Written by Matthew Williams
Cards (and dice) on the table to start, my household has three people that play Star Wars Destiny, My wife, my ten year old son, Xander, and myself. I, however, am responsible for all of the deck building and research. My wife just wants to sit down and play, which is fine, and my son is working on his deck building skills but his deck building skills aren’t on par with his playing skills just yet. The reason why I start with this is that despite having a large collection, including playsets of every card, when I build three decks at a time, some of my choices are not always rooted in what’s best for the deck versus what can I do with what’s left.
Leading up to the tournament, I had narrowed it down to a streaky Hera led vehicles deck or a fun but vulnerable General Mills deck (Padme/Rieekan/Instructor). I had the mill deck tuned to the point to where I could mill out decks consistently by round 3-4 but I could not work in enough to consistently discard their final hand of five cards. Still, I was leaning towards running the mill deck, my wife was planning on running eQui-Gon/eRey and my son was going to play an ill advised eMace/Hired Gun deck, primarily because he drafted a Mace Windu card at our Rivals preview event and he was very, VERY fond of that card. At the last minute, he wisely decided to abandon ship in favor of an eKylo2/Grievous deck.
So after I pulled cards out of my mill deck to supply his new deck, I noticed that my two X-8 Night Snipers were free so I put together an eHan/eSnap deck that I had been considering at around 10:30PM the night before the tournament. My main draw to this deck was that it had some longevity, with enough ambush actions to help keep Han shielded up, and the ability to push through shields with the battlefield, Main Plaza, and through the use of Drop Zone. I knew that any matchup that would rely heavily on shields, like R2P2(eRey2/ePoe2) and anything Count Dooku, would need me to focus on disruption while I charged up Drop Zones for the kill.
Overall, the deck worked pretty well. My round one loss was ugly and I made a few misplays throughout the day that could have been avoided with more playtesting. But the deck held its own and was put through a gauntlet of five back to back R2P2 decks (six counting Top 8) and it managed to hang in there nicely. The element of surprise likely played into some of my wins as people were unprepared for the unblockable damage, especially from Main Plaza.
Characters (30 points, 4 dice):
eHan Solo – Scoundrel
eTemmin “Snap” Wexley – Recon Specialist
Upgrades (10 cards, 6 dice):
DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol x2
Fast Hands x2
Holdout Blaster x2
Second Chance x2
X-8 Night Sniper x2
Supports (6 cards):
Drop Zone x2
Planetary Uprising x2
Running Interference x2
Events (14 cards):
Defensive Position x2
Dug In x2
Field Medic x2
Guerrilla Warfare x2
Hit and Run x2
Round 1 – ePalpatine
I was initially planning on using my bye card at this tournament as I expected there to be a large turnout. However, I decided on being a dad and giving my ten year old son the bye so he could spend some more time with his deck before he had to play for real. Since no good deed goes unpunished, I promptly got slaughtered in round one by Palpatine.
I was playing Scotty White, a Gulf Coast player I had met at a Regional in Mississippi around a month before. I got off to an alright start and was putting decent damage into Palpatine with Planetary Uprising. I was closing in on enough damage on my Drop Zones to finish the game off before he mustered enough resources to play a Rise Again with no upgrade target. That move put me out of reach of finishing him off.
After he rolled out in the last round, I had four damage on both Han and Snap from spreading out the love from Palpatine’s indirect damage. He got two focus from his Sith Holocron and his Dark Counsel and two junk sides on his Palp dice. I was holding a Defensive Position ready to wipe out his dice after he focused them. After I had my next few moves planned out in my head I mentally flipped the table when Scotty busted out the All In card. Two focuses to make the two Palp dice show 3 ranged damage, put six into Han and then made me allocate the last four to Snap for the game.
I was certain this was a harbinger of a bad day but things turned around.
LOSS – 0-1
Round 2 – eDooku/eSeventh Sister
After discussing with my practice partner, Daniel Moreno, about how things were going after we both lost and giving ourselves a pep talk on how to proceed, we promptly got paired against one another in round two. He had been piloting his eDooku/eSeventhSister deck for most of December after he finished Top 2 at the Gauthier, Mississippi Regional in the beginning of December with the New Emo Kids (eKylo2/Vader2) deck. Because of that, I was very familiar with his deck and he hadn’t even played one game against mine, because I built it the night before.
Han/Snap can put a lot of damage out, and the ability of Drop Zone and Main Plaza to bypass the shields cannot be overstated. Daniel was very adept at using Dooku’s ability to keep him alive so I targeted Sister as quickly as I could while building up the counters on Drop Zone/Main Plaza for a death blow on Dooku. Once the numbers were there, I dumped the Drop Zones and claimed for the win with the combined damage from Main Plaza and Planetary Uprising.
WIN – 1-1
Round 3 – R2P2
This was the first of many R2P2 games that I would play today. My opponent eventually made the Top 8 himself, despite me finding a way to win this game. As I learned in the previous matchup, Drop Zones are the most important card in my deck when playing heavy shielding decks. My strategy for this game, and all R2P2 games going forward, became to heavily mulligan for Drop Zones, shield as much as I could, and target whichever character wasn’t getting upgraded. By focusing on the forgotten character and defense, I was able to charge up the Drop Zones in order to get lethal damage.
It was during this game that I figured out a crucial combo, since I didn’t playtest this nearly enough prior to the tournament. Getting lethal damage is often a case of getting just barely enough, especially when going through shields. Because of this, Ancient Lightsaber’s action is a killer. However, I figured out that using Running Interference after doing Drop Zone’s card action would prevent my opponent from doing Ancient Saber’s card action. So once I had enough built up on Drop Zone’s to push through lethal damage, I did just that. It was an unexpected play that won me the game.
WIN – 2-1
Round 4 – R2P2
My second R2P2 was also my second opponent to qualify for Top 8. I didn’t get my Drop Zones out early enough and I lost the battlefield roll off here too. Without the unblockable damage from these sources, I was overmatched quickly by the consistency machine that is R2P2.
In hindsight, I really didn’t play to the strengths of my opponent’s battlefield at all. He was using Docking Bay, as do all R2P2 decks, and I didn’t strategize playing my Planetary Uprisings for 1, or Drop Zones for free. I think that would’ve helped a tremendous amount, as I was looking for resources to play them then claim. However, had I played them with Docking Bay’s ability, they still would have triggered as an after claim effect. Additionally, I had one boneheaded misplay that saw me take five damage on Snap that I could’ve avoided with a Defensive Position, but I think my opponent would’ve had the game anyway. Double Shoto Lightsaber on Rey is no joke.
LOSS – 2-2
Round 5 – R2P2
This was probably the smoothest of all of my matches of the day. I started out with both Drop Zones and a Planetary Uprising early (thanks, in part, to the horribly unkind combination of Truce into resolving disrupt dice). My opponent was gearing up Rey early so I focused my damage into Poe while getting the Drop Zone counters up as quickly as possible before finishing off Rey with the Main Plaza/Drop Zone combo. I had exactly enough damage to finish her off and it looked like things would have started turning soon, as Rey was holding quite a few lightsabers at that point.
WIN – 3-2
Round 6 – R2P2
After a one hour dinner break, we reconvened to finish the evening off. I ended up paired against a local guy who was 3-2 who had only been playing for two weeks. I think that speaks to the consistency of R2P2 because you could tell he was well coached by his friends and he knew the right move to make at every turn. I think the relative obscurity of the cards I was using worked in my favor here as he wasn’t quite prepared for my deck’s archetype.
This match eventually went to time as my opponent was very careful with his decision making and had to understandably read a number of my cards as he was unfamiliar with them. I had taken out his Poe early and had a few damage into Rey when time was called. My Snap was untouched with two shields on him. My opponent had gotten nine damage on my Han but I had Second Chance on him. Unfortunately, that meant that resolving his one damage die against Han would have put him in a worse position. If he would have, the Second Chance would have popped, healing five damage and leaving him in worse shape for the tie breakers.
One more round and hope for a break.
WIN – 4-2
Round 7 – R2P2
Honestly, I wish this match would have ended in a different fashion. This was a hard fought match. I thought I had him put away sooner but some creative Ancient Saber healing kept his Rey around until time was eventually called. I twice had his Rey at one health remaining but between the Saber action and heavy shielding from two Shoto Lightsabers, I was unable to get the last point of damage in.
Ultimately, the game came down to an unfortunate misplay on my opponent’s part when he resolved his dice in the wrong order to knock a Second Chance off of Han. I was unable to get lethal damage for the second time, so I ended up claiming and moving a damage from Han to Main Plaza. That one damage was enough to keep Han alive given my opponent’s mix of base damage and modifier damage. When Second Chance finally triggered, my opponent had to waste one or two points of damage to overkill him due to the way the dice were. Han ended up with nine damage on him and a dead Snap which gave my opponent a total of 17 scored damage. However, a dead Poe and a 10 damage Rey gave me 21 and the win.
WIN – 5-2
Top 8 – R2P2
After fighting through the R2P2 gauntlet, the top 8 featured 5 R2P2s. Two of my previous opponents from rounds 3 and 4 made the cut as well. I got paired against the two seed who had admittedly been talking to some of his teammates that I played earlier in the tournament. He was more than prepared for my deck at this point in the day so my element of surprise was non-existent. Knowing that my only chance for victory was unblockable damage, I mulliganed all five cards in both rounds trying to latch on to an early Drop Zone. I didn’t draw a Drop Zone in either round until the very last turn of the second match. Without the unblockable damage, I was unable to keep up with the shields, or the shields, or even the shields and I didn’t put up as much as a fight as I would have liked.
Going against the meta is not always the smartest call. If I had it to do over again, I still wouldn’t play R2P2, mostly because I’m stubborn, but I probably would have gotten my son or wife to play it (or both) since it’s one of those decks that really doesn’t have a strong counter. I’m happy with my showing and my group had an enjoyable time. All in all, I hope Legacies brings a more healthy metagame to Star Wars: Destiny as a man cannot live on R2P2 alone.