New Player Buyer’s Guide
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We are almost five sets into Star Wars: Destiny with the upcoming release of Way of the Force. For new players the buying choices can be overwhelming. We put together this guide to help you figure out your own best path for beginning your Star Wars: Destiny collection.
Star Wars: Destiny has a wide audience and caters to many types of players. Figuring out what kind of player you are before making purchasing decisions is key to ensuring your success and happiness with the game. Will you only be playing Destiny with your friends on your kitchen table a couple times a month? Do you want to head out to local tournaments and enjoy some competitive play? Is it important to you that you win those tournaments? And complicating it all…will you be happy playing all of these games with a single deck you continually hone over time or do you want to have a larger collection allowing you to field multiple decks?
Unfortunately these are questions we can’t answer for you. But take heart! We can still share with your our own paths from casual kitchen play all the way through to sitting at the top tables of the most competitive tournaments the game has seen.
Getting Into the Game
The easiest way to get into Destiny is through its starter products. There are five starter sets and one draft set currently available on the market. If you don’t want to read this whole thing take this simple advice away: Buy the starters in the white boxes.
The best value by far and the our advised way of beginning a Destiny collection is the Star Wars: Destiny Two Player Game. The Two Player Game has an MSRP of $29.99 (but can usually be found for a decent discount at Target and GameStop) and a single copy provides enough product for two players to learn and play Destiny. Our advice is to pick this up as your first Destiny purchase (and probably another copy as your second Destiny purchase as well). This starter is a great way to learn the game, give you a decent feel for Force (blue) and Command (red) and should be good for at least a month of at-home play. It also includes very powerful cards, including the character that won the 2018 World Championships.
After purchasing the Two Player Game the field opens quite a bit on which starters to grab. A safe bet is to purchase the Rivals Draft Kit which has a few nice cards to add to your collection and allows new players to join draft events, includes a character that won the 2018 World Championships, and is an excellent way to expand your collection while meeting your local community. And meeting your local community early is important! Many communities set new players up with free sets of common cards and discounted buys on uncommons and rares. Beyond that they may loan entire decks to new players to try or allow you to borrow cards from lending libraries.
If you aren’t quite up to heading out to your local game store yet, steer clear of Rivals and instead pick up the Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett Starters. Each retails for $14.95 and add quite a few cards you can add to your Two Player Game decks. With these purchases you’ll have access to characters, upgrades and events in all three colors of the game, opening up a new player’s first opportunity to deck build! Experiment around, throw Boba with Phasma and see how Rey likes that shiny new Heirloom Lightsaber.
Last we have the older starters in black boxes from the initial release of the game: the Kylo Ren and Rey Starters. Our advice is to wait on picking these up right away, mostly because the characters and upgrades included haven’t seen effective use in recent metas and the cards will (probably) be out of rotation around Q1 2019. If there are cards in here that you need for your deck, you can usually buy the good pieces of the starters on the secondary market for much less than the entire starter.
You’ve probably noticed by now that most of the good cards in starters only have a single copy and that the only way to get them is by purchasing a second starter. This is one of the most infuriating aspects of collecting Star Wars: Destiny (we’re looking at you here Fantasy Flight Games). Do you need that second copy? Maybe. Much like the advice on the Rey and Kylo Ren starters, if you can find what you want on the secondary markets for less than a full starter, go that route. But if you’re like us then you’ve given into Fantasy Flight’s cruelty and pick up two of each starter as they release.
Collecting Beyond Starters
You’re a seasoned beginner now and are ready to begin expanding your card pool to build the deck or decks that you want to play. This is where things get complicated and the choice you make is going to be dictated mostly by your budget and what you find pleasure in. Will you have the money and desire to collect every card in the game or is your budget more modest and you’ll be making and maintaining just a deck a or two? There is no wrong way to play this game, but there are less efficient methods of going about your desired outcome.
The tricky bit here is that we are in the middle of a set rotation. Some cards you buy now won’t be legal to play in Standard Tournaments (the most popular format) relatively soon, we are guessing around Q1 2019. No one says you can’t still enjoy playing those cards at home or at casual games (this is called Infinite format), but if your goal is to focus your collecting on a budget for competitive play then you have a bit of a mine field to walk through. You have free choice on how much of Legacies cycle (white box products) you collect which includes Legacies and Way of the Force and the unnamed sixth set. But the cards from the Awakenings cycle (black box products) you should collect with precise intent.
We have an entire separate guide devoted to helping you pick out specific cards for your deck, but the short of it is that new players on a budget looking to put together competitive decks that will survive set rotation without losing significant value should steer clear of Force (blue) decks. The staple cards in both Hero and Villain Force (blue) will set you back a chunk of change, are going to rotate out soon, and we assume will drop in value a bit once they are no longer legal in Standard.
What To Buy After Starters
Now that you’re thoroughly terrified of set rotation lets begin spending your hard earned money! What you’ll be buying falls into three broad categories: Booster Boxes, Singles, and Entire Sets.
Because we are completionists this is how we collect the game, but booster boxes are for more than crazy collectors like us. This is the most efficient way to rapidly grow a collection, at least when it comes to current set. Cracking packs is also a lot of fun, there is just something exciting about opening a card you’ve been wanting that is hard to beat.
An entire booster box guarantees six legendary cards, which usually makes buying a booster box a better value than random booster pack pulls. Local game stores usually sell booster boxes for a discount over individually buying the packs as well, so you save money in the long-run versus buying individual packs. If you’re playing Destiny casually at home, we advise to save up to buy a booster box and then every week or so open up a few more packs to add to your game.
If you’re collecting for the local tourney the day after release, buy a bunch of booster boxes and crack packs like the cellophane junky you are, savoring every bit of that new dice smell.
If you’re maintaining a competitive deck or two and opening up boosters in a new set, you should buy about one booster box for each deck you’re maintaining. You’ll get enough product to trade your way into the cards you need for deck maintenance for even the most Legendary heavy decks. Once you hit around four or five booster boxes you’ll have opened up enough product to trade your way into a full set and is the route we take when a new set releases. Do note, trading works best when its early in a set’s release as there will be a larger pool of players also looking to trade.
Eventually most Destiny players will find themselves in the Singles market. Not because your spouse leaves you, no…no that doesn’t happen too often. But whether you’re maintaining a single deck and need the four new cards released to take it to the next level or you’re a completionist collector who can’t open that new Lightsaber to save their life, often the single market becomes your only choice.
The market itself exists in many forms. There is quite a bit of sales on eBay, Facebook groups, and online game stores. Facebook trading and sells tend to have the lowest costs as players are competing with the other platforms while also able to dodge eBay fees. But its hard to argue with the convenience of picking up multiple singles from an online game store and only paying a single shipping cost.
Outside of the big three are the various Destiny Discord trade channels. This is our preferred entry in the Singles and trading market. You can join our server by clicking this hyperlink, yup this one. Be warned: the memes are dank.
If you’re in the Singles market to maintain a deck or two, make sure you have a solid plan. Probably steer clear of cards heading out of rotation soon. Buy cards that will be viable in more than one deck. If you aren’t sure if a card will work until you’ve played it, make a proxy of that card and test it at home or at casuals to see if you’ll like it!
If cracking packs isn’t your shtick and the Singles market sounds like work, then buying complete sets is for you. If its a recent set your best bet is to head over to Team Covenant and buy one of their Saga sets. You’ll get a playset of every common, uncommon and rare and one of each Legendary. It is a good value for those who don’t like cracking their own cellophane, and the Team Covenant folks are great people and ardent supporters of Destiny.
You’ll be heading back out into the Facebook groups and eBay if you want to pick up older sets of Destiny. You can find some pretty good deals from players rotating out of the game. We advise to use buyer protection when making big purchases off the Facebook groups and be weary of any seller who isn’t willing to allow it.
Ready For More?
Check out our guide on Competitive Card Analysis. It is a great resource for looking at popular meta decks and the cards that make them up, and provides advice on budget friendly and rotation friendly decks for the new player!