Let me clue you in on a little something about myself, I’m a collector. Not just a collector, but a completionist. I don’t want to just own the cool ones. I want to own them all. My personal Destiny collection, for example, contains the exact amount of every FFG official promo I would need to play with.* I have all of the Kylo1 promo cards (3) even though I will probably never build three separate decks with Kylo1 to use them. When the GQ series was announced, I immediately perused the spotgloss prize cards, and thought, “I must have these! I MUST OWN THEM ALL!” When we somehow managed to score four GQs in Texas, it seemed like I might have a shot.
With three of the four Texas GQs in the books, I’ve accomplished my task. I own all of the spotgloss promo cards being offered this GQ season. It was a lot of slog work grinding out tickets, but I’m there.
Now that I have them all, I have to figure out what the hell to do with them. I’ve never played most of these characters, and usually it’s for a good reason. Will Poe1 ever see play again? What about Villain Sabine, aka Cad Bane? What cause will I ever have to bust out that card? Deep in my musings it hit me. What if I made myself play with them? I could start working my way through the list, and maybe come up with some interesting decks to share with folks. But where to start? How about with the last one I picked up? Mace!
The first part of my deck creation process is to muse on why I’m playing the cards I’ve chosen. What is it that makes these special? In this case, why do I want to drop 76% of my teamon a single dude? At first glance, it looks like what makes Mace special is the 4M1 side. Smacking folks upside the head for four damage is a huge hit.
But what to pair him with? At two dice, I only have 8 points to play with, so we’re definitely going with the classic big/little team. Anything in Gray? Nope, you’re not pulling two Jawas into 8 points, and it offers no deckbuilding benefits. Yellow? Maz, perhaps? Maybe Ezra? Two die Maz would be saucy, but with only one die you are only getting the Auto-Wreckt roll of Focus > Mace 4M1 side a third of the time. Ezra might help generate resources, but other wise doesn’t really play well with the theme. You do get access to the BD-1 Cutter Vibro-Ax to deal with shields, but that costs even more resources to land a hit. Possibly Red, then? With Rebel Trooper you get Guardian, and you have access to Electrostaff. Ripping off a 4M1 side with a big Electrostaff modifier is the stuff Magical Christmasland Dreams are made of. What if you don’t draw the staff, though? What if you don’t roll the modified side? This sort of high variance play is what I really try not to lean on when building decks. Is there enough Red to make it strong without that play? It’s possible, but I want to look at Blue. Jedi Temple Guard gives you Guardian like Rebel Trooper, but offers a point of health, melee sides, and shield sides over the him.
Does limiting myself to mono blue make it tough to field a competitive deck? There are some outstanding cards in the other colors, but I think Worlds proved that there are enough cards to do mono-Blue.
Now that we have a character pairing, what themes are we trying to accomplish with this deck? My first thought is that this deck is all about the character dice. I want to hit that 4M1 side, so I’m going to focus my deck on making sure I get that off. Looking back, I’ve built this kind of deck before. This sounds like a similar strategy to my take on Palpatine way last year at the beginning of the Spirit of Rebellion metagame. I’m going to needs cards that make sure I hit the die, cards that dodge removal, and cards that keep Mace alive. One additional caveat over the Palpatine deck is that I’m going to have to husband my resources more carefully because that four side I have to have a resource up to pay for.
After some deep investigating of the available cards, I came up with this first pass.
I knew it would be clunky, and I knew some things wouldn’t work. I needed to jam everything together, though, in order to figure out exactly what which things. Another tenet of my deck building is, if you’re trying to push a theme, start off by throwing everything you can at that theme. Force it to show up during your first few test games so that you can see how good it actually is.
After running it through a few times, the deck quickly showed me what was wrong with itself.
- I never wanted to play Resilient. Too many other upgrades wanted to get out of my hand, so Resilient never got played.
- Too many 2-drop removal cards. In mid-rounds I was trying to play removal or an upgrade or resolve a Mace die. That tension is not good.
- Training Remote takes too long. It’s neat to put into a Blue hero deck that wants to resolve character dice, but trying to claim for Obi-Wan’s shield meant I didn’t want to take the action to get the die out there.
- My Ally Is the Force isn’t great here. The dream is getting a Mace 4M1 side twice, but you’re looking at having to have four resources on hand to pull it off. Never happens.
- The deck needs WAY more resources.
A few things went wondrously right, too.
- Decisive Blow is AMAZING in here. No one ever sees it coming, and if you have three resources to spare you can blow someone right off the table.
- Noble Sacrifice can break a game as well. Nearly dead Jedi Guard turning off their best character for a round is game turning.
- Guard is super strong in this deck. Sometimes you’re sitting on a Mace 4M1 side without the resource to pay for it, and you wipe out four of their dice.
- Most importantly, this deck is NOT about resolving Mace‘s 4M1 side. This deck is about pulling off Mace‘s ability. Literally no one I played ever remembered about it, so multiple games came out my way because my opponent thought my damage dealing was over for the round. SMACK! Out of nowhere Mace lands a killing blow by using his Shield die.
The second iteration of the deck focused on removing hard-to-play cards, generating resources, and getting through shields to get my opponent in Mace-assassinating range.
Let’s Address Some Problems
Ancient Lightsaber became Crafted Lightsaber. I’m ok playing it after activating Mace because Mace‘s dice are so good. Once it gets going, it has multiple resource sides and huge damage sides.
Resilient becomes Chance Cube. Even if Chance Cube misses I still have one resource left to pay for Mace‘s big side.
Obi’s Hut becomes Rebel War Room. I already generate a ton of shields, and this give me another avenue to land Mace‘s big side.
Too Many Removals I Can’t Play
Alter becomes another Decisive Blow and another Guard. Even though Decisive Blow is more expensive, I can pick my spots and make it mean more. Alter doesn’t permanently affect dice.
My Ally is the Force becomes another Into the Garbage Chute and a single Force Illusion.
Testing Round 2
I took version 2.0 of the deck to our weekly playgroup, and it is light years better. Not only did I bust up some people’s pet decks, but I was also able to take down some upper echelon competitive decks in the hands of competent players. It was a blast, and much better than I’ve seen out of Mace in the past. In one game I landed both Decisive Blows to completely remove all of Obi-Wan‘s character and upgrade dice (at least five dice both times). I giggled like a little girl.
The list is not perfect, but with so many decks to build I will point out the flaws I see and let you guys run with it. Caution is, strangely, not the best card in here. You almost never want to eat one of Mace‘s dice, and because the Jedi Guard die is often showing a shield side, you’re only getting two or one shields out of Caution. Also, I’m not sure Into the Garbage Chute is what we want, either. Jedi Guard is a legit upgrade-toter, not just a damage sink, and the more stuff you load him up with, the more it hurts to use him to eat dice. That’s four cards you can play with inside the list.
A lot of this deck comes down to your opponent forgetting about both Mace‘s ability and Decisive Blow. If this became a known deck, or if you play against top-tier opponents, then I can see this deck not doing as well. That being said, I had a ton of fun here, and will probably keep this one built for awhile.
The only FFG official promo I do not own is the 2017 Celebration Sabine Wren, and it drags at my soul. So much so that I’ve seriously considered pulling the trigger on them the few times they’ve been on eBay. TTS mocks me mercilessly every time I play a Sabine deck and that promo shows up.