Card games are a really fickle thing. The metagame can shift at the drop of a hat once something wins a large tournament. What was once dubious and new with the release of a new set can quickly become set in stone. We saw this happen in both Spirit of Rebellion and Empire at War; Rainbow Nines and R2P2 quickly rocketed their way to major prominence and continued to gain steam as their respective formats came to a close. You’ve probably heard me say this before, but the beginning of a new format is my favorite time to play. Nobody knows what’s good. Everyone is experimenting. And unlike the end of a format, where people are honing in on the best deck because they don’t have the desire to put their time towards testing and grinding with something else, the start of a new format is when creativity and innovation really start to take hold.
I think that was the case with a new deck that has rocketed into the scene since the release of Legacies, representing a deck that is not only brutal, but is also legal for Empire at War. This is the first real combo deck since people griped incessantly about the loop with Millenium Falcon and Hyperspace Jump. Introducing: One turn kill Seventh Sister.
Kudos to Rebel_trooper, as he was the one who was first utilizing Seventh Sister in this manner, though the deck has gone through many iterations (and improvements!) since he started showing it off a few weeks ago.
Once upon a time, Leadership and The Price of Failure were both used in 3-character lists featuring either Lukebar or Darth Vader, but they were never, to my knowledge, combined together. Previously, this was just a way to get one big character with good character dice to roll in twice during a single round for a big swing at the expense of either killing or exhausting a character. The problem with this was two-fold: you couldn’t guarantee you would see either of these cards in a match and, even if you did, they would oftentimes be dead cards or, worse, just not have the desired effect because your dice didn’t roll well enough.
The game has changed fairly significantly since the days of 3-dice suites, though, and villain continues to get a lot of prime value out of the low-cost character range. Seventh Sister affords you three dice for only fourteen points and she’s perfect for facilitating multiple activations in a single round because she gets an additional droid die every time she rolls in. There are a wealth of 8-cost red and yellow villain characters to pair with her, but the most important one right now is Cienna Ree, who is an 8-cost unique character that can trigger Leadership.
From there, the plan is simple: load up Seventh Sister, keep her alive using removal and Fort Anaxes, and get her in a position where she can activate once, twice, or… three (?!) times in a single turn. It sounds easier than it is. There is a lot of complexity to choosing when to activate your characters, when to resolve your dice, when to remove your opponent’s, and when to go for the big play. The Price of Failure can really screw you over if you’re not prepared to go ham on your opponent. Further, you can really clunk up your hand with cards if you aren’t pushing to use them proactively. There’s a lot to this deck — it is a combo deck, after all — but it’s also incredibly satisfying when you pull off the necessary shenanigans with Seventh Sister activating consistently.
Ancient Lightsaber and Force Illusion are practically must haves in any blue deck, period. They provide a lot of value for their cost and are going to be staples for quite some time. ID9 Seeker Droid always finds an include with Seventh Sister and this deck is absolutely no exception. We already know that The Price of Failure and Leadership are what make this thing tick and the only way we can achieve a rainbow character suite with Leadership is by using Ciena Ree. You have three options for your 8-cost yellow character to round out your list: Bala-Tik, Bazine, and Guavian Enforcer. Bazine actually isn’t awful in this case, considering she has a Resource side and her Special can potentially chunk someone for three damage. Bala-Tik’s Focus side is great and helps chain Focus with ID9 Droids, but he has fewer ranged damage sides, fewer resource sides, and one less hit point than Guavian. There’s always something visceral about people’s hatred for Bala-Tik, though. Maybe he provides good bait because people are afraid of him, but I never like underestimating my opponent’s intelligence.
From there, we shoe in a bunch of cards that help us reach our goals. Doubt and He Doesn’t Like you are easy removal inclusions for the deck. Boundless Ambition makes sure that we can cycle through our deck to find the combo pieces we need as early as we can possibly get them. Friends in High Places is actually shockingly easy to achieve with Seventh Sister’s ID9 Droid and lets you either a) play upgrades or Rise Again for free or b) let you find a card that will allow you to continue to cycle through your deck. Cheat makes sure that you have more opportunities to use key cards, whether you’re cycling them for a second use or pulling them from your discard pile because your opponent managed to get rid of your hand. And, of course, you have the aformentioned Rise Again explicitly to make sure the key to this all, Seventh Sister, doesn’t get dumpstered too early. Your battlefield, Fort Anaxes, provides an additional piece of removal (or sometimes even two) that helps screw with your opponent’s ability to resolve their dice the way they want.
From here, you should be adding more upgrades with high impact die sides, additional removal, and any tech cards that win you match-ups that you don’t feel comfortable about. The upgrades are the most important part — you need something to throw onto Seventh Sister and get more bang for your buck out of each of her activations. Friends in Low Places can completely disrupt your plan; it might be worth including two of them yourself to make sure you get out ahead of your opponent and avoid a fatal discard.
Notice something yet? I’ll give you a second chance (hah) to check the Core again.
There aren’t any Legacies cards here. You can take this to your Empire at War regional. Swaggy, right?
7th Activation is all in on just that — getting Seventh Sister to activate more times in a single round than she has any right to. You don’t have a wealth of removal pieces, so you want to make sure you’re using each one you get wisely, especially considering your Friends in High Places is probably going to end up discarding a few of them. For this reason, you’re going to almost always want to take your battlefield so that you can get extra leverage out of your yellow character before you throw them into the trash with a well-timed Price of Failure. Your ideal mulligan includes a copy of an ID9 Droid because getting a second die out there is key to producing an easy Friends in High Places to start the chain of events going. You’re also looking for something that will allow you to cycle through your deck and start looking for your combo pieces. You can also just settle with a single copy of Leadership as well; there’s nothing wrong with resolving all of Seventh Sister’s dice on the first round and killing off one of your opponent’s characters or putting yourself in a highly favorable position for the next round after a second activation.
You want your opponent to kill your yellow character. You don’t care about your yellow character because Ciena Ree is gold. You need her to get off two of your Leaderships. If Ciena Ree goes down, you only have one activation that you can cheat and it comes at the fairly hefty price of losing your yellow character. With that same concept in mind, you never, ever roll out Ciena Ree unless there is absolutely no possibility of you drawing into a Leadership over the course of the round. Don’t do it. Don’t be tempted. You’re better than that. And if you do get into a situation in which you can untap Seventh Sister, make sure you don’t waste too many of your cards rerolling her dice to get them off the field. There’s no shame in disrupting your opponent for 0 if it means you practically get a free reroll from her dice. And don’t forget that you get an extra ID9 Droid off Seventh Sister when she rolls in for the second time — don’t resolve the droid you originally rolled with her ability, because it stays on the field.
The plan with this deck is mostly playing damage control until you can start doing bonkers things with Seventh Sister. Make sure you’re being attentive about how much damage your opponent can deal to your characters, not just Seventh Sister, but her two companions as well. You don’t want your yellow character to die before you can kill him yourself with a Price of Failure. You don’t want Ciena Ree to die before you can use Leadership once or twice (or three times with Cheat). Discard is practically the bane of this deck’s existence, so don’t be ashamed of using some of your removal to get rid of Discard sides if they could potentially threaten to ruin your master plan. If your opponent is playing yellow, especially yellow villains, you absolutely have to be cognizant of their events. Friends in Low Places and Coercion can both completely ruin your day. Hyperspace Jump and Retreat can make you waste a Leadership or, worse, a Price of Failure. You need to know that these events exist and be aware of when your opponent is angling to use one of them.
With this deck, it’s imperative to think a few turns ahead and plan out your rounds, because when things work, they really work. Just wait until your opponent is sitting across the table with all of his characters exhausted, no resources, and a single card in hand — and then watches as you Price of Failure a Guavian Enforcer with 8 damage on him and he can’t do anything about Seventh Sister rolling out for the second or third time this round.
Let us know what you think on our Discord server. Do you feel like this deck is a gimmick that can’t succeed with any consistency? Are you convinced R2P2 just out paces 7th Activation in the Empire at War format? Are you certain you’ve got the right meta counter against it? Maybe you’re just excited to talk about your upcoming regionals. Whatever the case might be, come give us a shout and say hello!
This article was original posted on 1/17 on Patreon for all patrons at the Padawan level and higher. If you’d like to see exclusive strategy content two weeks earlier than the rest of the world, head over there and check out our affordable patron levels and get all the best content in advance!