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DraftWerks – The First Houston Destiny Draft

Scroll to the bottom for a glossary of draft slang as well as my notes for running your own draft.

Initial Thoughts

  • This is the most fun I’ve had in Destiny in a while, and I like constructed, a lot. I love seeing cards that are good, but not “the best” get play. They affect the game in slightly different ways than expected and result in different, and wholly enjoyable, game play. From my brief discussions with the other folks in the draft, they all felt the same way. Rivals is going to change Destiny in a very good way.
  • The tournament structure, as outlined in the official rules, is just too long. When you play with worse cards it’s going to take you longer to win (or lose, but let’s stay optimistic here). Playing five matches at this pace takes forever. Add on top of that the time it takes to actually draft the cards, and you’re looking at a five hour event. That’s fine for a high level tournament where I’ve dedicated my whole day to slinging cards, but a pickup tournament should be no more than three and a half hours from start to finish. You can mitigate the time by enforcing the match length, but with the much longer game play you’re just forcing more matches into tiebreakers rather than an actual winner. That doesn’t feel optimal to me. My suggestion is to run three rounds of Swiss with a single match playoff for the winner, but extend the time length (or just remove it) to allow more matches to play to a natural conclusion.
  • Did I mention this was fun?

Draft Rules Recap

For those of you a bit fuzzy on the specifics of a draft, it boils down to this. I’ve included some tournament structure notes for things that aren’t listed in any official document from FFG. 

  • Players sit around a table.

*STRUCTURE NOTE* There are no official rules for how to order players around the table. I used five cards with cost 1 – 5 on them and had the players pull a random card. I was spot 0/6

  • Players have 6 packs of Destiny in front of them. Everyone should have the same mix of packs, but it’s not required. We each had two from the existing sets.
  • Players choose and crack three of their packs. (Most folks chose one of each, I chose two AWK packs just to be different).
  • Set all the dice you opened in front of you. They will stay there for the duration of the draft.
  • Each player flips through their fifteen cards, chooses one, places it face down in front of themselves, and then sets the remaining fourteen cards next to the player on their left.

*STRUCTURE NOTE* You’re going to have a lot of face down piles of Destiny cards in front of you, especially near the end of the draft. Minimize the confusion by waiting for everyone to select their card and put the remaining pile down before picking up the next pack.

  • Players then take the fourteen cards from their right, and repeat the selection process.
  • Continue until all the cards are gone.
  • Players take a moment to review their fifteen cards.

*STRUCTURE NOTE* In other games, high level tournaments run at Prison Rules level do not allow you to look through your drafted cards in between picks, only between packs. At less Prison Rules-y drafts you can flip your previous choices at your leisure. With no official rules for Destiny we chose the more relaxed approach for this draft.

  • Players crack the remaining three packs, repeating the drafting process above, but this time the packs are all passed right.

*STRUCTURE NOTE* Another thing the official rules don’t address is how to get the dice to their owners. We chose to go with a pass method. After the card selection portion of the draft is complete look at the six dice in front of you, choose the dice you drafted, and pass the rest right. Continue until everyone has all of their dice.

  • Finally, everyone finds a spot to build their deck. Combine all the cards you just drafted with the Rivals set you brought with you and build the best deck and team you can. While color rules are still in effect, (no Yellow cards unless you’re playing Yellow characters), Villain/Hero faction restrictions go right out the window. Feel free to plop that Sith Holocron down on Jar Jar Binks and make that fan theory a reality. You’re still limited to 30 point teams, but the deck can be anywhere from 20 to 30 cards. If things went WAY wrong, you’re not stuck throwing in every bit of garbage just to make a deck.
  • Once your deck and team are assembled, simply play everyone else one time. Whoever wins the most matches wins the tournament.

That’s fine dude, I know the rules. How did YOUR draft go?

I hosted a draft at Kingwood Hobbies HQ on Friday 12/15, inviting some of the stiffest competition in Houston to partake in the first draft in the area. The stakes? A box of Empire at War to the winner.

  • Lawton Burkhalter – Only two-time Store Champs winner in the Houston area.
  • Justin Strickland – Store Champs winner (Austin) and second place at the Austin regionals. This dude owns Austin, apparently.
  • Michael Moomey – Perennial top tabler at Houston area tournaments with multiple Store Champs top 4s.
  • Josh Devara – Tournament ringer from the south side of Houston (this place is big, ya’ll)
  • Matt Giese – Regular in the top end of the Store Champs series and always a tough competitor.
  • Me – A Very Tall Man, now sporting the saddest mohawk you’ve ever seen.

PACK 1

  • My first pick was between Force PushRebel Trooper, and The Best Defense… The pack had an Outpost in it, but no, not P1P1 (Pack 1 Pick 1). Being influenced by the FFG article on drafting I was almost settled on the Rebel Trooper before I woke up and realized that I already had characters, and instead needed cards that actually did something. Force Push hit the table in front of me.
  • P1P2 was a windmill slam of C-3PO. Honest to god I think this may be the biggest bomb in the entire Awakenings cycle. Dice, and particularly dice faces, are at a premium.
  • Pack 1 proceeded with various comments around the table about crap getting passed, some counting to see how many idiots didn’t take this crazy-good card right here, and tough decisions about what to do with our decks.

Pack 1 Notes

PACK 2

  • I have no idea what I opened in the first two packs of round two of this draft, because seeing the Handcrafted Lightbow die staring back at me from the third immediately blasted every other card from my head. It took longer to get the pack wrappers to the middle of the table than it did for me to plop down the HCLB.
  • This going so fast allowed me to peek over to my left (where my next pack was coming from), and salivate over the goodies coming my way. Josh had opened both an LR1K Sonic Cannon AND an AT-ST. I think I did a little hop-dance in my chair waiting to see the joy this next pass would bring. It was also wonderfully seeing Justin’s face crash down when we all reminded him that this pass was to the right, and he wasn’t getting any of this.
  • Initially I’d hoped for the Cannon (I’m going to have crappy characters to pay its sides and it’s cheaper), but ended up having to “settle” for the AT-ST. Somehow I’d live with the disappointment.

Pack 2 Notes

  • I had a rough decision at one point between Field Medic and Leadership. The thought of tapping crappy Lobot (note, NOT crappy) to get a second Anakin activation was enticing, but in the end I went with the guaranteed damage mitigation. That decision may have been correct, but it came back to haunt me in a game I had to luck my way into winning.
  • Somehow a Magnaguard made it to me well after all the dice cards should have been gone. Up until then I was on the Anakin/Lobot/Jawa plan, but at 9 points Magnaguard lets me swap that Jawa for Ketsu Onyo. Not only is she a much stronger character than Jawa Scavenger, but it would open me up to play that sweet Diplomatic Immunity I snagged on a whim in P1 in addition to some pretty good Rivals cards.
  • All of that yellow talk was made moot when these people passed me Kanan. Now I have TWO blue melee characters for the Force PushGuardFuneral Pyre, and Isolation in my stack. Thank you gents, I’m now on the Kanan/Anakin/Magnaguard plan.
  • The final notable thing in the selection portion of the draft was what a joke Luminara is. For all the talk in the FFG article of snagging characters first, Luminara ended up being my P2P15 booby prize. Good dice sides in theory, but that ridiculous cost makes her hot garbage in practice.

DECK BUILDING

  • I will get into my draft deck building process more once I refine it further (besides, I can’t dump everything in one article), but there were some interesting choices to be made.
  • For one, I noticed that my team of Anakin/Kanan/Magnaguard could also be Anakin/Kanan/Lobot. The high cost of some of my cards making the pay sides on Magnaguard tough, combined with the Lobot special to go with Emperor’s Throne Room, I made the switch to my final team arrangement of Anakin/Lobot/Kanan.
  • I picked up an All In that I wanted to play, but with extremely few focus sides I swapped it for the Deploy Squadron I’d picked up earlier. That ended up being the right call.

Dem Games

Round 1 vs Lawton
This was quite a back and forth game that saw some fun plays on both sides. It never really felt like I was losing, but it never really felt like I had that much of an advantage. Lawton managed to land Detention Center (which rivals C-3PO for draft bomb status) along with Fang Fighter and Z-95 Headhunter, while I tried to stave off damage and roll out my crappiest character die first each round.

I finally managed to land the AT-ST, but my greediness got to me for one activation. The AT-ST die was sitting out on a Special for my first action. I was trying to make Lawton commit to rolling out one of his shooty supports so that I could get extra value when he used He Doesn’t Like You to completely erase it. That one hurt.

In the final round of the game I had all three characters while Lawton had lost one. We were both down to our final cards when he ended up paying for a mistake. His plan to kill me was to use Undying Loyalty to never run out of cards. With that and two other cards in his hand, he pitched [IRRELEVANT CARDNAME] in hand to reroll some damage. Some sides came up that were not nearly enough to kill me, so I used C-3PO‘s action to resolve the 2Ra (2 Ranged Damage side) from Force Push as a discard. I blew the remaining cards from his hand and won the game.

1-0

Round 2 vs Josh
This was the battle of the big guns. AT-ST vs. LR1K Cannon. Fortunately, I held the trump in that my big gun could kill his big gun. It didn’t come down to that, though, as I landed AT-ST very early, and it took him quite a while to find the Cannon. Although this game was fun as hell, there weren’t too many interesting plays. I did manage to Lobot special the AT-ST 5Ra1 (5 Ranged Damage for 1 Resource) to shoot for 7, the most damage I’ve ever resolve on a single die in my time playing Destiny. Turns out when one side is the only one bringing a gun to the gunfight, it’s over pretty quickly.

2-0

Round 3 vs Matt
Matt was the first person to kill one of my characters. We went back and forth, but he wasn’t able to land any of his more interesting cards to make the game go long. Matt did have the idea to attack the opponent’s deck by including cards like Patience and Local Patrol. I think this is an interesting choice that would have paid more dividends if the game had gone longer. 

​3-0

Round 4 vs Justin
Justin was pretty unhappy with his deck’s performance up to this point. He was 1-2, and the cards just weren’t turning over the way he’d hoped. Goody for me, his luck decided to change just in time to sit down across from me. yay. He won the roll and chose my battlefield. I’d been terrified I was going to get burned by my opponent’s Lobot on just this sort of situation all night, and it turns out my fear was completely founded. Justin is an excellent player who knows when it advances his game more to claim the battlefield early (thus denying it from your opponent) even if it means leaving a few options on the table from your own round.

This meant his Lobot had to go. All of my dice focus-fired on Lobot attempting to blast him off the table while Justin developed his board elsewhere. There was one turn where I sat on a Force Push special turn after turn waiting for Anakin‘s character and upgrade dice to reroll something worth Pushing. He finally rerolled into something I needed to stop, so I used the special to blank two dice. His next action was to claim and use his Lobot die to resolve a resource for three. He opened the next round with at least five resources, and never looked back. Upgrades fell from his hand like rain on Anakin and the Outer Rim Smuggler while I tried to knock Lobot off.

At one point I claimed super early to whack Lobot away, foregoing a Kanan activation to do so. Justin casually pitched to reroll, and God Roll appeared. While I stared, unable to do anything, Anakin got beat in the head for all the damages, and I had to flip him face down and bin all his upgrades. My other characters fought valiantly, but with my three dice staring down his fully tarted up ORS and Anakin, there was no hope. 🙁

3-1

Round 5 vs Michael
This was the scariest match I’ve played in a while. Michael completely owned me from the get-go. I couldn’t get resources to play my Big Guns, and Bala-Tik went nuts. He was able to get THREE extra activations out of Bala over the course of the game, and this was with him sporting the DL-44 and Ascension Gun akimbo. It happened once when he killed Lobot, once when he killed Anakin, and finally, when I got cute and didn’t off Lobot with the damage I had on the table, Leadership tapped the soon-to-die Lobot to ready Bala.

The game finally turned when I pulled off a hell of a play. I’d spent the entire previous turn waling on Bala with Anakin, only to lose the fight between the two. Bala dropped infinite shields on himself, and had a bunch of damage and Lobot specials to pew-pew my guys. The round ended with my side of dead Anakin, dead Lobot, and half dead Kanan with an upgrade (it was a Lightbow, but it wasn’t rolling well), while he had a fully healthed Anakin and a Bala with four damage and all the guns. I began by rolling out Kanan and hitting a Kanan Focus side plus 2Ra on the Lightbow. His action removed the Lightbow die, and mine rolled out Fang Fighter into nothing useful. He followed by rolling Bala-tik into so much damage that would kill a real horse. It was do something or die on my part. After thinking about it for a moment, I declared my action.

  1. Use Kanan‘s ability to resolve his die. Resolving the Focus to turn the Fang Fighter die to 3Ra.
  2. Use Supporting Fire as my action to resolve the Fang Fighter‘s 3Ra die for four damage, offing Bala and removing all those scary dice from the pool.

That wasn’t the end of the game though, I just didn’t die yet. He still had an Anakin to deal with, and I was trying to do it with a half dead, and already spent for the turn, Kanan.

The next round he was able to snipe Kanan down to 2 health remaining, while I was pounding away with Lightbow and Force Push. In the end, I had to dodge four of his Fang Fighter rolls across two rounds while mitigating Anakin‘s dice with the likes of High GroundForce Push special, and Isolation. For my first action in the final round I rolled out Kanan and hit enough damage (2) to end the game. Instead of being able to try the third go-round on the Fang Fighter die, he had to do something about mine, so he played Scramble. I ended up rerolling into even more damage and taking the match. What a hell of a game.

4-1

The final tally ended with me at 4-1, Justin, Lawton, and Josh at 3-2, and Michael and Matt at 1-4. Since it was my tournament, though, I couldn’t win my own box of EaW, so the box went to Justin on the strength of tiebreakers. Him being the only one to defeat the 4-1 player.

Congrats to Justin on taking home the box. After five hours of Destiny we were all ready to be done, but still everyone went home with a smile on their face while chatting about all of the fun and interesting things we’d just gone through.

Destiny Draft Glossary

PxPy Pack x, Pick y. Used to denote where in the draft the card is taken. Most often used to comment on P1P1 for denoting an exceptionally powerful card, or pointing out how screwed you were with nothing good for the first pick.
Windmill Slam You just got passed a card so bonkers it’s not even worth looking at the rest of the pack. You windmill slam that pick and move one. Whether you actually wind your arm up and smash the card into the table is highly dependent on your surroundings.
Bomb Game breaking card. Bombs are what you hope to get and what you build your deck around. This card hitting the table can fundamentally alter the game going forward.
Wheeled The act of getting a card you want on the second (or third) go-round of the pack.  “I really wanted the Tech Team out of pack 1, but couldn’t pass up the Ancient Lightsaber. Fortunately, I wheeled the Tech Team and was able to take it seventh”
Dice Symbols Referred to through text abbreviation. Written as X[Symbol]N, where X is the number and N is any resources required to resolve. The big side of the AT-ST die is written as 5Ra1

  • Dc  Discard
  • Dr  Disrupt
  • F  Focus
  • In  Indirect Damage
  • M  Melee Damage
  • Ra  Ranged Damage
  • Re  Resource
  • S  Special
  • –  Blank

Notes for Running Your Own Draft

  • There are no official rules for how to order players around the table. I used five cards with cost 1 – 5 on them and had the players pull a random card. I was spot 0/6.
  • You’re going to have a lot of face-down piles of Destiny cards in front of you, especially near the end of the draft. Minimize confusion by waiting for everyone to select their card and put the remaining pile down before picking up the next pack.
  • In other games high-level tournaments run at Prison Rules level do not allow you to look through your drafted cards in between picks; only between packs. At less Prison Rules-y drafts you can flip your previous choices at your leisure. We chose the more relaxed approach for this draft.
  • Another thing the official rules don’t address is how to get the dice to their owners. We chose to go with a pass method. Look at the six dice in front of you, choose the dice you drafted, and pass the rest right. Continue until everyone has all of their dice.
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