The Phantom Menace: Third Look
Two Bounty Hunters, a Senator, and a Gungan Walk Into a Bar…
Stop me if you’ve heard this one… wait, of course you haven’t! Let’s not delay, let's get right to the spoilers!
First, the bounty hunters.
Two Bounty Hunters...
Aurra Sing (C)
A lot of people will be happy to see this card. Aurra Sing has been a fan favorite since she made her debut in Sith Rising. Now that she has a third version to add to the stack (treat this card as Aurra Sing (C)), not only are older versions made more potent, but the fact that there are three versions with varying abilities also adds a wonderful versatility of function to the stack. Against Jedi, a double-stacked Aurra Sing (A) can be scary. Against a Light Side deck that swarms in the Character arena, like Clones, this new Aurra allow you to convert every kill she scores into what amounts to a free stack.
Vilmarh Grahrk (A)
You’ve seen the Inferno, now check out its owner! Vilmarh is a very interesting unit in that, while technically a neutral unit, I can’t imagine running him in a deck without a Light Side Jedi. A 40/4/4 unit for 4 build is fair. Add Lucky 3, and suddenly he’s a really good deal, with above average damage output and good survivability. Throw in the fact that every turn he’s out, you’re a 5:1 favorite to gain an extra build point, and you’ve got a steal. For you poker players out there, those are about the same odds of winning with pocket aces against pocket kings. Pretty good.
Orn Free Taa (A)
At first glance, you may think Orn is too expensive for what he does. I mean, a 10/3/5 for 8 build, and he doesn’t even have Evade? However, when you consider what he requires your opponent to invest in the Character arena in order to deal with him, he’s worth every credit. At a minimum, if your opponent doesn’t drop three Characters, you’re not going to lose the arena. Even better, if you can drop a second, aggressive Character to back up Orn, you have a good shot at winning an arena that your opponent may have greatly overbuilt you in.
And it doesn’t stop with Characters! Orn can tap down any unit. If you control the Character arena, for only one build point a turn, you can keep your opponent’s biggest threat turned sideways. If the metagame proves such that big, expensive units are common, Orn becomes a great choice. On the other hand, if swarm decks are all the rage, you’ll probably do better to leave Orn at the buffet.
...And a Gungan
Gungan Grand Army
Well, I’ve saved the best for last. I’m sure the first thing you thought was, “Whoa, Gungans are neutral?” Yes, they are. It will be interesting indeed to see who can more successfully court the reclusive Gungans, the Light Side or the Dark Side. That debate is for another day though; let’s look at how this card's going to play.
After your initial surprise at the alignment of the Gungans, you probably next thought, “Wow, Trade Federation Battleship Core just became obsolete.” And you’re probably right. For the same build cost, this card has one less health than the Core, 10 more speed, and three great abilities. Even if it didn’t have the abilities, I’d consider it a fair trade in that there are a lot of hard-hitting units (the Cores included) that have 10 speed. Going before those units is a very good thing.
Now, let’s look at the abilities one at a time.
First, by discarding another Gungan, you can remove three damage counters from the Grand Army. Not a bad ability, but it will probably only be used in extreme circumstances where, for instance, another one of your Gungan units is being attacked and will almost certainly die. Still, any “tank” unit that has the ability to heal itself is worthy of notice.
Next, it gains Critical Hit 1 when attacking a Droid. This is a gain for the Light Side, as there are currently no Light Side Droids in the Ground arena, while the Dark Side relies heavily on them.
Finally, it has Overkill. This is huge. One vulnerability of tank units is that they are disadvantaged against swarms of smaller units, as they can only kill one per turn while the smaller units peck away at the larger one. With Overkill, you get to double the rate at which you’re taking out swarming units, taking away their main advantage. It also guarantees that all attacks are done with maximum efficiency. You will never run into the dreaded scenario where you have to choose between finishing off the unit with only 1 health left, or taking a shot at another unit where your damage can be used more effectively. Now you can just bash them both.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Gungan Grand Army is the total package, having all the benefits and none of the weaknesses of a tank. This card will see a lot of serious play. The only question now is, “What other Gungan units can I use along with the Grand Army?”
Good question. I guess we’ll find out on July 2nd.
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