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You May Fire When Ready

Say what you want about the excitement of a national tournament, but my absolute favorite time to play card games is when a new set comes out. I’ve said this before, but there’s something so engaging about the thrill of exploring new cards and watching the meta game develop as people learn, adapt, and overcome the challenges presented by a new set. This is especially the case when a game stagnates from overuse of a single archetype or card. See: The unstoppable reign of Rainbow Nines. And while I’m not suggesting that R2P2 is going to go away, I am excited to delve into some new decks and archetypes and character suites as the game gets shaken up with Legacies.

Over the last several days since Legacies hit Tabletop Simulator, there is one particular deck that has grabbed me more than anything that I’ve played recently. Back during Empire at War, several of the Artificery team were really hip on an unorthodox character combination between Seventh Sister and Jango Fett. Under no circumstances was the deck perfect, but it did represent an interesting play style that appealed to a lot of us. Playing a deck that had five consistent character dice with lots of removal and solid upgrades to help mitigate the pain of removal was extremely fun to play, even if it didn’t always work.

And then along came a certain Grand Moff called Tarkin.

The Idea

The deck consists entirely of removal and (cheap) upgrades. That’s it. That’s the idea. Get upgrades to utilize Tarkin’s ability and facilitate the death of your opponent.

Tarkin’s Power Action is deceptively good. Four damage that your opponent can assign to their characters might seem like a poor solution to Tarkin’s lack of damage on his dice, especially considering the prevalence of shields in blue heroes. However, more often than not, Tarkin’s ability is being used on dice that you otherwise wouldn’t get a lot of mileage from without a costly reroll. A pair of Disrupt on Seventh Sister’s die and a droid? Four damage. Holocron and another die missed after two rerolls? Four damage. Have a Focus left but nothing to really use it on? Four damage. Yes, sometimes you have to do a bit of finagling to get Tarkin’s ability to work. But let’s be honest; I’ll always take 20% of my opponent’s Health pool with two Planetary Uprising effects using dice I couldn’t resolve anyways.

Seventh Sister’s dice aren’t exciting, but they’re fairly consistent, and the additional die from her droid does a lot to push out Tarkin’s ability towards the end of a round. I’ve always touted that 3-dice character suites are inherently inferior to 4-dice suites. As long as the price is right, 5-dice character suites are better than 4-dice suites, particularly when you’re looking to dump two of your dice with Tarkin’s ability.

Speaking of Tarkin, his dice also don’t look particularly exciting. He only has one damage side and it’s Indirect. Boo, right? Wrong. He has three — three! — sides that have a value of 2 and two Focus sides. That’s insane. You’re already playing a bit slow with the amount of mitigation and low-cost upgrades in this deck. By the time your opponent has done his actions, resolved his dice (or had them removed), and is preparing to claim the battlefield, you can start Focusing your dice to the necessary sides to deal a significant blow to their health pool. Hitting Discard on Tarkin is basically Christmas morning.

All this said, your ultimate goal is to bust out as many low-cost upgrades as you can while keeping Seventh Sister alive long enough to be a monster. Holocron lets you snag easy force power upgrades. Chance Cube lets you play everything with your many Focus sides. Dark Counsel is very uninspiring, but it sits on a character until something better comes along and gives Tarkin’s ability a die to target. You’re looking to prevent your opponent from doing anything impactful while dealing 8+ damage a round and ramping into progressively more powerful upgrade suites.

The Core

The above build is the first of many iterations I’ve tried with 7th Tarkin, but there’s a distinctive core that makes the deck properly tick. Here are the essentials:

Two of the four cards in the removal suite are nothing new. Isolation, while a bit expensive and limited in use, is very good early removal that has a good chance of expending your opponent’s rerolls as you remove their dice. Doubt is a must have in any villain deck; the card is that cost efficient. The other half of core removal comes with Legacies and Rivals and are excellent additions to 7th Tarkin.

Battle Fatigue, while definitely struggling to do anything in the first round of the game, is easily one of the best 1-cost removal options in the format on 7th Tarkin from round 2 onward. Until your opponents start to learn the meta game and what to expect from Tarkin, they’re going to consistently spread your indirect damage onto all their characters, which makes them ripe for Battle Fatigue to come in and remove a die.

Hidden Motive is easily going to be an auto include in any blue deck until the card comes out of rotation. It’s Doubt with more upside and less devastating downside. Good 0-cost removal is hard to come by. Hell, 1-cost removal that is as good as Hidden Motive is oftentimes hard to come by, too. This card is going to be a staple and you should be including it in everything blue.

Your upgrades are going to include clear meta game staples like Ancient Lightsaber and Force Illusion. Seventh Sister is always going to be accompanied by her ID9 Seeker Droids because they make her activation that much more impactful. With all the Focus sides you have from Tarkin and droids, Chance Cube becomes incredibly easy to resolve and provides substantial ramp to make sure you’re constantly playing down upgrades and have the resources to remove your opponent’s dice. Dark Counsel is just ramp and an additional cheap die; when combined with Chance Cube and Holocron, it helps provide more targets for Tarkin’s Power Action. Blanks, in this case, aren’t always a bad thing.

The final addition is a Holocron suite. The only force power I’m confident calling an auto include is Force Lightning; five damage sides with two that provide removal is spectacular for a deck that tends to do a lot of Indirect damage before it gets going. From there, I feel you need to add at least three more force powers for Holocron to be worth running. I like Force Throw, as it’s cheap enough to be hard cast on Seventh Sister and provides both removal and damage from its special. Force Push is great for similar reasons; it has the potential to both do damage and be a nuisance to your opponent’s dice while only costing three resources. Discard is always excellent, too, especially if you can get a droid or Tarkin to supplement it with Discard sides of their own.

I don’t mind Mind Probe, but its Special can have significantly less consistency despite having the potential to handily do the most damage. Again, it has a Discard side, which syncs well with your other cards and dice. Force Wave is great against 3- and 4-character suites and has the added benefit of only costing three resources, but it’s incredibly awkward against 2-character suites and can be extremely detrimental after one of your characters dies. Force Rend might be worth exploring because how consistently this deck can sometimes generate resources, but it’s still so expensive and feels like a ‘win more’ card rather than a consistency engine itself. Its biggest target, Force Illusion, doesn’t impact 7th Tarkin as much as it does others. Still, this might be worth exploring in a mirror.

This deck has a ton of flexibility, so fine tune it to suit your local meta. As you can see with my first list, I did some wonky experimental stuff with I Am Your Father. I change my list every couple of days, but I’m comfortable saying that this core set of cards is the right place to start. Customize your deck to your needs. For instance, AgentOfZion swears by Fragmentation Grenade, Manipulation, and Anger, but I’ve since dropped Manipulation in favor of tech cards for certain match-ups to see how they play in the long-term.

The Plan

7th Tarkin is a mid-range deck that looks to remove its opponent’s dice while ramping into big impact upgrades and keeping its opponent on their back foot. You want to put your shields on Seventh Sister and your initial low-cost upgrades on Tarkin. You hard mulligan for your low-cost upgrades like Chance Cube, Holocron, and Dark Counsel so that you can get Tarkin’s Power Action going as soon as possible. You don’t even need a force power in the first round for Holocron to feel good on Tarkin. Isolation is a reasonable keep if you’re playing against a 3-dice list or against a suite that has high-impact character dice, like Obi/Maz. Otherwise, you just want those sweet, sweet dice for Tarkin’s ability.

An inexperienced player is probably going to see you resolve Tarkin’s Power Action and panic, but the reality is that Tarkin doesn’t function especially well with only 5 dice assuming you can get three upgrades on him before Seventh Sister dies. Sister is the real power house in the late game; her droids get progressively more powerful and you can not only hard cast force powers onto her, but replace them as necessary. Once a force power is on Tarkin, it’s probably not leaving. If you can scare your opponent to go after a Tarkin because he has a Force Throw and Chance Cube on him after round 1, perfect — sit back, relax, and keep Sister alive while she rolls through the rest of your opponent’s list.

Don’t be afraid to use your Discard sides. Your opponent should never start the round comfortable with the idea that they’ll use all five cards they’ve drawn. If you can hold the Discard resolution until after your opponent has discarded to reroll, all the better — you’re ensuring that you’re getting their favorite cards from their hand. It can be tempting to go after the extra two Indirect damage on Tarkin, but discarding your opponent’s hand can really put them on tilt and get rid of their answers. In a similar vein, don’t be afraid to use your Disrupt sides on Seventh Sister’s dice if your opponent isn’t respecting you. Players will sometimes ignore Disrupt sides because they assume you want to reroll into damage. Show them what it feels like to play a round without their starting resources.

One of the most unique and important aspects to learn while playing 7th Tarkin is that you really don’t need or want to be rerolling aggressively. Most of the cards in your deck aren’t situational, especially the wealth of removal you’ll likely be running. You have so many Focus sides on Tarkin’s dice and your low-cost upgrades that you shouldn’t feel pressured to reroll frequently unless you have a really bad roll. Your blank die sides represent 2 Indirect damage if you have two of them. This is particularly relevant with an upgrade like Holocron when you don’t have a force power in hand, Sometimes, rerolling aggressively can actually worsen your pool of dice because you lose the ability to utilize Tarkin’s Power Action effectively.

This deck is consistent and brutal and deceptively good. When the Artificery Crew was discussing Legacies spoilers and talking about what we were excited about, I laughed off the prospect of Tarkin being that good. Grand Moff Tarkin? In my regionals? Never! Little did I know that this would rapidly become the deck I’ve had the most fun playing since I started Destiny a year ago. I can guarantee you that your local metagame isn’t going to be expecting how good you’ll perform using 7th Tarkin. Just smile and nod when they mention how ‘jank’ the character combination looks.

Let us know what you think on our Discord server. Do you feel like 7th Tarkin is mediocre at best? Are you certain you’ve got the right meta counter against it? Maybe you’re just excited to talk about your upcoming regionals. Whatever the case might be, you may fire your discussions when ready.

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