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DECEMBER 24, 2019.
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5 DECKS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON:
Written By CLAUS STAAL
I know that in many parts of the world Christmas presents are ripped open on Christmas Day, December 25, but in Denmark we open our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, and while many of you - if you are anything like me - have positive news from Fantasy Flight Games regarding Star Wars Destiny at the very top of your wish list, I still thought I'd give you a little something, so here's my present for you guys: 5 DECKS to enjoy for the Holiday season and all of them using characters that have had their points cost reduced in the recent Holocron update for Standard Format.
I haven't had time to thoroughly test all the decks so the current builds might be sketchy at best, but I do believe that all of them are playable - although not necessarily competitive - in the current format.
I've had loads of fun trying to build decks with the new Holocron changes and hope you get a bit of time during the Holidays to get your Destiny decks out and play with friends and family! You access all the decks on swdestinydb (just click the deck list image), and play them right off the bat, or start tinkering with them yourself! Let me know what your favourite versions are!?
When I saw Nicolas Cuenca from The Hyperloops advertise TARKIN and JABBA THE HUTT - RENOWED GANGSTER as a viable character pairing I was definitely intrigued. Tarkin is just one of these characters that ought to be good, and I play tested him A LOT with both Seventh Sister as well as Snoke, but he just never felt as good as he was supposed to be in theory. You know, theory.
If you treat Jabba the Hutt - Renowed Gangster as an aggro character his Special sides would need to be at least worth 2 damage to be on par with other aggro characters in that points range, 11/14e, while 3 damage (on the Special) would definitely increase its value and 4+ would just be crazy good.
The only problem is that you'll need to include loads of really crappy upgrades and supports to increase the value of Jabba's Special, which is kind of detrimental to the efficiency of the deck, and that's where Grand Moff Tarkin really shines ... turning crap into gold. That's a skill - or in this case a Power Action.
Using upgrades - which really sees very little play and for good reason - like SKILLED TRACKER, UNDERHANDED TACTICS and UNSCRUPULOUS is normally a recipe for defeat, but when they can boost the damage potential of Jabba's Special AND later be removed for damage with Tarkin's Power Action they might just be worth it. Turning crap into gold!
I was really unsure on whether to include more upgrades or the expensive, but powerful MEGABLASTER TROOPERS. They don't offer any Special sides to go with Jabba, but there's plenty of damage sides as well as Blanks to remove for Indirect damage with Tarkin's Special. At the end of the day, I think Megablasters are going to be worth it. You have two Leaders and no matter which character is around for the end game, the Megas are going to pull their weight. In this version I've added DELVE, but it might be worth considering other ramp cards instead, since it only has one target, which combined with BARTERING and the inherent Resource sides of Jabba The Hutt should be able to accumulate enough resources to get them in play early.
If you remove Delve you could add either two Truce, Well-Connected and/or Logistics (No Good To Me Dead is also an option) and get Theed Royal Palace back in the deck again to replace SALT FLATS, which honestly looks like the stronger set-up since it enables both Megablaster Troopers, but also allows you to just stack upgrades on your characters.
EDIT: More play testing has proven that the Megablaster Troopers are absolutely necessary in this deck and I've removed Delve to make space for two No Good To Me Dead, but would imagine that Logistics would be equally good since you have Resource sides on a number of your upgrade dice.
The removal suite has caused me a lot of trouble, mostly because there's not a lot of good stuff available, and the many one-offs in the list just shows where my mind is at. I'm reluctant to double up on THE BEST DEFENSE... with more and more aggro decks making a showing, while relying too heavily on Jabba to stick around prevents me from adding both ENTANGLE and Electroshock, but I'll need more games in to see how conditional cards like BROWBEAT and ROUT works out.
Cards like FREE-FOR-ALL and ACT OF CRUELTY adds a bit of surprise out of hand damage and Free-For-All can combine with Tarkin's Power Action to be a nasty endgame card converting all your worthless Specials into a tons of damage.
At our recent Christmas Party Tournament at my FLGS, I brought an eKallus/eSnoke /Sep.Conspiracy and got absolutely destroyed by an eZeb/eJyn deck. It was a brutal massacre.
It's an aggro deck similar to eJyn/eCass, which so far has been used only sparsely, and while it's debatable if Zeb Orrelios is better in that slot than Cassian Andor, he does have a higher direct damage ceiling, more damage sides, more health and allows the inclusion of some fun tech cards. I post the list as it looked after my first attempt at 30 cards mostly for you to see a bit of my thought process.
I couldn't make up my mind on the upgrade package, so it's currently all over the place. While I've had my love for Quicksilver Baton rekindled, it's definitely not the right fit here since only Jyn Erso is a Leader, but I think that the A300 BLASTER, JYN ERSO'S BLASTER and HANDHELD L-S1 CANNONS is the core that should be considered indispensable. There are several 3cost upgrades that could be considered for the deck, including Han Solo's Blaster and Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle.
One of my favourite things about the pairing is how incredibly aggro they are and adding cards like COUNTER STRIKE, FOCUSED FIRE and SLICE AND DICE, can make for some sick first rounds threatening to show lethal on low to midhealth characters and with a bit of luck even a 12 health character.
Counter Strike has great synergy with Zeb's ability allowing you to use it to resolve his dice whenever an opponent has resolved either Melee or Ranged damage, while Slice and Dice allows you to distribute damage from Zeb's damage sides, and even at a discount if you have two 3 Melee sides showing, to several of an opponent's characters - bypassing shields in the process.
The REX - CLONE CAPTAIN and CLONE TROOPER combo is really good as it opens up for cards that would normally be risky playing. Adding HAN SOLO - OLD SWINDLER allows you to add good mitigation, usually the biggest weakness of monored decks. Being able to run EASY PICKINGS, FLEE THE SCENE and HASTY EXIT drastically increase the quality of your mitigation suite.
The first choice is whether to go elite on Rex, who's now 10/13e, or add a second die to Han Solo. Their dice are arguably equally strong with Han Solo's Power Action making it up for the 2 Indirect damage side on Rex's dice. Rex has an additional point of health and adding RIOT SHIELDS into the equation will be better at protecting that extra die, while he'll obviously have a giant mark on his back risking being focused down early.
Your most important upgrades are, obviously, your three 2 cost guns, with REX'S BLASTER PISTOL expected to carry a lot of weight, while the HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON as per usual will add massive firepower to your deck and there should be plenty of base damage sides to make 50% of the sides super lethal. If you don't already own two of those babies go out and get them NOW! They've been staples in plenty of my decks ranging from support to pure aggro builds.
I also really wanted to try out the EL-16 HEAVY FIELD BLASTER and although it only has modified sides, the die is pretty nuts if it modify either Rex's or the Clone Trooper dice, which puts it well above the curve. The reroll on one of your character dice, re. the Clone Trooper after ability, should give you plenty of chances to maximise results from the EL-16. I also added HAN SOLO'S BLASTER, but that's a flex spot that could be Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle instead.
Because you will consistently control the Battlefield, cards like Hasty Exit and FRESH SUPPLIES will be extremely good, and I imagine the deck working best if you use the first round to ramp: Fresh Supplies, use THEED ROYAL PALACE to go to 4 resources and play two upgrades/supports round 1. You have 29 health, as well as two Field Medics, so tanking early damage should be doable, concentrate on ramping and saving mitigation for the midgame.
SEIZE THE DAY and FOCUSED FIRE gives you a bit of surprise and power needed to finish off characters in the endgame. A Clone Trooper with an EL-16 Heavy Field Blaster can Focus Fire most characters off the board.
I really wanted to try out a LAAT GUNSHIP deck and with FINN - SOLDIER OF NECESSITY reduced to 11/14e there was room for both YODA - WIZENED MASTER and ARMORED REINFORCEMENT, the latter definitely necessary to pull the Gunship from the deck and Yoda able to consistently trigger the Special on the Gunship. While Finn is not exactly the best character with the LAAT Gunship, because he has a modified Ranged damage side that cannot be resolved, Rex or Clone Commander Cody would arguably be better in that slot, I was enticed by the overall quality of his die - potentially boasting 4 damage sides.
The deck is essentially a reworked version of eAayla/ePoe/AR, which is arguably a stronger character pairing, and that deck probably also superior to this one, but hey ... it's the Holiday season ... and Finn needs some love.
The LAAT GUNSHIP was errata'ed straight after its release to prevent the possible infinite loop with Kes Dameron, which now means that the Trooper die that's rolled into the pool (resolving the Special) must be resolved immediately or be removed from the pool! Finn has four resolvable sides, and 3 of those are damage sides. Even though the Finn Special only moves 1 damage, if it is a damage from one of your own characters, that's essentially a 2point damage swing, which makes the outcome of 2 Ranged, 3 Indirect, 1 moved damage or 1 Resource pretty good - especially because you get to reroll the Gunship die and have plenty of ways, yes - looking at you Yoda, to get it flipped back to the Special side. If you can get two or three Specials triggered off the Gunship you are looking at phenomenal value.
AND NOT A WORD ABOUT DESPERATE MEASURES ... DON'T!!
I kind of thought the trick with moving damage tokens from the RESISTANCE CRAIT SPEEDER with Finn's Special was cute so wanted to include that. If you can consistently move damage off the Speeders, the value of their dice would simply be off the chart.
It honestly feels like that between the LAAT Gunship, Resistance Crait Speeders and a couple of HANDHELD L-S1 CANNONS, you'd have enough firepower to give most decks a run for the money.
I've NEVER played PALPATINE - DARTH SIDIOUS because he's always felt immensely over costed, and while I did dabble with him when ORDER 66 was released with Spark of Hope, it always remained theory crafting. At 14/18e, he's still expensive, but considerably more playable (and does come with three good damage sides) and his ability can be extremely powerful.
I've seen several decks using Gideon Hask as sidekick to Palpatine and while I agree that he looks like a great fit, I wanted to try out CAPTAIN PHASMA, since it adds a tiny bit of health, but most importantly gives you access to a Leader, which in turn makes MEGABLASTER TROOPERS and COUNTERINTELLIGENCE playable.
I'm not really sure whether to play with ORDER 66, and therefore more defensive, or go a bit more controlling with Blockade, or simply full metal jacket with Profitable Connections and just aim for early FOCUSED FIRES and PULVERIZES to spike a character round 1, but I'm definitely open to all options. Below is the list with Order 66.
The reason to play Palpatine - Darth Sidious at all is of course the ability to play discounted events with his Power Action and cards like Pulverize as well as the trademark EXECUTE ORDER 66 are obviously immensely powerful options even with just a 1 resource discount, while 2 is amazing! The pièce de résistance though is MOBILIZE: That kind of resource gain is just absolutely broken and should make a first round Megablaster Troopers more than likely (and would be the argument for also adding Vader's Fist - if that tickles your pickle).
QUICKSILVER BATON just seems too good not to include (even if the modified sides can only be resolved together with Palp's dice) and I might end up cutting the A300 BLASTER completely and just add another HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON and simply load the weapons on Phasma. With a bit of luck she might actually end up working as a deterrent to people focusing down Palpatine, and if not, she'll be a force to be reckoned with in the endgame.
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