Greetings, Holonet! I’ve been wanting to start a series on this topic for a while, so I’m excited to introduce a new column: “Pet Deck”!
With each set that comes out, I’ll typically have two decks that I primarily play. One will be a tournament deck—this deck typically changes frequently along with the meta, and is in no way unique or interesting. The other deck will be some sort of pet project based on a card or interaction I enjoy. The latter type of decks generally fall somewhere between ‘barely playable jank’ and ‘good enough to sneak some wins.’
During the last Store Championship season I logged more games with my eLuke1/eAnakin2 Darksaber deck than anything else. It never won an event, but it felt competitive while still being an absolute joy to play. Nothing is more fun than playing Swiftness into Concentrate on a Darksaber die to deal massive amounts of damage!
When Convergence released, I had no idea what I was going to be rolling with. I split a few boxes with a friend and pulled a single Phasma. Traditionally, a single die character at 18 points would not be worth it. However, Phasma’s Power Action gave her an extra edge, and I adored the idea of a three die character. Knowing that I had 12 points remaining to build the team, picking her partner was easy.
Mother Talzin might be my favorite character card in Star Wars: Destiny. She costs only 12 points for elite, has a fantastic die, and lets you build your deck around her remarkably powerful ability. In a dice game, consistency is critical. Mother Talzin’s die-turning ability creates the opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of your dice every turn. I’ve played many games with Mother Talzin, many of which with Thrawn as her partner. I took that duo, dubbed ‘Grandmother,’ to the Washington Regional and to last year’s World Championship. It may have been the most consistent deck I’ve ever played, in large part thanks to Mother Talzin’s ability.
Talzin decks aren’t only sunshine and roses, however, as limiting yourself to only odd cards is a massive detriment. By doing this, you are restricting yourself from playing some of the best value cards in the game. Blue/Red villain in Standard has access to Probe, Measure for Measure, Hidden Motive, Forsaken, and Doubt—some of the best zero-cost events in the game! Due to wanting perfect consistency with Mother Talzin’s ability, Witch Magick, and Spell of Removal, I decided not to run any of these cards.
My first draft of the deck was rough—limited to cards I had brought with me to the Convergence release event. It looked something like this:
I really just wanted to (thanks to Phasma’s ability) resolve the indirect sides on Vader’s Fist as though they were melee! This was obviously not a tuned incarnation of the deck, but given the cards I had on me, it had to do.
I decided to play a couple of games, though I had low expectations for the deck’s performance. However, it turned out that a five dice start (where the weakest die was a First Order Stormtrooper) was quite powerful! The deck’s game plan was pretty straightforward—play an Energy Bow or Conscript Squad to up the dice count to six, and keep the remaining resource available for mitigation. The first few games with the deck proved that it had legs, but more importantly they showed that it was a blast to play.
I began to look at the available card pool to see what odd-cost options Blue/Red villain had access to. Here are the cards I ended up with.
- Witch Magick – This is the most powerful event in the deck, and the reason I stick to all odd-costed cards. The typical expectation for a card is to get two damage per resource spent. By healing three damage for one resource, you are netting a 50% bonus on the expectation! – Purpose: Damage Mitigation
- Riot Shield – In the Grandmother deck, Force Illusion was a critical card for its success, with the aim of blocking three damage. Riot Shield does that even better, as you can always block three damage from Phasma! In many ways, this and Witch Magick turn your 21 health team into a monstrous 27 health team. – Purpose: Damage Mitigation
- The Best Defense… – Typically your opponent will focus down Mother Talzin first—this card allows you to draw fire away from our favorite Dathomirian witch. Don’t forget that you can put the three damage onto your Riot Shield! – Purpose: Dice Mitigation
- Flank – Flank? In a two character list? Yep! Due to having several supports and Phasma’s Power Action, you often find yourself activating a character several actions into a round. – Purpose: Dice Mitigation
- Rout – With a five dice start, it’s quite easy to turn Rout on, since you just need three dice in the pool. With Energy Bow or Conscript Squad on the table, you can potentially remove two of your opponents dice! Getting nine dice in the pool is a bit tougher, but this deck can do it. – Purpose: Dice Mitigation
- Spell of Removal – This card is awful when Mother Talzin is defeated, but otherwise it’s great at removing any non-Watto die in the game. – Purpose: Dice Mitigation
- Triple Threat – In a world where Vaders and Wattos punish players for trying to remove their dice, Triple Threat is pretty decent! Since you have a five character dice start, you can reroll your opponents dice and your own, impacting the dice pool without removal. – Purpose: Dice Interaction
- Isolation/The Force is With Me – These fill flexible slots, and I’m still undecided on the exact two cards for the deck. They should be mitigation—you can change these up depending on what you expect to see at your local tables. If you wanted to go the even-cost route, you could slide two Forsaken in here and probably be better off for it. – Purpose: Dice Mitigation
- Tech Team – There are 11 supports in this deck, so Tech Team typically creates a convenient resource advantage as the game progresses. Since every card in the deck has a cost, anything that helps offset the resources spent is more than welcome. – Purpose: Resource Generation
- Vigilance/Stifle – Although these cards are very different, they both reward careful play. Vigilance is fantastic for disrupting all of the focus sides floating around. Stifle creates unique opportunities to protect your dice, potentially setting up lethal damage on an opposing character. – Purpose: Denial
- Conscript Squad/Energy Bow – You’d think that these wouldn’t be lumped together, but they are some of the best cards to play in round one. They both provide a die with a two ranged modifer side, which can push your damage output to a staggering twelve. I typically will mulligan hard for one of these. Don’t forget that Triple Threat can trigger Energy Bow’s ability for a free reroll! – Purpose: Dice Threat
- Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer – I. Love. This. Card. The Solar Sailer does its best work in drawn-out games. It allows you to ramp hard in the first few turns with it’s two resource side. Then, in the later game, it provides fantastic consistency with its two focus sides. Mother Talzin loves to use her ability on this die to cater to your needs. Even the shield side can be lifesaving! I’d love to fit a second copy, but I think it’s correct to have just one. – Purpose: Resource Generation/Dice Fixing
- Vader’s Fist – What can I say? This card is straight busted. Five resources is a lot for this deck, but if you have it in hand, feel free to go for resource sides on your dice. Tech Team also really helps out with paying for it. It’s rare to play this card early and not get the win. – Purpose: Dice Threat
- Inferno Squad ID10 Seeker Droid – An absolute must keep against support-heavy decks! This Seeker Droid is your only way to disrupt your opponent’s hand, and its die is solid for one-cost upgrade. The special side is crucial for removing your opponent’s Fist, Entourage, or Megablaster Troopers. I’ve won a few games against what I think is currently the best deck in Standard (eSnoke/Watto/First Order Stormtrooper), due mainly to the ID10 special taking whatever support they were hoping to play. – Purpose: Dice Threat/Denial
Force Wave didn’t make the cut, as it could only be played on Talzin and was difficult to consistently play and resolve on turn one. I tried Umbaran Hover Tank in its place, but it felt lackluster compared to the rest of the deck. A change I’d consider would be to add in two Forsakens. With Phasma only rolling in a single die upon activation, the card can be easily utilized.
Playing the Deck
Your draw can often help shape your game plan, and it’s essential to decide if you are the aggressor (which you usually are) or the control player. I like to see either Energy Bow or Conscript Squad in my opening hand, regardless of the matchup. Tech Team is another keeper, as it generates more resources the longer the game progresses. You should keep Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer in your opening hand if you are expecting to play the long game. Vigilance is good against any focus-heavy deck (I’m looking at you, Watto!). My ideal opening hand would be something like this:
Here you have the ability to push out Tech Team, which then pays for itself when you play Conscript Squad. Flank or Triple Threat can be played to mitigate with the remaining resource. Cards like Riot Shield (or Witch Magick) are excellent to see turn one as well. If one of your many dice hit a resource side, you could play it at the end of the round.
Always having a resource is important! If you have no resources, your opponent will know you can’t interact with them. Hang on to your mitigation in the first round and try to get good value from it. You also need to watch out for those disrupt sides. The difference between one and zero resources can be the difference between a win and a loss.
I like the fact that this deck functions more like a middle/middle deck (where the characters are relatively even in power level) than it does a big/little (with one character being the primary threat and the other character playing a support role). Many decks that utilize ePhasma will fall immediately after Phasma meets her end. In this case, Mother Talzin can more than pull her own weight with her two ranged sides and die-flipping ability. Does this mean that Phasma/eMother Talzin is better than ePhasma/Sentinel/Retribution? Probably not. 😉
So, there you have it—my current favorite deck in the Convergence meta. I think it’s going to have trouble with some of the most powerful decks in the format. However, with its high damage output, flexible support and event package, and Talzin’s consistency, you can definitely sneak some wins. I’ve got a couple of Galactic Qualifiers coming up here in Seattle, and I’ll be looking to score one of those new Phasma promos!