Article

The Last NC Destiny Prime – A Yodaman Story: Episode II – The Top 4 Run

Written by Bill Yankosky (aka Yodaman)

(This the second of two articles about my experience at the last ever NC Destiny Prime.)

RENDEZVOUS POINT

After getting some rest, I realized that I definitely didn’t want to play 5-die Chopper Droids(eChopper/eC-3PO/R2) at the Game Theory Prime. I agreed with Derek’s assessment that everyone was tired of playing with them and against them. I showed up at Game Theory the morning of the tourney with only 2 decks in my bag rather than the 3 I had sleeved up the night before. In addition to bringing the eSnoke/eKallus/Order 66 deck Derek and I had been working on for a couple of weeks, I brought a Plowoks deck. I was still undecided as to which one to play when I showed up at the store even though Derek told me to just play Snoke/Kallus.  I was actually leaning towards Plowoks(Plo/Hoth/Chirpa/Ewok) when I got there. I asked John, the T.O., which one he thought I should play and he said he’d go with Snoke/Kallus. Since I had done some testing of both those decks against Ben and Joseph on TTS leading up to the event, I asked them for their opinion as to what I should play. Joseph said I should go with Snoke/Kallus. Ben said he didn’t want to suggest a deck because he thought his opinion might be skewed based on what he planned to play (his ultimate winning Aphra/Sentinel Messenger/Phasma2/Order 66 deck) and how it might fare against one of the two decks I was considering. He told me after the Prime ended that he was worried his deck might struggle vs. Plowoks so he was glad I didn’t play that.

People trickled in and we eventually ended up with 18 players total for the Prime. That low number wasn’t too surprising given how long we’ve been on the Spark of Hope meta (errata and rules updates aside), the fact CM is (supposedly) coming out soon, and the announcement that Destiny is ending. Still, it was still disappointing to see since the Regional held at Game Theory last season had close to 50 people. In any case, I decided to take the advice of everyone who I had asked, turned in my slip with the eSnoke/eKallus/Order 66 decklist written on it (which I had filled out the night before) and waited around for the first round to begin. The final decklist is below.  Salt Flats is the battlefield, but it got cut off in the image.

YodamanTop4PrimeDecklist

With 18 players we’d be playing 5 rounds of Swiss and then have a top 4 cut.  Dustin, who had won the previous Regional at Game Theory, and Menion (aka master of mill, RunningOnion), who has won multiple Primes this season and made the top cut at LVO, were both in attendance so there were some really incredible players there even though the field was small. While I was certainly hoping I could do well enough to make the cut, when I saw Dustin and Menion, ultimately my main goal was to win at least one game and not embarrass myself!

THE MAIN EVENT

Round 1 vs. Louis (eJyn2/eZeb)
I’ve played Louis a few times in local tournaments, including the special Rancor Invitational held at Game Theory last July. Louis is a solid player and is a friendly guy. Unfortunately, for various reasons, he hadn’t been able to play regularly leading up to the Prime, but it was great that he made it out for the event. I don’t remember a ton about this game. I got off to a great start with 2 of Execute Order 66 in my opening hand and kept both since I didn’t want to start losing them off the top of my deck when Jyn activated. I used one as soon as he rolled out Jyn, removed her dice and did 2 damage to her. I did the same at the beginning of Round 2.  He wasn’t able to mitigate my dice much and I got off quite a bit of damage early on Jyn thanks to Kallus and I think I took her out early Round 3 with a Chain Lightning.  Zeb did a bit of damage back to me, but I was able to take the win pretty comfortably and meet my goal of winning at least 1 game.
WIN (1-0)

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Round 1 gets underway at the Destiny Prime at Game Theory in Raleigh, NC.  I’m in the top right of the picture in the white shirt playing Louis. Lots of prizes were sitting on the tables in front.

Round 2 vs. Russell (eSnoke/Mandalorian/Mudtrooper)
Getting a win to start the Prime certainly put me more at ease. Next up was Russell, whose brother Brian (IIRC) was part of the Destiny Council group when he lived up in Minnesota.  Russell lives about an hour from Game Theory in the opposite direction as me. I knew Russell was a great player and he and I had actually played before in some Destiny draft events, but I didn’t remember us ever playing in Standard. It was kind of amusing to get paired against Russell so early because the day before the Prime he posted on the NC Destiny Facebook page asking if anyone attending the event had 2 extra Riot Shields he could borrow for the tourney. I responded to his post and told him I had 2 extra and lent them to him that morning. Little did I know they might come back to haunt me!

I had played Snoke/Mando/Mud at the December monthly tourney at Game Theory. I went undefeated with it that night and none of those games were really even close.  I knew it was a solid deck and had a feeling that it was probably favored over Snoke/Kallus/Order 66 for a couple reasons. First, while we could both use Snoke’s PA to get extra damage, he had more overall health.  Second, because both Mando and Mudtrooper are single die, he could play around Execute Order 66 to some bit if he rolled decent and/or was willing to reroll dice and resolve before activating more characters. Lastly, he could get extra ping damage with the Mando’s PA. In my experience playing with Snoke/Mando/Mud, I knew the games I had lost usually happened when Snoke was defeated first, so I decided to try to make Snoke my first target.  We trade damage early with Snoke PAs, but my health pool was lower than his so I felt on the defensive. In Round 2, I was faced with a tough decision. I rolled a 3 melee for 1 on Kallus and Russell wasn’t able to remove it with his next action. At that point, I already had gotten 4 damage on his Snoke and I was tempted to just pump 5 damage into Snoke to get him in range of a Chain Lightning if I could happen to draw one the next round.  However, I had a Fear and Dead Men in my hand and the value of doing 3 damage to each of his characters seemed too good to pass up, so I did that instead. I ended up drawing into the Chain Lightning the next round but Snoke was out of reach given my earlier decision. He finished off Kallus pretty easily that round after controlling his dice. While I managed to get some indirect damage out with my Snoke (who wanted to roll indirect sides a lot all day), he was able to spread it out and kept all his guys out of range of Chain Lightning and I never did take out any of his characters before he got the win. There’s no shame in losing to Russell and there were still 3 rounds to go.
LOSS (1-1)

Round 3 vs.  Jeff (eYoda/Han4/Marauder)
Jeff and I have played a bunch of games over the past year and it’s always enjoyable and a challenge. Most of the time Jeff’s gotten the better of me, but I have pulled out a few wins, including in some local tourney finals. It was Destiny that we’d be matched up at some point in this Prime considering the only reason I talked with Derek about working on a Snoke/Kallus/Order 66 deck was because Jeff beat my 5 die Chopper droids deck with his version of Snoke/Kallus at the Game Theory monthly tourney in January!

At this point, I have a small confession to make. While I have a Discord account, I rarely get on Discord Servers. However, I do get e-mail notifications with updates on posts.  A couple days before the tourney, I got an e-mail notification from the Star Wars: Destiny NC Discord and noticed in it that Jeff had posted something about being worried about taking Snoke/Kallus to the Prime because of how it might play into 3 wide and that he was considering playing a Yoda/Han/Marauder Scoundrel deck. I had a busy week teaching leading up to the Prime so I hadn’t kept up with Destiny news and hadn’t heard about that character line up.  I went online and found a write up about the deck along with the decklist. Since I knew there was a chance that I might play Jeff at some point in the Prime, I built the published decklist card for card and had Derek play it against me on TTS so I could try the Snoke/Kallus deck against it. That one game of prep along with looking at the published decklist gave me an idea as to what to do against it and if I hadn’t seen that e-mail notification, the game against Jeff may have gone very differently.

The game with Jeff was fairly close and seemed to be the one game where the “1 of” tech cards in my deck proved their worth. For some reason, I feel like I remember more details about this game than any other one from the event even though some of the order of when things happened may be off. I tried to keep the pressure on by rolling out Kallus early and making him spend money to use removal so that he would have a harder time getting out supports. Jeff had some bad luck because he wasn’t drawing into supports early in the game. He did play a Chewie’s Blaster on the Marauder fairly early and I was able to use Act of Betrayal to remove a 3 range and deal that back to the Marauder. I was fortunate because I was still able to do some damage with Kallus, Snoke indirect sides and Execute Order 66 along the way even though he did a great job controlling dice whenever he could.  One round he had built up 6 resources and I was expecting him to play big supports, but he instead used it on Mr. Bones and a Han’s Blaster. He rolled into a 3 melee for 1 on Mr. Bones and only had 1 resource left. I had a Make Demands in my hand and his Marauder was down to 2 health. At that point, I’m pretty sure Jeff had a Yoda die on a special so he could have used it to generate an extra resource and either flip another die or gain a shield.  He decided instead to spend his last resource and resolve the Mr. Bones die. I played Make Demands and took out his Marauder and that felt like a big turn in my favor.

An interesting thing about this game was that Jeff ended up targeting Snoke first since I had put a Riot Shield on Kallus early and also got 2 shields on him because Jeff had to Pacify a Kallus die to prevent me doing 5 damage with it at one point.  Even though he took out Snoke, I had managed to get a bunch of damage on Han and Yoda along the way. I made one misplay towards the end of the game that almost came back to bite me and probably made the game last at least 1 round longer. Jeff had used a Scruffy Looking Nerf-herder at one point to discard an Execute Order 66 and saw I had a Scorched Earth in my hand. Because of some bad rolls, he ended up activating things and eventually had 5 dice in the pool after activating his Yoda even though I had control of the battlefield. Rather than playing Scorched Earth for 5 indirect damage, I played a Hidden Motive on a Yoda special and called special hoping to stop him from fixing a bunch of dice. As seemed to happen all day, I missed with my Hidden Motive call when he rolled into a 2 focus side on Yoda. He used that to set all his dice and only had 3 dice left out when I played Scorched Earth. As soon as I played the Hidden Motive I said to Jeff that I had made a mistake and he said he agreed since he knew I had the Scorched Earth. Eventually I did take out Han, but the game was close to time.  I got Yoda down to 1 health left. I had Chain Lightning in hand, but no money so I claimed with less than 2 minutes left in the round. Jeff did damage to Kallus knocking the 2 shields he had put on him before with the Pacify and 2 Riot Shields off him and got Kallus down to 6 health, but wasn’t able to get a shield on Yoda with any of his dice. I played the Chain Lightning with my first action and took down Yoda for the win. It was another great game against Jeff and I was lucky to come out ahead this time.
WIN (2-1).

Round 4 vs. Dustin (eFenn/Han4/Clone)
Because my game against Jeff basically went to time, I had no chance to rest because I had to quickly regroup and prepare to face Dustin. I knew this would be another challenge since, as I mentioned earlier, Dustin had won the last Regional held at Game Theory with a Shadowcaster reset deck, besting a field of nearly 50 people. Dustin lives a few hours from Raleigh so he’s not a Game Theory regular. Even though I didn’t play him during his winning Regional run the previous year, Dustin had come out to Game Theory the day after Thanksgiving a couple months ago when he was visiting family in the area for the holidays and about 6 of us met up that day to play Destiny for fun. I saw his character team and as he started talking about it, I told him that I thought he had actually played it against me that day after Thanksgiving. He said that if I remembered Fenn Rau then it was definitely the same deck. This was one of those Destiny games when everything goes right for one person and wrong for the other and I happened to be on the right side of things.

My opening hand had Execute Order 66, Logistics and Megablasters. I rolled in Kallus to start, got a 2 range and 1 resource and he didn’t remove the damage so I thought I might be in good shape. With my next action, I used Snoke’s PA to deal 4 damage to a Fenn with 1 shield getting 3 damage on him.  His rolls weren’t good and I still had the resource showing on Kallus die. However, I rolled in Snoke and got another resource on one of his dice along with a 2 focus side. I used Logistics on the Snoke resource die to get to 4 resources and played Megablasters. I had a god roll when I rolled in, hitting 3 indirect, 2 range and 2 range for 1.  I took minimal damage back, used the Snoke double focus to flip Kallus to 2 range and the trooper die to 2 range for free since I was out of money and took out Fenn. Round 2 started and it was more of the same, I rolled in Kallus and got 1 resource on each of them.  I figured Dustin probably had Easy Pickings, but he was extremely unlucky and didn’t have any removal again.  I did a bunch more damage between Kallus and the Megablasters and there was just nothing Dustin could do. I won the game pretty easily and was kind of shocked I had just beat the defending Game Theory Regional Champ in a competitive event.

I felt bad that I had rolled the nuts so often in the game and Dustin had drawn no removal the first couple rounds so I told him I was sorry the game was so lopsided.  Dustin was extremely cool about it and said that he knew just happens sometimes because it’s a dice game and that’s what makes the game fun. It would have been really easy for him to be frustrated by what happened, but he wasn’t, so props to him. Reactions like Dustin’s are what makes the Destiny community is so great.   The dice were with me in this game and I’m sure they’ll be with Dustin next time we play.
WIN (3-1)

Round 5 vs. Will (eKylo3/eRey3/Temporary)
Going into the last round, it was nice to know that I was going to end up with a winning record no matter what happened. At this point, Ben was undefeated at 4-0 and 5 people has 3-1 records. Like me, Will was 3-1 so we both knew that a win for either of us would put us into the Top 4 cut. Will and I have played a few times since he started coming to Game Theory and it’s always enjoyable to play against him. He said he hadn’t played in a lot of tourneys and was excited to potentially make top cut at the Prime. This was only my 2nd Destiny Prime/Regional and I was happy to be in a position to make the cut as well, especially consider the presence of Dustin, Menion, Russell and the great Game Theory regulars who were in the field.  Will and I realized that if Ben finished undefeated by beating the 3-1 player he was up against in the last round then there would be one 3-2 player in the cut as well. So it was nice to start the game knowing that our game wasn’t entirely win or go home. It was win and you’re in, lose and you still might get in.

I had played the Snoke/Kallus deck against Reylo one time during my testing leading up to the Prime and won that game easily. It seemed like the Snoke/Kallus deck could really do well against other 2 wide decks. Now, with a guaranteed Top 4 spot on the line, I hoped that one game wasn’t a fluke.

The game started out about as well for me as I could have hoped. My opening hand was Execute Order 66, Intimidate, Counterintelligence, Probe and Hidden Motive. Will won the roll-off, but wanted shields and put 2 on Kylo. I played Intimidate with my first action to get rid of the shields.  He played a Crossguard and did a damage to Snoke, which was fine with me since Kallus is the direct damage dealer in the deck. I then played Counterintelligence and saw he had 2 Forsaken, Isolation and Polarity. I put Polarity back on top of his deck.  Will rolled out Kylo and I removed the Kylo dice with Execute Order 66 and dealt 2 damage to Kylo.  He rolled out Rey and didn’t get much. I then played Probe hoping to hit the Isolation since I knew I could play around Forsaken to some extent, but I ended up hitting both Forsakens. I rolled in Kallus finally and he removed one of the dice with Isolation, but I was able to use Salt Flats to get Kallus on a 3 melee for 1 side and use Snoke to pump it to 5 damage to Kylo. Round 2 was more of the same with an Execute Order 66 on Kylo’s dice getting him to 2 health left and then the next round I took out Kylo with Chain Lightning. Rey tried to hold on but I chipped away at her with Kallus. Reylo doesn’t run much removal and it didn’t help Will’s cause when he drew 3 removal cards in his opening hand, but only got play 1 of those since I had discarded the other 2 with the Probe. In the last round, Will had the battlefield and gave Rey her Saber with his first action to gain 2 shields when she only had 1 health left. That was good for Will because my first action was going to be to use my other Chain Lightning to defeat her. Since Rey now had 2 shields, I rolled out Kallus instead and got 1 melee on each of his dice. Will removed one with an Isolation, but I used Snoke’s PA to deal 3 damage to Rey and get the win. The game felt like I was in control the entire time and it was nice to get the win and a spot in the Top 4. It turned out that Ben finished undefeated at 5-0, which meant someone who went 3-2 would make top cut. I was happy when we learned that Will actually ended up with the best SoS for the 3-2 players and made the top cut as well.
WIN (4-1)

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Top 4 Pairings for the 2020 Raleigh, NC Star Wars Destiny Prime

Top 4 Cut vs. Russell (eSnoke/Mandalorian/Mudtrooper)
As soon as my final round game ended, I found out Russell had also finished 4-1 and Ben had finished 5-0.  Russell and I realized we’d play each other in the top cut. After losing to him pretty convincingly in Swiss, I could sense my run was about to end.

Top cuts are interesting since you get to see your opponent’s decklist. This was only the second time I had played in the top cut of a Destiny tourney (and only the third time I’ve ever been in a Destiny tourney that had a top cut). I noticed that Russell had 2 Desperate Measures in his deck and was surprised he only had 6 removals. Because of that I changed my game plan from how I approached the Swiss game. I knew I would need to potentially get more damage if Kallus fell early again and the only other dice cards in my deck were the 2 Megablaster Troopers. I decided to go after the Mando first in order to turn off DM.  That way, if I could get out Megablasters, DM wouldn’t be a factor. I started off pretty quickly and got 7 damage on the Mando early. Kallus, as usual in this match-up, took some damage as well. I used an Act of Betrayal on an A-300 Blaster 2 range side to take out the Mando, but then that redeployed to the Mudtrooper and it was all downhill from there. Once again Kallus fell and I was left with just Snoke and his 2 dice, but now I still had to face off against Russell’s Snoke and Mudtrooper and neither had damage on them. Megablasters were nowhere to be found. It wasn’t long before my Snoke fell and I was down 0-1 in the match.  At that point I said to Russell that I had thought his deck may be a bit of a tough matchup for mine and he said he agreed after seeing how the first two games played out.

The second game started and I went back to my original game plan of going after his Snoke first to get rid of 2 dice and turn off the Snoke PA pump. We traded some early damage and I got quite a bit on his Snoke while he again did damage to Kallus. It wasn’t long before I rolled into lethal on his Snoke, but after I did that Russell immediately rolled into lethal against Kallus. Even with the removal I had in hand at that point, I realized it wouldn’t be enough to save Kallus, so I took out his Snoke and Russell took out Kallus. At that point, I had a bad feeling and figured it was over, but I somehow managed to pull myself back into the game thanks to Snoke deciding to roll his indirect sides yet again and a Scorched Earth that hit for 5 indirect. I managed to take out the Mudtrooper with a Chain Lightning and got his Mando down to 3 health left. I couldn’t believe Snoke was actually making a game out of it and thought for a moment I might pull out a win in Game 2 to even things up, but that wasn’t to be my Destiny.

Russell played a Fickle Mercenaries and Conscript Squad and after resolving another Snoke 2 indirect I was able to get his Mando down to 1 health, but he removed my other Snoke die with a Forsaken before I could even try to reroll it for damage and I was pretty much out of actions. I did have an Execute Order 66 in my hand and 4 resources, but Snoke was down to 3 health. If Russell activated his Mando, I’d be able to win, but as I said before, Russell is a great player and he illustrated why by how he played that next to last round. He played around Execute Order 66 and didn’t even think about activating the Mando since I had so many resources.  He wisely activated and rerolled for damage on the Conscript and Fickle. He had a couple cards so I kept passing since claiming would have given him a clear path to roll out the Mando and I could always buy the Fickle, if needed. After a couple rerolls Russell found the 1 base range side on his Conscript and got Snoke down to 2 health left. He then played an upgrade on the Mando to deal a damage to Snoke and we were both down to 1 health left.   After that he claimed rather than reroll the Fickle die or risk activating the Mando. I bought the Fickle after he claimed since I had the money, but Russell showed me he had an upgrade to play with the Mando’s PA as his first action. That would get the last damage he needed to defeat Snoke, so the game and match were over. My top 4 run had ended, but I was pleased to make the cut and the entire day had been a blast.

REFLECTIONS

Jeff watched my entire match against Russell. After it ended, Jeff told me he was surprised I had held on as long as I did in the 2nd game after I lost Kallus and he asked me why I hadn’t bought the Fickle before Russell activated it. It was a fair question, but I explained to him why it felt like the right play at the time to not buy it. I had 4 resources at the time, but was trying to make sure I definitely would have 2 resources so I could play Execute Order 66 if I got the chance.  Russell had enough money to buy the Fickle back from me immediately if I bought it.  The Conscript has a disrupt side so I was worried that if I spent 2 to buy the Fickle, Russell might roll into the disrupt on the Conscript and resolve it to prevent me from being able to play Execute Order 66. If that happened, Russell could have freely activated the Mando and the Mando had a couple upgrades on him so he probably would have rolled into enough damage to take out my Snoke. Execute Order 66 was the only card I had in hand that could give me a potential win so I felt like I needed to keep that option open no matter what. Perhaps if I had taken a different line of play and engaged in the Fickle war I’d have pulled out that game, but Russell was a deserving winner and I have little doubt he would have won the match anyway.  Plus, I was extremely happy to have made Top 4 and get the swag that came with it. The Reylo Top 8 mat and the Top 4 Kylo shield tokens are really cool.

As far as the deck goes, in the wins it worked about as well as I had hoped and didn’t seem to need any changes. But in the games I lost to Russell it felt like it could have benefitted from a couple cheap dice cards to help Snoke deal more damage after Kallus inevitably fell.  But, I’m not sure what to add nor what I’d take out of the deck to put in a couple more dice cards. Guess I’ll have to brainstorm with Derek about that. In the end, I’m still glad I played the Snoke/Kallus/Order 66 deck instead of Plowoks.

So my only losses in the Prime all ended up coming to Russell.  Eventually, he lost to Ben’s superbly built and played Aphra/Sentinel/Phasma2/Order 66 deck in the finals. Russell’s only losses during the event came to Ben (he also lost to Ben in Swiss). Ben finished the Prime with a perfect 9-0 record! Ben went to the last Worlds and I hope he can find a way to go again this year since he now has a seat, but he’s a new dad so it may be tough for him to go.  Nevertheless, Ben is another great guy and player who has done a lot for the Raleigh Destiny community. He’s been a longtime regular at Game Theory so it was awesome to see him defend the home turf and win the Game Theory Destiny Prime. Congrats to Ben!

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2020 Game Theory Prime Champion – Ben vonBlon

SETTING SUNS

So as the sun sets on official FFG organized play for Destiny, I want to give out a shout out to Game Theory in Raleigh, NC for hosting the Prime and for always supporting Destiny.  They’ve already told the player base that there will always be a space for the community to play Destiny at their store even when FFG stops making product. If you’re ever in the Raleigh, NC area, check out the store. They’re great!

Also, I want to give a shout out to John Coussis, who is a great TO. He’s been the TO for several NC Primes/Regionals over the years. John is a really good player in his own right, but gives up his own chance to play in these events when he’s the TO and that’s much appreciated.  As usual, John ran the Prime smoothly from start to finish. The first dice were rolled pretty much right at the stated 10am start time and we were done our 5 rounds of Swiss with pre-cut prizes being handed out to everyone by about 1:15pm. Even though we took a lunch break before starting the top 4 cut, the entire event finished by about 3:45pm.  John also took the pictures which I included above. Props to John and his dedication to the game!

So that’s the story about the last ever official Destiny Prime in North Carolina and how I did at it. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my lengthy 2-part tourney report and, as always, thanks to I Rebel for allowing me to contribute this article.

May the Force Be With You!

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