as an attacker, but both their abilities get significantly better when they’re in an engagement together. To help that come about, the objective lets you put a 3-or-less-cost Scum unit into play from your discard pile (say WHAT?) when you double your opponent’s icons in an edge battle. This also introduces the main mechanic of the set: winning a contested edge battle by double. An edge stack is considered contested when both players have at least one edge icon, but winning by double can be pretty tough without something like
The Prince's Scheme. That said, if you can pull it off, you can destroy an enemy enhancement, force an enemy unit to participate in an engagement (if they have a shared trait with someone already in the engagement) or capture a Force-committed unit. Some of these are better than others, but between Zuckuss’s edge 2 and precognition and a three-edge card not on a unit, I think these thresholds can be met.
Entrenched Defenses (Pod 223)
For all your friends that’ve gotten tired of going up against the Navy Fortress that is Tarkin, Yularen, and Imperial Blockade, there’s now Entrenched Defenses to make your objectives that much less assailable. As an exact clone of
The Secret of Yavin 4in Navy, the objective will help protect your key objective even if they can pay the Tarkin Tax, and will just make killing your objectives more difficult in general. It comes with a non-limited resource that refreshes your Vehicles to allow them to defend, which can be pretty nutty on someone like the
Chimaera, along with a
Heat of Battle, and a three-edge-icon event that will occasionally fully-heal one of your Vehicles. But the real gas is in these five-cost units that can’t attack, have three black guns and a white tactics, and basically can’t lose their strike… ever. They can’t be focused, and with four health they’re unlikely to be killed in one strike, so attacking into one of these Golan Defense Platforms will usually spell death for the light side. If defending is your jam and you have the resources to spare, this pod is going to be your best bet.
Hope of Rebellion (Pod 224)
It’s been a while since we saw Rebel Leia in action, so this time we’re getting a new one. Like her core set predecessor, she’s a two-cost tricon with one health and a powerful “leaves play” ability (and she captures herself when she dies). Unlike her predecessor, her “go find a Rebel objective” ability can be completely negated if they get damage on all your objectives, and while objectives are powerful… some of them aren’t. Her Leader-matters event gives all your participating units (including the Leader) an extra gun, though it’s probably better as a three-icon edge card. She has two chuds with two black guns that deal an objective damage when they enter play, which sounds fantastic, but that they have zero Force icons could be an issue. The real star of the objective set is the fate card, which (if you control a unique Rebel unit) lets you bring back basically any Rebel unit (except
Liberty) from your discard pile as a participating unit, and the put them back into your hand. Getting to fire off essentially a free
Unfinished Businessthat returns the unit to your hand (remember Unfinished Falcon?) sounds pretty appealing.
Planning the Attack (Pod 225)
The long-awaited, always under-represented, General Dodonna! This pod’s all about drawing cards and controlling Leaders, both of which are solid strategies. Dodonna’s a solid Main, and when his tactician support units attack with a Leader (and the Leader doesn’t die before they strike), they’re worth far more than two cost. Yet one-health Characters continue to be a problem, so I’ll reserve judgment. A two-resource, elite enhancement is fantastic (though its three-cost makes it less fantastic) and Twist makes this pod have excellent edge capability. This’ll probably be a prominent feature in Leader decks if such a thing arises.
Mission to Talay (Pod 226)
Dark Forces gets a shoutout with Mission To Talay, and the pod based around the second level of the game features both Mon Mothma and Kyle Katarn. Kyle wrecks enemy units with targeted strike and an “edge 1”-like ability, while Mon Mothma gives you a ludicrous amount of resources (if you can afford to commit her to the Force). Nothing in the set has elite… but the resource enhancement, Inspiring Presence, can attach to Mon Mothma to give the objective and both units the ability to provide lots of resources and escape being buried by tactics icons. The Concussion Rifle falls flat in both theme and mechanics, but if you’re in a good position you can use it to make Kyle a bit more deadly. The sleeper of the set might be Rebel for Hire, which can fetch any card from your deck as long as you have a Leader from the same pod on the table. This set might be too fair to compete but it has some of the most interesting mechanics in the deluxe.
The Alliance’s Elite (Pod 227)
Vehicles are a major part of the Rebel affiliation, so it would be a shame not to include some classic ships like Rogue Squadron (yes, the whole squadron is one unit). Filled with units and enhancements that care about putting things onto your ships, you’ll find that this pod basically acts as a perfect pair with
The Defense of Yavin 4in its goal to get good ships on the table and enhance them. While it doesn’t call them out by name, it’s clear this pod was designed with Pilots in mind, as both units directly benefit you for putting enhancements on your ships, and the two enhancements it comes with are perfectly worth their cost. R3-A2 even makes an appearance from his popular position in X-Wing (where he has the affectionate title “the Stressbot”) and gives your ships some much-needed tactics. All of the cards are fairly costed, but will likely fill out the weaknesses of Rebel Pilot decks.
Capital Cover (Pod 228)
For those more interested in Capital Ships, here’s an absolutely bonkers pod. Between the objective’s ability to shield all your ships and the Defiance’s ability to protect your vehicles, I expect Capital Ships to be somewhat invulnerable outside of things like
Force Lightning. Every card in the set helps to get shields on your units, and they all have solid icons for their costs, which just get insane if you’re ever willing to spend your shield to gain four black icons. If Capital Ships aren’t a thing by the time this comes out… well they will be. Ironically, having a two-cost Capital Ship does as much as the nutty objective to get the archetype rolling.
Spark of Rebellion (Pod 229)
Kanan Jarrus finally makes his appearance to oppose the Inquisitor, and while the Inquisitor supports lots of different Sith strategies, Kanan… is actually in an entirely neutral set, and in one that’s at its best in a Rebel or Smuggler deck. The infamous
Attack Pattern Deltafor Characters has arrived, and with so many pods with lots of two-cost Characters to choose from, I expect this pod to have a lot of value. It even solves the APD problem of wasting your activation and missing by giving two chuds that let you peek at the top of your deck. But even more than that, it can also hit four-cost units like Kanan if they have the Specter trait… which means we should start expecting to see more members of the Ghost coming out soon. And even if all that synergy weren’t enough, Kanan’s a Leader so you can pair him with Leia or Dodonna to get extra value out of their pods.
The Gardener’s Secret (Pod 230)
The final objective set in the box is the limit-one Smuggler set. This will appeal to some people a lot and others not at all, as the very powerful-yet-very-polarizing objective helps your opponent out in the beginning of the game but can help you out more in the long run if you outnumber your opponent’s enhancements. And since the entire set is built around getting lots of enhancements into play, all three of its units help get them, from your deck (Momaw) or discard pile (junk dealers). It may not have resources, but it has two enhancements that permanently increase your reserve value for the low cost of one resources. Take that,
That’s quite a ton of information to process right away, and having to wait for the box to release will be rough, but when it does drop know that it’s going to bring the last light side faction up to par with its Jedi and Smuggler counterparts… and the Sith will be as strong as ever, if not stronger than they were before. I certainly look forward to it!
Due to all this dropping at once and rather overwhelming me with new content, expect this week’s article on Strike Economy to come next week instead. In the meantime, I have another deck to highlight!
Dav spends his free time making tabletop games, playing tabletop games, or writing tabletop games. He particularly loves Star Wars LCG, LotR LCG, Halo: Fleet Battles/Ground Command, X-Wing, and Call of Cthulhu RPG. Hit him up on Twitter if you want to get in touch!
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