1. WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM GEN CON?
Gen Con, the longest running Gaming Convention in the world (was founded in 1968), and host of the second Continental Championship of the year, the North American Championship, is over and done!
Expectations prior to the event were high and everyone had their eyes fixed on Gen Con to see what decks had been tech'ed by the "major teams" participating. Would reigning champion Joe Colon aka HonestlySarcastc from the Hyperloops bring a new brew, as he did for Worlds, or would the Artificery guys spearheaded by Nick Obee run wild with some updated 4 wide Vehicle list, and what would the Destiny Council be cooking up and bringing along?
All these questions were to be answered Thursday Aug. 2 as some 250+ players convened for the second largest Star Wars Destiny tournament of the year, pipped only by Worlds and just edging out the European Championship. Needless to say, here at YOUR Destiny, we were excited! There's a 6 hour time difference between Indianapolis and Denmark, where we are located, so quite some arrangements had to be made.
The fridge was stocked with beer, coffee was roasted, my children were put up for adoption, and it's not easy to get rid of two teenagers, and I wasn't expecting to see much sunlight for the two full days that the Continental Championship would last. But it was all good because a massive two days of highly competitive Destiny is really just the bomb!
Swiss rounds were scheduled to begin at 12pm, which would then be at 6pm (CET) ... Perfect! 8 rounds of swiss would mean that we'd be done some time around 2am (CET), then give or take an hour of delay, etc. Still perfect!
At 11.45 I turned on my computer and stared at this for some time:
Quite some beers later it looked something like this:
Obviously, I realised that these were definitely not the droids I was looking for, and to my horror I learned that there wouldn't be any stream from Gen Con. There were a lot of explanations offered, and while most of them were understandable, it really highlights one of the problems that I, as a budding content creator, have become more and more aware of ... Star Wars Destiny is in many ways an analog game caught up in a digital world.
Don't get me wrong! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE STAR WARS DESTINY. It is by far one of the best games I've ever had my hands on. I really enjoy the game and think there can be a huge future for it, not withstanding the criticism that has been raised of distribution issues, lacking release info, etc. It doesn't change the fact, that I believe the game to be excellent! It's complicated, yet friendly for beginners and there are so many layers of the game to examine for the curious and competitive mind alike.
One of the reasons given for why the event was not streamed, which surprised me the most, was "horrible WIFI". Now, I'm not a telecommunications expert, I'm barely telecommunications literate, but I've been sitting in a plane using the onboard satellite connection to send big files to colleagues around the world. Some years ago, I was in a remote countryside village in northern Ghana and had close to perfect internet connection and was able to Skype call with associates in Denmark. I'm not comparing the different cases, and there are probably a lot of technical explanations (woodoo) as to why and why not, but I was a bit surprised that Indianapolis apparently offers terrible conditions so very differently from the lower stratosphere or West Africa. Anyways ... things changed because at the end of Friday the awesome guys from Team Covenant were able to stream the semi-final and final game of the day! HURRAH!!!
2. SO THERE WAS A STREAM!
If you didn't manage to see the games yet, you can find them on Team Covenant's YouTube Channel.
3. THE STORY OF US:
My criticism is not aimed at any content creator, they all do brilliant jobs - mostly for absolutely free - and for instance the Chance Cube's coverage of Worlds 2018 was really TOP NOTCH, nor is it aimed at Fantasy Flight Games or the organizers of Gen Con or ... it's not really aimed at anyone ... really.
We've had our website, www.yourdestiny.dk, up and running since June 15, 2018 (less than two months at the time of writing this article) and our statistics are currently:
RETURNING VISITORS: 3862
And while we are supremely happy for the big interest in our website and the various resources we make available, it tells another much more important story: Namely, that Star Wars Destiny content piques people's interest. They want to know about it, read about it, and Star Wars Destiny players seemingly love content!
We are just an amateurish website, and we don't get paid to do what we do, but we can definitely see that interest is growing and that we are far from a "saturated market" (to speak in creepy business terms).
The Hyperloops, Knights of Ren, Team Covenant, The Chance Cube, The Jedi Trials, I Rebel, Double Blanks Gaming, Arrow Brook Gaming, Sith Holocron, Artificery, The Destiny Council and many many many more, are just a few of the many content creators who create various kinds of content for a relatively small group of Destiny players. From articles and data compilation to podcasts and live streams. And we are far from creating enough. We might, in time, reach that point - although I doubt it - until eventually the game will whither and die, like has been the fate of many games before Destiny.
Great content is not yesteryears events, although it can have its merits, but today's events. Content creation is not merely maintaining an archive, but it is also about being on time and in some instances even ahead.
4. ALL I'M SAYING IS:
It was a disappointment to me that there were no organised coverage from Gen Con, but more importantly it came as a huge surprise. At my children's school they run live streams from their drama performances and choir events (you know, so parents or students who can't attend can still see what the heck is going on and feel like a part of it!). I assumed, wrongly, that there would be a stream, because it seemed self-evident that we would want some kind of coverage of the second-largest Destiny tournament of the year!
I for one would have chipped in to support a stream from Gen Con … I’m confident in assuming that I wasn’t the only one!
5. MILL IS A THING:
We've talked about it before, in many different articles and been reluctant to qualify what appeared to be the writing on the wall, but following Gen Con there can be no doubt: MILL is so definitely a THING!
With Andrew Cox's magnificent win in the final of Gen Con, playing eYoda/Cassian/Anakin, one of the first times a mill deck made it all the way to the top in a premier SW Destiny event, and all but ending the discussion on whether or not the 35min/round time limits would put mill decks at an inherent disadvantage, we are now look at a meta in a state of disarray.
Mill decks conquering one of the largest and fiercest Destiny tournaments in the world has brought a mix of widespread panic with it, some people even stating (on Facebook) "I'm quitting this game if mill becomes dominant", while others have rejoiced (on Reddit) exclaiming "finally, Destiny is now actually worth playing". I don't agree with any of those sentiments, because I don't believe mill will become dominant, and won't quit if it contrary to my belief does become dominant, and I already found Destiny worth playing regardless, but even if the bedrock of Destiny has not suddenly disappeared underneath our feet, shifts have taken place. That's undeniable.
Mike Gemme aka Bobby Sapphire did a great write-up of his experiences before and during Gen Con playing mill - it's worth your while reading it! Many of his reflections are spot on!
6. LOGICAL SONG!
If mill makes you sad, then you can use the Logical Song by Supertramp as a soundtrack ... it's really a great song!
It is a well-known mechanism that some decks work to balance out the dominance of other decks by functionally, and mechanically, being the anti-thesis of those decks.
Mill decks destroy vehicle or support based decks
Vehicle decks prey on midrange/aggro decks
and Aggro decks are designed to take down mill decks
And although it doesn't always function like this, because once in a while there are decks that are simply so overly dominant, usually because they exploit weaknesses in the game mechanics, i.e. Rey (Awakenings), or are themselves designed in a way which falls in the fault lines of the game, i.e. FN-2199 decks, most of the time the game will balance itself out. As famously said by Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park: " ... life .. Uh ... Finds a way!".
It is therefore to be expected with the strong showing of mill at Gen Con that a lot of players will seek refuge in what they believe to be their safe haven against it: Aggro.
Obviously Andrew's deck is designed to take on all-comers, but we believe the following decks to be archetypes of the Rock-Paper-Scissor discourse outlined above:
rmohler, who ended up in top 8 at Gen Con, lost twice to the aforementioned mill deck, which is expected, and only dropped one other game against an aggro eYoda/eCassian the entire tournament. It's light on mitigation, but goes all in on the sustained bombardment from vehicles. Somewhat different from other vehicle decks, i.e. 4 wide and Drive-by-Shooting, mainly because of Hera Syndulla's ability, which is easy to trigger with Yoda, but nonetheless programmed around the same framework as any vehicle deck out there: Apply pressure, maintain pressure!
Kylo Ren, as has been discussed a multitude of times in our articles is really in many ways a catastrophe waiting to happen. Whether or not he should go through a balance of the force is still up in the air, but there's no doubt that he's incredibly restrictive against monocoloured decks, and it is really no surprise that decks that do well - and will do well in the future - are bicoloured or rainbow.
Andrew Cox's deck had a 16/13/1 distribution into yellow/blue/grey, while the runner-up list by Jordan McClure had 17/8/5 split into blue/yellow/grey, and although the lists were not designed to counter Kylo specifically, be assured that it does play a role when designing decks.
This Kylo/Snoke deck is probably one of the strongest aggro decks in the current format, capable of ramping incredibly hard with Snoke's Power Action and also able to burst crazy amounts of damage. So far, It's not been as popular as Kylo/Pryce, but I'm pretty certain it'll get there, and it should work as a great deterrent against most mill decks, being able to burst characters down and action cheat when needed with Force Speeds.[It could have been Jordan McClure's Talzin/Mandalorian deck in the place of the aggro deck, but I do feel that Kylo/Snoke is better equipped to take on the challenge of defeating a mill deck consistently]
8. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS ...
Well ... nobody knows for sure what's going to happen in the competitive meta. There's a plethora of big competitive events coming up which will most likely warp and reshape the meta.
UK Nationals (August 24 - 26)
US Nationals (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1)
German Nationals (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1)
Spanish Nationals (October 12 - 14)
Nordic Nationals (October 27 - 28)
French Nationals (November 24-25)
The French Nationals could turn out to be the last premier event using Way of the Force as Across the Galaxy has been spoiled to release in November 2018.
Whether or not mill is going to dominate the competitive scene is way too early to accurately predict, but it is safe to say, that it has made a major push for it, and results speak louder than words, which means that we should take our experiences from Gen Con seriously. It cannot be overlooked that mill took the event by storm, and most players seemingly were unprepared for it!
In the YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 17 and Episode 18, we talked at length about how players should familiarise themselves with how to play effectively against mill, and how it will develop us as deck builders, strategists and players.
I'm still convinced that "life ... uh ... finds a way", and I embrace the challenge of finding out which decks will give the newest menace of Star Wars Destiny a run for its money. I encourage you to do the same - unless you are a mill player of course, then start running ...
CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew Cox for becoming the new North American Champion!!