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March 2021 Balance Team Update

by Charlie Plaine, Director of First Edition

1st March 2021

Hello, First Edition fans, and welcome to the first Balance Team update of 2021. When we last spoke, in November, we had our first batch of clarifying errata based around the "cure" rules. Today, March 1st - the first Monday of the month - we have an even larger batch of clarifying errata for you. We're also adding one card to the OTF Ban List and one card to the watch list. Let's jump right into the changes so you can find out exactly what's happening.

Errata Updates
We've got ten (10) errata for you, all of the clarifying variety. If you aren't familiar with that term, clarifying errata are issued via the Rules Team and are meant to remove or clarify rulings from the glossary. Usually, this comes in the form of update cards to remove the need for glossary entries, or to make them consistent with rules updates. This is the case with all of today's errata, which fall into three categories.

First, the Rules Team has made updates to the "any" rule, commonly used with versions of a persona. In particular, the card Blended was causing problems because it asks for "any Scotty," which isn't used the same way as other versions of personas that use this rule. In order to correct this issue, we're adding "Scotty" to the lore of the versions of Mr. Scott that didn't already have it. You can read more about this change to the characteristic rule, and how it's now more consistent, in James Heaney's (BCSWowbagger) rules update today.

At the same time, since we were touching several versions of Mr. Scott, the Rules Team has decided to remove the Miracle Worker rule. If you aren't familiar, this skill has always had a loaded rule that it included Transporter Skill. While this rule is popular with veteran players, it is often forgotten by newer and more inexperienced players. To bridge this gap, we've given every personnel in the game with Miracle Worker the added skill of Transporter Skill. This allows us to preserve the intent of the rule, without the rule itself. For further details, this is also covered in today's rules update.

Hologram Ruse, Black Hole, Engage Shuttle Operations, Data Laughing, and Q2 all receive updated wording to match their new promo versions. This series of promos, Series Q, is famous cards originally printed with TNG stories, now coming from other series. When we reprint promos, we look for opportunities to do clarifying errata on them and clean up their wording. This was the case for these five cards, and thus their original versions are changed to match.

Here is a summary of the change to all ten (10) updated cards:

Hologram Ruse
Removed story-specific text that did not affect gameplay.

Black Hole
Updated text to use standard countdown rules, to clarify how "destroying" locations works, and to specify which missions it can play between. Note: The special effect on this card will remain exclusive to the original printed version.

Engage Shuttle Operations
Re-arranged the game text to use modern terminology and remove the need for rules clarification.

Data Laughing
Added proper punctuation to separate functions. Updated 3rd function to use modern templating.

Removed "Q-related" as a term and defined the two options ([Q] card or "Q" in title) instead.

Chief Engineer Scott
Revised his lore to include "Scotty."

Miles O'Brien
Added Transporter Skill as well as a clearly defined gender to his lore.

Montgomery Scott
Added Transporter Skill. Revised his lore to include "Scotty," his gender, and the correct starship references.

Mr. Scott (The Cage)
Revised his lore to include "Scotty."

Mr. Scott (The Motion Pictures)
Added Transporter Skill as well as revised his lore to include "Scotty."

OTF Ban List and Watch List Changes
Since the release of A Private Little War, we've been monitoring the power of Excalbian Surak. Decks using this card have placed in the top two spots of tournaments three out of five times. The ability to play Surak for free and kill him each turn with the Nemesis icon interaction has proven to be more powerful than intended. While our Balance Team looks at this interaction, we've made the decision to ban Excalbian Surak, effectively immediately.

At the same time, Quite a Coincidence has frequently been combined with Surak to generate points as well as card draws. However, this technology has been available to multiple decks over the past several years, so we do not feel that action is required at this time. It's just the combination of draws and points with Surak that has proven to be excessive. However, we are adding Quite a Coincidence to the Watch List in order to give the Balance Team more data on this card.

Regular updates to errata, the OTF Ban List, and the Watch List are scheduled for the First Monday of each month. The next scheduled update is First Contact Day: Monday, April 5th, 2021.

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