Posted on

The Assembly Line: Deck Building With Trey – Below the Belt

I’ve tried to start this article for a few weeks now, but things kept getting in the way. Whether it’s building decks for the upcoming Christmas Party, family commitments over the holidays, or even just trying to squeeze in a full Star Wars rewatch, I just haven’t had the time and energy to devote to getting this thing written. Well, now I can say that I’m ecstatic that I haven’t gotten this in yet because it was just tonight that I found it. I found the pièce de résistance that puts this deck from a fun deck with quirky tools into something I’d seriously consider Tier 2 in the competitive scene.

Stay with, we’ll get there.

This particular deck started with me forcing myself to build something using cards that have been in the back of my mind since they were released. You know, those cards that you find interesting, but never seem to actually break into something you use in Real Games? Maybe you get caught up in whatever the hot deck is, or maybe… who knows, you just never actually get around to using them. I have a few of those kicking around in the old noggin, and I was going to make myself build with at least one of them, dammit.

Staring blankly at for minutes at a time, I let the stream of consciousness take me for a ride, only guiding it here and there to make sure I stayed on track with these few cards. Finally, another card I’d not paid much attention to welded itself to one of my cards, and everything clicked. I had my team. I had my deck building hook. I had the interesting interactions that got the Assembly Line juices stirring.

Imagine this, you’re going first and for your first turn you get to:

  1. Activate a character.
  2. Play a Suppressive Fire where you’ve legally scribbled out the “spend 1 resource” portion of the card.
  3. Deal 1 indirect damage.

That’s what this deck does, and after the first round, it gets dumber. Not only do you get to do all of that, but you get to play the exact same Suppressive Fire that you’ve legally scribbled on every. single. round. It’s like having a free Prized Possession. It’s crazy. Oh, and if you are fighting a dumb character like Darth Vader – Terror to Behold, it doesn’t even trigger his Power Action.

Have you seen this card?

and have you seen this battlefield?

These cards go together like a dream.

  1. Activate Wicket
  2. Play Net Trap from your hand (or from your discard pile if it’s past the first round).
  3. Get back the resource you spent on it.
  4. Exhaust Perilous Escapade to deal 1 damage.

That’s your first turn, every time.

Traps with Wicket are silly. Repeatedly playing cards from your discard pile is an insane amount of advantage.

But what’s the team?

The downside to Wicket’s incredible value is his squishy health. Without interference, a determined opponent can take him down easily in the second round, or sometimes get lucky and nail him in round 1. His built-in trap ability goes a long way to interfere with this plan, but we need to pair him with someone tanky who can actually finish off the game. Someone that will punish the opponent who dithers around trying to off Wicket. Hero doesn’t have a lot of tanks, but it does give us the character we want here. Yoda – Mystical Mentor is a stout 12 health, and goes up to 18 (with healths 13-18 being regeneratable) through his shield ability.

Thus, we arrive at our team:

Building the Deck

With our team-of-short-stature set, we turn our eyes to the deck. The first six cards are easy, the traps. These are the gas in the Wicket engine.

They also count as Stay Alive Juice, so these slots will come from the event suite we eventually end up with. One of the difficulties in running downgrades is that it’s tough to figure out what to cut from a normal deck to fit them in. Bounties are one of the most difficult because they don’t actively contribute to winning or losing the game. Traps are much easier to classify, however, since they specifically mess with your opponent’s dice.

After the traps, I focused on the upgrades and came up with these:

Attempting to further address the issue of low health, these defensive upgrades give us repeating dice mitigation to keep us alive while we abuse our Wicket Engine. We do need some damage dealers, though.

With a host of character-specific lightsabers to choose from, I feel like these are the best shield-based sticks we can put into Yoda2’s hands. Qui-Gon’s Saber replaces shields, Obi and Yoda Sabers use them to deal unblockable damage. The Jedi Lightsaber gives incredible value as a Defensive Stance stapled to something that deals damage for 1 resource.

Ewok Bow is something I tried for a while but ended up cutting. It doesn’t do enough damage, our resources aren’t tight enough that we have to have a 1-drop stick, and Yoda already has three upgrades on him by the time you want to redeploy it.

The supports in this deck are some of the most surprising cards in the list. There are only two different ones, but they offer some excellent value.

At a cost of 1, Qui-Gon Jinn’s Spirit gives us an excellent die with an opportunity to finish off the opponent in a single shot.

This one here is my special boi. I love Yoda’s Hut. In most decks, like every 2-cost card that pays off over time, it’s tough to justify spending all of that money for such a delayed recompense. Here, however, Yoda’s shield limit bump gives us a ton of room to make sure we get the full two-thing value out of it every time. Yoda’s Hut wasn’t in the deck originally, but the deck has been so much more effective since I swapped it in for the Ewok Bows.

Finally, we get to the event suite.

  • Ataru Strike is a no brainer. Hitting someone for 9 usually kills them on the spot.
  • Become One is Ataru Strike number three in a deck that features a 4 shield side. There’s only one of them, though, because you often want to resolve that side.
  • Beguile was Entangle for a while, but Spot Yellow really hurts. This is not encumbered with that restriction, hits three dice, and can mess up multiple large dice all at the same time.
  • At first, I thought Jedi Mind Trick was just a (poorly) ‘fixed’ Mind Trick by adding the “Spot a Jedi” clause, but after using the second part to close out multiple games I’m sold on it being better.
  • Pacify is solid removal. Remember that you can Pacify your own dice for shields in a pinch.

Finally, we get to the pièce de résistance. I can’t believe it took me so long to include this; I will just chalk it up to lack of sleep. This is a really fun card to pull off in any deck that features 2 focus sides.

That leads us to the following list.

Playing the Deck

Piloting this pile requires a specific mindset, and if you try to do it wrong you will die in a hurry to 19 health. You’re on the defensive the entire time, making sure that your characters are well protected while you set up massive damage shots to pound your opponent into submission.

This all starts with the mulligan.

Once you’ve mulliganed, you will win the roll-off, choose your battlefield. Yoda’s dice almost guarantee a win for the choice of battlefield. With a 55% chance of adding 3 or 4 to your roll and fully half of your dice not having a blank the odds of you picking up this win are astronomically high. Usually, my rolls have been in the 6 to 9 range with the minimum of a 4. This even beats people use Taking Ground.

As noted at the top of this article, your first turn is completely scripted.

  1. Activate Wicket
  2. Play the best trap in your hand on their best character dice. At this point in the game, traps from best to worst are, Net Trap, Rolling Logs, Ensnare. The only caveat to this is if you have to have the third resource or they have characters with no damage, then Rolling Logs becomes the top priority.
  3. Get your resource from Nightsister Lair.
  4. Exhaust Perilous Escapade to deal 1 indirect damage.

After this, your play is dependent on the game state. You’re trying to land upgrades on Yoda and resolve dice. Just be very careful that you don’t expose your low health total to getting blown out by playing too aggressively. Take lots of shields, protect yourself, get Force Jump online if they look like they’re going to deal damage soon. Stick and move, constantly preserving your life total while generating a ton of advantage from the Wicket Engine and occasionally delivering knockout blows with Yoda2’s huge dice.

I’ve only lost to two things with this deck, and they’re very specific. If you get into a duel with someone who can deal a substantial amount of unblockable damage, you’re going to need to save your removal for those dice. Deal what damage you can and stay shielded up while making sure you can deal with a Yoda or Obi Saber special on the other side of the table.

The other loss is to cards that don’t have blanks. It feels real bad to blow removal on some non-essential dice and then stare at your Force Jump special while they’re rolling hot with Vader’s Fist. Your shields can keep you alive for a while, but eventually, those hammer blows are going to take you down.

And that’s it! That’s the deck. That’s my completely-out-of-left-field concoction that I think has a strong chance of being a solid Tier 2 contender in today’s metagame. If you’re looking for something new and exciting that feels really good to win with, sleeve this up and let me know how it goes.

Next time I’m going to finally get to my Bib Fortuna deck. I haven’t been terribly excited about it so far, but yesterday’s point drop opened some new avenues that I’m finally feeling bubbly about.