Explaining Destiny - Midrange Decks


A. INTRODUCTION:
If you are a completely new player, I'll recommend you take a look at our "Ultimate Beginner's Guide for Destiny", while for the purpose of this "guide" I'll assume you've already familiarised yourself with the Rules Reference, maybe even started building a few decks on your own and got some games under the belt.

And usually this is where a number of questions pop up for a relatively new player. I'll go through as many things as possible, although not necessarily systematically. So, different sections might be useless to you, while you may (hopefully) benefit from others. If you are already a seasoned Destiny player, this guide is likely to be pretty much waste of your time ... move along then!not the droidsjpg
Most of what is written in this analysis will be extremely square, and while games normally evolve in very diverse patterns, this is meant to be a template for understanding the key concepts of the deck archetype and the choices involved in playing the deck!Squarejpg

B. ARCHETYPES:
Sometimes, and in most of our deck analyses, you'll hear various decks referred to as:
  1. Aggro deck
  2. Midrange deck
  3. Vehicle deck
  4. FAT Vehicle deck
  5. Mill deck
  6. Trick deck/Combo Deck
This list is not an exhaustive list of all the deck types in Destiny, but cover the most common archetypes. In the following I'll try and go through these archetypes and give examples of how the decks work and how you play them.

There will of course always be exceptions, but in most instances these exceptions does in fact prove the rule from a general perspective.

CLICK THE ARCHETYPE to go straight to the analysis of that archetype.


C. TERMINOLOGY:
A CYCLE refers to a set of expansions that are grouped together. The cycles rotate out of the various formats (Infinite, Standard and Trilogy) in Destiny collectively. There are currently 2 cycles: Awakenings Cycle (consisting of the expansions: Awakenings, Spirit of Rebellion and Empires at War) and the Legacies Cycle (consisting of the expansions: Legacies, Way of the Force and Across the Galaxy).

BOARDSTATE refers to the quality/quantity of each players side of the gaming board. How many characters in play, how many upgrades, number of resources and dice in play.

MITIGATION CARDS refer to all events (and a few supports) that can manipulate dice by turning them or removing them.

HOLOCRON refers to the erratas and clarifications to cards already printed. You should always familiarise yourself with the newest Holocron.

MULLIGAN refers to the beginning of a game where you "pick your starting hand" by drawing 5 random cards and then choosing how many of the cards you keep before shuffling your remaining cards and redrawing into your hand size.

a TECH CARD or TECHNOLOGY CARD is a card that is added to a deck to counter specific decks or currents in a meta, while we also use it in a broader sense to describe cards that are added to your deck to facilitate your main win condition.

RAMPING refers to the accumulation of resources that allows you to play upgrades and supports, in order to eclipse an opponent in number of dice in the pool that will help you reach your win condition.

2WIDE, 3WIDE, etc. refer to the number of characters in a team. So, if you play 3 characters, i.e. eSnoke/eBazine/Battle Droid, you would be playing 3wide.

1. MIDRANGE DECK:
"Midrange decks" are by many Destiny players considered the bread and butter of Destiny. It is the archetype around which Destiny originally was designed, using a combination of character and upgrade dice to defeat all an opponent's characters midway through the game, which in the current state of the game translates to round 3 or round 4.

"Midrange decks" are traditionally two character decks, although a few iterations have 3 characters, and follow a template of mediocre character dice boosted by powerful upgrade dice, and often feels Star Wars themed in the sense of a Jedi/Sith with Lightsabers or an outlaw with guns. For some this is an important aspect, while it from a pure gaming perspective might matter considerably less.bitter rivalry lightsabers fightjpg
Most "Midrange decks" are quite powerful, and used to be the dominant archetype in Destiny, although its inherent power level has dwindled significantly with the Legacies cycle.

The "Midrange deck" can also in many instances be the most difficult deck type to master as it requires good understanding of when to resolve which die sides and when to discard to reroll. When to gain resources? When to try and maximise on damage sides? When to shield up? Most "Midrange decks" will utilise characters and upgrades that have most symbols available on a wide selection of their dice!

2. CHARACTER PAIRINGS:
"Midrange decks" usually use characters following either the:
  1. Middle/Middle (two equally good characters) or
  2. Big/Little (one "good" and one "bad" character) template,
  3. although a few exceptions include Big/Support/Support
It is often "Midrange decks" that benefits the most - of all archetypes - from being monocoloured since it aligns well with their upgrades, gives equal access for both (or all) characters to cards that have spot colour play restrictions and enables all characters to perform as either "main" character or "support" character.
midrange decksjpgmidrange decks2jpgmidrange3jpg

3. UPGRADES:

As illustrated above most of the character dice used in a "Midrange deck" are decent, but mediocre, and will not be able to win any game on their own. Rey - Finding the Ways, a staple character in many midrange decks, does look pretty weak in a direct comparison with an aggro character like Darth Vader - Terror to Behold:midrange decks5jpgOn the other hand, most "Midrange deck" characters do not have any paysides on their dice, as opposed to quite a few aggro characters, which then in turn means that they can reliably and consistently play an upgrade every round, activate their character(s) and resolve any and all (except Blanks and Modified sides with not base side accompanying them) of their dice, no matter the ensuing roll:midrange decks8jpg
This also means that a "Midrange deck" can play at least one upgrade every round and make use of its dice side immediately. Its resource gain (2 resources per round) is immediately converted into dice that can influence the game. This in turn improves your boardstate continuously and puts pressure on your opponent's resources and mitigation: The more dice you put in the pool the less impact your opponent's mitigation will have (generally speaking).

The preferred upgrades for most midrange decks are 2cost upgrades, which means you can play any of your upgrades round 1 and one upgrade every turn, independent of your resource gain beyond the resources you get during upkeep, including Hidden Blaster, Ancient Lightsaber, Energy Pike, Poe's Blaster, etc.midrange9jpg
The hallmarks of a great "Midrange deck" upgrade is it:
  • Being AFFORDABLE (2 resources or less)
  • Without PAYSIDES
  • Have at least two DAMAGE SIDES with the SAME SYMBOL as your characters
  • Preferably have one RESOURCE SIDE
Expensive upgrades (3 cost or higher) can, and often will, be included in a "Midrange deck", but only if you have a clear resource management plan (which you also should have). Such upgrades are powerful and can have a huge impact on the game, but normally come along with limitations as well, whether it's paysides or other restrictions:midrange10jpg
Most 3cost upgrades have superior dice sides to 2cost upgrades and should have 3 damage sides (value of 2 or higher) and/or Redeploy, either unconditional (Dagger of Mortis) or conditional (Black Sun Blaster Pistol or Captain Phasma's Blaster Pistol). If a 3+ cost upgrade does NOT have Redeploy it should have superior dice sides to other alternatives and a major impact on the game, like the powerful Maul's Lightsaber, force abilities such as Force Wave or the Darksaber:midrange11jpg
The majority of your upgrades in a "Midrange deck" should be 2cost and the ratio between 2cost and 3+ cost close to 4:1, with the number of upgrades close to 10. Because upgrades is the lifeblood of a "Midrange deck" you need to be sure to draw consistently into one, including in your starting hand. If you are clogging your hand in upgrades, then just discard (to reroll if needed) the ones you don't need and redraw in your upkeep.

Varying from 8-11 total upgrades (and 6/7/8/9: 2cost upgrades) in your deck will give you the following probabilities of drawing into at least 1 upgrade in your starting hand before mulligan:
  • 8 Upgrades: 82% (70%)
  • 9 Upgrades: 86% (76%)
  • 10 Upgrades: 89% (82%)
  • 11 Upgrades: 92% (86%)
It's important to keep the balance right, and at the end of the day, you'll be the judge of it, but balancing around 90% (80%) is what works for most "Midrange decks".

4. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT:

Back around the time of Worlds 2018, when "Midrange decks" were dominating the meta, Mads Utzon wrote a great article about resource management for those kinds of decks. Much of that article is still extremely relevant, so I'll be referencing parts of it here, although you should actually read it for some great insights.

You'll often feel like your are playing "catch-up" against aggro decks due to their inherently powerful character dice or high speed at which they deal damage. To off-set this "mechanic" you need to maximise your boardstate in the first couple of rounds, while keeping your characters alive, before starting to shine in round 3-4 ... that's where you win games!

The easiest way to catch up is by getting dice in the pool that can (out)compete with other decks, this includes finding ways to ramp harder than other decks, be smart when resolving dice and have the right mix of cards in your deck.

The two easiest ways to ramp is by either adding cards to your deck that gains you resources or SIMPLY resolve resource sides when possible with a minimum of negative impact on you. Such cards include:
resource managementjpg
It's way too often that players reroll resource sides just to find a 1 or 2 damage side. A resource side in a "Midrange deck", in particular in the first two rounds, is worth WAAAAAAY more than a damage side! Being able to ramp early in the game is incredibly important because it sets you up for the midgame!

Other cards that allow for ramping are:midrange12jpg
While they work in different ways, they all fit well with the strategy of "Midrange decks" by either effectively converting a number of your blue dice into an upgrade (Destiny), reducing the cost to play an upgrade (It Binds All Things) or adding a die with resource sides as well as allowing you to replace the upgrade with a weapons upgrade later (Bartering).

5. MITIGATION CARDS:
Since you are spending most of your resources on upgrades, you'll be fairly strapped for resources to use for mitigation, which means that cheap, but effective mitigation is one of your best allies, this include 0cost mitigation such as Hidden Motive, Guard, Doubt and He Doesn't Like You:midrange13jpg
While 1cost mitigation should preferably affect several dice and if possible have as few restrictions as possible:midrange14jpg
You'll rarely be able to consistently afford 2+ cost mitigation, and in most instances playing these will bar you from playing an upgrade that turn. Most 2cost mitigation will only be available to you in limited numbers and not until round 3+, when you've already improved your boardstate to dominate your opponent. You might want to run a one-off of the most powerful mitigation cards for the endgame.midrange15jpg
You are generally aiming for having one or two mitigation cards per round, and one of the should preferably be a 0cost mitigation. An average of 8-10 mitigation cards normally slots in well in a "Midrange deck".

6. THE RULE OF 10:
A good guideline for a "Midrange deck" is to follow the rule of 10/10/10, which means that your composition of the deck should be averaging: 10 upgrades/10 mitigation cards/10 tech cards. This structure optimises your draws while ensuring consistency.

The sample lists below are modeled around the above template (averaging):
Boba/Seventh Sister: 9/10/11
Yoda/Qui-Gon/Bitter Rivalry: 8/9/13midrange deck list1jpgmidrange deck list2jpg
Written by
CLAUS STAAL