eTarkin/eSnoke - Deck Analysis

snoke tarkin deck listjpg
#MAKESNOKEGREATAGAIN
Written by CLAUS STAAL & DAVID LEVY

Snoke has been out in the dark'ish since he got nerfed, and although I thought they went too easy on the Supreme Leader the results from various Regionals beg to differ! Searching for the perfect date for Snoke has proven pretty difficult, but Tarkin could just fit that bill.

Jack Broomell from the Golden Dice Podcast started the trend by taking this character team to the runner-up spot at the Conneticut Regional and although I don't want to put words in his mouth, I'm certain that he was pretty satisfied with that performance! Ever since his deck starred on stream it has been hitting gaming tables around the world! You can also read Jack's own deck analysis on the Golden Dice Podcast website!

David Levy, a YOUR Destiny Crew Member, also took this character pairing to the Düsseldorf Regional and reached second place as well. You can find some of his comments and experiences in this article.

1. CHARACTERS:
One could at a glance be led into believing that eTarkin/eSnoke is formed in the same cast as Thrawn/Snoke, but it couldn't be further from the truth! In reality the deck plays out much differently and is relying on the combined Power Actions of the two characters to push through surprising amounts of damage.tarkin snokejpg
SNOKE offers all the brokenness we've become accustomed to from him and his Power Action looks particularly menacing early in a round on the Tarkin 2 Discard side, while it can be used late in a round to deal damage with the 2 Indirect damage side or turn a myriad of dice on either of the Focus sides.

Adding TARKIN to the character team offers a great deal of flexibility and his dice are pretty scary! The decision from the design team to add the Indirect damage side (or the second Focus side) in place of a Disrupt side which has been customary previously for characters of his kind makes him much more reliable and able to combat all comers. His Power Action, although removing two dice, can quickly pile on damage on your opponent.

With just two of your 0cost upgrades (Force Speed, Chance Cube and/or Sith Holocron) your first round damage ceiling is 14 Indirect damage! This is of course wishful thinking, but that's pretty nasty though!

Coming in at 22hp you are also pretty beefy and should be set for the long haul - even against aggro teams!

2. UPGRADES:
tarkin snoke1jpg
CHANCE CUBE, FORCE SPEED and SITH HOLOCRON are your 0cost upgrades and apart from each fulfilling their own unique function in the deck (Chance Cube to secure Resources, Force Speed for Action Cheat and Sith Holocron to get Force Abilities in play on both characters), they also support Anger plays as well as the Tarkin Power Action - the latter of course being the most important, although one does not exclude the other!

There are a lot of shared sides in between the 3 upgrades, resource sides on the Chance Cubes and Holocrons, Specials and a Focus side on the Force Speeds and Holocrons and plenty of Blanks to be targeted. You get so much milage out of normally unresolvable sides, although you'll often use focuses to make the puzzle pieces fit together!

Finding any (hopefully several) of those upgrades in your starting hand is pretty important. It puts pressure on your opponent and gives you several strings to play on from the get-go.tarkin snoke2jpg
FORCE ILLUSION, FORCE JUMP and FORCE WAVE are all Holocron Special targets, so is Force Speed, but you'll probably not want to use a Special to get that in play.

FORCE JUMP is an anti-Vader tech! The Special blanks a die showing damage, provokes a reroll and allows you to keep the Force Jump die in the pool. It can also be used in conjunction with any of your other dice to trigger the Tarkin Power Action!

FORCE WAVE is still good, although it seems as if most players are going 2wide at the moment. But even against 2wide decks it represents 5 damage, which is pretty good for 1 die and dealing yourself 1 damage is a small price to pay for that! You could consider going 1:1 split with a Force Throw, but I kinda like how Force Wave performs.tarkin snoke4jpg
I'm a huge fan of the HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON! It provides loads of damage sides, although the +2 Ranged side is a dead side unless you have another Handheld Cannon in play. 50% damage sides is still pretty good though! The drawback of reducing your upgrade limit has felt like a problem in reality ... it's one of these things where the hypothetical problem is much greater than the actual problem.

3. SUPPORTS:

tarkin snoke5jpgI hate STIFLE! out of loyalty to the deck list, I did include it in my first test game, didn't play it, took it out, added a Beguile and never looked back. It can be a good defense against blowout mitigation, Rise Again or Price of Failure, but the latter sees very little play - even in Vader decks - and I guess, I'd rather snuff those cards out with Probe than rely on Stifle.

Everyone and his neighbour and your neighbour's neighbour play Vader's Fist. So should you! I'm repeating myself, but it's just out-of-this-world value!

4. REMOVAL:
Tarkin Snoke7jpgDEFLECT
Up until now Deflect has been good - and the continuous popularity of middle/middle ranged aggro decks, i.e. eHan/eQi'Ra, seems to indicate that it'll be good for some time. It's even got game against eVader/Greedo - and as long as Vader's Fist is around Deflect probably will as well!

HIDDEN MOTIVE does a great job in removing dice with 2+ dice sides showing the same symbols, but sometimes is a waste of space. There are unfortunately not many alternatives although I'm considering Doubt as a replacement.

IMPOSING PRESENCE is a ridiculous piece of mitigation if you can manage to remove an opponent's hand with the Tarkin Discard side! Much better than The Best Defense... in those instances. Most of the time it removes 1 die!

OVERCONFIDENCE
Tarkin's dice are good at the Overconfidence Battle, although you'll often not need to battle it out because you can use almost any dice sides showing! Tarkin will often be our opponent's first target, so Overconfidence is good even when you lose him!

5. TECH CARDS:


tarkin snoke8jpgBoth ANGER and I AM YOUR FATHER feels like they are responses to Vader decks - and well .. honestly they are. BUT, they still come in handy. Resolving your opponent's dice are a great way of getting rid of them! It feels pretty bad for an opponent to start removing your Blanks to avoid a Tarkin Power Action or a possible Anger. I've had several games where I was stuck with an Anger and just couldn't get it to trigger though. Don't sit around with it for too long.

David: "Against Mill I added a single Climate Disruption Array (hello Flames of the Past), a single At Odds and the Best Defense. They replaced I Am Your Father and both Imposing Presence. Our meta is full of mill and you can see the success of these changes in my Top 4 games."

PROBE is great for when your opponent has played his upgrade(s) and sits back with a hand full of mitigation. It also takes care of Hyperspace Jump, and can set up those massive Imposing Presence plays that will wreck your opponent's round!

6. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:

HAND snoke tarkin ARTICLE2jpg
You want to see one or two of your 0cost upgrades in your starting hand. If you start with a Chance Cube, I'd probably dig deep for a Vader's Fist, but otherwise I'll probably dump the Fist if you draw it in your starting hand. You are unlikely to get the resources needed to play it early.

I also like to get the Handheld Cannon early as it really ups your damage output and you want to be aggressive! Unless you start with a Holocron, I'd also ditch the Force Waves in my opening hand!

David: "For the mulligan I was going for at least 1, at best 2 zero cost upgrade, a Probe, 1 removal piece and discarding any Vader's Fist (a Fist is best round 2-3). The Pay sides on the Fist are really problematic when you have no Focuses in the pool"

5. TOURNAMENT REPORT (DAVID):

Like mentioned above, I made some slight changes to the original, played it 10 times and was very surprised by the high damage output. Then I decided to take it to the Düsseldorf Regional and see how it works. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to test the deck a lot, therefore I made some mistakes in the finals as you can see in the video below.

Round 1: Iden/Mother 1:0
I played my teammate Andreas, basically a very good player who unfortunately, compared to myself, had even less preparation time for the tournament.

I barley survived this game. Due to the Indirect damage he could keep both characters alive.

Two Probes in round 1 and 2 killed my removal options and Tarkin was dead late round two.

The critical moment was when he played Three Steps Ahead and didn’t get the damage he needed (1 health remaining on snoke). But in this round I finally got my fist out and the Indirect damage overwhelmed both Iden Versio and Mother Talzin.

Round 2 Tarkin/Snoke 2:0
I played against a very friendly and good player. Last year he won a Regional somewhere in Germany.

The game went in my favor, because I won the roll off, took two Shields and got a Force Illusion down round 1. We both dealt 8 damage that round. The same happened in the 2nd round, but I was able to put down another Illusion and therefore did not lose my characters as early as my opponent. So because neither of us got the Fist out, the game went slowly against him since he was not able to block as much damage as I did.

Round 3 Dooku/Talzin 2:1
The eventual winner of the Düsseldorf Regional.

I made the mistake to go for Dooku, but the biggest problem was my Force Illusion. I blocked a 3for1 from Dooku and had both Fists milled, after that the game went south. Sometimes I had to Snoke a Discard side because I knew a Feel Your Anger was incoming. With the Rise Again and a Witch Magic played, I couldn’t get enough damage through.round 3jpgRound 4 Tarkin/Snoke 3:1
Mustafa is another good player and basically it seems that I have to play him every time we are at the same tournament.

In the mirror before, I learned that I have to be aggressive with my damage. I got a perfect start and dealt 10 damage round 1 and saw with a Probe that he had a Fist. I got the initiative and forced him to use his removal. Because those were the expensive Mind Trick and Beguile, he wasn’t able to afford Vader's Fist.

Late in round 3 I got my Vader's Fist out and finished the game with resolving a Snoke/Fist disrupt with Tarkin's Power Action.

Round 5: Qui Gon/Aayla Solidarity 4:1
A good friend named Ingo was my last opponent. I think I bombed something between 20 to 30 Shields of in this game. He got off a very good Mind Trick and Guard play in critical situations.

This game went into time and I won only through damage dealt, 15 to 14 damage. This was a really bad match up for me and an intense game experience. So if you want to counter Tarkin/Snoke, go for shields – or, if you play it, put in some Shield hate.

Top 4: Yoda/Leia 2:0
I met Stefan last time in the top cut at the German Nationals. The Climate Disruption Array did a lot of work. The video will be uploaded to our YouTube Channel shortly.

FINALS: Dooku/Talzin 1:2
Due the lack of practice with this deck (and already having booked my Worlds seat) I made too many small mistakes.

All in all, it was a very successful tournament and a fun day for me. The consistent damage output of this deck can surprise your opponent and even the player himself as I mentioned. In my experience Anger was a trap card. I kept it too long in hand and got in too much trouble when I needed Blanks, and had rolled well. The good opponents read my rerolls and were able to play around it. I would change it into hard removal without conditions. Beguile and Isolation offer a much more reliable mitigation suite and therefore better protection for my characters.

After rotation hits I will probably revisit this deck with vehicles and 1 cost supports (and some ramp cards).


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