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After a quick perusal of the DB and my own testing on TTS I see no shortage of Yoda/Zeb attempts. Emphasis on attempts. No two-character list has had outstanding performance in any Trilogy event I am aware of, and Yoda/Zeb is no exception. There are three reasons. Two reasons are mitigated in my own take of the deck concept, the last reason is solved through play.
Reason #1: Money is tight.
Force Wave, Zeb’s Rifle, and Obi’s Saber are the way to win the games you play and you can’t pay for removal and get them on the field in the same turn. Add in all the paid damage sides, and you’re writing checks that bounce even if Yoda is a banker. Now look at the other lists and you see the problem exacerbated even further! Canto Bight has paid damage, and Vibrocutlass is ideally free to resolve but costs four right off the rip. Yeah, your guys die quick! What did you expect when you can’t resolve your dice or mess with the other guys?
A common “solution” is Maz’s Vault. I rejected it because of how well it accelerates opposing Talzin decks, who have to pay for everything and are the happiest deck in the world to resolve a resource side much less get it for free. You may get damage reliability, but in exchange your opponent gets the equivalent of a free single die removal every turn for the entire game and how far ahead does that leave you?
Instead, we run lower to the ground. Well-Connected and Adapt are much safer methods of passive income generation, and we play around our own limitation by sticking to a reasonable level of upgrade power while maximizing our mitigation. Zeb’s dice and terminal special resolutions can make up the difference I promise, especially when being able to afford removal means you get an extra turn with them.
Reason #2: 22HP Doesn’t Last Long Against Indirect Damage
My solution? Shields. It is absolutely amazing the difference the Republic Cruiser makes. A common irritant I’ve seen with Yoda in Trilogy is that there is no terminal die for special chaining that actually does anything. In the absence of Force Wave, you’re often stuck focusing a Zeb die to either 2 or 3 damage which is swiftly removed by your opponent. Republic Cruiser is an outstanding terminal die, and I’ve yet to have one removed, as opposed to the Wave, Obi, or Verpine die. Repeatable and reliable damage reduction (hereby named R-Cubed) is powerful.
Also included in force is all the best removal Hero Yellow and Hero Blue have to offer. Unbreakable is always online, and I don’t think anyone needs a crash course in how backbreaking Entangle and Easy Pickings can be. There are times where you might actually have too many shields, and Dangerous Maneuver actually plays as a free Field Medic for you.
Reason #3: Player Greed
Do you know what happens when you play Well-Connected then follow it up with a Zeb Rifle or Force Wave on turn one? That character gets chunked for half their health that turn because Hidden Motive and Sound the Alarm only get you so far, and any move you make to get more money is telegraphed.
What is much more reasonable is getting the extra cash then playing Verpine, Hidden, or Republic Cruiser while leaving removal money up.
Until your opponent gets three or more damage to stick to a character, no-one should have more than one upgrade. Then go nuts if you like. Until then, you need to be able to recoup costs by overwriting a Rey’s Saber on someone as your sole redeploy, and do I need to say it again? Remove. Opponent. Dice. Either of your characters can close out a game, but going all-in on one game plan because you happened to draw Force Wave or Zeb’s Rifle in your first turn is a recipe for disaster and locks you into a very predictable and very beatable set of actions.
What Didn’t Make it In and Why?
Concentrate: Paying two for the privilege of paying for your best damage sides is depressing. Not to mention there isn’t any Force Speed specials to back it up. Better to just rely on impulsive.
R2D2: You need things to focus to, not things to focus from. Opponent removal will be centered around your actual threats of which there are few.
Maz’s Vault: You can’t keep pace with accelerated dice spam and pay to resolve it while keeping their damage off the table. An extra card for your opponent, or a burned shield is much easier to work with.
Sound the Alarm: Good players don’t wait around to craft a perfect field of dice against Hero Yellow, and Easy Pickings is god-roll protection anyway.
Heirloom Lightsaber: Only redeploys from Yoda, and in practice only has one better side than Verpine and Hidden Blaster while costing one more.
Vibrocutlass: Great if coming from Yoda to Zeb, but that cost is so incredibly prohibitive unless you have it at the exact instant you need it. It’s one thing to hold on to a Second Chance for a couple rounds in Standard, but in Trilogy it’s a completely dead card until something terrible is about to happen in which case it’s a consolation prize rather than an actual preventive measure.
Vandalize: All of our character dice are too important. Yoda equals survivability through shields or money, and until we get a decent board state Zeb’s dice are your only tools.
Stun Baton: We can already pay one for die removal through multiple methods, we don’t want to have to roll and resolve a die to get there.
This concludes my week-long Quick Hit article series, and while there are a few decks left to touch on (Vehicles for one) I have a World Championship to prepare for on top of the new Path Of Exile league to explore.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
-Agent Of Zion