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!
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.
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!