Written By Filippo Bosi
STAAAAR WAAAARS DESTINY PLAYERS ... Welcome back to the Community Building column! Whether you are a super competitive tournament grinder or a kitchen table casual player, this article might suit your interest. As you might be aware, I have the sweet tooth for Community Building and maintenance. If you haven't take the chance to read our previous articles on COMMUNITY BUILDING and the 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO WHEN DEMO'ING DESTINY, then go ahead and read them after finishing this article!
In this article, I'll explain why in my opinion Infinite format should be the go-to format to any run community-centric events.
2. INFINITE FORMAT:
Well, first of all you should know what the Infinite Format is and the difference between the various formats. Don't worry, YOUR Destiny is your Backup Muscle (HA! DESTINY PUN!) and we have several articles on our many Resource pages explaining everything you'll ever need to know about Formats and Rotation as well as understanding the Different Cycles of Cards in Destiny!
But in short, Infinite Format is the only format that allows you to play every single card ever published in Star Wars Destiny. Nevertheless, it has its own specific Holocron that balances the game fixing the point costs of characters, errata'ing cards that were considered unclear over over-powered, while also adding subtypes to many of your favourite characters. This allows you to use the latest tribal synergies, i.e. cards that require characters of a certain type: Jedi, Sith, Leader, Trooper, etc., fostered by the new cards (and also kinda future-proofs the playability of the oldest sets!). To be clear, my objective is not telling you to play Infinite because it's the best format ever or it is particularly cheap. I want to let you know that if you are a prospecting or new player, anytime you see an Infinite event, you might be able to join last second, ask to borrow a deck and get some quality game time! Possibly you won't end getting the best deck available or the pairing that you dreamed of playing. Still, this is a good way to experience lot of different play styles!
Join a casual Infinite event to discuss deck strategies, deckbuilding and how to reach the different winning conditions. It's also a good occasion to get to know your local community, maybe playing with their cards until you get your own (or shared!) collection to join with your forces.
3. MY TAKE:
Infinite Format is the favorite constructed format of both my playgroups in Grosseto and Firenze. In addition, also Infinite Draft - with the revised costs - is played a lot given the reduced price of Awakening block boxes, and Darth Vader, Palpatine, Sabine Wren, Yoda and Mother Talzin dominate the battlefields and their decks are powerful concentrates of cards.
These are not too different from the previous Tier S and Tier 1 versions of the same decks, but often have a nice new twist meant to counter the latest iteration of their counterparts. As you'll agree, this is the perfect environment for those players who (check all the boxes that apply in your opinion!):
- (I can't) play every week
- (I don't) feast on the constant output of Destiny content
- (I don't) have an extensive collection of decks
- (I don't) have time to analyze the Standard meta.
You can expect the price of singles of the rotated blocks (Awakenings, Spirit of Rebellion and Empire at War) to be quite stagnant (if not dropping down suddenly) - with a possible increase or resurgence in the years to come, depending on the future metagame. As a new player, should you invest in Infinite decks or cards? Yes, DEFINITELY! Especially if you plan on sharing a collection with friends or your club!
Anyways: I'm not writing to offer investment advice, but rather to help playgroups vary their play experience and make the most out of their collections. My scope is putting you in the mindset of playing as much Star Wars Destiny as possible, and possibly at the lowest cost you can score! Go beyond the common saying about Infinite: "It's a format played only at Galactic Qualifiers and side events!", and don't miss out on the main feature that Infinite offers you as a player: The pleasure of discovery and obtaining a fruitful fun from your investment!
3. WHY INFINITE?
At the moment, Infinite is pretty "fresh", since at the time of writing this article the first rotation has just happened, and the format is very much still seen as the little brother of Standard Format: loud, chaotic, tough to handle!
The format is already a staple in the Galactic Qualifier circuit and is definitely more popular than Trilogy (the most limited of the three Destiny formats) - given the more stable power level/curve of the format comparatively to both Standard and Trilogy. The latter two are in fact more proportionally subject to new expansion/product releases because of the limited card pool. From my experience with both local and wider community, players like Infinite for different reasons:
- Some like the fact that cards are (generally) cheaper
- Some like to build jank decks and use all those cards that have been sitting in binders for too long
- Some just like to have more possibilities for building their dream team of characters!
We've already seen this scenario: my vision for Infinite has been kinda satisfied by the most recent changes. Also, the implicit dynamic of Holocrons (and here I'm wishing for even more frequent updates for Infinite Holocron, at least with every release!) helps to maintain both the balance and the price point of the cards. The latter specifically of the staples and most played.
Infinite is a format, which is:
- Rewarding for every player,
- Fits every skill level,
- And can be fitted to any budget, while
- Seasoned players can profit from their stack of cards stored at home, and
- They can sell those to newer players.
- The other way around, newer players can acquire loads of useful cards for a cheap price, or simply start building towards their desired deck with a lower investment.
Remember: ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HOLOCRON HANDY! You can read a bit about some of the changes to the Holocrons here!
4. TO INFINITE AND BEYOND!
Let's discuss the Holocron. Up until last month, this used to be an almost exact copy of the Standard Holocron. But as stated, it now has very deep differences:
- There are cards that are now playable only in Infinite,
- Characters that have a different cost,
- Combos that in Standard would completely break the game pace! Given the power of some older cards, using some of them in combination with the new mechanics and plots could lead to LETHAL decks!
Taking this concept to the more competitive side of the game, I'd say that the usual semantics of Aggro/Support/Mill/Midrange/Middle-Middle/Big-Little/etc. that we are so used to in Standard Format possibly cannot be applied with the same ease in Infinite Format, as they would make players lose sight of both how to play a deck or how to play against it. Every deck is an individual agglomerate of cards in an extremely large card pool. Your objective is to address the playstyle of the deck, its variations, possibly the single cards rather than finding "a deck that keeps up well against every single vehicle deck".
Is this easy? Not really. Is it challenging? for sure. Is it fun? Fun is subjective, but I love to "rediscover" new purposes for cards I overlooked or haven't ever played in the past!
5. INFINITE ON A BUDGET:
Infinite itself can be pretty expensive, especially if out of nowhere you're trying to build multiple decks for your players and/or complete collections with all the great legendaries in multiple copies - screw you, DOUBLE DOWN! (That card could technically become your most expensive card ever if it means getting an additional copy of every single card in the game).
Anyways, you can quite easily mitigate jumping in the format for both yourself and new players who still have not acquired older cycle cards. The first that comes to mind, is to acquire and purchase a second-hand collection. That's quite simple and straightforward! As a second option, you could choose some decks that do not use the most popular legendaries and/or make limited use of them. A good start is the YOUR Destiny series on budget decks! Picking a naturally "inexpensive" deck such as the original 5dice Villain or Mother Talzin/Mandalorian Commandos will be a good start.
Even if meta-dependent, these decks usually offer a solid and consistent play experience without draining your wallet and all of the above "Budget Decks" can be built for less than 50$ and/or starting from starter products!
6. INFINITE COMMUNITY BUILDING:
I'm gonna list some reasons why I believe Infinite is the best format for your Community-centred events:
- The access barrier to the format is the lowest, especially in terms of expenditure.
- Starting with different starters from different blocks you can literally add any Booster Pack found in store to boost your deck.
- You'll be able to access some of the reprinted cards that can be useful for Standard and Trilogy games (hey, First Order Stormtroopers!)
- Considering the larger card pool, you'll be able to build multiple decks with a single collection!
- It's the best format to apply homebrew rules tailored to the style and player base of your event. There are lots of examples of these around, i.e. no legendaries, no unique characters, Solidarity-only tournaments and so on (*)
- Community events will be good training for larger Galactic Qualifer events.
- Recent Holocron changes and most recent plots will support the resurgence of some decks, fostering meta diversity and countering some of those above-the-curve decks that we all used to love in past years
- You can easily throw a thematic event without the fear of running out cards!
- Last but not least, you'll be able to use all the precious promos you've won at tournaments!
(*) For ideas for different formats for tournaments check out these articles from some of the great content creators here:
- SOLIDARITY TOURNAMENT by Cloud City Rollers.
- 40/40 CONCEPT by The Hyperloops.
- SOLIDARITY CONCEPT by Oak & Shield Gaming Pub.
7. DECKS - HOW CHEAP IS CHEAP ENOUGH?
Now, we've assessed that playing Infinite is, or at least can be, quite cheap and ideal for your community events. The next step is scouting decks and deciding what to build for yourself and your mates. If Standard format is dominated by meta decks, I think we can easily say that Infinite has much more varied decks. These are not only variations of or more powerful versions of standard meta decks but in addition foster a precise mechanic or set of mechanics.
You'll find slow support decks that win by inflicting the opponent a thousand cuts and super fast aggro decks that rely on avalanching the opponent with a hailfire of dice. Also, it's worth noticing that the definition of "Cheap" and "Affordable" varies from group to group and person to person - as well as trying to keep up with the development of the Infinite meta. Still, given the initial investment in a deck or series of decks, once you've built them they are gonna be playable kinda forever! Yes, there could be some possible holocron-specific ups and downs in character costs, or eventually future "restricted" lists that we've seen in other FFG Games (i.e. Android LCG, AGOT LCG, Arkham Horror, etc.). Still, with minor tweaks you're gonna be able to run your deck essentially until the end of time.
Once you build an Infinite deck, it's yours forever: it does not rotate, it does not "die", it's always available to be updated and kept in shape with the latest cards. Some of you might not like the idea of slow grow of a deck - but if you already have your trusted Standard and Trilogy decks and you are on the lookout for a new challenge, my recommendation is to try your hand at Infinite!
8. THE INFINITE META GAME.
Obviously the meta game is going to affect Infinite Format: Players are eventually gonna choose popular decks, theory craft what they find more appealing and possibly choose combinations that not only they found preferable and effective, but also try to throw a curveball at the Infinite tournament scene. For what it's worth, you match-up possibilities in an Infinite event are (almost) ... infinite! You could play against literally ANY deck in the galaxy. This deck for instance showed up at the Infinite event at the Galactic Qualifier in Malmö (Sweden), and while it's a blast from the past for seasoned players, it's probably going to be the first time new players have ever seen it:In my opinion, if you want diversity and crave a challenging deckbuilding experience for putting reps in, Infinite is the format for you.
There are plenty of resources - including many Gauntlets that are constantly updated to inspire your creativity and toss you the meta-skewball challenge.
Other examples of interesting Infinite deck lists include (even if they are not necessarily top tier meta decks) that are cheap to purchase and either thematic or just great fun to play include:
9. ADDRESSING THE AT-AT IN THE ROOM:
It's obvious that for every player agreeing with me, there's gonna be at least one player who either hates the format or just disagrees with my arguments. Possibly I'm delusional and too enthusiastic: Maybe you've played a game of Infinite on TTS and you've been utterly crushed by a ruthless powerhouse deck. Both online and at Galatic Qualifiers, it's quite easy to find people who's got tons of reps with the same deck. Possibly for you there are just elements that kill the joy of the game:
- Aggro action cheating.
- Unstoppable combos.
- One-sided effects.
- Busted character combos that rotation has eliminated.
In my humble opinion, Infinite is in a good spot. Possibly I'm biased because both the local leagues I run are fairly varied and happy with the meta, plus the players take their time to brew and experiment a lot! The format is not perfect, but most issues can easily be overcome.
10. THE PROS AND CONS OF INFINITE:
Let's wrap up schematically why you should or should not play Infinite extensively in your local group
- It's fairly difficult that chase cards are going to destroy the format
- Budget decks and super niche cards can find a way to be playable
- In the favourable event of a restricted (even a homerules one!) such niche cards could become powerful additions
- Fosters the pleasure of discovery
- but most of all... it's well fit for multiplayer games!
It's not always sunny. I wouldn't be fair if i did not point out some of my concerns for Infinite.
- Holocron updates might not be frequent enought or well timed for the community needs
- It could be be tough for Game Shops and clubs to squeeze in consistently all the formats
- Besides potential homebrewed restricted or banlists, any modification
to the cardpool by FFG could be sorrounded by a lot of lamenting and
sky-is-falling chitchat, and that's super detrimental to the game.
Anyways, without going too much into detail I also think that this is dangerous if too many variations are enforced and should be done sparsely and with caution.
11. CLOSING THOUGHTS - INFINITE WAR:
I've remarked plenty of times in the article how Infinite is a good investment for players and communities that tend to lean towards casual meetups. Still, in my opinion Infinite could be good for a parallel competitive circuit: Be it an hypothetical "Store Champ" or "Regional Champ" loser bracket/side event or as something connected with the Galactic Qualifier Circuit. For example, once the top cut has been determined for your Prime Championship, what are the other players supposed to do? Just go home? NAY! Let them stay and have a quick 3 round Infinite tournament while the others battle for the first spot of the Top 4!
Offering a parallel circuit for Infinite gives even more value to the Holocrons, point adjustments and the eventual future proofing that the design team does. In this environment, character cost going up and down seasonally is totally fine, as it not only a meta-mitigating measure, but also a mean to foster diversity in deck selection. Not only characters should go down and gain traits (as we've seen recently with Luminara, etc.) but since we are dealing with an "all printed" environment also the Standard Meta staples when played in Infinite could vary.
Say, Snoke: in Standard he's currently +1 as he's extremely dominant. In Infinite he could be easily a +2, since he can access loads more trustful sidekicks. I'm well aware that I've made no secret of my desire for Infinite to be a "Sh*tfight" where maximum chaos and power level endures, but we should remember that the scope of this documents is providing a fair and entertaining play experience.
Wrapping up my thoughts, I hope this piece has inspired you to explore the Ways of Infinite. There's plenty of decks out there that are waiting to be tried. Dust off your old cards and get started with some Infinite fun with your local group! Infinite Destiny is a game of wits and intelligence and our decks should reflect this statement!
That's everything for today. I hope my personal take on Infinite Format will be useful and feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook to let me know what would you like us to address next on Community Building.
One of our next steps will be a full-fledged Q&A: If you have questions or doubts about community building or maintenance, send me an email. We're gonna try to answer your questions in a future article!
PS: Please play heroes!
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