If you haven’t heard the term “Nerf Crystal” by now, you haven’t been listening.
The recent change in Standard and League games that has resulted from the removal of friendly codes and Safe Passage options from web fields has created a race without diplomatic options. Their ship list is inconducive to trading, being composed largely of overpriced minelayers and understrength warships — plus one 5-point terraformer. Now that they can’t trade their webs as currency, the Crystals have gone from one of the dominant races to something just slightly too sad to be considered a joke.
It has long been evident that trades involving racial benefits offer disproportionately valuable rewards. Free Fighters, Super Refit, 4x Minelaying, and Fighter Sweeping cost little to provide and can win the war for anyone who accepts. Now, with the advent of the new Nerf Crystals, it has become apparent that some new means of trading for services should be attempted.
As always, the Planets Magazine staff are eager to selflessly throw themselves into research for new content, and, not willing to abandon tradition, when I was given Crystals in the War, I created an experimental format: the neutral mercenary.