ePalpatine/eWatto - Deck Analysis

Palp Watto deck1jpg

1. GENERAL COMMENTS:

Written by CLAUS STAAL

There are generally two distinctly different design philosophies when it comes to Palpatine - Unlimited Power. One, which is the best illustrated in Infinite format, is to load up Palpatine with as many upgrade abilities as fast as possible and just go to town. I brought this deck to the Infinite event at the Galactic Qualifier in Milton Keynes (UK), ended up with a 4-2 record, although I probably should have done one better if I had played slightly tighter, but that's not really the point, but merely looking at the deck list as an example of the above mentioned design philosophy:Palp Watto deck list2jpg
This deck runs very little mitigation, just 2 removal cards and 2 healing cards, and instead evolves around a basic philosophy of optimising your hand and boardstate rapidly, overwhelming your opponent with damage within 2 or 3 rounds. You are supposed to be able to play out your entire hand in one round, redraw with Boundless Ambition, play the remainder of your hand, rinse and repeat the next round. Usually finishing off games with Free-For-All although in many of the games it mostly ended up being a gimmick, because those games would likely have been won regardless.

It isn't really needed to make an in-depth deck analysis, it's quite self-explanatory, but can be summarised like this:Palp Watto deck2jpg
Instead, for the purpose of this deck analysis, we'll be looking at the second design philosophy, which instead opts for a much more regular deck build, keeping closer to the standard 10/10/10 approach to deck construction. One important note is of course that that Infinite Format gives you access to some absolutely broken cards like Sith Holocron and Force Speed, which are not an option in Standard Format, so one might claim that the change of design philosophy is more forced than intended, and while this is true, I'm certain that the more well-rounded decks will see plenty of success.

I'm using Rob Percival's deck list, that went 5-1 at the Galactic Qualifier in Milton Keynes in the Standard event (Day 2) as a template for this kind of deck, but there are loads of people experimenting with Palpatine and still room for improvement. Check out all the decks on swdestinydb or start fiddling yourself!

2. STANDARD DECK LIST:
Palp Watto deck listjpg
[The deck list mistakenly says that cards from Awakenings is used, that's not the case. Both Electroshock and Isolation were reprinted in Convergence!]

3. CHARACTERS:

PALPATINE - UNLIMITED POWER
Palpatine is really a wonderful design! He doesn't feel broken, although all the elements for him to become broken are definitely there. We'll need to reassess him every time a new expansion is being released due to his unique interaction with your deck. Most players will get blindsided by his increase in health for each upgrade ability on him, and that's of course what prompts the name: Unlimited Power, as he can end up being a 20hp monster, although highly unlikely and 13-15hp probably where he'll actually be, but that's still Darth Vader'esque health, whereas his true power is in fact in his dice and Power Action. Palp Watto3jpg
The Power Action can be extremely ABUSIVE, especially when used on upgrades like Force Storm, which can stay in the pool forever, and making sure that those powerful dice has to be removed at least twice can put an incredible amount of pressure on your opponent's mitigation. A  Force Storm can all but end the game if you're given the chance to resolve it 3 or 4 times, which is not that unlikely! Even a Force Wave resolved just twice in a round can be all that is needed to clear the table.

There's probably no doubt that Palpatine's best die side is the 2 Focus, and it really facilitates the mechanics of the deck which is to get as many resolutions as possible out of a few quality dice. While the idea of flooding the pool is great, and sometimes will win you games in conjunction with Free-For-All, usually it's the stronger strategy to put continuous pressure on your opponent by threatening with powerful dice in the pool!

In a 2wide build there are two obvious partners for Palpatine - Unlimited Power:
  1. Watto (Blue/Yellow)
  2. Wat Tambor (Blue/Red)
Going with WAT TAMBOR gives you access to power cards like:Palp Watto4jpg
All cards that can go a long way to keep Palpatine alive and help keep your own dice in the pool, and while Wat Tambor is not the money making machine that Watto is, he's not too shabby at it! His die is in fact arguably better than Watto's in a vacuum. In particular Probe is an amazing card against one of your main enemies: Mill decks!Palp Watto5jpg
WATTO - STUBBORN GAMBLER on the other hand grants access to yellow mitigation, a few upgrade abilities as well as the aforementioned Free-For-All. The real pull here is of course his ability that makes it impossible for your opponent to remove his die and therefore makes him perfect at bankrolling your expensive upgrades on Palpatine. His Power Action can also come in handy as either mitigation, rerolling an opponent's die and even benefiting from it (it's quite the win-win situation), or rerolling his own die to find that resource side you so much crave. I've also found his 2 Disrupt side to be an incredible side midgame when you are already up and rolling with Palpatine. It can both keep your opponent's mitigation at bay or throw a spanner in the works of your opponent's ramp plan.

Neither Wat Tambor nor Watto can really close games on their own, so do expect your game to be pretty done with the moment Palpatine is defeated. GG!

While we examine the ePalpatine/eWatto build in this article, I'll add an example of a Wat Tambor deck list at the end for good measure!

4. UPGRADES:
Your upgrade suite is split into two groups:
  1. Upgrade abilities
  2. Palpatine's Lightsaber
The cost curve of the Upgrade abilities is quite steep, and with no Sith Holocron in sight to cheat them in, you'll need to find the resources to do so, hence the choice of Watto - Luxembourgish Banker as your sidekick.Palp Watto cost curvejpg
I've included the Vader's Fist in the above curve, but excluded the Palpatine's Lightsaber, although neither are upgrade abilities, but you'll still need to find the resources for the Fist and it even tips the scale a bit! It puts your average upgrade cost at 3.08 (with the Fist) and 2.7 (without the Fist).

You'll need to find AT LEAST 1 resource every round to play a single upgrade and playing two upgrades would mean to maximize resource gain from Watto, including getting optimal use out of his Power Action. That's some pretty steep conditions! The rewards are definitely there to reap, but it does make for a pretty tight gameplan. Palp Watto7jpg
FORCE JUMP is your only cheap upgrade ability and it also serves as mitigation. You'll normally not want to focus this die unless there's nothing else to focus OR your opponent has some really nasty damage sides in the pool, and I'm pretty satisfied with just grabbing a Shield of it! Remember that due to the wording on Force Jump, you don't need to Blank a die to do the second part of the Special "Reroll this die instead of removing it". IF it shows a Special and there's nothing to Blank, you can keep rerolling it until it shows a Blank or a Shield. You'll want the Shield.

FORCE LIFT
I used to hate this card, but I've softened up towards it. It can bounce a support back into your opponent's hand, and while it can't do sh*t about Vader's Fist or Megablaster Troopers it can still take care of Entourage and Padmé Amidala's Royal Starship, that's functionally a 3 Disrupt, and if not it still represents 2 damage! And it has those sweet focuses.Palp Watto8jpg
FORCE STORM is absolutely NUTS! At a glance it looks kinda expensive, but when try and play with this beauty just once and you're absolutely sold on it! IT'S STUPIDLY GOOD!

Many are the stories of players who, with fire in their eyes, tell of how THAT FORCE SPECIAL just decimated their entire character line-up. It's not unusual to deal 6 damage off the Force Storm in your first go, but it escalates and the stats are nuts!Force Storm damagejpg
FORCE WAVE stacks damage even more insanely, but you'd never be able to afford to resolve it continuously in the same way as a Force Wave. BUT, just resolving it twice is already pretty insane! And can't even believe I didn't include it in my own Infinite list - total oversight on my part.Palp Watto9jpg
SORESU TRAINING and SORESU MASTERY are interesting includes and could possibly have been other upgrade abilities instead, but the selection is quite slim in Standard format, and opting for quality over quantity is a major directive in this deck.

Neither of the cards are bad though and removing a die showing damage when playing the Soresu Mastery is pretty solid, so is the discount from Soresu Training if you hit the Special and have the Mastery in either hand or discard pile. These are probably the upgrade abilities that makes you the least happy unless you have both in your hand!Palp Watto14jpg
I've never had two PALPATINE'S LIGHTSABER on Palpatine, but it's a pretty dope weapon and allowing you to have two is awesome! The moment you have two upgrade abilities down, AND you have two resources, it's free to play (well ... you pay 2 Resources and get 2 back), and that's crazy! That's some crazy value for that upgrade! The die sides are pretty good for a 2 cost upgrade and can suddenly make Palpatine's 2 Melee side lethal!

5. SUPPORTS:
Palp Watto10jpg
FORBIDDEN LORE is good with Palpatine in Standard format, it's like a Well-Connected where you get all the benefits, and the draw advantage is hugely important in this deck. It'll allow you to, with relative ease, play out one of your two premium upgrades or a second tier ability and replace with what you just drew into. It's not a tutor, thank goodness for that, but it's definitely strong.

I like VADER'S FIST in this deck! You'll have difficulty playing it early, but if both your characters are alive midgame it can definitely rock the game in your favor. Vader's Fist is as powerful as ever and it can actually make an endgame without Palpatine a winnable situation. For that reason alone I recommend its inclusion!fistojpg
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6. REMOVAL:

Palp Watto11jpgBEGUILE, HIDDEN MOTIVE and ISOLATION are all core removal cards (2 each), and Hidden Motive is definitely my least favourite, although it's 0 cost, it can be a real gamble with all the Focus sides floating around. I'd probably consider exchanging it for Doubt instead.Palp Watto12jpg
There could actually be arguments for adding two copies of ELECTROSHOCK and just a single Isolation as to not make the reliance on Palpatine too big, and although the provision of only being able to remove dice with a value of 2 or less with Electroshock makes it less reliable, it doesn't change much from Isolation that only removes character dice.

BY ANY MEANS is great for diverting damage to Watto and the trade off is great: 1 damage in return for a big die side ... pftt ... what's not to like. I'd even consider adding another copy of this in place of one of the other 1 cost mitigation cards.

FORSAKEN
Probably one of the best, if not THE BEST, new removal cards in Convergence! Normally, it'd be difficult for you to set up Forsaken since both your characters are elite, but due to Palpatine's Power Action and Vader's Fist you can easily facilitate it! PREMIUM removal!

7. TECH CARDS:
Palp Watto13jpgBACTA THERAPY is your replacement for Rise Again, and it looks pretty good on Palpatine, who'll more often than not heal 5 damage! As an upside you'll get to discard all injuries on that character (not that I've seen any yet). Remember that Bacta Therapy contrary to Palpatine's own ability works with all upgrades not just upgrade abilities.

FREE-FOR-ALL is your sneaky end-the-game piece. It's not really that much of a secret, but it's pretty cute. Rolling in 7 dice to deal 7 Indirect damage to end the game ... DONE!

8. BATTLEFIELD:
Palp Watto battlefieldjpgYou are not the fastest deck nor the slowest in the format. Choosing OBI-WAN'S HUT is the safe choice. It will usually benefit your opponent as much as it will you, but nothing that will hurt your gameplan too much if your opponent gets the claim, while SALT FLATS is the active battlefield that can put a lot of pressure on your opponent (Palpatine is a leader), but also really be nasty when used against you.

There are blue characters and leaders a plenty in the current meta, so dependent on your own preferred playstyle, I'll leave the choice with you!

9. MULLIGAN STRATEGY:
HAND Palpatine ARTICLE2jpgYou want an early Forbidden Lore, two is amazing, and preferably one or two upgrade abilities as well. You obviously want to see Force Storm, but a Force Wave is also fine, while a cheap upgrade is nice to have as well. Having an early Palpatine's Lightsaber can make your boardstate quite oppressive and while it's not a priority it goes a long way to ensure an early kill on an opponent's character. By Any Means is one of my preferred mitigation cards early as you can remove big Resource or Focus sides in a trade-off with damage on Watto.

10. ePALPATINE/eWAT DECK:
This is Luke Champman's deck that went 6-0 at the recent Trilogy event at the Galactic Qualifier in Milton Keynes, and should serve as a pretty good foundation for your blue/red Palpatine/x deck!GQ MK Standard 6-0 trilogy2jpg

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