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I am Altering the Rules, Pray I Don’t Alter them any Further

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The long-awaited Rules Reference and FAQ update is here! And wow is it a doozy. Turning a meta completely sideways is a bold move, and there are so many interconnected pieces to this update so lets not waste any more words and jump right in to the most impactful changes, in the order of printing. Have a copy of the changes handy!

 

Upgrade Overwrite Change

You can overwrite once per round, unless you happen to be flush with cash in which case you can just outright pay for additional upgrades beyond the third and discard an upgrade already in play int he process.

This is a pretty clear blow to FN-2199, who has been absolutely dominating the meta for months. It doesn’t stop there however, and puts a damper on two other characters frequently called out for their shenanigans. Rey and Sabine, while also reducing the… Fringe cases of Han overwriting multiple times in a turn for max shields leading into a Second Chance.

Impact to FN: Heavy. Playing towards a huge Boundless Ambitions play around turn 2 or 3 was a core part of his game-play loop, this increases the time to kill by at least one round, though playing a Rocket Launcher and overwriting into a Riot Baton is still going to do tons of work.

Impact to Rey: Moderate. It eliminates the more frustrating (not to mention sometimes confusing) lines of play available to her but doesn’t effect her core reason for existing.

Impact to Sabine: Heavy. Not only are multiple DL-44 triggers really difficult to get now, but overwriting an already existing upgrade from the discard pile in prep for a Never Tell Me The Odds play means you’re locking yourself in to hoping she lives through the round because outright paying for a Second Chance on her is a tall order.

Impact to Han: Minimal. Upgrade cycling just for shields was a desperate act anyway, and more than often was a lose-slower play.

 

Discard to Reroll Zero Dice

Pretty simple, and intuitive change when taken into the context of all the other choices you can make in Destiny.

This is the most elegant way I could have imagined to eliminate the Running Interference combo-lock without impacting the core power level of the card itself. It also gives an out against Unkar if holding a grip of expensive stuff, or to bring the odds more in your favor prior to a Kylo2 activation.

Impact to the RI combo: Zero, because you shouldn’t have been playing it anyway. Snarkiness aside, the combo doesn’t exist any more.

Impact to Unkar: Moderate. The THREAT of getting a huge payday usually led to the opponent discarding the big stuff anyway, but not needing to keep a die in the pool or be ahead on tempo is a pretty big deal.

Impact to Kylo2: Pretty much zero, but will undoubtedly save someone somewhere. Hopefully me.

 

Damage Taken By Chars, and Distributed Damage.

From my point of view it was sufficiently clear before-hand that Shields were taken into account when distributing damage but I’ve been baited into arguments both in person and on Discord about this more than once, so thankfully that is over.

For the 99% of you who aren’t the most pedantic individuals on the planet, this changes nothing. For the rest, I told you so.

 

Newly Identified Inherent Dice

ID-9 Seeker Droid and Training Remote have both been added, notably missing is BD-1 VibroAx and the Sonic Cannon. Public apologies are in order to Rebel Grey who was on the wrong end of a ruling I made in our latest tournament but he ended up winning that game anyway so I don’t have to actually eat crow, just suffer a bit of embarrassment.

 

Balance Of The Force

Okay, I suckered you in to reading everything previous but here is the super big deal in the new rules.

Captain Phasma (2PG) now costs +1 point.
FN-2199, Poe Dameron (AWK), and Unkar all cost +2 points.

The Poe change: Everyone is still well and truly tired of being Thermal Detonated with near-complete reliability. All the other point changes are going to contribute at least somewhat to an uptick in 3/4 character decks, and it would be a damn shame if they were completely worthless due to an SoR meta bug-bear coming back to haunt people. As much as I personally enjoy the deck, I will admit it can get out of hand.

The Phasma Change: Thank god. If being able to slot her in as a one-die with 50% damge sides including a conditional three-side while enabling The Best Defense and whatever other Red tricks you wanted wasn’t powerful enough, her pairing with Darth Vader (SoR) was absolutely bonkers. Phas/Ani had a ~62% of rolling 7+ damage with one reroll based solely on character dice alone, and you were perfectly happy to throw away at least 24 of the cards in your deck at any given time to get there. This change brings the odds down to a much much more reasonable level of ~57% to roll 6+ damage and makes it more vulnerable to die removal. It is also more difficult for a single-die Phasma presumably already damaged from The Best Defense to close out a game, relegating the deck to merely very strong rather than bonkers in terms of power level.

The FN-2199 Change: More than almost any other character, FN-2199 has wrapped the entire meta around his finger. Just by existing, he said “you must kill me by early turn 3 at the latest or suffer from my pachinko machine of death”. Combine his cost change with the new overwrite rules, and he is right in line with the power level of most other 12/15 cost villains. I don’t predict him disappearing entirely from the meta, but playing against him won’t degenerate into watching your opponent roll various dice for five minutes attempting to luck-sack you to death after a Boundless Ambition. Even as someone who truely loved playing the FN decks, I am pretty happy with the change because the mirror matches were absolutely horrendous and deterministic games which were usually decided by deck order rather than any actual decision making.

The Unkar Change: Umm… When I said on the Galactic Senate that people should stop playing ThrawnKar, I didn’t exactly mean that ThrawnKar should be unplayable. Having to take one of those chars as non-elite is already a super-significant blow to the deck’s viability, but combined with an errata listed below the deck is just dead on it’s feet. It was already going to be a slow-burner deck that would required a massive skill and practice investment to place well at major events, but I don’t ever see it breaking top tables with only three dice to start off with. If I had to, I’d choose single die Thrawn when playing the deck but don’t say I didn’t warn you when you lose a lot.

ThrawnKar isn’t the only casualty of this change though, several niche and fun decks which took elite Unkar to fuel things are simply unplayable now. It is unfortunate that an Unkar change seemingly targeted at only one deck had this sort of cascading effect, and I think that changing his ability to a Power Action and making a change to Buy Out or Coercion would have accomplished the same goal without collateral damage. RIP Unkar, I’ll see you the next time I bring Jabba The Hutt out of my binder. Current estimates place that at sometime just before never.

The Unspoken Change: I think a contributing factor in all three of the villain nerfs lies with the Two Player Game. Kylo2 now has no 13 point elite partner until the draft set brings Anakin Skywalker into the card pool. I’m very unsure as to whether or not Unkar would ever have been an effective partner for Kylo2, but now if you want to give him a strong partner you either have to relegate yourself to a single-die version  of one char or the other with leftover points (maybe upcoming plots can fill the gap effectively), or get brewing on a Ciena/Bala/Bazine pairing. This is probably a good thing overall if you consider his ability to be equal to another die (and you should) and brings him back in line. Unfortunately this also blasts Cad Bane right in the back, for seemingly no reason.

 

Card Erratas

It’s A Trap, Heat Of Battle: Both effect only two dice and IAT lost it’s ambush text. While initially it is a nerf to Hero and especially Hero red, I am holding out hope that Legacies contains some hard-hitting and aggressively costed Red Heroes or Upgrades. Barring that, it at least opens the door for the color in the future which has seen depressingly little play (Go away Poe).

Imperial Inspection: Goes to the set-aside zone after use. A great change overall I feel, but is the second half of the puzzle that completely destroys ThrawnKar’s viability. I have to think that this and a Buy-Out change would have been enough on their own to make the deck less oppressive but having the option to forgo running two copies of Rend in all my aggressive decks is a good consolation prize. Being able to use it once is still a great play when it happens, and if my Kylo2/Ciena idea has legs, I’ll still be bringing it through this change.

Vibroknife: Damage dealt by, or by dice it modifies is unblockable, otherwise carry on as normal. The vast majority of the time now, you’ll be taking one unblockable damage from this weapon because the number of other weapons and chars that have solid modified melee sides don’t see much play anyway. Crossguard Lightsaber is a totally legitimate contender for Vibro’s slot now, though a lucky roll with Electrostaff and/or Shoto is still going to hurt.

Put it All Together, What Does it Mean?

Best expressed in the form of a projected tier list, but in sentance format, most of the decks that saw play yesterday will still see play tomorrow but the gap between them and the rest of the field has been significantly shortened or eliminated entirely. Particularly, any mono-color deck is now only facing a bad matchup rather than an auto-loss when paired against Kylo2 and you can expect to enter Round 2 with the same number of Chars you brought to the table in the vast majority of cases (cough Ani/Phasma cough).

The unverbalized statement behind the document is that FFG really does listen to player feedback, and is actively engaged in crafting a meta-game that doesn’t merely revolve around two decks. Kudos are in order for the projected effects of their effort, and I believe the wait was worth it.

Tier 1:

Sabine/Whoever: Jury is still out overall on which char pairs with her better, but Sabine is still going to do Sabine things. It may take her a bit more effort to do them, but she is more than up to the task.

Kylo2/FN: Nerfs or no nerfs, this deck is still a contender. A second FN die was never required to win a game, and the tertiary nerfs to FN just make Kylo the primary target all the time. That does mean that FN lives to get his now once-or-twice-per-round effect off longer though, so you still have to keep your color ratios and resource disruption options in mind when squaring off against the deck.

3x/4x Vehicle Decks: Thermal hasn’t been a major concern for a while, but now it is nearly no threat at all until the meta shifts enough to where Sabine starts bringing it to the table. My playtesting in general leads me to believe that the villain versions are still stronger than the Hero versions but hopefully the elimination of ThrawnKar and suppression of Round 1 character death breathes a bit of life into the Maz/Hera/Whoever lists.

Tier 2:

Darth Vader (SoR) / Phasma: The deck still brings raw damage, but will generally require at least one damage dealing die to be played to really be effective. I predict it will sit right on the edge in between tiers 1 and 2, and will still serve as the go-to deck for people who feel both angry and lucky.

eEzra/eMaz/Rey: Being able to reliably keep everyone alive going past Round 1 goes a very long way for this deck. Keep your eyes peeled here for an upcoming article about the deck in case you haven’t run into it in the wild yet.

Mono-Blue Hero: Wether it’s a two char list involving Qui-Gon Jinn or Ahsoka paired up with Kanan, or one of the various three char lists relying on Padawans these decks will take the Vibroknife nerfs in stride while enjoying a downtick in Kylo2 and Imperial Inspection ruining their day.

Palpatine: Oh yeah. That guy. He is sitting in his throne room laughing at all the nerfs that are nailing all of his biggest weaknesses to the floor. Lest anyone forget, he got a new bag of tricks in EaW with Endurance and Indomitable. Without the threat of Crime Lord around every corner, Papa Palpatine will be as good as he ever was, and the perfect deck to play while enjoying a few drinks.

3x Ranged: Again, the edge goes to Villain with their AWK Phasma lists over the Poe2-centric Hero contenders but these guys might see play on the lower end of tier 2 as fun decks that put a ton of dice out on the field. ThrawnKar being pretty much nonexistent moving forward gives a lot of room for these decks to breathe.

 

Closing Words

It almost feels like we just got a new set release doesn’t it? Everyone is dusting off the binders as we speak and poring over the things that just weren’t viable for the last few months, and I’m excited to see what develops until Legacies hits the streets in December.

As always, come yell at me for my comma abuse and run-on sentences over at the Artificery Discord server!

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The Thrill For Mill (Thrawn/Unkar Deck Tech)

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It is a long-standing adage in CCGs that aggressive decks own the first half of any given meta, while the latter part of a meta belongs more to control and mid-range decks. of course it is not a universal truth, and each individual tournament and even game should be taken as it’s own entity because the aggressive decks generally find a way to maintain competitiveness as the best players fine tune those decks for maximum efficiency.

The sweet spot for a competent control player is when the meta has settled just enough for you to make educated decisions based on the decks you are most likely to see, but not yet set in stone to where nearly every player has extensively tested (either willingly or by forced matchups) against the best control decks. As it stands I would say that there is exactly one control deck in the meta in Thrawn/Unkar and that this list is the best version you can use at the moment for general purpose.

An astute reader would point out that the Reiikan/Padme/Instructor which placed decently well at the Australian Nationals should count as a control deck, but I would disagree. The Hero deck has exactly one win condition in mill, while Thrawn/Unkar can also win via Crime Lord using Thrawn’s ability to lock the opponent out of interacting with that plan.

Right now there are a few things going for control players, and a couple very salient points working against them.

PROS

1.) No-one enjoys testing against ThrawnKar. Anyone who says they do is lying. It is a necessary evil in the meta right now, but in most playtesting it will be the perfunctory step in validating a deck, and probably the matchup many people are willing to accept a poor win-rate against. So most people are not as practiced against it as they should be.

2.) It demands near-perfect decision making on the part of any given opponent. One falter or misplay opens up too much ground in favor of the ThrawnKar player to make up for barring unreasonable levels of future luck. In most matchups, a decks resources, cards in deck, cards in hand and action economy can all be managed relatively independently in the sense that not all of them are being attacked at once. Against ThrawnKar they have to be taken as a complete whole.

3.) Aggressive decks eat their own. Over the course of a tournament the aggro decks (everything is aggro in comparison to ThrawnKar) reaching the top tables will be more and more of a known quality, with the “cute” or “tech” cards being used to defeat the field usually having a lessened or no effect on the control decks. Their race to be the best in their own area will almost always hurt their ability to handle an outside quantity while a control deck can make much more minor changes to shore up specific weaknesses. Simply put, control players have more options.

4.) Skill amplification and RNG suppression. Outside of a couple clutch times where you need a very specific result, a control deck lives and dies on the back of it’s card draw and application rather than its rolls. Especially in the early game, a group of terribly mismatched dice can always be used to simply force discards which furthers your win condition. In comparison, opposing decks care way more about their dice while in many cases are also relying on certain key upgrades or supports to get the job done.

CONS

1.) If you don’t make the proper animal sacrifices to the RNG gods, you can get blown out. There are very few ways to interact with multiple dice at a time, so if a critical mass gets built up and then a reroll occurs it can be entirely too much to handle. Also, action cheating from opposing Force Speeds, Sabine Wren, and Cad Bane can just destroy your best laid plans before you get a chance to act. Some of this can be somewhat compensated for even if it feels bad to control dice which aren’t an immediate threat, or to use a mitigation card on a Force Speed die. But every so often, there’s just nothing you can do.

2.) Mental fatigue hits harder. One game as ThrawnKar is interesting, but by game five everything blurs together and brains start leaking out of your ear-holes. The games will typically last longer leaving less time for recovery in between matches, and note-taking being specifically forbidden by the Tournament Rules puts a lot of pressure to remember the contents of your opponents hand both within a specific round and between rounds.

3.) No-Fun zone and social pressure. As a dedicated Poe/Maz player in the Store Championship season I don’t particularly mind being “that guy”. But there is a very wide gulf between dealing damage in an “unfair” way, and sitting down to the table with the express purpose of preventing your opponent from playing the game. There’s certainly no written rule saying what is acceptable to bring to any tournament, but if you mis-read your audience by too far of a degree then don’t be surprised by the results. A great player should always be generous in victory and gracious in defeat, but it goes double for control players. My general rule of thumb is that if my cards are going to be major assholes I had better be the nicest player on the planet to compensate for them.

What Didn’t Make the Cut

Rend: It is great against Force Speed and Holocron (and tertiarily against Running Interference), but outside our hardest matchup (Phasma/Anakin) a lot of decks take only one or none of these cards. I don’t feel like the slight edge it gives us in a match that is a coin flip at best is worth taking an edge away from all of our other matches. Sacrifices must be made.

Prized Possession: The matchups in which it is most useful, are the ones where you lose out on half of the effect. You’ll almost always just eat the damage rolled by Cad, Sabine or Han upon the initial roll-out so you lose the nice Isolation effect and are stuck paying for a more expensive Detention Center.

Vibroknucklers: Those net-decking the top placing Australian ThrawnKar will be sleeving it up, but I don’t think it is worth the cost. Only two sides are good, and I’d almost always rather use my focus to make more money for a buy-out play.

Cheat: With all of our options and redundancy, Cheat would hurt the deck more than help in my opinion. Not only does it shred tempo, but it telegraphs upcoming plays to our opponent. I’d rather dig deeper into my deck than spend two cards to repeat one effect.

How to Play Thrawn Unkar

It is difficult to really get to the nitty gritty of actually playing ThrawnKar because 90% of the game you’re entirely reactionary. Even in cases where you go first and roll out Thrawn to start, the goal is to identify the thing that can cause you the most headache and get rid of it which is simply a reaction to the matchup. What I can do is give very general tips for the meta as I perceive it, then dig a bit deeper into all of those specific matchups.

Remember that you have two win conditions! A Crime Lord die is a deceptively difficult thing for any deck to interact with. Electroshock, 1QP, He Doesn’t Like You, Doubt, Flank, and Loth Cat are the vast majority of ways for anyone to affect Crime Lord. ThrawnKar is uniquely positioned to fight those options either directly through saying 1 or 0 when rolling Thrawn out, or playing Coercion/Friends In Low Places to surgically remove them.

Don’t do anything without information! Friends in Low Places and Coercion should be played as earlier rather than later in a turn, to ensure the best Thrawn results. Coercion especially should almost always be played as your first action because in many cases it will force your opponent to pass until that mitigation card can get them even a mild benefit, allowing you plenty of time to get Chance Cube, Hound’s Tooth, and Imperial Inspection on the board rather than needing to find time between your own mitigation actions. In a pinch, the Interrogation Droid can be used to gain the relevant information for Thrawn.

Know your local meta, and peruse all the great information put out by content creators. Tier lists, gauntlet run-downs, and the decklists from major tournaments should generally guide your decisions on turns where you have to roll Thrawn out blind, and be your primary resource for making your initial mulligan decision.

Don’t name a number with Thrawn until you process your Imperial Inspection trigger. Better to get something than nothing, and you can order them however you like.

Use your mitigation! There is so much mitigation in this deck that letting two damage that could have been prevented through is nearly always the incorrect decision. You don’t need to reroll often, so don’t get too hung up on the concept of keeping a card in reserve. A zero sum game is beneficial to you because you’ll almost always come out ahead in resources. If your opponent is throwing cards away just to prevent you from making bank with Unkar’s ability then that is still a win.

Sound the Alarm is a combo panic-button and Kylo confounder. Unless it is to prevent char death, ignore my previous paragraph and hole on to it until it can disrupt 4+ damage. We have a 16/14 yellow tilt so holding on to a single grey card helps us to avoid the two damage bugbear.

I want to reiterate, these tips and the following matchup analysis segments are general guides. I promise you that if you follow them with blind faith and to the letter, you will drop games that could have been won. The best way to learn the deck is through rigorous practice, all I can do is give a good jumping-off point.

Win Condition: Crime Lord Kylo ASAP preferably with Ace in the Hole, then focus on Mill unless your second Crime Lord is near the top. Nearly no resource disruption or Crime Lord die interaction, but you lack the time to play it fairly.

Mulligan Targets: Coercion, Friends in Low Places, Imperial Inspection, Crime Lord.

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 2. Take Ancient Lightsaber, Vibroknife, Abandon All Hope, Crossguard, Electrostaff in that order

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Based on opponent resources and board state. If 3+ resources, name 3. Take Z6, Rocket Launcher, Lightaber in that order. If 2 resources, with a weapon on board name 3. If 2 resources with no weapon, name 2 and follow the list above.

Coercion Priority: Boundless Ambition, Clash, Isolation, Doubt

Detention Center: Not worth.

Battlefield: Yours to disrupt hand ASAP.

Stumbling Blocks: Not getting imperial inspection hurts, prioritize resource disruption and try to snatch Imperial HQ out of hand if you can fit it into your turn structure. If they are able to play boundless ambition for 3+ cards your odds of winning the game go down precipitously.

Win Condition: Crime Lord, can be done fairly.

Mulligan Targets: Coercion, The Best Defense, Imperial Inspection, Personal Shield, Chance Cube.

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 2. Take LL-30, Holdout Blaster, Night Sniper in that order.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Keep naming 2 as long as Cad is alive. Name 0 after he is dead to remove Bait and Switch, Rend, Unpredictable, Friends in Low Places, Truce.

Coercion Priority: Rend (if Imp Insp is not on field), Bait and Switch, “Fair” Trade, The Best Defense.

Detention Center: Worth.

Battlefield: Yours if Starship Graveyard or if you don’t have Imp Insp in hand, theirs if you do.

Stumbling Blocks: Getting blown out by Cad. Spend your resources to prevent huge Fair Trade swings, and disrupt often to keep Bait and Switch on the backburner. Try to end every turn with them at 0 resources. You aren’t on quite as bad of a time crunch here because Cad/Phasma is very roll dependant, but it will be difficult to win solely through mill.

 

Win Condition: Crime Lord Anakin ASAP preferably with Ace in the Hole, then focus on Mill unless your second Crime Lord is near the top. Nearly no resource disruption or Crime Lord die interaction, but you lack the time to play it fairly.

Mulligan Targets: Coercion, Crime Lord, Ace in the Hole, Detention Center, Personal Shield, Hound’s Tooth.

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 0. Take Holocron, Force Speed, Meditate.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Name 4 if Holocron is on the board. Take Force Lightning, Mind Probe. Otherwise name 0 until both holocrons are gone at which point you name 1 to snag any lingering Lightsaber Throws, Tactical Mastery, Dark Counsel, or Imperial Discipline.

Coercion Priority: The Best Defense, Boundless Ambition, Feel Your Anger, Isolate, Doubt

Detention Center: Worth.

Battlefield: Yours if they brought Throne Room (they brought throne room)

Stumbling Blocks: Force Speed protected rerolls, and raw damage output from Char dice. Spend nearly every action you have to remove their dice even if they aren’t threats. Taking Holocron from hand will force them to prioritize rerolling with their force powers so when possible get 3+ showing on board swiftly. This is your hardest matchup, and if you can’t Crime Lord Anakin by turn two it’s going to be difficult to win at all.

 

Win Condition: Either/Or. Mill works pretty easily here because of how deep they dig in their deck each turn and how roll-dependent they are without Never Tell Me The Odds or Heat Of Battle. If you can Crime Lord Sabine you’ll usually win though.

Mulligan Targets: Friends In Low Places, Buy-Out, Coercion, Personal Shield, Hound’s Tooth

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 3. Take Never Tell Me The Odds, Hyperspace Jump, Second Chance, DL-44.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Name 3 until both NTMTO gone, then name 2 if their partner is red to remove Heat of Battle followed by 0 on the off-chance they have Fair Trade.

Coercion Priority: Quick Escape, Double Cross, Hyperspace Jump, Rend

Detention Center: Worth.

Battlefield: Theirs.

Stumbling Blocks: Sabine doing Sabine things. It happens occasionally. If you can’t Crime Lord swiftly, focus on making the biggest Buy-Out play you can as soon as you can just to get NTMTO or HOB out of the picture. Generally speaking they can’t outright kill a char with either until turn 3 unless theyve had good luck with rolls previously. Disrupt when you can, and focus to free shields.

Win Condition: Mill

Mulligan Targets: Friends In Low Places, Imperial Inspection, Buy-Out, Chance Cube, Removal.

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 2. Take Vibroknife, My Ally is the Force, Ancient Lightsaber, Mikashi Training.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Name 2 until Vibros/My Ally is gone. Then name 0 to get rid of Do Or Do Not, Riposte, Synchronicity, Force Speed.

Coercion Priority: Noble Sacrifice (lol), My Ally, Riposte if profitable, Caution, anything that costs money.

Detention Center: Worth if Luke/Obi/Ahsoka

Battlefield: Theirs.

Stumbling Blocks: God-rolls. Not a difficult matchup even if they have force speeds or Rey actions. The amount of rerolling needed to get stuff done helps you out a lot, and Imperial Inspection does great work here.

Win Condition: Mill, if you can Crime Lord make sure they don’t have Second Chance in hand before you do.

Mulligan Targets: Friends In Low Places, Buy-Out, Imperial Inspection, Personal Shield, The Best Defense

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 2. Take Vibroknife, Night Sniper, and Holdouts.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Keep naming 2. They will almost never run out of stuff to take.

Coercion Priority: Fair Trade, Riposte if profitable, anything that costs money.

Detention Center: Worth.

Battlefield: Yours if you have something to spend your money on immediately, or barring that then to try and snag a weapon with Thrawn.

Stumbling Blocks: Not being able to count to 10. It only takes one Planned Explosion before you pay really close attention to the grab bag of numbers across from you, it’s unfortunate that with all the actions they have that it can happen without any input. If you can avoid that, it’s not too tough because they burn through cards like no-one else.

Win Condition: Mill, too hard to crime lord three people.

Mulligan Targets: Friends In Low Places, Buy-Out, Chance Cube, Personal Shield, Hound’s Tooth

Turn 1 Thrawn Choice: Name 4 against Villain, 5 against hero. Take their vehicles.

Turn 2+ Thrawn Choice: Same plan until the heavy hitters are gone, then just work your way down the list.

Coercion Priority: Anything that costs money.

Detention Center: Not Worth

Battlefield: Theirs.

Stumbling Blocks: RNG. Sometimes their hand is just stacked with too much stuff to deal with quickly and they will get a vehicle out early. It’s almost never unwinnable though, build up money for good buy-out plays and if you can snipe someone with an easy Crime lord it should be Ciena/Maz.

Final Thoughts

I think in the proper hands with the proper practice, ThrawnKar is the best deck at the moment, recent nationals results be damned. That doesn’t mean I like the deck though. I am a combo and aggro player at heart, and no amount of success with ThrawnKar would let me sacrifice the part of my soul necessary to play it as my main deck. Plus my wife refuses to play against it any more, so that’s one more reason to keep it behind the glass.

I would like to see it played more in general, and for more people find their own measure of success with it. There is a certain value to having a baseline control deck in any format, and if people pick it up in high enough numbers then we will be able to see the wisdom of crowds take effect and come up with more effective ways to defeat it.

Join us on the Artificery Discord server, and start gearing up for the upcoming Legacies expansion by checking out our bundle deals in the store!

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EaW Sealed Tier List

As we gear up for the first online sealed tournament, I wanted to share my general thoughts on a few of the cards and possibilities you might find yourself considering for inclusion in your deck. Sealed is a largely un-mined format for Destiny and while there are a lot of obviously good and bad cards, there is undoubtedly going to be people who have never played a limited format in a CCG before so a very small primer which will be at the end. If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for the tournament!

Legendaries

Most of the legendaries are tier 1 in a vacuum (yes, even Chopper) or at least each one puts forth a strong argument to play whatever color they are, especially the characters. So there’s not a whole lot of insight I can give here other than to usually play your legendaries. There are two that are just a cut above the rest though, and should be played no matter what.

Most decks are going to be three character three die affairs, and being able to essentially turn your worst char into a damage powerhouse by using him to resolve that cannon die is all but assured to get a lot of work done.

I don’t think anyone really needs an explanation as to why the Night Sniper is good in general, but in sealed your resources are at their loosest allowing the yellow gun to provide you with nearly guaranteed damage every turn once you get a good board state.

Rares

Your rares are going to be what dictates your color and faction choices above nearly everything else. A few things to note, all of the following contribute to making sealed games turn into slug fests of attrition and as my childhood role models used to say: “Knowing is half the battle”

1.) Deck consistency is lower because of all the singletons
2.) No-one feels like they have enough removal
3.) Damage per turn is generally very low for the first couple of rounds but accelerates swiftly
4.) Resources are simultaneously more plentiful and have more on-demand outlets

Tier 1 Rares

Dice that stick around are amazing, I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the T-47 is the best of the bunch here. Since it is playable and USABLE immediately from turn 1, with no modified sides, and can in a pinch give you more rerolls or your game-winning cards faster. Being grey lands it in every hero deck ever in the format. That being said, the LL-30 gets proportionally better with the number and quality of ranged dice you have available.

Tier 1.5 Rares

As a personal note, I really dislike putting things in a tier list then immediately putting a halfway point between the first and second tier. Problem is that the stuff that follows these cards is still VERY good and VERY playable so it would have felt stupid calling them tier 3. So these guys land at tier 1.5. Same principle as before with persistent dice, but these cards are a bit more difficult to use effectively even though their raw power level is quite a bit higher. I wouldn’t be offended if anyone disagreed with my tier assignments here, I just personally value immediate use very highly.

Darth’s TIE can close out nearly any game and completely turn the tables on a previously well positioned opponent with just one use of its special, and the Z95 turns money into damage like a champ.

The Y-Wing is deceptively powerful, even though it is spread damage your opponent either has to take the full brunt of the effect or they slow their own board position and damage output. A very oppressive card to play early.

Tier 2 Rares

Pure beatdown from the yellow weapons. Neither are the upgrades you want to lead out with because it paints a target on the back of whoever is chosen to carry it, but more than two rounds of access to these dice are going to make your opponent jump through hoops trying to slow you down. Built-in (expensive) salvo in a format with mostly 3-char decks? Yes please. Alternatively, two 3-sides for single target demolition? Also yes.

As for the cube? Just play it. Take my word for it. Ramps you into everything nice, and if you aren’t planning to reroll at least once per turn anyway I don’t know what I can say that would convince you it deserves inclusion. Even in the extremely rare situation where your opponent would spend a precious removal card on its three-money side, I’d still call that a very good trade. Plus when you get tired of rolling it you can just pull it back to hand later for an extra reroll.

Tier 1 (rare) Characters

HP over cost on both of these guys, and with a three-side to boot. The Pig-Man’s die will frustrate you to no end but he makes up for it with a guardian ability, and the Fuzz Master will just lay some heavy hits down from the word go. They may not be flashy, but the yellow melee chars have always treated me well.

Tier 2 (rare) Characters

If your pool can support a heavy blue stance with multiple ID9s or a couple of the lightsabers in it (hopefully with a lightsaber pull as well), Servant is going to be one of your best allies and nearly any deck can support his very easy 8 cost. If you can manage to proc shoto effects he turns into an absolute tank. If all else fails and you just want blue for other reasons, hes not a bad choice when stacked up against or even paired with the Nightsister and/or Royal Guard.

The much-maligned general definitely has his place in limited however. The subtle mill effect is amplified in these longer games where the number of rerolls you can get away with becomes a key measure of success, and his shield sides at a reasonable point cost help to draw that out. With vibroknife out of the picture and access to Air Superiority in the deck essentials, I really cannot stress how good this guy actually is. Throw a two-focus side in the mix, and you have a recipe for success… Should you have enough upgrades/supports. Which is why he is T2 and not T1.

Only two characters come in at seven points for hero and Ezra is far and away the better of the pair. An excellent choice to fill out your 30 point allotment so long as you have secondary access to base ranged damage sides, his die punches above his weight for sure.

Ciena clocks in at tier 2 for much the same reason, usually looking very similar to a First Order Stormtrooper with extra health and better resource generation for just one extra point. Add in a vehicle or two and she can really shine.

Tier 1 Uncommons

  

Detention center allows you to completely lock out the first char die they roll in each turn acting as a weaker yet never ending Flank. It’s pretty rare that someone is going to be able to get two char dice on the table at the same time (though do keep squad tactics in mind). Meanwhile in the Hero corner, Yoda’s Quarters will do great work to keep your people alive when you’re usually more concerned with the upgrades they carry rather than their base dice. If you decide to not run either of these faction-specific supports, you had better have a really solid reason.

Does Coercion need an explanation? Gotta play it if you’re in Villain yellow. 100%.

Removal is hard to come by in general, removal that also hurts your opponent is something to treasure. Doublecross is certainly the more reliable of the two on display, but with some extremely valuable dice having two blanks It Will All Be Mine has the blowout potential making it worth running at least one copy of if you are in blue.

Tier 2 Uncommons

As per usual, the Villains get the better end of the two-cost diceless upgrade “cycle” deal with Deadly which while not as amazing in limited still does good work on punching through consistent damage at a reasonable cost. Fearless is still Tier 2 though, as I said before the shields Hero gets have a tendency to be more relevant in sealed and getting to draw cards to find your game-changers is icing on the cake. Fearless will/should be overwritten, but it will help you out considerably along the way.

Drop Zone is one of the most interesting choices in my opinion, and something I have found a good amount of success with even when it did very little damage. While all decks are pretty likely to be clunky, if you can force your opponent to claim ahead of you to avoid a damage buildup then you get free reign with your remaining dice while also soft-mitigating any number of bad things that could come your way. Mix in some squad tactics, an opportune The Day is Ours or Heat of Battle and maybe even multiple copies of Drop Zone and you can find yourself in an extremely advantageous position.

Tier 1 Commons

 

The best of the best in the common slot in my opinion. None of these are extremely flashy, and it will be unlikely that any of them win you the game all on their own but they all fill very important roles with easy to reach conditions. Strike Briefing in particular is very powerful by allowing you to ditch a critical piece of their deck before it becomes an issue, or limiting their removal even further.

Tier 2 Commons

Bleh. We gave you the deck essentials for a reason go use them! Some of the rest can situationally be good, but require very specific things to make them work well for you. If you put a gun to my head I wouldn’t feel too bad about playing these, but only after pouring over all my other options twice.

Limited Format Primer

You’re going to want three character dice, which in most cases is going to mean three characters. There is something to be said for going rainbow with your selections and just smashing all your best dice together into a deck and seeing how it works out, but that isn’t always the best choice when considering how many modified sides your upgrades and supports are likely to have. At the very least, get your two best colors together though.

Don’t let constructed cloud your view, your removal is a prized resource to use when it matters most. Using High Ground on a 2-side now may feel efficient and good, but you’ll be very sad if your opponents next action is playing a Relby Mortar Gun with money to spare. My general rule is to only remove 3-sides unless not removing the lesser values puts a character in dire straits.

Hold on to your discard sides in the early game. People are going to keep their single copies of the best stuff until they can play it, and if you sit on a discard side you have a higher chance of pulling one of their game-winners out. Worst case, your discard sides can discourage excessive re-rolling by your opponent for fear of losing their best cards.

Don’t forget to eat your BREAD! The acronym that has carried thousands through prereleases and limited formats in other CCGs for decades.

Bombs: Things that can win you the game outright, bonus points if its super difficult for your opponent to interact with. Think the Sonic Cannon, Grand Inquisitor’s Lightsaber, and Darth Vader’s TIE. The more bombs you squeeze into your deck the better off you’ll be.

Removal: Most EAW removal is conditional or awkward to use, but even so try to fit the more accessible pieces in. The deck essentials will help out a ton here, with Flank currently sitting at the most commonly played card in our testing process. Mitigation effects such as shields or healing count towards this as well, even if they are reactive rather than proactive.

Evasion: Not directly applicable to Destiny really, there’s no dice completely untouchable by your opponent. If I had to draw a comparison, it would be forms of unblockable or guaranteed damage. Hate, Drop Zone, or Mace Windu’s effect would fit the bill here.

Aggressiveness: To put it simply, any die is better than no dice. I’ve yet to see anyone super excited to play Scatterblaster, but its true neutral and will at least do SOMETHING. When in doubt, roll more dice for a better win-rate.

Duds: Hopefully you’re not playing anything with such a narrow use-case that it never does anything for you, 110 cards in total to pick from makes it pretty statistically unlikely.

Paying the bills!

If you’d like to try out the sealed format at a local event, you’re going to need a lot of packs and I can’t help but remember that we have a really great deal going on whether you want currently available sets or just to prepare for the upcoming Set 4 release, shipping world-wide at the best prices. If my shilling for your money rustled some jimmies, or you just want to let me know you agreed wholeheartedly with each and every single one of my tier rankings, drop on by the Artificery Discord server and let me know!