Written by CLAUS STAAL
KYLO REN - TORMENTED ONE was the go-to guy when monocoloured decks featured heavily in the format, i.e. eRey2/eAayla and eSabine/eEzra, but as the more powerful decks gradually turned rainbow Kylo saw less and less play. The last time I sleeved up Kylo Ren was at Nordics 2018 where I took eKylo2/eSnoke (that was before the errata to Snoke's Power Action). I managed to pilot the deck to the runner-up spot, but it was clear that Kylo's time as a consistent performer at the top tables was running out.
The world is still rainbow ... but with the persistent efforts of the Destiny design team to make Rey and Kylo - Bound By The Force a true contender for the World Championship title at Worlds 2019, by curbing the power of other rivals, there might still be hope for good 'ol Kylo.
That hope might just be a shimmering light reflecting off the original Chrome Dome herself! Yes, Captain Phasma! She partnered up with Kylo Ren in the two-Player Starter Set and they were a very nasty duo. That's history, but history could be set to repeat itself as Phasma has come off the Balance Of The Force
KYLO REN honestly has pretty mediocre dice for a 14/17e character and it's only outweighed by the fact that IF you get to trigger his ability consistently his damage output is potentially above average and in turn also sets up CAPTAIN PHASMA'S Special!
Phasma's dice on the other hand are quite outstanding for a 9/13e character and totally breaks the curve when an opponent's character has 6 or more damage on it. I guess a character like Anakin Skywalker, 10/13e, gets close'ish, but is still off the pace comparatively. The Special, when worth 3 damage, also makes the Focus side pretty dope.
Remember the changes to character subtypes, which makes Kylo Ren an APPRENTICE, but more importantly Captain Phasma both a LEADER and a TROOPER, which is pretty awesome because it enables cards like Counterintelligence, Salt Flats, Quicksilver Baton, etc.
The biggest problem of running characters with mixed damage sides is to find the right upgrades for the job. You preferably want upgrades with plenty of base damage sides as to not be too reliant on one or the other character surviving, but rather both be viable endgame pieces, no matter what upgrades they end up with, while you also want each upgrade to be as impactful as possible (yeah ... obvious). Additionally, due to Kylo's annoying payside, you'll want as many of your damage sides on your upgrades to be free!
DAGGER OF MORTIS and HEIRLOOM LIGHTSABER are your two redeploy weapons and both have at least two base damage sides. I was contemplating adding another Heirloom Lightsaber, but just couldn't justify the cost unless I also added some more resource generation, and didn't want to let go of the Dagger of Mortis, which seems too good to let go off in the current state of the meta.
You don't want to see any of these in your starting hand even if you control Theed Royal Palace, since your dice are too valuable to trade in early, but they are great for overwriting other upgrades later when you are at risk of losing a character.
I also considered, and did test out, the A-300 Blaster as my third redeploy weapon, and while it is decent for 2 resources I just couldn't justify bringing it and it felt pretty underwhelming every time I had it in play.
Both CROSSGUARD LIGHTSABER and NIMAN MASTERY are awesome upgrades on Kylo Ren, with the latter probably the best blue upgrade in the game. The Crossguard Lightsaber die can be a bit tricky, but the Special is great to keep shielded up characters at bay, while the Niman Special allows for some Special chaining off Phasma's Special as well. The 2 Melee side is just a beautiful added bonus.
HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON
I always heap praise on this beauty and apart from the 3 Indirect payside there's really everything you need in this magnificent gun. It's really stupid how much value it brings and it alone could be the argument for adding a Sudden Impact to the deck. It doesn't really matter who you play it on as it looks equally menacing on either character.
If you have three resources, the QUICKSILVER BATON, is incredibly scary on Captain Phasma. Sure, it's tailored to fit on new Phasma, but with plenty of Melee damage sides on Kylo Ren, you shouldn't have too much difficulty to trigger the modified Melee sides. Adding a potential three dice to the pool the round you play it makes it pretty crazy weapon. It also combines nicely with your big redeploy weapons!
4. SEPARATIST EMBARGO:
I'm not a huge fan of Separatist Embargo, but people I trust swear it's good and have helped them win games. The problem is that you are trading a card and a resource for an opponent to not being able to play a specifically named card. Even if you know your opponent's deck and know exactly what his greatest threat in the deck is, you might still be in a situation where your Embargo does absolutely nothing, because your opponent never found himself in a situation where he could play the card, maybe he never drew it in the first place, or: So, you've basically just disrupted yourself for 1 resource and discarded a card.
On the other hand, it can be pretty clutch in a number of match-ups where there are clearly identifiable threats, like preventing a Niman Mastery in ReyLo, a Vader's Fist in Villain support decks or Chewbacca's Blaster Rifle in Chopper Droids. The potential power of Separatist Embargo is definitely there, but I guess the keyword is potential.
5. HAND KNOWLEDGE:
Hand knowledge is normally amazing, but when you play Kylo Ren, it is absolutely nuts, which also makes a card like COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, which is normally awesome, absolutely GAWD TIER. Starting a round with a Counterintelligence gives you so many options, besides removing an essential event from their hand, like knowing when to activate your characters, what potential mitigation to play around and the EXACT composition of colours in their hand.
PROBE belongs to that category of cards that has the ability to absolutely wreck your opponent's rounds, whether it discards Delves, mitigation or other great events. Most players will have 2-3 events in their hand at the beginning of the round and finding the most opportune moment to Probe their hand can make or break that round!
6. TECH CARDS:
In a world inhabited by ReyLo's, it just doesn't seem right to leave home without at least one INTIMIDATE. It can really ruin their turns by either removing the Shields before Kylo has a chance to use his Power Action or after Rey has gone through all the trouble of adding Shields with her Special. Intimidate will in many instances be 3 damage straight out of hand - and it costs 0 resources!! BOOM!
TACTICAL MASTERY should be prioritised over Seize The Day and can be spectacular at times and at other times just fail miserably. Usually Tactical Mastery works the best with a Phasma activation if you are trying to find lethal damage. ALWAYS ditch it from your starting hand!
All your mitigation apart from RIOT SHIELD is 0cost mitigation. You can play around with what mitigation you prefer, but I'd probably not stray too far from this pretty nuts mitigation suite. ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE is a meta call, but I think it's fair to assume that there'll still be plenty of Droids in the meta to justify it, but the exact composition is probably mostly down to taste.
There would be an argument for including MEASURE FOR MEASURE, but then I honestly also think you'll need to add CONSCRIPT SQUADS. The only other Trooper dice you have in the deck are Captain Phasma's dice and they are simply too good to trade away (well ... in most instances).
Most players go with either THEED ROYAL PALACE or SALT FLATS and both are pretty good in this deck. Theed allows you to trade in the Kylo payside for a resource enabling you to either play a 3cost upgrade or get maximum value out of the Quicksilver Baton, while Salt Flats can be used as soft mitigation or turning a Phasma die to max damage (or even a resource side if needed).
After having seen BENDU'S LAIR a bit more in action, I could even be tempted at getting that die to play around with, although your initiative roll-off is pretty atrocious, but it's great for putting pressure on your opponent's rounds while also being great at setting up for Forsaken plays.
9. MULLIGAN OPTIONS:
I like to play HANDHELD L-S1 CANNON as my first upgrade and usually putting it on Phasma and then trying to see if I can find the resource needed to overwrite and get maximum benefit out of the QUICKSILVER BATON late in the round, hopefully sniping off a character. This relatively easy if you play on Theed Royal Palace, but not impossible otherwise.
COUNTERINTELLIGENCE is just broken when used in conjunction with Kylo and allows you to push the ceiling for your first round, while two pieces of mitigation goes a long way to ensure that you can disrupt your opponent as much as possible!
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