Written By Matthew Willaims
I’ve been working on this mill series for a few weeks now. I’m constantly “writing” in my head, trying to organize the story and see where it goes. Realistically, villain mill is a completely different beast than hero mill. Most of the cards that benefit the mill strategy are either hero or villain, not neutral. So, for this next two part series, I’m going to discuss two different overall strategies villain mill can utilize first, then I’ll go over deck lists that employ these strategies.
Side note: I know a lot of people love Crime Lord. It’s a great card in theory, but it just isn’t a mill card. Therefore, I won’t be including any Crime Lord/Ace in the Hole shenanigans in these articles, but feel free to shenanigan away.
Side note #2: As a mill purist, the verb mill very specifically means removing cards from the deck straight to the discard pile. However, with Star War: Destiny, and villain mill in particular, discarding cards from hand has to be taken into account. One of the biggest problems hero mill faces is getting rid of those last five cards in hand. Villain mill is pretty much the opposite. Still, when I say mill, I mean dumping cards from the deck.
Instead of getting right into the characters, let’s briefly look at what each color has to offer the mill strategy in villain.
Nothing. Seriously. There are one or two mill cards, like No Disintegrations, but there’s really not much to go for in the mill area. However, Blue does offer 1-2 characters to consider and Blue is very good at longevity and removal. Force Illusion, Feel Your Anger, Isolation etc. are all reasons to potentially dip your toe in Blue, but not for the mill aspect itself. Still, you have to stay alive somehow, so Blue is something to consider.
Red has at least two interesting mill assisting characters (Thrawn and Nute Gunray) and a few cards that can assist with Mill. Whereas you should consider Blue for the cards, Red would be a choice really more made for characters, depending on which strategy you choose.
Be honest with yourself before crafting a villain mill deck. There is no reason to consider skipping Yellow. All the good mill cards are in Yellow, some of the best characters, and even some of the most interesting removal. You’re going to put Yellow in your villain mill deck, so set aside at least 7 character points (Bazine is the lowest cost Yellow villain) to give yourself access to the best suite of cards.
As previously stated, discarding cards from hand is usually not a problem for villain mill. Getting the cards out of the deck is going to rely on one of two strategies. If you can’t get any cards out of the deck but you’re forcing them to dump all five cards per turn, you just put them on a six turn clock. If they can’t kill you in six turns, that’s pretty bad. So let’s speed that clock up a few ticks.
#1: Buy Out
This mill strategy centers around generating enough resources to play 1-2 Buy Outs to dump cards form their decks. Using characters and upgrades centered around resource disruption and discard sides, in addition to healthy amounts of dice mitigation, you should be able to stave off an opponent’s assault for a few rounds.
Depending on your opponent’s deck, you should be looking to close the game out in three or four rounds. If you think you can last four rounds, you only need to dump ten cards out of their deck, in addition to dumping the twenty out of their hands. Buy Out should be your #1 consideration then for this strategy. Ultimately, your Buy Out deck should have a ton of control and resource cards, along with staples, like Blackmail and Fast Hands to resolve the Blackmail before they can pay you off.
Nearly 100% the cards you need here are in Yellow, so eJabba/eUnkar makes the most sense. That pairing still leaves you a point for the Espionage plot card, but I vacillate on that card’s effectiveness. Dumping one card out of my opponent’s deck vs. me potentially losing an important card is risky, but it’s worth play testing to see how it effects your own game plan. Ultimately, it can save you one resource on Buy Outs, since you should be looking to accumulate a multiple of five, save any cards they pull out of their own decks.
#2: Command Center
There are a lot of cards that allow you to play around with your battlefield in Villain. The bulk of these cards are in Red. Grand Moff (which isn’t unique) and Outpost allow you to abuse the battlefield and The Day is Ours allows you to claim, even if an opponent has already claimed. Grand Moff and New Orders will also let you switch out the battlefield, in case you lost the initial roll off.
This strategy relies on you claiming, or utilizing, the claim effect of Command Center (Mill 2 cards from your opponent’s deck) repeatedly. Since you are steadily dropping two cards at a time, instead of aiming for large Buy Outs, you need to be in control of your opponent’s resources and dice as much as possible.
With this in mind, Nute Gunray is an auto-include. For 8 points for non-elite, he gets you into Red, and either mills two or forces an opponent to start each round after round 1 with 1 less resource. Either way is a win for you. However, Nute only has 8 health, so dumping four resources into Grand Moff seems like a dodgy proposition. I prefer to have Thrawn in here as well, but he adds 14 more points to the roster. Missing out on Yellow is really tough here, however. That leaves our only viable option for this roster as regular Thrawn/Nute/Bazine. Bazine isn’t totally useless. She has 8 health points and four useable sides for this deck. The alternative is to leave Blackmail, Salvage Stand, and Buy Out out of your deck, and that’s pretty scary (especially the first two).
Both of these strategies are fun and offer a number of deck building challenges. Next week I’ll be back with two deck lists for these strategies and give you some insight into where my play testing has taken me. While hero mill seems to currently be more consistent, I have more fun with villain mill, which is a win for me.