Card Dissection – Maz Kanata: Pirate Queen (SR45)

This lady needs no introduction, as this 8 health character has become one of the most feared on the battlefield… not from her damage capabilities, but from her sheer utility. Lets take a moment to discuss what makes her a great addition to the team.

Character’s Ability

Maz’s effect reads “After you activate this character, you may resolve up to 2 of your dice.” There has been a lot of discussion over the past few weeks regarding the speed at which the game is now played. Spirit of Rebellion has made what some call “action cheating” (taking multiple actions before it moves to your opponents control) a highly competitive strategy and one which many of the more successful decks employ. Maz fits right into that, allowing her to to immediately resolve two dice in your pool as soon as she’s activated.

In the Awakenings-only environment, dice control was a crippling effect, with the idea of Jabba/Dooku being one of those control decks you hoped never to see. Now, with Maz at your side, you can still make use of your dice pool before your opponent has a chance to react. And lets not forget to mention access to all those amazing Yellow cards that were previously primarily used in Han/Rey decks.

Die Rundown

Her die is not impressive. Its full of ones and only one damage side. But, let’s be honest, damage is not the reason you bring her to the game, at least not from her. What you hope to see, typically, are those Focus sides. Typically, you are hoping for Maz to roll in a Focus. Once her ability activates, you resolve the Focus on another die, then resolve that other die. This is great for some quick damage off the other die, quickly resolving a special ability, or for those last-minute shields you may need.

Characters Combos

The most popular use for Maz Kanata right now is with Poe Dameron (AW29). Making use of her ability to resolve a Focus on Poe, then resolving either the 3-damage side or the Special side, can allow for that quick damage that is difficult to mitigate, especially since it happens so early on in each round.

However, we are seeing Maz show up with other characters. The Padme/Maz/Trooper or Padme/Maz/Snap Hero Mill decks are quite popular options for winning under the milling condition. Maz allows you to quickly focus onto a 2-discard side, or the Special on a well-placed Con Artist (SR60).

Fortunately, with her low point value, we can see Maz show up in many different character pairings. The Meta post-Spirit of Rebellion is still quite young, and there are many more pairings we might see her with.

Things to Consider

Maz has a very low health value for a unique character. This helps balance out her utility. The interesting thing is, Maz is not a threat by herself, but with any other character she’s a powerhouse. So, typically, your opponent, unless they’re able to swing 8 damage on a single turn, will likely not target Maz first. They will whittle down your main attacking character(s) until Maz is the only one left.

This means, for those who run with her, you should plan for that late game. If your opponent is able to remove your main attacking character from play, what is the plan to let Maz bring it home? In many times playing against the Poe/Maz combo, if I am able to eliminate Poe, the likelihood that Maz will come back for the win is slim. Perhaps it is worth putting that one upgrade on her in the early- or mid-game to prepare yourself for that possibility, depending on how the opening turns go.

However, if the dice are in your favor, and you can get a shot at Maz early on, take it. That ability of hers can become your worst nightmare through the next couple of turns. As decks with Maz typically claim early, perhaps you do your best after that claim to take her out.

Conclusion

Maz is arguably the best supporting character for Heroes that we have seen yet.  With low health, she’s appears weak, but with a powerful ability that, when used right, can be a game changer for any type of mechanic the heroes can come up with. Her utility is not to be underestimated and you need to think hard when dishing out damage to determine if she should be your first target.

“I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I have seen your eyes, I know your eyes!” – Maz Kanata

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