This deck analysis is written by Dustin Wilson who took top spot at the North Carolina Regional (December 2018).
1. GENERAL COMMENTS:
Starting with the nerf to Snoke, the meta was assumed to be wide open. From listening to multiple different content creators and their thoughts that 2 wide aggro decks would make a big return, vehicles seemed like they might be able to make a splash.
Ever since the release of Across the Galaxy, it seemed like mod upgrades were extremely under-costed upgrades that just didn’t start the game with a viable target, but if that target could be assured on turn 1, could ramp some powerful dice quickly. Short of Planetary Bombardment, there is no die scarier than the Shadow Caster. That die only gets scarier as the mods are attached and with the dice fixing that Yoda provides, massive amount of damage can be thrown around quickly.
The deck runs quite smoothly with a fairly even distribution of removal and upgrades to go along with the consistency of Armored Reinforcement and Yoda. Armored Reinforcement should most definitely have a higher cost, which I think should be at least 5 points.
The North Carolina Regional saw me play 14 games with this deck. It only lost twice, with one coming down to a literal 50/50 dice roll against a Vader that hit a Fear and Dead Men for 4 Melee on all three of my characters on round 1. Conflicted was played on a Vader die with me showing lethal and the Hired Gun having 2 health left. The other game that was lost was the only game all day where I felt like I was behind.
In the finals against eYoda/eHan3, game 2 was played on his battlefield, Theed Royal Palace. A free resource without losing an action to a deck that runs three Force Speeds and three Hyperspace Jumps kept me on my heels for the whole game. It also doesn’t help that he had two Force Speeds and a Force Throw on Yoda round 1, followed by a Holdout Blaster and a DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol on Han a round or two later, all while Hyperspace Jumping to end my turns early.
By the end of the game, I had only gotten to resolve the Shadow Caster die once or twice as he was going super fast and dealing 6-9 damage a turn without the possibility of removal (4 actions in a row is tough to watch, just set your hand down, sit back, and hope to get a turn after he’s done). Definitely well played by him, that deck was nasty when it went off.
2. CHARACTERS & PLOT:
The Consistency Master is the engine of this deck early, assuring that you have the money to play and load up the Shadow Caster as quickly as possible. This is the first tournament I have ever run Yoda, but his consistency is something I’ve wanted to use for a long time. The longer he stays alive, the greater your chances of winning. Stolen from a previous deck analysis, the three things that Destiny players are looking for in decks and characters are:
HIRED GUN is a good early and late game character for this deck. His 2 resource sides give you a great chance to ramp early, and after you load out the Shadow Caster, his 3 for 1 damage side can be a game changer. He also provides Yellow, obviously important to this deck, and 9 health for 8 points. It’s kind of like he was made for this deck.GUNGAN WARRIOR outside of a pure Gungan deck is the ultimate “I need Red” character, but does everything you could ask him for as a tiny little support character. He can have his die turned to a resource after rolling a Blank, he could have his die turned to a 2 indirect damage after rolling a Blank. His dice are great to use for Negotiate and Vandalize, not to mention he’s the best target for Into the Garbage Chute there is. He’s the little person working hard behind the scenes.
ARMORED REINFORCEMENT – This card is too good. I would find a way to play this card if it cost 5 because it’s that good. It provides the ultimate consistency to a deck that wouldn’t be able to do anything without a vehicle early. If you play on your own Battlefield, Weapons Factory Alpha, you can play Shadow Caster for 2 resources in Turn 1. That’s not fair for only 3 points.
This deck doesn’t run any traditional upgrades, just the newly minted Mod – Upgrades. They are overpowered dice for their cost and are required to get the Shadow Caster from kind of scary to the best die in the game. 11 in the deck (counting BB-8) means there is a very good chance of starting the game with at least 2 mod upgrades in your hand (62% before mulligan).
TRIPLE LASER TURRET
Three 2 damage sides and a 3 damage side AND it protects the support die that it is attached to…. And this sucker only costs 2!?!?!? While that’s all fine and dandy, it might not even be the best mod-upgrade there is. It only protects the Support die while the TLT die is in the pool, but that forces an opponent to have multiple removal cards and take multiple actions to get to your Shadow Caster die. The 3 for 1 doesn’t feel great but it still has three 2 damage sides. This is necessary in any large vehicle deck.
DORSAL TURRET is also in the running for the best Mod – Upgrade is the Dorsal Turret. A 1 cost upgrade that lets you roll it in twice the turn you play it and has three damage sides, with two of them being 2 damage sides. Even the discard side on its initial roll-in feels pretty good. This is also tied for the best upgrade to have in your opening hand.
The last of the dice Mods is easily the weakest, but still a good die and decent ability for 2 resources. Using this to overwrite a Dorsal Turret late in the game or overwriting the other copy of itself is normally the only way this gets played (Or it’s the only one you have). That 3 indirect side when the opponent is down to 1 character is a beauty to behold.
The reset mechanic since the nerf of Strategic Planning is great early game and useful late game. It is also in the running for best Mod Upgrade in the deck. Early game it is a free upgrade to attach to Shadow Caster and lower the resource costs allowing for first round 5 indirect damage sides which is a huge start. Late game, after the Shadow Caster is fully equipped, your 2 resources a turn can be used to reset the Shadow Caster. This card wins games.
The card that opponents hate to see after Yoda dies and they think they don’t have to worry about dice fixing anymore. Didn’t roll a 6 ranged side, never fear, here is a cute little droid to target the Shadow Caster on whichever side you want. If you’re worried about an opponent having Deflect in their hand, the 5 indirect feels pretty good too.
A Shadow Caster with three Mods is terrifying. I think the strongest load out is a Triple Laser Turret, a Targeting Astromech and an R2 Astromech/Arc Caster/a second Triple Laser Turret.
BB-8 is maybe the most underrated Legendary from the Across the Galaxy set. The ability to play this little roley poley, get a Focus or a Resource, then attach it to the Shadow Caster and roll it back it, is very powerful. After Poe’s little buddy gets attached to the Shadow Caster, it is actually better to overwrite it with the Targeting Astromech, as its only side better than the astromech is the resource. Don’t forget to roll him in and use him before overwriting though.SHADOW CASTERThe Meat and the potatoes of this deck. The die is incredibly strong, but very expensive without mods. Luckily there are 11 mods in this deck to alleviate that problem. Tutoring this beast onto the table in round 1 with Armored Reinforcement is just is not nice to opponents. Using any combination of Yoda or Targeting Astromech to turn this powerful die to a 6 ranged side turn after turn is exhausting for an opponent, especially if you reset the Caster during a turn. The deck is completely built around this card, but can also run with an N-1 when playing the vehicle mirror. This is a 2-of for the off chance that you have to tutor for the N-1 or if somehow your first Caster is removed. One way to prevent that is with the…
The defensive support that I thought would never be played. There are only so many cards that can remove a Shadow Caster from the board, and most decks can’t run them all due to the uselessness of them when not playing vehicles. Nobody wants to go into a game with 6 dead cards in their deck. This protects your Shadow Caster against the decks and cards that do run the vehicle hate. This might not be a card that gets played a ton, but is one of those things you’d rather have and not need, than need it and not have it.
N-1 Starfighter is your vehicle mirror tech card. Decent damage sides, a 2 Shield side and a great Special, when needed, make this card an auto-include for this deck. This is also a 2-off in case one needs to be drawn for some reason. This card won’t be played very often in my experience, but is another card that can save the day against AT-ST or to ready the Shadow Caster, though this is not the most efficient way to do it.
The removal package in this deck is extremely strong, with 7 multi-dice removal events to go along with Hidden Motive and 2 Pinned Down. This may be the strongest mitigation suite in a deck that doesn’t run DJ.
Three, one-off tech cards round out the events and give options against most decks. The thought was that no matter who this deck ran up against, with 25 starting health and Yoda’s ability to create shields when needed, the survivability of this deck was very high since the Shadow Caster works quickly. Removing multiple dice at once, especially damage dice, is a real killer to opponents.
When this may be the worst removal card in a deck that almost guarantees a turn 1 vehicle, you know the removal suite is strong. The pay 1 to remove a die events all have stipulations, but this has the easiest spot requirement. My favorite way to use this card is on a Vader die, wait for them to Power Action it back in, then play a multi-dice removal to finally get rid of them.
HIDDEN MOTIVE is one of those great mitigation cards that is seen in nearly every competitive deck running blue. The ability for soft or hard mitigation for 0 is just too good to pass up, especially with no spot requirement.
One of those incredibly powerful multi-dice removal that is strong against nearly every deck. People know that against hero yellow, you have to always assume this is in your opponents hand and play around it. Auto include, especially since the Yellow character, Hired Gun, is not the first target, leaving this online most of the game. Just a great start to the multi-dice removal package.
INTO THE GARBAGE CHUTE can almost only be run in a 3-wide deck, and there is no better target for it than the mighty Gungan Warrior. The restriction to damage dice hurts you against Yoda decks, but the ability to remove ANY 2 damage dice is powerful. Easily worth losing the Gungan die for one turn to remove anywhere from 4-10 damage.
Another card that feels great because of the Gungan. Told you he was the most important character…. Maybe. It’s a good idea to roll out the Gungan first when you have this in your hand, then just wait for the enemy character roll in and gut their dice. Stinks that the opponent gets to choose the dice, but it’s still a multi dice removal for 1 resource.
OUTGUN is the worst removal card round 1 and maybe 2, then the best removal card late round 2 and beyond. No restriction on the dice that you can choose to remove is amazing. This card gives you so many options to blow up your opponents turn and extend the life of your characters. Easily the strongest and most flexible removal in the deck after the Shadow Caster is built up.
SCRUFFY LOOKING NERF-HERDER is a tech card against Thrawn/Snoke (call support) or Darth Vader (call event) that has been changed to a two-off since the North Carolina Regional as it was always a good play. Being able to take an important card out of your opponents hand can change the game.
VANDALIZE is kind of the same thing as Scruffy, but for after an opponent plays the card. Having the Gungan die, if it’s not already used by something else, make this card feel really good and cheap to play. Getting rid of a Force Speed to give you more time to play the excellent mitigation package is very powerful and doesn’t cost you any dice, as well.
Was put in as a blowout play, but was never actually played and replaced by a second Scruffy after the tournament. Needing a loaded up Shadow Caster, and at least 1 Yoda die on a Special, is a little much to ask in the mid-game.
6. MULLIGAN STRATEGY:
The optimum first hand is an R2 Astromech (ALWAYS keep), a Dorsal Turret (ALWAYS keep), Triple Laser Turret (ALWAYS keep), a piece of mitigation (preferably Easy Pickings vs Yoda or a Negotiate against strong 2 die characters like Dooku2/Cassian/Kylo2) and a tech card for the deck you’re playing. Would love a Scruffy against Vader or Thrawn/Snoke, or Shield Generator against decks that will run more anti-vehicle cards (I’m looking at you Hero Red and Hero and Villain Yellow). It’s hard to not start the game with 2 Mods that are playable round 1 and immediately begin the damage train. All character dice will hopefully be resolved for a resource on turn 1.
The dice aren’t great on the roll-off, unless the Hired Gun shows up. If you do win, ALWAYS take your Battlefield. Worst case is against Theed Royal Palace. Bad things can happen if your opponent is running Theed and gets their battlefield as they get a big advantage turn 1, and most likely, every turn since this deck is a little slow.
7. OVERALL GAME PLAN:
The early game has very easy decisions, as you want all the resources you can get. As long as the opponents dice won’t end the game round 1, removal shouldn’t need to be played. Even a Vader 4 side that gets Fear and Dead Men played on it isn’t a game ender. Go ahead and watch the recent ArrowBrookGaming video (SPOILER ALERT) ... where they ran this list against Vader/Greedo. The Vader player played Fear and Dead men on round 1 AND 2 on a 4 side, then played Rise Again and Ancient Saber healed turn 3 and the Shadow Caster still beat it on turn 3.
Just get that Shadow Caster out and mod it up as soon as possible. It’s not terribly hard to get 3 mods onto the Shadow Caster before rolling it in on round 2, which is just murder to all opponents. After the Caster is modded out, all resources can be used to decimate an opponent’s turn by removing multiple dice at a time
A sneaky play round 1 is to hold onto your non-dice Mods until after you roll in, allow your opponent to think you can’t pay for the die side, let them claim, then drop the mods on and resolve.
Things to watch for and remove immediately include 4 character dice on the board at once, or Hero red gun sides. Those are the easiest ways to get the Shadow Caster off the board so just remain vigilant to those situations. AT-ST dice should also be removed as soon as possible.
The earlier you can get Triple Laser Turret onto the Shadow Caster, the better. Having a protected die that has a 6 ranged side is a game winning combo. Once it is on there, you can easily start every turn rolling in the Shadow Caster and putting large amounts of pressure on your opponent. Roll it in, focus with Yoda or Targeting Astromech, and smash face. This deck doesn’t make it past round 4 very often, especially if you get a reset with an R2 Astromech.
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