Man Your Battlestations
Preview the Red Characters of Empire at War
"I will start my operations here and pull the Rebels apart, piece by piece. They will be the architects of their own destruction."
-Thrawn, Star Wars Rebels
Few are braver in the Star Wars™ galaxy than those with whom you choose to stand on the front lines of battle. Whether it’s a pilot fighting for freedom from a tyrannical empire, or a storm trooper maintaining order in the galaxy, soldiers and commanders are the heart of an Empire at war.
Today, we’re previewing the Red heroes and villains of Empire at War, a new 160 card set of boosters for Star Wars™: Destiny. Red characters in Empire at War dominate their foes with powerful supports while maintaining an economical advantage and control of the battlefield.
The Imperial War Machine
Those who bring order to the galaxy are not only feared soldiers and commanders, but often have access to the best equipment in the Star Wars galaxy.
With an increased focus on vehicles, a character like Ciena Ree (Empire at War, 1) is a perfect addition to the Red villain faction. At eight points for a normal version or eleven for an elite, Ciena Ree joins Bala Tik (Awakenings, 19) as one of the most affordable villains in the game, able to pair with some of the more powerful forces in Destiny, including an elite Darth Vader (Awakenings, 10). With only one side that provides direct damage, a modified damage side, a disrupt side, and two resource sides, Ciena Ree’s die is perfect for supporting a more direct threat to your opponent. The resources Ree’s die provides can be used for her special ability: spending two resources as an action to ready a vehicle. While this provides plenty of options for cards in previous sets, like the AT-ST (Awakenings, 5), Empire at War brings several new vehicles for Ciena Ree to ready.
The AT-DP (Empire at War, 5) has two ranged damage sides and a modified damage side, which pairs well with Ree, and includes a shield and special symbol side. The AT-DP’s special symbol allows you to discard a support that costs two or less from play. This targeted removal is a very powerful ability and, with Ciena Ree, could trigger twice in a single round.
Upgrading Ciena Ree with Natural Pilot (Empire at War, 48) is an expensive task, but provides fantastic synergy. Natural Pilot’s die includes two modified ranged damage sides, a focus side, a disrupt side, and a shield side, providing excellent support. However, the card’s true strength is its ability, which lets you ready a vehicle after you activate the upgraded character. When combined with Ciena Ree, you can see your vehicles easily activating several times a turn!
Spending your resources to ready vehicles may leave few resources for other cards, like events. Pairing Ciena Ree with General Hux (Empire at War, 2) may help mitigate that. At eleven points for a normal version or fourteen for an elite, General Hux can fit nicely on a team with a similarly costed character, but achieves his true potential in a team with three or more characters. Hux’s die is diverse, featuring a ranged damage side, a focus side, a discard, a resource, and a special symbol. The special symbol keys off how large your team is, allowing you to play a Red event from your hand, decreasing its cost by one for every character you have. In a three-character build, this can vastly reduce the drawback on some of the more expensive red events, including powerful cards found in Empire at War. Using Hux to reduce the cost of Fall Back (Empire at War, 120) at an appropriate time can devastate your opponent’s upgrades. If General Hux is paired with non-unique characters, using Red Alert (Empire at War, 66) at a discounted price can completely shift the momentum of a game, letting you ready a non-unique character at a vastly reduced cost.
You can also receive a similar discount with Imperial Backing (Empire at War, 64), which lets you play a support from your hand, reducing its cost by one for every character you have. With a cost of two resources, Imperial Backing would normally only shine on a team with three or more characters. However, when played with General Hux’s special ability, it can provide a massive discount to some of the best supports in the game.
Fighting against the forces of oppression are the brave heroes of the Star Wars galaxy. Whether it’s in a fledging Rebellion or a resistance fighting back against the First Order, these heroes dive into the fires of war, ready to fight for freedom.
In the early days of the Galactic Empire, Hera Syndulla (Empire at War, 25) flew from system to system, helping lay the groundwork for what would become the Rebellion. Like Ciena Ree, Hera comes to Star Wars: Destiny with a focus on vehicles. Hera’s die features a ranged damage side, a focus, a shield, a resource, and a special symbol. While this is a versatile die, Hera’s special symbol is where she truly shines, allowing you to play a vehicle from your hand for free. Though the vehicle is returned to your hand at the end of the action phase, there is still plenty of time to effectively use some of the most dangerous dice in the game. This includes her signature vehicle, Ghost (Empire at War, 28), making its first appearance in Star Wars: Destiny with Empire at War. Ghost has one of the most consistent and efficient die in the game, featuring two ranged damage sides, a disrupt, a shield, a resource, and special symbol side, which allows you to resolve another side of the die. Rolling in the Ghost ensures you will get a powerful result. The drawback comes in its massive four resource cost. However, this can be mitigated with Hera’s ability, making the Ghost and Hera a powerful combination.
Hera also combos well with the iconic Y-Wing (Empire at War, 29), featuring a ranged damage side, a disrupt side, and two special symbols. These symbols can be used to force an opponent to lose resources and damage their characters until they have done so a combined total of four times. With two blank sides, though, the Y-Wing can have difficulty rolling consistently. However, if part of your team includes the Rookie Pilot (Empire at War, 27), you may get a second chance at rolling the Y-Wing’s die. At seven points, the Rookie Pilot’s die includes two modified ranged damage sides, a shield, and a resource, providing proper support for a vehicle centric deck.
You can double up on the value of a vehicle die with Reckless Reentry (Empire at War, 93), which lets you roll a vehicle die into your pool, regardless if the vehicle has already been activated this turn. This can allow for surprise damage at just the right time, or a fresh stock of shields to protect your characters. However, Reckless Reentry comes with a drawback—if the die you roll comes up blank, the vehicle is discarded from play. It’s a risky play, but any Red hero knows there’s no reward without risk.
If you would like Hera’s vehicles to stick around, Rally Aid (Empire at War, 96) is a support that will consistently allow you to reduce the cost of supports by one, or two is they are a vehicle. This can allow you to save valuable resources while playing otherwise expensive supports.
All of these supports can be protected by a Shield Generator (Empire at War, 97), which allows you to discard it from play instead of a support that was targeted for removal by an opponent’s card effect or die. As removal effects become more common with Empire at War, protective cards like Shield Generator will become more and more valuable.
With these tools at their disposal, Red heroes can develop a support system that can be unrivaled in Star Wars: Destiny.
Command your Forces
These new Star Wars: Destiny cards see Red characters’ interactions with supports and vehicles grow even further, allowing them to dominate their foes with overwhelming fire power and come out on top in an Empire at War.
Command your Forces and pick up Empire at War (SWD07) from your local retailer when it is released in the third quarter of 2017!
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