Posted on

Kylo2/Talzin Portland Regional Top 4 Tournament Report

This article was original posted on 2/4 to Patreon for all patrons at the Padawan level and higher. If you’d like to see exclusive strategy content two weeks earlier than the rest of the world, head over there and check out our affordable patron levels and get all the best content in advance!

Portland was a really key experience for me. It’s the first time I’ve had the chance to fly out and meet the whole of the Artificery Crew in person and, to be honest, the first time I’ve ever flown across the country to participate in a competitive event. Without belaboring the details too much, let’s just say that despite being stressed leading up to the event, I was ecstatic that I went and couldn’t have imagined a better experience. Did you know Portland has the best cheese curds ever? Yeah. It’s a pretty nice city.

But you’re not here to hear about dive bars and burrito places and Portland’s weird obsession with alcohol, so let’s get into the meet and bones of the tournament report.

T’was the night before regionals when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Except Tacster and AgentofZion, who stayed up until two in the morning fussing about which deck to play and whether or not Yoda/Hondo was a meme. I had similar concerns, but my poor body needs its beauty sleep and I tried to get as much of it as possible. (Spoilers, I definitely didn’t get enough sleep.)

I came into this weekend panicking because, like Tacster and Zion,  I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to play. The Legacies meta is wide open. It’s huge. There’s no boogeyman. There are so many things to play, and they all had their merits. I expected OTK, but I felt like the cat was out of the bag with that deck and it wouldn’t stand up to eight rounds of swiss unless I put serious work into revisions and testing, which was time I didn’t have. I expected 7th Tarkin, but as much as I love playing that deck, it has some really bum match-ups and can struggle viciously against 3-character suites. I knew things like Obi/Maz and Sabine were going to be there, but they definitely weren’t decks that I wanted to take to a regional because of the wide variance on how well they can do in any single game. There was also 3-wide blue heroes, which is something I greatly enjoy playing, but I knew that everyone was going to play it (I was right) and I didn’t feel comfortable running that deck without stuff like Hidden Motive and Heirloom Lightsaber, which I think are key mono blue cards in the Legacies meta game.

Ultimately, I brought three decks with me on the flight over. I went to Portland with the intention of playing Talzin 5-dice villains, but I didn’t feel good about it. I wasn’t happy or satisfied with my deck list at all; I didn’t feel like I had concocted a good collection of low-cost upgrades, ramp, and odd cards in order to properly use Talzin, and the more I played games with the deck on Friday and Saturday the more I felt dissatisfied with my state of affairs. I had also brought a Poe2/Aayla deck, which I took to the casual predecessor to the regional at Portland Game Store on Friday night. I ended up going 4-0 with the deck while having some really good games against the local competition. That didn’t help things. And yet, I didn’t feel like the deck was dominant — it was good, it resembled R2P2, a deck I hadn’t played and therefore wasn’t tired of playing, but I wasn’t sure I was comfortable hedging my bets on a deck that tends to play pretty fair and that falters once Aayla goes down.

As you can see, while Tacster and Zion were going bohemian and sleeving up Yoda/Hondo, I was sticking to my guns with Kylo2/Talzin, but it wasn’t an easy decision. One of the big factors going into the tournament was preparing for mirror matches. The crew didn’t think Kylo2 was going to be a secret. We assumed that most people would have caught on to how good this deck was and were going to be running it at the event. After all, I had been seeing it on TTS and in the top cut of the League. But I slammed the list anyways, making a few key modifications in the process. At Zion’s insistence, I ended up dropping Chance Cube.

After seeing significantly more Kallus than Kylo2 Friday, I decided to just… not prepare for the mirror. And as the day went on, I was extremely happy with my decision — because I think there were maybe two other people playing Kylo2/Talzin out of the nearly ninety participants. Sweet!


Round 1: eAayla + Padawan + Padawan

There was definitely no foul play with pairing for the Artificery Crew. In the first round, I was paired with Dass, another member of the crew, while Tacster and Zion were paired with one another. Kylo2’s match-up against 3-wide blue heroes is incredibly good. It’s almost impossible to lose this as Kylo, but it’s certainly possible. I gave him his battlefield and it proved pretty good in the first round, splitting up my damage between his three characters. I’ve never particularly liked Padawans because after they’ve taken just one die of damage, they get precariously close to just kicking the bucket. I got the battlefield and initiative for the second round and immediately blitzed a Padawan with a Shoto, getting rid of her before she had the chance to get a redeploy upgrade out. Dass ended up hitting me for an astounding 9 damage on the first turn and Kylo ended up dying to a silly mistake on my part in round 3. I had a bunch of removal, Force Illusion, and a Witch Magick in hand, but I let Aayla Force Speed > Reroll her one remaining die into 2 damage for the kill. I don’t think it mattered at that point, though; Talzin was stacked up and Kylo had done his job, putting Aayla close to half health while killing both Padawans before they could do much. It was a pity I had to make Dass start the tournament 0-1. TOME was mean to us today.

Round 2: eAayla + ePoe2

This match up is pretty good for me and I had just spent the previous night testing this deck pretty thoroughly at the aforementioned casual event. There’s a lot of blue upgrades in there and while Aayla/Poe2 can output a lot of damage in the early rounds, I was confident that I had the mitigation and sustainability to make it not matter. Unfortunately for my opponent, I don’t think he ever had a chance of winning this. I resolved three Holocron over the course of the game and rapidly had both Kylo and Talzin decked out with upgrades. I started with Crystal Ball and Dark Counsel in my opening hand on top of that, which made it easy to ramp and into whatever I wanted without much concern with my opponent’s removal. It was brutal.

Round 3: ePoe2 + eHondo

This was my first of four matches against one of the guys from Boise, Idaho. I didn’t go into the regional expecting to be faced against Hondo unless I was sitting across from one of my teammates. Despite the fact that they were running Poe2 instead of Yoda, I had enough cursory knowledge about the deck and how it functions to know that if I could kill Poe2 early enough, I could deal with Hondo’s . This match-up is still pretty clutch, though; if the Hondo player ends up getting Cunning out early, I know that things can go rapidly down hill for Mama Kylo and it’s very possible that I just run out of things to do if I don’t get It Binds All Things or my low-cost upgrades. Thankfully, after hard mulliganing for those cards, I started the game with It Binds All Things and a Holocron.

That didn’t make this match any less clutch, though; I ended up winning the roll and taking my opponent’s Throne Room, which was a massive blunder on my part. There are very few instances where it behooves you to take your own battlefield after you win the roll off, but Throne Room is one of them.  While I did have Holocrons, I couldn’t resolve the [specia] for most of the game because I didn’t have any Force powers in my hand. Still, I was on point with my Kylo2 calls and ended up killing Poe2 at the very end of Round 2 before he could become a nuisance. Before my opponent could claim, I ended up resolving a Dark Counsel , drawing a Force Throw, resolving a Holocron and rolled in the Force Throw to throw Hondo’s 2 into Poe for the kill. From there, playing around Hondo’s was fairly easy

Round 4: ePoe2 + eHondo

I was paired up with another Boise player, Nick, who wrote a deck tech about their list on our site a few days ago. Long story short, this game didn’t go nearly as well as the last one. I made the mistake of taking Throne Room again because I was cocky from my previous win. It was a blunder that I definitely wouldn’t make for the rest of the weekend. I don’t know that it would have mattered, though; this game was a blow out. I started the game with 2x Rise Again, 2x Witch Magick, and Isolation after my mulligan. Kylo didn’t hit any of his activations throughout the game. I think I ended the game with four damage on Poe2, but he had 3 on him. I resolved a Rise Again, two Witch Magicks, and even got the chance to throw down a Force Illusion, but without seeing an upgrade with a die until Round 3 and my opponent slamming two Cunning and a Canto Bight Pistol with Throne Room as our battlefield, my defeat was a foregone conclusion. I think the venue brought out the pizza, he played his second Cunning, and I gave him my hand and wished him the best of luck in the rest of his games before going to get my grub.

Side Note: The food in Portland was excellent, but their pizza was weird. There was only a couple pepperoni pizzas and the rest had stuff like mushrooms and onions and green peppers and pineapple. All the pizzas seemed to have olives on them, too? “Meat lovers” seems to = ground beef and Canadian bacon in Portland… 

Round 5: eSeventh Sister + Nute Gunray + Guavian Enforcer

After getting some food, I was rested but certainly not relaxed. At this point in the day, I was starting to fade fast — six hours of sleep over the course of two nights doesn’t make for a happy Destiny player — but I was chugging cold water and slapping myself to stay awake.

OTK Seventh Sister is, in my opinion, a deck whose dominance has been largely exaggerated. Once you understand how the deck functions — critically, that Leadership and a unique red character give Seventh Sister her easiest reactivations — I think a lot of the mystery and fear dissolves. Obviously, you have to play well and have a good game plan when playing against this deck, but I feel like that’s most of the battle. The Nute inclusion was interesting but ultimately something that I was happy to see. Losing a on Round 2 and every subsequent round isn’t that big of a deal because, let’s be honest, no amount of removal is going to prevent OTK from winning by Round 3 or 4 if things happen the way they want it to. I’ll gladly throw my opponent a resource on Round 2 for his Leadership character to have one less Health and generate less .

I lost the roll but my opponent took his battlefield, which you generally don’t want to happen but I was perfectly content with considering the results. Fort Anaxes is harder to use than you’d think; you’re really only getting value out of Guavian’s Guardian activation because you don’t want your unique red character to die before you can start using Leaderships. Most people go all-in on saving Seventh Sister, which can be a huge detriment once your opponent realizes that they just have to burst down your red character and they win. In the first round, I basically only resolved one of my dice, and it was for a .My opponent used The Best Defense… against two of my 2[range] sides and used Guardian to take a fourth damage on Nute. At the end of the round, his Seventh Sister had a Force Illusion and two , and I’m fine with that — because it means Nute is easy pickings.

Beginning of Round 2, I roll Kylo, miss with his ability, but get two 2 sides, one for a resource and one without. My opponent doesn’t have removal, and Nute is dead before he can roll Seventh Sister in and reactivate her using the Leadership in his hand. By the end of the round, I manage to get rid of both Seventh Sister’s shields and put a damage on her. I hold an Unyielding in my hand for the next round. In Round 3, Kylo finally hits. Seventh Sister takes another couple of shields. I reroll and fuss about with until I have 7 damage showing between my dice. My opponent appears to have used all his removal for the round, and seems about to claim–

And then he uses The Price of Failure on Guavian, killing him off and reactivating Seventh Sister. Needless to say, I was a bit thrown aback when I resolved my Unyielding to deal 7 damage, killing Seventh Sister off through her shields and Force Illusion for the game. That felt good. Eat that, OTK!

Round 6: eTalzin + eBala-Tik + First Order Storm Trooper

I wish I could say that this was a nail biter match that fully justified my taking Kylo2/Talzin over 5DV, but the reality is that it was a gross blow out. I don’t think this is as awful of a match-up as you might expect, but Lady Luck was not on my side for this match.

My opponent rolled really well and I consistently used my Talzin activation to negate his, which was a mistake in retrospect; I should have pushed harder to deal damage to him, because Bala-Tik dying would have been a significant boon. Still, I didn’t hit with Kylo the entire game, didn’t manage to kill one of his characters, and was pretty thoroughly stomped. I started with It Binds All Things, Crystal Ball, and Dark Counsel, which feels really good, but my opponent had an answer to just about everything that I did while rolling incredibly well. I didn’t see a Holocron or a Force power, while he was throwing The Best Defense, He Doesn’t Like You, and Electroshocks at me like they were going out of style. He also hit both of his Bait and Switch. I think I scooped at the beginning of Round 3.

Round 7: eAayla + Padawan + Padawan

When I sat down to see another 3-wide blue heroes list, I was elated. While I didn’t want to jinx myself, I knew that I had a really good match-up here. My opponent knew it, too, and seemed reserved to a loss, but he was an incredibly good sport and we had some hilarity ensue between the two of us. I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember the details of the match, only that I won pretty handily, but I do remember chatting with my opponent during and after the game and being revitalized by the giggles we shared. Cheers, man.

Round 8: eZeb + eYoda

One more win and I have a chance. I’ve chatted with a few of my previous opponents, and it seems they’re doing relatively well. But when I sat down with my Round 8 opponent and saw that I had been paired down — he was 4-3, not 5-2 like me — I was almost certain that I wasn’t going to make the cut whether I won or not. Still, I wasn’t about to take a loss lying down.

After the game, my opponent made a really apt description about the character combination: Zeb is a mountain that you either have to toughen up, climb, and hope for the best or pussy foot around and hope he doesn’t swallow you whole with a full suite of upgrades and Second Chance. I went after Zeb and, thankfully, was able to take him down in Round 3 before he could get the Second Chance on him. He output a significant amount of damage onto Kylo, but he was hitting his ability over 50% of the time, which made chunking out Zeb’s Health a lot easier. My opponent was flabbergasted when I discarded a Rise Again to reroll in the first round, but I wanted to get a Force Throw on the board and I had two pieces of removal and a Witch Magick that I wanted to hold onto and I couldn’t afford to have my hand get clunky.

Despite killing Zeb early, this game was still probably the closest win I had all day. Yoda ended up getting an Obi Saber on him, which is devastating considering he can fairly easily chain into 3 and 3 unblockable damage by chaining. I also shockingly had to fight through a Chopper of all things, which was consistently removing my dice. I had to use an Unyielding just to dodge its . There was a moment when my opponent played Impulsive to resolve a Force Speed to get three actions — and had he rolled better, he could have easily killed off Kylo and secured the game. It wasn’t to be, though, and I ended up going 6-2 in the swiss.

To my surprise, it turned out I was #6 after the swiss round; my two losses were against two people that had cinched two top 4 spots. I was practically out of the room by the time Hexen grabbed me and let me know that I had made the cut. This was the first time I had played Destiny at this level since GenCon, which I barely missed the cut at #18 — it felt really good to show up at Portland and perform well enough to make it into the top 8 despite my loses, especially considering how unpredictable the meta game was and how sharp the competition in Portland is.

Top 8: ePoe2 + eHondo

My top 8 match was to Nicholas, who had beaten me in the swiss rounds the day prior in a startlingly one-sided match. I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence going up against him a second time. I knew if I started seeing Cunning and Canto Bight Pistol that I would quickly find myself in the same situation I did in the swiss rounds. But I was able to go in with a more determined game plan and the learned lesson of not taking Throne Room if I won the roll. I knew that I could kill Poe quickly — I had done it before against his Boise teammate just the round prior.

I won the roll-off, chose my battlefield, and he put his on… Hondo? I was definitely fine with this. After my mulligan, I managed to have not one, but two It Binds All Things, which were key to almost completely ignoring Hondo’s . I was able to burst down Poe surprisingly quickly, missing on my first Kylo activation and then hitting the rest of them for the first game. I think Poe ended up going down early in Round 3 to an Unyielding play. By the time Poe went down, having a Cunning on Hondo wasn’t enough to secure him a victory with the sheer amount of I had saved up.

We went to game 2, and we went onto Throne Room. I had another good start, kicking things off with It Binds All Things, Crystal Ball, and a Holocron, which is about as good of a starting hand as I could ask for in a match-up that demands I output damage quickly onto Poe while generating . I was shocked to find that my opponent was still putting his onto Hondo; with Crystal Ball and Holocron in my starting hand, I wasn’t especially concerned with having the to deal with Hondo and Poe, particularly with his blaster, was always the real threat in my mind. This match was a lot closer; Kylo got chunked pretty hard early and I had to make liberal use of Witch Magick to keep him alive. When I hit Rise Again, I had the chance to take either a Force Illusion — one of which had been burst through, the other had been hit by Vandalize — or a Force Push, and I opted for the Illusion to sustain Kylo long enough for him to do more damage. Poe stayed alive much longer in this match than in the first one, but eventually he went down, and I was able to keep my characters alive long enough to kill off Hondo, too.

Top 4: Jedha Partisan + Yoda + General Rieekan

This was my penultimate match for the weekend and one that I learned a lot of lessons from. I was very hard on myself coming to this event but felt like I performed well enough to justify my trip, which was incredibly encouraging. Plus, that hot Thrawn card for the top 4 does a lot to help your motivation!

Before we get into the specifics of the match, I want to address two lessons that I learned from it, and two things that I want to make sure I impart on our readers.

The first one is a gameplay and mechanics tip. When you go into a top cut, best of X match, you should do so with a game plan, but also be prepared to adapt that plan on the fly. I went into this match having almost no experience with or against mill — I don’t like playing as it or against it — and flew wild with the assumption that my best option was to kill Rieekan first. That was the wrong assumption and part of the reason I didn’t make it to the finals was that I was too stubborn to think critically and change up my strategy.

The second one is something that isn’t necessarily related to gameplay or even Destiny itself, but a mistake I made that I think everyone should use my experience to learn from: Never let your opponent bully you into making mistakes. Breath, take your time, and make sure you play the best game of Destiny you can.

First off, this is a stupendously bad match-up. My opponent had something like 11 red cards, 9 gray cards, 6 blue cards, and 4 yellow. That’s a really hard distribution to hit with Kylo and I think I only hit it once or twice in the whole match. Most of my cards are garbage in this match-up save for my upgrades, Frighten, and Unyielding. I never got to use Unyielding and I only hit my Frighten once. I didn’t have good odds here.

The first game I felt handily in control, though. I went into the match knowing that: a)  I couldn’t discard to reroll flippantly because my opponent had very little to discard from my hand, and b) I needed to get as many upgrades on my characters as humanly possible as quickly as possible so that I could limit my rerolls and get the most out of each round — he was not running Fall Back. I had to fight for every single activation of Kylo2, Talzin, and Crystal Ball; there were several moments where my opponent was immediately trying to take an action the moment I rolled their dice in. I had to stop him several times from taking an action and, at one point, I even had to have him back up an entire action because he had immediately thrown down removal before I had even rearranged Kylo2’s dice in front of me. I had to proceed anything I did with an “Aaaand…” just so that I could have a chance to consider the board state.

Despite the situation getting to my head (I later let my opponent Easy Pickings after Partisan was dead), I ended up killing Rieekan incredibly quickly despite having to chew through a plethora of shields, which conserved a pretty sizable portion of my draw deck before he could get rid of it. Having a Force Wave on the field was a huge boon in this game, because it let me deal damage to Rieekan while keeping shields off his other characters. From there, I was able to take out Partisan. At one point, I resolved two on Talzin’s dice and took a C3PO, taking away his main way to mill my hand. After that, my opponent aggressively discarded to get through his deck and find the second C3PO. By the time the first game ended, my opponent was milled more than me (I think he had one card in hand to my four?) and I killed off Yoda.

The first game took about 45 minutes and, in a top 4 match with only a 90 minute time limit, I should have been feeling good. I just needed to sustain through two games and keep my opponent on his back feet and I should have won. Unfortunately, this is where things started to go down hill. My opponent made the observation that mill, obviously, just straight up loses to time, and asked that I speed up my play. Not wanting to make it seem like I was slow playing him or trying to be a poor sport, I obliged, and… this is when I started to make mistakes.

Going into game 2, I should have focused on Partisan. He is by far the easiest to kill and has a very impactful die, effectively having 3 discard sides. I instead went after Rieekan again, and game 2 ended up being an absolute mess. I switched targets to Partisan once I realized Rieekan was a lost cause, which was a mistake. The game up until that point wasn’t going well for me, besides; I only had 4 damage on Rieekan and that matched the 4 I had taken from Partisan. Any time I wasn’t moving dice or cards, my opponent was asking for me to speed up my pace; at one point, he even insisted I hurry when it was his action. It led to me finally missing my first activation ability of the whole weekend — Talzin’s — during a critical point where I needed the damage to kill off Partisan before he received a new bevy of shields. The whole situation put me on tilt. At some point, I stopped even asking to count my opponent’s graveyard whenever Kylo2 activated. My head was completely out of it. I think I ended up killing Partisan, but by that point it was much too late I was down to just a few cards in hand and my opponent had Chance Cubes and C3PO on the field, which basically spells my doom.

I don’t remember a lot about the third game except that I continued to hurry myself at the behest of my opponent and I rolled absolute garbage for most of the game. I was frustrated and spent too many cards rerolling when I should have tried to bide my time, but the sheer amount of times I rolled a handful of blanks was astounding. By the time I was milled out and there was nothing I could do, we had about four minutes left out of the 90 — and I realized that my ill conceived obligation to play faster had probably lost me the match.

I suppose it might sound like I’m advocating people to play slow against mill, but I want to clarify that’s not my message here. As a player whose win condition is to do damage, you should not feel obligated to sacrifice the time that you’re deserved to think through your turn intelligently and avoid making misplays, like failing to use Talzin’s ability or missing your opponent’s misuse of Spot Yellow. If you’re genuinely not slow playing, time is not your problem as the player that isn’t playing mill. In hindsight, I should have asked the judge to calm down my opponent and keep him from rushing me. Let this just be a lesson learned from my experience, then, that it is not your job to rush yourself and help your mill opponent win by making misplays. There is a difference between being a good guy and just outright letting your opponent steal a win from under your nose.

Deck Reflection

Kylo2/Talzin, I think, is a very self-explanatory deck. Remember, we didn’t have starters for the Portland event, so Heirloom wasn’t even a consideration. The riding gimmick is to put mono and two-color decks into the dirt with Kylo2’s ability while abusing Talzin’s ability for everything it’s worth with a carefully crafted deck list of odd cost cards. It looks like you’re paying a truckload to even do anything in a round, but with a Sith Holocron[/color] suite and low-cost upgrades that you hard cast with [card]It Binds All Things, this deck isn’t as starved as people might think. Crystal Ball, Dark Counsel, and Holocron all provide significant ramp with little investment. When these upgrades aren’t helping you ramp, they’re helping fix your dice with so that you can output obscene damage in the first couple turns. It’s not unreasonable to be able to throw out 7+ damage on the first round before your opponent starts throwing mitigation at you. I’ve always abhorred It Binds All Things as a card, but I think it works really well in this deck because you have 6 1-cost upgrades that it can hit. This is especially important against Hondo match-ups where every is worth its weight in gold.

One of the big questions I’ve received about the list is the exclusion of Chance Cube, which is another card that arguably negates any concerns for . I originally had it in the deck when coming to Portland, but after a discussion with Zion and some testing, I realized it needed to go. Paying the preceding for Chance Cube is really rough on a deck that can have money problems. As I mentioned above, using Talzin’s ability on the die and then getting it removed can be a huge hindrance. You might say that you’re gaining the benefit of your opponent removing the die, but they’re also taking away one of your resources and your ability to output damage because you wasted Talzin’s action on the die. I realize this seems ‘minor’, but adding two more even cards to the list also doubles your chances of missing Talzin’s ability when used on your deck. Altogether, I felt Holocron, Crystal Ball, and Dark Counsel did enough to ramp without having to suffer the feast or famine that can so often be Chance Cube.

Ancient Lightsaber was another “why not?” that I got pretty frequently. I’ve actually started to fall out of love with Ancient; it feels awful to use it immediately to heal 2 damage. In the case of Mama Kylo, it’s a 2-cost that doesn’t necessarily fit with our gimmick and one that we don’t especially need because we only have two dice in our whole deck that have sides. Force Speed doesn’t have resources on it. We also don’t get a whole lot out of the outside of being able to reroll and resolve if we want to, which we can’t even use to burst down people without playing an Unyielding because of the mixed damage sides. Also, it’s even. Maul’s Lightsaber was another card that was questionably missing, and while it fits better with Mother Talzin’s ability, we still only have two character dice with base sides. More importantly, I actually didn’t own a Maul Saber at the time, so I didn’t really give the card a whole lot of consideration. It’s worth considering a one-of if you feel like your meta game is going to be rife with opponents that want to kill Talzin first.

I have a rule about taking at least five Force powers with a Holocron. Force Throw was the easy choice here because it completely changes the way your opponent plays their round if they don’t have removal and it can be outright devastating if they have good upgrades out. We can’t take Force Lightning and Mind Probe because they cost 4 and we have our Talzin gimmick that we’re vehement about sticking to. Force Push is pretty consistent and the side is actually a lot better than people give it credit for, so we take two of those as well. I take one Force Wave because it’s absolutely killer against 3-wide lists and definitely does work if your opponent has two characters up.

From there, the event suite is based on preference. I brought 2x Feel Your Anger for the mirror and blowout potential, but I think I probably wanted two Isolation instead. Frighten has the blowout potential of Unyielding against heroes lists that rely on their shields to stay safe at low health. Indomitable is definitely the 30th card here; I think I used it once the entire regional and I’m not entirely sure it was even necessary in that situation. I take two Rise Again because it’s always good to be safe. Spell of Removal and Witch Magick are clear includes for Talzin — after all, we really like our gimmick.

There’s not a lot of tech or special plays to keep an eye on when playing this deck. There are four big things to be attentive of:

  1. Force Push –> Force Throw is pretty baller, but people are always shocked when I tell them about it or use it on them. Force Push doesn’t only turn dice to blanks!
  2. You don’t have to use Spell of Removal on your deck if you have a Crystal Ball out and know for a fact that your opponent’s top card is odd. Again, any time I did this during the regional, people were aghast and wanted to read the card.
  3. You always have to be angling to take resources for Rise Again. There’s absolutely no shame in not doing two damage with your character dice to instead turn them to a for the next round. Rise Again puts your opponent so far onto their back foot while securing a power spike on your side of the battlefield. Sometimes it’s worth taking a couple extra damage or losing out on some burst to play the long game.
  4. Be attentive of what your opponent is playing, discarding, and keeping in their hand, especially if you’re looking at the top card of their deck with Crystal Ball. Smart opponents will cultivate a hand that is opposite of what you’re calling with Kylo2. For instance, your opponent has 70% red in their deck. You call red, spot a yellow card. Your opponent doesn’t play or discard that card that round. Your Crystal Ball spotted another yellow card at the top of their deck. Their first action, they play a red card. You should probably call yellow there. Being attentive of your opponent’s hand is huge.

A lot of people have asked why I didn’t feel like Kallus was good enough to make the cut over Kylo. For one, Kylo2 basically ensures a win against mono colored decks. That might not be a big deal going forward, but it was in Portland, which happened just after the Dallas regional where eAayla/Padawan/Padawan took home the victory. Second, while Kylo2’s ability might be inconsistent, it’s damage that can’t be mitigated. Kallus’ dice do more damage, but they’re more juicy to toss removal at. Not being able to hard cast Force powers on Kallus is a really huge detriment, because your low-cost upgrades can generate to play them in a pinch. Missing out on using Rise Again and Unyielding with Kallus are two huge kicks to the shin, too. With Mama Kallus, your opponent’s game plan should always be to kill off Talzin, because Kallus has a lot harder time standing on his own than Kylo2 does.

Future of the Deck

I was supposed to take this deck to Madison this weekend, but ended up having a family emergency that prevented me from going. I wasn’t able to thoroughly test how I wanted to change the deck with starters and in the developing meta, but the knee jerk reaction was to prepare for the Kylo mirror and for mill. The crew and I discussed a lot of anti-mirror tech possibilities. We looked at certain obvious choices like Kylo Ren’s Starfighter and some less obvious choices like It Will All Be Mine or No Mercy. There was also the big question of whether or not to include Heirloom Lightsaber, too, which was a starter card that I didn’t have access to for Portland.

The night before the event, I ended up going with -1 Indomitable, -1 Overconfidence for +1 Kylo Starfighter, +1 Heirloom Lightsaber. On further reflection, I think this was a pretty poor choice, especially in hindsight; out of 77 people at the event, there was apparently only 3 or 4 people playing Kylo2/Talzin. I had, again, hilariously overestimated people’s willingness to play this deck. I’ve had the opportunity to actually play games with the deck afterwards and, in all honestly, I don’t think Heirloom actually makes it in. The 3 side is obviously pretty baller, especially if Talzin is just using her ability to grab it every time, but I feel like Kylo2/Talzin is aggro enough that by the time you’re worrying about throwing a redeploy weapon onto a dying character, you’ve probably already lost. The utility of the other Force powers (also all 3-cost upgrades) seems better than the “raw damage” of Heirloom, which really wasn’t that much more by comparison.

A few people in San Diego and Madison confirmed that No Mercy was pretty clutch. If I had to make the deck now, I’d probably just take out the Indomitable for a No Mercy, as it’s much better in all match-ups than it is in just the mirror and it’s a 2-cost card I’d feel much more comfortable throwing into the deck than Kylo’s Starfighter.

That said, I’m not entirely sure if I will be playing this deck as frequently going forward. With Tacster’s 5-dice hero vehicles deck now completely out of the bag and making a first and second place finish at two different regionals, along with the advent of hero mill, I worry that Mama Kylo has enough bad match ups against good decks that it’s questionable whether it’s worth playing. Cards like Force Rend and a second copy of Force Wave might be necessary for Kylo to even have a chance against these decks, and even then, I’m not sure if his ability is worth investing in against a meta game rife with rainbow.

PUBLIC EDIT: There has been a lot of time between the original writing of this article and the meta has developed significantly since. I’m doubling down on my knee jerk reaction to Heirloom and Rend; the former doesn’t have much of a place here outside of redeploy fodder and the latter is necessary in the developing meta to dodge things like Force Illusion and even Maul’s Saber. No Mercy is a potentially cute one-of that’s still worth considering and I definitely want two Force Waves in this deck over two Force Push. In fact, I don’t think Force Push necessarily makes the cut anymore.

Final Thoughts

I was incredibly happy to make it to the top 4 and to have done so well against such sharp competition in Portland. The whole experience of the regional was incredible and the people that I had the opportunity to meet  Cheers to everyone that I managed to meet in Portland, however briefly we might have crossed paths. Shout out to the Boise boys for putting together a great team and an excellent deck that is going to make us all hate Hondo for the rest of Legacies. Huge thanks to everyone on the Artificery crew and especially anyone who stayed at Pearl’s house. Everyone was super great and encouraging and despite my own personal doubts made me feel right at home.

Good luck in your regionals if you have them coming up!