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Post-GenCon Meta Review

Here’s my right off the bat, tl;dr hot take about the meta going forward: If you’re not playing Talzin, Snoke, or Yoda you best be playing casually or have some really spicy secret tech that has withstood a lot of meta testing. To roughly illustrate my point, let’s take a look at the top 16 from GenCon:
  • 1x Kylo2/Snoke
  • 1x Kylo2/Pryce
  • 1x DJ/Snoke
  • 2x Talzin Mandos
  • 1x Wedge Vehicles
  • 1x Hera Vehicles
  • 1x Yoda Vehicles
  • 2x Yoda/Cassian damage
  • 1x Aphra/eSnoke/Droid
  • 1x Padawan/Wookie/eYoda
  • 3x eYoda/Cassian/Annie mill
  • 1x Yoda/Cassian mill

The Tormented Question

Where’s Kylo2 in my hot take list, you ask? As oppressive as he can be on a smaller, more casual scale, I think Kylo2 is currently serving as the barrier to entry for good decks in a similar way that Obi/Maz did at the beginning of Legacies. Yes, the deck has legs and yes it did perform well in the top cut of GenCon, but I’m not wholly convinced it stands up well unless it gets really lucky in Swiss or consistently hits the 20-33% chance to deal 2 on activation. In fact, Kylo2 is more of a problem for deck diversity than he is an aggro solution that fits nicely into a rock-paper-scissors meta game. His main method of punching out damage faster and more consistently than other aggro decks is entirely reliant on either luck or your opponent making a poor meta call by running a single color. And while, yes, Kylo was featured twice in the top cut,  we can strongly attribute the amount of Kylo in the top cut to the amount of Kylo in the event. I know for a fact that Kylo was out in numbers at GenCon in a way most of these other decks absolutely were not. Kylo2 is just incredibly predictable and can be fairly consistently dealt with from round to round. I was ecstatic to get the one match-up against Kylo2 that I had at GenCon because dealing with the most prevalent version of the deck — a weapons heavy approach — is very easy. Let them hard mulligan for Chance Cube, hit it, put it down, and roll it out round 1… and immediately proceed to remove the die and make them work with 1 measly resource for the round. A lot of people are also shockingly running him with Snoke, which limits your card options, forces you to deal damage to your main character, puts all your eggs in the basket of Kylo’s character dice (which frequently get eaten by Easy Pickings), and has a pretty hard match-up against other Kylo decks to boot. I’m not saying that you can’t play Kylo2 or that he’ll never be good again, but you really have to understand what you’re buying into when you start bringing this deck to your locals. Is it fun and bursty aggro that will win you games? Totally. Should you take it to your next major event hoping to catch your opponent off guard and win from surprising plays? Absolutely not. Part of succeeding at Destiny is having more knowledge and information about both decks on the table than your opponent does. When you sit down with Kylo2, you know your opponent has a pretty good idea of your game plan and that is naturally going to put you a stride behind them from the onset of the match. Going forward, we are going to have to see adjustments from Kylo2 decks before they’re going to win big events, similar to the way Obi/Maz had a reawakening when it started using Running Interference. Hint: it probably starts with 2x Holocron, 2x Force Wave, and 2x Force Lightning.

Rosy Goggles

Rose is perhaps strangely missing from this list as well. After all, there were a lot of people running vehicles at the event and Rose has been the premiere engine of heroes decks since she dropped. Rose, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to make the cut anymore. Part of the problem here is the inevitable prevalence of Annie mill going forward — it won a big event convincingly and in numbers — and vehicles just doesn’t have the ability to deal especially well with mill. This is a fault of the deck that we have known about since back when Yoda/Rieekan/Partisan mill reared its ugly head in Portland and beyond. It hasn’t changed and it’s not going to change with the card pool in Way of the Force. That’s one point against Rose, and if mill’s prevalence isn’t a big enough reason to avoid vehicles going forward (it should be), another major problem is that she doesn’t have a really convenient way to get access to blue and not feel bad about the character suite. Losing Aayla was a pretty big hit to the deck because neglecting blue in this current meta game makes the hero removal suite incredibly awkward, particularly against mill. While we weren’t running Force Illusion during the Legacies meta, 2-character aggro suites have gotten a lot more efficient in this set and a lot of the blue events are incredibly useful. Rose is just a poor man’s Yoda at this point, and it hurts to say it because I’ve enjoyed playing with her previously, but her dice are now significantly worse than Yoda’s. Yoda provides consistency, easy access to two resources (and more) a round, and replaces Rose’s lackluster damage side with a far more useful focus side, all on top of providing smooth access to all those delicious blue events. Yoda makes resources better and then when he’s done with that job, he finishes the game with his focus better. Resistance Crait Speeder and HWK-290 are not cards that make it worth using Rose over Yoda. They’re good, yes, but they each cost 2 and demand that you get them out early and use Rose’s special sides to help remove damage from them. If you don’t hit your HWK early in the game (read: Round 1, because Rose is usually dead mid-round 2), Rose feels especially bad. Crait Speeder is a perfectly acceptable card without Rose, to boot. And, let’s be honest, Rose no longer corners the market on “please give me one of 2-4 cards in my first hand,” as decks using Holocron, Chance Cube, and Grand Moff definitely get more out of a good early draw than Rose does.

But what about my sweet Gungans deck?

I don’t want to sound like someone who is demanding that you only play certain characters, but it is important to understand that this is a competitive game for many of us and we are going to treat it like one at larger events. You need to know the trends and why they are trends before you can hope to buck them and “break the meta.” The thing that the Talzin, Snoke, and Yoda all have in common is that they provide both dice consistency and resource economy. Pryce, who is my preferred Kylo2 partner, would also be in this category if you could promise me that she would be able to consistently control the battlefield in the first three rounds. In a game where resolving 6-sided dice is the main mechanic and resources come in a static amount every round, dice consistency and a resource economy are important parts to creating a winning game script over your opponent. The aforementioned characters are all the lynch pins in their respective decks — they’re usually the first targets because they are the most impactful characters in their respective suites and have the capability for proliferating decks towards larger dice pools that become progressively more difficult to deal with. It also isn’t a coincidence that all of these characters are blue, which is a color that handily has some of the most useful events and upgrades in the game right now. Talzin builds her decks to give you a free, instant focus whenever she activates every round — usually used to flip to 3 resources on a Chance Cube or a special on a Holocron in the early rounds for economy or tempo. Snoke has a 1 focus and 2 focus side while also having a Power Action that isn’t tied to his dice that allows him to trade a damage for two additional resources off one of his partner’s dice. Yoda, at the worst resolution of his dice, easily nets you 2 resources and 1 focus without having to rely heavily on rerolls while also getting you access to some of the best cards in the game and the cash to pay for them. If your deck isn’t providing the same utility or better than these characters do on their own, you are starting behind the curve and aren’t doing yourself any favors. Let’s look at some of the archetypes these characters fit in, talk about why they succeeded at GenCon, and discuss where I see them headed in the near future…


I’ve sort of eluded to this already, but I don’t see vehicles having a major future in the meta game until mill is figured out. Vehicles has always relied on being a late game monster, essentially telling its opponent, “kill me by Round 4 or I win.” In Legacies it was one of the only 3-wide (sometimes 4-wide) decks in the format, so it was always against 2-character suites that had shallow health pools, ran financially poor, and relied a lot on their character dice to do explosive damage in the first couple of rounds. Things have changed significantly in Way of the Force. More decks are being run 3-wide. More decks have mixed damage sides or utilize powerful specials that dodge cards like Easy Pickings and Into the Garbage Chute. Mill, the deck’s hardest counter, is incredibly efficient — vehicles can’t afford to lose vehicles from their deck or cards from their hand; both make it difficult to have consistent rounds and make Rally Aid plays. Damage from hand has become a factor with Mandalorian Commando. More than ever, people have the resources to pay for cards like Retreat and Hyperspace Jump that give opponents more time to win. Even the presence of a card like Beguile basically spits in the face of vehicle’s previous efficiency. The problems mentioned above aren’t just related to Rose, but also Yoda and Hera as well. I don’t foresee hero vehicles being able to survive in a deck that doesn’t include Thrawn for the sake of hitting your opponent’s hand with practical impunity and getting the information necessary to have a smooth round.


Annie mill is absolutely here to stay. It is significantly better than most of the other archetypes, has a huge health pool for dealing with aggro lists, and has a great collection of removal that makes it oppressive to deal with. Yoda and Annie both make a metric ton of resources without having to rely on the volatility of Chance Cube, which most resource-intensive decks are relying on. It runs better than Cassian/Yoda mill when it has Anakin’s Podracer out and it kills decks as quickly as some aggro decks kill characters. I think there are definitely some adjustments to be made to help the deck’s win rate against certain, less than guaranteed match-ups, but as it stands this deck is mean and oppressive and outside of what I’d imagine are 2-4 cards that can be rotated, pretty damn pristine. Personally, I don’t like mill. I don’t like playing against mill and I’m certainly not a big fan of playing it myself. I’ve always preferred mid-range lists. That said, anyone who isn’t testing against this deck or some variant of it isn’t preparing themselves to be successful in the current meta. You need to get your reps in.


Of all the characters and suites and archetypes that failed to beat out the opposition, 3-wide Snoke lists are definitely one of my favorites to compete going forward. There is absolutely something there with this deck, and while my disappointing, paired down, 5-3 finish at GenCon wasn’t necessarily impressive, 3-wide Snoke was my attempt at answering a meta game I thought was going to be rife with Kylo2 and Thrawn. I was a little bit low on my initial opinions of Snoke because I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a place to plant a 3-wide flag, but after further testing and taking eSnoke/Bala/Mando to GenCon, I feel comfortable firmly saying that there is a place for him to shine with two partners, though the archetype might not explode until Across the Galaxy drops. I’m not going to berate you with praise for Snoke; I think there’s enough of that on the internet that I don’t need to add much to the conversation. I will just say this: He makes really bad character dice really good. Bazine is a great example of this; 1 disrupt and 1 discard are both pretty underwhelming sides. Even 1 resource can be underwhelming if you don’t need the cash and you’re missing 2+ damage on a die. But 3 disrupt? 3 discard? 3 resources? All of those are exponentially more impactful because they can handily ruin your opponent’s round. We saw this at GenCon with Aphra, too; Snoke just has a way of turning previously mediocre dice into really great utility pieces.


I am very apprehensive about the future of two-character lists in a meta game rife with 3-wide suites that are flush with health, removal, and the cash to pay for things. The only character that fits into 2-character lists that I feel comfortable recommending to someone right now is Thrawn, and that’s because the utility from his ability is so detrimental to your opponent’s game plan when used correctly that it can turn the tide of a round pretty heftily. It is possible that 2-character mill lists like Luke/Leia or Cassian/Yoda end up being the answer to Annie mill, where the extra health and a focus on an anti-aggro game plan could potentially fail to hold up against a deck centered around less sustainability and more aggressive milling. Not being a player with an incredibly great interest in mill, I will withhold my expectations for the time being.


I really like Mandalorian Commando. I was high on the card for Legacies, but I’ve become a Mando truther after a lot of games with Artificery community member USSGordonCaptain, who was a big proponent of the character from the onset of the set. Despite the crew not being particularly interested in the deck, I was really enamored with the playstyle of the first version featuring eTalzin/Mando/Mando that focused on a lot of 1-cost upgrades and from there it evolved into an interest in the eSnoke/Bala-Tik/Mando deck I ended up taking to GenCon. The deck archetype has evolved since Way of the Force dropped and I can comfortably say that the best version of Mandos is with Momma Talzin and centered around Holocron. I’ve mentioned extensively throughout this article just how prevalent 3-character lists have become and one of the consistently oppressive answers to 3-character lists is Force Wave, a card that fits in wonderfully with Mandalorians doing 1-damage pings whenever you slam a Holocron into their hands. This deck has staying power and, like Annie mill, absolutely needs to be on your testing list for the meta game going forward. It does decently against mill, runs really efficient against aggro, has a boat load of health, and almost always hits Talzin’s ability.

If you’re going to Virginia at the end of the month, be sure to keep a look out for the Artificery crew — most of us will be making it to the event and we’re excited to meet all the people who didn’t get the opportunity to come to GenCon. Until then, may the rolls be with you!
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Way of the Heroes: Character Overview

Ezra Bridger Aspiring JediEzra Bridger – Aspiring Jedi

Ezra Bridger is perfectly fine for his point cost. Most low-cost characters aren’t particularly inspiring, but Ezra fits into a position that makes him universally useful for crafting 3-character suites. His die leaves something to be desired with both a 1 and 1 side. The can be particularly useful in the first couple of rounds but a single side can consistently feel underwhelming without a way to enhance it. That said, his Power Action is quite good against damage focused match-ups, as it is easy to throw one upgrade on him and get an extra card every single round. 8 Health is quite fragile, though, even at his point cost; for 1 more point, you can get Rey1 or Aayla for 2 more. Still, he helps level out the possibilities of strong blue melee characters at cheap cost. He is best paired with a beefier elite blue character like Luke3 alongside a supportive character potentially in a second color like Anakin.

Jedi Sentinel

Non-uniques have to be really good to justify their inclusion because you can’t throw them in at elite. Jedi Sentinel‘s die unfortunately is not very exciting and while getting an extra shield at the start of the round is nice, it doesn’t compare to the sheer power of Aayla or utility of Yoda at the same cost. I hate having a cost on 2 sides without huge upside in a character and Sentinel’s doesn’t do anything to assuage my worries about her. I would rather have another base side to pair with modified sides on upgrade dice than worry about the small potential upside of her . This character just isn’t good enough to warrant a spot over either of her competitors.

Luke Skywalker – Reluctant Instructor

Luke3 is insane. He has a significantly better die than Kylo2 despite costing 2 less points to build with and can be paired with a medley of characters to form formidable 2- and 3-character suites. The only major downside of Luke3 is that you sacrifice the ability to use several events in blue heroes, like Guard and Force Misdirection because they don’t interact well with his die showing . Fortunately, this also means that you can dodge a lot of removal that targets damage sides like Into the Garbage Chute or the Guardian keyword. Even Easy Pickings becomes less useful against Luke3 unless he rolls two 2 sides. His Power Action is a little lackluster in standard blue heroes because the archetype doesn’t rely on Force powers much, if at all. Legacies will probably exploit the ability to much larger effect with Force Wave, though.

Luke3 has a lot of different character suites he can fit into. Aayla, Rey2, and Poe2 all make great 2-character combinations with him. Ezra2 can also pair with him alongside Built to Last with a host of unique blue upgrades, though sitting at a fragile 20 Health can feel iffy with how fast things have become. Old Leia and Luke can pair up for a mill combination, but I feel like Yoda might pair better with Leia to give her blue in this case. There is a similarly expansive collection of 3-character suites, but I’ve already mentioned one of my favorite above: eLuke3/Ezra2/Annie. You can substitute Ezra2 for Temple Guard for Guardian shenanigans as well. My only apprehension about Luke3 is that the growing popularity of Kylo2/x might stifle mono blue lists, which is why I would recommend exploring partners that can add another color in these early weeks.

Plo Koon – Jedi Protector

Plo Koon is everything Luminara wishes she was. His die is servicable, but his ability allows him to become monstrous with the right character pairings. The two big lists right now include Padawan and Jedha Partisan because, as far as the community is aware, Plo Koon gets two copies of an ability if he’s paired with two of the same non-unique characters. This means that ePlo/Pad/Pad can get 6 resources worth of upgrades down on round 1 and ePlo/Partisan/Partisan can yank four cards from the top of your deck with one resolution every round. These are the two most prominent pairings, but you can also try something with Clone Trooper or Temple Guard. There’s nothing in hero red for the former to excite me, but a free Fort Anaxes in mono blue heroes is extremely tempting.

My big apprehension with Plo Koon in testing is the fragility of his Padawan partners. 7 Health is not a lot to chew through and if you do not have the explosive start that functionally plays 6+ resources of upgrades in the first round, you are putting yourself in a position to fail. Losing a Padawan without a redeploy upgrade feels really, really bad, and it can snowball out of control uf you are not careful about where you are putting your upgrades. Still, Plo is just going to get better with time and he definitely has moments where he just explodes from the onset. It is really hard to deal with 7 dice round 1 and beyond.

Boss Nass – Bombastic Ruler

Boss Nass is… bad. I want to see more Gungan keyword cards before I’m willing to start playing with him, but the Gungan mechanic of benefiting from rolling blanks is really card to get behind. Yes, it helps mitigate the affect of missing on your dice, but I’d much rather be in a position to explode when I don’t roll like complete garbage. Under no circumstances is Nass’s die good, especially considering what you can get if you pay another 1 point for somebody like Yoda. Red heroes in general is still suffering from the It’s a Trap conundrum that has kept so many of its cards mild at best and Nass does nothing to mitigate some of those growing pains as we head into subsequent sets.

Gungan Warrior

Gungan Warrior is actually more usable than his boss. His die isn’t phenomenal, but for 6 points and 6 health it does the job well enough and even has a base side. This is purely a character that is going to slot into 3-character suites to help splash into red without a lot of investment. Unfortunately, like I mentioned with Boss Nass, there still isn’t a lot of purpose in going into hero red right now. Most of the hot events are in yellow or blue and almost none of the upgrades in red are worthy of excitement. Maybe there’s some wild and wonky Grand Entrance deck that uses Gungan Warrior with Rey1 and Luke3 to play Ambush upgrades and Force Speed on Rey to get Luke going.

Leia Organa – Heart of the Resistance

Leia2 adds to the list of really nice 15-cost characters in heroes right now. While I’ve mentioned extensively that red heroes doesn’t have a lot going for it, most of those observations have been about damage-based decks. For Leia, there’s a lot to like in red. Cards like Commando Raid and Scout have been left underused because they lacked good decks to slot into. Leia’s cost is great, her health ratio is perfectly fine, her die is incredibly efficient and isn’t bogged down by a high character cost or underwhelming and sides, and that Power Action does everything you want to ensure that you’re consistently hitting your opponent’s deck and speeding up the mill endgame. There is a lot to be excited about with Leia and I’m eager to see the sort of things she can pull off.

Zion already wrote a full quick hit about Leia2/Cassian‘s sweatshop, so I’m not going to go too in depth with that combination. Needless to say, yellow heroes has some of the best control cards in the game right now and Cassian almost always loves resolving 66% of his die sides with Leia. She also has the potential to fit in with blue characters, specifically Yoda and Luke3. While Luke is perfectly fine with Leia and has a high chance of having one of his dice resolved to get rid of two off the top of your opponent’s deck, Yoda has so much more solo utility and versatility that I’m much more excited about pairing him with Leia than I am Luke. My only apprehension here is that Leia is yearning for more survivability and might not be able to withstand the tide of aggro long enough to see the mill condition through; a lot of my games against mill have been very close, but still largely wins, and there is always anxiety about going to time in tournaments against slower players.

Rex – Clone Captain

Rex is great. He is literally a better version of Clone Trooper with a side instead of a second blank. There is a lot to like about him. His health pool is great, his three damage sides are excellent, and his ability to give you permanent access to cards like Fort Anaxes, Dug In, Defensive Position, Superior Position, Hasty Exit, etc. is absolutely phenomenal and opens up the door for more diverse deck building. The consensus is to sit him with two Clone Troopers, but I feel like slotting in Hired Gun for the color diversity against Kylo2 and cards like Friends in Low Places and Easy Pickings is just way too hard to pass up. You can also fit him with Maz and push to use her ability to immediately resolve two dice with Rex’s Pistol after he activates.

All of this sounds like a lot of upside. What’s the problem, then? Red heroes still sucks compared to blue heroes in almost every way, which is further emphasized by the fact that ranged weapons are not as good as melee weapons. Seriously, compare something like Ancient Lightsaber or Dagger of Mortis to the kinds of 2- and 3-cost cards we see with ranged sides. Ranged upgrades upgrades are more expensive for more modified and paid sides with lower values. That is not to say that Rex is necessarily bad, but it feels rough when your best activation via two Rex’s Blaster Pistols and Hit and Run can still end up not doing a lot because of mixed and damage sides or a dearth of damage without a resource cost.

Anakin Skywalker – Podracing Prodigy

Anakin is an incredibly good, low-cost, resource generating character to help you splash yellow in any number of decks. Dropping 7 points for a 50% chance at hitting a side and the opportunity to flip droid or podracer dice to any side (R2-D2[card] to [special], anyone?) both give him an absolute ton of utility. I’ve said it numerous times, but yellow heroes has a lot of great control and utility events that really up the consistency of decks in a wide variety of areas. Anakin will see a lot of play in a lot of places and demand that he get targeted despite not being an offensive threat because your opponent will want to stop your resource generation, turn off your Spot Yellow cards, and dodge [card]Into the Garbage Chute. That’s a whole lot of value for a 7-cost character that isn’t your win condition.

Bo-Katan Kryze – Deathwatch Lieutenant

Bo-Katan comes in with twelve health, great die with three damage sides, huge deck building opportunities… but she comes at 20 points for elite and has to be played in 3-dice lists. People have talked about eKryze/Yoda lists that run Crime Lord, but relying almost entirely on two of your thirty cards to pull out a win with a 3-dice list is uninspiring to say the very least. Severely mixed damage sides don’t do Kryze any favors, either. Sabine wasn’t played because her dice were good; she was played because she could avoid mitigation, had great match-ups against mill, and could consistently make use of modified ranged sides to blow out a game. Kryze can’t really do any of these things with any consistency and she is brutally susceptible to mitigation that hits one or two of her character dice. I would much rather play Luke3 or Kylo2 and run melee upgrades and be happy about my investment than pay five more points for Kryze and pray that my opponent doesn’t have removal for a round.

Cassian Andor – Rebellion Operative

Cassian is a really interesting character because unlike his partner Jyn Erso, he can fit into both mill and damage decks without breaking your point budget for characters. At his worst, all of his sides end up being 1, but at his best Cassian has a 2- and 3- damage side despite only costing 14 and you never feel bad about resolving his side. On the mill side of things, Cassian has easy pairings with Leia2 and Yoda, both of which are strong candidates with different colors to help Cassian succeed at dumping his opponent’s deck. The damage dealing side is a little bit less inspiring in terms of pairings. There is almost no support for ranged damage in blue, but Cassian can pair with Finn and Poe2. Both of these characters have their own struggles, but despite them, they have good match-ups against 2-character lists with Cassian.

Cassian’s mini Palpatine effect can be incredibly oppressive and will catch up to your opponent faster than they may expect. I’m especially on board with Poe2/Cassian considering the access to one of the best 2-cost ranged upgrades in the game through Poe’s Blaster, but my apprehension lies in the amount of good yellow cards that are dead if you can’t spot a yellow character, making Cassian a prime target at the beginning of the game. Still, Poe provides really nice All-In plays that are the closest thing we have to the former glory of It’s a Trap and Cassian gets a ton of value out of his dice every round he resolves them.

Trusted Informant

I want to like this card. 9:9 health to cost ratio is fine and his die isn’t terrible, but it’s so hard to find a spot for a 9-cost yellow character in a deck when someone like Annie exists and can provide more useful utility. His ability feels like a trap for new players; you should be sequencing your actions intelligently to avoid removal anyways and while the information is good, it feels as if it might come at too high a cost to be entirely reasonable. Still, Trusted Informant‘s damage sides are nice for vehicles and he has two resource sides despite the modified side being awkward with someone like Rose. You can probably pair him with eRose and Yoda for a 4-dice vehicles setup that boasts a not insubstantial 28 health and get some pretty good mileage if you feel the ability and extra health is worth losing out on a 5-dice or 4-wide alternative.