Explaining Destiny - FAT Vehicle Decks

If you are a completely new player, I'll recommend you take a look at our "Ultimate Beginner's Guide for Destiny", while for the purpose of this "guide" I'll assume you've already familiarised yourself with the Rules Reference, maybe even started building a few decks on your own and got some games under the belt.

And usually this is where a number of questions pop up for a relatively new player. I'll go through as many things as possible, although not necessarily systematically. So, different sections might be useless to you, while you may (hopefully) benefit from others. If you are already a seasoned Destiny player, this guide is likely to be pretty much waste of your time ... move along then!not the droidsjpg
Most of what is written in this analysis will be extremely square, and while games normally evolve in very diverse patterns, this is meant to be a template for understanding the key concepts of the deck archetype and the choices involved in playing the deck!Squarejpg

Sometimes, and in most of our deck analyses, you'll hear various decks referred to as:
  1. Aggro deck
  2. Midrange deck
  3. Vehicle deck
  4. FAT Vehicle deck
  5. Mill deck
  6. Trick deck/Combo Deck
This list is not an exhaustive list of all the deck types in Destiny, but cover the most common archetypes. In the following I'll try and go through these archetypes and give examples of how the decks work and how you play them.

There will of course always be exceptions, but in most instances these exceptions does in fact prove the rule from a general perspective.

CLICK THE ARCHETYPE to go straight to the analysis of that archetype
(feature will be fully available once the entire article series has been posted).

a TUTOR is a card that allows you to look for a specific card in your deck. It an be specified on the tutor which type of card you are allowed to search for.

BOARDSTATE refers to the quality/quantity of each players side of the gaming board. How many characters in play, how many upgrades, number of resources and dice in play.

MITIGATION CARDS refer to all events (and a few supports) that can manipulate dice by turning them or removing them.

HOLOCRON refers to the erratas and clarifications to cards already printed. You should always familiarise yourself with the newest Holocron.

MULLIGAN refers to the beginning of a game where you "pick your starting hand" by drawing 5 random cards and then choosing how many of the cards you keep before shuffling your remaining cards and redrawing into your hand size.

a TECH CARD or TECHNOLOGY CARD is a card that is added to a deck to counter specific decks or currents in a meta, while we also use it in a broader sense to describe cards that are added to your deck to facilitate your main win condition.

RAMPING refers to the accumulation of resources that allows you to play upgrades and supports, in order to eclipse an opponent in number of dice in the pool that will help you reach your win condition.

2WIDE, 3WIDE, etc. refer to the number of characters in a team. So, if you play 3 characters, i.e. eSnoke/eBazine/Battle Droid, you would be playing 3wide.

The "FAT Vehicle deck" refers to a deck type which gravitates around bringing a single support: vehicle into play as early as possible and attach mod upgrades to it, thereby making the vehicle FAT, to make its impact on the game as big as possible by bringing more dice and usually capable of dealing substantial amounts of damage from as early as round 1.

Adding a FAT Vehicle to your deck is powerful because
  • (a) It gives you one or more powerful dice in the pool that remains in the game until ALL your characters are defeated or the FAT vehicle is destroyed
  • (b) Vehicles are deceptively difficult to destroy compared to characters that can be defeated through pure damage.
explaining FAT Vehicle1jpg
Adding a FAT Vehicle to your boardstate is massive as it often comes with inherently powerful dice and abilities, while the mod upgrades makes it on par or better than tooled up characters. Even the strongest characters in the game have difficulty keeping up with the sheer brutality or effectiveness of vehicles, while those who can outshine vehicles are extremely expensive and limiting to the composition of your character team (they are simply expensive in points value).

One of the main problems of relying on very few cards to win you games, as is the case with a FAT Vehicle, is to reliably draw them. With 30 cards in a deck and an initial draw of just 5, you are looking at just 17% chance of drawing the vehicle in your initial draw (before mulligan) if you include 1 copy in the deck, while you have 31% chance of drawing it if you include 2 copies. Those odds are pretty poor at drawing the card that is expected to win you the game, which is why adding cards that will reliably make you draw that illusive vehicle is IMPORTANT:

There are usually two ways of making this happen:
  1. Adding a tutor to your deck that allows you to optimise your chances of finding the vehicle you need.
  2. Adding multiple copies of the card(s) you want to find or adding cards that allows you to go through your deck faster (draw card effects).
The unrivaled tutor in a "FAT Vehicle deck" is Armored Reinforcement. (If you haven't already read our article "Get Your Mod On!", I recommend you do it as it is essentially going through a lot of the ideas behind the "FAT Vehicle deck" as well).FAT VEHICLE1jpg
Armored Reinforcement is the ultimate Tutor card, because it doesn't only offer you the possibility of searching for a card, it's also ALWAYS available. You don't need to draw it from your deck like Start Your Engines or Lightsaber Pull, which functionally is an additional copy (third or fourth) of either a Podracer or a Blue Weapon upgrade, and although powerful indeed, it is nowhere near the power level of Armored Reinforcement.how good are mods4jpg
Armored Reinforcement on top of the tutor effect also potentially offers you a card advantage provided you don't already start with the wanted vehicle support in hand, in which case it becomes a "free" discard to reroll (if needed), essentially offering you a 6th card in hand AND finally reducing the cost of the vehicle when you play it by one resource. Both of these effects normally requires the addition of a plot, Stolen Intel and Profitable Connection, to your deck.how good are mods5jpg
Gaining all of these advantages simultaneously for just 3 resources is pretty outrageous!


Cards that allows you gain card advantages by drawing more cards or giving you an increased chance of drawing what you need include:explaining fat vehicle3jpgDouble Down might not sound that compelling, but adding a third copy of a card to your deck bumps your odds of drawing it in your initial draw (before mulligan) to 41%, while digging deep into a deck with Boundless Ambition (if you draw 5 new cards and didn't find the card - vehicle - you were looking for in your first 5 cards) gives you a 37% chance of finding that card in that draw (provided you have two copies of the card).

Rebel Engineer provides you with an excellent possibility of finding mod upgrades once you already have your FAT Vehicle in play. The Rebel Engineer's ability is counterproductive though if you do not already have your vehicle in play as it might end up in the bottom of your deck.

"FAT Vehicle decks" usually includes characters that:
  1. Synergise well with vehicles due to abilities (surprise ...)
  2. Adds consistency normally possessing Focus sides
  3. Enabling ramp by possessing one or more Resource sides
explaining fat vehicle4jpg
Character pairings in "FAT Vehicle decks" (and vehicle decks generally) are often, although not always, characterised by lots of health across the character team. Because the vehicles are going to be effective until all characters are defeated (or the support destroyed) having a beefy character team allows your FAT vehicle more time to perform.

There are some character pairings that go against this tendency, but more often than not "FAT Vehicle decks" will employ 3wide teams over 2wide as the extra health can provide up to an extra turn for the FAT Vehicle to push through the damage needed to defeat an opponent's characters.explaining fat vehicle6jpgexplaining fat vehicle7jpgexplaining fat vehicle8jpg

is generally not important to a "FAT Vehicle deck", but there are a few decks (in the Across the Galaxy meta maybe just one deck) where it does make a difference. In this "FAT Vehicle deck" the pace is THE strategic engine! Hit hard, hit fast and get out of trouble using either Hyperspace Jump or Retreat.Han Biggs Decl Listjpg
The speed comes from a combination of cards and effects, i.e. Millennium Falcon, Biggs Darklighter, Hit and Run, Attack Run, etc.  that allows for activation of supports and characters while giving Ambush as well. The deck can be categorised as a "FAT Vehicle deck", but plays and feels much more like an aggro deck.Han Biggs Gamejpg
This video (which has previously only been available to our Patrons) both exemplifies the strengths and weaknesses of this particular style of "FAT Vehicle deck". We also did a full deck analysis of it that you might be interested in!


"Resetting vehicles" is a game mechanism in which you ready an already exhausted vehicle to allow yourself to resolve its di(c)e multiple times. This is obviously, taking into consideration how powerful vehicles are, in particular a FAT Vehicle (with multiple dice), a way to add pure destructive firepower to your deck.Nerf2jpg
Although the latest Holocron did errata some of the worst abuses of this mechanism there are still plenty of ways to make your FAT vehicle an overly consistent killer machine! Both Ciena Ree and the R2 Astromech still allows you to ready a vehicle, although just once per round, while the  Millenium Falcon can also be reset (readied) for several activations using L3-37. It doesn't require much imagination to see why that's pretty broken!reset vehiclesjpg

"FAT Vehicle decks" rarely use upgrades save mod upgrades for the FAT Vehicle. In the instances where upgrades are used they normally supply resources for reset strategies or paying for mod upgrades. Such upgrades include:Explaining Fat vehiclejpg
From a simple comparative perspective, you can see why mod upgrades are popular! Just look at the DH-17 Blaster Pistol, universally regarded as the aggro upgrade with the best return on investment, side by side with the Dorsal Turret.
how good are mods7jpgYou'll often not be too concerned with adding upgrades to your characters, they are there for their inherent abilities, character dice and to functionally act as living meatshields for your FAT vehicle.

You are probably running fairly low on resources for the first round, maybe even the second round as well, which means that your mitigation has to be cheap.

This unfortunately bars you from the best mitigation in the game, but there are still some sound choices, particularly since you are often running 3wide teams:mitigationjpg
0cost mitigation is not necessarily bad, but of course has to be used strategically well since it often does not ensure removal of a die or allows your opponent options:mitigation2jpg
Your general strategy is to add dice to the pool that are so powerful that your opponent is forced in the defensive, i.e. has to find ways to remove those dice, which then in turn relieves the pressure on your own mitigation suite (if your opponent constantly uses resources to prevent your from executing your gameplan, his own boardstate will be impeded).

As with any other deck, having a well formulated resource strategy is vital. You are forced into both finding and playing upgrades almost every round, which means that knowing how to do either is essential.resource managementjpg
Various cards that can be added to your deck that allows for resource generation, including Battlefields, and while they can be powerful to you so can they to your opponent! Understanding how to get ahead of your opponent is your job, i.e. knowing WHEN to play various cards so as to maximise your benefit and minimise that of your opponent (playing Truce AFTER your opponent has activated all his characters to avoid him playing upgrades and improving his boardstate or Well-Connected AFTER he has claimed out to prevent that extra card to be an advantage for him).

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