When Star Wars Destiny was released in late autumn 2016. I got hooked immediately and ordered the Starter decks. Later I saw the Awakening Expansion Set and realised that I needed more! So I ordered a Booster Display together with a few friends, because 1 box just for myself was too expensive. Back then you had to order the product from European/US online shops, because no local shops carried the product. So you ordered, paid for the shipping (about 30% of the total amount) and then waited for about 3 weeks to get it. It was really complicated to get the stuff.
You couldn’t introduce a new player and just tell him to get the Starter Set in the nearest Local Game Store. You had to order it and wait for ages. Because Russia is far away, and the product is expensive, Destiny didn't seem attractive for the shop-owners to keep in stock.
All such things made Destiny EXTREMELY hard to promote. Because the only thing I could do was to teach people and ask them to wait until the product arrived. But still I taught a lot of people and some got also hooked, so we had a small community with tournaments.
In MAY 2018 Destiny was finally released in Russia, and it was Spirit of Rebellion and the first starters. Well, it helped. I can’t say that our community instantly grew, but more people got informed about the game and some new players attended my tournaments. And this weekend we had our first official Nationals with 40 participants. I think it’s a good figure, and I have hopes for the bright future of the game in my country. But let’s get to the topic!
2. THE DECK:
A couple of months prior to the National Championship in Moscow I had absolutely no clue what to play. So just to cover all bases, I decided to buy an elite Yoda and an Ancient Lightsaber. I also ordered several WoTF boxes and thought that I would decide what to play depending on the pulls. While the parcel was somewhere between the US and Russia, I had a look at the YOUR Destiny Gauntlet as well as some other Gauntlets and started to check out what top tier decks I could construct with what I already had. I didn't own any Snoke, nor any Force Wave, so my options felt quite limited.
I had played 5dice villain previously and while it was great fun, it just didn't feel strong enough in the current meta, and then I noticed the eRose/Partisans deck with Long-Term Plan. It looked solid and fun AND I had the cards to build it, so I gave it a try and brought it to a game night. It crushed everyone, and players in our community started to claim that it was an insane deck. So I took it to our next tournament and ended up going 3-3. Two of the three losses though were really close. One of them was due to forgetting about Riposte in my opponent's hand and losing Rose turn one, even though I was sitting with a Friends in Low Places, another loss came off the back of me conceding a game against eLuke3/eAayla. I thought I couldn't win because my opponent could heal with Ancient Lightsaber and cycle it through the deck, but forgot that I could just mill it instantly. If I had been a bit more focused, that game should have been won, while I couldn't really do anything about my final loss of the tournament.
So after the tournament, even though I bagged 3 losses, I was pretty impressed with the deck and started considering if I could tweak it to be even better. The initial thought was that I needed more health. It would also be nice to have 3 Partisans instead of 2 to mill 1.5 times faster. Furthermore I had just finished Agent of Zion's article about plots and how underwhelming they are! So if I took 3 Jedha Partisans and got rid of Long-Term Plan, I would be left with 6 points for characters, which incidentally fits exactly with a Gungan Warrior, also giving us access to the same card pool (yellow-red), another die side with Indirect damage and better chances of winning the initiative compared to Rose!
The idea of having 4 characters, 30hp and the ability to mill 3 cards courtesy of Indirect damage sounded amazing, so I went to swdestinydb to search for a similar deck for inspiration, and found... NOTHING. It was strange for me, because the team looked so strong on paper, and because I don't consider myself a particularly great deck-creator, I assumed that someone had thought it up as well.
Well, ok, at least I would be the first one to test it. With 4 characters you should get insane value out of cards that are rarely played, like Diplomatic Protection and Strength in Numbers.
Initially the deck was a hybrid, containing both vehicles and the mill approach. It performed well, but after some games I noticed that without Long-Term Plan it didn't have a lot of punch and lacked burst damage, and I almost always won my games by milling out my opponent, so I decided to get rid of all the vehicles except for Anakin Skywalker's Podracer. Both T-47 Airspeeder and Resistance Crait Speeder are great, but just didn't fit. So I moved my focus to pure mill.
One more card that has awesome value here is AMMO RESERVES. When I first saw it, it was like meh, a much worse red neutral Backup Muscle. But I realised that even with 3 Jedha Partisans and a Gungan there are instances when you either do not roll Indirect damage, or your opponent simply mitigates it. And having a turn without milling is critical, you can't let it happen. And this is where Ammo Reserves shine. For 1 resource you get a support, that says: "You can do nothing to me, I do not need any dice. Please mill 3 cards. And next turn. And once more, Thank you, sir!". I really felt that Ammo Reserves brought some much needed consistency to the deck!
After several iterations end even modifications on Saturday morning, an hour prior to the event, the deck looked like this (click the image to go straight to swdestinydb to tinker with the deck yourself):
SECOND CHANCE are for surviving, not only to preserve characters, but also to ensure that the Partisans ability to discard cards remain as potent as possible for as long as possible.
MAZ'S GOGGLES and SCOUT are for the Focus sides to ensure Indirect damage or Discard sides and Specials to pick off cards from your opponent's hand. Initially, I also had Diplomatic Protection, which can potentially gain you 6 shields, but in the end it didn't make the cut as it's almost always better to distribute damage across your characters, if given the possibility, to protect your character dice and keep the character line up intact.
SCRAP HEAP is a part of the resource engine, but as none of your dice have pay sides (discounting the Disrupt on the Scout, which is basically a blank side) and your general cost curve is quite low, I decided on only 1 copy of it.
Basically, you only need the extra resources for your Hyperspace Jumps/Second Chances or when you need to play several removal cards like Entangle and something else.
ANAKIN SKYWALKER'S PODRACER is not really a surprising inclusion. It provides extra mill and plenty of useful sides, especially the Discard and 2 Shields. But I do not rate it as high as C-3P0, so it remained a one-off.
C-3P0 really was an MVP. The ability to make Blanks on Maz's Goggles and Scout into Specials, or any 2 sides (Indirect damage on characters, Focus on Goggles, etc.) into 2 Discard (offensive use) or 2 Shields (defensively). Or make any non-Blank or non-Special side into Indirect damage to trigger the Partisans ability. Especially fun, when you use his Action to resolve the Podracer's Disrupt as an Indirect damage side. Turning a none-threating side into a potential mill of 4 cards (3 due to Partisans ability and 1 for the Podracer), AND to top it off, I get a resource from Scrap Heap. Most opponent's don't expect plays like those, and they are so devastating and can win games.
BESPIN WING GUARD
Basically the card for the end game when you are starting to lose characters, have milled most of your opponent's deck and just need to get rid of those last few cards from his hand. Bespin Wing Guard feels slow and expensive, but it's grey (good in your Kylo Ren matchups) and a good finisher.
SUPPRESSIVE FIRE was a must include for me, because I was wary of action cheating decks. If you have enough money, you remove character die with Suppressive Fire and then on your turn play Into the Garbage Chute\Entangle\Easy Pickings and get rid of 2 more.
The event suite is pretty standard, split into 2 categories: Removal and discarding.
FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES and SCRUFFY LOOKING NERF-HERDER is to gain information of your opponent's hand and getting rid of nasty cards (Scruffy is mostly for upgrades vs. aggro, supports vs. vehicles, while Friends in Low Places is for getting rid of Quick Draws, Lightsaber Throw, Loth-Wolf Bond, Leadership, Price of Failure, Friends in High Places, etc. Basically, you do not care about your opponent's removal cards, because you can almost always find a source of Indirect damage, so concentrate on discarding cards that either provide your opponent ramp or action cheating).
Use the VANDALIZE to remove really troublesome upgrades or supports, i.e. 0-0-0, Ancient Lightsaber, etc.
Your RETREAT and HYPERSPACE JUMP are also a kind of dice removal, because if you've already milled that round, you're quite happy to end it instantly and proceed to the next one to start milling again.
The rest of the removal package is pretty standard and self-explanatory.
With 4 characters and some supports you will rarely get to claim the Battlefield (although in a vehicles heavy meta it’s not impossible). So you need a battlefield that won’t be useful for your opponent, and at the same time it'd be pretty cool if the battlefield could allow you to deal Indirect damage in the fringe cases, where you didn’t manage to find any Indirect damage on your dice and you didn’t have Ammo Reserves or C-3P0 to help you out either.
So, ARENA OF DEATH seems to fit the bill nicely. It's absolutely useless for most of your opponent's as all his characters should be alive, but useful to you the moment you lose your first character.
7. MULLIGAN & STRATEGY:
Your ideal starting hand is Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder, Friends in Low Places, C-3P0, Scrap Heap and a removal card. Instead of C-3P0 or the Scrap Heap you can have Ammo Reserves or Maz's Goggles/Scout. So you have plenty of options.
Your ideal start if you have a Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder in your hand AND win the initiative roll-off is to choose YOUR Battlefield. If you don't have Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder you want to take the Shields. If you have Maz's Goggles/Scout in your starting hand, you want to wait until your opponent resolves his damage and then play it on a character which is not being focused down. Always play it on a Partisan, because you can overwrite it with a Second Chance once he's about to be defeated.
For each round your plan is obviously to deal Indirect damage in some way or the other to trigger the mill engine and then set up your board state and maximize the discards.
ROUND 1: OBI/MAZ
I successfully discarded most of the weapons, vandalized those that my opponent managed to play, and continued to slow and steadily mill out the deck. WIN : 1-0
ROUND 2: KYLO/PRYCE
I started with Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder naming Upgrade and discarded the only weapon in my opponent's hand: Crossguard Lightsaber. But Kylo Ren still managed to put a lot of damage on my characters, even though he only got to trigger Kylo's ability twice during the game. I didn't find any of my Second Chances or enough removal. The epic ending was him playing Swiftness into Tactical Mastery and finding massive lethal damage to kill off my remaining characters. LOSS: 1-1
ROUND 3: REY2/POE2
My opponent was a cool guy I know, he mostly plays LCGs (AGOT, L5R, etc), but also occasionally Destiny.
I milled him hard and managed to vandalize the weapons he got on the table. He did have a few misplays, i.e. playing a Dex's Diner, which is basically useless against a mill deck! He still managed to kill all three Jedha Partisans, so I ended the game with only the lone Gungan on the table. Thankfully I had C-3P0 and other stuff to seal the victory. WIN: 2-1
ROUND 4: DOOKU2/TALZIN
Another super cool guy that I knew from before! The flow of the game was the same - mill all the weapons, vandalize those that were played, remove most of the dice with damage. WIN: 3-1
ROUND 5: eFINN2/eMAZ + LONG TERM PLAN
My opponent is a friend of mine, who previously lived in Saint-Petersburg (my hometown), but moved to Moscow.
His deck was very fast, he always had the battlefield, so he would have plays like: Activate Finn with Rex's blaster, activate Maz due to the blaster ability, and immediately use Maz's ability to resolve 2 dice for damage. Luckily his rolls were mostly pretty bad, and I had Suppressive Fire to remove the most threatening dice, and eventually managed to mill him out. WIN: 4-1
ROUND 6: OTK (Nightsister/7th/Ciena Ree)
This was a guy from my local gaming community. I've tested this match-up a couple of times and was pretty confident going into it, because you just need to prevent your opponent from using Price of Failure and Leadership to make his combo pieces fall apart, and with 2 Friends in Low Places, 2 Scruffy, Maz's Goggles and Scout in my deck it's not a huge task.
In the end I was able to mill the whole deck, and was particularly happy when I managed to mill the Force Wave (the card I was the most concerned about). The rolls were not good for my opponent, he almost killed nightsister trying to fix his bad rolls, but it didn't help him. WIN : 5-1
So I ended the Swiss Rounds at 5-1 and got into the Top8.
TOP8: eSNOKE/APHRA/BATTLE DROID
The player was a guy from Moscow who started playing Destiny right from the game release (just like me). We had chatted a lot before, but this was actually the first time I met him in person.
With 30hp on 4 characters, I wasn't too afraid of his Indirect damage and just focused on getting rid of his supports. In the last round he had only 1 card in hand and an empty deck. I had the Battlefield. I looked at his discard pile and deduced that it had to be a Hailfire Droid Tank in his hand. He had only 2 resources, so I was certain he couldn't play it even with Doctor Aphra's discount. So I didn't play Scruffy, but opted for a different line of action. He proceeded to plying the Hailfire because I completely forgot about his Tech Team. Pretty bad play! Luckily he didn't manage to roll enough damage and I won the first game. SCORE: 1-0
Honestly, I don't remember anything about this game. But I lost the gam. SCORE: 1-1
So we were tied at 1-1 and had to play the decisive game. But the thing is that the organiser stated that the duration of best-of-three rounds should be 70 minutes (instead of 90), so we had only 13 minutes to play. It was a disaster for me, because, you know, the tie breaker is the damage dealt, and my deck is about mill (even if I mill when deal indirect). So I was 99% sure, that it's an auto-loss.
Still we started the game. it's important to mention that my opponent understood the situation and wasn't happy about it as well. He didn't stall at all and was really sportsmanlike. I really appreciated that! So we both started rolling, trying to maximize the damage, discarding aggressively to re-roll, but my opponent got his Bubble Shields out, followed by BT-1 and 0-0-0, so his characters were safe from my Indirect damage (thinking ahead for the possible tie breakers). At the end of the game he played a Force Illusion on Snoke, used it when I dealt 2 Indirect damage, proceeded to get milled for 5 cards and emptied his deck.
For a short moment I thought this was the light at the end of the tunnel, but after having looked at the boardstate, my opponent realised that I didn't have enough dice to Discard all his remaining cards in hand and claimed the Battlefield. He had 4 cards left in hand, and the maximum I could discard (and I had the dice set exactly like this) was 3. Time was called, and with 1 card left he won.
It's odd, because I was a bit worried about going to time in the Swiss rounds if I faced some slow or new player, but all Swiss games were really fast. And in the Top8, I didn't even notice the time reduction and was absolutely sure, that there would be enough time.
eSnoke/Aphra/battle droid WIN 2-1 vs 3xJedha partisan/Gungan warrior
eTalzin/2Mandalorean WIN 2-1 vs e7th sister/Ciena/Nightsister
eFinn/eMaz+long-term plan WIN 2-0 vs eYoda/Cassian/Anakin
eYoda/eEzra/Rookie WIN 2-0 vs eKylo2/ePryce
eTalzin/2Mandalorean WIN 2-0 vs eYoda/eEzra/Rookie
eSnoke/Aphra/battle droid WIN 2-0 vs eFinn/eMaz+long-term plan
eTalzin/2Mandalorean WIN 2-1 vs eSnoke/Aphra/battle droid