1. GENERAL COMMENTS:
It's taken a while for Darth Vader - Terror to Behold to find his place since he was spoiled in Across the Galaxy. The game designers will be happy to see that their marquee character is now finally making it to the absolute top of the meta and is looking every bit as dominant as they could have hoped for.
The deck we are analysing was brought by Andrew Rothermel of The Destiny Council and secured him the win at the Fargo Regional event in North Dakota. Congrats to Andrew and the awesome guys at The Destiny Council.
We also previously released a full character analysis of Darth Vader! Don't miss out on that one!
Darth Vader, as the meta is developing does look like he has the right tools to combat both 2wide and 3wide decks and has the health to stand up to even the most severe beating. He might be one of the few characters who can deal with a round 1 Vader's Fist.
His character dice are absolutely menacing and are by far the strongest character dice in the game! Add to this his Power Action which protects his dice from removal, and we are looking at a character with an unprecedented direct power level in the game. You can literally just activate him, roll nuts and get on with the next game, which this game, previously only released to our Patrons via Discord, is a testimony to:
There are ways to play around Vader's Power Action though, and it does come at a cost, so sequencing (and playing smart) is still important.
It's still to be seen who is the perfect partner-in-crime for Lord Vader. When Across the Galaxy first came out we did an in-depth character analysis of Darth Vader, and several sidekicks immediately came to mind. It does look like Blue/Yellow are the preferred colours and that it's either Greedo or Bazine Netal, who draws the longest straw. Both slot in perfectly with the points, no plot needed, and give access to some vital cards for Vader. Bazine has previously done exceedingly well with Snoke, but Greedo just fits so beautifully with Vader. He does everything that Vader needs him to do. He deals damage, he dies (Price of Failure), he deals more damage ... End of story!
3. FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES:
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES is such an incredibly powerful tech card. It provides crazy ramp potential, can be triggered off Vader's powerful character dice alone, and has several high priority targets in the deck: Vader's Fist, Rise Again and Darksaber (in that order).
RISE AGAIN has the advantage of simultaneously healing 5 damage to your MAIN MAN as well as bringing into play one of your upgrades. It's absolutely backbreaking for your opponent to see 5 damage healed on Vader and it's often a game winner which allows you to play from behind and catch up.
It's such a power play to first play a Friends in High Places off Darth Vader's dice (showing a value of 7 or more), bring a Vader's Fist into play, roll the die into the pool and THEN deal 7-8 damage! Add to that what the Fist will bring of pain! MIND BOGGLING!
4. NO GOOD TO ME DEAD:
Apart from Darth Vader's 2 Resource side, yet another testimony to his power, and Friends in High Places, NO GOOD TO ME DEAD is one of your best ramp cards. Healing up to 2 damage to gain that many resources doesn't sound like an amazing deal, but it is if you can bring a Vader's Fist or a Darksaber into play courtesy of it.
The return on investment on healing two damage off an opponent's character can easily come back threefold in damage dealt by whatever card you will be able to play due to the resource gain.
5. VADER'S FIST:
What can really be said about the most BROKEN support in the game that has not already been said. It represents "out-of-this-world" value for its price.
In this deck you even get the advantage of spotting Vader, which means that when you use the Power Action, you get to turn the die to any side.
Sequencing between when to use the Power Action and when to activate the support is important since you want to be able to always resolve the die without having to discard to reroll (remember that you can resolve a 3 Disrupt side even if your opponent doesn't have any resources, just to be able to roll it straight back into the pool). We normally advice to activate first as there are a few cards that can exhaust supports (although not prevalent in any way ... but hey, rather be safe than sorry), but in this instance, because you spot Darth Vader, keep tab on your resources to make sure that you will always maximise on your resolves (if you have no resources, Power Action first to be able to turn the die, then resolve, then activate Vader's Fist).
DARTH VADER'S LIGHTSABER and MAUL'S LIGHTSABER are both excellent weapons. Both of them only has one base damage side, but HUMONGOUS modified sides. Both upgrades allows another die to be rolled back into the pool, which is also HUGE! Remember that the trigger effect on Darth Vader's Lightsaber is a "THEN" ability, so in order to deal 1 damage you need to pay 1 resource to roll one of Vader's character dice back into the pool. Sequencing here is also important! Maul's Lightsaber was errata'ed some time ago and the Power Action now costs 1 resource. Just sayin'.
TREASURED LIGHTSABER or ANCIENT LIGHTSABER? I like the logic behind choosing Treasure Lightsaber. Sure, it doesn't have any base damage sides and doesn't heal damage, but you don't really need the base damage sides, do you? I mean, if you hit the +3 modified Melee damage on the Ancient Lightsaber, it's WUHU, but you still need the base damage off Vader's dice, while the +1 and +2 modified damage on the Treasured Lightsaber is better or on par with the Ancient. The ability on the Treasured Lightsaber is pretty dope though (just ask Mads Utzon how he rates upgrades that replaces themselves!) and synergises well with Vader's Power Action, while the Special is also pretty good. All in all, I like how the Treasured Lightsaber is an upgrade which is the deck to win, while the Ancient looks more like avoiding to lose.
You know what "they say" about Force Illusion? Play it! It's good. Your aim is to keep Darth Vader alive - this will do exactly that!
Force Speed just like Force Illusion is going to rotate out of Standard soon and is not likely to be reprinted: EVER! Why? Because it's absolutely NUTS! In a deck which live and dies by protecting its quality dice, Force Speed is just excellent at that! Force Speed Special into a Fear And Dead Men for 3 or 4 damage on each of your opponent's characters, then proceed to resolving your melee damage ... Fear And Dead Men everywhere ...
DARK SABER looks pretty menacing on Darth Vader and has plenty of good sides. Honestly, it only has good sides. CRAZY VALUE if you bring it into play with a Rise Again or a Friends in High Places.
You run a huge event suite (18 cards), but a small removal suite, just 5 removal cards (+ two Force Illusion and two Rise Again). Your best removal is killing characters, and that is what this deck is all about!
HIDDEN MOTIVE does look bad at times, and most of the time it will have just 33% chance of removing a die, the rest of the time it just turns the die to another (random) side. Not sure if Doubt is the better choice here, although it's also pretty bad in Vader mirrors and against Vader's Fist.
You have two excellent dice to target with HE DOESN'T LIKE YOU: Greedo and Force Speed. Greedo has two Blanks and if you don't need the Special on the Force Speed it's pretty good to trade for your opponent's best die!
MIND TRICK could be a Beguile or Entangle (although it's pretty prohibitive that Entangle is Spot Yellow), but the former is really good against opponent's that flood the pool with dice, while the latter seems stronger against strong character dice.
You have incredibly strong dice for the "OVERCONFIDENCE Battle", and while at times it can be better to affect two of your opponent's dice rerolling a Blank Vader die into a damage side is pretty awesome while also removing an opponent's die.
8. TECH CARDS:
You have four targets for BAIT AND SWITCH, Vader's dice, Darksaber, Maul's Lightsaber and Treasured Lightsaber. I'd never use it on Vader's 2 Resource side unless there's a kill to be gained. You are already walking a fine line with resources, and being able to trigger a Rise Again or play a huge upgrade/support at will is so strong. Obviously, if you can secure a kill it's an entirely different story altogether!
BOUNDLESS AMBITION is amazingly powerful to start digging deep in your deck for your most important cards, and in most instances Price of Failure. That reset on Darth Vader can come out of the blue when you play Boundless Ambition after your opponent claims out!
CLOSE QUARTERS ASSAULT
People they play Probe and think it's an awesome card. With Vader you will be hitting 2 Melee damage side 25% of the time and that makes CQA a stronger version of Probe! Close Quarters Assault is always sweet! I'm still not sure if this should be a two-off, but I tend to agree that one copy looks about right!
Everybody and there auntie were over the moon when FEAR AND DEAD MEN was spoiled - and it's pretty dope! If not for anything else, but the FEAR of it ... Against 3wide this is an absolute winner and a much better version of Salvo.
Exhausting Greedo to gain a card and a resource seems like a pretty sweet deal! RESPITE is a great tech in this deck and it can help you dig into a Boundless Ambition (in which case it has turned into 5 cards for free) or any other card you need, i.e. RISE AGAIN when Vader is close to defeat or a Price of Failure for that last killing blow!
This deck gravitates around a PRICE OF FAILURE engine because getting to use Darth Vader's amazing dice twice in a round is just BONKERS! It wins games - well .. not always, but it sure does win a lot of games. I also love how Greedo just manages to do his parting shot in the face of your opponent before being defeated!
9. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:
I like the options of either playing and upgrade or go for Fear and Dead Men early in the game. It puts loads of pressure on your opponent, while a Respite can dig for a Price of Failure (against low or mid health characters) or help with Vader's Power Action. Treasured Lightsaber is one of my favourite upgrades in my starting hand.
10. THEED ROYAL PALACE
THEED ROYAL PALACE is one of the best Battlefields from Across the Galaxy, maybe in the game right now, and is superior to other Battlefields that secures you resources when you claim out, i.e. Moisture Farm, because it allows active plays. It functionally lets you start with a Profitable Connections.
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