Can I beat Vader?
This was the question every deck I tested had to answer leading up to regional play.
The big daddy Lawd of the Sith was smashing faces in leading up to this regional. With no Vader’s Fist and no Snoke in my collection, I had few options. Fortunately, two star-crossed scoundrels showed their worth during testing when all others fell short.
This build felt pretty flexible the more I tested the deck. It could keep a fast tempo when it needed to, but wasn’t fully reliant on action-cheating. Its mitigation package was solid, but I was fortunate not to face any mill as I felt that was its weakest match-up going in. I opted for more surprise options like Take Flight, Rebel, and Armed to the Teeth over the Infamous Never Tell Me The Odds package. I ultimately chose not to run Double-Cross, as I felt Paid Off would give me more flexibility as to when I could play it.
I would usually mulligan for a gun, Bait and Switch, mitigation, and a hero card like Easy Pickings or Hyperspace Jump. The ideal plan was to get full use of Han’s special early to keep the pressure on. Bait and Switch is a great card in itself, but with these characters it turns their dice into 66% damage. If you swing big with Qi’Ra or hit Han’s specials/ranged you’ll be sitting pretty.
Round 1 – Loss – Han3/Biggs – Armored Reinforcement
Zach from the Dice of Failure podcast won his Theed battlefield, then proceeded to roll me off the table. His Falcon rolled hot, and a key moment was his Hyperspace Jump in round 2 to keep Biggs alive when I was showing lethal. He rode the ride all the way into the Top 8.
Round 2 – Win – Boussh/Jedi Sentinel – Calling In Favors
This deck piloted by self-proclaimed newcomer Jeff did some decent damage to me with Leia’s special and some sneaky event plays, including a three damage Reversal and a seven damage Wanton Destruction (ouch). Qi’Ra put down Leia round 2 with a Take Flight/Bait and Switch for nine damage, and I was able to close the Jedi Sentinel with Armed to the Teeth the next round.
Round 3 – Win – Han3/Yoda
Wyatt from the Dice of Failure Podcast took his Theed battlefield and got off to a solid start round 1 with an early Hyperspace Jump before I could resolve any damage. In round 2, he put four damage into my Han and was sitting on three resources. A key play was my Bait and Switch that I had saved from round 1, which I played to get Han’s dice to go from showing one special to two. I then resolved both specials to gain two resources and forced Wyatt to lose two resources. This kept him from Hyperspace Jumping again in round 2. Qi’Ra was able to put a solid amount of damage into his Han in round 2, and in round 3 I mitigated and then put down his Han. With both of my characters still alive, Yoda had an uphill battle with only two damage-dealing upgrades. I finished the game with another Armed to the Teeth after putting in eight more damage and chewing through a Force Illusion.
Round 4 – Win – Tarkin/Snoke
I rolled straight fire this game, putting five damage into Tarkin round 1. In round 2 I pitched to reroll and settled on eight damage, which I was forced to put into Snoke to avoid Tarkin’s Force Illusion. Alex K. kindly responded with eight indirect damage of his own. I was able to effectively stay ahead of Force Jump in both rounds. Snoke went down in round 3. Chance Cube and Sith Holocron were on the bottom of Alex’s deck (unfortunately for him) and Tarkin went down in round 5.
Round 5 – Win – Vader/Greedo
I won my Theed in the roll-off and managed to stay ahead on tempo this game. Vader’s dice didn’t want to cooperate for fellow Cloud City Roller Kris. An In the Crosshairs in round 2 kept my characters free of damage early. A timely Coercion effectively ended this game by getting a Price of Failure before Vader had activated, forcing him to defeat his full health Greedo.
Round 6 – Win – Vader/Greedo
Shane from Artificery (if my memory serves me correctly) got his Vader’s Fist down round 1, but unfortunately only hit damage once during his activations. Han had a hot six damage roll, forcing an early Beguile from Shane which left him with no resources for the pay sides on Vader’s Fist. With an early Claim round 1, I chipped away at Vader in round 2 and Hyperspace Jumped before the Fist could activate. It was the same story in round 3 after Vader was healed with a Rise Again. In round 4 I used Drop In and Take Flight to hit good damage, then Bait and Switched for nine damage to put down Vader.
Round 7 – Win – Rex/Maz/Clone Trooper
This was the match to determine Top 8 against fellow Cloud City Roller Stephanie. She had been working with this deck for some time, and it could be a beast when it got rolling. Round 1 was kind of slow for both of us; I Han specialed and took a resource to get down a second gun on Qi’Ra. At that point, my board state was ahead. In round 2 I was able to Bait and Switch to take down Stephanie’s full health Clone Trooper, then Jump to swap to my Theed battlefield. In round 3 I hit Drop In to take Maz of the board. From there, I had to fight through Defensive Position, a Hyperspace Jump of Stephanie’s own, and a full health Rex. I eventually finished him off with an Armed to the Teeth after Han went down.
Top 8 Match – Loss – DJ/Snoke
I have to give a lot of credit to Brenton, as the deck he built was nasty. Both games went about the same way; he got Vader’s Fist out round 1, I couldn’t get DJ down early enough, and he effectively mitigated at key moments.
Overall it was a very satisfying showing for me, and my highest finish at a Destiny event. My card MVPs were Bait and Switch, Armed to the Teeth, and Hyperspace Jump. If I had to make a change, I’d probably add Negotiate and drop Rebel. Negotiate is a tricky to sequence removal card, but it’s easier to hit than Rebel. Han3/Qi’Ra is an extremely fun mid-range deck that should have staying power when rotation hits, as long as we get some good two resource guns.
Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics was a fantastic host, I had a blast with this deck and with everyone I played with. Special shout-out to my best friend Thomas (Savage281) for all the reps and to the Cloud City Rollers at Zulu’s Board Game Café!
Now, on to the next question… can you beat Snoke?