Worlds Recap - Playing Aphra/Phasma/Droids


EDITOR'S NOTE:
WRITTEN BY Claus Staal

Straight after Jordan McClure ended Day 1B at Worlds 2019 with a resounding 8-0 record, in the process defeating both Kyle Warren and Drew from Arrow Brook Gaming as well as Mads Utzon and Eric Wainwright, I asked him to do a write-up for the website. And while we saw plenty of Aphra Droids decks at Worlds, few had included Captain Phasma, and fewer still as successfully as Jordan McClure, Brian LeCleir and their team. I was curious to know a bit more about the deck and luckily they agreed to let us in on their secrets.

While this article is not a deck analysis per se, you can read several articles we've done on Doctor Aphra already and the special power she brings with her, it's going to be an interesting insight into Jordan McClure and Brian LeCleir's pre-tournament analysis as well as a recap of most of their games.

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I've added deck lists in the article where possible, but many of the decks - or similar iterations can be found on swdestinydb.

1. INTRODUCTION:

WRITTEN BY
Brian LeCleir (Ludodoc) / Jordan McClure (the_eigensheep)

First we want to think all of the guys from our local who helped prepare for Worlds – it has been a blast working our way through a huge variety of character pairings and lists to get to where we landed for the World Championship 2019.
 
Brian had first played Doctor Aphra competitively at Gen Con 2019 and snagged a top 8 finish using Aphra/Wat/Sentinel Grand Design (combining the big supports package with the character pairing that Cody Manten from Arrow Brook Gaming had popularized) while Jordan finished top 16 with ReyLo (sadly we had to play each other in the top16). After Gen Con our group spent a lot of time trying out a huge variety of lists, churning our way through an incredible amount of jank trying to crack the code for both Worlds 2019 and the Prime Championship season.

Brian spent the most amount of time on a variety of Aphra lists, but once Captain Phasma was released back to her 9/13 point value (and in the mean time also got Trooper - Leader subtype) quickly went back to the 3 dice Grand Design Aphra builds. Phasma's strong die and increased health seemed to balance out the loss of Wat Tambor’s Power Action, now only usable for red supports, and at least in our testing we liked Phasma over the General Grievous builds (though these builds were all over the top cut and are clearly a great choice as well).

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Tapping into the huge amount of card draw between Aphra and Grand Design to dig for the combo pieces in the deck (the notoriously popular Delve/Big support package as well as 0-0-0/BT-1) is clearly the primary goal of the deck, and getting an extra card each round seemed to more than balance out the loss of the fourth die you would gain in the General Grievous builds.

2. TOUGH CHOICES:
Jordan was convinced he was going to run a non-meta list and spent a large amount of time working on Maul, but just didn’t feel he could make it consistent enough. Our two other teammates (Wesley Chandler and Nathan Lapham) eventually landed on ReyLo. Meanwhile, Brian and two others (Brad Miller and Brian Leia) brought Aphra Droids to the Detroit Prime Championship, which proved to be a hugely valuable testing ground, and helped with further refining the list (i.e. putting Bubble Shields on the chopping block and adding some more removal).  
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Sometime Wednesday night, Jordan finally gave up on Maul and put his faith in Brian’s testing, deciding to roll with Aphra. We ironed out the last handful of cards and settled on identical lists with the exception of a single flex spot, in which Brian ran Counterintelligence and Jordan ran Act of Cruelty.
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Immediately afterwards VIGILANCE came up as an option, which felt like it could have been a great call, and after showing up to the event we found out that Arrow Brook Gaming and Nick Cuenca from The Hyperloops had put in a SCORCHED EARTH to help with the terrible Palpatine matchup, which also felt strong (and wasn't on our radar at all with how slow the list runs). After hearing how much value some of the other lists got out of ASSASSIN DROID, that would also be another great fit in that 30th slot.
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That said, outside of that 30th card we felt pretty great about the rest of the list, and while you could certainly tweak the removal package to taste we would leave it as built.
 
While fairly intuitive, we did spend a lot of time talking mulligans, and even in our pod play would frequently compare notes: Our main targets are the murder droids, 0-0-0 and BT-1, as well as RESPITE (no surprises there).
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If we happened to draw into Delve and either Megablaster Troopers or Vader's Fist, we would keep those, and depending on the match-up would also be looking for Desperate Measure (any support list) or Dangerous Maneuver (any aggro list), but in general wouldn’t get too trapped into wishful thinking (i.e. we wouldn’t keep a Vader’s Fist by itself if given the choice) since we could so often draw into them later in the round.
 
We were just hoping to dodge Palpatine and Mill, knowing that these would be our worst match-ups, but felt fairly strong into the rest of the field.

3. JORDAN'S TOURNAMENT:
Day 1B Swiss: At the beginning of the day, I had about 5 games worth of experience with the deck. I was getting wrecked in pods all day on Friday (albeit, playing mostly Vader and Maul), so I wasn’t feeling all that confident going into the day.

MATCH 1:
Kyle Warren of ABG on Reylo W (1-0)
I dropped some early supports and saved my mitigation for Rey’s dice. Fortunately, he didn’t roll many Specials, and I was able to save it for other problem dice. By round 4, he had eliminated both Captain Phasma and the Sentinel Messenger, and left Doctor Aphra with about 5 health left after resolving all of his dice. I was able to squeak out enough damage to seal the victory that turn, ending with a single health.

MATCH 2:
eJango/ePhasma W (2-0)
I met this gentleman the day before while grinding pods, though we were both on different decks. He jammed down some Gauntlet Rockets early and pushed through a good bit of damage turn 1. I lost a character at the top of turn 2, but I had enough supports out to overwhelm him from there.
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MATCH 3:
eChopper/C-3PO/R2-D2 W (3-0)
MATCH 4: eChopper/C-3PO/R2-D2 W (4-0)

I don’t remember too much about the specifics of these two games, other than I felt behind for the vast majority of them and Vader’s Fist/Megablasters did a ton of work to turn them around.
Oh, and I ended Match 3 with a single health again.

MATCH 5:
Mads Utzon on eSatine/eLor/Gungan W (5-0)
He was able to get a decent amount of ramp early on. I played a Desperate Measures on an Entourage to slow him down a bit. Eventually, I Delved into a Vader's Fist that rolled out a 3 Disrupt side and was showing an additional Disrupt side on one of my other supports. This prevented him from ramping any further and forced him to resolve his character sides for damage, which just wasn’t going to be enough.
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(CLICK THE IMAGE to go straight to our deck analysis)
MATCH 6:
eChopper/C-3PO/R2-D2 W (6-0)
This went the same as the previous droid matchups. Fall behind early. Catch up with a big support or two. Found a turn where I was able to just stay out of lethal and then crack back with overwhelming damage from supports.

MATCH 7:
Eric Wainwright on Reylo W (7-0)
This was a little more comfortable than the previous Reylo matchup. I was able to find a Fist or Megablaster early and put the pressure on. I sunk my first few damage into Rey until he dropped a Maul’s Saber on Kylo, at which point I switched targets. Once Kylo was down, it was smooth sailing as he wasn’t able to build Rey into much of a threat in the meantime.

MATCH 8:
Paul from ABG on Aphra/eGrievous/Sentinel W (8-0)
Paul had a rough start, I believe drawing into double Assassin Droids. He was able to get them both down turn 1, but I DM’d the second before it activated. Conversely, I had my droid engine up and running and was primed to drop a Megablaster Troopers on round 2. He eventually drew into BT-1, but he had no answer for my Megablasters on r2, which put in a substantial amount of damage. Turn 3, I believe he forgot to Desperate Measures my Megablasters as his first action. I rolled them out, he DMd, and then scooped realizing the FOST dice stayed in the pool.
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It was a great run after losing so much the previous day. Definitely had some luck on my side, as 3 of the matches could have easily gone the other way. I was hoping for the day 2 bye, but unfortunately my SoS wasn’t as strong as Hunter Shelbourne’s (who went 8-0 on day 1A).

JORDAN McCLURE TOP CUT:
TOP 64:
Edwin Chen on Aphra/eGrievous/Sentinel
Dodge Palpatine and Mill was my only mantra going into the top 64, so I was relieved to be paired up against another Aphra list. Though my match with Paul the day prior went well and he and Edwin were running the same deck, I felt their Grievous list was slightly favored in the mirror due to the extra die and the Aphra deck's general inability to focus fire a character down fast.

GAME 1 was the highlight of the series, and really the only game that had any suspense or uncertainty. With Theed Royal Palace, some natural resource rolls, and some help from my opening hand, I was able to drop BT-1, a Fickle Mercenary, and Delve a Megablaster Troopers, all of which stuck. Edwin had finished resolving most of his dice for the turn and was out of money, while I still had three dice in the pool and 4 cards in hand. Edwin went for what he deemed a ‘hero probe’, snagging two events from my hand. To my delight, he left me with my second Delve and Fist still intact.

My dice were showing a Blank, some damage side, and a Focus. I focused the Blank to a Resource instead of a 2 damage side, hoping to slam the Fist down as well on round 1. However, Edwin knew something was amiss and played his second Probe that he had drawn into and ripped Delve from my hand. I can’t quite recall how the rest of the game unfolded, but my impression of the game is that I had an early lead that slipped away. I think Edwin made the wise choice of prioritizing damage early on, and before I knew it, I was significantly behind while he was eventually able to reach an almost equivalent board state.

GAME 2 and 3 were, quite simply, not suspenseful. Game 2 was over around round 1.5, where I had a wall of supports with 14 damage showing and Edwin had no significant ramp. Conversely, Game 3, Edwin was able to get the droid engine online round 1 while I was only able to drop 0-0-0. The game lasted 3 or 4 rounds, but he steadily pulled away each round.

Overall, it was a fun match. Edwin is super chill, and it honestly felt more like casual Friday Destiny rather than the top cut at Worlds.

4. BRIAN'S TOURNAMENT:
MATCH 1:
Reylo W (1-0):
Rey is clearly the first target in this match-up.

MATCH 2:
eChopper/R2/C3PO Fateful Companions L (1-1):
Definitely a spike damage build, in the final round he Instigated into the final 8 damage needed, avoiding the Automated Defense I had held.

MATCH 3:
ePalp/eWatto W (2-1):
Easily my worst match-up, nevertheless I landed a strong start and in the end, after a clutch probe/counterintelligence combo, I discarded my final card to reroll into the damage I needed.

MATCH 4:
R2/C3PO/eSatine AR W (3-1)

MATCH 5:
eVader/Battle Droid Retribution W (4-1):
In round 2 I took a 12 damage Fear And Dead Men, and in round 3 I was down to 2 health when he claimed. I then played No Good to Me Dead to Delve a Vader's Fist (taking my second to last health) + Fickle Mercenaries to squeak out the 9 damage I needed to win.

MATCH 6:
ePhasma3/Enfys Nest Marauder W (5-1):
He was chucking just a huge number of trooper dice, but missed on a couple crucial rerolls in addition to Probe doing some work keeping him off extra tries at the damage he needed.

MATCH 7:
Aphra/eGeneral Grievous/Sentinel by TJ Mattos W (6-1):

MATCH 8:
eJango/Palpatine/LM by Harrison Waldo L (6-2):
I Delved a first round Vader's Fist and finished off Jango early in round 2, but it was already too late to catch up to his Palpatine ramp, and in the end he defeated me by mill.

BRIAN LeCLEIR TOP CUT:
TOP 64:
Joe Colon on eSatine/R2/C3PO
In GAME 1 he outpaced my board state fairly early, and once I did find Desperate Measures I slow played it too long since he then set up a really strong (and unexpected) spike damage roll out of C-3PO and R2-D2 with a Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle to take Aphra off the table. This took away my only answer to his huge cadre of supports in DM (I even tried to play it right afterwards but it fizzled from the spot yellow – I don’t know that I had quite registered Aphra’s death yet). From that point forward I never put another Indirect damage on Aphra (and put every shield on her) until both DM’s had fired.
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GAME 2 was lopsided the other way with him missing on his mulligan. He had to gamble on the Falcon or not ramp round 1, but I removed it with Desperate Measure as well as dropping an early droid and Megablaster Troopers snagging me the win.

GAME 3 was much more back and forth, with both of us setting up powerful board states. However the advantage of DM in my deck in addition to a couple strong rounds of ramp got me there. In the last round he had a huge support package out, but with only 5 health left, BT-1 and some 0-0-0 indirect, I was able to finish out the game before he could utilize them. Huge props to Joe – he seemed like a great guy and clearly played some extremely strong games, almost taking it down despite having to playing into an unfavorable match-up.
 
TOP 32:
Henry Martinez on eChopper/R2/C-3PO/FC
In reviewing his deck list I realized he had a HUGE (15+ cards) suite of removal and mitigation, and knew I would have to essentially resolve every die one by one to avoid as much of his multi-die removal as possible. PROBE was clearly the MVP in these games, and multiple times cleared the way to get my damage through. In GAME 1, I came up just 2 damage short of taking the game, while in game 2 I had a round where Sentinel Messenger found a crucial Probe to clean out his removal, taking out a Flee The Scene and a spot removal for my supports to swing in big.

In GAME 3 I had the worst start of the tournament - I held Delve/Fist in my opening mulligan and drew into a second Delve, a Megablaster and No Good To Me Dead. He proceeded to open with disrupting both my resources, and by the end of round 1 Phasma was down to ~2 health and I had no supports on the table (and had drawn no additional cards). Second round I got off to the races by delving in Fist, and in the end was able to just barely pull out the game. Henry is clearly an extremely strong player, and without those lucky discards off of Probe I was toast.
 
TOP 16:
Hunter Shelburne on eAphra/GG/SM: (W) 2-1
This one is on the FFG Live stream, starting around 4 hours 15 minute in. In GAME 1 I had probably the strongest start of the tournament, while the other 2 games were much more back and forth. Hunter was an incredibly stand-up opponent and an extremely strong player, who had an incredible run of 10-0 up until that point in the tournament.x

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TOP8:
Matt Phillips on eYoda/eLeia Astrogation
While Matt seemed like a great guy, I wasn’t happy to sit across from him since mill is such a terrible match-up for Aphra, though I was a bit glad there was no Flames of the Past in his decklist. In GAME 1, I played both droids and a Fickle Mercenaries, meanwhile he milled both Megablasters and both fists off the top of the deck in round 1, which felt just awful. I never played another support, and ended up squeaking out the win only by nature of rolling hot fire in the last round of the game.
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GAME 2 and 3 both ran fairly similarly: I got a big opening with delving Fist down round 1 and eventually getting the rest of my support suite online, but didn’t get enough damage out of my supports in those early rounds to keep up with the pace of his aggressive mill.

GAME 2 he hit a No Answer that cleaned me out to win, and in GAME 3 I got my final 7 cards into my hand only to have him burn through all of them to win it. He definitely played it well, and huge props to him for taking a mill list to the top 4 that had been largely written off.

EPILOG:
WORLDS 2019 was a fantastic time – compared to the previous Destiny Worlds tournament and the last two Gen Cons (North American Championship), this was clearly the best experience of the bunch. It felt pretty great to get our whole team into top cut (Wesley Chandler and Nathan Lapham had both made top cut with ReyLo in day 1A), but far and away the best part was meeting a huge number of incredible people through the pods, the meetup (thanks to the content creators who sponsored this), and in the main tournament. The players in this game just seem to strike a great balance between competitive play and valuing community, and it was a ton of fun to put faces to many of the names we have interacted with online.