Talzin/Mandalorians Deck Analysis

Mandalorian deck listjpg

1. GENERAL COMMENTS:

I gave the Mandalorian Super Commando some flak in my "Way of the Force Set Review", and while I stand by my initial review, I also think that the Mother Talzin/Mandalorian Super-Duper Trooper character team is a strong one, and if the upgrades can put some work in together with the consistency of Talzin, it can definitely hold its own!

The deck we are analyzing was piloted by Branden Aasen (aasenb on swdestinydb) to a 5-1 Store Championship win, and even if it was a small Store Championship, it still managed to cruise through two Thrawn/Snoke, a Cassian Mill and a Luke/Yoda match up, no mean feat.

Another thing, unrelated to the strategic considerations of the deck, is that it is incredibly cheap to put together. Apart from the Sith Holocrons, most of the cards will be thrown at you for basically free!

2.CHARACTERS:
Mandalorian Talzin Characters1 deckjpg
Mother Talzin, gives you incredible value for money, coming in at 9/12e and a great die to boot, and although squishy and somewhat restrictive as to your deck building - at least in order to maximize the benefits from her special ability - she brings almost unprecedented consistency to Destiny.

The ability to reliably predict the outcome of die rolls, cannot be underestimated. She all but removes the downside of high risk/high reward upgrades such as Chance Cube (with its 3 blanks) and Sith Holocron (2 blanks), and at the same time is brilliant at setting traps for your opponent! I've often used Talzin's ability to focus into a Special on the Holocron while not having a Force Ability on my hand to get rid of my opponent's mitigation and setting up for some powerful turns afterwards!

Your full character team comes in at a combined 27hp, which is pretty decent compared to other 3wide decks, i.e. 5dice Villain (24hp), Drive-by-Shooting (24hp) and Plo-Koon/Padawans (24hp), and add into this the Witch Magicks and you could look at a potential 33hp, which would then rival and eclipse that of even a 4wide Hero Vehicle deck (31hp).

3. UPGRADES & SUPPORTS:
Upgrades1 Talzin Commando YOUR DestinyjpgThe SITH HOLOCRON works brilliantly with Mother Talzin. Being able to always focus the Holocron into a Special if needed is brilliant, and if you don't have a Force Ability Upgrade in your hand, there's still the Focus side, and of course the added bonus of doing damage when played on the Mandalorians.

1). You put the Holocron on Mandalorian A, deal 1 damage, 2). Activate Mandalorian, 3). Then activate Mother Talzin, use her ability to flip the Holocron to a Special, 4). Resolve the Holocron and put Force Push/Force Throw on the Mandalorian A. 5). Put the Holocron on Mandalorian B, deal 1 damage! 6). Activate Mandalorian B. With that play you could potentially be looking at 12 damage with just the 2 pieces of upgrade and 1 resource spent! That's a lot of mileage off a single Holocron (damn, I'm going to miss those babies once they rotate out of Standard Format).Talzin Holocron play Articlejpg
This is obviously not going to be the gravitation point of your deck (you're only bringing 4 Force Abilities), but it is another weapon, albeit a pretty powerful one, in your arsenal.

Both FORCE PUSH and FORCE THROW are dual functionality cards, with mitigation on both Specials as well as Ranged damage (Force Push is probably the stronger of the two, and I'd even consider adding a Mind Probe to replace the Force Throw. Strongest counter argument against the switch is probably the cost of Mind Probe, and with no resource sides on the Mandalorians, you'll never get to play it without a Holocron in play).

Looking at it isolated, there's probably no doubt that the strongest Force Ability upgrade to get into play with the Holocron would be Force Lightning! The problem is that you are already running quite a high number of even costed cards, which would then not be conducive for Mother Talzin's ability.Mandalorian Talzin Force Lightning calculations deckjpg
You would actually end up pushing the numbers from 6 to 8 even-costed cards, which in turn would mean, if you were to start with 2 of the 8 in your hand, and you'd probably want to mulligan for them, that almost 25% (6/25) of your remaining deck would be even-costed. Those odds are really unfavorable with Talzin (and Witch Magick).Upgrades YOUR Destinyjpg
BACKUP MUSCLE
A long time favorite of yellow villains and it just fits the bill perfectly with Mother Talzin in the mix as well. 3 damage for 1 resource is nothing to scoff at.

ARMOR PLATING
Works well with the Mandalorians ability, pinging damage and blocking damage on top of that.

CHANCE CUBE
Apart from being another 0 cost equipment that can be played on the Mandalorians for damage, the Chance Cube can also prove vital for your "midrange game plan". The Mandalorians don't have a Resource side on their die and 12/14, 85%, of your events cost resources, which means you'll be starved for resources, or at worst forced to use the Mother Talzin dice to grab them. The Chance Cube comes in really handy, and will also allow you to, if needed, play either Force Throw or Force Push bypassing the Holocrons. Remember that you can use Force Throw to remove the Chance Cubes 3 Resource side to deal 3 damage to an opponent! This could come in handy in a pinch, and could be exactly the kind of thing you need to close the deal on a tight game.POWER ACTION Talzin Commando YOUR Destinyjpg I've seen a few people being confused over whether or not 2 or more Mandalorian Super Commandos could use the "same Power Action" in a round, and the Rules Reference is pretty clear about this, so sequences like 1). Playing Chance Cube on Mandalorian A, deal 1 damage. 2). Activate Mandalorian A and return Chance Cube to hand, 3). Play Chance Cube on Mandalorian B, deal 1 Damage, 4). Activate Mandalorian B and return Chance Cube to hand, is absolutely possible.Mandalorian Talzin Upgrades3jpg
MANDALORIAN VAMBRACES
Damn ... FFG are are really going all in on the cards with 0 blanks on them. The Vambraces are just really good, and are obviously designed with the Mandalorians in mind. Now, if there were more upgrades than this then the Mandalorians would be absolutely nuts ... I guess we know why there aren't. Dice sides, although all ones, are really good, and the action can be bonkers, but you'll probably be a bit too starved on resources to abuse the hell out of it.

RELBY-V10 MORTAR GUN
We've become accustomed to 3 cost upgrades with crazy value, and the Relby-V10 Mortar Gun is sadly not one of them. The die sides are good, and goes well with the 2 base Ranged damage sides on each of your 4 character dice, and the action is a great tech against 3 and 4 wide decks, but is unfortunately nigh unusable. 2 resources is a mountain to climb in this deck, and I think it would definitely be worth considering looking into other options, although Mother Talzin does offer the Relby a bit more value. My prefered choices for replacements would be Underhanded Tactics and On the Hunt, they are unfortunately not Equipment nor Weapons (both are Upgrade - Abilities), and can therefor not be used with the Mandalorians' Power Action.

[EDIT: So after 10 more test games (20+ games total), the article was written after some 10 Gauntlet tests, I'm softening up towards the Relby-V10, which actually has proven decisive in a number of games. I've often used a Force ability, played for free using the Holocron, to overwrite with a Relby in late game, and it can be a pretty mean closer with its big damage sides ... For now, the Mortar Gun has earned a starting spot in my version of the deck].Mandalorian Talzin Upgrades4jpg

4. EVENTS:
This deck has a high amount of control/mitigation cards (11) and although resources are scarce, it should be able to mitigate at least once per round. The numbers are good because it often counters Friends in Low Places, Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder and also Thrawn's ability. Being able to stack 2-3 mitigation cards can go a long way to keep your characters alive.events1 YOUR Destinyjpg
It's been a while since ELECTROSHOCKS were seen in competitive decks. It's still good though and does it's job. Being limited to removinge a die of 2 or lower in value is still its weakness, but is somewhat off set by the fact that your health pool is also your strength.

FEEL YOUR ANGER is definitely one of my favorite removal cards. Incredibly high ceiling and even with it being a dead card in your hand at times, it's still worth the risk.

FLANK
Best kind of basic removal for 3 wide and 4 wide decks. You are trading 1 resource and a card for 1 die, which is somewhat bad, but you get to pick and choose which die! Don't like that Planetary Bombardment 7 Indirect damage for a resource: Remove it!
Events 2 YOUR Destinyjpg
HIDDEN MOTIVE is superior to Doubt in metas that favor characters with consistent dice, i.e. Snoke (2 Focus sides), Luke Skywalker3 (3 Shield sides), Kylo Ren2 (3 Melee sides), while Doubt is better when characters have no more than 2 sides with the same symbol.

OUTNUMBER
This is really the aggro version of Flank, but the distribution of 2 Flank/1 Outmaneuver is right because you cannot guarantee the kills and could be staring down a resilient 4 wide hero vehicle build.

OVERCONFIDENCE
Don't go into the Overconfidence Battle lightly (hear the YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 13 to have it explained). Your dice are actually not that good at it. Generally speaking, if your opponent's dice have two or more die sides showing a value 2+, then you don't battle them, but rather choose two of their dice.Mandalorian events 3jpg
WITCH MAGICK
This card is absolutely godsend. Normally with Talzin the sweet spot to hit is 4 even costed cards, in this deck you are a bit higher, but it should work out ok! Expect to heal 2 damage when you use Witch Magick. If you want to higher the odds and go for an expected 3 heal you gotta lose two of the even cost cards!

These are the percentages of drawing into AT LEAST 1 even costed card using Witch Magick (and revealing the top3 cards) if you have 25/20/15 cards left in your deck and you know you have 3 even costed cards left in the deck!Chances Witch Magick YOUR Destinyjpg
FRIGHTEN
Expect the meta to be favoring shields for the foreseeable future, nothing indicates otherwise. Frighten and Intimidate are going to be the best weapons in the arsenal of villains to combat this, other than raw brute Ranged damage! Frighten does have the advantage of having Ambush setting up for some nice lethal damage and that it can remove shields from any number of characters!

5. BATTLEFIELD:
Battlefield YOUR Destinyjpg
In the featured deck by aasenb (on swdestinydb) he has chosen to go with RIFT VALLEY, and while I understand  the logic in it, I don't think it will be the best battlefield for this deck.

This deck is fairly slow, and while you might be faster than a 4wide deck, you'll definitely be outpaced several times by most aggro decks, and while the battlefield does not necessarily work to their advantage (because their decks are not conctructed with odd/even costed cards in mind), it could still benefit them. I think the safer choice is Fort Anaxes or maybe even Ewok Village. If you decide to go with the latter just be aware that both Mandalorians have two Shield sides that could end up as dead sides in a "pass-to-claim" stand-off.

6. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:
Your preferred starting hand is base on two distinctly different parameters.
  1. You want as many of your even numbered cards in your starting hand to make Talzin's ability and your Witch Magicks as reliable and powerful as possible.
  2. You want to have options, both of using the Mandalorians' Power Action AND of getting as solid a board state as possible. Being able to both generate resources and deal damage, making the choices for your opponent on what to control as difficult as possible.
HAND Mandalorian Talzin ARTICLE2jpg
If you are playing against a Kylo2 deck, i.e. Kylo/Snoke, you might want to consider diversifying your hand a bit more as to not let Kylo get to free reign with his ability (you are btw. at 15/10/5 spread on Blue/Yellow/Grey).

7. HOW TO DEFEAT THE DECK?

Going up against this 3wide beefy deck can be a tall mountain to climb for most decks, but focusing down Talzin fast goes a long way to stifle the power of the deck. It takes away the consistency and quite important the only reliable means of generating resources as well as make the Force Abilities unplayable outside of a Holocron.

Also, being able to control the Holocrons and Chance Cubes, can be a powerful tool against this deck. A well timed 2 Discard can be absolutely devastating against this build.

8.GOING RAINBOW INSTEAD?
There are a lot of good arguments for going rainbow with this deck, and exchange a Mandalorian Super Commando for a Veteran Stormtrooper.Rainbow Talzin Commando YOUR Destinyjpg
Your collective health pool remains the same, and even with the Veteran Stormtrooper die having double blanks, it's still an amazing die together with Mother Talzin's ability. That 3 Indirect damage can really be menacing.

On top of this, going rainbow, will make you even less susceptible to Kylo2's ability, and although this shouldn't be the be all and end all of deck building, it is advisable to keep an eye of out for in the current meta. Add to this access to some of the best upgrades in the game to go with Talzin, i.e. DH-17 Blaster Pistol and Promotion (this can only be played on the Veteran Storm Trooper though), as well as probably the best mitigation card: The Best Defense, there is certainly a strong pull for adding in that splash of red in your deck. The real question here would then be if that rainbow version is stronger than the 5die Villain deck that has already proven itself in the Legacies meta.

9. MY VERSION OF THE DECK:
The version of the deck that I've settled on after testing is the following with just a few changes to the original version, but most of the changes has served me quite well! There are still a few cards I might be looking to get into the deck, but that would be pending more testing. The deck is also constructed with the current meta (August 2018) in mind, which means that "the fear of Kylo" is a thing, which is is reflected in the distribution of colours in the deck: 13/13/4.Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 114138png
Written by
CLAUS STAAL