Written by David Holland
Covert Missions is finally here! Yes the newest and last set has dropped, just in time for you to spend weeks locked in isolation while waiting for coronavirus to get under control. This game really can’t catch a break, can it? But that’s okay because Covert Missions has a brand new selection of plots to spice up your decks, including a new subtype AND a new win condition! With all of these new developments, I thought I’d take a look at some of the new set’s plots to see what is fun, what is playable, and what will take up space in a sleeve. I also couldn’t resist a title that’s a pun on a Mace Windu line.
1. Rule of Two
Basics: Blue, Villain, 0 points
The ability to add additional value to your dice isn’t something to take lightly in Destiny. It’s what makes cards like Focused Fire, Intense Fire, and even plucky little Logistics useful. Not only that, this is a rare 0-point plot. For both of those reasons, it deserves at least a second glance. Early in the game it can be used for ramp, turning a resource side into a free 2-resource side, or pulling off a double-discard. Late in the game, of course, it can add additional damage.
Here’s the problem with Rule of Two. Go build a deck with it that meets its restrictions. Not too easy is it? Let me guess… Kylo2/Dooku3? That’s what I came up with. There’s also Maul2/Anakin, Palpatine3/Kylo3, or I guess Vader4/Kylo3 if you’re feeling weird. There’s just not very many villain apprentices to choose from – Anakin, Kylo, Kylo, Maul. Oh, and not THIS Maul. Only this one. This severely limits our options for using this plot effectively. Characters that you would think should be apprentices aren’t – Not Savage, not Asajj, not even Nicki Minaj.
Rule of Two makes Kylo/Dooku better, but probably not enough to really make it a threat considering you are only 9 health away from setting the plot aside and dealing one damage to yourself. Maul/Anakin gains the benefits of the plot but at the expense of Retribution, and loses out on the other options that come from pairing Maul with a Mandalorian Super Commando or Phasma. And most of our coolest Sith – Darth Vader (Terror to Behold) and Darth Bane – are too expensive to use with the plot. At the end of the day, it’s a cool way to challenge yourself to make the plot work, but I don’t foresee it putting any deck over the top.
2. Construct the Death Star
Basics: Red, Villain, 2 points (cost reduced by 1 when played with Director Krennic)
The villain Death Star plot lets you take on the role of Krennic and Tarkin and build your own planet-destroying superweapon with a glaring weakness. You need a red character and Director Krennic seems like a good fit here, since he lowers the cost of the plot itself and leaves you sixteen character points to play with. An Imperial Death Trooper has great synergy with Krennic and you’ll probably want to spend your remaining points on something that gives you another color, such as a Sentinel Messenger.
Your biggest problem with Construct the Death Star will be essentially losing resources to the plot instead of resolving them. While you are putting resources on your plot, your opponent will be ramping up. You’ll probably want to save a lot of slots for cheap mitigation and use cards such as Director to get your dice back in the pool. I know Arrowbrook Gaming put together a successful Construct the Death Star deck using elite Palpatine and single-die Krennic which relied on Admiral and an abundance of cheap abilities to get the necessary resources, which is certainly another creative way to build your superweapon.
3. Jedi Trials
Basics: Blue, Hero, 2 points
I’ve written some thoughts about Jedi Trials previously, so I’ll try to be brief here. The short version is that this plot has a similar problem to Rule of Two – a lack of apprentices. Most Hero apprentices, such as Ahsoka and Barriss, remain too squishy to risk building your whole deck around, and we never did get the Phantom Menace Obi-Wan I’d hoped for.
But something did change between my previous analysis and the full set being spoiled – we finally got an upgrade focused entirely on hairstyle!
The fashionable Padawan Braid has the ability to make any Blue character into an apprentice, making them a possible candidate for the Jedi Trials. You still have to meet the plot’s other, quite rigorous requirements and it still costs 2 points, but the Padawan Braid does open the door for Mace Windu, Yoda, or Qui-Gon Jinn to rebraid their hair (gonna be tough for Mace) and relive their apprentice days. Worried that you won’t be able to find that Braid in your deck? No problem! Jedi Trials is a “Mission” plot, so pair your Jedi of choice with a Red character, slap a couple of Covert Missions in your deck, and… it still probably won’t be competitive. But the goal of a Jedi Trials deck is just to actually *pull off* the Jedi Trials plot and I swear I’m going to make it happen one of these days. Just, not with a Phantom Menace Obi-Wan.
4. Destroy the Death Star
Basics: Red, Hero, 2 points (cost reduced by 1 when played with Luke Skywalker)
I touched on this plot a little bit previously when I wrote about how the piloting mechanic would change Destiny. I think the Death Star plots add a new dynamic to the game and they are one more reason that I am sad the game is ending and we won’t get to see future sets tinker with them. The first key to the Destroy the Death Star plot is having pilots alive, so including any character on your team who is not a pilot feels dangerous. License to Fly gives you a little bit of breathing room by making a character a pilot, but whatever you do just keep those pilots alive. You also need to get some vehicles with some damage sides out there. Luke Skywalker and Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing feel like obvious choices here, since they come with lots of ranged sides and Luke gives you an extra deckbuilding point to play with. With fifteen points left, Poe Dameron feels pretty good. He lacks Piloting but he is a Pilot (still confusing), his die is strong, and he should be able to finish the plot if Luke dies, which he has a habit of doing.
Poe’s two-focus side and his special can help get you to the ranged sides you need to get rid of those shields. This is the only version of Destroy the Death Star that I have tested and found it very effective until the end when my opponent had defeated Luke and simply removed both of Poe’s dice for two rounds in a row effectively locking me out. This seems like the biggest threat to this plot, that when you are in the final stage your opponent will simply keep you from pulling it off. As far as other options, Han3/Biggs is a classic combo that could be revamped for Destroy the Death Star, or you could switch out Biggs for Hera2 and try throwing the Ghost in there.
5. Spectre Cell
Basics: Gray, Hero, -1 point
At last, the Spectre subtype matters! Negative plots are few and certainly come with strings attached, and Spectre Cell is no different. Like No Allegiance, it sets a limit on the type of characters you can include on your team, although this time limiting you to a certain subtype.
In what I feel like is a theme in this post, I like the idea behind this plot a lot but I’m not too sure about the execution. I don’t blame the plot for this, my problem is with the point distribution among the Spectres. Here are our options with their point values in Standard:
Chopper – 8/11
Ezra Bridger – 8/11
Ezra Bridger – 9/12
Hera Syndulla – 9/12
Kanan Jarrus – 8/11 (This is Kanan’s cost when pair with other Spectres, which he must be to use the plot so that’s the cost we will use moving forward.)
Sabine Wren – 10/13
Zeb Orrelios – 11/14
In order to use the plot, we need a combination here that adds up to 31 points. One question is that if you’re going to include Hera and Sabine, how much do you lean into vehicles and piloting? Is there an effective way to get a Spectre rainbow? One possibility is eZeb/Kanan/Hera, which does give you rainbow. Throw Ghost and a couple of Resistance Crait Speeders in the deck to get some benefit from Hera, put some Redeploy weapons in there, and take advantage of having all three colors to give you the best mitigation and action cheating.
6. Valorous Tribe
Basics: Gray, Hero, 3 points
The Covert Missions set gives us access to some pretty cool elite non-uniques and on the hero side we get Kashyyyk Warriors, Tarfful, the Vengeful Wookie, and a handful of events, supports, and upgrades that are Wookie-specific. We also get Valorous Tribe, a plot that gives heroes even more healing, because they didn’t have enough already. But far be it from me to make fun of Wookies.
Aggro decks tend to focus on bursting one character down and defeat them as quickly as possible, which helps them turn off access to certain colors and reduce the number of dice in your pool. Tribe not only heals but it also spreads the damage out, which dramatically cuts down on an aggro deck’s ability to burst a character down. The only deck I’ve used Valorous Tribe with has one elite and one non-elite Kashyyyk Warrior and a Vigilant Jedi. I also threw two Fortitudes and six healing cards in the deck just to maximize my characters’ staying power. It’s definitely a little thing, but using Tribe to spread the damage out to your Wookies makes Wookie Rage very potent. I think Tribe’s value is greatest in three-wides, but using with Chewbacca is also no joke. Tribe is just one more piece of ammunition on the Wookies’ crossed ammo belts.
7. Coaxium Heist
Basics: Yellow, Neutral, 0 points
This is the only one of the new plots that I haven’t tried at least building a deck with. It’s a pretty interesting idea, giving your opponent an additional 7 health with which to start the game. If your opponent doesn’t start with the battlefield and get the 2 shields, they essentially have 9 more health than they would otherwise. Fulfilling the plot is going to mean hitting the Pyke Sentinel pretty quickly, preferably with enough dice leftover to pull the mission off in the same turn. Ten resources gives you a lot to work with as far as ramp and mitigation. If you can pull it off with a hard-hitting aggro deck like Kragan/Pyre you can get the Pirate Ship in play, along with a couple of Entourages, Megablaster Troopers, and Raiding Parties. Your opponent should be wary about using the Pyke Sentinel’s guardian ability, since that will play into your objective, and will probably only do so to break up a base damage side from a modifier or some similar circumstance. Coaxium Heist is also a mission plot, and I’ve heard at least one mill player suggest using it to get full use out of the Covert Mission event, utterly ignoring the mission itself since additional health doesn’t matter to a mill win condition. Of course, that means you have to play mill.