5 Things I Learned From GQ Bologna!


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The "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny" is our regular weekly segment here at the YOUR Destiny website and meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically.

The column will be written by our resident writers and their opinions are obviously just opinions - you might disagree, heck, we'd almost be disappointed if you don't disagree! Feel free to participate in the discussion on our Facebook Page!

Today, we'll be looking at "5 Things I've Learned From GQ Bologna", basically going over a few things that has surprised me, made me happy or concerned me from the days spent at the Galactic Qualifier in Bologna!

JUNE 12, 2019.
TODAY'S COLUMNIST:
CLAUS STAAL

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5 THINGS I LEARNED FROM GQ BOLOGNA:

Written by CLAUS STAAL

Normally in my tournament reports, I'd spend some time talking about various decks and point out tendencies in the meta, but since the Galactic Qualifier in Bologna (Italy) was in the awkward position of being squeezed in between the announcement of the Balance of the Force and the effective date of it, it somehow felt as everything that was going to take place would be ancient history even before it took place. Weird, right.

It meant that I made two decisions prior to the event.
  1. I wasn't going to bring a Standard deck that would contain characters or cards that had been affected by the Balance of the Force. This is not an indication of those cards not being worth bringing due to the Balance of the Force, but rather my curiosity towards the options available outside of those cards.
  2. I was going to test decks for the revision of our YOUR Destiny Gauntlet in a competitive setting, event if it was going to be a somewhat rigged environment (with the Balance of the Force) not yet enforced.
The following five points are some of the observations I made during the event although I'd not presume to say that it's an actual tournament report because it's NOT! It's also customary for me to post deck lists after an event, but due to the language barrier, quite a few of the deck lists have cards in Italian/Russian/etc., I've not been able to fully transcribe the deck lists. It's also kind of a moot point as many of the deck lists would have to undergo quite some revisions anyways.

ALSO ... THANK YOU to all the amazing people at the event. There are too many of you to single anyone out, but you really made the entire weekend well worth it, and you are the reason why we travel around Europe for competitive Destiny! Thank you for being so incredibly hospitable and for encouraging us to create even more high quality content in the future! And of course especially Thank you to all the YOUR Destiny patrons that came up and said hi and so generously support us! It's humbling!

1. BACK TO THE FUTURE ...
DELOREAN GQjpgI might not have arrived in Bologna (Italy) in a DeLorean, but it kind of felt like coming back to the future when looking around at gaming tables at the Centro Congressi Artemide. Sure, there were still a fair share of Snoke Unholy Trinity decks, but not nearly as many as one would have expected knowing that the day after the Galactic Qualifier they would be all but a page in history. Instead lots people seemed to be embracing a "long" awaited new meta by bringing what they probably expected to be the next big thing.

I did exactly the same thing for the two Standard events, leaving my Snoke and the Unholy Trinity at home opting to try out decks for the upcoming YOUR Destiny Gauntlet instead.gq1jpg
There are already some clear tendencies forming with Captian Phasma easily one of the most popular characters for Standard and even though I think the ePhasma/Sentinel deck is vastly overrated, there's no denying that it has caught the attention of quite a few players. Which also explains why the average time for selling a Megablaster Troopers is approx. 10 seconds.

It probably also comes down to the fact that the ePhasma/Sentinel deck is great for beginners and advanced players alike, while staying competitive against all but the best decks.

The Sentinel Messenger was found in abundance across character teams and is probably vying for the spot as my choice for "best character of the set" alongside Wat Tambor, who now eclipses Watto after the Balance of the Force has become active.gqjpg
Both Satine Kryze and Lando Calrissian are the go-to money makers for heroes, and I expect Yoda to start appearing A LOT more regularly as well, while Lor San Tekka also edges himself into a number of decks.

2. APHRA WILL BE HUGE!

I took a variation of this deck to one of the Standard events at the Galactic Qualifier in Bologna and although just managing a 4-2 record, I honestly think - despite the relatively poor record - that it is a strong consideration for a pole position in the YOUR Destiny Gauntlet.Aphra Grand Designjpg
It essentially does the same thing as the eGrievous/Aphra/Sentinel deck, but sacrifice consistency for more power. It has an insane draw engine - you are likely to see your entire deck by the end of round 3 - utilising both the Sentinel's additional draw, Grand Design and Doctor Aphra, while potentially getting multiple activations out of supports like the murder droids, 0-0-0 and BT-1, or the scary ass Assassin Droid!dicejpg
At the Galactic Qualifier (Second Standard Event) I also included a Hailfire Droid Tank, and although I'm not entirely sure about the final composition of the deck, I'm confident the core is there (well ... honestly, it was already there with eGrievous/Aphra/Sentinel) and it feels like the choice between the different character variations over the same theme is going to be dependent on how well mill decks are going to position themselves in the meta.

I am absolutely certain though that we'll see lots of variations of Aphra decks for the foreseeable future, and if we receive just one more cheap villain/neutral droid in Spark of Hope, her popularity is likely to continue well into a new meta.

3. THE NEXT GEN IS READY ...
A month or so ago, I learned of the young talented Arianna Ravelli winning a Regional Championship in Italy. I'm almost certain that she's the youngest ever Regional Champion although the equally talented Harvey boys from the UK might have an objection to that?!young uns gqjpg
That's not the point though, but rather in saying that it was an absolute joy watching Arianna and her brother Andreas Ravelli (far left and left in pink/white jerseys on the photo) play their hearts out and manage some really good results in the Galactic Qualifiers alongside their peers Leonardo and Tommaso Zenzola (right and far right wearing the yellow and SW jersey).young onejpg
Watching these young talents play was an absolute joy and they were nothing but outstanding throughout the whole tournament. In between rounds they even found time to play around with each other outside ... boy, the energy of these youngsters! I opted for beer instead.

Anyways ... we've inducted all of them into the YOUR Destiny crew ... you've got to get the talent when able! I hope to see all of them again soon! They definitely put a smile on my face and all but ensures that there will be a new generation of awesome young European Star Wars Destiny players!

4. VENUES ARE IMPORTANT ...
For anyone who has participated in a major Destiny event you'll agree that the choice of venue really matters! For a Galactic Qualifier, you'll be spending some 10-11 hours at the venue, which means that simple things like access to decent toilet facilities, a cafe and/or bar as well as a recreational space, whether outdoor or indoor, is pretty important.venue gqjpg
The space in Bologna was excellent! There was enough space to walk around and watch games and while it could feel a bit crammed at times when playing at the tables, it could easily be fixed. Also, it was really appreciated that the organisers had arranged for an extremely discounted price at the hotel 100 meters from the venue, which meant that I ended up paying around 90€ (approx. 100$) for 3 nights at the hotel! That's pretty cheap and super convenient.

I think Asmodee Italia provided an excellent organisation of the event and it has definitely been one of my most enjoyable tournaments in the last year!pizzajpg
Ah, I guess it's needless to say, but Italy also has one of the world's finest food cultures, perfecting the art of pizza and pasta throughout generations. Man ... it'll be difficult to ever look at pizza the same way again after Matteo Natalini, 2018 Italian Champion, took us all out for a dinner at a nearby rooftop restaurant! THANK YOU!

5. FORMATS ...
Standard format has really been shaken up big time by the release of the latest Balance of the Force and I really think the design team have been spot on with every single of the nerfs!GQ eventjpg
I'm also confident - for now - that it has been the right choice not to hit the supports, i.e. the Unholy Trinity, which were the symptoms of the problem, but instead hit the roots of it, the insane resource generation potential of characters like Snoke and Watto. Let's see if the likes of Yoda, Satine and Lando can pick up the mantle from the disenfranchised villains.missingjpg
TRILOGY and INFINITE is a different story.

I'm pretty sure that Trilogy needs a change! While I agree that Destiny needs an entry level format, which can easily be accessed by newcomers to the game, it is currently a race between two decks and two decks only: eWatto/Wat/Sentinel and ePhasma/x. The nerf to Watto will do little to change this dynamic and at worst push the dominance completely towards Phasma decks.phasmajpgnordics gq list Adamjpg
Both of these lists are the top lists from the Trilogy event in Bologna and there's basically NO DIFFERENCE from the lists that took down the Galactic Qualifier Trilogy event in Malmö a month ago. And why should they differ?! The card pool is so incredible limited that variations will be strictly cosmetic - if even that. I'd strongly suggest for the design team to look into possible changes to the Trilogy format, whether changing the number of sets available or simply discarding them as competitive formats until at least 2 sets are available. Not a lot of excited faces were seen around the gaming tables for the entirety of the Trilogy event!

Infinite Format was even worse ... like MUCH worse! At the Galactic Qualifier in Malmö, Martin Nyberg - Nordic Champion 2018 - brought along an ePoe/eHan deck which he used to pulverize all opposition before him. People took note, and at the Galactic Qualifier in Bologna almost a fourth of all Infinite decks were variations over the same incredibly abusive theme: Action cheat!
action cheatjpg
It's always been difficult to combat action cheat, but in Infinite Format difficult has become impossible!

And while Mean Streets can be extremely good with cards like Snuff Out, Flee the Scene or Entangle, it is ABSOLUTELY BROKEN with cards like Hyperspace Jump and Retreat! And even if you don't get your own battlefield, you still get your own battlefield, because you play Hyperspace Jump and New Order ... sigh!mean streets is brokenjpg
That particular combination basically means that your opponent will never get to play a full round! In my 6 games of Infinite, going 5-1 and facing 3 mirror matches, none of the games lasted more than 10min and the fastest one lastesd 75 seconds. We were done before the match slips had been handed out.

All of these decks gravitate around the same action cheating engine and although character pairings differ, and some use Planned Explosion, i.e. eBiggs/eLando with a Millenium Falcon, others Double Down on Hyperspace Jump and Retreat, i.e. eFenn/eHan, they are no different at all. This deck archetype all but destroys the Infinite Format. It didn't even feel good winning the games I won and the game I lost never felt like a loss. When this deck archetype doesn't win it's a fluke. It should always win.nordics gq list martinjpg
I'd sincerely propose a change to the format and the introduction of a ban and/or restricted list to make the Infinite Format enjoyable again! You'd agree if you've ever sat across from a deck that plays Rex's Blaster into a Hit and Run, to activate both its characters, deliver its payload of deadly laser beams, an Retreat out of there, just to rinse and repeat ... And don't get started with Iden Versio. Been there, done that!

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