Written by CLAUS STAAL
The new article series "Game Analysis: X" is meant as a way to challenge and improve your decision making processes in games of Star Wars Destiny. I'll be focusing on different games, either recorded by the YOUR Destiny team, but it can basically be any game of interest that I find. Sometimes it will be meta decks and at other times it will be janky decks. The most important thing is that they contain challenging moments throughout the game.
Some games will contain play mistakes and others may have situations where rules clarifications are needed as the analysis progresses, and while I'll be discussing all of this as those situations occur, that's not as important as looking at the individual games from a player's POV. We all make mistakes. Hopefully we learn from them.
When I'm analysing the games, I'll be analysing progressively and will in most instances only have seen some 4-5 minutes of the game myself before going back to the start of the game to do the analysis. This is to mimic the situation of playing the game as closely as possible.
I'll be asking various questions throughout the analysis. You can answer these as you read along.
Finally, remember that it is almost always easier to watch a game retrospectively than actually playing the game. The purpose of this article series is not to point out mistakes, but rather analyse game plays in order to figure out what are the reasonings behind our decision making processes throughout a game of Destiny.
You can watch the game here either before or after reading my commentary. My recommendation is to read the commentary first and then watch the game afterwards:
Keeping 4 cards in his hand indicates that he did a pretty good initial draw. I'd expect him to have a cheap equipment piece, possibly Bounty Hunter Mask, a mitigation piece and one or more of the combo pieces: Vow of Vengeance, Common Cause, etc. It's also very possible that he'll be keeping a Desperate Measures in hand to counter the supports that will be played. He should probably be on the alert for the Probes that might rip his hand apart.
Deciding to keep the Counter Intelligence (to remove any mitigation) and Forsaken (because it's easy to set up) makes sense, while the Planetary Bombardment is a bit more tricky. PLAYER A's rationale here is to apply as much pressure as possible as early as possible, Planetary caps out at 14 Indirect damage which cannot be dealt to the Nightsister Zombies, but unless he draws into a Delve, which he obviously hopes to do, he'll need his dice to perform brilliantly:
- He needs 4 extra resources to play the Planetary Bombardment, and possibly another two to resolve the die, which means that he'll potentially need 6 extra resources, which can only be gained from a Resource side on both Wat Tambor and the Sentinel as well as two +2 Modified sides on Watto (not taking his Watto Power Action into account).
The real question here is whether or not he should let go of all cards but the Planetary Bombardment to up his chances of drawing the Delve? If he drops all he'll improve his chance of drawing a Delve from 15% to 26%. This is of course assuming that he's looking for the Delve.
He ends up with this hand after mulligan, which leaves him with an interesting choice:
2. BATTLEFIELD ROLL-OFF:
This was a huge mistake in the beginning. Both brought a Battlefield that would have a high impact on their own performance: Arena of Death vs. Landing Dock. They mistakenly after miscounting the tally give PLAYER A the choice of Battlefield. They end up playing on Landing Dock. This was obviously a HUGE mistake.
And although the mistake is likely to have an impact on the game, for the sake of the argument, let's assume that the roll-off had been won fair and square by PLAYER A. IF PLAYER A had then opted for PLAYER B's Battlefield and PLAYER B would have made the same choice, which he indicated when he rightly thought he had won the roll-off, then one of them would have been making a wrong decision.
The chances of PLAYER A winning the Battlefield roll-off against PLAYER B is in fact marginally better with: 1.16 vs. 1.08 on the dice ... it's still a massive mistake ... moving on.
FIRST ACTION of the game is PLAYER A playing COUNTERINTELLIGENCE to check PLAYER B's hand and put an event on the top of the deck. There are several cards that PLAYER A will be looking for to slow down PLAYER B, including Common Cause, Respite, etc. If PLAYER A is trying to get one of his heavy supports down Round 1, he might also want to get rid of a Desperate Measures to at least give him one round with the support before it's blown up.
For some odd reason PLAYER A chooses to put ACCEPTABLE LOSSES back on the deck, which is odd because his opponent is not likely to play it this round, but save it for round 2 to maximise its effect (defeating three characters rather than two characters). His decision is probably affected by the fact that he mistakenly thinks that it's being discarded rather than put back on the deck. The stronger choice would probably have been to remove the Doubt to protect his ramp and secondarily the No Questions asked. PLAYER A of course knows that Watto's dice are protected from No Questions Asked, so that one is not an immediate danger and PLAYER B is probably also not interested in letting PLAYER A run wild with resources.
PLAYER B proceeds with putting an UNCONTROLLABLE RAGE on Wat Tambor, which is a great play because it means that he knows that the next action of PLAYER A will be to activate Wat Tambor to avoid the damage, leaving him prone to a powerful Doubt play with 66% risk of hitting a useless side. PLAYER A is pretty lucky though to hit a Resource side which is resolved immediately. IF PLAYER A had removed the Doubt with his Counterintelligence the round would have developed in a totally different way.
PLAYER A follows up by activating the Sentinel Messenger and with his ability draws a PULSE CANNON, which makes for loads of interesting choices!
The Pulse Cannon can be played on Watto (who's still ready despite the image showing otherwise) and he has the resources to do so. It cannot be removed by Desperate Measures, while it can dish out loads of damage as long as he has the resources for it. It's also great with Watto's Power Action (66% chance of succeeding and the best card for that alongside Planetary Bombardment in the entire deck). He also knows that there's no mitigation left in PLAYER B's hand. It of course means that unless he's incredibly lucky, he already has one Blank showing, he won't be able to play any of his supports this round.
PLAYER A ends up playing the Pulse Cannon on Watto. Would you have done the same?
After attaching the Bounty Hunter Mask to Jango and gaining a resource followed by a Watto activation, PLAYER B decides to use NO QUESTIONS ASKED to remove the Pulse Cannon die showing 3 Ranged for a Resource. This feels premature since there's no resources showing and unless he's afraid of a Probe/Counterintelligence stealing the card from his hand, PLAYER A would probably have been better off waiting for the discard to reroll from PLAYER B. He now leaves PLAYER A with a resource to either use Watto's Power Action and/or trigger his 2 Resources for 1 (if he hits it on the discard to reroll).
That's in fact what ends up happening and a few actions later, Old Daka Power Action, Watto Power Action and resolve resources, PLAYER A has managed to secure 5 resources. The players deal damage to Old Daka and Watto respectively.
At the end of the round their boardstates look like this. With PLAYER B claiming and PLAYER A passing a few questions should be asked.
PLAYER A wants to preserve the resources to continue his Planetary Bombardment plan, while there are enough resources available to play the Vader's Fist. There is 33% risk per die roll to not be able to resolve and he has 2 possible rerolls from his cards in hand. Is it a mistake not trying to push the damage ceiling here? I honestly think I would have taken my chances with the Fist. Even with 0 resources available for the resolutions, I'd still consider the four die sides that can be resolved good enough to go ahead.
According to the commentary, PLAYER A forgets to discard the Vader's Fist before drawing cards which leaves him with just two new cards in hand: ENTOURAGE and SUPERLASER SIEGE CANNON. PLAYER A knows that PLAYER B drew into his ACCEPTABLE LOSSES which leaves him with 4 unknown cards.
PLAYER B has initiative and immediately plays RESPITE to gain a resource and draw another card, while he knows that PLAYER A's next action will be to activate Wat Tambor due to the Uncontrollable Rage. The sequence is:
- Wat Tambor activation,
- Bounty Hunter Mask on Jango,
- Watto activation.
- Old Daka Power Action.
- Second roll: 2 Ranged damage
- Third roll: 1 Disrupt.
PLAYER A decides to activate the SENTINEL still pursuing his original Planetary Bombardment plan, while one could consider if it would not be smarter to go for the double ENTOURAGE play, especially if he's afraid of Desperate Measures. Three activations from Entourage would have been pretty massive with another Fickle Mercenary pulled from the deck. That would also have made the Specials on Entourage worth 4 damage each (if he had the Fickle in play). Add to this the possibility of them finding resources for either of the heavy duty supports?!
What would have been your strategy going forward?
The sequence continues with:
- Acceptable Losses to defeat 3 Nightsister Zombies.
- Watto Power Action rerolling into a 1 Resource side.
- Activate Old Daka (1 Ranged and 1 Resource on the dice)
- Use Wat Tambor's Power Action to play Planetary Bombardment: Rolling a Blank
- Discard to reroll the Planetary Bombardment, Wat and Sentinel dice.
PLAYER A was right in his fears that there might be a DESPERATE MEASURES in PLAYER B's hand as he proceeds to blowing up the Planetary Bombardement taking 6 Indirect damage. Powerful moment that really sets PLAYER A back and probably leads to him considering if the line of play was the correct one.
If PLAYER A had followed an alternative line of play, he could have used the first Entourage as a bait. Played the second with Wat Tambor's Power Action and finally pulled a Fickle Mercenary to finish off the line-up. He'd then have provided several targets for the Desperate Measures and not put most of his eggs in one explosive basket.
PLAYER A is almost certain that there's a Vow of Vengeance in his opponent's hand and doesn't want to be caught in a situation where he cannot afford to play The Best Defense... due to having played the Entourage, so needs to find a way to gain a resource leading to the following sequence:
- Discard to reroll the Sentinel and Wat Tambor die (finds a Focus and a Resource side)
- Activate Nightsister Zombie dealing 1 damage to Wat Tambor.
- Resolve 1 Resource from Wat Tambor.
- Use Landing Dock Power Action to reroll Old Daka's die (finds a Disrupt, but is likely looking for a Discard side to hit what PLAYER B must believe to be a support amongst the last two cards)
- Plays Entourage
- Tutors for second Entourage
- Disrupts the last resource to prevent PLAYER A from playing his second Entourage.
Looking at the end of round 2 there are some really interesting choices made following this sequencing:
- Activate Entourage (rolls a Special)
- Activate Jango Fett (rolls double Blanks)
- Should PLAYER A now resolve the Special for 2 damage or focus the Entourage die into a 2 Resource side with the Sentinel die, setting up for next round?
PLAYER A ends up dealing 2 damage to Old Daka hoping to get an early round 3 kill. The logic is then to get Watto's dice in the pool early threatening with lethal on the Pulse Cannon and having 2 resources means he is likely to be able to resolve it 3 times uninterrupted unless his opponent has mitigation. Assuming PLAYER A knows his opponent's list he'll know that there are just 4 mitigation cards in the entire deck, one Doubt is already in the discard pile, which makes it quite possible that there'll be no mitigation in the next 5 cards.
The round ends with PLAYER A claiming and PLAYER B playing his last card in hand: VOW OF VENGEANCE on Jango Fett.
At upkeep PLAYER A decides to discard the Entourage in his hand, which according to the commentary is to dig deep for his Vandalize. He obviously wants to get rid of the Vow of Vengeance as fast as possible. I honestly feel letting go of the Entourage is a HUGE mistake. Especially since he still has The Best Defense... in hand as well as a Hidden Motive and Flank to take care of Jango Fett's character dice, which then makes the Vow of Vengeance worthless this round (unless PLAYER B has both Resilience in hand or will be able to draw both).PLAYER A has 35% chance of drawing one of his two Vandalize (if he had kept Entourage it would have been 27%), but doesn't find it. Meanwhile, PLAYER B would be at 45% chance of finding one of his remaining two Vow of Vengeance should the current one be discarded.
- PLAYER A decides to put maximum pressure on Old Daka activating Watto and finding the 2 Ranged damage for 1 on the Pulse Cannon (2 Disrupt on both Watto dice). Lethal damage showing. It also means he opens himself to Uncontrollable Rage on Wat Tambor, but prevents Old Daka from using her Power Action and healing 3 from Weave the Ichor.
- PLAYER B plays Doubt on the Pulse Cannon. 50% chance of a kill on Old Daka, but preventing the Pulse Cannon to go off on a Power Action. Best possible plays from both players. Definitely feels like the best line of play from both players.
PLAYER B is definitely under pressure now, but with 4 defeated characters his Vow of Vengeance is already boosting his character dice quite considerably (his damage sides are 5 Melee, 5 Ranged and 6 Ranged):
- Resolve both Watto dice disrupting 4 resources.
- Play Armor Plating
- Use Wat Tambor's Power Action to play Fickle Mercenary (rolling 1 Ranged damage)
- Use Uncontrollable Rage to deal 1 damage to Wat Tambor.
- Resolve 1 Ranged damage from Fickle Mercenary on Jango Fett.
- Play second Vow of Vengeance on Jango Fett.
- Activate Fickle Mercenary (rolling 2 Ranged damage).
- Activate Jango Fett (rolling 2 Ranged damage and 1 Ranged damage).
- Play The Best Defense... to remove both Jango dice.
The last couple of actions of round 3 are pretty uneventful. PLAYER B claims and PLAYER A discards to reroll the Sentinel Messenger die to find a 2 Melee side and finally resolving the 1 Resource side showing on Wat Tambor's die.
Assuming that PLAYER A was actually looking for the 2 Melee side he should probably have rerolled both the Sentinel and Wat's die, upping his chances of success from 16.66% to 44.44% (there's one 2 Melee side and a 1 Focus side and a 2 Focus side).
The game is essentially over at this point so I'll leave the analysis at that:
The mistake in the beginning regarding the Battlefield probably ended up being decisive for the game since Arena of Death is pretty nuts with eJango/eDaka, but there were also a number of other important decisions made throughout the game that swung the game in favor of eWatto/Wat/Sentinel.
At the end of the game, I'm still left wondering if the strategy pursued by PLAYER A was the right one. And generally, PLAYER B was betrayed by variance, which is of course also a part of any game of Destiny.
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