1. GENERAL COMMENTS:
Monoblue heroes has had a rough time since the emergence of Snoke, but might look like they are finally getting a comeback in the Across the Galaxy meta with a slow return to 2character decks although they still look weak against support based decks.
[I'm going to use the terms "Qui-Gonn Jinn2", "Qui-Gon Jinn", "QGJ2" and "QGJ" interchangeably in the following article. They do all refer to Qui-Gon Jinn from the Across the Galaxy expansion unless otherwise noted]
This is a beautiful and classic midrange deck and aims to upgrade hard and tank through your opponent's characters midgame, while also hiding a few nasty tricks up its sleeve!
This deck is basically identical (with just two changes) to the deck that was piloted by larki to a top4 spot at the Czech Nationals 2018 and he also wrote some notes on his deck on swdestinydb.
So far I haven't been a huge fan of Qui-Gon Jinn2, but he might actually have found a good home with Yoda. Sure, having to add a negative plot hurts, but as we'll see it can be remedied and maybe even made into a strength of the deck.
Qui-Gon Jinn2 is a funky character. His dice sides are pretty underwhelming, but his ability cannot be underestimated, and if you can find a way to keep shields on him for long enough to also resolve dice, the dice sides are effectively transformed from mediocre to AWESOME!
There's not just a lot of damage and tank potential in a Qui-Gon Jinn2 with a single upgrade and 3 Shields, but also ramp potential. An Ancient Lightsaber which can effectively net 2 resources AND get another upgrade down, i.e. a Shoto Lightsaber is pretty outrageous!
Obviously, the trick is NOT to use Qui-Gon Jinn's dice before he has AT LEAST 2 Shields on him, which means that his own Shield sides in most instances is a no-go, unless of course you have bonkers upgrades on him that can profit from QGJ2 being boosted by 3 Shields.
This in turn means that you'll need to find ways of consistently generate Shields either using events or Yoda. "Generate Shields" you say, I guess Yoda approves!
Yoda's Special is in this character team augmented, as if it NEEDED that, by the fact that each Shield generated and each Qui-Gon Jinn die turned also boosts QGJ's dice! That's so much gain and it can quickly escalate out of control for your opponent!
It also puts pressure on your opponent to choose his first target carefully! Is he going for Qui-Gon Jinn trying to keep the Shields off him to minimise the effect of his character and upgrade dice? Or is he going for Yoda to reduce the consistency of the deck?
3. STEADFAST AND BITTER RIVALRY:
Adding BITTER RIVALRY to the deck to fit Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn into the same character team is a pretty huge downside though: It reduces your collective health pool to 20hp and can make both your characters pretty juicy, and easy to kill, targets for your opponent! Add to this that your opponent starts with 6 cards in his starting hand (effectively giving him a free Stolen Intel) and your are looking at some serious drawbacks.
Is it worth it? That's somehow the beauty of negative plots in Destiny. The evaluation, which can never truly be an objective one, of the pros and cons of plots, depends on how you want to play the deck and how effectively you can convert your strategy into your various tactical decisions.
While there might be arguments for running Solidarity over Bitter Rivalry, at the end of the day it feels EXTREMELY disruptive to this particular deck to have your deck construction limited to just one copy of each card. In particular because you have means to counter the drawbacks of playing Bitter Rivalry!
The Round 1 STEADFAST play is a particularly effective one as it all but reduces the drawback of taking 2 unblockable damage from Bitter Rivalry into a strength of the deck and a danger that has to be taken into account by your opponent. The play cannot be countered by anything but a first turn Discard from your hand, hitting either the Steadfast or limiting its effect by adding cards to your discard pile OR a Stifle. If possible, this should ALWAYS be your first play of the game!
You have 31% chance (before mulligan) of drawing into a Round 1 Steadfast. If your first draw of 5 cards does not reveal a Steadfast, your chances (depending on how many cards you mulligan) of drawing one is:
- (Drawing 1 card): 8%
- (Drawing 2 cards): 15%
- (Drawing 3 cards): 21%
- (Drawing 4 cards): 26%
Giving your opponent 6 cards in his starting hand is always going to be bad - in particular if your opponent is fishing for a specific combo, i.e. Ace in the Hole/Crimelord, or a specific card, i.e. Vader's Fist, and there's no real way of you to reverse that, but you can change the odds back by adding cards to your own starting hand. Although it's never going to bring true status quo, it's nonetheless going to improve your own odds of finding what you need in specific match-ups.
Adding cards to the deck like Treasured Lightsaber and Qui-Gon Jinn's Lightsaber are going to facilitate that strategy, and although not vital to the deck, they can be added without disrupting the synergy of the deck.
We've talked about "DESTINY" (the card) already in our articles, and it ALWAYS replaces It Binds All Things as the superior ramp card for monoblue heroes.
There are very few blue hero characters in the game that lend themselves as readily to Destiny plays as QGJ2. The only ones are actually Kit Fisto, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And realistically, you're probably not going to use Mace Windu's dice for Destiny shenanigans. Kit Fisto could be interesting though, but that's for another deck analysis.
But augmented by Qui-Gon's ability his dice cannot be matched. He can do some INSANE Destiny plays to make Yoda a midgame beast to be reckoned with!
Being able to go into round 2 with 7 dice in the pool can be a tough challenge for any opponent. The Destiny plays gives the deck great flexibility, secures two strong characters in the midgame and does ensure that several strategic avenues are available to you, whether harvesting resources and gain shields with Yoda Specials to upgrade Qui-Gon or use Destiny to tool up Yoda. If you are smart with the Destiny plays you could easily end up with 3 weapons at the end of round 1!
There are some funky mechanisms available to you, if you have Shotos on Yoda and a Dagger of Mortis on Qui-Gon Jinn, allowing you to move a shield gained with the Shotos from Yoda to Qui-Gon BEFORE resolving the Dagger at increased die face value!
With a squishy 2 character team the Ancient Lightsaber can easily come in handy. It can have nasty sides, like all upgrades on Qui-Gon Jinn, courtesy of his ability and has nothing but useful dice sides, especially if you decide to tech in Synchronicity.
Two SHOTO LIGHTSABERs on Qui-Gon Jinn is absolutely NASTY! It means that his character dice from the get-go is boosted by +1 and finding that third shield means that the Shotos are +1 value as well along with whatever other upgrade Qui-Gon might have. CRAZY stuff.
TREASURED LIGHTSABER looks really strong in this deck and in particular nasty on Yoda who can easily trigger it before you play any other card to deal 3 unblockable damage. While we wait for Force Illusion to rotate out, unblockable damage remains as strong as ever!
DAGGER OF MORTIS and HEIRLOOM LIGHTSABER are your redeployable weapons, while QUI-GON JINN'S LIGHTSABER steals the slot from Obi-Wan Kenobi's Lightsaber due to the draw ability on the former which works well with Treasured Lightsaber and the dice sides are not shabby either!
It's not an "upgrade", it's a mitigation card. I like it, as does any Destiny player (or hate it depending on what side of the fence you're on) because it's proactive, can take a tons of damage and not dependent on any play restrictions or favorable die results.
FORCE SPEED on Yoda is just ridiculous. It allows you to set up unmitigable damage, get Shields on Qui-Gon before resolving is die to augment them with his ability, all in an effortless uninterrupted flow. Few people are going to be sad seeing Force Speed rotate out of Standard soon. The Force Speed Special is so good that some players often mitigate THAT die ... says something about the power of it!
There's a single LIGHTSABER PULL to be the second or third copy of whatever weapon you need: A redeployable weapon when about to lose a character, an Ancient to heal them up or a second Shoto Lightsaber to prepare for war!
You run 7 removal cards (and 2 Force Illusion), which might be a bit on the low side for a midrange deck, but you are counting on your shield generation to act as pseudo mitigation!
GUARD is a one-off due to the relative few Melee sides in the deck and the fact that using those scarce Melee sides to mitigate dice can be pretty bad midgame. It does have a huge blowout potential though and I'd understand the temptation to bring two. Don't give away your Guard sitting in your hand too easily - it's probably the easiest mitigation card to read, i.e. resolving some of your Melee sides and leave some (one) in the pool ... erhmm ..
It has 33% chance of removing most dice in the game, which is pretty low, so be sure to use it carefully.
BEGUILE is amazing! The ability to affect three dice, blank one and remove one, is pretty good. Even with the resource generation of Yoda it's still pretty expensive, as you'll be aiming to play at least one upgrade per round for the first 3 rounds, so make sure you target the right dice! A great surprise move is to play Destiny using the 2 Shield sides (or any other side for that matter) on Qui-Gon to play Beguile!
If you have 3 shields on QGJ, all his character and upgrade dice are pretty dope for the Overconfidence Battle, but being able to affect two dice for 1 resource is amazing nonetheless.
7. TECH CARDS:
BECOME ONE is a great tech card that allows extreme flexibility and can convert seemingly useless die sides into massive boosts for other dice when needed, whether it's using surplus shield sides to increase Melee sides or convert a Yoda 2 Focus into a Quadruple Focus or ... Become One works wonders with QGJ's ability, but takes the flex spot from cards like Alter or Concentrate.
HEIGHTENED AWARENESS is expensive, in particular in a deck which this easily can generate tons of shields, but getting 3 Shields and Ambush can be absolutely devastating if played at the right time (which I learned the hard way in a test game playing against QGJ2/Yoda). Boosting ALL of Qui-Gon's dice then being able to resolve with Ambush is pretty fantastic.
The trick of adding RIPOSTE is just the frosting on the cake allowing you to remove the shields to deal 3 damage out of hand after having resolved the augmented dice! Riposte looks stronger than Synchronicity in this deck because it is easier to trigger if you are left with "just" Yoda in the endgame!
8. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:
You are looking for a round 1 Steadfast as well as getting your ramp going with a shrewd Destiny play. If you have a Destiny and a 3 cost upgrade keep both, otherwise mulligan the upgrade away. You are looking for a 2cost upgrade early. With your shield generation to keep you in the game you can survive without a round 1 mitigation card.
This is a fairly fast deck, and could play a proactive battlefield like Maz's Castle or Outer Rim Outpost, but the problem is that you are also very often playing a reactive game, using your Shield sides to tank up going into the next round, which means that unless claiming out will gain you a stronger position than resolving Shields showing on your dice, you'll probably give the claim to your opponent. The incentive for you to claim rather than surrender the battlefield is then to get Shields from claim, which means: Obi-Wan's Hut.
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