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Do you love Destiny but hate RNG? Looking for a combo deck that will make your opponent feel helpless? Like confusing your opponent for three turns then winning the game? Maybe you just like showing off your Wookiee impressions to a captive audience. In any case, I have the deck for you.
Planetary Uprising has been a favorite card of mine for a long time now, and near the end of the SoR meta I built a pet deck which seeked to exploit it’s guaranteed damage. It got a few upgrades with Empire at War, and I’m pretty excited to try it out considering how it looks like the two decks it was weakest to are losing popularity while the decks it is strongest against are gaining popularity. For those of you who want the bottom line up front, here it is.
Why Make a Deck Centered Around Wookiees?
In a nutshell, it is probably the most exploitative deck in the game.
1.) It abuses the single game tournament format.
2.) Turns the shockingly low deck size into game-winning conditions.
3.) Takes advantage of the generous mulligan rule.
4.) Utilizes Second Chance recursion.
5.) Threatens guaranteed Poe specials.
6.) Has one of the highest HP pools in the game.
7.) Sets up no-win scenarios for your opponent.
8.) Forces your opponent to take certain actions.
Let’s take a look at the two game-winning suites of cards that are in play here, and how they interact with eachother.
The Wookiee Suite
One Planetary Uprising is an annoyance, two Planetary Uprisings is one of the most oppressive things in the game. With two of the Wookiee squads out, you will be representing EIGHT damage at any given point in time. Under the best circumstances, this will set up a total failure state for your opponent if they are in a position where they both cannot kill you and cannot heal or add enough shields to survive a claim-claim action from you. Even before you reach a winning position just one set of Wookiees on the field strongly incentivizes early claiming by your opponent, acting as a non-zero (though ultimately immeasurable) amount of mitigation. Meanwhile you will more than likely be productive with all the extra actions you can now take and set up future turns to be even more punishing.
Scavenge, Award Ceremony, Don’t Get Cocky, and Tactical Aptitude all help you get your Wookiees. DGC is definately the most risky of the bunch, and shouldn’t generally be used until your opponent has claimed. Tactical Aptitude is much stronger than it appears. Not only does it help you get your Wookiees early, but once you are in a decent position it cycles your now uneeded cards to the bottom of your deck in favor of setting up the Thermal combo or getting the right mitigation at the right time.
Appraise is a new card, and may not actually be worth the slot it takes up, but being able to get Planetary Uprising out on the field with both a one resource and one action discount certainly seems strong, and doesn’t leave you vulnerable to discard or disrupt in the meantime. If no better options present themselves it can always be used for C-3P0, Honor Guard, or as Tactical Aptitude fodder. It certainly CAN do great things, as with our character dice alone, you have a ~63% chance to naturally roll a resource thanks to the Hired Gun’s double money sides.
An aggressive mulligan will let you start the game with at least one copy of Wookiees ~56% of the time, with all the card draw it is easy to get both copies by turn three and set up the other suite at the same time. Most opponents simply won’t understand what you are doing for the first half of the game, and by the time they figure it out you’ll almost have it in the bag. Since best-of-three is unheard of in the vast majority of weekly Destiny tournaments a surprise factor can go the distance.
The Thermal Detonator Suite
I don’t think anyone needs an explanation as to why Thermal and Poe go together so well. If you have C-3P0 in play you can get a guaranteed Thermal resolution by either rolling the droid out then following up with a H&R, or even better by just playing Partnership and paying one resource for the same effect but denying your opponent the chance to control your C-3P0 die.
In the absence of pressing circumstances, it is almost always a good idea to open your turn by rolling the droid in. This will threaten the thermal even if you don’t actually have the combo pieces together at the time and give you a hint that they don’t have that type of removal, or cost them resources or cards without losing tempo. Forcing actions that your opponent would otherwise not like to do is an important part of what makes this deck tick.
All your card draw/filter helps put this together, and while you generally need one thermal to win the game getting two off will almost always put it in the bag for you. With partnership being interchangeable with H&R, there is nothing stopping you from getting a bit of Tempo when needed so there is no reason to keep H&R in hand waiting for the right moment.
In an absolute worse case scenario you can scrounge up enough money to play Thermal out fairly, then use C-3P0 to force it through. While I have won games doing that, it is never ideal.
How to Survive
Mitigate damage and heal as much as you can in your first few turns so long as you aren’t giving up opportunities to play Planetary Uprising or perform your Thermal combo. It will get the cards out of your hand for value and allow you to draw into your game-winning stuff. A low total amount of mitigation is made up for by nearly always being able to use the right tool for the situation at hand through our massive card draw.
As a secondary function, your three characters can naturally put out more damage than two Wookiee squads so long as you have money (hence the single Logistics) and any two characters can do more than one squad. If you can slow play your early turns through mitigation and combo setup, you can force your opponent to repeatedly pass back to you or risk getting blown out. In these situations make sure to roll Poe last, and resolve your HG dice one at a time. When repeat passing is going on you aren’t actually losing any tempo, and you can always just claim the BF out from under your opponent if your remaining actions aren’t likely to do more damage than your Wookiees.
Late game, you’re unlikely to roll out any characters at all. Much better to heal or play out Second Chance or Honor Guard, mitigate your opponents best dice, then claim. This part of the game takes some practice and skill to navigate, but the magic number to look for is eight. Eight HP remaining on your opponents chars puts them in a horrific spot, and puts you in complete control of the game.
Most of the time you’re hoping to be on your opponents battlefield because the four HP swing early game is a huge leg up for you, but if you happen to be on your own, Honor Guard shines through as a huge help.
Rend takes care of two of the decks largest weaknesses by being able to get rid of Force Speed and Salvage Stand, preventing claiming out from under you and keeping your resources secure. Nabbing a Holocron before it turns into an issue is always a great outlet as well. Friends in Low Places is our other silver bullet, mainly to grab a Force Strike, Boundless Ambitions, or even a Vader-enabling card like Leadership or Price of Failure.
Other Options to Toy With
Loth Cat and Mouse requires us to give up a precious die, and be ahead on tempo when we need it, meaning it is only effective late game. So unless very slow decks with very few scary dice of their own see more play it will probably sit in the binder.
Dug In is the one I’m most likely going to put back in if my hunch about Vibroknives going out of style ends up being true. I think it will take the meta at least a little bit of time before realizing that Ancient Lightsaber and Shoto/Crossguard (faction depending) crowd Vibroknife out in most cases except for Rey decks, so until then we will make do.
Electroshock just doesn’t do enough for us in a deck this crowded, and Field Medic fulfills the same function by mitigating two. While Electroshock can snag a Palp die, a Special, or break modified sides, it can’t do anything against action chaining and cannot be pre or post loaded. The flexibility and reliability of Field Medic currently leads me to favor it, but I could just be flat-out wrong.
Aftermath and Chance Cube offer up possible alternatives to Appraise and Logistics to feed our resource needs. Aftermath is probably the better of the two, but generally speaking all of our opponents Characters will die at the same time rather than one by one which greatly reduces its utility even though we run three chars of our own. Chance Cube is certainly interesting, but with no focus sides, the gamble just isn’t worth it. And of course opposing Rends can destroy both of these cards and make us sad.
I’m most interested in playing around with The Day Is Ours. When used correctly, it is essentially paying two resources for eight damage. There is no better deal than that. The issue I anticipate is that the opponent is only likely to put us in that ideal situation after a blowout removal like Defensive Position, or an emergency Second Chance. Everything has to be going our way, with at least three resources available to us in a single turn late game with both Wookiees out and our opponent has to be within lethal range. That is a high bar to get over. It may still be worth running one of these though just to have the option if the opportunity presents itself, and I might be underestimating the value of two damage plus enabling Defensive Position.
Anticipated Matchups (Largely Speculation)
Poe/Maz: If the dynamic duo continue to see wide play, it will be a rough world for the Wookiees. In the context of this matchup they do the same thing we do, but faster. While that deck is vulnerable to character dice removal and spikes of damage removing a key component of their reliability, we aren’t. Unfortunately, we lack any decent tools to meaningfully interact on that level. I would imagine that the popularity of Poe/Maz will continue to diminish though, which will help.
Thrawn/Unkar: Auto-loss nearly 100% of the time. Sorry. With perfect game information and multiple ways to continually disrupt your hand, resources, and what little dice you have there is nearly no way to win this matchup. The same statement will likely apply to any other mill deck as well, though you can sneak a win here or there against the others. We don’t need to keep all of our cards to win, but we do need most of them.
Hero Blue: They have a lot of shields which helps them, but they generally have to lose tempo and/or decrease their own damage output to get them. Generally speaking, their reliance on a few high-value dice falls right into our removal suite capabilities and modified sides can make it more difficult to bust through your Second Chance than otherwise. With Rend to take care of Force Speed and many of their removal and damage out of hand options being irrelevant I would give us the edge here.
Hero Vehicle: 30HP is a lot to chew through even if a U-Wing or Falcon is being repeatedly used. Maz will give them a leg up early, but with almost no way to stop thermal combos which will hit for nine their HP pool is not nearly as large as it looks on paper. Any turn they attempt to make big plays puts them so far behind even us on tempo, you can almost always count on getting your Wookiee damage.
Villain Blue: While they will be able to force more damage through with their outstanding events, the (mostly) irrelevant nature of their removal and lack of shields plays to our advantage. EmoKids in particular is an easy matchup, and while the Magnaguard may give Vader hope I think we still hold the advantage with Defensive Position. Even Rise Again is completely beatable, in SoR I lost to Palpatines discard sides more often than I lost to his damage and even then I still won the majority of those games. Rend again does amazing work.
Sabine/Whoever: Their own Thermal recursion can be painful if it gets online, but they lack our card draw and require just as much set-up time and money to get it going. With her partner unlikely to be able to close out the game on his/her own, using the HGs to threaten damage will work wonders. If they pay for removal they delay their set-up, and if they don’t remove dice then they are looking at more available damage on board in the early turns then they can keep up with without luck. Rend will remove Fast Hands which will help, but probably not be as impactful as in other matchups. This match is likely an even money bet.
Villain Ranged (three/four chars): A large amount of low-impact dice hurts our removal and their own removal can combat the thermal combo until we draw Partnership but they lack speed and get hit for massive amounts of thermal damage. With how reliant they are on continuous rerolls or fixing their dice through other actions, we have as good of a matchup as we can hope for.
FN decks: A surprisingly good matchup as long as you know when to utilize Friends in Low Places. If you can snag one of their boundless ambitions their ability to wipe the floor with you on a massive turn is greatly diminished, and it will be pretty easy to snipe one of the low HP chars with an HG in the 3-char variants. In two char variants which looks likely to include the new Kylo, our removal keeps everything together just long enough to make them make a choice on who to kill from Wookiee damage.
It’s not Tier 1 and it has a couple of horrible matchups. But for all of that, it is extremely fun and can brutally tear apart unoptimized decks or unwary opponents. It is also incredibly strange to see among all the decks out there running around and rewards skilled players with a taste for bluffing, mind games, and wise claiming decisions.
Should the rumors of a Poe nerf become reality, this deck is pretty likely to be dead on arrival but I think it would be a shame if a deck this unique would disappear due to an over-reaction to the “Poe/Maz problem”. Doubly so since Poe/Maz seems to have largely taken a back-seat to FN in the meta, a trend which is likely to continue through EaW with all the new deck possibilities.
Get out there, have fun, and as always keep an eye on the Artificery events page for upcoming tournaments and leagues. Alternatively, come trash talk this pile of mismatched cards on the Artificery Discord!