The Gandork’s Mail Bag #2

Welcome back my fellow reading-things-on-the-crapper enthusiasts! 

This past week has been a rough one for me.  I got sick with some kind of flu, my daughter had surgery (tonsils) and I suck at Slay the Spire.  I still made it to my Tuesday night weekly though and got to play the Enfys/Aayla deck I shared last week.  I managed to take it to 3-0, vs eYoda/ePadme/AR, ePhasma/FOST/AT, and Aphra/eGrievous/Sentinel Messenger.

It was fun, but oh man how I wish Aayla special could turn yellow.  It made everything a little clunky.  I probably over did it with the Aayla upgrades and those could definitely be cut down a little bit – probably cutting the Soresu Masterys even though I love them so much.  But the key to winning with the deck had to do with having the money to start getting supports going and I always regretted dropping 3 resources into Soresu.  If I didn’t put too much money into upgrades, getting the money for Fist and Entourage wasn’t really a problem.  The PA on Enfys for her money side is really good.  An addition I might look into is putting in a copy of R2-D22(:The Mighty Ducks Start 401Ks) just for that combo of Aayla special into R2 special into finally(!) turning a yellow die.



What am I playing this week?

This week at our Tuesday night we are doing Convergence draft, so I don’t have to worry about brewing something new.  I really love the new draft format – the subtype emphasis has lead to so many more important decision points in draft than there were previously.  Clawdite is head and shoulders the best character in the draft kit because having the ability to turn on any spot card is the easiest path to having a good deck.  It also sticks you in 2 colors, so there’s actually a little bit of color signaling going on. 

I find that a lot of people tend to start off heavy red/blue in their picks, which really tempts me to see how far I can get if I go yellow/x to start.  Dooku and Fenn have much better upside than the Outlaw does, so that is obvious, but if you get to have your way with yellow picks maybe the value is there.

Anyways, I love that 3 character rainbow actually has a drawback in draft now – you cut yourself out of grabbing removal cards like Disciplined Mind, Automated Defenses, and Conveyex Robbery (depending on your lineup obviously).  While decks with a Clawdite can be free to pick those up, sometimes particularly late in a pack.  Draft is a ton of fun and I anticipate it will be even more so when Spark of Hope releases.

Speaking of Spark of Hope release:

If for some reason you’ve made the commitment to only get your Destiny news from The Gandork’s Mail Bag articles – Spark of Hope is confirmed to release on July 5th!  Quickest set release we’ve had.  The big impact of this announcement is that it does make it legal for the North American Continental Championships at Gencon.  I’m all for this – I love big events after new set releases.  A CCG is more than just finding the best deck and playing it well and getting lucky.  Deck building and testing is a big part of the hobby and I love to see those skills tested on the biggest of stages.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

There is room for seeing who can top an established meta and we might have that at Worlds this year since I don’t think the calendar lines up for Set 9 to be legal before Worlds unless we somehow set yet another record.  There’s definitely an all together different skill in cracking a “solved” meta.  But then again, sometimes a “solved” meta can’t be cracked and the results usually end up a little disappointing.

Bourbon of the week:

This week I’m going to go with a bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select that I nabbed at a special event that they were running here in Idaho.  I got a free Maker’s Mark glass and some socks (don’t ask me).  Maker’s Mark lets liquor stores visit their distillery and create their own variation of Maker’s Mark – in this case since Idaho has only state run liquor stores, this is basically an “Idaho only” batch of Maker’s Mark.

This particular selection came in at a barrel strength 109 proof – so it definitely packs a wallop when you take a sip.  The flavor profile definitely leans heavy towards caramel and vanilla flavors, and light on spice – but the burn from the proof gives you that spicy feel anyways.  I generally am not a fan of barrel proof bourbons drank neat, but this one is definitely nice on the rocks and it made a great old fashioned.

Alright – on to the mail!

What’s a big/common mistake that new players make?
-James

The number one mistake new players make is not running enough mitigation cards to stop their opponent’s game plan.  It’s easy to get distracted by cool weapons and vehicles or big flashy cards like Fear And Dead Men or Pulverize, then before they know it their 30 cards are full of no way to actually stop their opponents.  Then they play their first few games against a more experienced player and they think it’s stupid that their opponent just keeps screwing up their dice right before they were going to do this cool thing!

But mitigation might as well be the name of the game, baby!

Whenever a new player asks me for advice on how to improve their deckbuilding skills I always give them the 10/10/10 rule.  Have 10 dice cards – upgrades or supports that are going to help you expand your board/deal damage.  Have 10 “utility” cards – cards that make money, or do damage, or some other cool thing you want to do.  Then lastly have 10 mitigation cards – cards that remove opponent’s dice primarily, but also including rerolls and turns of opponent’s dice.

Yeah, you’re decks may not be “great” following the above rule, but it’s an easy way to always have something be someone serviceable for a casual weeknight.  And better yet, 10/10/10 is easy to remember.


1. What do you think about current situation in the Infinite format? Is Mean streets+Hyperspace jump/Retreat a real problem or will meta solve it somehow? If you think that it requires some actions from development team, then did you discuss it with them? Do you have any suggestions?

2. I know there are quite many players who hate mill as an archetype. What do you think about mill? Is it OK in Destiny? Should it be at the current power level or should it be at tier-2 level for the health of the game?

-Igor Treskunov

Hi Nick,

Firstly, thanks for all you do for the community – many disputes have been answered thanks to screenshots titled with “Gandork” on the Destiny Discord. Onto my question: I am an avid mill player (my latest creation was the Tekka/Leia/Anakin on YourDestiny.dk) and I always have trouble versing opponents who become salty/bitter when coming up against a control/mill deck. How do you circumvent creating a negative play experience for the opponent who doesn’t like versing mill? I love the control-style play of Mill and have always gravitated to it. Thanks again for all you do Nick!

-Paul Scalise

(I put these two emails together since they both involve talking about mill)

Infinite as a format has actually been fairly decent – it started out stale, but now we’re starting to see some innovation.  Which makes since – it’s not the primary format so players tend to spend less time on it.  When they do, we’ve seen them get rewarded with something like Mean Streets/HSJ/Retreat combo.

Now do I think the combo is a problem?  Yeah, this kind of deck is probably not the way we want to see infinite going.  Interaction is fundamental to a proper game and decks like this that truly take out almost all interaction are undesirable for any competitive format.  The dev team does look at all formats for issues that need to be addressed, so I’m sure this is being discussed.  I don’t really have a good suggestion to share at this time though.  It’s really hard to figure out a good target to address in this particular interaction.  I would probably look at something that would just affect Infinite format on its own and not try to change the way Mean Streets works in standard which seems fine.

Now onto mill – I personally don’t mind playing against mill, but I love the challenge of taking a deck and having to figure out how to play it against a different problem.  Plus I kind of look at the meta as a whole as a puzzle to get cracked and don’t really get bogged down in hating how my one particular pet deck can’t beat mill.  But not all players are the same or have that point of view and I can definitely see how mill decks are outside of the “norm” for what the game usually delivers.

Even though I don’t have a problem with it, I don’t think mill should be a top tier archetype.  Mill loss plays an important role in Destiny in ensuring that games can reach a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time, even when dice aren’t cooperating for either player.  But I don’t think the core style of the game was meant to have it be a main line to victory.  Destiny is based around my character team and dice trying to kill your character team and dice – whether upgrades or supports is irrelevant though that could be a different debate.  Mill just bisects the card pool too much when it is competitive and leaves too many dead cards and uninteresting game plans to beat it.

I like a little bit of mill to be in the game, but I’d prefer to see it implemented like on Jyn2 – where it can help clear out a few cards from your opponent’s future hands and maybe give you the edge in a longer game where your opponent will now run out of cards first.  But I really don’t want to see it as a tier 1 or even tier 2 archetype.

Regarding the “negative play experience” thing – that’s so subjective.  And I don’t know if there’s anything you can do to change your opponent’s mood.  If you’re someone that does get upset when your opponent is playing mill, relax man.  It’s still just a game.  They are playing it legally.  If you don’t want to play, scoop.


What is your favorite destiny podcast to listen to? Which destiny team do you think is the best?

-Vontz

Vontz all up in here trying to make me start crap.

First of all, the best Destiny podcast was the Tiny Grimes Podcast – miss that guy.

And the best Destiny team – I don’t think there’s a stand out one.  The Hyperloops claim everyone that’s even heard of the letter “H” is a Hyperlooper and counts as a Hyperlooper winning an event – I don’t really subscribe to that.  Artificery has some good players, but they have an even better time not playing Destiny at events – which is a noble endeavor.  ABG?  Jackalmen? Your Destiny? (They have Lake, eliminated by default). 

The real best team in Destiny is team Boise Boys – they had a player at the final table of both Worlds and NACC last year and it looks like they’ll be doing it again this year…


Hi Nick,
-Paul Scalise


What’s your opinion on Weller 12?

-Marcus M.

I haven’t had a chance to try Weller 12 yet, not easy to find a bottle here in Idaho (I do accept donations :p).  I did have a chance to buy a bottle of Weller Special Reserve and sad to say, it was nothing special.  Luckily it was only $25.


Do you think the design team intentionally designs overpowered cards or are genuinely trying to keep the playing field even? What would you change about the current design direction?

-Yudon Mes’dupt

I wouldn’t say overpowered, but in design you do definitely try to push some cards.  Sometimes it’s because maybe a certain faction/color is lagging behind or other times like Jeremy said in his Team Convenant Palpatine3 spoiler game for Convergence, sometimes you push a popular Star Wars character because his last version was garbage and you want to see him hit the table. A lot of the time it’s just because that’s what makes a CCG fun. You have to have those cards that push boundaries or everything would be boring.

While you may design things angling towards them being good, you never want break the game and have them be the only playable archetype.  That’s what I think of when I read overpowered and that’s not the case.

As far as the current design direction – we’ve gone off the deep end on supports and I would like to see that reigned back towards two character teams.  People tend to have short memories though and two character decks dominated for like 4.5 sets – and we’re only 2.5 sets into our support dominated meta.  But really I’d like to see these archetypes be a little more balanced so both options feel viable.


R2-D2 and C3PO are the best legendaries in Spark of Hope: Change my mind.

-Cobog

Money-wise – definitely.  Meta impact, they’ll be around.  The best Legendary?  I think I’m putting my money on Jango.  I think he can dominate a game on his own and he’s you SUPPORT character at 14 points…


How to decide which battlefield to play and who’s gonna start in a mirror match of 6x Hoth Trooper with no dice?

-El Baiano

Pick using some random method.  Rock/Paper/Scissors is a good way.  Or dice poker if you happen to have enough D6s on hand.  Grab a token and make your opponent play “Pick a Hand.”

What is your favorite emoji?

-Dass

Dass Devil – no question. (Flip off Agent of Zion is the real answer)

Postscript

That’s all for this week race fans.  Tune in next week for more of your questions answered.  Keep them coming using the form below or:

TheGandorksMailBag@gmail.com

Thanks for reading.