Telling a Story Via Deckbuilding

Written by MrsSomethingStarWars

Previously, I shared the significance Star Wars has in my life. I likened the Disney acquisition to losing a beloved pet and taking time to grieve before getting a new one. I went on to explain how Star Wars: Destiny is the “new puppy” which revived my engagement with the Star Wars galaxy. I promised to explain how my concept for Tales of War intends to be the bridge between competitive game-play and thematic story-telling. I’m sure we can agree, I’ve kept you waiting long enough.

Star Wars: Destiny // Tales of War is a play-created format that operates with the capacity for competitive and casual game-play. This format favors thematic teams over deck synergy. Although synergy is definitely viable, it comes secondary to pairings we see either the canon or legends timeline. This biggest variance between Tales of War and official formats is the ability to create decks with both heroes and villains on the same team. Fundamental rules to deckbuilding in this format are as follows:

  1. A deck’s legality is determined by being an alliance found in Canon, the Extended Universe (legends), or auxiliary data that is documented and can be easily referenced.
  2. Cards in the deck must share an allegiance type with the character of the same color identity.
  3. Character point limits are up for deliberation, between 30-35.

*Previously, elite characters were illegal, in an effort to control overall deck power. After play-testing, this rule has been eliminated to allow more creative freedom.

This character team is considered legal because Kallus is also Fulcrum, and therefore a hero.

“Easily referenced” is a stipulation enforceable in tournament game-play otherwise moderated by casual playgroups. For tournaments, decklists must be completed which includes citation of the instance of the team-up occurs. The rest of this article provides suggestions on introducing Tales of War to your playgroup.

Sample Deck List forms are available and other resources on our Facebook Page.

Introductory Events

*Not exclusive to the Tales of War format. Promotes mingling between players across format boundaries.

Learn-to-Play (L2P)

  • Great for introducing the game to new players, regardless of their background.
  • Works well in conjunction with Starter Decks that provide synergy and thematic value.
  • Gateway for players of different skill levels to find a playgroup best suited to foster a positive, lasting impression that keeps them coming back for more.
    • In contrast to borrowing a competitive deck, loving the game, building a “weak” deck and losing to tuned decks. This experience turns a lot of players away from games that they initially enjoyed.

Deck-Building Nights

  • Recommended when introducing a new format to the playgroup.
  • Great way to kick off a seasonal rotation or a mid-day precursor to a later stand-alone tournament.
  • Facilitate a stronger trade economy.
  • Ideally, have a “host” or go-to person for all things regarding thematic legality.
    • Alternatively, make available auxiliary resources (ie: Star Wars Encyclopedias)
  • By hosting this as a group activity and having thematic resources available, it will minimize the opportunity for mistakenly building an illegal deck and increase participation at other events.
  • Provide guidance on how to accurately complete Deck Lists and assure compliance.)
    • This will reduce complications during tournaments

Organized Play

Free For All (FFA) FFA Casual

  • Can be used for a casual, free to play events.
  • Anyone can play with any Tales of War Legal deck.
  • Deck Lists are recommended, but not enforced.

FFA Tournament

  • Deck Lists verified for legality, but otherwise loosely enforced.
  • Anyone can play with any Tales of War Legal deck.
  • Pairings are based on event standings (W:L) rather than thematic match-ups.
  • Paid entry advised with prize support comparable to Friday Night Magic.
  • Recommended Best of Three rounds.
  • Operates as a Stand-Alone Event, but works well on a weekly/monthly schedule.

Structured Play (SP)

SP Tournament

  • Can operate as Stand-Alone Events, or part of the Seasonal Rotation.
  • Restricted to decks themed in a predetermined era.
  • Designed to be organized as a bracket system.
  • Pairings divided between heroes and villains:
    • Heroes vs Heroes//Villains vs Villains
    • Final round is between the Hero Champion and Villain Champion
  • Decks that contain both a hero or a villain (aka “neutral”) can either be assigned (need-based), may choose which faction they represent, or (if there are many in this category) be randomly assigned with no preferences considered.**
  • Depending on the size of the tournament, could either be Best of One or Best of Three Rounds.
    • Suggested prize support structure for Best of One, to be scaled as needed:
      • Losing faction (Hero or Villain)= 0-1 pack/player
      • Winning faction (Hero or Villain) = 1-2 pack(s)/player
      • Fourth place + additional 0-1 pack
      • Third place + additional 1-2 pack(s)
      • Runner Up + 2-3 packs
      • First Place + 3-4 packs ○ Suggested prize support for Best of Three***
      • Determined by overall W:L among total rounds
  • Comparable to Friday Night Magic
  • Entry fee determined by prize support, at the discretion of LGS.
  • May still pair non-placing players to maximize gameplay, but generally playing “just for fun”
    • In Best of One tournaments, encourages defeated players to stay and root for their faction, but does not carry a heavy repercussion for dropping.

**An effort should be made to avoid pairing neutral decks against each other in initial pairings. ***Not intended for a bracket structure

Seasonal/Promo Rotations (SPR)

Promotional Rotation

  • Ideal to launch 1-2 months prior to new media releases.
  • Not an ideal response to new set releases.
  • Special event rotation that does not qualify as seasonal.

Store Championship

  • Either run as a SP or a league.
  • Follows guidelines for chosen Organized Playstyle.
  • Deck Lists rigorously enforced.
  • Generous prize support.

League SPR

  • An extended iteration of SP Tournaments.
  • Allows players to play on their own schedule within an allotted time frame.
    • A potential pitfall would be players not adhering to time commitments.
      • Have a signup sheet for pairings to commit to a time to play at the LGS.
      • Any reschedules that happen within a predetermined amount of time (like 24 hours before scheduled playtime) results in an automatic loss.
      • No shows result in an automatic drop. If both players of a pairing drop, players from the equivalent tier may replace them as a “Wild Card” in subsequent pairings.
  • Can take place during casual, free to play events.
  • Deck Lists submitted prior to finalization and commencement of the league.
    • Checked for legality in all categories.
  • Prize support and entry fee determined by LGS based on number of participants.
  • May choose to use incentives to boost scheduling adherence.
    • May have arbitrary “achievements” and awards (ie Most canon deck, as voted by players).
  • Should coincide with current rotational pool.

Rotation-Based Seasons (SPR)

  • A yearly rotation ranging between biannually to quarterly.
  • A blend of events meant to engage players of all skill and experience levels.
  • Allows for a gradual evolution of the casual meta.

This format is still being developed, so I encourage you to try it out, see what works and what doesn’t then you can complete this google form to help shape the “destiny” of Tales of War.

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