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The Tournament Structure
So just as background info for those who weren’t aware, the changes in deckbuilding rules for our hurricane Harvey tournament were as follows.
Villain gets 30 points for deckbuilding, but FN-2199 costs +3 both regular and elite.
Hero gets 33 points for deckbuilding, but (AWK) Poe, (AWK) Rey, and Maz all cost +3.
The individual Hero cost adjustments just made sense, allowing any current deck to be played “as-is” with three exceptions. We didn’t want to enable anything incredibly abusive that could arise from the two flagship support characters getting an additional +3 for their partners, but were also were very concerned about deck diversity. We didn’t want a stressful environment in a Charity Tournament, especially one where Poe/Maz would still be a strong candidate for Top Dog. With nothing but bragging rights on the line, we wanted to give people a creative outlet for Hero dominance without needing to concern themselves with the deck that has caused so much anguish since the release of SoR. It is unfortunate that both Poe/Rey and Snap/Maz/Rey got axed in the process, but we couldn’t find an elegant solution to still allow them.
With Poe/Maz out of the picture it was only fair to up the cost of FN-2199 as well. He has been proven to be even more powerful overall than any other Character, and again we didn’t want a huge portion of our donors to be playing mirror matches or taking what would look like the obvious deck choice for many.
The tournament proved to be a great success, raising over $150 for the Houston Food Bank generously donated by 24 players and many others who were unable to commit to the time-frame. That money will provide 450 meals for people in need. We said it all day yesterday, but a huge thank you is in order for everyone who donated time and money to make this happen. Thank you from all of us here at Artificery. You’re the heroes.
As part of my on-going one man #HelpOurHeroes crusade I wanted to drive a point home that even if given a 10% increase to the points restriction on deck-building that Villains would still be quite competitive. It was my hope that by going 3-2 or having an outside shot at 4-1 I could write (read: whine) on the issue a bit and point out that outside of a couple problem-children Heroes are vastly overpowered by Villains in terms of character and card quality.
Welp. I ended up going 7-2 in games on the day across eight rounds capping off the tournament with a best-of-three finals against a previously undefeated opponent. I guess I proved my point but in all honesty I really wish it wasn’t done in quite so poignant a way. Granted, no deck was optimized and there was very little testing done by anyone prior to but still. You would think that with such a drastic increase in available power for heroes, and with the very high level of competitive players we gathered, that a hero deck would win. Especially since there were so few Villain decks fielded overall. I would think that anyway. Turns out I was wrong.
I was particularly drawn by the new Phasma option, and played around with concepts pairing her with Big Daddy Vader, Anakin, and others. I ultimately decided to take both Villains out of the Two-Player Game because with decent accuracy on Kylo’s ability he could match Anakin’s damage output without the downsides of self-harm or lack of resource sides.
Here’s what I ultimately decided on, and it’s pretty rough around the edges. I didn’t do any actual testing prior to the tournament and even a small number of practice games would have revealed the problem cards in the deck that ended up holding me back in a few situations. http://swdestinydb.com/deck/view/309994
Round 1 – Win
I can’t remember much about the match I played against jljfuego and his QGJ/NewRey deck.
Clash and Best Defense did their jobs against his dice, and he spent more actions than he could afford attempting to reroll for damage. When a mono-colored deck faces new Kylo, it starts the game racing against the clock. Dark Counsel gave me enough cards to throw away to get all the damage in the world, then incrementally upgraded to Crossguard Lightsaber and finally Riot Baton.
He did eventually bring Kylo low, but QJG was in dire straits with six damage applied. Phasma had inherited a Riot Baton and quickly got to work. All of his shield supplying cards and die sides came too late to do anything more than help him cling to life, and I emerged from this round with a false sense of confidence.
I paid for my hubris soon enough.
Round 2 – Win
Carnaster brought eChewie/HG/HG to the table, and I ended up having to deal more than 40 damage to squeak out a win.
I wanted to drop Chewie as quick as I could, under the theory that he would have to choose between paying for mitigation or paying for damage but when my first two damage ended up getting moved to a HG with Draw Attention, I opted to just kill the goons first. He did get a Falcon on the board in turn 2, but strategic use of The Best Defense kept it from overwhelming me.
Kylo’s ability only missed twice this game and although I can’t remember exactly how many rounds we went for, it was brutal for my opponent. Even with Hunker Downs making my damage resolution awkward the almost guarunteed damage against a mono-colored deck did great work.
Round 3 – Loss
Assawarrior gave me both my second game against QJG/NewRey and my first loss.
A combination of three things caused my loss here. First is that I lost the BF roll, giving him a leg up by giving both of his Chars one shield bringing their abilities online from the start. Second is that the bulk of my removal was nowhere to be found, and my upgrades were awkward to use.
Both of those things wouldn’t have been insurmountable if not for my third, fatal flaw. I targeted New Rey instead of QGJ. Had I gone for QGJ, Rey’s Lightsaber in particular would have not prevented the maximum amount of damage it could and in the late game, shield sides would not have been interchangeable for damage sides. Although I did resolve seven damage round 1, only 2 total actually broke through shields.
Not a close game by any measure, Kylo died quickly and I ended up in an auto-loss situation when Phasma dropped the next turn as a memorial to bad decision making.
Round 4 – Loss
If there is an online tournament of any sort, Gameslayer989 and I are guaranteed to face each-other at some point. Luckily, he is one of my favorite people to play with/against and the games are always fun for me.
He brought NewPoe/Baze out for the party, and I knew I was in trouble. His vastly superior battlefield control and constant threat of It’s A Trap prevented me from utilizing Phasma effectively, especially with mixed damage types. This snowball effect never ended and kept my Dug In’s dead in my hand.
Rearm translated into a free DH-17, and Hit and Run right before I could kill Poe left Kylo on death’s doorstep. Since Phasma had already taken three from a Best Defense, my window of opportunity to kill Baze ended up being too small and I lost two damage short. While I don’t think I made any egregious errors in this game and did avoid the trap, forgoing one or two points of damage to gain tempo may have given me a better chance at success. Definitely an area of my own play to work on if I plan on playing mixed damage decks in the future.
Round 5 – Win
Moophisto was one of a very few number of Villain players, and he opted to try NewKylo/Grievous.
He led out with an early Praetorian Guard on Grievous, which made my target selection easy though not ideal. Ultimately I think it was for the best because by already targeting Grievious I decreased the effectiveness of his Best Defenses. I was also able to play a Crossguard Lightsaber in round 2 with confidence that it wouldn’t be stolen. As I Have Forseen proved it’s value here, allowing me to make the best decisions with Kylo’s ability against a two-color deck. His own Kylo did decent work with the ability, but missed twice in a row which gave me breathing room.
I think the ultimate thing that decided the game was resources. Since he played out Praetorian early, my first turn was spent getting maximum value out of my dice while he didn’t have a way to interact. Since he only had three char dice to start with, and more paid sides than me, that first turn put him on the back foot for the rest of the game and prevented even incremental buildup on Kylo before the droid general fell.
Round 6 – Win
Going into the top eight, I was the seventh seed and got paired against JT-Money who was playing Snap/HG/HG/HG.
Forty damage in round two was rough and I was in no way prepared to slog through the 45+ this team represented. Neither of us were prepared for the comedy of errors that were about to take place though.
I walked right in to a completely preventable Disarm play which got rid of my Riot Baton, could not guess right with Kylo to save my life, and had such poor tempo management not even the stream commentators could come up with a half reasonable explanation as to what I was doing.
I truely 100% in every way you look at it, deserved to lose this game. Unfortunately for JT-Money his dice thought he deserved the loss more. Although the decisions he made on which upgrades to keep and which to overwrite with others did set him up in a very awkward way with almost double the chances of rolling bad sides, I have never in my life seen so many blanks rolled so many times.
Ultimately we ended up in a position where I had a ~97% chance of winning through mill from my Vibroknife and two force speeds for focus to get there. After what must have been his 8th reroll in two rounds for no damage, he discarded his last card to make a hail mary with Overkill, HG, and DL-44. Blank/Blank/+3 was the result. It would have taken two 3 base-damage sides to finish me off due to my control cards in hand, but it was painful to see that happen and I commend JT for being able to keep a good sense of humor throughout.
Round 7 – Win
Everything lined up pretty well for me in the top 4 against GrandpaJakes QGJ/NewRey deck, and the lessons I learned in round three were still fresh in my memory.
I won the BF roll and took his Obi-Wan’s Hut, giving me both the 4HP swing in the beginning and a secondary source of damage prevention for Kylo. Starting the game with Rey and QGJ abilities turned off is pretty major as well.
Kylo’s ability paid off in spades this game, hitting first QGJ and then Rey for two damage like clockwork. As an added bonus, I was able to see a Deflect from his hand and structured my turn such that he wasn’t able to use it against me.
I stuck seven damage on QJG in round 1. Rey did her best to stem the bleeding by playing out her Lightsaber, overwriting it with a different upgrade, then playing the second Rey’s Lightsaber for four shields. Ultimately it wasn’t enough since by that point I had a Riot Baton active with money in the bank. Even a minor misplay where I took unnessessary Inner Strength damage on Kylo didn’t significantly impact things.
Round 8 – Win
At the end of a very long tournament, I was facing off against ussgordoncaptain in a best of three for my second NewPoe/Baze matchup.
He had just come off a brutal mirror-match against GameSlayer989, and I believe the mental toll that took on him (and one other factor) led to my 2-0 victory.
Since he won the BF roll, he opted to take the shields in both games which allowed me to lead my turns with Phasma immune to It’s A Trap. Starting with the battlefield, and more importantly being able to keep the battlefield without sacrificing damage output ensured that Phasma’s dice were never an extreme liability.
Kylo never missed a beat with his ability against the mono-red menace, and I was able to get maximum value out of Dug In and Best Defense due to small hiccups in Gordon’s resource management.
At the end of the day though the most impactful thing was the one thing Gordon lacked: Hit and Run. Zero copies of the card were played in either game. He didn’t dig too far for it in game one, but in the second game he was pulling out all the stops to try and draw it into his hand and both copies were in the bottom 8 cards of his deck.
I believe my superior battlefield control would have still won me the game at that point by keeping all of his mitigation offline but the blowout potential didn’t even get a chance to appear.
1.) Great tournament, great opponents, great stream commentary, great time overall.
2.) Phasma’s Blaster has no place in this deck at all. Never played it once. Which makes sense because it’s not so significantly better than Riot Baton when she is the last one alive, and ideally she should be die first from Best Defense or poor opponent targeting.
3.) Vibroknife is pretty bad to have when you actually want to clear shields off of people. I don’t think I ever got more than two damage out of it in any game anyway, and was always happier to see Crossguard.
4.) It may just be my extremely conservative playstyle, but I always felt against the wall when it came to resources. Twice throughout the tournament every upgrade I had was dead in my hand because of the money I was spending on mitigation and Kylo’s paid side. In the final game, I won without playing a single upgrade. Logistics or Enrage would have been amazing to have.
5.) Clash was an awkward card to use. Requires tempo, but also sacrifices tempo which mixed damage decks naturally lack. When it can be used for both effects it is amazing, even without a 3-side to turn to.
Stay tuned for more upcoming tournaments by checking out the Artificery events page, and get hyped for the upcoming TTS League! Also feel free to drop by the Artificery Discord server to talk about whatever Destiny related stuff happens to be on your mind. If you enjoyed our guest streamer TheSug1, head on over to the Kights of Ren podcast to listen to more sweet sultry audio from him and others.