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Written by CLAUS STAAL
It's a mad world we live in where the meta seemingly is going to be defined by Droids going blippe-deblip, but that's nonetheless what we are seemingly facing here!
There's no denying it, but the Fateful Companion pairing of C-3P0 and hist trusty sidekick R2-D2 could easily be the deck to beat for the foreseeable future. Is it the best deck in the format? Well ... that might still be a bit too early to answer in the affirmative, but they certainly do look strong and while nothing is yet settled regarding the exact character line-up, my early testing definitely puts them right up there with the best of the best.
I've made tons of mistakes testing this deck, so do make sure whether you play it or against it to get all your sequencing right. I'll be going over some of the common mistakes in the deck analysis, but there are probably plenty I haven't picked up on. Sequencing in this deck is really what can make it or break it.
As a side note it's worth mentioning that this deck is probably one of the most expensive decks around with 12 legendary cards out of 36 cards. OUCH!
R2-D2 in combination with C-3P0 and FATEFUL COMPANIONS was already one of the most talked about combos shortly after Spark of Hope was spoiled. They work so well together that it was necessary to put C-3P0 and their previously preferred Battlefield, Military Camp, on a brand new restricted list for Destiny.
And while the introduction of a restricted list is great idea, and will definitely make it easier to combat game breaking combos in the future, it doesn't entirely solve the problem of this deck. Well ... it's become a whole lot better, but there are still plenty of possibility of running some nasty tricks.
Finding the best running mate for the two fateful companions is somewhat of a challenge. There are several versions circulating with Anakin Skywalker and Satine Kryze, some running small vehicles others going for upgrades, while Luke Magnuson in a previous article suggested an all-star Droid line-up, and we are starting to see variants running elite Aayla Secura as well, but my favourite remains HAN SOLO - OLD SWINDLER. He's relatively cheap, has pretty good die sides and like all our favourite toys comes with some great accessories, including a set of nice golden marbles and a faster than lightning gun. His Power Action can functionally make one of his dice into a 1R/2R/1D/2R/2R/-, which is also not shabby for measly 9/12e!
Sure, you only have a 4dice start, but this rainbow trio will more often than not get the most out of it. You'll want to resolve most of their dice sides most of the time and they are a highly efficient bunch.
3. FATEFUL COMPANIONS:
The challenge of the deck is how to maximise the effect of their after abilities. While Fateful Companions is incredibly powerful, it only allows you to resolve the after ability of a character that has just activated, which means that despite its power the scope is also relatively limited. You'll need to carefully map out your turns to get the most out of it.
Obviously, the more dice you have in the pool simultaneously, the more flexibility is offered from Fateful Companions, and this deck brings several tools to ensure that you have as many options available as possible.
The ability to either turn a die to any side or resolve a die immediately increasing its value by 1, as long as you spot both C-3P0 and R2-D2, and do either of these things twice, is just nuts. It makes for so many broken plays, BUT it doesn't all come on its own. Setting up the most powerful plays is your main aim in this deck (it really is in any deck, but here you get to take maximum control of your own destiny).
Provided that you manage to get as many dice in the pool as possible when you activate BOTH R2-D2 and C-3P0, you'll be looking at an wide array of possibilities to apply pressure on your opponent by either disrupting his resources, ramping to provide more dice in the pool in future rounds, or simply putting damage on his character to spike a character as early as possible. A round 1 kill on a low health character is definitely a possibility with this deck. You could even deplete an opponent's hand by discarding 4 cards from it to all but end an opponent's round.
Those plays are made available by your plot and the real power of it is that it almost always offers you several options, several lines of play and several outs when you need it the most.
Lastly, a relatively underappreciated effect of the Fateful Companions, which might not be so important now, but could be as more sets are released, is the fact that it also enables cards that require you to spot plots.
To help you set up as many of these plays as possible there are several cards that functionally are enablers in the deck.
The most important is by far REX'S BLASTER PISTOL. This is essentially your replacement for the restricted Military Camp. As long as you have control of the Battlefield, which you will most of the time because you are a fast paced deck, and have Rex's Blaster attached to R2-D2, you'll be able to activate both your Droids and potentially maximise gain from the Droids' abilities and that of the Fateful Companion plot. You will want to see that in your starting hand every single game! Due to the timing of 'after abilities' Rex's Blaster needs to go on R2-D2 to get the all the benefits.
I'm mentioning this because I myself in some of my test games mistakenly used Rex's Blaster Pistol on C-3P0 to activate both Droids and their after abilities. IF the blaster is on C-3P0, his ability is already in the queue and needs to be fully resolved before R2-D2's ability is being resolved.
Nonetheless, Rex's Blaster Pistol can put in loads of work, and it only requires a few games to understand why it is so quintessential for your game flow, and it can be combined with cards like INSTIGATE and DROIDS' DAY OUT for some serious action cheat:
- Instigate to activate Han Solo,
- Ambush to activate R2-D2 with Rex's Blaster Pistol,
- Turn any die (or two dice if using Fateful Companions)
- Activate C-3P0 with the Blaster Pistol after ability,
- Use C-3P0's ability to resolve one die increasing the value by 1 (or two dice if you haven't used Fateful Companions yet).
I consider those 6 cards plenty to get the action cheat engine going, but if you really feel the need for speed, you could consider adding Seize The Day or Drop In, but the latter is risky as you have a pretty poor Battlefield roll-off with just 4dice and an average of 0.95/die. So far, I've been satisfied without any of them.
We already covered the importance of Rex's Blaster Pistol as an indispensable upgrade in this deck! But the upgrade suite includes a wealth of great upgrades that can all have a massive impact on your game plan.
CHEWBACCA'S BLASTER RIFLE really hasn't received the amount of attention it deserves. Sure, it's a 3cost upgrade without Ambush or Redeploy, but on the other hand it can incredibly powerful to be able to resolve the die twice on the round it's played and having the means to ensure that it will always a high damage side (R2-D2's ability), 4 Ranged damage if you can afford it or alternatively 3 Ranged, AND being able to resolve it increasing its value by 1 (C-3P0's ability) makes this gun nuts! Any of your characters become monstrous with this clutched in their hands (one can only imagine what R2-D2 looks like with a Blaster Rifle).
HAN SOLO'S BLASTER
The replacement for the old DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol and oh boy what a replacement. It's the perfect action cheat sidearm when equipped on Han Solo and forcing an opponent to remove a die showing damage is just the beautiful icing on the cake. There are plenty of combo opportunities if you have a Rex's Blaster Pistol in play or any of the action cheat cards, i.e. Droids' Day and/or Instigate, in hand. Even the 1 Ranged damage side cannot take away my joy with this destructive piece!
There's been some discussions regarding the "you may force and opponent to remove one of their dice showing damage. Then ...". In order to proceed to the "Then ..." part you have to fully resolve the sentence that preceedes it: You will have to be able to force an opponent to remove a die showing damage.
HAN SOLO'S DICE
Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Han Solo's Dice, UNLESS they go on Han Solo. On Han though they are just outright broken! They ensures that he NEVER EVER has any Blank sides on his character dice and combined with his Power Action he has some of the best dice in the game ... pun absolutely intended. They also usually pay for themselves by giving you a resource the first time they are rolled into the pool and if needed can be replaced by another upgrade later on to actually give you a net gain!
The HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON remains one of my absolute favourite guns. It's has huge damage sides and is great together with either R2-D2 and/or C-3P0. Three easy resolvable damage sides and the modified side can be combo'ed with either Rex's Blaster Pistol, Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle or Han Solo's Blaster. That can easily be lethal if you stir a bit of action cheat into the pot. I'm still not entirely sure if this is a two-off, in which case it'd replace one of the Chewie's Blaster Rifles or keeping it as a one-off.
SALVAGED ARM doesn't add another die to the pool, but is effectively a +1 modifier to any of attached character's dice (or for Mr. Bones' support die). If resolved with the after ability of C-3P0 you can fire shots from Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle for 6 Ranged damage! That's pretty crazy. Normally being reliant on a few dice can be a definite weakness, but because of C-3P0's ability to resolve them and get them out of the pool before they can be removed you should be pretty safe.
I've been on and off with MR. BONES in this deck. On one hand he is really a killer support with an above average die, a great ability, but on the other hand he feels like he's slowing the deck down unless he's activated with Droids Day Out.I understand why some players might be tempted at trying a more aggressive approach with Mr. Bones, i.e. adding cards like Energize, to go all in on ensuring a reactivation on Mr. Bones, but that's probably a trap in this deck. Your droid dice are generally not good enough to pay to get them back into the pool without the added bonus of their after ability. I'd also be a bit nervous to invest too much in a support that can fairly easily be removed.
7. REMOVAL CARDS:
AUTOMATED DEFENSE should almost always be available. Being able to remove any die is great in a deck otherwise marred by restricted removal.
Normally players go for one of the Droids, which is why I've had no concerns running several cards requiring you to spot yellow, and Easy Pickings is just too good to not bring. Don't let it sit in your hand for too long. Remove the dice when you can. It's most of the time even worth removing Blanks before they are being rerolled into dice sides you can't touch with the Easy Pickings. I often see players wait for their opponent to turn their dice with Focuses before hoping to remove the turned dice. Unfortunately, good players will be wary of that risk and will know how to play around your mitigation.
If you are afraid of the reliance on spot yellow cards in the deck, approx.20% of the mitigation, then you can swap Entangle for either Beguile or another of my favourite cards Repulse. I've just been a bit reluctant with Repulse due to emergence of Rey3/Kylo3 decks as well as my expectance to see more Vaders, Yoda's, etc. in the format. Entangle will in some instances only remove one die, but should most of the time reliably remove two. It's a tad expensive, but you are running a relatively cheap mitigation suite.
I count both SUPPRESSIVE FIRE and FIELD MEDIC as mitigation, which then makes for a total of 13 mitigation cards in the deck, which is pretty high, but two of your characters are just 8 health characters and they really need as much protection as they can get. Suppressive Fire slows you down a bit, but is great against decks like Vader/x, while also being good in the mirror match as long as you control the Battlefield.
HASTY EXIT wasn't included in my first iterations of the deck, but seeing how fast the deck operates and how reliably it can claim the Battlefield against all but the speediest of decks it felt justified to add another free piece of mitigation especially for your opening hand. Just be careful to get your timings right for your activations, especially if you have Rex's Blaster Pistol in play because its ability requires you to control the Battlefield, before you use Hasty Exit. Only being able to remove damage sides haven't really been any problem. You have plenty of other mitigation that targets non-damage sides.
As some of you might know by now, I really love to hate on HIDDEN MOTIVE and yet it always feels like a must include. It's free and usually has 33% chance of removing a die, but against more consistent dice the probability rise. If we start seeing Pulse Cannons, etc., it's going to be crazy good.
The utility of this card makes it one of the best blue mitigation cards. Sure, giving your opponent 2 Shields is not exactly a dream scenario, but it's great when your opponent has already stacked 3 Shields on them and avoiding a massive hit to the face is probably still preferable. Being able to target your own Blanks to give one of your characters shields is also a strong play and is usually better than removing a single 2 Damage side.
9. TECH CARD:
Although we do not have access to as powerful a card as Desperate Measures, we do have access to the poor man's version, and in this instance it actually turns out to be the rich man's version: DISMANTLE. It's difficult to remove big supports, but reasonably simple to remove 2-3 cost supports, i.e. Aphra's murderous droids BT-1 and 0-0-0 or even Entourage (although that's almost never feels good - blowing up their second Entourage is probably a better idea), while it excels at getting rid of low cost supports like Suppressive Fire, Separatist Embargo, etc.
I think COMM TOWER is probably the best Battlefield for this deck. It helps you "solve the problem" of speed in a deck with mixed damage sides and can also boost some of your weaker dice. You can either claim out dealing damage or turn those 1 Discard sides into a powerful end of round plays forcing your opponent to lose the remaining cards in their hand, ensuring you'll keep initiative and leaving your opponent with few choices.
I'm also still not giving up on Mean Streets as an alternative, but you'd probably need to reshuffle your mitigation suite a bit to get the most out of it then, possibly adding cards like Flee The Scene and Snuff Out.
As already stated in this article, you want to see a first round Rex's Blaster Pistol and if there's any risk of you losing it turn 1, i.e. Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder or Separatist Embargo, play it on R2-D2 at the first chance given.
You'll also want to see either a Han Solo's Dice or maybe a Salvaged Arm early, while a combination of mitigation is nice, whether it's Hidden Motive and/or Pacify combined with either Suppressive Fire/Easy Pickings.
If you are playing against fast aggro decks you might want to consider keeping Han Solo's Blaster Pistol and find a way to play it on Han Solo round 1 (that does require a bit of luck though if you ALSO want Rex's Blaster Pistol in play).
12. CARDS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER:
There are plenty of flex spots in the deck and there are so many variants of this deck already, but you might want to consider these three cards. The MILLENNIUM FALCON keeps your deck speedy and can really add some bite to your deck and if you prioritise resources early, you'll be able to get it down round 1. The REPUBLIC CRUISER also really looks strong and can be worth a lot of Shields throughout a game.
You should probably find space for an EWOK AMBUSH. It allows you to activate both your Droids and gives you Ambush as well. Great if you don't find a Rex's Blaster Pistol early and can put loads of dice into the pool in one swift go.
13. ALTERNATIVE LIST:
14. PARIS GQ WINNER:
15. TEST GAMES:
YOUR Destiny Patrons already have access to quite a few test games via our Discord Channel. I might be using slightly different decks in the games, but at least 90% of the deck should be the same as discussed in this article!
If you are already a patron, then just drop by the Discord Channel and find all the videos in the Discord Sub-Channel. ENJOY!
We also have plenty of games available featuring this character team in our YouTube Channel!
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