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Droids in Distress: the Journey to Top 8 at the Houston Prime

Droids are still alive!

…well, as alive as droids ever are…

THE CHOICE

I had a very difficult time deciding what deck to play for this prime. The night before, I was mostly testing my Palp3/Watto and Temporary Truce decks and had this deck and Preemptive Strike Ewoks on the backburner. I was feeling really good about Palpatine – Unlimited Power but assumed that there would be plenty of hate cards. I hadn’t tested the mirror match, which I assumed would come up a lot.

I ended up not seeing a Palpatine Deck (not that I just avoided playing it, I never even saw it) though I heard that there was at least one.

Editor’s Note: There was a single Palpatine deck registered. Palp/Beckett

In the end I took this deck:

I took it for the following reasons:

I know it very well: I have been playing Chopper/Droids since I saw Destiny Council playing it on stream at GenCon. After the first nerf to C-3PO, I turned to this version before realizing how easily the Fateful Companions versions could destroy me. I took this deck (the FC version) to Worlds and, after starting out at 2-0, I lost 5 games in a row to finish with a very disappointing 3-5 record. I have played versions of this deck far more than any other.

I still have fun playing it: I just love how versatile this deck is, and how many tricks it can pull off. The only time I really feel backed into a corner is if C-3PO is my only character left with no weapons, which rarely happens.

I assumed that most people would drop their anti-droid tech cards: I was correct. I didn’t see an Electromagnetic Pulse all day and some of my opponents seemed unprepared to deal with droids.

THE MVPs

Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle: This card did more work than any other in my deck. It contributed to round one kills of several key characters throughout the day and did a lot of the work in most of my matchups. I normally avoid having two of a unique card in any of my decks but this one is worth it.

I always wait to play this until my opponents have started to damage one of my characters and play it on the undamaged one to keep it in the game as long as possible. 

Rey’s Lightsaber: This is a card that I added just before Worlds and it has been a lifesaver so many times. That one shield has kept a droid up for an extra round so many times and Redeploy means I keep getting value. I always make sure to keep 4 Redeploy weapons in this deck because Droids can melt so fast.

I Performed Violence: I think I only played it once during this tournament but I think it deserves a place for its ability to surprise kill a character that your opponent thinks is safe.

THE DUDS

Convergence: I loved this card when I was first playing this deck, but this time it never got played and wasn’t worth it. Perhaps it’s because people aren’t playing the Entourage package as much or maybe this deck is just less of a “control” deck than it once was. I think for the 5-die version of this deck Vandalize might be better, but I’d prefer some multi-die mitigation such as Entangle, Beguile, or maybe Rout. I almost put a second one in at the last second. But Mark Evans, a great local player whom I test with whenever I can, advised me not to.

Rocket Booster: This card is mainly there because I always want a mod on chopper on round 1. It is the consolation prize if I can’t draw Salvaged Arm or Grappling Arm. I never really wanted to see this in my hand except against Plowoks (where the 2-shield side is spectacular and where I failed to see it) I think, unfortunately, it will stay until another, better mod replaces it.

THE SPICE

(mostly expired cinnamon)

Watto’s Shop – Tatooine: I chose this battlefield mainly because Theed went and got itself restricted. This battlefield is good for 2 reasons. First, it incentivizes my opponent taking their own battlefield (and thus giving me shields) because this battlefield is terrible for most decks. Second, if, for some reason my opponent takes shields, I can claim, discard a mod for a resource, then (if chopper still lives) play it for free from my discard pile the next round.

Electro Sword: I didn’t get a ton of use out of it this tournament but Redeploy is my main reason for including this. People always seem to forget that it does unblockable damage.

THE MATCHES

Swiss Game 1

This is my second regional and my second time matched against Edgar for the first game. He was playing eRey3/eKylo3/Temporary Truce. This is a matchup I’m really nervous about because Kylo can just crush a droid in a couple of rounds. Edgar is a really good player but hasn’t played much this set, and so, didn’t know what a lot of my cards did. I don’t remember a ton of specifics but I dropped a Chewie’s Blaster round one, which did a lot against Kylo and I ended up taking him out either late in round 2 or early round 3. I was also removing his dice quite regularly, usually after he had used Rey’s power action. One play that I’m particularly proud of was after he rolled out, poorly, both Rey and Kylo in round two I activated C-3PO to resolve a discard on Chopper, using a Salvaged Arm to discard the remainder of his hand, leaving him with his mediocre roll. After Kylo died, I was able to take down Rey fairly efficiently.

WIN 1-0

Swiss Game 2

Playing against Jonathan Lowe, one of the hosts of Diggity Destiny, with his eSnoke/eKallus/Separatist Conspiracy deck. I tested against this deck the night before and I knew that I had to take down Kallus quickly or he would trash me. Chewie’s Blaster came in for me and it’s a bit of a blur in my memory, but with two Chewie’s blaster resolutions and some droid dice got 11 damage on Kallus, which, with the damage from the Snoke power action, killed him. I know that he missed the chance to blank the Chewbacca’s Rifle with Salt Flats and I’m not sure I would have won if he hadn’t forgotten. At the end of round one, he’d dealt 6 damage to C-3PO, which, in other circumstances would have been great but with only Snoke and an A300 Blaster to deal with the rest of the game was easy.

WIN 2-0

Swiss Game 3

Playing against Will Kerlick; a player from Katy (which may as well be local) with whom I’ve played a few times. He was playing eYoda2/eBail. I had a game plan against this deck which mostly consisted of disrupt, disrupt, disrupt and kill Yoda ASAP. I have played this deck and I know that it’s weakness is resource generation and its strength (in addition to Admiral) is its ability to spike a droid out of nowhere with Become One or Ataru Strike. My removal was always used on Yoda’s character dice and I must have disrupted 5 or 6 resources to offset his playing Logistics twice in round one. It came down to Yoda with 3 Health and 6 shields at the end of round three or four. I had a Grappling Arm and Chopper dice in the pool and two cards in hand, I discarded Easy Pickings to reroll into a 1 focus and a blank. He claimed, I focused to a 2 melee, and played my last card: I Performed Violence to kill Yoda. With Yoda dead and nothing on Bail, he conceded.

WIN 3-0

Swiss Game 4

I was playing against Todd from Austin who ended up being the runner-up in the tournament. He was playing 4-LOM/Grievous3/Sentinel Messenger. Chewie’s Blaster again took out a character round one, I decided to take out Grievous first, knowing that he would be playing Megablaster Troopers. He did end up getting it down the next round, but with only 2 dice instead of 3, it was easier to control. It was a long slog to get through that much health and, while he killed C-3PO, I was able to take him down in the end by playing an Instigate as the first action of the last round for the last two damage with R2’s auto-focused Chewie’s Blaster.

WIN 4-0

Swiss Game 5

Playing against Ryan Alexander, to whom I regularly lose, who was running eSnoke/MandoCommando/Mudtrooper. This game was streamed by Aegis Broadcasting and you can watch it yourself by clicking on the link. I thought I had this game after taking out Snoke early in round 2, but he was able to kill R2 seemingly out of nowhere. I’m not sure there was anything I could have done differently to stop it. It was a 1 out of 6 chance on the Hand Cannon die and C-3PO wasn’t able to take down the Mando on his own.

LOSS 4-1

Swiss Game 6

I played my final game in swiss against Trey, the other host of Diggity Destiny and “Magistrix Emperator” of this very site, on Plo/Chirpa/Hoth/Hoth/Bitter Rivalry. Round one, first action, I played Ewok Ambush, followed by Instigate, to activate all 3 of the droids and avoided 4 damage from Plo and Hoth troopers. Unfortunately, he played Into The Garbage Chute to get rid of all but one of my damage and also played Target Acquired on C-3PO who ended the round with 3 damage total; My first action of the next round was to activate C-3PO to avoid getting damage from Plo. I rolled and got two 1 resource sides, so I resolved one of them as 2, putting me at 5 resources, to which Trey immediately responded with a Rigged Detonation to kill C-3PO. It was all downhill from there. R2 and Chopper put up a valiant fight but were defeated in the end.

LOSS 4-2

Top 8: Semifinals

I was matched against Lawton who was the only Houston player at Worlds to go to Day 2 (not counting Brian of Jank it up Fuzzball). He was playing eRey/eKylo Temporary Truce and, as I said before, I was nervous about this matchup. In both games I kept one removal card and hard mulliganed for mods, getting none. Lawton played very well and just tore my droids apart, as I knew Kylo could. I believe I killed Kylo in both games but it was too little, too late. We were done with 45 minutes still on the clock.

LOSS 0-2

THE END

I had a great time, despite feeling rather ill. (I brought hand sanitizer for everyone to use after our matches.) Special thanks to Jason Griffin for being our excellent TO and judge, and Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy for hosting us! (Dragon’s lair provided lunch for all of us which was way above and beyond expectations.) Thanks also to Julio at Aegis for both prize support and streaming.

If you want to know more about this Prime you can watch the stream or listen to the most recent episode of Diggity Destiny.

P.S. The title of this article and the name of the deck come from the only canon instance that this trio appears together: Season 3, Episode 1 of the Rebels television show.

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