At its heart, Star Wars Destiny is a game about combat. I mean, sure, you could win a game by having your opponent run out of cards in their hand and their deck. But, as much fun as it is to “Moisture Farm” (that’s for you Lukas), the more common win condition is simply some straight-up space violence.
Damage comes in three basic flavors: Melee, Ranged, and Special. Of course, it’s also possible to deal damage through abilities like Admiral Ackbar’s, but for our purposes we are going to lump that into the “Special” category. When building your deck of destruction, it is important to keep these damage types in mind. A Jedi is probably going to be much happier wielding Melee weapons than trying to win a game outfitted like a charter member of the NRA (Naboo Rifle Association). So, which damage type should I focus on when building a deck?
Damage Face Frequency – Characters
Let’s say that you take out one of every character die in the Awakenings set. In fact, go ahead and do that… I’ll wait. Got them? Great! If we look at the damage sides, we’ll notice a bit of a disparity. Of the one hundred forty four sides on the twenty four character dice, we have: twenty two Melee sides, two damage dealing Special sides, and thirty Ranged sides. Not only that but, when you look at the distribution of those sides, there are virtually as many Ranged sides with a value of two as there are Melee sides with a value of only one. Already, just based on character damage sides, we can see why Ranged is so popular in the current Destiny scene. The projectile attacks net you a bit more bang for your buck, at least when we talk about characters. But what about Upgrades and Supports?
Damage Face Frequency – Upgrades & Supports
When considering damage faces on dice, we have to take a gander at the weapons and the walkers (and everything else in between) that make up Upgrades and Supports. These are very likely going to be the bulk of your dice in a given deck, so it’s important to see where they fall.
Supports, while not a big part of the meta right now due to how much they can slow down your deck, do pack a massive wallop. And, no surprise, they do it almost exclusively with Ranged damage. Taking a look at the faces, there is only one straight damage dealing Special side (Black One), fifteen Ranged faces, and ZERO Melee. That’s a lot of blaster fire!
Upgrades, on the other hand, are a bit more evenly distributed. The spread there is: twenty four Ranged sides, eighteen Melee faces, and fourteen Special symbols that directly deal damage. It’s that same ratio that we have come to expect for Ranged vs Melee, with a bit more sauciness supplied by the Specials.
Wow, You Can Count. So What?
So here’s where the hydrospanner meets the hyperdrive. Now that we have a general idea of the breakdown of these faces, what do we do with that knowledge? We use it build teams and consider what we’re going to see out in the wild.
First, building teams. I’m a massive mark for melee damage. I also know that Ranged characters are far more popular right now, and I think it’s the frequency of damage faces on the characters and the upgrades that have helped make it so. Not only are there more Ranged sides, but generally they seem to trend higher than their Melee counterparts. Thematically, of course, this makes sense. In a galaxy (far far away) where laser pistols are the norm, why bring a vibroblade to that fight?
Second, defending your characters. So, we now know (like we didn’t before) that we’re more likely to see Ranged damage. Add in the fact that the most popular character in the game right now, Jango Fett, has two Ranged sides to his one Melee face. That just increases the likelihood that we’ll see duos and trios built around Ranged damage. Which means that we need to be prepared. There are several cards that will help with Ranged damage, and when you “tech your deck” it is smart to throw in more ways to handle the guns than the sticks. Dodges become more valuable than Blocks, for example.
But Now You Know That I Know…
There is a concept in Game Theory that I really like called “Levels of Information”. Now please keep in mind that I failed all of my math classes at the Rebel Academy so, while other Mon Calamari might be better suited to explain this, I am the one that you get. But Levels of Information goes something like this: level one is “I know a thing, but you don’t know that I know it”. Level two is “I know a thing, and you know I know it, but I don’t know that you know that.” Level three, of course, is “I know a thing, and you know that I know it, and I know that you know that I know it, but you don’t know that I know that you know that I know.” This can go on forever until we’ve reached COMPLETE INFORMATION!
This circles back around to why I like to build around Melee. Obviously, my opponent is going to know that Ranged damage is much more likely to have been encountered. I can then know that they have likely built to counter it. But, and this is the kicker, they may not know that I know that. So, I’m going to build my deck using Melee and countering their Ranged. Of course, they might know that I know that and I obviously don’t know they know… and now we have a game!
Take It Home (One)
Alright, so we’ve (finally) arrived at the point. Here’s what we know:
- There is more Ranged than Melee
- We are more likely to see Ranged than Melee
- We should be prepared for Ranged but…
- Don’t forget about Melee
- Or Specials, but those are a bit trickier to defend against
Star Wars Destiny is built on a weird and sliding Rock/Paper/Scissors model. Rock doesn’t beat Scissors, but both can be used to beat you. Throw in Paper, and suddenly it’s a trio of things that can dish out the damage. Mitigate it best you can while still applying your own antagonistic attacks against your adversary, and you stand a good chance of emerging victorious. At least, as long as those darn dice cooperate!