Oh what a day. As I sit here reflecting back on a full day of Destiny in Louisville, Kentucky that included 7 rounds of Swiss and 3 rounds in the top cut, I’m both ecstatic and exhausted. Over my past year plus of competitive Destiny, I always seemed to come up one game short at big events. I came in 2nd place to my co-host Jimmydehand at the Birmingham regional last year, and I’ve gone 5-1 at several Galactic Qualifiers since then…so I’d be lying if I didn’t say how great it feels to finally be over the hump.
After bringing Thrawn/Snoke/Bitter Rivals to Birmingham a few weeks ago and finishing a disappointing 4-3 (20th place), I decided it was time to hang up my favorite Star Wars character for now and try something different. That is when I heard about Jack from the Golden Dice podcast taking second place at the Connecticut regional (bonus points because I’m originally from Connecticut!) with Tarkin/Snoke. It seemed right up my alley; Tons of options each round, tons of dice, plays pretty slow and controlling, and just overwhelms your opponent. In my testing I found my matchups against Vader and mill were pretty favorable, and since I expected that to be a pretty large portion of the meta, I decided that was the deck I was going to bring.
And boy am I glad I did. This deck is a BLAST to play, it’s very strong, and I ended up going 12-1 on the day in total to come home a Regional Champion! I’ve said it before a hundred times, but I’ll say it again: When deciding on what deck to bring to a big event, always prioritize a deck that you enjoy playing and that you’re comfortable with. If you happen to enjoy the flavor of the month or if you’re most comfortable with some crazy jank deck, who cares? Practice with it, tweak it to your liking, and have a blast. That’s what it’s all about after all, isn’t it?
But enough about all that, you’re here to learn about the deck, so let’s jump right into it.
The list (click on the image to view on DestinyDB):
Let’s go through some of the card choices in the list and I’ll provide my thought process behind each one.
Force Wave vs Force Push – Don’t get me wrong, Force Wave is a fantastic card, and I wasn’t 100% sure about this swap going into the tournament, but I expected little to no 3-wides, and the Force Push specials are crazy good against Vader, so I decided to make the swap. I’m happy to see any side on Force Push, and the little bit of targeted ranged damaged is nice to have. Truthfully, this only saw the table 2-3 times throughout the day (usually because I had plenty of dice already and I was spending my money on things like Vader’s Fist), but it was pretty impactful when it saw play. All that said, if three wide decks begin to make a comeback, Force Wave is an easy swap.
Anger – This is a card Jimmy and I debated for a bit in testing the night before. He argued that it was “too cute” given how situational it is, and he may not be wrong. I didn’t end up using very much in the Swiss rounds, but the times I DID use it (on a Vader 3 melee side, for example), were obviously very impactful. In my opinion the trick with Anger is to not fall into the trap of trying to force it. Don’t hold it in your hand for multiple rounds in the hopes of pulling off an epic play. If an opportunity arises to take their Greedo 2 ranged side, do it! Don’t feel like you have to wait for the perfect moment, or you’ll end up playing very sub-optimally in the rest of the round. And, if it just doesn’t seem to be lining up, don’t be afraid to toss it for a re-roll!
All that said, I don’t think I’d cut it from the list, as it had huge impact on a number of my top cut games, including in the finals, where I was able to resolve Steve from the Outer Rim’s Fist die to finish off Snoke (Sorry Steve!)
Battle Fatigue – This was my replacement for Imposing Presence from the original deck list. I simply went this route because it felt like a more consistent removal option. Imposing Presence is great when it’s online, and obviously has a ton of upside if they empty their hand, but I value consistency over everything in Destiny, and Battle Fatigue fit that bill.
Flames of the Past – This was actually an add that I saw Steve running in our testing the night before the event, and it makes SO much sense in the meta right now. Vader’s Fists are everywhere you look, and it’s easy to forget that you can use your own discard pile for this as well. I blew up my opponent’s Fist in game 2 of my top 4 match, and it turned a relatively close game into a blowout. Flames is just an all around solid card that gets even more powerful given how prevalent things like Fist are.
Manipulate – This was another last minute add from testing the night before. I felt it added some consistency to my Anger plays, and has great synergy with the deck. Not only can you swap things like Chance Cube, Holocron, and Force Jump from one blank to the other, you can activate your Tarkin Power Action if you only have one blank showing, while simultaneously controlling an opponent’s die. It’s particularly good against Vader, and I was able to use it to good effect a number of times throughout the day.
That said, if this deck becomes more popular, it’s actually pretty bad in the mirror match. I played a TON of mirrors yesterday, and it almost felt like a dead card, because any time I’d want to use it, it would also be turning on HIS power action.
The Rest – The rest of the cards are pretty self explanatory/standard. Solid removal, TONS of cheap dice, Probe (which is a fantastic way to get rid of spot removal and scary things like Hyperspace Jump), and Vader’s Fist, which feels pretty broken. If you have any questions about a card I didn’t mention here, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to share my thoughts!
When I sat down to think about strategy tips for this deck, I struggled a bit because there are so many ways you can go with every round and matchup that it’s difficult to give standalone advice. With that said, I’m going to try and give a few tips that I picked up from playing the deck so much over the past week or so.
Tip #1 – Plan Out Your Round
This is true of any deck, but is especially true here. Before you take your first action, try to picture how you want the round to go. Are you spending your first few actions dropping upgrades? If so, who are they going on? Do you have a Chance Cube? If so, how are you going to navigate the round so that you can pay to roll it in when it’s time? Questions like this will really help you get the most out of each round. Let me give you a few examples.
Say my opening hand looks like this:
- Force Speed
- Force Jump
- Hidden Motive
I have two upgrades that I’m going to play, but I also know that both of them are going on Snoke. Because of that, I’m in no rush to play them until right before I want to activate Snoke. Instead, I would immediately roll out Tarkin, because every once in a while I can put instant pressure on my opponent by showing that scary 2 discard side, forcing my opponent to either remove it (and therefore spend resources on removal that he’d rather be spending on upgrades), or lose almost his entire hand right off the bat.
Let’s take one more example hand:
- Force Jump
- Chance Cube
- Vader’s Fist
A lot of people would look at that hand and think, “I need to get the Fist down at all costs”, and while that certainly isn’t a bad goal, this deck runs by having a lot of dice in the pool. When I look at this hand, I think that my first goal is to get those upgrades out and make sure I can use both power actions. The Fist is the icing on the cake.
Now let me be clear. If the opportunity arises to get the resources to play the Fist, DO IT. But don’t sacrifice your entire round to do it.
Let me explain what I mean using the above sample hand. My first two actions this round would be to play the Holocron on Tarkin, and then activate him, for the same reasons I explained above. Ideally I’d love to see a resource side on Tarkin’s die so I can Power Action it for 3, but if I don’t get it I’m not going to force the issue, and I’ll happily take 4 indirect if that is what shows.
Let’s say I do get the resource side and Power Action. Now I have 5 resources. I still wouldn’t play the Fist yet, because if you do, you can’t get the Jump and Cube into the pool, and if you roll pay sides on the Fist you’re stuck. Instead, I’d play the Cube, play the Jump, activate Snoke, and try to focus the Cube to the 3 resource side before playing the Fist.
Now, this is of course a dream scenario. If you’re able get all 3 upgrades AND the Fist out round one, you’re in a pretty damn good spot for that game. But, if you get the 3 upgrades out and end up being a few resources short of the Fist, don’t sweat it, you can just play it next round.
These are just a few examples of how trying to think through a round before you take your first action can help you get ahead for the game.
Tip #2 – Focus on your Focus
You’ll very often end up with 8+ dice in your pool and more than one focus side to go along with them. Practice thinking through every option for what you could flip to to maximize your damage each round. If you plan it correctly, you can very often get 10+ damage each round just by maximizing the two Power Actions (4 from a Tarkin 2 indirect side, 4 from Tarkin’s action, and 2 from another 2 indirect side). It can be difficult to navigate at times, but focus on what you want the end result to be, and figure out the most efficient way to get there.
Tip #3 – Take it Slow
It takes you a lot of actions to maximize your potential each round, so you’re normally in no rush to get through the round. I try to learn from every game of Destiny that I play, even if I win, and a good example of why this is so important is a moment from one of my Finals games. You can see the situation about 29 minutes into the video that the guys from the Outer Rim posted:
Here I have a Tarkin 2 indirect showing, and I haven’t used Snoke’s Power Action yet. I elect to spend the 5 resources to play Vader’s Fist, and Steve responds by playing an Overconfidence. I end up getting 4 indirect from the Fist, but I should have resolved that 2 indirect first, guaranteeing that damage and removing the risk of Overconfidence. There was no real benefit to trying to get both dice out at that point, so it’s a better play to take it slow.
Tip #4 – Time your Probes
I can’t overstate how great of a card Probe is, and learning the nuances of timing them is very important. Like everything in Star Wars Destiny, it comes down to the individual situation, but in general Probe is best played after your opponent plays an upgrade or two and has 2-3 cards remaining in their hand. More often than not, those cards are either removal or something very important like a Hyperspace Jump or a Rise Again. Maximizing your chances to hit impactful events can turn a round into a blowout.
I just realized that this article is over 2000 words already, so I better stop now before I get carried away! I love talking about competitive Destiny, and I loved playing this deck, so if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot, it’s a blast to play!
If you have any questions about the deck, my card choices, or anything else, leave a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter @MandalorePod.
Until next time, May the Force Be With You!