eKes/eRex - Deck Analysis

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1. INTRODUCTION:
Written By CLAUS STAAL

Red heroes did receive their fair share of love, alongside red villains, in Convergence, but as most people would agree it was also about friggin' time! There hasn't been a lot to get excited about for red heroes since the days of ePoe/eMaz running riot, and while there's been few ups, i.e. the rise of the eRey2/ePoe2 deck, nicknamed R2P2, there's been a lot more downs.

This deck was piloted by DHaus of The Jedi Trials to the top spot in a 21-player local tournament, and although I recently featured it in my lists of "5 Decks I Would NOT Bring to A GQ" it's nonetheless deserving of a deck analysis (and we also added it to the YOUR Destiny Gauntlet)! It's both a fun deck, one that's not seen too often at competitive events (if that matters to you) and gives an opportunity to sleeve up some cards you rarely get to play, while adding plenty of tricks and power cards to give most decks a decent run for their money!

It's NOT going to consistently defeat Snoke's Unholy Trinity or 3wide Talzin, but then again not a lot of decks do that in a direct comparison, but it does do reasonably well against most other decks in the format and stands a fair chance wrestling down mill decks.

2. CHARACTERS:
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REX - CLONE CAPTAIN
I really want to play Rex, but there wasn't really a good pairing for him. It's obviously questionable whether a monored environment gets the best out of him, but the new focus on subtypes has definitely made his stock rise a bit.

With loads of new powerful events that are triggered by Battlefield control, similar to the old crazy good Defensive Position, as well as active Battlefields with great Power Actions or action: abilities, Rex's ability to take battlefield control even when you lose the claim can be vital to the success of this deck and maybe even the archetype itself.rex kes2jpg
His die is NOT particularly impressive for a 11/14e character, the 2 Indirect damage being particularly annoying (I'd trade that for a 1 Ranged damage side any day), but is made up for by his 11hp. With red heroes' access to healing cards galore, this can easily be boosted throughout the course of a game.

KES DAMERON
I honestly hated Kes Dameron from the beginning. The only reason, I started looking into him was because the design team screwed up with the wording on the LAAT Gunship allowing it to be become a part of an Infinite loop when used in conjunction with Kes Dameron's 2 Focus side! That was errata'ed when the Balance of The Force and the new Holocrons dropped, and I was back to (just) hating him!kes dameron comicjpg
And just in case you're wondering what the relationship is between Kes Dameron and Poe Dameron, then the latter is the son of Sergeant Kes Dameron and Lieutenant Bey.

ANYWAYS ... main problem with Kes Dameron is his steep price, 13/16e, coupled with a die with a payside. That's one of the biggest no-go's for me, especially in a deck that is poor as a church-mouse, and the only reason to even consider Kes is due to his action: that allows you to resolve an of your Trooper dice in the order of your choice, which in turn makes his 2 Focus sides really good as well as the action cheating possibilities real!

Kes Dameron and Rex share two subtypes, Trooper and Leader, without doubt the two subtypes that matter the most, and the deck is stuffed with cards that take advantage of either.kex herojpgThis deck will forever be known as KEX & GUNS (which kinda makes sense if you are from Scandinavia)! Delicious!

3.UPGRADES/SUPPORTS:
rex kes3jpgThe A-300 BLASTER and E-11 BLASTER are your two staple redeployable guns! They are both decent with 50% damage sides and while none of them are really outstanding, you'll still want to see at least one gun in your opening hand. These are not priorities, but are definitely better than not having upgrades at all. The fact that there's no resource side(s) on the A-300 is really a nuisance. Two 1 Disrupt sides just suck compared to a 1:1 split between a Resource:Disrupt side.

HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON
Premium upgrade and still one of my favourite upgrades: HUGE Damage sides and although the 3 Indirect payside can be annoying in round 1, where you might find it difficult to find the resources to resolve it, it nonetheless has incredible value and can be a devastating endgame piece! The Indirect damage sides actually make Rex's dice (feel) a bit stronger as well ... resolving 2 Indirect damage (From Rex) can at times feel a bit m'eh, but resolving 5 or 7 Indirect damage can easily put one or more characters within kill range of a fast Seize the Day fueled activation!rex kes5jpg
REX'S BLASTER PISTOL is definitely the most important early weapon upgrade in the deck and secures all the speed you need to spring some nasty surprises! It has good damage sides for a 2cost upgrade and as long as you control the battlefield, it allows you to put all your dice into the pool in one swift go. The ability to play two Blasters on Rex is important because it's better than all the other guns but the Handheld L-S1 Cannon, and you can play both while improving your odds of drawing it in your starting hand.rex kes6jpgThere's absolutely no doubt though that the BEST upgrade/support in the deck is the CONSCRIPT SQUAD as it does not only offer you speed, but also an ok'ish Trooper die for Measure for Measure, and it also but replaces the need for Rex's Blaster Pistol in your starting hand. If I could choose, I'd definitely aim for the Conscript Squad!

If you can get both Conscript Squads down, you're absolutely set and should be able to pour as many as 7 dice into the pool round 1 (6 is more like it, but your ceiling is higher - that's never gonna happen though).rex kes7jpg
Because both Kes Dameron and Rex are Troopers the RIOT SHIELD is crazy good in this deck. You can play it at any time and on any character for full effect without really losing tempo and therefore not at risk of losing the claim.

Same with SUPPRESSIVE FIRE, which in an age of focuses and otherwise irremovable dice can be one of your best defenses against early ramp or those rounds of crazy focused damage! Suppressive Fire, same as Riot Shield, can be used after you claim, which enables your next round while not leaving you totally open to abuse.

4. HEALING CARDS:
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Monored heroes' best mitigation cards has almost since the beginning of the game been healing, and while it doesn't remove unwanted dice that enables your opponent's ramp it can go a long way to keep your characters alive long enough for them to cheat in a kill and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Both FIRST AID and FIELD MEDIC are excellent cards and a first round First Aid can be absolutely nuts against aggro decks ... Do look out for those late Probes though! It's pretty easy for your opponent to figure out that you are lingering around with a round 1 First Aid if you keep on passing after he starts durdling to maximise his dice! Also be aware that aiming to capitalise on the First Aid in round 1 probably means you'll lose the claim!

5. RAMP CARDS:

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One of the reasons why maintaining battlefield control without having to pay with Rex's ability is FRESH SUPPLIES! It gives you decent ramp while allowing you to both play an upgrade and resolve your paysides if needed, i.e. the 3 Indirect for 1 on the Handheld or the 3 Ranged for 1 on Kes.

MOTIVATE is your more flexible version of Logistics. It's definitely the most powerful when used early on a Resource side allowing you to play several upgrades/support round 1, i.e. the dream is of course two Conscript Squad into a Resource side on a character die, Motivate for 2 resources and play a Rex's Blaster! BOOM! Motivate can also be used for those surprise shots with Kes ... and suddenly his crap payside doesn't look THAT BAD anymore!

6. SEIZE THE DAY:

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Red heroes might have lost Hit and Run to rotation, but SEIZE THE DAY is not a bad replacement and it looks particularly good in this deck where the combination of dice with plenty of damage sides as well as Kes Dameron's action: can lead to you sniping off characters! Seize the Day is great as of round 2 - round 1 it sucks though and you'll want to save it for later!

7. REMOVAL CARDS:
kes rex11jpgMEASURE FOR MEASURE is the new He Doesn't Like You and both your characters are Troopers. It can also be used on the Conscript Squad die, which I prefer as the character dice are normally quite valuable. 0 cost removal is always precious!

NEAR MISS allows you to remove ANY die which is great, but because it requires two characters sharing subtype (and not just cards), it makes sense to have it as a one-off as it will be dead in your hand when one of your characters is defeated!kes rex20jpg
ROUT can be a potentially devastating piece of removal. It breaks even when removing 1 die (3 dice in your pool), while breaking the curve if removing 2+ (6-9-12 dice in your pool). You'll rarely have 6 dice sitting in the pool though, and in the current meta it feels extremely vulnerable to let too many dice sit unresolved for too long. The mitigation suites in most decks is extremely powerful!

SUPERIOR POSITION is, like all the removal in this deck, just a solid piece of conditional removal! As long as you control the Battlefield, you'll be able to remove ANY die!

8. BATTLEFIELD:
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The deck plays SALT FLATS to make sure that there's either a bit of free mitigation (blanking out an opponent's die), but more significantly, it allows you to flip any of your character dice to any side, i.e. the Kes' die into a 2 Focus, which gives you a significant amount of consistency and can be really devastating in conjunction with Seize the Day and Kes Dameron's action:.

I'm not going to be surprised if people opted for Military Camp over Salt Flats and can't really argue against it either! I think it really comes down to preference, and you should probably get some games in with either and see what feels the best to you!

9. MULLIGAN:
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The dream is to get both Conscript Squads in your opening hand, but you should at least try and dig for one! I'd drop everything, but one upgrade and one of your ramp cards, i.e. Motivate or Fresh Supplies, in order for you to find the Conscript Squad! Against most aggro/support decks, I'd try and get a First Aid + a removal card, i.e. Measure for Measure or even a Suppressive Fire. Suppressive Fire is in fact the better card against Snoke's Unholy Trinity as it allows you to remove the Watto die!

10. SEQUENCING:
This deck plays fairly straight forward ... get an upgrade/Conscript Squad in play and start getting dice in the pool! I prefer to get Kes' dice in the pool first before playing an upgrade unless I get a Conscript Squad in which case I want it down! Having Kes' dice out shows you want options you have! Do you hit the 3 Ranged for 1 and might need the resource to resolve it? Do you hit a Resource side to allow you to ramp (maybe you have a Motivate in hand)? Use Kes Dameron's action: to maximise on damage and finish the round fast enough to get that vital claim!

Usually your opponent will be gunning for Kes Dameron first due to his Focus sides and added consistency, which means that your upgrades should go on Rex unless they have redeploy!

11. TEST GAME:
If you want to hear me whine - BIG TIME - about this deck and maybe see some of the weaknesses of it, then check out this video that previously has been released for our Patrons only. If not for anything else, then have a look at those dope custom playmats that our patron Andreas Lestreus has made for us in the Super Destiny Mod!Rex kes gamejpg

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