Into Darkness expansion
The next expansion to review is the actual first real deluxe expansion for the game: Into Darkness. If you would allow me to take us back in time to 2013 when this was first released, you would see that this was a big deal. You see, when the game first launched, the two factions who had the least content was the light sides Smugglers and Spies and the dark sides Scum and Villainy. While the Hoth packs gave them some love, it was this expansion that really gave players who wanted to play these sides more options. No longer did you have to mix Scum with Empire and Sith. No longer did you have to mix Smugglers with the Rebels or Jedi, you could construct pretty good competitive Smuggler and Scum decks.
But let’s go into this expansion more and look at these objective sets.
Smugglers got some awesome new objective sets. Trust Me and Asteroid Sanctuary instantly become two of (if not the best two) sets in the game. Wookiee Life Debt is a tad below those two, but it's also outstanding. Most of the other sets are middling, although a couple (ex; The Defense of Cloud City) contain cards with particularly interesting/powerful effects that warrant more attention.
My favorite objective set is the Wookie Life Debt which includes Chewbacca. Chewie is an efficient unit that will almost always be a huge pain for the dark side player. 3 health, two-unit damage AND two potential blast damage for 3 resources. There are also all kinds of ways to abuse his reaction, starting with the protect keyword granted by the objective. Just keep in mind that he can only hit participating enemy units, so wait for your opponent to commit attackers/defenders before dropping Let the Wookiee Win and wrecking everything.
With this box, Smuggler and Spies fully emerges as the "thinking man's” faction of choice; playing Smugglers will require careful attention to lots of moving parts and the ability to make clever use of effects like those on Lando and the Falcon. However, those players who CAN manage to keep their ducks in a row will reap TREMENDOUS rewards, as one can now construct a Smugglers deck with effective counters to essentially every dark side strategy.
Whereas this box gives Smugglers great A+ sets, I think the Scum options in Edge of Darkness are more consistent in terms of overall objective set quality. There's nothing on par with Trust Me or Asteroid Sanctuary, and probably not anything quite as good as Wookiee Life Debt. However, I think 5 of the 7 new Scum sets are very playable, and the other two at least have some potential. I didn't really like any of the non-Smuggler light side sets, but I think the outlook is a bit rosier for the Sith, Navy, and Neutral dark side sets.
My favorite objective set for the dark side in this expansion is Hive of Scum and Villainy. This objective discourages your opponent from attacking this objective, since doing so will likely lead to lopsided trades for the light side player. As such, it can make a good "holding cell" for high value captures like Luke and Han. In general, I'd rather stow those prizes on Feeding the Pit since those units can then be discarded and permanently removed. Still, Hive of Scum and Villainy does a decent job of protecting the most important captured units. Since this particular affiliation focuses heavily on the aspect of capturing cards, this set is key for the Scum affiliation.
Thanks to this expansion, I think it's possible to field a very competitive Scum and Villainy deck centered around Lucrative Contracts, Feeding the Pit, and Jabba's Reach. Round out the list with some combination of Trandoshan Terror, The Tatooine Crash, or whatever else suits your fancy. The abundance of spot removal via capture effects and the ability to reliably negate attacks with Corrupt Officials should make for a strong control build able to grind out games.
All in all, this is a great expansion for both Smugglers and Scum, providing a bevy of terrific options for both factions. Not a ton here for the four other affiliations, but there are a couple interesting neutral pods per side.