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Launch All Vipers!

The Battlestar comprises the core of the Colonial fleet, and is the main method of power projection used by the Twelve Colonies as the primary unit of every Battlestar Group (hence the name). While they are almost always escorted by a varying number of offensive and defensive ships dedicated to one specific task or another, the Battlestars themselves were designed and produced to fulfill all possible missions on their own with minimal logistical support required for extended operations. In deference to the fact that nearly all eggs are in one basket as far as a cohesive fighting force is concerned, the Twelve Colonies spared no expense and cut no corners when it came to ensuring that even if totally isolated, a single Battlestar would be able to wreak havoc on any belligerent.

Unbound by terrestrial concerns such as gravity or mass displacement, even the oldest in-service Battlestars of the Galactica-class have the following capabilities at a minimum. More than 500 point defense weapon systems capable of providing selective conical coverage, nuclear warheads, planetary landing craft, 40 anti-ship cannons, multiple types of ammunition for each weapon system, repair parts manufacturing facilities, and ammunition production capability. To make all of this work, over 5000 personnel are assigned to duty on a Battlestar and they carry every service required to support a small town. Everything is redundant, and everything is human-maintainable.

Oh. And the most important thing, the thing every other system is designed to protect and ensure remains operational, is a Launch Bay capable of launching and recovering the over 200 fighters, reconnaissance craft, and transport shuttles routinely carried. In true form the Launch Bay itself is of course redundant, and each Battlestar has two of them mounted dorsally along its sides.

Science-fiction (not to mention real life) chronology be damned, I think every Launch Bay is inspired by and aspirational to a Galactica-Class Battlestar. From IRL aircraft carriers to Battletech Dropships, Star Destroyer hangar decks and even Hoth-based T-47 garrisons, everything is just trying to live up to BSG. Accept no substitutes.

An Odd Spot to be in

Normally I write my articles about concepts to improve your game-play, give new ideas to try out, or to attempt to convey in words how or why you should play a certain deck. I’m here today to implore you of the opposite. There is a pretender to the Launch Bay throne, and you may very well have seen it by now.


There are multiple versions of the deck with a few card choices switched around and varying character/plot suites to choose from, the example displayed above is just the one that has been lurking on the front page of SWDB for the past couple of days. The game plan is the same every time though. Draw a billion cards, use Premonitions or cold hard cash to play the Launch Bay, then Salvo the enemy team for 10+. Round 1.

Lets get the whining out of the way to begin with. This deck is bad for the game. I was skeptical of it’s effectiveness at first, but when I sleeved up the version above with a couple minimal tweaks and took it to my FLGS, I immediately won 5/7 games played. No practice, no goldfishing, just sleeve and play at a ~70% win-rate. And I know you’re thinking that I just took some people by surprise, but I told them exactly what my game plan was and how I was going to try and accomplish it. With more time, more practice, and more tweaks I could hit 80%+ against the field. Why is this a problem?

Because I wasn’t playing Destiny and my opponent wasn’t playing Destiny. I was playing some weird version of solitaire where so long as I wasn’t super unlucky, I was going to move cards around for five minutes on my own then just announce “I win”. My opponents were playing with their phone. I was winning no later than round 2 through the following road-blocks. CQA (for 2), FILP (for Premonitions), Force Throw (for 10), Force Illusion (for 14), and me deliberately telling my opponents to use every method of hand and resource disruption available to them. This deck is 100% NPE through and through, and no-one was having any semblance of fun.

End of Whining

No matter how much I or anyone else rails against it, the deck is going to see some percentage play until some sort of Errata or ban is made, and you’re going to need to contend with it. Frankly, there is very little you can do.

Aside from two very specific game plans, you can’t actually win against this deck, all you can do is not lose. I know that sounds weird, but the most effective versions of the deck have either no or extremely limited removal, and virtually no way to interact with you aside from FILP and Launch Bay itself. If you get to round three and control the Launch Bay, you win. Here are my tips on how to do so:

1.) Take their Battlefield if possible. You need the shields.

2.) Mulligan for every possible source of hand and resource disruption possible. Failing that, as much free mitigation as possible. Suggested cards to include in your deck are below.

3.) Don’t claim. Don’t ever claim. Don’t Get Cocky will draw you cards that might help you.

4.) For real, don’t claim, and don’t mitigate anything but the Launch Bay die. If they want to try and kill you with those terrible characters, let them. It won’t work compared to whatever game plan you’re on. The onus is on them to get things done, not you.

5.) Hang on to your money. In the case where you don’t have free mitigation, you’ll need to pay for it. In the case where they don’t want you to pay for it, they have to resolve disrupt/discard sides of their own which means it is harder to Rebel or make money.

6.) Your best win condition is them either unable to play the Launch Bay round 1, or stalling out on card draw after they do. Use hand disruption as early as possible, and disrupt resources as early as possible as well. If you roll the damage to do so, kill as many red characters as you can to take Award Ceremony offline.

7.) If you are comfortable with him, or were planning to play him anyway, Thrawn is still good here. It’s tempting to say 0 or 5, but the Launch Bay player is not mulliganing for Premonitions or Launch Bay, they are mulliganing for as much card draw as they can get. Say one, and take Award Ceremony, Renewed Purpose, or Ancient Wisdom in that order.

8.) Mill. This is twice in a month where I’m recommending that people play mill and it feels dirty, but this is your best bet. Go for the maximum possible round 1, discard everything to reroll if you need to.

9.) Pryce. In contrast to all of the above advice, If you’re playing Pryce and win your BF (presumably Throne Room) then take it, roll out Pryce, then claim to discard two from their hand. It’s weird, but its the most effective thing you can do aside from playing Probe, and THEN claiming with Pryce. Most variants have a maximum of 4 direct damage per turn available to them, and they can’t afford to discard to reroll to get there. You might still lose, but its better than trying to beat them by rolling for damage.

10.) FILP hits card draw. As tempted as you are to take Premonitions, unless they are about to actually play it for the Launch Bay, you need to hit the card draw.

It seems like there are a lot of failure points for the Launch Bay deck, it really does. But there are entire swaths of decks that simply can’t interact like this, and even the ones that can, do so in limited ways based around their own draws or die rolls. I have an incredibly high tolerance for things people say are NPE, and I have a huge soft spot in my heart for combo decks. I am not speaking lightly when I say this deck is cancer because it is too effective at what it does.

Include these cards if you can.

They all have varying degrees of effectiveness, some of them are only barely effective. Most make your deck worse against the rest of the meta. I trust that my readership knows how to use them, and which ones can fit their decks the best. There are few decks I have ever considered dangerous enough to specifically build to beat, but this deck is top of the list by a country mile. Ignore it at your own peril.

I desperately hope that this deck gets killed via ban or errata ASAP, and I hope no-one here has to face it.
-Agent Of Zion


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One thought on “Launch All Vipers!

  1. Thanks for doing such a thorough writeup on this deck! It does hurt a little bit do hear the decklist I used be called a cancer on the game, but you’re absolutely valid in saying so. It invalidates way too many fun, interactive strategies, and just allows for a bad experience for everyone involved. And I’ll be completely honest – I felt like a jerk in every game that I played, and felt the need to apologize profusely throughout.

    I’m curious though – we’ve been brainstorming errata to address it at our store, what suggestions would you have? The idea of capping X values at 5 was thrown around, as well as capping hand size at 5 as a kind of static effect. The latter seems way too restrictive for the game though.

    – punchitchewie