eYoda/eBail - Deck Analysis

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(CLICK THE IMAGE to go straight to swdestinydb to start tinkering with the deck).

1. INTRODUCTION:
WRITTEN BY CLAUS STAAL

When Joe Kwiatek took down the 23-man East Norriton (Pennsylvania, US) Prime Championship it probably raised a few eyebrows. I watched the final on The Golden Dice Podcast Stream and I was a bit surprised. First of all because Joe was facing off against none other than Cody Williams of Arrow Brook Gaming, playing Aphra Droids, and Cody arguably being one of the best Aphra players around, this looked like a hard match-up. It in fact ended up being an exciting 3 match game, but with eYoda/eBail prevailing in the end.

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It was also surprising because eYoda/eBail, while definitely being a strong deck, doesn't really do anything really broken. I mean ... it runs Admiral and can play it for 2 resources at the beginning of the game, turn 1 round 1, and it can tank heavily, better than any deck in the format, but that's fair; You pay 18 points for elite Yoda! You play upgrades, activate characters, hope to find good die sides and resolve them. Maybe you get to reset Yoda once in a while. Badabing-badabum. FAIR!

I've tested this deck quite extensively now, facing off against a variety of the YOUR Destiny Gauntlet decks, and the record is ok'ish, but to get the most out of the deck, you definitely need to get quite a few reps in. My first games were marred by bad choices, and while they were not misplays per se, they just weren't optimal strategies for the deck. Shifting focus between turtling  (loading Yoda with Shields) and going full metal jacket with Melee damage is a fine balance to strike. You need to get it right. Congrats to Joe Kwiatek for finding that balance!
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2. CHARACTERS:
Nobody takes the philosophy of using Shields as mitigation to the same extreme as YODA - MYSTICAL MENTOR. His dice sides are pretty obscene and from a quick count, as far as I know, he's only eclipsed by Darth Vader himself averaging  a face value of 13/6 (2.17) as opposed to Yoda's 12/6 (2), but it's his ability that can really changes his power level. Being able to stack 6 Shields on Yoda is just nuts. Sure, an Intimidate is going to hurt - A LOT - but I don't think any deck other than the aggressive version of ReyLo runs that at the moment. That could change though. So, do make sure to keep an eye out for that: Losing 6 Shields in one swift action is a HUGE damage swing.

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Most of his dice sides are pretty nuts, with the sole exception of his 1 Melee side, which is pretty annoying at a glance, but I guess there has to be a downside to a character with no Blanks and an unprecedented 4 Shield side. And even his 1 Melee side can become pretty insane using either Ataru Strike or Become One.
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Similar to Yoda - Wizened Master, who used to be one of the absolute best characters in the game - he doesn't have any Blanks, but has received much less love than his predecessor. I think it's fair to say that he's received no love at all. He's very vulnerable to spike damage and action cheat can take him out early, but once you get him set up with Shields he can be an absolute beast. In that way he does have that crazy 'Palpatine - Unlimited Power' feeling to him, although he doesn't quite go off in the same way.

BAIL ORGANA is pretty funky and feels weak as a support character, but the main problem is that Red Heroes doesn't offer a lot of options in the x/12 points range. And for obvious reasons you need Red to play Admiral

3. TYPE - SUBTYPE:
I've played against a fair share of players who were a bit confused concerning Bail Organa's Special. The clarification to all the confusion, as often is the case, is right there in the Rules Reference (p.3, bottom left):type bail yodajpg
SUBTYPE on the other hand references what is written after the TYPE, i.e. UPGRADE (type) - WEAPON (subtype), OR, CHARACTER (type) - JEDI (subtype) - LEADER (subtype). In the instances where nothing is written after the TYPE, there's no SUBTYPE.

3.1. SPELLING IT OUT:
Yoda - Mystical Mentor's TYPE is Character, while his two SUBTYPES, divided by (-), are: JEDI (and) LEADER. And Niman Mastery's TYPE is UPGRADE, while its two SUBTYPES, divided by (-), are ABILITY (and) FORM and ADMIRAL's TYPE is also an UPGRADE and its SUBTYPE: TITLE.
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So, Bail Organa's Special does NOT allow you to reroll all CHARACTER (type) dice, but rather choose a SUBTYPE to reroll, i.e. all LEADER dice, or for (UPGRADES): ABILITY dice OR LEADER dice.

That Special is actually pretty powerful as it allows you to both reroll AND turn one of those rerolled dice, so it's either an autofocus on the Admiral die, OR, soft mitigation AND a focus on character dice sharing the same SUBTITLE, which means that it's great against Leaders (subtype), there's a wealth of those in play at the moment, or against Droids (subtype) which I find to be pretty powerful, hitting both hero droids and Aphra decks. Remember that the same subtypes can be found across different types, i.e. (subtype) Troopers or Droids. Bail Organa's Special allows you to reroll dice of all types as long as they share subtype.

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Also, If you plan to play this deck, it might be worth familiarising yourself with the Holocron Changes to the various Character Subtypes in the respective Holocron (Standard, Trilogy, Infinite) since many characters have subtypes added. Sure, many of them don't really see play, but for instance Captain Phasma (from the 2-player set) is now a LEADER - TROOPER, which is not printed on the actual card.

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4. ADMIRAL:
The gravitation point of the deck is obviously the ├╝ber-powerful ADMIRAL play. Being able to reset a character with as powerful dice as Yoda - Mystical Mentor can be absolutely backbreaking for your opponent. Most opponent's will be able to smell this coming from far away, so don't expect your opponent to look particularly shocked when you set up the Admiral play.

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That however does not change the main power of Admiral, namely that every single round your opponent has to be able to remove the Admiral die or risk being overwhelmed by dice! Once Admiral is in play, do make sure to play it smart. Force your opponent into spending his precious mitigation on other dice or make sure that he is being punished for having to remove the Admiral die.

YOU ARE IN COMMAND NOW (in combination with Bail Organa's ability) allows you to play Admiral round 1, even from your discard pile, and the Admiral die in itself is pretty nuts - even if you don't hit the Special it still has plenty of power to offer. Giving Ambush as well is just really the icing on the cake.

Your second Upgrade - Title is GUARDIAN OF THE WHILLS, which can be played for free as long as Bail Organa is alive, is as a minimum worth a resource if you overwrite it, but the Shield (when moving from Bail to Yoda) or the Indirect damage (when moving it from Yoda to Bail) is also pretty handy and sequences like moving Guardian Of The Whills to Yoda, to gain a Shield, overwrite it with Jedi Lightsaber (saving a resource), gain two Shields, leaving a resource for mitigation or maybe even playing a Yoda's Lightsaber is just really powerful, and can help you squeeze out maximum value of every card in the deck.

5. UPGRADES:
JEDI LIGHTSABER is amazing in this deck! Getting 2 Shields when you play it on Yoda, immediately bumping his effective health to 14 (barring Unblockable Damage), and the possibility of an overwrite into an Admiral (if you find an additional resource) is just crazy value for money. Always keep this in your starting hand.

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You can also just choose, maybe out of necessity, to go full aggro and simply plough 8 Melee damage into the first Droid that comes into striking distance!

YODA'S LIGHTSABER also adds a Shield to Yoda and the die is actually pretty good for a 1 cost upgrade. I rarely keep it in my starting hand unless the combination of cards pan out in a way that I need that extra resource for mitigation or I'm certain that I can play BOTH a Jedi Lightsaber and a Yoda's Lightsaber round 1, i.e. sitting around with a Jedi Lightsaber, Yoda's Lightsaber AND Guardian Of The Whills.
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The rest of your upgrades are pretty self-explanatory. DAGGER OF MORTIS to have a powerful Redeploy weapon that can move Shields from a blue characters, sweet against ReyLo, Palpatine or R2-D2, while the NIMAN MASTERY is arguably the best blue upgrade in Standard Format. It gives an extremely high level of consistency and the soft mitigation offered when playing it is just an amazing bonus.

TREASURED LIGHTSABER remains one of my favourite upgrades! Getting to replace it with another card after playing it, digging for Admiral and/or You Are In Command Now, and dealing Unblockable Damage with the Special is pretty good. In between your Focus sides, Bail's Special and (possibly) your Battlefield, I rarely have difficulty finding damage with it.

6. REMOVAL:
You run a relatively small, and also a relatively weak, mitigation suite. Mostly, due to the fact - as previously mentioned - that your Shields are considered mitigation, and you can get a tons of Shields, but it also puts you in a difficult spot at times having to choose between mitigation, Shields, or damage.

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DISCIPLINED MIND is currently a fan favourite for decks running a Jedi because there are not lots of Jedis in the meta and it removes support and upgrade dice 99.99999999% of the time. There could be an argument for running NEAR MISS instead or do a 1:1 split, but I've been happy so far with it. I do miss PACIFY though and I'll probably try and find space for it somehow.

ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE is god tier in the current meta! There are plenty of Droid and Vehicle dice around and it's just a very solid 0cost removal. The only three meta decks where it's rendered completely useless is against eYoda/eLeia mill, Palp/eJango and ReyLo (unless they run R2-D2, which still makes it pretty corner case).

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FIELD MEDIC is nice against cheating decks and in the instances where you take huge blows to Yoda before he gets a chance to Shield up. It's also pretty good against Ewok and Plothwok Swarms.

HIDDEN MOTIVE always makes me feel uneasy. It's good because it's 0cost, but once you've tried to Hidden Motive, with the intention of removing, a Vader's Fist die, you know what I'm talking about. This deck doesn't generate a great deal of resources, so squeezing in as many 0cost removal cards as possible is important.
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SUPPRESSIVE FIRE
is also good against action cheat, although it is rarely able to effectively combat hero droids, but it allows you to claim and still have an answer to character dice being rolled into the pool.
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JEDI MIND TRICK is your tech against Palpatine, but in recent games I've tried both REPULSE and BEGUILE, both of which feel superior outside of that one match-up. Palpatine doesn't feel like THAT bad a match-up with this deck though and I think that IF you are at the point where Jedi Mind Trick is what it takes to save you, and it being superior to the other two alternatives, you'll still be doomed. Another choice, if you want more advanced control is to include CHANNEL THE FORCE, which allows you to modify your own dice as well!

7. TECH CARDS:
In a deck that has the capacity to generate Shields out of the wazoo and on top of that has HUGE blue sides, both ATARU STRIKE and BECOME ONE are obvious includes. Being able to strike for 9 damage with an Ataru Strike or 7 Melee by removing a 4 Shield side is just the kind of bite this deck needs. While the deck at times can feel pretty ordinary those moments are when you are lead to believe, wrongly though, that it's broken. Because it's really not ... although it feels GOOD!

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I understand why LOGISTICS is included in the deck, but most of the time - unless I draw it round 1 - it feels a bit underwhelming. The deck doesn't make lots of money though, so if you're a rational player, you'll keep it, if you are more a Gung-Ho type of guy or gal, you'll find other cards to add. If it wasn't because of Desperate Measures, I'd actually consider adding either R2-D2 to be able to focus dice and draw deeper into the deck or maybe even QUI-GON'S SPIRIT for a late round play and some nasty damage from the accumulated Shields.

8. SALT FLATS - NO BLANKS:
SALT FLATS is pretty hilarious in this deck. It gives you soft mitigation, by allowing you to Blank a die OR turn one of your Leader dice to any side, but the best thing about it is that it can often be VERY useless for your opponent. Yoda's dice are the ones your opponent would often like to Blank, but he can't, and it's not an option for neither Admiral, Niman Mastery and Yoda's Lightsaber.

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Other options would be THEED ROYAL PALACE to ensure an early Admiral, while OBI-WAN'S HUT is a boring, but staple choice.

7. MULLIGAN:
JEDI LIGHTSABER
just feels so good in your starting hand. Putting those two Shields on Yoda immediately while adding a relatively good die is pure gold. I like to get ADMIRAL early and try to put it into play after using LOGISTICS to harvest resources off a Bail Organa die. If you control Salt Flats that's easy to achieve, and few opponent's will want to waste their precious mitigation on a Bail Resource side before having seen what Yoda's dice are up to.

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You can even pitch the Admiral to reroll if needed, picking it up from the discard pile with YOU ARE IN COMMAND NOW, but just look out for potential Probes that can ruin you plans.

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