Upcoming Balance of The Force


1. INTRODUCTION:

Written By CLAUS STAAL

The proposed changes as per the mail sent around to Worlds 2019 attendees has already been widely debated and is actually pretty divisive. The changes stipulated in the mail will be effective for Worlds 2019, but NOT for the majority of the Prime Championship season (at least Primes played prior to Worlds), which is another contested point amongst many commentators.

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I've been very vocal about my wish for a new Holocron to drop before Worlds 2019 for several reasons, some of them strictly personal while others are more or less echoing those of quite a players that I've spoken with at major events around Europe.

That's all history now as anyone going to Worlds 2019, will need to start adjusting to a new world ... the sooner the better!

EDIT: I goofed with the first iteration of the article and have edited the part with Chopper Droids (actually adding the points costs correctly).

2. HERO DROIDS?
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The biggest question due to the change in points cost of C-3P0, from 8/10e to 9/11e, is not whether or not hero droids will still be viable as a tier 1 deck because it definitely will be, and the powerful core mechanic of C-3P0/R2-D2 and possibly FATEFUL COMPANION is still there for the taking, BUT some hard choices will have to be made in terms of favoured partner, which is still like to be a yellow character for that tasty rainbow feeling with the previous iterations featuring either HAN SOLO, SATINE KRYZE or CHOPPER.

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Getting the points to add up is a bit trickier now. And looking at it, your best bets are probably Han/R2-D2/eC-3P0 + Fateful Companion (aggro version) or eChopper/eC-3P0/R2-D2 (control version), which remains largely unchanged, but due to DROIDS DAY OUT being a new addition to the Restricted List which already features C-3P0, you'd need to rework the deck a bit. The latter definitely still feels very strong and should easily consolidate itself again as one of the leaders of the pack.

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A fast reworked Chopper Droids list off the top of my head and with a gross amount of inspiration from Kyle Warren's US Grand Championship list could be something in the lines of this:
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There's absolutely no doubt that the deck that was hit the hardest is Satine Droids, which will need quite a lot of reworking to be viable as a support deck going forward - even if Han Droids also looks like it's in the ropes. You could still opt for a 5dice start with eC-3P0/eSatine/R2-D2, but would lose access to Fateful Companion, which in turn will limit your ramp significantly, while your expensive upgrades like Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle, Han Solo's Blaster Pistol, Dagger of Mortis, etc. are somewhat less enticing now.

Your best bet is probably the Scoundrel Package because its cheap and still pretty impactful, but will also leave you very prone to support hate cards like Desperate Measures, which was why the upgrades were added into the mix in the first place - to give you alternative means of dealing (unmitigatable) damage.

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The deck is not dead by any means, but definitely lost the edge it had on the other Hero Droid decks prior to the nerf, especially Chopper Droids, and players will be required to work much harder to get the resource engine up and running. The question is how it will stand up against the other support deck(s) in the format?!
3. WAT TAMBOR:
Speaking of Support Decks and the Scoundrel package leads us straight to the nerf on WAT TAMBOR, which directly affects him compatibility with the powerful package of ENTOURAGE, FICKLE MERCENARIES and HIRED MUSCLE. Especially, the plays to use Entourage twice, focus to the 2 Resource side to ramp MEGA hard round 1, setting up some indomitable board states, has lead the deck to some major triumphs including a mirror match final at the European Championship 2019.

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It's definitely going to hurt the deck not being able to (ab)use Wat Tambor's Power Action on non-RED supports, but I honestly think the deck is still looking strong. If you don't want to stick with the Scoundrel package you can go heavier on Red supports, and there's plenty to pick from including UMBARAN HOVER TANK, SENATE CHAMBER and of course MEGABLASTER TROOPERS, all three of which were already included in many 3wide Jabba decks, or if you want to go super-heavy with SUPERLASER SIEGE CANNON and PLANETARY BOMBARDMENT. The problem of going super-heavy is that you'd normally want to use Delve to get those bastards into play and thereby barring you from Wat Tambor's Power Action any ways.

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Another question is if the expected meta change is going to make ReyLo such a popular choice that it'd be better to switch JABBA THE HUTT for WATTO making your primary resource generator virtually immune to mitigation from that pairing (apart from Rey's Power Action)? That switch is never going to be easy though as Jabba does add his own powerful flavour to the deck.
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I'd still need to test this deck more and while in theory crafting the hit to Wat Tambor feels like a massive blow to the deck, in reality - and most importantly comparatively to the other top decks in the format - it might actually survive with only minor changes to accommodate for the change.

4. REYLO:
As one of the top decks NOT affected by the proposed Balance of the Force, ReyLo definitely feels like a top contender and one that has improved comparatively to the other top dogs in the format. I'd honestly be surprised not to see quite a large portion of the players at Worlds 2019 switch to ReyLo. It's already popular and we are starting to see the deck locked into place (although two competing philosophies seem to be prevalent).

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This is the list I've been working on lately and while I'm still playing around with some of the cards and testing to fit my preferences, I feel like 25 cards are pretty set for the deck, which is not a bad place to be going forward.

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4. EWOKS:
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Will EWOKS disappear from the format? Probably not, but it's a testimony to the amazing tech made by Mike Gemme and The Hyperloops, that removing access to ARENA OF DEATH (by putting it AND the EWOK WARRIOR on the Restricted List) now seems to force Ewok Swarm Players to go in other directions. Demetrio Bianchini, winner of the Italian Grand Championship 2019, definitely looks to have found such a way with his Plo-Koon/Hoth/Chirpa deck, which at least has the smell of Ewok about it and looks somewhat less dependent on Arena of Death.
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If you love Ewoks and don't mind adding a bit of Jedi Mind Trick to the mix then this would definitely be worth trying out! It also gives you a chance to dust off your Plo-Koon spotgloss cards and give it a home! You can also look forward to an upcoming deck analysis from Demetrio on his magnificent deck!

... if we thought, or hoped, that Ewoks would go away ... well ... then we were wrong!

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