Are you ready to get into Star Wars: Destiny but don’t know where to start? Artificery has put together four strategies for getting into the game – covering every player type and budget.
Budget Friendly For Two
by Sean “Pearl Yeti” Aguilar
Cost: $65 for two copies of the Two-Player Game and a pack of KMC Hyper Mattes
The Two-Player Game released on Force Friday II (check out our review) makes for a fantastic entry into Star Wars: Destiny. At $30 it provides hours of game play and is a good stand-alone board game in its own right. It offers new players a way to learn the basics of the game and gives insights into advanced tactics such as Special cascading, play tempo and overwriting.
My suggestion for the new player is to begin with a single copy and feel out if they enjoy the game mechanics. If the game gets its hooks in you then pick up a second copy. With two copies of every card and dice offered in the starter, the new player will be able to put together a deck that won’t fall on its face at local events. It is also a safe purchase – Kylo and Phasma are already emerging as competitive decks in the meta.
The only downside to this approach is once you put two sets of the game together the balance between the Hero and Villain deck begins to skew toward the Dark Side.
Two-Player Game Kylo and Phasma
Link to swdestinydb.com deck list
Battlefield: Hangar Bay
x2 Captain Phasma’s Blaster
x2 Crossguard Lightsaber
x2 Dark Counsel
x2 Force Stasis
x2 Jedi Rival
x2 Praetorian Guard
x2 Armored Support
x2 As I Have Foreseen
x2 First Strike
x2 I Have You Now
x2 Sound The Alarm
x2 Your Skills Are Complete
After you get some Two Player Games under your belt it is time to begin meeting other players. Many cities have created Facebook groups where local events are posted. Just search for groups with a name like “Star Wars Destiny <Your City>”, something should come up. If you strike out there, just check in with your local game stores – many run regular Destiny events. The usual events are either free open play or a $5 buy-in Swiss-rounds tournament. Tournaments with a buy in usually have prizes in the form of store credit or Destiny booster packs – the packs make for a good way to grow your collection.
The new player should head to their first events looking to have fun and meet other players, don’t stress about winning or making a good showing. Local players are always excited for new people to enter the scene and many of them will help with advice, trades and sometimes free goodies. Buying boosters to collect an entire set of Destiny creates A LOT of extra common cards – check with your local players to see if they have a spare set. That set of commons will come in handy in tweaking your deck without having to spend a lot (or any) money in the process.
If you’re like me it only takes a handful of weeks before the Destiny bug really gets a hold of you and you’ll begin to outgrow your Two Play Game and begin looking for a way to build your next deck. But what deck? You can jump into building out a collection that can craft multiple decks, or you can take a try-before-you-buy approach…
by Codey “Lasci” Paeth
Cost: $10-20 for Tabletop Simulator
While this perspective might be coming from a filthy, self-loathing completionist (seriously, my bank account hates this game), Tabletop Simulator (TTS) was the way many members of our community got roped into Star Wars: Destiny, including me. You can purchase the game on Steam or Humble Bundle for the low price of $19.99. In fact, Tabletop Simulator is frequently on sale for as much as half that cost. For the small investment you get the opportunity to test out the game, play around with all the cards, and eventually you’ll be able to give an evaluation of which legendaries YOU feel are worth putting the money down for. There are a wealth of people who are looking for games at all hours of the day and you can play against them at home in the comfort of your underwear!
The most important aspect about learning Destiny through Tabletop Simulator is one simple rule: Play. Everything. Seriously, if you have access to all the cards and it takes you zero effort to make decks, resleeve your cards, etc., there’s no reason not to regularly cycle through archetypes, character suites, and card selections. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Variety is also, conveniently, the best way to grasp the growing card pool Destiny has. You don’t want to type cast yourself as the “blue heroes” player who has no knowledge of villain cards until they start being used against you [Editor’s note – You ever going to let me live down Luke/Rey? – Pearl Yeti]. Similarly, you shouldn’t feel beholden to using the same cards over and over again.
As an extension of that rule, don’t be afraid to net deck or ask your opponent if you can look at their deck — after the game, of course. There’s no better way to learn how to play against a deck than getting utterly stomped while running it. The experience will be humbling and it will give you an understanding of what you can expect when you’re sitting across the table from someone using that same list. Knowledge is half the battle in Destiny, and if you have a good idea of what your opponents are playing, you’re in a much better position to win your games! Branch out. Test. Try new things. Experiment!
For a beginner, playing Destiny on Tabletop Simulator is simple, easy, and intuitive. There are numerous tutorials out there and most people are more than happy to shoot you tips if you need them. If you’re looking for a quick run through, feel free to come to the Artificery Discord and give Lasci a holler — I’d be happy to teach a few newbies the ins and outs of how to work the game. Tabletop Simulator is an incredible tool for gaining familiarity with Destiny. If it turns out you’re not into the game, you know that you’ve only put down twenty bucks and you don’t have to figure out how to explain the mountain of dice in your living room to your significant other.
But if you’re like the members of Artificery then you’ll eventually need to take your deck-building out of the digital realm and into the analog world…
Pick A Deck and Run with It
by Agent of Zion
Cost: $100-$200 for singles or booster boxes
By now you should have quite a bit of exposure. If you’ve been playing on TTS you’ve seen almost everything from all the tournament crushing decks, to a pile of cards that are technically a deck (but would never win) and everything in between.
If you’ve jumped in to your local scene with a borrowed deck or two, or perhaps by following Pearl Yeti’s advice, you know at least a few of the local players and what their preferences are. If you have seen the same people and decks at the top tables repeatedly, even better.
Ideally you have a mixture of the two sources of knowledge and have developed a general taste for the kind of deck you enjoy playing and how that would fit into your local meta. Check out swdestinydb.com, and use the decklist search feature to compare/contrast several different versions of your favorite deck archetype to get a sense for what cards are most commonly played therein. Now that you have a “want” list of cards, you have a few options.
First up is the “wallet” method. Buying the singles directly from a local or online retailer is certainly the easiest way to get what you need. Unfortunately it will of course burn through your budget pretty quickly, even if you scour Ebay for the best deals.
The second method is ideal to use in the first couple of weeks after a new set release (like right now!). Head on out to release events, or simply buy packs of the newest set at the next scheduled event. I personally reccomend buying unopened product a box at a time (36 packs) because you’re gaurunteed six legendaries on top of likely receiving a bulk discount.
Crack those packs open, spread them all out in front of you and start trading away everything that you don’t need for stuff you do! The reason this works better the closer you are to a set release is simple. People like new stuff, and the singles prices (read: trade value) for the newest set are likely at their highest because of how relatively little supply there is on the market. People will happily trade multiple “old” rares or legendaries for the newest stuff.
The players especially valuable to you through this method are the completionists who are trying to fill out their playsets. As a completionist I have happily made “bad” trades by exchanging my extras from a previous set for seemingly random cards from a new set, even cards that I knew for a fact I would never play (looking at you Delta-7 Interceptor).
There are very few decks out of reach through trading the contents of a box or two, and the ones that are usually rely on flagship legendaries like Palpatine or Thermal Detonator. On paper, the second method can approach the cost of the first but you will definately have cards left over to continue trading with to branch out into other related deck types. By way of example, putting together a Kylo/Vader deck is super easy if you started off playing Luke/Rey.
And of course success breeds success. The more you win with your first deck, the more packs you can buy to either put together a “higher tier” deck, or simply to build your trade binder for future planning. Always be keeping an eye out for special Destiny events where you can aquire promotional products. GenCon, NoVa, Comic Con, and Star Wars Celebration have all handed out promotional cards that could be traded or sold for half of an entirely new deck! But running a deck and slowly building out your collection isn’t for everyone, some people must have it all – right now. We call those types The Collectors…
Free shipping for purchases over $100 using code FreeShipping100 at checkout.
The Completionist Collector
Cost: $360 for EAW booster boxes / $1100 for all three sets
The Symptoms: “I gotta catch em all…..” – Pokemon
Are you the kind of person that doesn’t let a single thing slip in life…you have everything arranged in its double sleeved spot in your Dex Binder, and organize your dice by character, upgrade, support, color, and rarity? If this sounds like you, well my friend you are likely a collector. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as you think, and you can live your gotta-catch-em-all lifestyle without breaking the bank.
The Basics: “How can we know who we are and where we are going if we don’t know anything about where we have come from and what we have been through...” – David McCullough
When Destiny Awakenings (AWK) was originally released there was a great unknown surrounding whether or not this would be a hit game. Many retailers carried little if any of the product (unless you were in Canada) and if they did many of them didn’t know how to go about marketing the game. As such it was a great surprise to many when the game went off the charts in terms of collectability -back in January a complete set of AWK (defined as copies 2 of all cards) was going for around $1,000 or more. Nobody knew exactly how many boxes were going to be printed, the community was rife with rumor and speculation, and some retailers were backordered so badly that they had to cancel pre-orders. This knowledge vacuum spiked prices to an unsustainable level.
With the release of Spirit of Rebellion (SOR) came the promise of greater supplies and larger variety of cards, especially with the publicly released knowledge that a substantial final reprinting of AWK would hit. SOR was a much more reasonable release but the diversity and overall power of many cards was less than AWK.
Consider the legendaries as a starting point.
One With The Force
At face value the quality and quantity of legendaries was significantly higher in AWK as compared to SOR. This disparity in quality led to the rise of Force Speed being the single highest priced chase legendary in the history of the game, with it peeking around $65 at one point in time. But the falloff from there was substantial with the next most desired cards being Palpatine around $50 and then a steeper drop to Rocket Launcher and Riot Baton coming in around the $25 range. With AWK the value of most of the legendaries (more than half) has averaged around $20-25 with some in the $30-40 range (Vader, Han, Luke). When comparing opening boxes between the two sets the chances of a dud box were much higher in SOR as a box was either a boom or a bust depending on whether it contained a Force Speed.
Expected Value: “You can’t always get what you want” – The Rolling Stones
The definition of Expected Value (EV) is “the predicted value of a variable, calculated as the sum of all possible values each multiplied by the probability of its occurrence.” What it boils down to is what is your chance of pulling any given card from a pack, and multiplying it by the value. In the high point of demand on AWK a box’s EV was in the $220 range, whereas they were selling for around $100 (if you could find one). At the height of SOR the EV was much lower, maybe in the $140 range (and it was very short lived with a precipitous drop off). Today the EV is probably around $100.
So what: – “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.” – Gone with the Wind
If you know that you want to become a collector of Destiny, you may have bought yourself one or two of the starter decks or two player games and you are thinking of taking the big plunge. Well if this is the case, it may be the perfect moment for the next few months. If you are discerning you can find significant lots or full sets of both Awakenings and Spirit of Rebellion for sale at what I would consider wholesale pricing. Fortunately for people coming into the game right now there is a trifecta of storms brewing. First, we are cycling out of Rebellion while supply is still available, Second we are at the end of the massive reprint of Awakenings, and third, we have a new set coming. What this means is price suppression – I don’t think we will see prices this low for Awakenings and Rebellion ever again. If I were buying in now I would set my target price at around $600-650 for a playset that had both AWK and SOR.
Now comes the question of how you approach Empire at War. My first reaction is that the set isn’t as desirable as Awakenings or Spirit of Rebellion. There are two chase legendaries in Ancient Lightsaber and Thrawn, and I would value both of them around $40-50 during the majority of the print run. From there it is a large drop off, much like SOR. The rares are a bit muddled, the best ones are faction and color specific. Unlike the neutral gems Holdout Blaster and Vibroknife, we have to treat many of these to be on par with DH-17 or Jetpack. These cards may have a great deal of power, but unfortunately they just aren’t needed in the majority of decks. They aren’t what I would consider a “Meta” card – something so good and usable that every deck will run a pair of it. The closest this set has to a Meta card is the Endurance – this card has a chance to be the most expensive uncommon printed yet and could sore as high as $20.
I’m putting an expected value of around $120 a box for the short term while people are trying to get their hands on boxes, and a long term value of around $90 a box. My recommendation is to buy 4 boxes of Empire at War for the completionist. This would give you roughly two thirds of all the legendaries and with if you sell the surplus cards it may net enough money to buy 2 more boxes to round out your set. This is an approach I used in SOR to help buy a playset of cards for around $360. If you have the patience for it you could wait for the prices to come down a bit, but if you do you’ll miss out on a significant portion of the EAW meta.