Confessions of a Casual

Written by: Rainmaker

Wow, what a tournament! I missed out on the FA release tournament due to work. Couldn’t have that happen again so I quit so I could for sure make this one. Big thanks to ARH for all the work that went into the set and organizing the tournament. If you played in the tournament and have the ability to join Patreon please consider it so we can continue to have these events. Big thanks to all of the content creators out there and other tourney organizers. Having a tournament this size is great and right after the release it has a Wild West feel where anything can show up, and a casual can win. I would like to see a similar sized event before the next set is released, where the Meta is more established, because then a casual will have no chance and I can stop playing after Swiss. 

The Deck

Confession time, I did not spend a lot of time making this deck. I may have been spending a good amount of my time on Friday watching stocks go up and down. Diamond. Hands. Saturday morning I realized, “I don’t know what I’m playing today”. This set has so many viable build options and I was lost on what to run. I almost went with single die Obi/Jyn with the win condition being my opponent rage quits.

Thought better of it and went with an aggro eLeia/eAni. Huge shout-out to Lanza; I went off a build he posted in Entourage and tweaked it ever so slightly. Another shout-out to Bearcat, my fellow local, who made top 16 even though he hasn’t played since the FA release tourney. He is a really good player that almost always makes the correct decision. Also, shout-out to Lanza for doxing me on stream.

The deck is fairly straight forward; protect Ani with Leia’s ability until he flips. Sword and Shield. Leia is basically a 3 die character, her ability rolls a 0-3 shield depending on what you flip off the top. The only 0 cost in the deck is nullify (which I revealed 5 or 6 times off her activation!) and there are plenty of 3 or 4 cost (which I revealed 10 or 12 times on the day!). On the mulligan I was always looking for Nullify, Jedi Saber, and Niman. Economy cards like Merchant and It Binds were secondary, unless I was facing pirates/yellow villain cause those cards are trash in that matchup.

Swiss Rounds

1st round – Xerohour eAckbar/United  L (0-1)

This and Han/Dash is probably the worst matchup for me and things did not go my way. Xero healed all of the damage I could do with Veteran upgrade, field medics, and eject. At the start of round 3 his Ackbar started with no damage and 2 shields, both of my characters were loaded with shields but if Ackbar gets to round 3 or 4 his board state becomes almost unbeatable. Xero played really well and mitigated what felt like everything in round 3. Even then, I still had a chance with a pushing slash with a fairly loaded Leia. He had no mitigation in the last round but I whiffed on the roll out. A loss to start the day. Only one 4-2 was going to make cut and thanks to the opening loss every game was an elimination game for cut due to SoS. Being a filthy casual though, my goal was to have fun.

2nd round – Rog Light – Veers/Snowtrooper/Snowtrooper/Relentless Advance W (1-1)

Veers and three Snowtroopers, that’s a lot of health. Even more because he won the roll-off with his 3 dice and took Hoth making those Snowtroopers a beefy 9 health each. Wasn’t feeling too good about this after he won the roll off but I was able to flip to Vader on a round 2 activation. He drew all supports round 1 and with no resources to get a trooper his board state took a while to build. He did get a Rd1 Kamino but Leia’s guardian ability does wonders at limiting the growth of it and he never got to 11 on it.

3rd round – AtheNAH – eRako/eJedi Apprentice/The Jedi Code W (2-1)

I had my flip target in Jedi Apprentice and I got a late round 2 flip taking away two dice and limiting his Jedi Code targets (that is a very effective combo). His deck made a good amount of money even though Rako doesn’t have money sides. DoA and his activation ability do the work. A flipped Vader and Leia was too much even with a Black Market Arm or two.

4th round – Dexter – eQui-Gon Jin/Kashyyyk warrior/Tribe W (3-1)

I was unsure about this matchup, that’s a lot of healing and shield potential. I figured my best chance was to burn down Warrior and go for the flip. That would turn off Tribe healing while turning on Vader’s ability to wipe shields. I got there on a Rd 2 pushing slash and even though he had a Jar-kai on Qui-gon I was able to punch through.

5th round – Jedi – FlipAni/Ashoka/eApprentice/The Jedi Code W (4-1)

I knew Jedi was going to be on some blue hero shenanigans and he was true to form. I didn’t know who to target in this deck. A flipped Vader is brutal, he got knighthood on Ashoka rd 1, and the apprentice only has 7 health/2 dice/jedi code synergy; I decided on the apprentice. I got there on Rd 2 and vader’s ability is just brutal into shields. Targeted FlipAni next to prevent the same from happening to me and got there.

6th round – Eardron – eOzzel/eHondo W (5-1)

Initially I got paired against Vontz running Kylo Savage, which I didn’t know how to feel about honestly. That deck can hit hard. On the repair I got my first of four Pirate decks. Ozzel is an easy target to get the flip, but I figured taking out Hondo and removing his 4 dice was the wiser course to get the win. I took the 2 shields from Ozzel to lose the rollout to turn on nullify. I rolled really well this game and even though he best defensed twice, I was still able to put down Hondo. Still, that deck is scary with the supports it can put out. Megas anybody! But from 0-1 to 5-1, Submarine completed.  

Top Cut

Top 16 – Ace Jon – Hondo/Zombie/Pirate Loyalist/The Ultimate Heist W (2-1)

This was hard fought and I barely escaped out of this round. We had some confusion on what happens when Pirate Loyalist dies while zombie is on my side of the board ‘Does he go back?’ There was some miscommunication on getting that clarified and we played game 1 wrong, he gave me the zombie and its 5 health for the whole game. In game 3 we played the right way and zombie went back. I don’t know if I win game 1 if he has the 5 extra health, and the beginning wasn’t streamed so I can’t go back and see how close it was.

My strategy was to go for the flip either on the loyalist or zombie if needed. I got it on a Rd2 activation in games 1 and 3. Then just chew through Hondo. Pirates are mean man; they eat your money and use it to spit out supports, upgrades, and events that hurt. You have to spend your money early in rounds on upgrades or try and make more than they can take (dubious strategy IMHO). Jedi-Sabers and Nimans were vital for me. I used the jedi saber for shields/spend my money and then overwrote to Niman to flip a Leia die to damage, and then roll out Ani. Aggressive the whole way through.

Ace Jon’s Raiding Party and Den of Thieves combo is GROSS. Put damage into it, remove it with raiding party, rinse and repeat. In game 3 Ace blocked at least 6 or so damage with one of them. Once I finally pushed through one, he dropped another one immediately (I’m convinced just to tilt me). Bubble shield on steroids. It made putting down Hondo an absolute chore, and I was only able to do it in two of the games. If you are playing Pirates without that combo you are doing it wrong.

Top 8 – RocknTroll – eQuiGon/Kashyyyk Warrior/Tribe W (2-0)

I played Jedi on the same deck earlier and knew my strategy of targeting the Wookie and flipping could work. That’s exactly what I tried to do in game 1. Rd 1 I put 10 damage into the wookie and he tribed back to 7. He opened rd 2 with a tribe and put Qui Gon at 3 or 4 damage. Normally, I hate switching targets (It’s a good way to giveaway games). But I felt there was an opening because I hadn’t rolled out any of my dice and taking out Qui Gon wins the game, so I switched my target and poured in the damage. I got a pushing slash to open Rd 3 to finish off Qui Gon.

Game 2 I had the same strategy. Rd 1 I got the Niman on Ani and I revealed a pushing slash on Leia’s ability so I knew that if I got within 4 of the kill on Wookie I had a really good chance at a Pushing slash flip. I got a 2 on the rollout and flipped to Vader. He loaded up Qui Gon with Jarkai and a ton of weapons but I still liked my chances with Vader and his PA. I rolled exceptionally well this matchup and it could have easily gone the other way.

Top 4 – JrakPIN – Kragan/Hondo/The Ultimate Heist W (2-0)

What’s that, another different Pirate matchup? Through 10 hours of gameplay and 9 games against pirates, those games have kind of blurred together. The strategy was the same though; spend my resources before he can take them. With Kragan he can activate both characters and can roll you right off. In both games I was able to take out a character quickly and then try and survive the support onslaught from entourages, fickles etc. Jrak is a tough player and those games were very stressful.

Final – Klein – Hondo/Pirate Loyalist/Pirate Loyalist/The Ultimate Heist W (2-1)

Klein ran over the field all day. 6-0 through swiss and only dropped one game in top cut to Norman on Jyn/Cass (what?). That said I felt good about this matchup as I had beat 3 Hondo decks already. Spend my money, be aggressive, and flip to Vader.

I viewed flipping to Vader and protecting Vader as a win condition, which is why I put a lot of damage into Leia when I probably didn’t need to. I definitely could have spread the damage out and kept her alive longer in each game and after watching the stream my sequencing in some spots was questionable and I got lucky at times. I make no apologies for it as I am a causal and that’s what casuals do.

Though, I will push back on putting damage into Hondo after a pushing slash. Yes, I can PA away the shields but after hitting a 4 for 1, I’m resolving that into Hondo every single time. Wasting damage isn’t great but once I flip to Vader I have to put down Hondo (and his 3 dice) as quick as possible. To me it was a no brainer. I did resolve a 1 melee off a pushing slash into shields, and yeah, that was dumb.

Overall Thoughts

This was a fun and exhausting day. Congrats to everyone that made cut and to Klein for his impressive Pirate run. I played a lot of great opponents and luck was on my side quite a bit to make it through.

After the FA tourney the meta was solved on day one. So is the RED meta solved after that tourney? No, not at all. I think there are a ton of viable archetypes and pairings that can do very well. Pirates did very well but decks will adapt to it (spend your money). Ackbar has silver bullets (looking at you Mind Extraction) and unfavorable matchups. Han/Dash lives by the dice and dies by the dice (super lucky to have not played them). All decks need to look out for Mill (Turkey is back). I’m really excited for this Meta and am thankful for the excellent set that was released. Diamond. Hands.

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