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1. HELLO THERE...
WRITTEN BY BASTIAN BOTTA
This all came a bit unexpectedly to me, during the Prime Championship in Roskilde (Denmark), on the 9th of November, I managed to slice my way to victory with this nifty little combination of a deck.
Though I have to thank Claus Staal first. Yes, the very poster boy of YOUR Destiny destroyed me with his eYoda/eLeia mill deck in the Top8, but decided to drop out due to the rest of the top cut being Chopper Droids, a deck that, in his own words, was an auto-loss for him. Without his gracious kindness this miracle of a win never would’ve happened. But now let me turn to our main star.
Ever since the release of R2-D2 - LOYAL COMPANION I was interested in what kind of sassy combination(s) there might be with his ability and lo and behold, when I looked through my collection one character just gripped me with how perfect he was, both in theme and mechanics. OBI-WAN KENOBI - JEDI MASTER fits neatly with our favourite little beeping droid (Obi coming in at 19 points elite and R2-D2 at 11e) and together they bring back the good ol’ blue hero sticks ‘n shields. With some heavy sticks and a few select little tricks to turn the tide in one’s favour, it is a rather uncomplicated, forward deck, that can strike down most characters, if left to its devices (or rather dice).
This is my first write-up of this kind and I hope it will help some of you looking for ideas and decks to try out.
OBI-WAN KENOBI is a beast when he hits and his dice will give your opponent plenty of headaches granted they do roll those hefty sides. The rest of his die is alright, but thanks to his ability he always comes in with an extra shield each round, which strategically put can either enable some of your tech cards or simply protect a focused character.
And since I mentioned those big Melee sides, a 3 and 3 for 1 Melee respectively, here is where our little companion enters the stage, who needs to a die turn to any side when the first side is already the best you have? R2-D2 provides the needed focus, similarly to what Mother Talzin provided for villains in a time not that long ago, to ensure that Obi-Wan Kenobi can slice through your opponent’s characters like a plasma sword through conscious metal automatons, and his own dice are nothing to scoff at. Depending on your opponent and game plan any of them can be of use.
Another benefit of this deck is that your opponent might not know who to go for first. And while Obi-Wan is often the better target for them due to his dice and, compared to current similar-costed characters, slightly below average health with 12, R2-D2 can surely close out games on his own with some decent upgrades. The general gist is to stock up the character that is not being focused, nobody wants to deal with a droid swinging around 2 lightsabers and a Dagger of Mortis. And you can use Obi’s shield generation to prolong the life of the target even more, which of course is more helpful against some decks than others (coughReyLocough).
3. WEAPONS FROM A MORE CIVILIZED AGE...
Since this deck is not a big resource generator, and you will need some to use your tech, overwriting is the key to getting out those bigger weapons. In this version I did not opt for most of the redeploy upgrades however, since in my games I never really build up the character that is being targeted, so I just went with the things I consistently played during matches.
JEDI LIGHTSABER and TREASURED LIGHTSABER are your key upgrades to be played for their play effects and then overwritten, same with YODA'S LIGHTSABER for it being cheap. And even if you have no other upgrades currently at hand, these do have some decent sides, especially the latter two if one is in need of some unblockable damage and also is able to get another major, if not the most important upgrade in the deck, NIMAN MASTERY.
I am not the first to say it, but I will do so nonetheless: This is probably the best blue upgrade right now. Its Special together with R2-D2 brings all the dice turning you’ll ever need, be it for offensive or defensive use. Also included is a copy of LUKE SKYWALKER'S LIGHTNING ROD, decent damage sides, but interchangeable should you favour a different 2-cost upgrade.
For our big ones we have two classics that fit in very well with the slash n’ defend way of the deck, DAGGER OF MORTIS and OBI-WAN KENOBI’S LIGHTSABER I don’t need to talk much about, the latter especially becomes incredibly threatening together with Niman Mastery. What surprised me, in how much work it did, was QUI-GON JINN’S LIGHTSABER, which did an excellent job of reducing incoming damage from multiple dice every time I got it out early, and the big Shield sides are not unwelcome most of the time. And all of the 3 costs have a decent top 2 melee side to turn to with R2-D2 for extra damage.
Due to the limited resources and limited deck space I opted in favour of the tech weapons, instead of the redeploy suite, i.e. Ezra Bridger's Lightsaber. You’ll want to build up the character not being targeted, with exception for Niman Mastery of course, that one has to go on Obi-Wan. Also, depending on how fast and aggressive you have to play, don’t feel bad about resolving some early Resource sides, especially on R2-D2, for some extra room to play with.
The dice removal suit is rather limited with 7 cards, so using it at the most efficient moments is a key. You don’t have much, so use it wisely.
Don’t have much to say about HIDDEN MOTIVE or ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE, though I only included one of the latter, the first is a standard in blue decks, the second a fairly standard meta call against Droids by now.
I only included one copy of PACIFY because I actually used it less than I thought, giving an opponent 2 Shields rarely was worth the character die and actually used it more to give myself some Shields, so opted for a 1:1 split with UPPER HAND. The set-up is fairly easy with Obi or the bigger upgrades and against decks that have a lot of Specials, like ReyLo for example, it works quite well. In other match-ups you sometimes still get the chance to remove a big die that rolled bad or was blanked by Niman Mastery.
DISCIPLINED MIND and JEDI MIND TRICK are both dead cards once Obi-Wan is down, so I included only 1 of each. The first is fairly standard, pay one, spot Jedi, remove non-Jedi die. The Jedi Mind Trick, while costly for this deck, can become an absolutely blow-out-value, the moment an opponent has 5 dice or more in their pool it breaks the curve, and sometimes removing multiple dice is simply what you need. It also gives you the added bonus of watching the other player squirm while they are figuring out how to split the pool.
Tip: Do not forget that with Jedi Mind Trick you can choose your own pool to turn your dice to guaranteed damage. While this will not come up anywhere close to often, it can be a surprise to your opponent.
5. TECH CARDS:
Now this is where the spice comes into this deck, and with 12 tech cards there is plenty of it to go around. And it is needed as these cards will give you the much needed swings that your deck would falter without.
For resource generation and conservation we have one copy each of ADAPT, EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION as well as IT BINDS ALL THINGS. The former 2 can be situational, but thanks to Obi Wan’s shield generation Adapt is almost always on (with Qui-Gon Jinn’s Lightsaber you even get the Shield back) and Exchange, while giving the opponent the chance for a resource, can also give you hand knowledge, which might come in handy in forging your plan for the round, though don’t forget that the same also applies to your opponent. It Binds All Things, as always, can be really good if played round 1, but becomes a dead card past round 2.
ATARU STRIKE and DRAW CLOSER are your damage dealing tech, both of which have a ceiling that goes well over the curve and are fairly easy to set up. Especially Draw Closer can yield an incredible 5(!) extra damage if used on an Obi die, though 2 resources is expensive and the reason for only running a single copy.
Tip: Don’t forget that Draw Closer can be used on both character and upgrade dice! This allows for some interesting interactions with activating the resolve effect on upgrades, like the Dagger of Mortis, twice, which can be useful against decks like Reylo.
For a bit of semi-action cheat I put in LOTH-WOLF BOND and one PUSHING SLASH, both of which became crucial in winning some of my matches. Loth-Wolf Bond quickly became one of my favourite cards after release, for 1 resource you tank up, 2 Shields (3 with Obi's ability) put pressure on your opponent with the double activation and set up a nasty Ataru Strike.
Pushing Slash allows us to kill off a character quickly or get some last value out of one of ours, the turn also can be used as soft mitigation or further pressure by flipping into more damage. It did quite some work and it might be worth including a second copy, though I am not sure what card to cut in its place.
The last two are each in a bit of their category. First we have STEADFAST, which acts both as ‘passive’ mitigation (similar to Field Medic) and out of hand damage. Getting one in your starting hand is worth keeping against any deck that will very likely put those 2 damage into one of your characters and getting what is basically a 4 damage swing is beyond and above value. And later on moving just the 1 damage, because it ignores anything that could block it, making it a perfect tool to finish off a shielded droid or anyone hiding behind a Riot Shield.
Second is a more … curious inclusion. QUI-GON JINN’S SPIRIT replaces Yoda’s Spirit, which, after testing, I found too expensive to consistently play. All of the sides are useful most of the time, even the +2 Shield side goes well with Obi’s and several upgrade dice. And the Special, while rarely coming to pass, can be a game finisher with a ceiling of 6 direct damage being put into a character, all that only for the cost of 1.
6. THE HIGH GROUND
The choice of battlefield was relatively safe and simple, OBI-WAN’S HUT has been a staple for blue decks ever since it came out. But since this is normally quite a fast deck, taking the initial Shields for extra protection is also not a bad idea. Especially if the opponent’s is one you can strongly turn against them, i.e. like Bendu’s Lair.
The mulligan options are quite versatile, since there are multiple approaches depending on the general game plan. For a moderate approach my ideal starting hand would be IT BINDS ALL THINGS (a dead card later in the match) or a ramp card, one of the overwrite upgrades, or 2 unless you can get a NIMAN MASTERY, at least one piece of zero cost mitigation and a STEADFAST or other tech card to already build an advantage round 1.
But in some, if not many, matches I found it also viable to go for a more aggressive start, often taken when I already drew a fitting hand at first, which looks approximately like this: LOTH-WOLF BOND & ATARU STRIKE, some mitigation, preferably zero cost, a ramp card and an overwrite upgrade, with Yoda’s Lightsaber being favourite due to its low cost. If you want to set up a maximum value Ataru Strike also take the opponent’s battlefield, if possible, for the Shields.
8. HOW TO PLAY IT:
This deck plays fairly straightforward, but here are some general game play tips to go by:
- Don’t leave damage in the pool! When you roll resolvable damage get it out of the pool as soon as possible, unless you know the opponent has no mitigation. Leaving it lying increases the chance of the opponent getting great value out of multiple dice removal or you walking into something like an EASY PICKINGS.
- Try to work with what you roll! Your character, and certain upgrade, dice are not the best for rerolling for damage, so unless you absolutely need the sticks, taking resources or shields is not the worst. Don’t forget that as long as R2-D2 is around you’ll always have a semi-focus active.
- Attack and defend at the same time! While Obi’s ability and your cards already do this mostly for you, learn when it is right to not go for maximum damage, but instead maybe resolve that 2 Shield side on a saber.
9. STRUGGLE MATCH-UPS:
While this deck does fairly well against the broad spectrum of decks going around, I struggled strongly against the Yoda/Leia mill deck that has popped its head up again after a while. This could just be my lack of testing against it, but more than in other match-ups you need your tech like Ataru Strike here. Cards that most of the time got discarded from my deck or hand before I was able to use them.
And the more defensive the mill deck, the harder the struggle became. If you do get them off though, then it will be probably at maximum value. So try to kill Yoda ASAP, which will not automatically win the game, but make it a whole easier to put on the pressure.
The other obvious trial will be REYLO, for reasons that I think need to grand explanation. Killing Kylo quickly is the big objective to prevent your Shields working against you. Luckily you don’t have to worry about Forsaken taking your Obi Melee sides.
Control your opponent's Specials whenever possible and keep Rey from stacking Shields on Kylo, and try to get him to resolve his Kylo Specials before tanking up if control is not an option. Minimising the exploding of your opponents dice is the key to having a good chance in this match-up.
10. SOME PARTING WORDS:
This is by far not the first deck with this combination and I took different bits from several versions that have been flying around. Since Obi-Wan and R2-D2 work so well together, there is a lot of room to explore within building it and I would encourage you to try exploring that space.
I hope you found some enjoyment in this write-up and that I peaked your interest in trying this combination out for yourself. May the Force be with you.
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