Decisions, decisions, decisions …
Leading up to the store championship event I had not been able to get as much practice in as I wanted to because of other obligations. When SOR was fully spoiled however, I did manage to get a lot of SOR games in and really loved FN Anakin.
However, after more testing in the week leading up to the event, FN Anakin could not measure up to Poe and I knew that was going to be a problem. Me and my buddy Rusty had discussed decks at length as the above deck was his favorite too, but his tests also fell short.
Full disclosure, I actually am at heart a hero player. I piloted many Rey Han’s and was one of the guys who made Poe Rey very popular after doing well in big events with it. I actually refused to play Vader Raider for the longest time because I was annoyed at how OP it was (I one time gave my Vader Raider deck to a guy who played only 2 games of destiny and he beat me with me
I feel about Poe Maz as I felt about Vader Raider in the past. Everyone and their cat plays it, it’s too easy and consistent to do very well with it. (In fact it’s worse than Vader Raider ever was). Looking at every other hero deck, they all fell short in my tests. With pain in my heart I had to decide to leave hero and go for villain once again. After testing, Palpatine seemed to fit nicely in my playstyle.
The Kansas Story
So Friday sitting at my desk I was thinking, I wonder if there are any Star Wars Destiny Store Championships in Kansas? So I decided to join their Facebook group and was promptly accepted. To my surprise, there was a store championship the VERY SAME DAY! In my head I was wishing I knew about this before, this could have made great prep for my store championship the next day.
Three hours later and some phone calls later I was in the car with my buddy Donovan Sparks and my wife on route to Kansas, a three hour drive 😉 He was bringing his favored eKylo eVader deck and I had my Palpatine list in hand.
This was my list:
There was a big turnout, about 26 players showed up, and a big variety of decks. Immediately I was able to see many players who tried to counter Poe decks. I spotted at least 4 Prized Possession decks (some included it in Vader Raider) and some carbon freezing chambers. I knew this could hurt me too, and I felt a knot In my stomach already before the event even began.
Since this report is not about Kansas, I will not go too much into detail, but I ended the day 4-1 with one loss to Moe. The Moe player had Magical Christmas land draws and rolls, accumulating to 16 damage, fast hands 2 hit and runs and two defensive positions in his first ten hands. He apologized after the game. The guy had already won a store championship and wound up claiming his second.
I faced another Poe Maz who didn’t have that same luck and the games was a lot better, I also faced a mill deck with two imperial inspections turn 1 and a Kylo Vader deck. They were all good matches, but none were too difficult for my deck.
At the end of the day the 4-1 unfortunately gave me fifth place, losing out on the top cut in extended SOS by 0.03. After driving three hours, I felt let down that some god draws and rolls eliminated me, but it was time to move on. The Kansas meta looked great, and I was grateful we got to travel there to test. (I will be back!)
Lessons learned and time for SC #2 in Omaha
After the tournament and on the way back I was thinking about what I had learned. Lesson one was that every game I managed to get Rise again off, I did it without the help of Premonition. Against other blue decks I was hesitant to play it, against other opponents I simply did not want to chance throwing my Rise again under it and then not drawing my premonition when I wanted to use it. As a result, that was the first card to go.
I also looked at Force Throw again, which I normally don’t like, but since 60% of the meta seems to play Throne room, I felt I needed to go back to two copies (I normally prefer the 4 usable sides of Push over the 2 usable sides on throw). I also looked at Enrage and High ground.
I decided to include enrage because my first game I was heavily choked out of resources. Seeing two inspections turn one against me convinced me I needed an out for such ugly scenario, and enrage could help me there. Enrage also could help me get that Rise again a turn earlier, so I figured, let’s go for it.
Finally, deflect was cut. This felt really hard, but in 5 games in KS I was not able to use it a lot to good effect. Most decks didn’t run ranged, and when they did, it was usually fast handed. One Poe player I played against refused to resolve his double 3 gun against me in hopes of getting special, and it did came in handy there. This was not enough for me to keep it, as I felt that was a play mistake on his end.
This was the final list:
This list is virtually the same as Justin, who won the Vegas Store Championship, except I cut all in for overconfidence. It’s no surprise our lists are similar as we are test buddies, and our minds often think alike when it comes to deckbuilding 😉
I encourage everyone to read his write-up here: http://tcgtoptier.com/index.php?/starwars_destiny/articles/bring-him-before-me-vegas-store-championship-winner-r70/
Game 1 vs Poe Snaps 1-0
So I saw a shiny Carbon Chamber against me and I was hoping to out roll him and say NOT TUH-DAYEH! Unfortunately, I rolled a 1 and he rolled a 7. Great, Palpatine at one dice, this aught to be a fun game I thought! I managed to see holocron early and got a lightning in play. His rolls were lukewarm, and I kept resolving for everything I rolled, no matter how small.
By round 3 I managed to capture the battlefield and get out of his grip due to force speed. I stole his Snaps die, rolled out 3 2 and 2 guns and force speed special. He did not have an answer and I won the game with a no mercy one shotting Poe.
While it was a decisive win, I felt given better rolls this could have been a tough game for me. Fortunately, I was able to find what I need to not suffer no dice Palp all game.
Game 2 vs Unkar Fn Sister 2-0
Game 2 I got the chance to test my palp against one of the best players in our local meta, Elliot. The thing with Elliot is that he always pilots unconventional decks and often hate playing against it because you never know what he has up his sleeve (I like predictability lawl).
The game turned out to be very easy. Pivotal to the game was him not rolling a disrupt on turn 1 with imperial inspection and me getting my holocron off. I did not try to be smart and reroll too much, just went for discards and whatever else I could find. He couldn’t find a 2 cost weapon turn one and so damage output from Fn was minimal as he did not pierce my shields.
Since I won the battlefield, I resolved my damage and claimed/healed for one. A no mercy turn 3 killed fn and I just walked the game out after.
Game 3 vs eKylo eVader 3-0
So Game 3 I face off against another guy who I know can win any tournament in our local meta, Donovan Sparks. Knowing how fast his deck goes and his playstyle, there were only two things I cared about, resolving quickly before he could take the throne room and keeping an eye always for when he had two resources.
Once again I never went fancy and just did attrition damage. I got an early force throw out which helped tremendously. As soon as he spread out his damage enough, I hit him with a no mercy for 7 on Anakin and the resulting Palp splash damage set me up for a next strike kill. He was also sitting with a no mercy. I did have a Rise again in hand, but just wanted to end it right then and there.
Overconfidence was the winner in this game as I managed to break up his two 3 damage sides twice.
I know this match could go either way, but I was happy I was able to close it out within reasonable time.
Game 4 slipped my mind, I just remember that it was fast. 4-0
Game 5 vs Poe Maz 5-0
I faced off against one of the two undefeated Poe Maz in the event. He won the battlefield and so I got two comfortable shields. Round one was uneventful with him dealing 4 damage, two absorbed by shields, and other die mitigated. I took two shields again and my other die was mitigated as well, he spread the damage around.
The game was very slow, I kept taking shields and force illusions, kept removing his dice and he did the same to me so we were just attritioning slowly. He put out cunning and as a result I just pitched my force throws.
As soon as I saw an opening I no mercied Poe for 6 and ended him, punishing the spread out damage. At that point I thought I had won. I was sitting on 9 resources, but my rise again were at the bottom of the deck. He started taking resources and put a launch bay down. This got scary again between planetary uprising and launch bay he was a legitimate thread. Two launch bays later I made a good roll special on speed and a 2 and 3 gun. He had just redeployed second chance at the start of that turn. When he saw my roll he was like Defensive position, only realizing he didn’t have the resources.
I resolved my 3 damage dice, killing Maz and let the tick damage from palp together with the second gun dice end him. I did have two Rise again the very next draw and 12 resources, so I doubt I would have lost, but it came closer than I wanted either way and was happy I was able to end it.
Final 4 against Palpatine 6-0
So the top 4 was kind of funny in that it was Palp against Palp on one table (seed 1 and 4) and Moe vs Moe on the other. I was extremely happy about that, as it meant I had to face one less Moe.
I won the battlefield roll and took shields. I knew my version of the deck was better suited for the mirror match as I had tested several games before against his version. We both couldn’t roll damage for the life of us and it was a very funny game. Two illusions, a rise again on both side. I ended the game with only one damage showing on my Palp, as in the last round I found two gun sides and a no mercy.
Final vs Poe Maz 8-0
The final Poe Maz was the one I wanted to play against because his version did not include second chance and I knew my odds were a lot higher at beating him as a result. Game one was very interesting. He lead with launch bay discarding my entire hand and I lost my holocron and force illusion and isolation. This felt really painful and I didn’t know to be happy because I did’t eat 4 damage or sad because several good cards were gone.
I played very defensive rising again finding my other illusion and discarding where I could. He spread out the damage as all Poe players do. When I saw the chance I No Mercy’d Poe from 6 hp to death and the splash damage was enough to kill Maz too.
Game two was just hard against hard. I rolled discard, and discarded two weapons, but he still had two in hand and hit me for 8. Force illusion saved the day for me there. I applied the same simple strategy, just keep splashing damage and wait for the No Mercy time. He rolled in really well with double 3s on Poe but refused to resolve it as he knew with a Maz special and next turn claim he could deal 10 damage and end me. No Mercy hit the floor however, and his plans were foiled.
I was really happy to win my first store championship of Destiny. That being said, I feel uneasy about the meta. Villain seems to have a plethora of good deck choices to go by, hero very few. The few they do have rely on the biggest cheese possible (ammo belt second chance, Poe Maz Planetary).
Between the two store championships I played several games including some of my own ended in like 8 minutes. It literary feels like you have to cram every possible card in your deck to stretch the game out (force illusions, rise again, rejuvenate) and a bunch of control in order to survive the onslaught.
Even with this, you could still face 16 damage without being able to cast a single removal card (and I had 4 in hand). There are so many beautiful decks out there which might never see play unless the meta sees a way to stem the crushing tide of Poe Maz.
I am not an advocate of fast errata-ing however. (Despite 5 of the 8 top 4 decks this weekend were Poe Maz). It would simply mean that hero would have 0 fighting chance left against Villain. That being said I understand how frustrating Poe Maz can be and am definitely not on the camp that says lawl just learn to play and you will beat them.
I recognize my win this store championship was due to me playing better sure, but also due to me not facing the Kansas scenario where I had no chance. I hope over time, the game will become less luck dependent and more skill based. Awakenings had a pretty good balance, SOR atm feels all over the place.
Finally, I hope that future sets make it possible for hero to go beyond the 4 cheese cards to create a winning deck (Rey, Maz, It’s a trap, Second Chance).
To anyone wanting to play Palp I can only give these simple tips:
- Roll as fast you can
- Resolve as fast you can (even if it is not what you want)
- Don’t gamble with Rise Again (don’t be greedy, calculate when you could die)
- Removal >>> Upgrades
- Remove as soon as you can (Poe, Vader, etc)
- Maintain control of the battlefield where possible (prefer winning battlefield over losing 2 damage, but not getting a defensive position in your face next turn)
- Be patient with No Mercy. Most players will spread their damage over both characters. If you wait, you will always find a lethal spot. I have closed nearly every game out with this.
Hope you enjoyed the read and I welcome your thoughts!