First things first: No, the sky was not falling and no, mill was not destined to be the dominant archetype from here on out and forever!
When The Hyperloops and their team wreaked havoc at Gen Con with eYoda/Cassian/Anakin (3wide mill), various Facebook groups and Reddit exploded with hate, disbelief and resignation. Some Destiny players’ first reaction was to offer their collections up for sale, as if this deck was unbeatable (which it clearly isn’t) and as if mill would be the only viable strategy for any foreseeable future (again, which it clearly wasn't). If anything, we learned that from UK Nationals, US Nationals and German Nationals.
To put things in perspective, Gen Con was the first major tournament in nearly two years that was actually won and dominated by mill. For the first four sets, mill was merely a fringe case when it came to anything beyond Store Championships and I think that is where most of the success is coming from: Even some top level players have no idea how to tackle an efficient mill deck, because there was no real need to (but if you want to know what to do, learn from the best, then read Mads Utzon’s excellent article on beating mill, and for a shorter version, read this article to the end).
By saying that, I don’t want to take anything away from the great deck building minds that came up with this deck, as it feels really well-rounded, even though it is the first time we saw it out in the wild. Usually it takes some weeks and more tournaments before the best version of a certain deck is found, but in my opinion, the Gen Con version is pretty damn close already. And despite everything I wrote above, make no mistake: This WAS the best deck in the meta (if only briefly), and is still a very strong contender for anyone who wants to do well at a large tournament, so let's take a look at the deck list:
YODA - WIZENED MASTER needs no introduction. He is still the best support character around and his versatility is unmatched (although Snoke is not far behind). He gives us resources, protects our characters, fixes our dice and mills the opponent’s deck and all that for just 13 points elite. Additionally, he opens up for the blue card pool which is by far the best color in Destiny at the moment: Force Illusion, Beguile, Pacify, etc., but more on those cards later.
CASSIAN ANDOR is one of the powerhouses from Way of the Force. His point cost, his die sides and his ability are crazy good and he’s versatile as well. I predict that we will see a lot of decks revolving around him in the future, whether it be aggro, mill or midrange. Only his 10 hit points are a reason to worry, but ANAKIN SKYWALKER comes to the rescue.
Instead of running Cassian elite together with Yoda and Profitable Connections (check our article on that character team here) The Hyperloops switched to Anakin - the Podracing Prodigy. Not only does this add another 7hp to the mix, but also a second character that can carry a Second Chance and “spot yellow” events like Easy Pickings and Friends in Low Places become much more reliable over the course of a game. Most importantly, his interaction with his Podracer is what makes him really scary and the true engine of this mill deck.
FORCE ILLUSION and SECOND CHANCE are self-explanatory. They give us the additional staying power to outlast even the most aggressive decks. A late Second Chance on Cassian, who's often the last character to go down, can be absolutely devastating to your opponent. Even going through another 5hp on Anakin can be difficult late game.FORCE JUMP is another great addition from Way of the Force that helps the overall strategy of the deck. By blanking your opponent's dice you constantly force re-rolls for the cost of 1 resource. And good players will be wary to re-roll dice in their pool, particularly if you have the option of blanking it again. That you don’t lose the die when resolving its special is just the icing on the cake. Still, the deck only runs one copy as it is limited to Yoda.
BARTERING fulfills two roles with its three resource sides and the draw effect for us and our opponent. We don’t mind giving him an additional card with this deck and we can definitely use the resource while digging deeper into our own deck.
A powerful play is to use Bartering late in a round when your opponent has discarded his last card, maybe pitching it to re-roll so as to not lose it to a Cassian, Anakin or Podracer Discard side anyways, forcing your opponent to draw another card and proceeding to discard it.MAZ'S GOGGLES and FORCE MEDITATION are the obvious choices when it comes to special chaining off of Yoda and milling. Remember that both the Force Mediation and Maz's Goggles can go on any character, it just requires spot to play them. There are no restrictions as to what characters they can go on.
At first glance, four additional upgrade dice seem a bit low, but combined with the character dice and the Podracer it is more than enough.
It's advisable to put your upgrades, if possible, on Cassian. Diverting attention from Yoda and Anakin, can be extremely helpful. You can always overwrite any of the upgrades with a Second Chance to keep him alive longer. A Force Meditation on Cassian can go a long way to make him a juicy target.
With five expansions to choose from, our mitigation suite is brimming with excellent removal: It either soft mitigates or straight up removes multiple dice: EASY PICKINGS, BEGUILE, ENTANGLE, INTO THE GARBAGE CHUTE, OVERCONFIDENCE, or doesn’t cost any resources: HIDDEN MOTIVE, PACIFY, and the latter might be one of the best cards in this deck. It's versatile, and you want to see one of those in your starting hand. Being able to use it on one of your own dice to gain shields or to remove an opponent's die is extremely powerful.
HYPERSPACE JUMP and FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES are, once again, obvious picks. Remember that Hyperspace Jump ends the round immediately (comes in handy when your opponent rolls the nuts or is out of cards, but still has dice to resolve) and lets you switch the battlefield, a part of the card that is often missed by your opponents. Don't get greedy when choosing to Hyperspace out of problems. It's easy to get lulled into grabbing those extra resources or milling that 1 or 2 extra cards from your opponent's deck when an All In or Tactical Mastery or whatever other nasty card you can envision suddenly kills off one of your characters. The Hyperspace Jump is a "get-me-out-of-trouble-card", use it!
[Currently, with the high amount of decks utilizing very few mitigation cards, there could be an argument for switching Friends in Low Places to Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder].
CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS is here as a catalyst. Milling an extra two or three cards off a deck even once per game can be the difference between a win in round 4 or going to round 5. Also, it is one of the key cards in mirror matches and should be your prime target with Friends in low Places.
Remember with the official clarification of Clandestine Operations that if you play the card and start a chain all of the dice that are being RESOLVED with the same symbol count for the purpose of determining how many cards are discarded off the top of an opponent's deck:
So, a Yoda Special (a) that turns a Yoda 2 Focus (b) into another Yoda Special (c) that proceeds to turning a Force Meditation Blank (d) into a Force Meditation Special (e) would Discard 3 cards from the top of an opponent's deck, even though only one die showed a blank when you played Clandestine Operations (in total the illustrated play could net as much as 7 discarded cards).
FLAMES OF THE PAST is currently just a one-off, but I can see it to be played twice in the future. If more and more players adjust to the fact that mill decks are viable now, it is even more imminent to remove pesky cards like Ancient Lightsaber or Chance Cube from play. Flames of the Past is so powerful that many players already have, or should consider, adding more 1 offs in their upgrade suite.
As with Clandestine Operation, Flames of the Past is on special duty in the mirror match and I will show you why in a minute.
And here comes the not so secret star of the show: ANAKIN SKYWALKER'S PODRACER. As long as Anakin is alive you can guarantee a two discard every round, or, sometimes more important, two shields and a discard from hand or deck. Its versatility and reliability is what makes this deck click, even if Yoda should be dead round 2.
Some variants of this deck run Start your Engines as a third copy, just highlighting how important Anakin’s vehicle is. This card alone will bring Vandalize back in every yellow deck and make Flames of the Past the most important counter card in the mirror match.
IMPERIAL PALACE is the most straightforward choice for this type of deck and your easiest way to strip the last cards out of your opponent’s hand. Be careful that your opponent doesn’t start to using it against you. Ideally, if you win the roll-off, NEVER CHOOSE YOUR OWN BATTLEFIELD, but grab the extra shields and use Hyperspace Jump to switch battlefield later when your opponent is down to his last cards.
In many other mill decks Command Center could be an option or even Medical Center, but you are so fast and consistent at milling from the deck that it is much better to be able to control your opponent's hand
Against damage dealing decks you are looking for at least one zero-cost or one-cost removal option, a Force Meditation/Maz’s Goggles and, of course, the Podracer. You are very flexible in your decisions here, because most card choices in this deck are pretty redundant: Force Meditation can stand in for Anakin’s Podracer, but Maz’s Goggle and a Bartering are also a solid combination for your starting hand and so on.
If I had to choose my hand against an aggressive deck like Kylo/Pryce, I would like to have: Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer, Maz’s Goggles, Friends in Low Places, Pacify and a Force Illusion as well as the two shields from the roll-off.
8. IDEAS ON HOW TO BEAT THE DECK:
For everyone who is not in the mood to read Mads’ excellent article, here are some quick ideas for what to look in a deck that stands a chance against eYoda/Cassian/Anakin.
Consider going for Anakin, especially if the Podracer comes out early. If you can blitz him down round 1, do it! Otherwise, Yoda is always a solid choice as he brings two dice to the table and can not get a Second Chance. Don’t fall for the mill player’s trick if he puts the starting shields on Yoda and Anakin while playing the first upgrade on Cassian. He is most likely having the Second Chance already in hand, utilizing the upgrade once or twice before playing Second Chance at a discount, leaving you miserable.
Bring Vandalize or some other way to deal with the Podracer, maybe even Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder (Hi Mads! If you are not familiar with that particular spat you might wanna listen to YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 14).
Focus and action cheats are your friends (All In, anyone?).
Use dice with a 50% hit chance as you don’t want to re-roll. Take the damage you can get, don’t get greedy and conserve your hand for another round. Additionally, learn when re-rolling with your deck is actually worth it. Stop wasting cards for a potential single point of damage!
Use his own battlefield Imperial Palace against the mill player. Strip his most valuable cards like Hyperspace Jump and Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer before he can utilize them while protecting your own hand by claiming.
And most importantly: TRAIN THE MATCHUP! I know, it is not always fun to play against mill, but the more you get used to it, the higher the chances to beat it at one of the big tournaments that are coming up. The biggest boon for all the mill players out there is that most people have no idea how to handle their decks.