Thanks to the largess of a mysterious benefactor, we have another spotgloss to give away at this shindig. As an additional door prize given away to a random participant there will be a Yoda spotgloss card up for grabs. If you’re counting, this puts us up to a total of SIX (6) spotgloss cards that we are giving away in just over one week on Saturday, February 23, 2019. AND THAT”S JUST WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT! Between high finishes and random door prizes, these are the spotgloss cards we’ve committed to giving away at the tournament.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!
In addition to the prizes you might win, there’s an additional prize we’ve cooked up that you will definitely win. We’ve got a new product coming out before long, and we’re celebrating its development by giving one away to every participant of the tournament. Behold, our new DICE POOLS!
Hold up to ten dice securely until you’re ready to resolve them. No more accidentally turning die faces while you’re reaching for something or rolling additional dice.
Nibs to keep each die separate.
Foam bottoms prevent your dice from getting scratched.
Magnetically snap together for easy storage in a way that protects the inside.
IF YOU SHOW UP
YOU GET A DICE POOL
Now that we’ve got some more of the prize reveal out of the way. Let’s talk about decks. There’s been a lot of chatter around the area about this tournament. Lots of play-testing and whatnot, and I’ve seen quite a diverse range of teams folks are piling together. If I’ve seen your deck, no need to fret. I’m not blowing up anyone’s spot today. Just like the Gungans last week, this is my own concoction. I’ve played it a couple of times now, though, and it seems to do well. Before we launch into the deck, though, let’s go over the rules for this tournament: 1. This is normal Destiny. Outside of the side-boarding process and deck building rule changes, this is just the Destiny you’re used to. 2. Every team in this tournament must use the plot Solidarity. That means you have to be all the same color, you can only play one of any given card, and you have 31 points to play with. 3. Because everyone is bringing mono-color, we’re not going to let anyone play with cards that screw mono color. That means banned cards. Specifically, Kylo Ren – Tormented One and Kylo Ren’s Starfighter are not allowed in this tournament. 4. This also precludes using any other plots. We’re still holding to the “one plot per team” rule, however stupid I personally think that is. 5. Deck size is 45 cards. Instead of the normal 30 cards, you’re going to bring a 50% larger deck. 6. Side-boarding is here. Of the 45 cards you’re bringing, you’re only going to play any given match with 40 of them. At the beginning of each match, you and your opponent will reveal your teams to each other. Then you will go through your 45 cards, pull out five, and set them aside. You do not have to show your opponent what you removed.
On to the deck! For my next deck, I decided to focus on the thing we’re all showing up for. The spotgloss Darth Vader. In the process of picking up the one to give away, I picked myself up one, so I thought I would build a deck with him! That way, all of my play testing with folks could show off what that brass ring looks like.
The first question was who to pair him with. Hitting exactly 31 points leaves you with a few options in mono Blue. Specifically, you get to choose from Nightsister, Dark Advisor, Servant of the Dark Side, and Luce. The main drawback to these larger decks with a max of one card is loss of consistency. With this deck I’ve tried to fight that through character selection. First, Darth Vader. His dice are going to be more consistent than whatever my opponent is doing to stop his dice. For his teammate I’ve chosen to go with someone else to fight inconsistency, Dark Advisor. Dark Advisor’s special ability allows me to look at far more cards than my opponent, increasing the likelihood that I will be holding the right card at the right time. For the others, Nightsister and Servant of the Dark Side both have less health and don’t offer the consistency upgrade. Luce actually helps fight inconsistency by being a continual source of re-rolling the opponent’s die, but I went the other way because I want to be using my cards for other things.
With the team defined. Let’s take a look at card selection for the deck. I went through swdestinydb.com to make my first pass for the deck and then took those cards to Table Top Simulator to make the final list. Take a look at my thought processes for hitting the final 45 below.
Finally, we have some gameplay with the deck. My buddy Justin agreed to bring one of his earlier deck experiments online so that I could take it for a test drive.
For my first stab at a sample deck I tried to Embrace the Jank. Part way through the Way of the Force metagame I had some success with a four-wide Gungan deck using vehicles to power through damage. It wasn’t a fantastic deck, but it sure was a ton of fun to beat folks with our favorite characters to hate. With a wide open card pool I was able to find a lot of suitable replacements for things I previously had two of.
Below you will find me making the final few cuts to the deck (apparently while encased in a mayonnaise jar). Even when building a self-proclaimed “jank” deck, you can still adhere to solid deck building principles. I focused on as much consistency and resource generation as I could, all while utilizing my large health pool to spread out damage.
The final deck looked like this.
After I put the finishing touches on the deck, my cosponsor Brian from the Jank It Up podcast went head to head to see whose deck could survive. I was pleasantly surprised with his Super Droid/ePhasma2/TIE Pilot team as it was one I’d not come across in my thinking. Take a gander at the game below, and let me know what you think.
*note* Next time I will actually record all of my commentary.
On January 26, 2019 I took Han and Qi’ra to the Top 4 in the Austin Regional. This is my story.
I have a bad habit of not taking tournaments seriously until it’s too late. I have quite the full life with a family, three jobs, and a full-time hobby, so my ability to cruise to “good enough” in most local tournaments tamps down the burning fires of ambition that would drive me to extensively prepare for larger events. Because of that, I seem to always tank the first event of the season, and this year was no exception. A few weeks ago in Dallas I rode Vader and Greedo on about three days of work to a resplendent 4-3 embarrassment of a finish. After that humiliating wake-up call, I buckled down with a vow to make up for it come Austin-time.
Our local group had hit on Han/Qi’ra (which shall henceforth be referred to as “Cash ‘n’ Guns“) just before the Dallas Regional,. Some of them even rode it to success (Richard Urich made Top 8 with it), but I just hadn’t seen it enough to be convinced that it was the real deal. I’d been playing Vader/X since days of yore when Snoke and Thrawn were a thing, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to represent at the first big event I got to play it at. Whelp, that turned out to be
But I digress, you’re here to listen to me opine on the good times, not my past of shame. After returning with my tail between my legs, I gave Cash ‘n’ Guns the hard look it deserved. I enlisted the services of everyone I could play with to grind out games. The Collective began pushing on this mono-Yellow monstrosity, shoving it right into the teeth of every deck rearing its head in a meaningful way at Regionals around the world. Every single time the deck stood toe to toe with the big boys, and, more often than not, came away with the ‘W’. An obscene amount of health, action cheating, powerful dice (both per die and in quantity), infinite money, and powerful events gave the deck some way to outplay the opponent every time. It just required the right mixture of cards to maximize the odds for each expected situation.
Against Snoke/Tarkin it had too much health, too much damage, and too much multi-die removal.
Against Vader it does just enough sticking and moving to stay alive until Vader hits the jackpot, and then either resolves his dice for him or blasts him in the face with all of those giant dice to finish off the game.
Having settled on the deck, we spent our final few nights agonizing over the last card slot (*spoiler alert* I was wrong). A (mostly) good night’s sleep later, and our caravan was off bright and early for the pilgrimage to Dragon’s Lair Austin.
Round 1: BYE: Since I’d forgotten my bye card in Dallas, I had an opportunity to scope out the competition before sitting down to play. Turns out I nailed my expected metagame. Vader, Leia2/Yoda, Cash ‘n’ Guns, and Snoke/Tarkin made up the majority of the lists I was seeing. There was a smattering of other decks sprinkled throughout, but most folks brought either tried-and-true or new hotness to this final Texas Regional. (Side Note: My boy Julio rocked Plo Koon/Jedi Instructor/Jedi Acolyte to a +.500 finish. I was crazy happy for him because he’s been working on it for months, and he finally got it to work. Read about it here, although he has the name wrong. The deck is lovingly called “Garbage”) After smashing that BYE fella in the face, I was on to Round 2 at 1-0.
Round 2: Well fuck, I don’t ever want to sit down across from my friends early in the tournament, but dream crushing Julio immediately was about as far as could be down the list of situations I wanted to be in. RNJesus decided that was to be our fate, however, so we went to town. The downside of working on Silly Fun Deck for months is that the people who help you work on it know exactly how to smash it, and that’s exactly how this played out. Trey running “Real Deck” with intricate knowledge of everything Julio was trying to do was kinda unstoppable in this match-up. Han and Qi’ra sniped one blue dude after another, all while preemptively bobbing and weaving cards that shouldn’t be expected in serious competitive play. After about five minutes of real time, Han and Qi’ra stood over a pile of Jedi bodies with barely a singed jacket between them (Han took 4 damage, Qi’ra none). 2-0, so far, so good.
Round 3: I sat down across a buddy from the expanded Texas Destiny-verse, and he flips over Snoke/Rebel Traitor/Ciena. Confusion reigned. What the hell is this you’re doing to me, Cruel Universe? I’ve not tested against this! How am I supposed to fulfill my destiny (lol, puns) if you throw this stuff at me? *sigh*, I guess I have to play this. I decided to work on Ciena first. Her low health plus powerful ability seemed to give me the best bang for my buck in taking down this foe. Of course, he promptly smashes down a Fist, so removing that power action was in no way helpful. I flailed about for a bit and took down some characters, but by the end there was no way I was going to survive the two more rounds of ULTIMATE FACE SMASHER I would have needed to in order to pull out the win. 2-1, not where I’d hoped to be, but still in the game.
Round 4: Well, fuck again. This time I was paired up against Jonathan, another really good friend. Jonathan has started seeing some success in competitive Destiny just this year, and I whoop and holler on the inside (and sometimes on the outside) every time I see it. Hearing about his X-0ing both KeyForge and Destiny tournaments at PAX South was just a big warm fuzzy for me. He’s a genuinely good guy who works really hard at getting better, all while maintaining a positive outlook when things are… struggling. It’s hard not to root for people like that. Even Saturday I managed to pull off the full body fist pump in Round 1 when he slammed the Bait and Switch to take his match. Sitting at 2-1 was a huge deal for Jonathan, and I was genuinely sad that my path to glory went straight through him. We’re playing the Cash ‘n’ Guns (28 card) mirror, so it’s going to come down to dice rolls and play skill. I won the roll off, and started with the smoking hot play of Theed > Hidden Blaster > Hidden Blaster > Roll Han > Guns and Specials (eating both of his shields while putting immediate pressure on). He panicked. Feeling behind, he started making plays he knew to be wrong just to try and steal back some tempo. From there he never recovered, and my side of the table emerged victorious. 3-1, bittersweet. Happy with the record, but not what I had to do to get there.
Round 5: Let’s just jump to the start of Round 2 to give you a feel for how this one started. Before I take my first action of Round 2 I have Han with Fast Hands, X-8, and no damage, and I have Qi’ra with Fast Hands and no damage. He has a full health Leia Boushh and a Yoda with five damage on him. You’d take that, right? Full grip, your battlefield, both your guys tarted up to make their best dice untouchable? Yeah, somehow I lost that game. Now I know it was wrong to go after Yoda first, but even so, that start should have pulled me straight through that poor choice. Nope, and I have no idea what happened. Looking back, I couldn’t tell you what else I did wrong. Ryan is one of the good players out of San Antonio, but I don’t think even he should have been able to pull that one back. I know there was a Hyperspace Jump to switch battlefields. I know that things were already south when he started eating my resources with Salvage Stand while hitting Leia specials. I remember that Yoda lived far too long on the back of Force Illusion. I remember having to fight through multiple Second Chance. Otherwise, \_(ツ)_/¯ I’ve got no idea. I just didn’t do damage for several rounds there, somehow, and he made me pay. 3-2. At this point I am just hating life. Apparently, if you’re not an ethereal non-person named BYE or someone I play every Wednesday night I just can’t beat you. I have no mojo. Life is terrible. We’re all in pain and the only release is the oblivion of death. I want to leave. Oh, pairings are up? Whatever, I’m going home in a box anyway.
Rounds 6 and 7 can best be described in a single image.
Round 6: I fought against Slater on Vader/Greedo. “Fought” is probably too strong a word. At every turn I had the perfect answer card. My dice hit every time. His dice hit just about never, and the few times they did I went ahead and resolved them for him. He, correctly, dumped Han‘s special damage onto Greedo twice, so I figured I would help out and snipe ole Shot Last to save him the work of playing a Price of Failure. Greedo ability rolled a blank. He hit an early Fist. Yeah? I will resolve that 3 Ranged side for you there, sir. You rolled it again? Let’s Jump. Oh look, Fist on 3R again? Resolve it again. Umm, let’s Jump again. I believe the quote from Slater after the match was, “Well, that wasn’t fun.” This is not me tooting my own horn here. My deck delivered up every answer at exactly the right time. My dice rolled exactly the right way. His went cold at just the right moment. Despite the victory this game went so quickly that it didn’t really register that I’d won. Not in a way that offset the funk I was in after the previous loss. 4-2
Round 7: If Round 6 was a bad dream for my opponent, Round 7 was the nightmare you don’t wake up from. I played a guy local to Austin in what was, apparently, a match vying for Top 8 contention. I had zero clue at the time, however. I was living in the tri-world of life-sucks-funk, my last match was astonishing, and buckling down because I want to win this one. He was on Leia2/Yoda, which is a very good match-up for me. I didn’t want to get cocky, though, because that was the path that led to my ruin two rounds earlier. After the match he told me that he pretty much knew it was over when he saw my team. In his testing this was something like 80/20 for me, and that’s about where I tested it. Anyways, on to the game description. Before he ever got to take a turn in Round 2 his Leia was dead and Yoda had three damage on him. That’s all you need to know. This match lasted exactly as long as it took you to read that sentence. The only play sequence of note in this game was when he Commando Raided 3/4 cards in my hand and missed the Bait and Switch that let me drop six damage on Leia. That included two modified sides, so if he gets Bait and Switch I get a whopping zero damage. 5-2
After blisteringly fast final rounds I still wasn’t even thinking about making the Top 8. That’s just silly talk. After my performance early in the tournament I was genuinely just hoping I’d squeaked in to the Top 16 to take home one of those sweet Mother/Plo Koon flip cards. Standing around chatting with my buddies, both Houston and Remote (another side note, this is a huge part of the reason to make these trips. You get to meet and hang out with all those people you talk to on Facebook, and they’re generally cool as shit people. People you’d never know without this shared hobby we have. If you’re on the fence or just have some anxiety-thing, seriously, take the plunge. Destiny is, by far, the best community of people I’ve been hobby-associated with). Sorry, digression. Standing around chatting with buddies, I started hearing murmurings from people who’d seen the final standings sheet. Surely sir, you jest. I’m 100% certain you misread that. Maybe you saw 18th place? Moments later, Sugi starts reading off names of Top 16 folk. 16, not me. 15, not me. 14, not me. 13, nope. 12, 11, 10, 9. This is either very good or very bad. 8th Place: Trey Dismukes.
I have a confession to make, and this is one I’m genuinely embarrassed about. My whole life I’ve been on the receiving end of polite clapping. You remember when you were in a list of people who got their name called out? Whether its Graduation Day at High School, Senior Day on the football team, or something similar, the accompanying applause has always felt to me like the most honest barometer of social status there is. Prom King or Football Star? Wild cheering. Random kid who keeps to themselves? Smattering of polite applause. My entire life I’ve been that latter kid. Little League awards, high school graduation, college graduation, and more. Parents cheering heartily and a smattering of polite applause. It’s not something that’s made any real negative impact on my life, but it’s something I’ve always noticed. My name being called Saturday night at Dragon’s Lair was, by far, the loudest applause I’ve ever received. I 100% understand how silly it is, but the applause there made that moment truly special. If you were there, thank you for that.
After a dinner break, the Top 8 sat down across from each other to play the quarters. Being the lowly Eight Seed I’d drawn Mr. One Seed himself, Lawton Burkhalter. One thing I love about Lawton is how fiercely competitive he is. Dude does not back down, and if you manage to pull it out against him you know that you’ve beaten someone who didn’t give you an inch. He’d cruised all day on Snoke/Tarkin. Not only winning, but taking down other people who made the Top 8. Fortunately, this was a match-up I’d expected, and I knew the buttons to click. This was my only match on stream all day, so it should be watchable if you’re really interested. I actually don’t remember all that much about it other than things, again, really breaking my way. At one point I had three or four cards in my hand. I’d shown Lawton the Jump off of a Han special, so he went ahead and Probed me, promptly dumping Jump in my grumper. Fist pump for him right? I raked three resources off the table and plop down the second Jump to Timewalk him. Brutal beat. In the second game he Probed me again and took both copies of Easy Pickings, one of the best cards in my deck against him. Didn’t matter. I rolled hot. He rolled… ok, but I had all the right removal. Entangle at just the right moment to break the Tarkin power action. Bait and Switch to kill his last guy after he had to blow all of his removal on dice already on guns. Shit like that. At one point near the end of the second game he had to pitch nearly all of his hand just to get anything out of Snoke + Force Wave. On the third reroll he finally hit Wave special. Indifferent. On to the semis. Sweet Vader Hat tokens are MINE!
Top 4 is Vader/Greedo vs. Cash ‘n’ Guns… and Vader/Greedo vs. Cash ‘n’ Guns. Despite the outcome of both Vaders winning, I genuinely think this match-up is slightly tilted in our favor. Obviously Vader has those moments where he just whips it out and destroys your team in Round One no matter what you do, but that’s a situation that doesn’t come up that often. It takes some calculated playing, but I would still take my deck every time over Vader in a straight up fight. This time around, however, it was not to be. Hunter was too skilled for me to cruise, and I didn’t play well enough. Again, day long Destiny has worked it’s curse on my memory and not formed a full narrative of the game. I know I lost Game 1 when Rise Again and Force Illusion made it take far too long to kill Vader. I actually ripped Price of Failure from his hand with a random discard and was really sad about it. Even though I could have offed Vader I would have had to deal with a lot of Fist action while trying to knock down Greedo. I would much rather he killed Greedo for me. By the end of the second game I was getting punchy. Not really sleepy punchy, more giddy punchy. I was playing for the out of blasting Vader from the table with his own dice via Wanton Destruction, but his dice went cold. I could have figured out a way around it, but I was so fixated on Wanton for kill that I didn’t explore alternate lines of play nearly enough.
Ending up in the Top 4 was not something I’d expected going into the day, and definitely not something I’d seen coming after blowing it in Round 5. I have some niggling twinges of regret that I let my play get too loose there at the end, but overall I’m pleased with doing this well.
I guess you want to see the deck, huh?
Notes that Didn’t Fit Above
My 30th card choice was Truce. My teammates and I waffled for days about what to run there, and just went generic resource with the intention of surprising someone by resolving a 3 for 1 when they felt they’d stopped me. This was incorrect. The biggest unanswered threat to this deck is Force Illusion. That means Vandalize. Many times on Saturday I sat there holding Truce on the promise of some obscure, future use when Vandalize would have just been better.
The Six Seed was a teammate of mine also on Cash ‘n’ Guns. At the last moment he swapped a couple of cards from our stock list, but overall it was the same deck. It was cool to see the Ryan that lives just a few blocks from me Top 8 and receive payoff from all of our testing. There were a lot of Ryans there Saturday.
It’s possible that Quick Draw should be Drop In. They achieve the same thing, but have different drawbacks. For Quick Draw, you have to be holding a gun to make it work, and with only 6 guns in the deck that doesn’t always happen. Drop In doesn’t require the gun, just that you’re playing on your own battlefield. This deck consistently wins the roll off, however, and does play two Hyperspace Jump to get to it if you miss.
Despite having no Regionals wins, this deck is real. Three of the Top 8 were this deck. It’s all in how you build it. There are so many good yellow events that you can push it at any metagame to gain an edge. Once you’ve got it tweaked to fight an opponent, recognize which cards you need for which opponent and play to them.
HOUSTON REPRESENT! Houston sent 12 people to this Regional, and put 7 in the Top 16. Half of the Top 8 were people who made the trek back down 290 that night including the one hoisting the acrylic plaque.
Screw you FFG for not giving Houston it’s own Regional. I don’t care that we won’t pull people from the Gulf of Mexico to play. We will pull people from Western Louisiana as well as the rest of Texas. Destiny is thriving in Houston, but we’re not feeling any FFG love.
The finals of this event was truly a thing of beauty. Vader v. Vader. Like watching Mike Tyson fight himself, these two decks stood in the middle of the ring chucking haymaker after haymaker at their opponent’s face.
Sorry for missing yesterday, guys. I had a dozen people working on the house all day on the same day X-Wing 2.0 landed. When it came time for my weekly Destiny sojourn I was so tired that it took half an hour to get up the fortitude to walk downstairs and leave.
There are a few popular builds of this deck on swdestinydb.com. Let’s compare.
The Arrow Brook guys seem content with the upgrade package from the original decks. Only swapping a Lone Operative for an Ezra’s Saber (sneaky with that Lightsaber Pull lurking in the events) without upping the number of upgrades. With a diluted card pool, they will see a lower number of upgrades per hand, so the power of each one becomes more important. You won’t want to discard any to reroll in this build.
The events are where they’ve really put in the work. In the 30 card versions you see some disagreement in what threats they’re looking to mitigate. The deck on the left is trying to blow up supports with Vandalize and end turns early with Hyperspace Jump, while the one on the right is defending against dice with cards like Defend, Dive, and Electroshock. In our 40+6 build no such compromises are made. There’s room to blow up supports at the exact same time you’re mitigating dice. There’s also room to fight against the new threat on the block, Mill, with Fond Memories. Additionally, they’ve added substantial resource generation in Double-Dealing as well as the pseudo upgrades of Lightsaber Pull and R2-D2.
There’s no real departure from what 30 card Yoda/Hondo was trying to do, and that’s a good thing; it was already a very good deck. The 40+6 version is just… more.
So far in our little experiment, we haven’t had anyone double up on decks ideas. That changes today though, as both European Champion Mads Utzon of YourDestiny.dk and the prodigious and entertaining creators at Jackalman Games sent in their take on Five Dice Villain builds.
Jackalman Games: 5 Dice Mother
While they both start with Bala-Tik at the root, our Jackalman Games friends chose a Mother Talzin + all odds slant. Embracing this theme during team building means that these two decks are going to skew quite differently. This one will eschew some of the more powerful 0 and 2-drop cards to maximize the power of Mother’s Odds.
While some might think that diluting the deck with more cards would make it harder to successfully fling fistfuls of dice at your opponent’s face, an upgrade suite of fully 16 1-drops means that a hard mulligan (shipping everything to get what you want) should yield you about three things to upgrade your characters with in Round 1. That will allow you to get to rolling an absurd amount of very quickly.
Once again we see that the opening up of deck size has allowed for some experimentation that we didn’t have before. When was the last time you tried to run Take Prisoner in a competitive deck? Don’t lie. You had to click that link to even know what it was.
Finally, we see some of the sideboard bullets we’ve come to expect. By choosing both Defend and Dodge we’re left wondering what side of remove-everything vs. remove-most-plus-ambush controversy the Jackalman Games fellas are on. Or maybe they’re just next-leveling everyone by having calculated which is best in which match-up?
Mads Utzon: Traditional 5 Dice
Next up let’s take a gander at Champeen of the Europes Mads Utzon’s take on rolling many, many bones. In this case he has opted to take the more traditional approach of power dice and evens rather than limiting himself to all odds with Momma T.
In Mads’s (<- that can’t be grammatically correct. Mads’? Madse’se’ses’e?) own words, “The reason to keep it the original version, is that with a 40 card deck, our average deck quality will drop too much if we try to make an all odd 40 card deck for mother talzin. No tricks in this list, we basically just upped the mitigation and upgrade numbers accordingly with the higher deck count in order to keep our deck consistent.”
Mads has loaded up the deck with the most efficient threats and removal he could get his hands on. That being said, there are some real gems in here that simply do not see play in 30-card decks. A two-pack of Promotion allows him to throw an additional die on a character who isn’t dying any time soon all while replacing itself immediately.
How many times have you stared at a pair of Probes and a pair of Friends in Low Places trying to decide which is the right one for the tournament your about to head into? Screw that. Include both and shred their hand every round.
As for the matchup-specific cards, I will let Mads speak for himself.
2x Mandalorian Bracers, to lower our mitigation count and up our upgrade count while proving a troublesome upgrade in itself against mill(if anyone should be foolish enough to bring mill)
2x Overconfidence, to give us more hard mitigation to mulligan for in mirror matches or other matchups were keeping balatik alive is crucial.
1x On the hunt comes in over underhand tactics against blue shield decks, and comes in over mitigation against mill
1x Frighten for caution/dug in decks specifically.
Whether you want to get a free focus every turn or just rock the most efficient Villain dice you can, these Five Dice Villain decks should be a great starting place for playing a 40+6 Standard tournament.
Much appreciation to the Jackalman Games guys for getting me this list that DIRECTLY CHALLLENGES MADS UTZON’S (<- fixed it) ASSERTION THAT 40+6 Mother CAN’T HACK IT! FIGHT!!! Also, much appreciation for their sweet customizations to the Destiny mod on TTS. I mean, they only use them for themselves, but those customizations are at the same time branded-to-the-hilt and elegantly classy.
Thanks as well to Mads for agreeing to participate in our little thought experiment, and for providing some insight into his card and team choices.
Special thanks to Claus Staal from YourDestiny.dk for taking time out of his holiday to handle the messaging back and forth between us. That’s some dedication right there.
One of the quickest responses to my request for 40+6 card deck ideas came from The Chance Cube. Literally within one minute of shooting them a message on Facebook I had an exclamation point filled response about dreaming up some Altered Standard shenanigans. A short time later Ruben piped up that he would work on a Mill list for me. As this is one of the deck archetypes most likely nerfed by the higher card count, I was incredibly excited to see what he brewed up. This morning I got my peek.
On an additional note, the first list Ruben sent over had a second battlefield in the sideboard, and my head exploded. I hadn’t even considered the idea of using one of the six cards on a battlefield. I ended up going against it for this tournament, but this is exactly the type of unorthodox thinking that gets my heart cockles frothing in anticipation of what I’m about to see.
Without further ado, I give you The Chance Cube’s 40+6 Mill Deck.
While other lists have seen success, the deck used to take most of the top spots at 2018 GenCon is one of the few iconic decks so far in the young life of our game. Reviewing the list below, you can see the changes imparted for this build.
Now that we’re starting to see multiple lists, a few themes have begun to emerge.
Shoring up numbers on singleton cards: With expanded lists, you no longer have to cut down on impactful cards like Into the Garbage Chute or Hyperspace Jump in order to fit all that functionality in.
Room for borderline cards: Some of the last cards cut from the 30 card lists are now able to make an appearance. In this deck, cards like Dex’s Diner and Republic Cruiser that just didn’t fit can find a home.
Silver Bullets: No one has room to run extremely narrow cards in a 30 card list. Match-ups are just too diverse to slot in something specifically for one deck. If we’re in a metagame where they aren’t? Well, everyone has stopped playing anyway and a nerf is coming. Additionally, it just opens up more thought space for players to contend with. You know what’s not at all an interesting question right now in 30-card Destiny? Whether Defend or Block is the right call for mass melee removal. You’re not playing either, so move on. You know what’s an interesting question in 40+6 card Destiny? That same exact one. You know what’s good for Destiny as a whole? More and interesting questions for players to think about.
The more I see 40+6 card lists, the more excited I am for this tournament. I hope, if you’re in Houston this coming Friday, you will make the pilgrimage to help us find out if we need to be clamoring for FFG to change the rules of the game. If you don’t have the time to dream something up, just take one of these. I’m sure these folks would love to see what happens when you actually kick the tires on their fresh ideas.
A huge thank you to Ruben Sanchez and The Chance Cube team for participating in this experiment. I highly recommend checking out all their Destiny content. They’re more than just the price watch, people. These are some folks that truly care about the community.
As part of the HYPE MACHINE! for our first Altered Standard, I’ve reached out to some of our favorite Destiny celebrities to see if they have any ideas for 40+6 card decks. The response has been extremely positive, so expect some deck lists this week to get your creative juices flowing for this Friday.
Comparing his 40+6 card build to some of the Store Champs winning decks, Mike has chosen to go with the approach of sticking with a high number of solid upgrades, and using the extra ten cards to increase removal/healing while tossing in a few additional wrinkles to keep the opponents off balance. Ataru Strike, Destiny, and Rend all make appearances in the main deck as conditional options against various opponents. These all have the possibility of breaking the game open against the right opponent.
Force Wave makes an appearance in the +6 sideboard as a devastating card against decks that run 3 or 4 wide. Even though this card is already well known, it’s previously not been seen in top-performing Luk3/Rey decks. With additional space to allot, however, this mono blue deck can bring it in only when it can deal maximum damage.
Massive thanks go out to BobbySapphire for participating in our little experiment over here. If you’re reading this there is a 100% chance you already know who he is, but if you’ve been hiding under Destiny rocks, check out his work over at the Hyperloops.
Since I’m not playing in my very exciting event, I thought I would throw out some ideas for decks. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, feel free to steal these lists.
I’ve got four categories of cards I’m including in these 30 -> 46 card deck expansions, More Removal, More Weapons, Added Wrinkles, and Silver Bullets. Silver Bullets will be the cards targeting at side-boarding.
For KRAP, I’ve decided to shore up some of the one-ofs in the removal, add in a single weapon I’m sad wasn’t in here for removal, and add a couple of useful cards that don’t fit into that category. For silver bullets I’ve gone with some things to shore up slower match-ups.
More Removal +1 Feel Your Anger +1 Overconfidence +1 Beguile
More Weapons +2 Lightsaber Pull +1 Dagger of Mortis
Added Wrinkles +2 Logistics +1 Enrage +1 Lightsaber Training
Silver Bullets +2 Deflect +2 Dug In +2 We Have Them Now
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.
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.
I’m old(ish). I’ve played CCGs for a long time. My world exploded in the spring of 1994 during my senior year of high school when my local comic shop introduced me to Magic: The Gathering. It was literally the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, and I couldn’t get enough. I was voracious. Eventually, during and after college, I started playing at some higher levels. I traveled to GPs. I made a little money.
There was a ceiling on what I could accomplish, though, and it was put in place by my pride. I didn’t just want to win; I wanted to win My Way. I was out to prove that I was not only good at playing the game, but that I could do it while playing some deck I’d built myself. Time and again I limited myself by not heeding the advice given to me by people who were much better at the game than I. “Just play the best deck,” they’d say. “But what about…” I’d stammer. “Nope, stop being stupid,” they’d say. “Just play the best deck.”
Here’s the secret. You might be smarter than literally everyone else that plays this game, but you’re not smarter than everyone else who plays this game combined. Markets work. Evolution works. With the Internet having broken down nearly all barriers to communication, we all get the benefit of all the millions of hours play testing that others are doing. Stop being stubborn, and just play the Best Deck. At least, if winning is your goal.
With that in mind, I decided to grow as a human being and stop being stubborn. If I want to win plastic Phasmas and tiny plaques, I need to put my ego on the shelf, pick up Poe/Maz, and learn the shit out of it.
For over a month now my play test partner, Brian and I, have put in the work to learn how the deck works, why it works, what the best build was, and how to squeeze maximum value out of it. This list is the result of our work.
This list has continued to evolve throughout our tournament experience, but in the last month Brian and I have combine to run through eight tournaments (four each) including six Store Championships.
In the practice tournament, our 29 card mirror (he didn’t own two Bowcasters at the time) met in the finals.
In Store Championship Number One, I got third (losing to another Poe/Maz that got the nuts), and Brian was one mistake away from joining me in the top 4.
In Store Championship Number Two, I again got third (poor mulligan decision followed by an epic card/dice failure).
In Store Championship Number Three, Brian top 4d before punting away his chance (to another Poe/Maz). I was distracted and sleepy, played against some good opponents, and ended up getting 8th.
What Makes the Deck Tick?
Before I get into any deck, I like to examine exactly what makes that deck tick. After all, other decks can put more damage on the table than Poe/Maz. What is it about this deck that puts it over the edge?
All Destiny decks exist somewhere on a graph of possibility when describing their dice play. The EV (Expected Value) of any given die in any given game can be computed as a function of:
The strength of the die sides. (Darth Vader – Sith Lord’s die is inherently stronger than Guavian Enforcer’s)
The variance of the die sides. (A die with five 2Rs and one blank is going to be much more consistent than one with one 10R and five blanks)
Your ability to manipulate your dice sides. (If you can reliably turn that second die to 10R, then you don’t care about its unreliability)
Dice control played by the opponent. (Variable, but out of your control)
Poe/Maz combines the most powerful dice in the game (literally, you run the cards with the biggest sides) with a 100% ability to manipulate your dice (86% to manipulate both). By zeroing out the variance on its dice, Poe/Maz dice EV is strictly a function of its dice power (highest in the game) and the opponent’s control. When other decks have to factor their own variance into that equation, they are at an immediate disadvantage.
The deck achieves its consistency in four layers.
Layer 1 – Weapon Selection: Every upgrade in Poe/Maz is a Huge Gun. It wouldn’t matter if they printed the Happy Cracker Fireball with one 10R side and the drawbacks of costing 10 resources and having five blank sides. With a Poe special you are going to hit that 10R EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Layer 2 – Poe and Maz Dice: With Poe’s dice you start with a 30% chance of hitting a special. Even if you miss on the initial special you still have a 2R and 3R1 side to shore up your rolls. Rolling in Maz’s dice boosts that special chance to 86%. This is beginning to approach certainty rather than chance. Layer 3 – Action Cheating: Your opponent has an extremely narrow window to remove your dice, one action. If they miss on the action immediately following Poe’s roll in, then you are going to get at least one Poe die to resolve. The opponent can’t even remove your best Poe die and continue because whatever die remains is simply going to get turned to a special and resolved. Add in the Hit and Run, twice a game action cheat, and you have key moments of the game where your opponent simply watches themselves die. Layer 4 – The Battlefield: Even whiffing on the first two rolls doesn’t mean you’re going to miss. Simply claiming your battlefield gives you a 100% certainty on hitting the biggest side of the biggest card in your hand.
This redundancy has lead me to describe Poe/Maz as not having dice. Rather, it simply has turns. If it gets its turns, it will do its thing. There is a vanishingly small chance that Poe/Maz will ever lose to its own dice, and, if it does, it’s usually because the pilot made a mistake rather than the deck failing.
There have been many builds of Poe/Maz posted to the Internet. Many iterations of people trying to find the optimal build. Here are some of the cards I chose or didn’t, and why I believe I am correct: New Orders, Specifically, Two Copies: Getting your battlefield is crucial with this deck. You always want it, and you always want it very early. Having two copies of New Orders maximizes the chance of drawing it early. There is no better feeling to starting the game than this sequence of plays:
Lose the roll (or win and take the shields, but they will get suspicious). Opponent’s hopes escalate.
Roll Poe, get garbage (blank, disrupt is perfect here). Opponent’s hopes increase.
Play New Orders to pitch BFG at one of their characters. Opponent stunned.
Claim to take the battlefield and throw BFG #2 at that same character. Opponent reeling.
That’s three actions, and your opponent has been left broken and psychologically damaged.
Ascension Gun (vs. Cunning or Holdout Blaster): The card in this slot is generally there to upgrade Maz. I’ve found Cunning to be generally swingy-er than the other options. It’s trying to either do what you’re already doing with the Poe dice or make Emo Vader stab himself in the face. With the former you run the risk of either running out of gas in hand or getting an unusable side, and with the latter you run the risk of not playing against Baby Vader. Holdout Blaster offers a bit more punch in this slot for helping Maz finish out a game on her own and the Ambush plus Redeploy are certainly nice. The 2R side costs a resource, though, and resources are at a premium in this deck. I’ve found that Ascension Gun has both the 2R (for free) to help Maz put that last opponent down, another focus for enabling Poe dice, and a special that gives you additional access to your battlefield if you happen to be in the unfortunate situation where you lost the roll and don’t have New Orders. Don’t underestimate the psychological damage you can do to your opponent by rolling out Maz and claiming three dice out of nowhere to seriously damage their character(s). (Maz Focus > Ascension Gun Special > Emperor’s Throne Room Claim Ability > Poe Special)
C-3PO: I like the card C-3PO quite a bit. I think its power level is some of the highest in the game. The problem with it in this deck, though, is that it’s slow. While it does give you an additional layer of certainty, it does it by slowing you down and exposing you to additional dice mitigation from your opponent. Claiming the battlefield is incredibly important with this deck because so much dice mitigation relies on the mitigating player having dice in the pool (He Doesn’t Like You, Negotiate, Loth-Cat and Mouse, etc). If you’re going first and rolling Poe immediately, you have the opportunity to turn off all of that dice mitigation long enough to resolve at least one of Poe’s dice.
Playing the Deck
The Mulligan The standard hand you want in your opening five goes something like:
New Orders/Planetary Uprising
You want to be able to do something with those first two Poe dice, shore up your periphery game, and have a bit of defense. When you’re mulliganing, pay special attention to damage cards, like Rocket Launcher, and how they will affect your opening turn. Are you going to use New Orders (hint: if you have it, yes)? That’s both of your opening resources, so throw back that Rocket Launcher for something better.
One card I see people excited about getting in their opening hand is Hit and Run. This card is weakest at the beginning. It’s much better later in the game. Much of what goes into optimally playing this deck (or any deck, really) is accurately managing the expectations of your opponent. Your opponent is carefully planning how they’re going to use their actions to stave off defeat and/or bring about your ruin. A mid-game Hit and Run to accelerate their demise is an excellent way to completely hork up their plans.
Poe/Maz 101: The Script You will need to expand your repertoire of Poe/Maz skills to achieve higher levels of success, but it all starts with the basic script. Get these steps down pat before moving on to trickier skills.
Roll Maz. If Poe was on a special, resolve it and another die. If not, move on to looking at the Maz dice. If you hit a focus, focus a Poe die to the special and chuck four or more damage at the other team.
Claim your battlefield. Change the other Poe die to the special and chuck more damage at the other team.
Poe/Maz 102: Deeper You Actually Have an Opponent Trying to Stop You Your dice are going to get controlled. It’s a thing. Leave them exposed as short a time as possible. If you can’t immediately Fast Hands something, get them off the table on the next action. If you have something else to do on your turn, like dropping Ascension Gun or Planetary Uprising, do that before you roll Poe out. At the absolute worst give them just one chance to stop you. As stated above, a significant amount of removal in this game requires your opponent use their own dice. Remember that just because they rolled out instead of controlling your dice on their action it doesn’t mean that a Negotiate is not coming your way on their next action. Pick Your Spots to “Waste” Actions Almost always, you’re going to need the help of some of your support cards to help implement The Script. Recognize when a round might not stay on message and utilize that moment to to play Dug In, Electroshock, Ascension Gun, Planetary Uprising, or Field Medic
DL-44 Heavy Blaster is an Excellent Play Don’t push for it too hard, but if you find yourself in a situation to activate Maz by playing DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol it’s an excellent play. It doesn’t cost you an action, can mitigate a powerful die on the other side of the table, and has an excellent 3R side you can focus to and resolve when you roll Maz.
Finish Him! Many, many games with Poe/Maz end with a Claim followed by a first action Claim in the next round. With Planetary Uprising on the table you claim to resolve a Poe die + 2, and then start the next round with the claim to deal the final two. Before pulling the trigger on this move, total up the possible damage your opponent can do to you. If they simply cannot kill you, feel free to watch the hope drain from their dead eyes as you claim on the first action of the round.
Poe/Maz 103: Wizardry Maz is (usually) a Support For the most part, Maz isn’t a character in this deck. She’s a mechanism for turning and resolving Poe dice. To that end, it may not be necessary to roll her out every time. Pay attention to what your opponent is going to do. A claim on your part is also a claim they do not get, and sometimes going first (and turning off your opponent’s die-costing mitigation) is more important than resolving both of your Poe dice. With that in mind…
Architect The Next Turn Before blindly grabbing your resources and untapping, stop and think about what’s going to happen on the next turn. Is this your turn to heal and mitigate dice? Do you have one resource left over and DL-44 in hand? Plan how to order your turns to sucker your opponent into exposing one of their big dice so that you get the maximum benefit from it.
Dig, Dig, Dig Discard aggressively at the end of the round. Are you at zero resources and plan on landing that Planetary Uprising? Ditch that Rocket Launcher. Will a Hit and Run finish the game? Pitch your whole hand to dig for it. Even if you miss the Hit and Run you will most assuredly get something useful. One reason we have so many Ginormous Face Smashers in this deck is so that every fresh five cards has an excellent chance of pulling at least one.
I put a few games into this to show you how to put people away. It was more difficult than I would have expected to get a good recording, though, as a high percentage of folks just get angry and quit when you start performing shenanigans.
There actually is a Best Deck. Right now that deck is Poe/Maz. It’s not just the best deck; it’s BY FAR the best deck. Over a significant sample size, there is no deck that can take on the field and consistently dominate like Poe/Maz. There are plenty of Good Decks, but they’re all at a significant disadvantage against Poe/Maz. Every other deck has to deal with bad dice at some point. Poe/Maz just doesn’t.
As much as I love playing with this deck, I hate that this deck exists. At its core, Destiny is a game of dice, and by removing the dice rolling from the equation FFG has broken the game. Other decks can do more, sometimes, but they can also do less. The certainty of the dice in this deck are utterly oppressive to the viability of anything else. I look forward to the day when FFG wakes up and cripples this deck. I have thoughts about the best way to accomplish this, but I will save that for another time. (hint, errata in a CCG is a terrible idea) For now, I will continue to play the Best Deck so that I can win, and so that my results will contribute to the data FFG needs to do something about this.