Competitive Balance Team Review (Protocol Failure v & ROTJ v / CEC v)

Competitive Balance Team Review (Protocol Failure v & ROTJ v / CEC v) by Nate Louderback – Dorshe1 There is very little that stirs up more controversy in Star Wars CCG than the decisions of the Competitive Balance Team (CBT). The CBT is a special panel that has the responsibility to review the current meta and identify issues that threaten the competitive health of the game and to implement changes to correct any issues.  Examples of items that are within the scope of the CBT’s mission are overpowered decks, decks which can skew the meta significantly, and decks/strategies that are considered NPE. This is a lot of responsibility for one group of players, but their role is essential in a game like Star Wars CCG. In this article we will look at the recent changes to Corellian Engineering Corporation v and Protocol Failure v / Return of the Jedi v. Corellian Engineering Corporation v (CECv) On March 8, 2014 the CBT issued a ruling that changed the wording of Correllian Engineering Corporation v. CECv is a very important card to the current Watch Your Step v (WYSv) deck. Text: Deploy on table if [Virtual Block 4] Watch Your Step on table. X = number of spaceport sites controlled by Corellians. While you control Corellia, your total battle destiny is +X, and once per turn, if you are about to lose Force (except from your card), may reduce loss by X. (Immune to Alter.) As a deck strategy WYSv attempts to force choke you (requires you to put a card in used pile to deploy non-Corellian to Corellia) and mitigates the opponent’s damage. At the same time it is able to spread on Corellia and avoid battling. CECv is a versatile way to lower the opponent’s damage potential because it is only limited by the number of spaceport sites played and can be played anytime so it can cover damage to force drains, battle damage, and direct damage. It appears that the CBT was notified of a negative interaction regarding CBT on January 28, 2014 through a post to the CBT forum by Kevin Shannon (Kevbozz). Shannon stated that there appeared to be an issue with CECv because during the finals of the MPC he had to move EPP Dengar (a Corellian) to the planet system because as the card was worded his opponent was reducing damage because Dengar controlled a spaceport site. In their report, the CBT identified the problem as “The wording of (V) Corellian Engineering Corporation made it have unfavorable and unintended interactions with dark side Corellians and dark side spaceport sites. According to the CBT report they looked at the interaction between the effect and dark side Corellians, dark side spaceport sites, and the damage reduction potential of the card. After a full review of the situation they issued updated text as the following: *Corellian Engineering Corporation (V) (4) Deploy on table if [Virtual Block 4] Watch Your Step on table. While you control Corellia, your total battle destiny is +X, and once per turn, if you are about to lose Force (except from your card), may reduce loss by X, where X = number of Corellia spaceport sites you control with Corellians. [A] The new text changed the original wording of the card to only allow damage reduction for light side Corellians. The new text also changed is so that the damage reduction only worked for Corellian spaceport sites. Finally, the changes did not change the damage reduction by imposing a limit on how much damage could be reduced or change it to include a minimum (Imperial Atrocity/Propaganda v). There was a vocal reaction to this change on the PC forums that disagreed with changing the ability to only work on Corellian spaceport sites was an overreach and that it was not necessary. The main argument appeared to be that it changed an evenly balanced matchup between WYSv and Ralitiir Operations (ROPS) and skewed it towards ROPS. ROPS decks use at least one spaceport site and it gave the WYSv player the ability to deploy to an opponent’s site and still maintain the damage negation ability. For a deck that tends to rely on scrubs and damage reduction this was an important feature of the match-up. Going forward a WYSv player can still to the opponent’s sites, but doing so will decrease the amount of damage reduction available to them. I’m not a bit WYSv player and in fact, I dislike playing against it. I tend to value decks that battle and cause damage and the WYSv deck is designed to avoid battles with their scrubs and to reduce damage. I agreed with the CBT limit damage reduction to only light side characters. There is no conceivable reason why a dark side player should be punished for controlling an opponent’s site. I am a little torn regarding the CBTs decision stating that they only work on Corellia spaceport sites. I actually think it should have been worded as ‘your’ spaceport sites. Spaceport sites can be deployed to multiple systems and I think the light side player should be able to get the damage mitigation for controlling their own sites. With that being said, I do believe that they should not get benefits from controlling an opponent’s sites. Protocol Failure v and Return of the Jedi v On April 16, 2014 the CBT team issued a ruling regarding Protocol Failure v and its light side mirror card Return of the Jedi v. Protocol Failure Text: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Vader is deploy -1 here. At end of your turn, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, target a unique (*) [Episode I] droid. Opponent chooses: deploy on droid (its game text is canceled), or place this Effect in Lost Pile (you may take any one card into hand from Reserve Deck; reshuffle). (Immune to Control.) Return Of The Jedi Text: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Skywalkers are power +1 here. At end of your turn, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, deploy on Sidious or [Virtual Block 3] Emperor. Opponent’s Interrupts with ‘Emperor’ in game text are canceled and Sidious may not place Jedi out of play. (Immune to Control.) Both of these cards offer the opportunity to cancel a force drain and after a turn it is placed into the lost pile. The primary issue with these cards is that they are able to be recurred efficiently. Protocol Failure v can be recurred into hand by Lightsaber Deficiency v a destiny 5 used interrupt with multiple other functions including pulling Ghhhk and preventing Mace from swinging twice in a battle. Return of the Jedi v can be recurred into hand by It’s Not My Fault v a destiny 5 used interrupt with multiple functions including pulling effects and providing a counter to Galen’s lightsaber. Additionally, both of these cards are an immediate effect, which can be pulled by a defensive shield. The CBT stated that, this created a continual loop of damage reduction. The CBT stated that they looked into solutions including changing the text of Protocol Failure v and Return of the Jedi v or changing the text of the cards that recurred them. The CBT chose to change the cards to the following text: *Protocol Failure: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Vader is deploy -1 here. If you control this site, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, target a unique (*) [Episode I] droid. Opponent chooses: deploy on droid (its game text is canceled), or place this Effect in Lost Pile (you may take any one card into hand from Reserve Deck; reshuffle). (Immune to Control.) *Return Of The Jedi: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Skywalkers are power +1 here. If you control this site, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, deploy on Sidious or [Virtual Block 3] Emperor. Opponent’s Interrupts with ‘Emperor’ in game text are canceled and Sidious may not place Jedi out of play. (Immune to Control.) The primary change is instead of moving to the lost pile at the end of the turn, it will only go to the lost pile if they control the site. The CBT stated that the purpose was to stop excessive damage reduction. The change means that it is possible to cycle the cards; however, they will have to take over the site. This promotes interaction and preserves the original interactions for Lucky Shot v, Operational as Planned v, Lightsaber Deficiency v, and It’s Not My Fault v. Additionally, the cards received a Unique dot on them. That is a proactive shot to keep people from running multiples to since only one can now be on the table at once. The overwhelming reaction to this on the CBT forums was positive. Unlike the CECv change there did not appear to be any significant opposition to the change. Unlike CECv the decks that I play were affected by this change. The deck I have the most experience with is a HDv deck that runs the Protocol Failure v loop. I can attest to the damage negating ability of the combination. I’ve had a handful of games that I’ve won because I was able to get the loop working correctly. With that being said, I think that the change was fair. They could have completely removed the loop (put the card OOP instead of lost pile), but instead they kept the potential loop while increasing the benefits for interaction.

Nate Louderback rediscovered Star Wars CCG  about a year ago after a not playing in a tournament since 1999. It is his pleasure to attempt to conquer the game and achieve Mediocrity! Outside of Star Wars CCG he works a day job in the financial industry to pay the bills (to play more Star Wars CCG). He is married with two children and with his daughter at his side aims to take the My Little Pony CCG world by storm.

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