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In the conclusion of our four part primer on the here-before-you-know-it Trilogy format, we will be making very educated guesses on the initial meta. While reading the previous three parts isn’t required, it will help you understand the inclusion/exclusion of some cards and how some of the statistics are generated. Part 1 at the very least is highly recommended. All character assumptions made in Part 1 apply here, and as always we are assuming one reroll.
When we get to the decklists, I did put effort into making them decent out of the box sort of as a turnkey testing environment. With that in mind, they are not optimized by any stretch of the imagination but I would expect fully optimized versions to be similar to what I have here. As in all things practice makes perfect and the small yet key optimizations will play a part in your future success.
What Was Left Unsaid
Plots. Well… They do exist I suppose so I may as well give my thoughts.
I’m not a fan of them in a general sense. I understand why FFG would be hesitant to make them incredibly powerful on their own, especially in their initial iteration. What I don’t understand is the pricing structure. A single resource, of which you receive two per turn is displayed as worth a full 10% allotment of your character points, a bad deal in my eyes. Two damage, which is the general damage value of a character die per turn is not worth 10% of your points; Much less so when your opponent chooses where the damage goes.
So very broadly speaking, unless your game plan revolves entirely around getting that plot effect right off the rip I would say to avoid the plots and try to cram more dice into your team. If your character dice alone just make sense, and there’s no sacrifice being made go ahead and grab the one that does the most for you but otherwise? Bleh.
Elephants In The Room
It’s ten PM before day three of a Galactic Qualifier, and you (or your buddy) is eight tickets short of another spot-gloss. You put a metric ton of effort in getting set up well for the first two days which paid off with a coveted acrylic card or two, but unfortunately work and life has been busy. Understandably, testing for Standard took priority but you have to play Trilogy come the next morning. What is the one deck that is guaranteed to be at least moderately successful without needing to figure out tricky lines of play?
Yeah. Everyone’s thinking the same thing. I’m not saying it’s a bad deck by any stretch, I’m sure it will destroy unprepared people. What I am saying is to get used to seeing it a lot, especially from people who haven’t put the time in testing the format. With almost exactly 50% chance of demonstrating 7 damage per turn with just the abilities and character dice, and bolstering the low health with the best and cheapest blue/grey removal this deck is going to be hard to resist.
The thing keeping me away is how almost literally coin-flippy the mirror match is going to be, hence my inclusion of Emulate to try and get an edge.
If it’s popular in Standard, it will be popular enough in Trilogy to keep in the forefront of your mind. The deck loses Hit And Run, Caution, and Lightbow but Obi’s Saber, Crash Landing, and R2-D2 do a decent enough job of filling in the gaps left. There are going to be two types of games with this deck, the ones where you start with Poe’s Blaster, and the ones you don’t. The most important thing is to not lose money on upgrades, swap to redeploys when you need to.
Poe is likely to be targeted first, which is a choice I would generally agree with. When he eats it late game getting a six HP swing out of Heightened Awareness into Ataru Strike will most likely be unrecoverable for your opponent. In the event the Jedi falls before the Pilot, Canto Bight pistols give another special to chain into and there are enough ranged damage dice available to you to Light ‘Em Up.
You’re only likely to threaten four damage to start (five if you got shields) with your character dice, but the ramp is real and so is the sustainability.
Obvious Decks Are Obvious
All of the following decks just “make sense”. Whether they are thematic characters or easily identified as natural 30-point fits, you’ll see them initially. The nature of how CCGs work will necessitate at least some of them getting bumped down to tier 2 or even lower. They will give us a jumping off point though. If my great idea for a deck, or your great idea for a deck can’t at least meet the bar the following decks set, then we would be well served by going back to the drawing board.
Raw damage efficiency and good speed at the expense of health. Bubble shield is a meta-bet, and Tactical Mastery is the same hail-mary as always. There is just enough cheap mitigation to try and hold everything together long enough to get some work done.
By my figuring, this will play out just like the old Jango/Veers decks. Win or Lose, your game is likely decided by the end of round three and you can’t afford to not resolve the majority of your dice every single round. Take Flight will help at least somewhat to get what you need out of your yellow dice, and luckily both characters are very legitimate late-game threats.
Blue Hero is attractive for it’s very large health pool, and constantly re-deploying weapons. Anakin is less useful here than in Villain, but an Aayla special messing with your opponents dice while chaining into two shields for general purposes will allow some serious delaying action while you work towards getting all the sticks out on the table.
Jedi Temple Guard is the glue that holds this deck together though. When you have it, Into The Garbage Chute trades his somewhat mediocre die for your opponents two best dice and when you don’t, guardian still helps you out.
The major downside here is that your comparative health advantage virtually disappears against Kylo2. All the shields in the world won’t help against his relentless and nearly guaranteed damage, if Aayla falls so do most of your hopes and dreams. Getting around that may involve swapping the Guard for a Clone Trooper and red events, or alternatively dropping Anakin for the Trooper and taking the Shield plot for only one less effective health. Either way, synergy is lost though.
Well, Rainbow Ranged lost a die but has pretty much all the best cards in the format. Rerolling is the name of the game here for sure, with Mother Talzin’s ability operating more as hopeful mitigation than die-fixing. Phasma is the obvious target, so there might be an argument to swapping her second die in favor of an elite Talzin.
Ramp up as swiftly as possible and just flood the field with dice, the strategy is old hat by now. No Bala, worse weapons and one less die, this probably isn’t topping tables too often but it is extremely Kylo-resistant and might be a great meta call if you think people will be strongly teched against melee damage which seems pretty likely.
Crystal Ball over Dark Counsel is the other swap most obvious, but I still value drawing cards very highly, especially in a die-spam deck. Dealer’s choice though.
I’ll take this opportunity to jump you ahead of the curve when it comes to Obi. Yoda doesn’t work as well as the Guard with him. One die Yoda is significantly less effective than two, and has far fewer nice things to special chain into than he does in Standard.
Taking the Guard is two-fold. We get to Garbage Chute in the early game with little opportunity cost, and the points saved go towards the one use of Profitable Connection I can stand behind. An Obi starting with any of the big lightsabers is a significantly larger threat than starting with with anything else.
R2-D2 could be swapped for Unbreakable but I somewhat favor the die-fixing at least initially, and Unbreakable is feast-or-famine in the sense that it often can’t dig you out of a bad position. Other than that, we have as much grey as we can reasonably get away with. The only initial tip I can give is to not get too greedy and remember that Easy Pickings and opposing Garbage Chutes are in the format.
Nothing tricky about this deck. Roll lots of damage, with enough odd-cost cards and focus/money to fix up your dice real nice. You can actually reasonably assume to threaten damage on at least three of four character dice per turn which is nice, and Talzin will ideally inherit at least one Canto Bight Pistol to close the game out with. Any modified side you roll can be resolved with minimal effort, and if I had to give this deck a tag-line it would be “Lets see how much removal the other guy brought today”.blue
There is a version you can run with Maul instead of Kallus, but less reliable damage and mono- makes me think this is the better option overall.
Okay now we can talk tricky. Every single reason you could think of to like hero yellow stuff is on full display here. Want money? Got it. Might even have too much of it in fact. Opponent god-rolled you? Easy Pickings. Want to keep them from having a good first turn? Nerf-Herder it is. Clash does wonders in a melee meta, and if you have to start off with Verpine or Hidden Blaster in a money-poor pinch, then Zeb’s ability will numb the pain.
Then from the other angle, nothing feels better than getting a Force Wave down on Yoda, and R2-D2 helps ensure fun times from his often frustrating dice. He can inherit some serious upgrades here, and when kitted out with Obis Saber can simultaneously stall and swing for three apiece.
Overall this might be too cute, and too reliant on Yoda’s shields rather than conditionless removal but there’s a big part of me that wants it to work out.
You Aren’t Getting Away That Easy
You didn’t think you could escape without at least one hastily copied spreadsheet did you? Well there’s the very last one in the series, I promise.
This deep into things, I really do not want to speculate too much (like it stopped me before) as to which of these decks is best beyond a few hunches. I have a feeling that Talzin/Kallus may not be all it’s cracked up to be because any melee hate directed at Kylo2/Anakin hits them just as easily while their terrible tempo works against them in other ways, and I think that a near-promise of starting with any one of several amazing upgrades in play helps make up for the major lack in green cells that Zeb and Obi are representing here.
I won’t know for sure until I get to test them out though, so in the hopes of getting more people to play Trilogy I’ll end this series with the same general statement I started it with.
Today’s Trilogy is tomorrow’s Standard. Get a jump on the future, and get ahead of the curve in this completely under-hyped and under-developed format.