1. GENERAL COMMENTS:
Written by CLAUS STAAL
In our first meeting at ASK Gaming Café, our local hang-out, after the release of Convergence, there was an intense and vibrant mood. Everybody was excited. We saw people, whom we hadn't seen in like forever, suddenly sit around and sleeve up decks. Everyone was excited to show off the new decks they had made, and while Mads Utzon and I were captivated by ePadme/eYoda - aren't we all? - Christian Apetri, a recurring guest on the YOUR Destiny Podcast as well as former Regional Champion were fiddling around with his bucket of red dice!
Looking at him flooding the table with Stormtrooper dice, TIE Fighter dice and whatnot was just marvelous, and while I've previously said that I did not believe that a monored deck would stand many chances against a 3wide rainbow deck, I was looking at eTalzin/eWatto/Battle Droid being complete and utterly destroyed by a mass onslaught of red terror. After the game I asked Apetri to share the deck list and starting fiddling around with it ... and it's good ... hits like a truck and makes money out of the wazoo ... C R A Z Y! Try it out ... it's fun to see the look on your opponent's face when you obliterate characters left and right with pesky First Order Stormtrooper dice! They might have double Blanks, but they never miss with Piett around!
Although this deck generally feels powerful, and will definitely have problems keeping a spot in the upper echelon of decks, it is also somewhat "clunky". It's not as effortless as you would expect from it and requires some good sequencing. Get a few games in and you'll see what I'm talking about!
Captain Phasma - Stormtrooper Commander is crazy. She has abilities with crazy synergies, can roll in a shitload of dice and is VERY VERY expensive. Finding a good fit was always going to be difficult.
I had stubbornly refused to play monored villains ... it just doesn't feel right, and the choices with either 12points or 9points to spare, Phasma being 18/21e, are kinda not really appealing.
All three characters are very similar: They have 9 health, are Leaders and have at least 1 Focus side, and WAT TAMBOR is good, but I'm just not really feeling him in this deck although his two Resource sides can come in really handy. I'd feel much more comfortable with him in a 3wide deck.
GENERAL GRIEVOUS unfortunately feels a bit wasted as sidekick to Captain Phasma. You don't get any use out of his Power Action and can't utilise his passive ability. His sides are really dope though and are actually great value.
FIRMUS PIETT, whom I previously only ever tested together with 2 Mandalorian Super Commandos, ended up being the choice of partner. His die sides are ok, but not in any way superior to neither Tin Man or Grievous, but his activation ability is a killer in this deck. His ability to fix vehicle dice and non-unique character dice is just outstanding for ramp, particularly because Phasma comes with 2 of them and the Megablaster Troopers with another 2, while you have plenty of vehicle dice that can be affected. He can effectively ensure that you will always be able to play the Megablaster Trooper round 1 if the dice in the pool are left unmitigated.
If you have a Logistics in hand as well, then there's some serious ramp possibility. You could be putting down a Megablaster Trooper and 4 TIE Fighters by round 2! That would effectively give you 12 dice to flood into the pool provided that both your characters are alive.
There's always the hard choice of whether to go elite Phasma or elite Piett, and while there's plenty of arguments for not putting all your eggs in one basket, I honestly think that Phasma's die is good enough to run the risk. It's in particular the 2 Focus side which is so alluring and can solve plenty of problems even after Piett is gone! There's a great deal of tools in the deck to offer Phasma considerable staying power!
The Cloud City Rollers recently released a deck analysis (mashed into a tournament report) for a similar, yet distinctly different version of this deck playing ePhasma teaming up with a First Order Storm Trooper and the new plot Advanced Training. If monored villains is your thing, maybe give that a try as well!
The upgrade suite is difficult. There are good arguments for going with the HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON! It has absolutely amazing value, killer sides - remains one of my favourite upgrades - and just happens to fit the deck like a glove! On the other hand, it's difficult to defend the inclusion of it in a 2wide deck with such low health and running the kind of mitigation suite that this deck list does. If you do decide to include the Handheld L-S1 Cannon, then you definitely need to reconsider The Best Defense... as it's meant to target Piett for him to protect the 4 character dice on Phasma, which is a HUGE investment. Also, you don't really want to put the Handheld on Phasma ... dropping more eggs in that same basket just feels like pushing your luck too much.
I decided to go with the DORSAL TURRET instead. It's a cheap upgrade that has several useful sides and you're generally happy to resolve most of the sides, but the +2 Ranged side in particular seems strong in a deck that's rife with base Ranged damage sides! Even with two Blanks there's almost a guaranteed 50% chance you'll get to resolve damage when you roll it into the pool after playing the upgrade, and getting two resolutions off a 1cost upgrade is just outstanding.
The Dorsal Turret can target either the TIE Fighters or boost the Special on the Umbaran Hover Tank. If you decide not to run the Dorsal Turrets, but swap for another upgrade instead, I'd definitely also reconsider the inclusion of the Umbaran!
RIOT SHIELD represents excellent value on Captain Phasma because she's a trooper and eclipses the old Armor Plating, blocking 3 damage rather than 2 as long as it is attached to a trooper, while in many instances being almost as good as a Force Illusion. The Riot Shields always goes on Phasma!
The CONSCRIPT SQUAD represents excellent value for just 1 resource, and the two Modified damage sides are almost never going to be a problem for you. There are so many base damage sides floating around in this deck. They can make all the First Order Storm Trooper dice extremely valuable as they effectively boost their value.
MEGABLASTER TROOPERS are amazing. Sure, the dice in itself is not impressive and the double Blanks are painful to watch, but three dice in the pool is nothing to scoff at, and you ALWAYS get maximum value because both your characters are Leaders. Although Firmus Piett can't fix your Megablaster Troopers' die, he will be able to turn the First Order Storm Trooper dice (then it matters less that they also have Double Blanks).
I'm a huge fan of the TIE FIGHTER and the card draw advantage you get from the tutor effect! The die is actually pretty decent for a 2cost support and the Resource side in particular can be extremely good early on. A single TIE Fighter in your starting hand can easily snowball into 2, 3 or even 4 TIE Fighters played round 1. The +2 Modified sides of the TIEs fast tally up to lethal damage.
UMBARAN HOVER TANK was actually included because I decided to go with the Dorsal Turrets. Without those, I'd probably look for another support to add to the deck. The first versions of the deck I played had a Planetary Bombardment added, which might be a route to go, should you decide to drop the Dorsals. The Umbaran is great against 3+ wide, with the only weakness being that it can only be turned to the Resource side by Piett.
A SINISTER PEACE was my last addition to the mitigation suite. I don't like giving up cards from my hand, but it's sure removal as long as you do have cards left, and can remove big sides. I think the upside here outweighs the downside, although I did contemplate replacing it with Near Miss instead.
Free removal is good, but as we are starting to see more and more Focus sides, and in particular 2+ Focus sides, Doubt is starting to lose value. It used to be absolutely top tier mitigation, and is still excellent against decks that rely on Snoke Power Actions to generate Resources, and I do expect those decks to be around for a while, but sucks against Padmé/Yoda.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
It's He Doesn't Like You for red trooper decks, and it's absolutely brilliant in this deck! It can target cheap First Order Storm Trooper dice, Conscript Squad dice ... well ... basically any die in your deck apart from Piett's and those of your vehicles.
ROUT can be a devastating removal card! If you have a Megablaster Troopers in play, you already have 8 dice available! You'll often remove 2 dice with this card, in which case it is above the curve for 1cost mitigation and if you are able to remove 3 dice, which is not impossible in this deck, the value is absolutely NUTS!
THE BEST DEFENSE... is still one of my favourite removal cards! Sure, you'll take 3 damage, but it can be such a massive blow out card for your opponent and can really wreck his turn. Take away Resources or Focuses and all but end that turn. It's massive as first round mitigation against most decks, but gets significantly worse as you close in on the midgame. Damage should ALWAYS go on Firmus Piett unless Phasma has a Riot Shield active!
6. TECH CARDS:
LOGISTICS is a card you really want to see in your opening hand! It allows for some absolutely broken starts, where you:
- Power Action two First Order Storm Trooper dice in the pool,
- Activate Piett and use his ability to turn the sides to Focuses,
- Play Logistics to net up to 3 Resources
- Play Megablaster Stormtroopers
PROBE is probably one of the most annoying cards in the arsenal of red villains! It allows you to pick out the mitigation from your opponent's hand once they've played their early round upgrades and started activating characters. Probe is the most effective once your opponent is down to 2-3 cards in hand, and should be kept back for as long as possible, but before you start putting your most important dice in the pool.
Apart from the obvious, resolving up to 3 dice showing damage at +1 value each, Pulverize also allows you to resolve the Megablaster Troopers Indirect damage sides as Melee damage at increased value courtesy of Phasma's ability! This is a nifty trick that might allow you to snipe off a character when your opponent least expects it!
TACTICAL MASTERY is a one-off tech to ensure that you can either maximise on Captain Phasma's 2 Focus sides or use TARGET PRACTICE to max your dice. You have plenty of Blanks in your deck, and while Piett's ability goes a long way to fixing some of them, he can't fix them all, and you don't have a lot of paysides, which means that a single resource off the back of a 2 Focus can easily turn seemingly innocent looking dice in the pool into lethal damage! Target Practice all but ensures damage from your plenty of red dice!
SALT FLATS is fast becoming everyone's preferred choice of Battlefield after the nerf to Theed Royal Palace. This deck is in fact one of the decks that can still benefit greatly from Theed as you don't mind sacrificing a First Order die to get a Resource, but it's on the other hand what you have Piett for, so it might be a moot deal to strike.
Salt Flats is great because it allows you to turn either Captain Phasma or Piett's dice, but due to the prevalence of the Leader subtype, there's currently 34 Leaders in Standard Format (including Allies of Necessity, which at the time of writing has not been released yet), it is likely to benefit your opponent just as much as you, and you are not the fastest deck around. This should be a consideration for the deck. Is the benefit you'll gain in round 1 enough to allow your opponent the possible benefit of it in round 2 and 3?
8. MULLIGAN STRATEGY:
There are different starting hands that can be great for you! You'll definitely want to see a first round Logistics as it will go a long way to ensure early ramp and often you'll want a Megablaster Troopers to go with that. You can also start pulling TIE Fighters from your deck if you draw one in your opening hand, while I prefer to start with The Best Defense... as mitigation! Riot Shield is great as well as it can take some early heat off Phasma. Probe is always good, and particularly great to ensure an uninterrupted round 1. In later rounds you start flooding the pool and should be pretty safe from mitigation.
Against 3+ wide decks, I'd consider keeping an Umbaran Hover Tank if you draw it otherwise that one usually goes back into the deck.
9. ALTERNATIVE DECK LIST:
This version of the deck switches Firmus Piett to elite and adds Handheld L-S1 Cannons for a bit more bite, while reshuffling the event suite somewhat to accommodate for the fact that Piett cannot "just" be a meatshield for Phasma.
10. FOST DICE:
People knew already, but now we KNOW ... you can use your old First Order Storm Trooper dice for both Captain Phasma's Power Action and the extra dice you roll in with the Megablaster Stormtroopers. No need to chase down a million FOST's - The new ones still roll plenty of Blanks!
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