UK Nationals 2018 - Tournament Report

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 184736png

A. PREFACE:
25 is not 52jpg
Early reports from the UK Nationals suggested something as ridiculous as 52 mill players out of 102 participants, while the final estimate is closer to 25 ... 52 25 52 25 52 25 ... honest mistake. We've already covered the negative emotions that some players harbour towards mill, and while I don't agree - at all - I would also have found it problematic if half the players had brought essentially the same deck, whether or not it was a mill deck or something entirely different (let's also remind ourselves that mill decks CAN vary, as we will see in this article).

We are still so early in the WotF meta, in particular that part of the meta where hero mill has shown some signs of dominance, for deck builders to give up finding the antidote. If that was the general attitude humanity would have died from common colds long ago ... thank God scientists are more persistent than Star Wars Destiny players.

Still, around a fourth of the field with the same deck is kinda overwhelming and should be food for thought.

YOU CAN FIND ALL THE TOP16 DECK LISTS AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE ... But stick around and read the rest of it!

[EDIT: The article was updated on August 26 due to a couple of mistakes in the deck lists - sorry about that!]

B. TEAM UP:
As mentioned in the YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 19, the game is developing in a way where being on a team with great teammates who can help you build, tweak and play test decks is becoming more and more vital.

A large part of the top16 contestants are affiliated with testing groups, some of them with us at the YOUR Destiny crew and it's almost necessary to keep pace with the best out there. Take advantage of all the great minds out there and join them! Join our Patreon to become a part of the family!

C. STREAMING:
Let me just underscore the point that anyone can decide to do whatever they want to (within the limits of the law). They can decide to be on a stream, they can also refuse to be on a stream. They can agree to be on a stream and then later regret it and ask for the stream to be turned off. I'm good with all of that. It's not the players' obligation to keep me occupied and happy on a Sunday.No streamjpg
BUT DAAAAAMN .... not being able to see the top4 games AND the finals of the UK National Championship is annoying!

D. THE WINNER:
Organized Play Coordinator Alec Thorne hands over the trophy to the new UK NATIONAL CHAMPION in Star Wars Destiny: GREG PIKE!!!! CONGRATS!!Greg Pikejpg

1. THIS IS NO SURPRISE:
Mill article characterztjpgSeeing four 3wide hero mill in Top16 at UK Nationals was hardly any surprise. The YOUR Destiny Discord has been full of talk about the menace/miracle of hero mill, so has the entire Destiny interwebz to be fair, and seeing it mill its way to the top of a national event is no surprise after its dominant showing at Gen Con 2018. There might be slight changes to the lists, but the core of the deck remains the same, and why change it? It has been created by some of the best deckbuilders in the game, and has run like a turbo-powered engine so far ...

If it's not broken (pun intended), don't fix it ... Danny Adlem, the defending UK Champion and 9th in Swiss, ran Andrew Cox's Gen Con winning list down to the last card, while Sam Miles had mixed it up slightly:
Sam Miles listjpg
A lot of debate has ensued following the deck's performance at Gen Con, and regardless of whether or not it has been hyped and debated too much, it has at least stirred controversy leading to articles, videos and podcasts spanning thematically from "How to beat mill" to "Should we change the core mechanics of the game because of mill", and that in my book at least is beneficial to anyone interested in developing Star Wars Destiny as a rewarding competitive game.

Only 3wide mill deck to make it out of the Top16 was Sam Miles from the YOUR Destiny Testing Group: The European Gauntlet, who edged out fellow YOUR Destiny member Tim Meads, but had his run ended at the hands of Alex Lenthall in the top8. An honorable mention should also go to Jonathan Moss, who has play tested with us since Worlds 2018, and now really is starting to reap the fruits of his hard work! Great run into top16!Bracket MilesjpgP.S. Thomas Harvey, the 4th seed in swiss playing 3wide hero mill (same list as Andrew Cox), is 11 years old and a true champion!!! CONGRATULATIONS! You are going to rock the Destiny scene!Harveyjpg

2. "SNOKING" AROUND THE UK:
That was CRAZY ... that moment on the UK Nationals livestream, graciously provided by the ThreeManMeta, when you realised that eSnoke/Ciena/Sebulba was at the top of the standings. That's right: SEBULBA. We gave him a pretty rough reception in our Way of the Force Set Review, and while most of it still stands, we just forgot to add into the equation how incredibly powerful Snoke is. He is one of the supreme enablers in the game almost on par with Yoda, and adding two sidekicks like Sebulba and Ciena Rae doesn't only make for a beefy character line-up (a total of 29hp), but also a rainbow pairing that can generate resources and be the focal points for damage en masses. UK Nationals article1jpg
The three top16 contestants that ran this character line-up ran almost identical decks with very few changes, all gravitating around the combined power of Chance Cubes, Ciena's two Resource sides and Snoke's Power Action. The level of consistency to bring in the resources to play huge game changing supports like the AT-ST, Planetary Bombardment, Pirate Speeder Tank or the absurdly powerful Hailfire Droid Tank is rivaling that of Thrawn/Snoke.Gareth Parfitt listjpg
The deck packs a bunch of tricks including double Delve and Friends in High Places to secure that those expensive supports will see play, even if your Ciena or Sebulba Resource sides are being mitigated before you can Snoke Power Action them!UK Nationals article3jpg
The deck runs very little mitigation, just 6 cards, and seems designed for a meta full of mill where you really don't want to throw around too many events.

Don't tell me you weren't surprised to see 3 iterations of this deck make up half of the top6 at a large national event!!

It shouldn't really have been a shock, but it was, mostly due to the fact that everybody had been so obsessed with mill, and its potential counters, that going all in on oversized "Don't Point That At My Planet" kind of vehicles/supports never really seemed to be the way to go. But why shouldn't it be? If you go big and fast, I'll just go BIGGER!

Also, the ability to reactivate a vehicle using Ciena Rae's ability (it's true she has an Action Ability), and abusing the hell out of it with several activations, was one of the overlooked benefits of a support character who came to prominence in the era of 5die villain decks (eBala/eCiena/Nightsister) and therefore was never really associated with vehicles. Now she has plenty of supports around her, and resolving an AT-ST or a Hailfire Droid Tank twice or three times a round is just BONKERS!UK Nationals 4jpg
Other Snoke decks included Steve Thompson's Doctor Aphra deck. Looking at the deck it immediately prompts the question: "Who dare bring a 3die character line-up in today's meta" ... well, there you go!Steve Thompsons listjpg
The list is a reworked edition of the list that Steve piloted to a Store Championship win. To get insights into the deck and the thoughts behind it, I recommend you read his excellent write-up. Needless to say, but the deck abuses the hell out of Doctor Aphra's ability in conjunction with 0-0-0 and BT-1 to pile a tonnes of Indirect damage on your opponent, while pushing through lethal damage with the Hailfire Droid Tanks.

3. MORE SNOKING:
Joe Colon aka HonestlySarcastc of the much famed TheHyperloops has been working on this deck for a while, the same goes for Miguel Villaroya, Spanish National Champion, who's been tearing apart the competition in the Store Championship season.Greg Pike listjpgBazine Netal is tricky because she's got so many weapons at her disposal. Against the current Gauntlet most of her sides are really useful and with Snoke's Power Action they become incredibly powerful:UK nationals11jpg
4 of her sides are useful right off the bat, either dealing damage with her Special, ramping into resources, disrupting your opponents resources or hand. She can efficiently combat mill and is hard on 3wide low health decks.

Natural Pilot is an interesting card, but it has a super cool ability mimicking that of Ciena, and while it can be difficult getting both a support and Natural Pilot into play, the moment you do, it should pay of dividends immediately.

Greg Pike fought his way through 3wide hero mill, Ciena/eSnoke/Sebulba and Talzin/Mandalorians before going toe-to-toe with Cad Bane/Snoke in the finals and eventually becoming the new UK NATIONAL CHAMPION!

3. THE SHOCK:
Mill is a thing, we've already established that, but VILLAIN MILL? Do you remember Jabba the Hut, nah, why would you, right?! Jabba had a brief stint in the limelight pairing up with Unkar Plutt for some "Hungry Hungry Hippos" monoyellow mill action, but was eventually discarded as not carrying enough weight to battle it out with all the other heavyweights in the competitive scene (all the puns very much intended!).

But take a look at this list that Simon Smithson took to a top8 finish in the swiss rounds:Simon Smithson listjpg
The deck is built to take advantage of the battlefield including all the best tools in the game, i.e. New Orders, Hasty Exit, Superior Position and everybody's favorite card: Grand Moff.
UK Nationals 5jpg
Honestly, the only time I've seen Grand Moff used in a competitive setting was at a Regional event earlier this year, and it was good, but it is generally considered too expensive and restrictive (Unique Red character only), but there's no denying that the die is incredible for a mill deck, and the ability to mill 4 cards off the top of an opponent's deck, if you get to use the Battlefield Claim as well is pretty powerful. It can lead your opponent into some hasty claims in order to avoid the second claim action, and could pave the way for some rounds where you get to set up your big Buy Outs.

This deck mills aggressively from both hand and deck and has some nasty tricks. The Tactical Mastery with all the focuses in the deck can be game winning as can the All Ins, and in a meta rife with vehicle decks and hero mill this deck has a lot of game.

Tearing through Danny Adlem's 3wide hero mill in the top16 really demonstrated the power of the mill deck with a well timed New Orders proving decisive in the second game. If the meta continues to develop in the direction we've seen so far, rest assured that this deck is going to gain in popularity.

Simon Smithson told us that the deck was composed with Kylo Ren in mind, which explains the split of cards into 16 yellow/8 red/6 grey cards, and if he should change something it would be adding a splash more of yellow mitigation cards. I guess the fear of Kylo is real, and that's always the problem of trying to figure out the meta. Incidentally, only 1 Kylo Ren deck (Kylo/Pryce) made the cut, but that's the conditions of the competitive scene! There's no time for regrets, and Simon did pretty alright with the deck after all.

4. THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST:
They had to be here. They were two of the most talked about decks and character pairings when the full Way of the Force set was spoiled, but none of them had the long lasting impact they were first predicted.

Somehow the meta has outlived the 2-character pairings with a few notable exceptions. It was inevitable though that at least a few of them were to slip through and make the cut.Kyloe Pryce article 1jpg
In the hands of YOUR Destiny member Simon Willis aka Sith Holocron, Kylo2/Pryce managed to make an appearance in the top cut. His list is similar to the one he did a write-up on for our website, so if you want to dig deeper into the mechanics of the deck, we suggest you read his great analysis.Simon Willis listjpgLooking at Simon Willis' list there's no doubt that it's tailor made for the mill match-up, including some of the best cards to counteract it: Force Speed, Close Quarters Assault, Intimidate, Probe, Tactical Mastery and The Best Defense ... The Best Defense probably being one of the few mitigation cards actually worth spending resources and actions on playing against mill.

Probe can be devastating for decks that sit back with mitigation, and most decks will because Kylo/Pryce is one of the most aggressive decks currently in the meta. Fishing out those Hyperspace Jumps can be crucial.

Kylo/Pryce is one of the fastest deck in the meta rivaled only by Yoda/Cassian (and maybe Cad Bane/Snoke) and will put pressure on an opponent from the get go. It might not be the fastest CQA deck in the pack, but it is one of the few top tier decks that utilise it, and it can be extremely disruptive against both mill and vehicle deck. If you can stop their ramp early by putting pressure on their hand you'll be in good shape.

Simon Willis' run was ended at the hands of Chris Green's eSnoke/Ciena/Sebulba in the top8 match.

5. THE OTHER BEAUTY AND THE BEAST:
The same basically goes for the pairing of Luke3/Rey2. Prior to the full release and in the beginning of the Store Championship season and Gen Con, people were talking about that particular iteration of the monoblue heroes as the pair that would continue the legacy of Rey2/Aayla. They were however stopped in their tracks before they could even get started.Luke Rey article2jpg
It caused quite a great deal of controversy in the UK player base that the tournament organising team were going to allow Ataru Strike to be used in conjunction with Luke Skywalker's die side showing Melee damage. We are not going to open that can of worms here, but just note that it was commendable that the UK team clarified it prior to the event, which they are under no obligation to do. This obviously had nothing to do with Tim Meads' decision to run the pair (as he is not running any copies of Ataru Strike), but piloting the deck to a 12th place in swiss is quite the achievement in a meta that was expected to be Kylo heavy: Which it then turned out NOT to be at all! If that's how the pendulum is swinging that should be good news for all blue hero lovers out there!Tim Meads listjpgDanny Adlem did a write-up on the pair right after the release of WotF, so do swing by that brilliant article if you also feel tempted to go shield heavy and follow the path of the Jedi.

Luke Skywalker does seem right though for a meta loaded up with Indirect damage, and should be able to put up a pretty decent fight against mill if they can get that early Destiny driven ramp going!UK nationals10jpg
Luke Skywalker's dice are great for the crucial Destiny plays, with two 2-value sides, and the possibility of either shielding up, ramping or going full throttle aggro offers great flexibility. It's likely that you'll get 2 weapons on Rey early on, and if you manage to secure her two Shoto Lightsabers she can be a monster.

Tim Meads' run was ended in the Top16 against 3wide mill, and although blue heroes is not near the power level like when they peaked in the late Legacies meta, there still seems to be a place in the meta for blue heroes.

5. YOU MIGHT CHEAT, BUT I CHEAT BETTER!
Cad Bane article1jpg
After the demise of Sabine Wren, there's no better action cheater in the game than Cad Bane (and no we are not going to talk about Rey1). The problem is that his bag of tricks is somewhat unreliable, and although he can potentially deal a devastating unmitigable 9 damage with a single X-8 Night Sniper, you rarely, if ever, have the resources for that kind of shenanigans. This actually recently lead me to explore a different path with Cad Bane (the article is available now for our Patrons - join them here), but the Vicious Mercenary should never be underestimated, which Graham Kelly's 16th place in the swiss rounds, just sneaking himself into the top cut, is a testimony to!Graham Kelly listjpg
Cad Bane does something unique which it can be difficult to safeguard yourself against and Snoke provides him with excellent support. And although we dedicated a full article to the character pair, I'm still not considering the deck firmly placed in tier1, but once in a while it will make a showing - and in the hands of a skilled player, the deck can be a hard hitting monster.

The list that Graham Kelly brought to the UK Nationals is pretty cookie cutter with a few flex spots which he used to add a Mind Trick and an "indirect" healing on Cad Bane: Dangerous Maneuver. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm pretty surprised at seeing this deck do so well - and for Graham Kelly to go all the way to the finals he had to be a damn good player (even if he did end up losing that match)... luck just doesn't last that long in a tournament like UK Nationals! Well done GRAHAM!

6. A THOUSAND AND 1 CUTS:
Mandalorian Talzin Characters1 deckjpgAfter Jordan McClure's strong display at Gen Con with the Talzin/Mandalorians, it was expected to make a landfall at UK Nationals. And it did. Represented twice in top16 by Simon Harvey and David Payton respectively, the Super Commandos are definitely here to stay, and are one of the best suited decks in the meta to take on all comers. It has plenty of health (27hp), the ability to keep pressure on their opponent by virtue of bouncing Chance Cubes, Mandalorian Vambraces and Sith Holocrons, while also having a decent amount of burst damage. On top of that it offers consistency with Mother Talzin.

We already did an extensive write-up of the deck as well as featuring Jordan McClure's tournament report from Gen Con 2018.

The different versions of this deck that can be made with the current card pool is not going to vary significantly from the "stock list", and although Piett/Mandalorians have been promising it still seems the worse deck compared to Talzin/Mandalorians. Early resource management can be a challenge, but if you can solve that then you are good to go! Simon Harvey took this version to the top16 where he ended up losing at the hands of Chris Green.Simon Harvey listjpg

7. YODA HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE:
After Worlds 2018 everybody was excited about Drive-by-Shooting, we even dedicated a full podcast episode to interviewing Joe Colon aka HonestlySarcastc to hear his thoughts behind the deck. It did get a few new tools in Way of the Force, and looks poised to stand up against most decks in the meta, but should suffer to mill, yet Alex Lenthall aka Gameslayer's track record against mill at the event was impeccable. Not losing to mill in the swiss rounds and managing to defeat 3wide hero mill in both the top16, Thomas Harvey, and the top8, Sam Miles, to cruise into the semi finals where his amazing run ended.Alex Lenthall listjpg

7. WHERE WAS 5DIE VILLAIN?
In the YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 20, Mads Utzon and I were predicting 5die villain, either in the classical version or in the Talzin version to make a showing in the top cut, because it deals so well with many of the threats in the meta - its worst match-ups arguably being Kylo2/x and Talzin/Mandalorians, while it thrives against any 3wide or 4 wide character builds, pushing hard for that early crucial Bala reactivation.
Balajpg
In a world of low health characters, Bala-Tik is king and adding the consistency of Mother Talzin (for a reworked Free-For-All version) frees you from the re-rolling to hit the black base damage sides that mares the original version (although the Nightsister ability does help out against mill deck).

Written by
CLAUS STAAL

FINALISTS DECK LISTS:
Greg Pike listjpgGraham Kelly listjpg
TOP 4 DECK LISTS:
Alex Lenthall listjpgChris Green listjpg

TOP 8 DECKS:
Sam Miles listjpgSimon Willis listjpgSimon Smithson listjpgDavid Payton listjpg

TOP 16 DECKS:
Danny adlems listjpg
Simon Harvey listjpgSteve Thompsons listjpgGareth Parfitt listjpg
Thomas Harvey listjpgMiles Tamplin listjpgTim Meads listjpgJONATHAN MOSS listjpg