1. GENERAL COMMENTS:
This is a weird deck analysis, because it's really a comparative analysis of two decks with two VERY different objectives, yet they play the exact same character pairing, and I'm almost certain that we are looking at the only two characters in the game who interchanges between roles so flawlessly while still being absolute beasts at both!
At lot has been said and written of the new beast of the revelation: Supreme Leader Snoke, and while he's definitely putting up a fight for the best supporting character of the year award, the OSCAR for now goes to Yoda. Yoda is still the main man! As in: M A I N M A N ... the little green goblin is the best enabler in the galaxy and beyond, and as we have talked about several times on the YOUR Destiny Podcast, the fact that he is the gravitation point of vehicle decks (Drive-by-Shooting), mill decks (Yoda/Leia or Yoda/Jedha/Jedha) and aggro decks (Yoda/Hondo, Yoda/Qui-Gon, Yoda/Cassian) is just a testimony to his versatility and power. Sure, not all of the decks are tier 1, but all of them stand a fighting chance against most comers. He enables 2 character decks and 3 wide decks. He can make resources, mill, focus, dish out damage ... if you ask him to jump, he'll jump!! There really is no try with this guy!
The starting point for this article, however, is actually Cassian Andor.
Cassian Andor, where to even begin? Coming in at 10/14 he is incredibly powerful, and although his die side, apart from boasting the two unique Discard sides (for heroes which is only imitated on Leia, whom we already wrote an extensive article about), is not inherently powerful, it is augmented by his crazy ability, that really raises the bar for what is possible with after abilities. Being able to EITHER deal indirect damage OR discard a card from the top of a deck is stupefyingly good. He lends himself so well to both mill and aggro (or both) that he's almost impossible to classify. This versatility he shares with the little green goblin.
We've already seen several aggro iterations of Cassian Andor being partnered up with Poe Dameron, Rex, Finn and even a few attempts at teaming up with Sabine Wren (check out our article on Sabine Wren post-nerf), while he's been wedlocked with Leia Organa and Jedha Partisans for consistent mill decks, but where he thrives as a multifaceted character is really with the wizened master himself: Yoda.
Because of the versatility of Cassian Andor, both in respect to die sides and special ability, he opens up new ways that your deck can be constructed, not necessarily having to focus single mindedly on aggro or mill, but with the possibility of tech'ing in a multitude of cards.
Not all is perfect with Cassian Andor however. In a game where the general health pool is increasing, with most aggro characters sitting around 12hp and support characters at 10hp, he's a bit squishy. Heading into a gunfight with a collective health pool of just 21hp (red/yellow aggro) seems a bit weak, and if you do choose to pair him up with Yoda, the gravitation point of this article, you'll be looking at a measly 20hp. That doesn't take long for the likes of Cad Bane, Kylo or sustained bombardment from a vehicle deck to chew through.
Despite the frailties of your two characters, they have crazy value for money on their dice.
Your mitigation suite, of which you have access to the finest in the game, will really need to put some work in, and your game plan, whichever route you decide on, has to take this into consideration. In some decks your health pool can be treated as part of your mitigation suite, i.e. 4 wide vehicle decks, whereas in a low health character team, which all 2 character teams with Cassian in it are, your board state and effectiveness will deteriorate at an incredible pace when losing a character.
Comparatively, you'll see that the two featured Cassian/Yoda variants, aggro (1) and mill (2), are both running a very high number of mitigation cards. We've added Force Illusion, Second Chance, Hyperspace Jump and Rebel as mitigation cards although the latter can have several uses (the number of these 4 cards are added in bracket after the total number of mitigation cards).
AGGRO VERSION: 12 (7)
MILL VERSION: 19 (5)
(This deck was piloted by "Big_Campy" to a Store Championship win)
(This deck was piloted by "Best JRod NA" to a Store Championship win)
Both decks are designed to be aggressive and to some extent also fast, but aggressive is the keyword here. They mill aggressively, and contrary to many mill decks, use a fair amount of upgrades (6), and they try to deal as much damage as possible, action cheating if possible (Force Speed, Fast Hands, Impulsive). The aggro version feels very much like a revamped version of the Yoda/Hondo deck that was popular in the late Legacies meta, but is probably going to fall out of favor. These decks are not in it for the long haul, and a protracted game is not to your advantage.
3. PLOTTING FOR SUCCESS:
Having access to Profitable Connection is massive for both iterations of the deck. It allows for early power plays, either putting down upgrades or keeping back resources for early mitigation to stifle your opponent's game plan.
For the aggro version playing a round 1 Force Wave can be devastating against 3 and 4 wide decks, or an X-8 Night Sniper keeping a resource back for an Easy Pickings or Overconfidence, while the mill version can play an early Bartering to start generating loads of resources and still sit on enough resources to mitigate most of your opponent's best dice. Being able to steal away both Kylo dice in a Snoke/Kylo2 match-up can be an early game changer and swing the marginals in your favor.
Both iterations of this character pairing needs as much momentum as possible in the beginning of the game, and you'll need to capitalize from your advantage from the get-go.
4. UPGRADES & SUPPORTS:
FAST HANDS & FORCE SPEED both play into the game plan of dealing the maximum amount of damage with minimal interference from your opponent. Action cheating and Special chaining is the name of the game!
FORCE WAVE is such an important upgrade in this deck. Even against 2 character teams it can be vital to be able to push through damage fast, even at the expense of 1 damage to one of your own characters. There are some powerful plays available using Yoda Specials to generate shield and/or resources, flip to a Force Wave Special and hit your opponent for 3 and 2 damage while blocking the 1 damage you would take yourself.
EZRA BRIDGER'S LIGHTSABER, although it has mixed damage sides, it does work really well with Yoda/Cassian considering the ability to Special chain and resolve the Ranged damage side together with Cassian's Ranged sides.
Both the HANDCRAFTED LIGHT BOW and the VERPINE SNIPER RIFLE fits the bill perfectly for this kind of deck that seeks to mix Special effects with Ranged damage. The 2 Ranged damage for 1 resource is normally somewhat prohibitive for the Verpine Sniper Rifle because you can't play it an reliably deal damage in round 1, but with Profitable Connection plus Yoda's ability to generate resources only the sky is the limit! And never ever underestimate unblockable damage! In a meta where shields is still very much a thing and Force Illusions are rife you'll come to love those 2 unblockable.
X-8 NIGHT SNIPER is an absolute monster in this deck. Unless the die is mitigated it is guaranteed 3 damage!SCRAP HEAP and DOUBLE-DEALING essentially do the same thing, and while Double-Dealing is an excellent choice in a deck rife with Specials, Scrap Heap might be the safer choice as it works off both Yoda's Special and Cassian's trigger, but in the latter instance, you'd need to use Cassian's trigger to discard from the deck rather than deal Indirect damage. There are also indications of opponents often targeting Yoda first, which in that case would make the Double-Dealing weaker, whereas Scrap Heap does lose some edge if Yoda is your sole character standing, as you are then "forced" to mill a card with Yoda's Special to gain the resource! From a fringe perspective Scrap Heap also offers you another Grey card as some consolation defense against a single Kylo trigger.
You might feel it is a surprise inclusion, but I kind of like it, as you are playing some quite expensive events while also having 3 upgrades with pay sides, so you really need as many resources as possible.
FORCE ILLUSION and SECOND CHANCE are some of your most powerful mitigation cards. Don't let them sit in your hand, and don't hesitate to use your Force Illusion. Use it to block 2-3 damage and you're fine. It wouldn't be the first time a Force Illusion has been sitting for too long not being able to block damage because you ran out of cards.
FORCE MEDITATION can be played on any character and is powerful with Yoda, securing some crazy mill rounds, it does feel less powerful late game, but coupled with Yoda's Special and Cassian's trigger it can plough through an opponent's deck in absolutely no time.
BARTERING is just great at generating resources and has sort of a quasi built in mill effect if resolved late in the game. Although your opponent draws a card, you have plenty of tools to strip him of it again! You probably wanna see this as early as possible in the game.
You don't want the battlefield. You want to use your ASCENSION GUN! You'll most likely not win the the roll-off for initiative, because your dice have horrible face values (Yoda: 5 and Cassian: 6), and most opponent's don't want to fight it out using Imperial Palace. You'll get the shields and will use the Ascension Gun to see their hand and mill from it! If your opponent does decide for your battlefield, you can always change it with Hyperspace Jump. We will be discussing battlefield choices later, because there are several good options at hand.
If you get DEX'S DINER on the table early it goes a long way in keeping your characters alive, and don't worry against most aggro decks you will be looking at 6 or more damage in no time! It sort of feels like the "poor man's" version of a Field Medic'ish Droid, but it does it job!
4. MITIGATION CARDS:
Your access to the best mitigation in the game is both a bane and a boon, and Way of the Force did bring with it a lot of cards to boost both featured decks. Some of them are easy picks (see what I did there!?), while others are harder choices. We'll go through the most interesting ones here.
In a deck that so easily fixes it's dice with Yoda Specials and 2 Focus sides, ALL IN (*) has to be there. A seemingly innocent roll can be transformed into a whirlwind of lethal damage in a heartbeat!
BEGUILE is really an amazing mitigation card and godsend with Way of the Force. At worst it's an expensive removal card, at best it can turn an opponent's godroll into a pile of crap! Rerolling one die, then turning another die and removing a third. That's crazy!
Prior to Way of the Force, or at least late Legacies meta, REBEL was unplayable! It was created to go with Jyn Erso, problem was that nobody played her, hence nobody played Rebel. With a host of characters having Discard sides, and Cassian having two, it has suddenly become manifest exactly how backbreakingly good a card it is. Being able to play ANY card from your discard pile (as long as you fulfill the play restrictions) is just bonkers! You essentially have another copy of any card in your deck (of it's in your discard pile). Those surprise Easy Pickings when your opponent believes you to have none! PRICELESS! Or if you were unlucky to draw into an early Second Chance, maybe in your starting hand, that you didn't need, you can still rid yourself off it and bring it back from the discard pile or a Force Illusion or ... I've added it to the mitigation section, but it really is a tech card.
IN THE CROSSHAIRS is incredibly expensive, but the upper ceiling for it is massive! It can remove every single of your opponent's dice and is well protected against cards like Friends in Low Places and it would be highly unusual for a Thrawn player to guess 3. If you weren't playing Yoda, the cost would normally be super restrictive, but as long as you can keep Yoda in the game, you should be good to go. Because it has Ambush, you can remove the dice you don't want your opponent to have, whether it's damage or Resource sides for ramp, then go on to Discard cards from his hand to prevent him from fixing the rest of his dice pool.
Replacing Caution was always going to be hard, but then came along PACIFY. The versatility of Pacify means it slots effortlessly into a mill deck. Being able to either remove an opponent's die or one of your own dice, means it can either be control or used to shield yourself up. And you don't really care if your opponent gets shields - do you?! On top of that it is not a dead card in your hand once you are down to one character as was the case with Caution.
5. TECH CARDS:
If All In is the card in your tech-arsenal that can transform rubbish into lethal damage, then IMPULSIVE, although a tad weaker, is really your third "pseudo" All In. A Yoda 2 Focus or even a Special can be exactly what you need to push through that last bit of damage before your opponent has time to mitigate. There are a lot of powerful uses for Impulsive, whether it's Impulsive into a Discard side into a Rebel or ...
I was pretty sceptical in the beginning, but FLAMES OF THE PAST has been quite outstanding in my test games. With the constant mill from deck (either from Cassian's ability or Yoda's Special) you are bound to put valuable upgrades in your opponent's discard pile, and being able to remove any copies of those upgrades from play for 2 resources can be game winning. In this deck it is superior to Vandalize because your character dice are worth too much to you game plan, and you can effortless mill from deck, which makes the value of this card soar.
Both iterations of the Cassian/Yoda team are fast decks and will be able to capitalize on a powerful battlefield. Both decks will also be able to play on their prefered battlefield because of Hyperspace Jump, even if their roll-offs will put them at an apparent disadvantage! Anyone playing against any of these decks should keep this in mind when deciding for battlefield.
There are several battlefields that can facilitate your mill strategy. Command Center for mill from deck or Medical Center for healing on both your characters, but the real choice it seems is between IMPERIAL PALACE and Jedi Temple. The former, which was chosen for the featured version of the deck, allows you to discard any one card from an opponent's hand, which is super powerful with the Ascension Gun, whereas the latter allows you to discard 2 events. While I understand the urge to use Imperial Palace, it seems as if the Jedi Temple will in fact have the greater impact. Both cards are vastly superior to War-Torn Streets (discarding a random card from an opponent's hand).
Another popular choice for many mill decks is the Command Center (milling two cards from an opponent's deck), but this deck doesn't have any difficulty milling from the deck, and might need some help in the end-game to mill the final few cards to emerge victorious.
The choice of FROZEN WASTES as the battlefield for lightning fast decks seems to be a spillover from Obi/Maz and Yoda/Hondo, two fan favorites of the late Legacies meta. I've always been a great fan of Cargo Hold though.
The ability to move upgrades between two characters and possibly mitigate the upgrade die in the process can be really powerful in aggro decks. You can use it to either move upgrades between your own characters, e.g. a Force Wave from Yoda to Cassian or a Second Chance the other way, or to move powerful upgrades between your opponent's characters, either to remove the die from the pool, or put upgrades from a full health character to a character on the brink of defeat! In either case I think strong arguments could be made for the merit of Cargo Hold in a fast paced deck like this.
7. MULLIGAN STRATEGY:
With all the Kylo's running around in the competitive scene, I believe a diversified hand (in terms of color) is a pretty good thing, but other than that, I think the following is the strongest starting points for the various iterations of the decks.
You can read more about how to mulligan in our game theory article on the subject.
Generally you want to set up for speed in round, aiming to draw your Ambush Weapon (although you should mulligan for Force Wave in 3 wide and 4 wide match ups, and the order of play is 1. Force Speed, 2. Fast Hands, 3. X-8 Night Sniper. You might not get the claim round 1, but should put yourself in a dominant position to do so in the following rounds.
Bartering is essential to get some rampant resource generation going early so you can afford all your expensive events, and the Ascension Gun is just so scary early on and if you are playing on your opponent's battlefield it can set you up for some hardcore hand mill right from the get-go. The rest is hand control and as flexible as possible.
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