We are running the Portland, Oregon regional at Kennedy School for a second time. Registration fee includes (good!) pizza and a vegetable bar. If you’re like me and play better with a drink in hand, the cash bar will be open as well pouring cider, beer, cocktails and working beverages. Last year we had over 80 players and broke up Swiss and Top Cut over two days and this year we are doing the same. We’ll be running streaming throughout the event, if you’re interested in commentating a stream please send me a message!
Online registration will be announced soon! In person registration and player check-in for the Regional opens at February 16th at 8 AM at Kennedy School and closes at 8:45 AM. Rounds run from 9 AM – 4 PM with a lunch break. Format to follow FFG’s event outline.
Finals takes place starting at February 17th at11 AM at The Portland Game Store. This MAY change if the top cut unanimously vote to complete the top cut immediately following a dinner break on February 16th.
The side event will begin at February 17th at 12 AM at the Portland Game Store. Format to be announced.
I feel obligated to speak on the issue both because I am fortunate enough to have a platform from which to do so, and because the event took place not just in my home region but at my home store, with a personal friend as the TO.
I don’t have any first hand information about the allegations made against Cat beyond what people have already seen clipped from the stream, and didn’t personally witness anything shady myself. That being said, the shuffles appear stacked. If you haven’t seen it, check this post. https://www.reddit.com/r/swdestiny/comments/aht2li/so_what_do_you_think_is_this_proper_shuffling/
In one match (round 3) a Truce was slipped from the bottom to the top, then a lot of shuffling happened thereafter. Prior to the Truce going to the top, cards were put one at a time from bottom to top. After Truce, cards were taken from the bottom and placed into hand then mashed into the deck after quite a few piled up. I cannot determine with absolute certainty from the video if the Truce was kept on top throughout this process but it appears so. Then a Vader’s Saber is slipped from the bottom to the top. The entire deck leaves field of view for a few seconds thereafter but every visible partial riffle leaves what is on top, on top. Cat did not cut Mike’s deck, nor did he offer to allow Mike to cut his. In the mulligan for that same match, a Friends in High Places was slipped from bottom to top and kept there after more partial riffles. Once again, he declined to cut Mike’s deck and Mike also declined to cut Cat’s. In his hand we can see the Friends In High, and he starts the round with Truce into Vader’s Saber.
In one match (round 4) a Vader’s Saber and Truce were slipped from the bottom to the top, then kept on the top after a few partial riffles. Cat did not cut Justin’s deck, nor did he offer to allow Justin to cut his. In the mulligan for that same match, a Friends in High Places was slipped from bottom to top and kept there after more partial riffles. This time Justin did cut the deck.
And that’s all I really needed to watch. If a sleuth wants to dig deeper into the archived footage, they are more than welcome to.
During the actual tournament, both myself and the TO were made aware of the issue and looked at one of the clips (I can’t remember which one, but think it was the first shuffle against Mike). When asked for my advice by the TO, I said it was his decision but that it was very clear to me that it was a stacked deck and that I would issue a disqualification, or at the bare minimum, a game loss. The TO decided to issue a warning, at which point I advised that Cat be kept at Table 1 (as the higher fidelity of the two streams running) for the remainder of the tournament.
I don’t think it should take too much convincing for anyone to reach the same conclusion I have, but because I am a numbers guy, I wanted to see just how unlikely it was that this were to occur innocently. There’s two ways to look at it.
The first way is just to see how likely it is to start with the Truce/Saber combo. Ignore everything else and just look at the end result. A very quick, and very dirty way to do it is to calculate the odds of drawing at least two copies of either of the cards off of the top 10. Heading over to https://stattrek.com/online-calculator/hypergeometric.aspx put in 30 for the pop size (deck), 4 for the number of successes (assuming 2x Truce and 2x Saber), 10 for the sample size (full mulligan), and 2 number of successes (what we want). Percentage comes out to ~40%. Cut that in half because out of all 8 success conditions we calculated for, half are duplicates of the same cards and are failures in actuality. So we’re left with ~20%, decreased by the fact that we only calculated for the top 10 of the deck and not the actual mulligan process. The odds of it occurring twice in two rounds back to back are ~4%, again decreased by the fact that we didn’t calculate true mulligan odds.
The second way to look at it is purely from the percentage that he happened to stop flipping cards from the bottom to the top at just the right moment. Doing it like this, it is ~6% each time. Even if we ignore the two Truces we see get pulled to the top because he didn’t truly stop until Vader’s Saber, the odds of getting 2x Saber, and 2x FIHP to the top of your deck like this randomly are 0.001296%.
Straight Flushes happen in real life, and looking at the numbers is really just a waste of time anyway, done purely for my curiosity. Neglecting to offer a cut is a natural mistake that is perfectly reasonable for any player to do at some point. Stopping a shuffle on a specific card can happen. Some players learn poor shuffling habits and don’t get corrected. Sometimes when you play against Vader he does end up just blowing you out with a great series of draws because that’s what Vader is supposed to do. I am more than willing to be charitable and to assume the best of people on any one of those things. Asking me believe that all of those things happened at once? You’d be stretching my charity pretty thin. Asking me to believe it twice in a row? Sorry, I just can’t. I have to call a cheat as I see it.
I don’t make accusations lightly, and I try to compartmentalize things as much as possible.
I have absolutely nothing against Cat as a person. When playing against him online, and in person, he was nothing but accommodating and kind beyond any reasonable expectation even going so far as to give me a longer break in between rounds due to a chronic hand/arm pain problem I have and offering advice to alleviate the issue. I’d absolutely drink a beer with him, and I’d absolutely play against him again.
I would absolutely shuffle his deck myself again too though.
There’s a rabbit hole we can go down here. Topics include:
FFG’s casual nature as a company bleeding into their unwillingness to take action against people caught cheating and how that influences certain peoples ethical decision making.
FFG’s lack of TO guidance for how to handle any issues that arise during a tournament.
The expectations we have in general for tournaments ran by a volunteer player (as the TO was for this regional).
What the community response needs to be when dealing with this issues.
What the corrective action should be in this specific case.
This is long enough so it’s best to leave most of those for another day, and it shouldn’t be too hard to guess my positions on any of those topics anyway.
I’ll close this out by publicly calling upon Cat to apologize, and to relinquish the entirety of his Top 4 prizing to the person who came in ninth place at the San Diego regional. I have contact information for both players, and can act as an intermediary between the two of you. I will even pay for the shipping of the prizes. It isn’t a perfect solution and it does nothing to alleviate the disservice done to any of your opponents (especially Joe, your top 8 opponent), but it is the simplest and most direct rectification I can reasonably recommend.
The team at Artificery has compiled an extensive list of the most competitive decks in the format right now. These are the decks you need to test against to succeed at the next competitive event you attend. We have attempted to list these in relative tiers from most successful to least competitive, but remember this is totally subjective and will depend on what decks are prominent in your local meta.
If you want more help to prepare for your competitive events you can access our exclusive articles, play-test videos, coaching, meta broadcast, and discord channels by supporting us on Patreon.
Regional Lists – Updated 1/14/2019
The picture I used for the original gauntlet was more prescient then I initially thought. After this last weekend what we have seen is Vader, Vader, and Vader. Winning 11 Regionals so far (the next closest is tied for 2), Vader has become the a true terror to behold. The task will be to create a deck that can consistently beat Vader without just straight losing to Big Vehicles or Mill.
Another weekend of Regionals and another weekend dominated by Vader. Vader is the undeniable gatekeeper for any deck you plan on bringing to a competitive event. I have updated the Vader List to reflect a list more tuned to the evolving meta. This is the list that navigated an extremely competitive pool of competitors to win the Connecticut Regional. It may be worth checking out the other Vader lists that have won large regionals such as the Alabama Regional and the Dallas Regional.
Alternative Slot-ins: Force Speed, Ancient Lightsaber, and Boundless Ambition.
eBeckett/eCiena AR – 2nd Place Toronto Reigonal – Separatist Vulkar
As anyone who has been listening to me on discord knows, this is my jam. It hits fast, has a huge ceiling, and has a lot of answers to your opponent’s event control. Beckett can amass resources in a hurry and you’ll need those for your Firespray reactivation and paid sides. There are many different ways to run this deck as well. The decklist that I took to the Utah Regional and made it to the semi-finals is significantly different from this one.
Alternative Slot-ins: Handheld L-S1 Cannon, Paid Off, Entangle
eYoda/Hired Gun/Gungan AR – NC Regional Winner – Dustin13862
This is another list to watch out for. The gameplan is to slam down that Shadowcaster and use your R2s and Yoda’s focus to hit that 6R side multiple times in a round. It also protects its primary engine with Shield Generators and slots in N-1s for the mirror or to allow for more SC activation.
Alternative Slot-ins: C3PO, Vandalize, and Suppressive Fire.
eLeia3/eYoda – Atlanta Regional Winner – FlacidBaron from Artificery
Alternative slot-ins: EMP Grenades, Vandalize, and R2D2.
This is the deck that Artificery crewmember FlacidBaron took to the pre-Snoke Nerf Atlanta Regionals. He went 5-0 against Thrawn/Snoke with it. In the current meta there would likely be some major changes to combat the efficacy of the Vader Decks and some of the bursty 2-character lists. Considerations to add in would be EMP Grenades, Coercion, Double Cross, and Ancient Light Sabers.
Mill Apocalypse – Regional Winners
eLeia2/eYoda Taking Ground – Virginia Regional Winner – Runningonion
This deck took the 64 player Virginia Regional. Utilizing key meta counters like EMP Grenades, Force Jumps, and Suppressive Fires it was well-suited to take people by surprise. Yes people the mill apocalypse is back, so be prepared to handle these decks. A similar deck also placed second at the 64 person Dallas Tournament.
Alternative Slot-ins: Flames of the Past, At Odds, and First Aid.
eYoda/Cassian/Anakin2 – Nebraska Regional Winner
The actual list that won the Nebraska Regional has not been posted, but this was provided by our resident mill-player Xerohour. Nebraska only had 20 players, but a similar deck also took Top 4 at the 64-person Virginia Regional, which shows that this deck still has legs. With some notable event inclusions from Across the Galaxy with At Odds and Your Were My Friend, this deck continues to do what it does best: mill your deck fast and survive int he process with Force Illusion, Second Chance, and shield generation.
Small Regional Winners
eHan3/eBiggs AR – 13-Players Brisbane Australia Regional Winner
Credit for this list goes to Hidden Motive 64’s Top 8 List from Chicago’s Regional, because I could not find the actual Australian Regional Winning list. This glass cannon list aims to put the Falcon on the board immediately and use the synergy of Biggs and the Falcon to activate all 3 units at once. The deck keeps tempo, hits you in the face, then jumps out or controls your dice before claiming to prevent a counter-strike against its squishy characters.
Alternative Slot-ins: N-1, Drop In, R2 Astromech
eSnoke/Aphra/Battle Droid BR – Hawaii Regional Winner – bitzerpt
This is the list that won the 9-person Hawaii Regional. This is entirely the old shell with a couple of ATG add-ins like Vigilance and Wanton Destruction.
Alternative Slot-ins: Force Illusion, Tech Team, and Reprogram
eIden/eTalzin AR – Ontario Regional Winner – OpenBoats
This deck ended up taking a small 13-person regional in Ontario (Tornoto?) Canada and another version-which has not been posted yet-was a finalist in the Green Bay Regional. The list focus on dropping an early cheap Arc and then using the consistent die sides of Iden with Talzin’s dice manipulation to push damage.
Non-Regional Winning Tier 1 Decks
eTalzin/eBeckett PC – Finalist at the Virginia Regional – punchitchewie
Much like the eBeckett/eCiena deck, this aims to get out a big support-Vader’s Fist-and then hit you with more damage than you can withstand. This deck also runs a large vent package, and with the inclusions of Force Illusion and Witch Magic has more durability than its counter-part. Beckett’s rifle is a huge first-turn play if you can’t get the Fist on the table, forcing your opponent to lose a resource and threatening good damage sides.
Alternative Slot-ins: Dark Counsel, Darth Vader’s TIE Advance, Stifle, and Slave I
Golden Dice Gaming’s JustJack took this to New Hampshire with only 2 practice games and ended up climbing into the final round against a field predictably dominated by Vader. With the ability to dish out massive amounts of indirect damage each round and the insanely consistent die-sides that Snoke and Tarkin bring with their Focus, this deck can be overwhelming for a 2-character list. There are alternative ways to build this that do not rely on the holocron package, but the package seems to have the most efficiency.
Alternative Slot-ins: Frag Grenade, Beguile, and EMP Grenade
ePlo/Padawan/Padawn – Finalist North Dakota Regional
Credit for this list goes to Eric Wainwright (surprise, surprise). This was his Artificery Season 7 Winning List. Once again this is primarily the same old shell with some new ATG add-ins: Treasured Lightsaber and Training Staff.
Alternative Slot-ins: Hidden Motive, Pacify, Shoto Lightsaber, and Vibroknife
eKit/eAayla – Finalist Brisbane Regional and Semi-Finalist Nebraska
Credit for this decklist goes to Nick “Thegandork” as he was the original creator of the deck. It has had some success with Kit’s incredible ability and Aayla’s amazing die-sides, but it suffers from what all blue hero suffers from. If it doesn’t keep tempo it is in trouble.
eHan/eQi’Ra No Allegiance – New Hampshire Semi-Finalist New Hampshire Regional – Lusiphur
This deck has consistently made it to the top 8 in numerous Regionals, but cannot seem to make the cut to the finals. This specific list veered from maximizing Han’s special for more neutral upgrades and events. However, some of the more effective lists have really focused on a high hero event ration to ensure they use Han’s ability to keep netting resources. This deck in whatever variation can move fast and hit hard. Winning the battlefield roll off can often determine the outcome of the game. Personally I prefer to run this deck with less upgrades and more events.
Alternative Slot-ins: Lloth Cat and Mouse, Fight Dirty, He Doesn’t Like you, Double Cross, and Drop In.
eTalzin/eDJ DD – Utah Regional Semi-Finalist – Brody from Boise
This deck aims to control your dice at every opportunity while capitalizing on Talzin’s dice manipulation and DJ’s passive ability. The inclusion of 3 Streetwise and Witch Magick ensures that you can pay for your costly 3-cost events and keep your characters alive. Deja Vu + Witch Magick can be extremely frustrating to deal with. This deck really excels in a 2-character meta where shields are not in abundance. This deck can also be run effectively with a Holocron package.
Alternative Slot-ins: Holocron package and Wanton Destruction.
This deck is largely doing the same thing as the Talzin version, but without having to shy away from the more effective even-cost events like Abandon All Hope, Beguile, HDLY, FILP, and Entangle. Due to the money-making potential this deck can also reliably get out a Vader’s Fist to do some work while controlling its opponents dice. You can also run this one with a Holocron Package.
Alternative Slot-ins: Deja Vu, Holocron Package, Reversal, and Wanton Destruction.
With the rise of Vader, Dooku/Talzin would seem to be in a good spot. Unfortunately we are not seeing it rise above the masses yet. This deck theoretically should be able to handle Vader, but ironically the deck list posted above did not actually hit a Vader in his regional. So hard to say.
Decks to be Aware of, but not the most competitive
eHan3/ePoe2 – North Dakota Regional Semi-Finalist – CloudCityCasuals
This Deck uses the traditional red-yellow gun package while maximizing tempo for quick burst and jumps/retreat. Using Poe’s special into Han’s special allows this deck to push the resources it needs to play its more expensive events. It will suffer from not rolling enough damage to make its Jumps and Retreats effective.
eHan3/eYoda DD – North Carolina Regional Finalist – DjBigRuss
As the creator’s deck name suggests this deck is all about speed. Between 3 Force Speeds, Drop In, and 3 Hyperspace Jumps, this deck is meant to quickly maximize and get out before its opponent can react. It also lends to some big All-In plays and special chaining with Yoda. However, the ceiling with this deck is pretty low and it would struggle with big shields or 3-character lists.
eWullf/eKylo2 – Ohio Regional Champion – Articero
This deck was prepared in the pre-Snoke nerf meta and has not seen a lot of success since. The deck attempts to control your cards while maximizing Kylo2’s ability, but much like eHan/eYoda it suffers from a low ceiling. I do not believe this deck will be competitive in the current meta. May be worth testing just to understand its mechanics and tricks.
Last but not… er… maybe actually least is Thrawn/Snoke. This is the basic shell that our own AgentofZion won the Las Vegas Regional with, except 2x Grand Moff has been removed for another Handheld Cannon and the Seeker Droid. Thrawn/Snoke has virtually disappeared since the Snoke nerf and the -2 hp hit to Thrawn has made it really hard to keep him alive early. However, you still may want to be prepared for this deck, because it can do some really nasty things once it gets rolling.
Please let us know if you think we missed any decks. The meta is extremely broad right now with many different variations of all of the above decks. We hope this helps you prepare for your upcoming Regional(s).
-The Artificery Crew-
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