As I left home for this Destiny event, I wasn’t all that sure what I would see. The game is so new and everyone seems to have gravitated towards different characters that they like or think can work very well together and built decks around them. A very fascinating element of Destiny to this point is that very few of the characters feel non-viable. That’s not to say that every one of them is 100% equally effective, but there is the feeling that competitive play is possible in a variety of ways. That is a strength of this opening set.
In all, twenty players attended this event in Monroeville, PA and competed across five rounds of Swiss for full-art Kylo Ren and custom resource tokens. It was quite a lot of fun.
I selected eJango/eVeers to take to this tournament. I did so for a few reasons. First, I had been separately working on eJango/Trooper/Trooper on my own and saw that others were liking it too. Always nice to feel like you’re on to something. I wasn’t sure that I was loving splitting red between two characters and decided to eliminate the Troopers in favor of Veers, though I know think the Trooper variant is probably better. The deck list remained largely the same between the two (though I was able to make a quick trade at the event to nab the final DH-17 Pistol that I needed). I liked my flavor of it, which did not include Backup Muscle or Thermal Detonators, but did add a Cunning for some versatility and special abuse, when possible. I opted for cards that allowed for mitigation, like Confiscations, and still had plenty of guns to go around.
Second, I’m still learning a lot about the game, and this was a deck that I felt comfortable with. I think that’s very important, especially when no one has had the chance to play enough games to call themselves an expert. Indeed, though a bunch of very competent gamers were present today, there were things missed just in games I was in or watched, like Luke triggers, Bala-Tik triggers, or upgrade replacement discounts (something I myself had missed on a couple of occasions). Comfort matters. I also really like the action compression that Jango Fett provides, especially when you can open with Holdout Blaster and a Veers activation.
Finally, it’s the deck that I feel my current collection could best support at the time. I’m very intrigued by Blue, for example, but am lacking many of the pieces that make blue effective. When you open a booster box and you pull two Holdout blasters, two General Veers, two Jetpacks, and the like, you’re being moved in direction, you know? This is the deck I could most confidently and completely run.
I would also dispute the claims that it is without nuance. Hanging in there when the odds are against you isn’t easy with this one, and you have to get the most out of every card in your hand or die on the table to do it. It’s very easy to look at this and assume it’ll be all damage, all the time, but as I found today that wasn’t always the case.
Round One: vs. eBala-Tik / Captain Phasma / First Order Stormtrooper
As soon as I saw my opponent’s characters, I knew this was going to be a battle. Lots of ranged damage, like my own team, but with the ability to mess with how I can resolve my damage thanks to Phasma granting Guardian to the Stormtrooper. This is a team that I really like and is next on my list of “things to learn to play.”
The theme of this game (and in fact most of the early part of the day) was “bad rolls.” In this case, that was true for both of us. I chipped away on his characters – mostly the trooper, since guardian was forcing me to do that anyway – and he chipped away on my Jango Fett. There was a lot of mitigation both ways here, with things like Electroshock, Confiscation, Cunning, and other tech keeping one another at bay. Eventually I was able to defeat his Trooper and then Bala-Tik and put the finishing blow on Phasma just as we approached time. It was an incredibly fun and interactive game as we both battled through poor rolls.
Round Two: vs. eGeneral Greivous / Jango Fett
I was quite wary of this matchup. Though my opponent would be splitting between melee and ranged, Greivous packs an enormous punch. His melee faces are potent.
Poor rolls plagued me again, and the player I was sitting across from was no slouch either – I had played him several times in Dice Masters and knew him to be a thoughtful and skilled competitor. While I was able to get rid of his Jango and reduce Greivous to just a couple of hit points, he prevailed, leaving me 1-1. While splitting damage types may not be ideal, he still managed to pack quite a lot of punch, more than I could mitigate while attempting to stabilize.
Round Three: vs. eLuke / Ackbar
This was a tricky one! While Luke was going to be his main source of damage, I chose to go for Ackbar first, mostly because the damage to exactly cut him down came up fairly quickly, and I knew that would limit some of his capability (by eliminating use of Leadership, for example) and give me more flexibility to play my whole hand if I wanted. He went hard for my characters, Riposting and Willpowering and so on. It was a great use of these cards and made the early going quite back-and-forth.
A key point in the match that I recall was when he used Return of the Jedi to return a Riposte to his hand while a fully-shielded Luke was on the table. I had to be aware of that card-in-hand for the rest of the game. Focusing on shield removal was a vital component of my success here, though my On the Hunt wasn’t always reliable and I had to take care of it with damage. Ultimately, I was able to overcome Luke and close out the win.
Round Four: vs. eFinn / Poe Dameron
This deck was running plenty vehicles, and using the Starship Graveyard to pull needed items out of the discard pile. In the early part of the game, my opponent was using this to allow for basically free rerolls. Unfortunately (for him), he was unable to get his economy going strong before I finished off Poe Dameron, preventing him from taking the best advantage he could of his vehicles.
He got two different Second Chances onto his Finn, which kept him alive for quite a while. I was digging hard into my deck between rounds to find a Confiscation to at least take care of one of them, but I was unsuccessful, forcing me to kill the poor guy three times. Poor Finn. This game was the first one where my dice started to remember that they have roughly 50% damage sides, and perhaps should pour out damage. They did.
Final Round: vs. eJabba / Vader
I knew that Vader was where most of the strife would come from in this matchup and had to burn him quickly. Luckily, I was able to do just that with an early F11-D Rifle for Veers and a Jetpack for Jango. Vader was gone quickly, though he had managed to force me to discard many useful pieces along the way. In the next round, with a couple of damage already on his Jabba, he was able to pull out Crime Lord using Ace in the Hole and got it on the special face, targeting my Veers. I got in a little more damage to Jabba and redeployed the rifle to Jango. The next round, one damage roll took care of it. This game went quickly – there was still 20 minutes left on the round timer – but it was not a breeze and was not easy. I was very concerned about the level of control that Vader could establish, especially knowing that Oddball piloted a Vader/Jabba deck to victory just a day prior over a Jango/Veers deck like mine.
I finished 4-1 on the day. A quick check of the excellent SwissTriangle.net confirmed that I would be guaranteed a top four prize of Kylo and resource tokens, so I paced around only slightly impatiently waiting for the rest of the games to finish up.
First, it was a lot of fun just to play today. It was so nice to get out and see twenty others trying to solve the puzzle of Destiny, a wonderful showing for a first event. There were some really memorable moments in each game and all of my opponents were gracious and gregarious. I know that opinions are split on the full-art Kylo Ren, specifically the use of Aurebesh, but I find it to be a great poke at the flavor and theme of the game and am happy to have them. I will say that I wish the resource tokens were a little flashier (or that there were more than just five of them), but I won’t complain about getting a free extra.
Early on, I was frustrated at my deck’s inability to pump out damage the way that I needed it to. Truly, though, it still had enough to help me scrap and claw to a 1-1 record, and then went off in some big matchups when it was vital that it did so. If I hadn’t been able to defeat Poe Dameron in round four or Darth Vader in round five as quickly as I did, these would have been much more challenging games. I’ll freely admit that throughout the first two or three rounds, both my opponents and myself forgot about certain triggers or rules that would have worked in our favor. How these things could have impacted the game, I don’t know, but they were on both sides, so I’m comfortable knowing that I learned lessons for this time, and mistakes happened to the benefit of both myself and my opponent.
Note that in every single round, I played against a completely different deck. This was particularly enjoyable. It has been some time since I came into a tournament and saw this much decklist variety, though admittedly some take on Red/Yellow made up three of my five rounds. I will assume that this will change somewhat as the game ages, but perhaps not, and regardless I will certainly enjoy the diversity while it is here.