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Written by CLAUS STAAL
When Mads Utzon and I started preparing for the European Championship 2019 we did what most players will and honestly should do, unless they are incredible deck builders themselves, and started analysing what had worked previously in the meta, looking at strengths and weaknesses as well as possible improvements.
The Gen Con 2019 as well as the German Grand Championship 2019 results were a great place to start and after some talks we decided on Satine Droids to be what we believed to be the best character pairing out there! It's obvious that heroes are somewhat behind their villain counterparts when it comes to the quality of the 30 best cards to put in the deck, but the sheer quality, efficiency and the strengths of the synergies between the characters is undeniable.
Deciding on the deck took quite some time and required the assistance of Joe Colon from The Hyperloops as well as plenty of test games. Is it the 30 best cards here? Probably not! But we've tried to include only cards that further our own win-condition rather than cards that prevent other decks' win-condition. It is usually the superior strategy to include cards that improve your own chances of winning rather than cards that reduce your opponent's chance of winning.
At just 8/10e points Satine is really a bargain. She comes with a soft focus courtesy of her ability, while boasting double Focus sides and double Resource sides, but in this deck also quite importantly a 2 Indirect damage side. If you watched any of Mads Utzon's games on the YOUR Destiny stream from the event, you'll notice how he often went down and dirty with Satine, opting to keep Indirect damage sides to pile as much damage as possible on his opponent as early as possible. The philosophy was "deal 10 damage every round for 3 rounds will win you the game!".
Satine is also a decent finisher with okay'ish health and can easily with nothing but a Handheld L-S1 Cannon or a Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle end a game by her own lonesome self.
C-3P0 and R2-D2 coupled with FATEFUL COMPANIONS is some of the most broken shit this game has seen for a long time. Sure, they didn't end up top of neither the recent North American Championship nor the European Championship, but the pairing has clearly dominated the meta and as we start locking in on the best 30 cards for the deck they'll only get stronger.
Btw. Joe Colon did a great write-up in his series "How Stuff Works" on Droid ability stacking, action cheating, etc. It's going to be worth your time reading it ... even if you know that you know how it works!
3. SPEED AND AGGRESSION:
Often players mistakenly believe that SPEED, i.e. finishing your own actions within a few turns in a round, is the same as AGGRESSION! And it's really not!
Most decks do want to be the aggressor because it forces your opponent into being reactive, always looking for answers to your plays and dangers presented to them. Constantly being forced into defensive plays is for most decks usually a suboptimal strategy and the deck that successfully becomes the aggressor will more often than not emerge victorious.
Just think about a situation where both you and your opponent have 4 dice in the pool. You can both finish the game with the 4 dice. The one who finds lethal damage (or is able to discard the last card from hand/deck) first has taken on the role of aggressor! The opponent is constantly, for every time lethal damage is being presented, forced into finding solutions to that problem. It puts pressure on his hand and his timing.
Playing a deck like Satine Droids rides that fine balance between ramping, durdling around and finding the right moment to take on the role as aggressor. It requires practice.
CHEWBACCA'S BLASTER RIFLE and HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON are your two go-to weapons! They are safe from Desperate Measures, although they can still be removed with Convergence, and both represent such incredible value! Plenty of damage sides on both weapons as well as the ability to focus to any damage side as long as both droids are alive and kicking OR simply turn to a 2 damage side as long as R2-D2 is alive makes both weapons top priorities. They are almost always winners and you'll never be sorry to see them in your starting hand. Quick note, although Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle caps at 4 Ranged damage, you'll mostly want to focus to a 3 Ranged damage side unless that brings you into Easy Pickings or Entangle territory! Resources are not scarce in this deck, but you'll need every single one of them and the extra damage can often be wasted!
Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle didn't receive a lot of love when it was initially spoiled, but it sure does now. As a side note, I'd like to interject that Lake Quitt originally in our Convergence Set Review rated Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle at (5/5), which today looks pretty spot on. Being able to resolve the Blaster die twice and with plenty of Focus sides, soft focus and/or auto focus to make it sting like a fully loaded Siege Cannon makes it easily recoup its initial 3 resource cost. R2-D2 clasping this fella in his small robotic grapples is scary as shit.
EZRA BRIDGER'S LIGHTSABER and DAGGER OF MORTIS complete the upgrade package. They are both redeploy and although Ezra's Lightsaber is pretty light on damage, it's nonetheless good as an initial placeholder for a better upgrade and can put a dent in your opponent if need be.
Dagger of Mortis can be pretty scary. It has good Melee damage sides and although you have very few base damage sides to go with the +3 Melee side on the dagger, its ability to move shields from a blue character sort of makes up for it.
5. THE SCOUNDREL PACKAGE:
The only sane thing in an otherwise insane world of Droids is that they do not have access to supports the likes of The Unholy Trinity, but the Scoundrel Package although clearly a step down in quality, adds it own intriguing subgame within the game itself.
It starts with ENTOURAGE, most likely the most versatile and powerful support currently available across factions. It has three damage sides, a 2 Focus side and well ... a 2 Disrupt side, which I honestly have never seen anyone use unless left with no other option. The tutor effect of Entourage is what really makes it shine though! Being able to find any Scoundrel card in your deck after you play Entourage does not only replace it, but also ensures that you can stack support cards in your hand. Even if you start the round with nothing but a single Entourage it can totally spiral out of control and escalate your board state. Two Entourage and a FICKLE MERCENARIES or HIRED MUSCLE is an indomitable start that few opponents will be able to recover from.
The Entourage Special can fast become the single most powerful dice side in the game due to the many Fickle Mercenaries that are appearing in decks. Plenty of games have been decided by a player taking control of their opponent's Fickle Mercenaries to boost their own Entourage Special to finish off an opponent's characters.
The FICKLE MERCENARIES game is such an amazing add to this game. The race to ensure that you'll manage to keep control of the Fickle Mercenaries throughout a round, not only protecting your investment, but also benefiting from its potent die, is easily one of the most skill intensive parts of this game. Eternal shame on the player who plays a Fickle Mercenaries just to have it stolen by his opponent and gets hammered by it in return!
If you are better at harvesting resources than your opponent, or able to hamstringing theirs, it is often better to leave your Fickle Mercenaries ready and use it later. If your opponent buys it, simply buy it back! The MOST IMPORTANT THING is to be the player who gets to resolve the die. As long as your opponent does not activate the Fickle Mercenaries there's no harm in letting them take control of it! If your opponent spends all his resources on buying your Fickles then he's not doing much else that round anyways! Just be sure to play the Fickle Mercenaries when you are ahead on resources to ensure you'll win the FICKLE RACE!
HIRED MUSCLE was for a long time the litter of the runt in the Scoundrel Package, and while that's probably still true, it really shines in this deck! Even if all the sides are paysides, which hurts, it is still just 1 resource and can go a long way in enabling you to spike enough damage to take down a character round 1 and it helps boost the Entourage Special!
There was a time when the RESISTANCE CRAIT SPEEDER was one of the finest supports you could put in your deck and while it's being outshone by other fancier toys it is still pretty damn good! The ability to add a damage token, albeit just once unless you play Rose, makes it easily recoup the original investment. Hitting the Resource side on the round you play it is just pure gold, while putting 3 Ranged damage into a character round 1 can easily add up to lethal damage! With 50% damage sides it is easily one of my favourite hero vehicles and should always stay put in your starting hand.
SUPPRESSIVE FIRE feels like a flex spot in the deck! Due to most decks in the format being much faster than you, i.e. Chopper Droid decks, you'll rarely control the Battlefield - this deck really is a durdle deck - so your Suppressive Fire could become squeezed in the queue to become almost superfluous. It is good against Jabba 3wide decks though, so I guess it's a matter of preference. What does speak in favour of retaining a spot for it in the deck is that it fits the pace of the deck perfectly.
ON THE MARK is a redevelopment of a tech introduced to us by the undisputed king of deckbuilding Joe Colon aka HonestlySarcastc of The Hyperloops. Joe used Target Acquired, and while the strength of that is that it stays in play, which means you can end a round with Indirect damage to put a character close to lethal and kill off that character in the beginning of next round with Indirect damage, the effect is almost duplicated by On The Mark. The latter being 0cost and NOT dependent on having a damaged character already were strengths that eventually made the switch viable.
You have plenty of Indirect damage sides in the deck, including a nice juicy 2 Indirect damage on Satine's dice, while both Entourage and the Handheld L-S1 Cannon has 3 Indirect damage sides. Playing On The Mark (or Target Acquired if that's your hustle) really helps finding lethal damage to kill a character.
7. THE ANCESTRAL RECALL:
Ancestral Recall was one of the original Power Nine in Magic The Gathering, and was my favourite card back when I played MtG! RENEWED PURPOSE is your Ancestral Recall!
Being able to draw 3 cards is just incredibly powerful and if played in round 1 gives you an effective hand size of 7 cards! Satine Droids are pretty susceptible to bad draws and you don't have any other mechanisms inherent to the deck enabling you to draw additional cards, which is what has made the Aphra Droids and now Jabba 3wide Support decks so powerful. A starting hand with few or no supports at all, or no mitigation/healing can be absolutely devastating, while a Renewed Purpose can change all that for just 1 resource.
If you draw it in your starting hand play it immediately to offer you as many options as possible. It will in most instances make your opponent's Counterintelligence or Probes much worse, while you become all but immune to early Discards from hand, and being able to go into the first round of the game with a stacked hand can more often than not give you an early lead!
It was actually the same aggressive strategy that we build our eThrawn/eSnoke deck around, that Mads and I took to the French Nationals 2018 and secured a collective 11-1 record with in the Swiss rounds before both bowing out in the top4.
ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE is definitely a meta call, but should be a pretty safe bet as the top tier decks are rife with Droid dice. It's a strong 0cost mitigation card that will almost always pay off to have in your hand.
HIDDEN MOTIVE honestly seems to become better as the popularity of cards like Fickle Mercenaries, Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle and Dagger of Mortis are all skyrocketing (all are present in this deck as well) with a 50% chance of removing the die and as a minimum soft mitigating the die.
PACIFY is added for its versatility and as decks are getting better at spiking damage to take down low to medium health characters so is the need to protect them. The ability to either remove an opponent's character die preemptively or shield up by removing your own die can easily save a character from lethal damage. Not everyone likes Pacify, but as heroes are not particularly gifted with great 0cost mitigation cards this is probably as good as it gets.
EASY PICKINGS is currently in a weird spot! On one hand it is one of the best mitigation cards in the game, pound for pound, when its restrictions can be met and at the same time it feels like lots of decks have ways to play around Easy Pickings. Maybe the fear of an Easy Pickings is in fact the best kind of mitigation ... forcing your opponent into suboptimal plays to avoid it. Even if the second copy is merely a figment of their imagination. I didn't fully agree with Mads Utzon's decision to abandon the second copy, but I understand the rationality behind it.
AUTOMATE DEFENSE is as basic as it gets. Spot a Droid, remove a die! Bam.
Healing is big at the moment and FIELD MEDIC is the safest route to go. If there was any way of ensuring that C-3P0 would always be your opponent's first target, which btw. tends to be R2-D2, I'd pick up First Aid in a heartbeat, but the times I've tested that over Field Medic it has honestly been disappointing. There could be reasons to consider Mend, but the 2 resource cost has so far kept me far away from it.
9. EWOK AMBUSH:
There are plenty of action cheating cards out there, and while I've considered all of them at various times, EWOK AMBUSH just seems to fit the bill nicely. The only other action cheat card I'd consider for the deck would be Instigate, while it will be difficult for you to meet the restrictions for either Seize The Day or Drop In. As said previously, resources are really an extremely valuable commodity in this deck and paying one for an action cheat card isn't really my cup of tea, and you'll often have rounds where every single resource is invested in either upgrades/supports or winning the Fickle Games.
Ewok Ambush only works on R2-D2, and is a dead card in your hand once he's gone, but it's great for those situations where you by the end of a round deal enough damage to an opponent's character to put them within range of a swift kill from an ambushing R2-D2. It's often a better idea to save the Ewok Ambush for when you have an ensured kill! Remember that R2-D2's kill range can be quite extensive if he has a Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle.
You'll rarely claim the Battlefield and your roll-off isn't particularly impressive either, even with 5 character dice at your disposal. In most instances though I'd usually pick my own if given the chance as that early Resource off a useless die sitting in the pool, a Blank or an otherwise unresolvable die, can really be clutch. You might want to consider Salt Flats instead since Satine Kryze usually is the last woman standing.
11. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:
You want to see a hardhitting upgrade like a Handheld Cannon or Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle early, while an Entourage is always good, but the Resistance Crait Speeder is pretty dope as well. Renewed Purpose as discussed earlier is a great start to diversify your hand and start sifting through cards, while a Field Medic and Pacify are some of the best best utility cards to keep your characters alive or stop your opponent's ramp.
12. ALTERNATIVE LIST 1:
It's interesting that the other Satine Droids list that made it into the Top4 at EUROS 2019, piloted by Alfonso Bueno, is so different from the list piloted by Mads Utzon. It's essentially a Han Droids aggro deck wrapped in a Satine shell, and could suggest that we might in fact be further off from the ideal deck to suit this character pairing than we think:
13. ALTERNATIVE LIST 2:
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