Mos Eisley Gazette: Brazilian National Championship

Welcome to the ninth edition of the Mos Eisley Gazette!

Last month, top players across Brazil gathered in São Paulo for the Brazilian National Championship.  To mark the moment, the Mos Eisley Gazette sat down with this year’s champion: Clauberalex

Getting to Know Clauberalex

When was the moment you became a fan of Star Wars?

I remember going to the theater in 1999 as an 11-year old kid and being absolutely enthralled by The Phantom Menace and that universe. After discovering that Episode 1 wasn’t the first movie, I just had to watch all the old ones and in that moment I became an instant fan of the saga. After the new trilogy concluded, I went for the Expanded Universe books and I’ve been reading them by the hundreds.

How did you get into SW Destiny?

After first discovering “modern” board games, the one that made me dive into the hobby was X-Wing TMG, which I’ve played competitively for many years. When SW Destiny was first announced, I couldn’t help but try it, so I shared an Awakenings booster box with Thyagumm and that was it, we were hooked! It was my first TCG, we had an awesome local community and I’ve made some pretty good friends with it.

In today’s galaxy of TTS, kitchen tables, and local in-person play, “the meta” means lots of different things. How do you define your meta?

I’ve always tried to keep my booster consumption in check, so I’ve mostly used somewhat budget decks. I usually looked at what characters I liked from the box I got and tried to build something around them: Han (with Rey), Obi (with Maz), Iden (with Talzin), Padme (and Boushh), Yoda (with Bail), ReyLo, Zannah (with Bane), Chirrut (with Baze)… But after the pandemic (and massive TTS play), I always try to test something new. I like competitive play, but the fun factor is a top priority for me.

Looking back, what has been your favorite meta?

It may be biased, but I really liked how much diversity we had in Spark of Hope even though we still had Vader’s Fist in the pool and I simply could never bear its existence. Having said that, I think we have a pretty good meta right now, since the ARH team has always tried to keep things balanced in a timely manner by checking overpowered decks and buffing unused character cards.

Understanding Brazilian Nationals

What should we know about the event itself?

Ever since FFG discontinued SW Destiny, Thyagumm and ElBaiano from the SWDBR team have always helped in keeping the game alive in the Brazilian community. They have organized all of our online and IRL events, including this year’s Grand Championship.

As in the past, the event was held at Loja NewStation in the city of São Paulo. Although the SWDBR organization team is based in Brasília (literally a thousand kilometers away), São Paulo is and has always been the location with most players and kind of a central hub in Brazil. In previous events, we had players traveling over three thousand kilometers.

Brazil is a big country. Have most players already played each other in-person in the past? Or are they coming from a variety of local playgroups?

This year’s tournament included 16 players and most of us have also played in previous Nationals, so have faced each other in the past. But we had some new pairings, since we do have players from multiple playgroups that didn’t have the opportunity to play together in real life before.

Thyagumm works the stream

Pre-Tourney Prep & Deck Tech

In the weeks leading up to the tournament, how did you assess the meta? What pairings did you expect to see?

Luckily for me, we were wrapping up our TTS Brazilian League, which allowed me to play against and study some strong decks. I absolutely expected to see Vader/Droideka, Obi/Leia and Obi/Ki-Adi-Mundi; each of these were ultimately present at the tournament. I was also expecting a few mono-red villain decks, but the players using them unfortunately weren’t able to be there.

Which deck did you play? Why? What does this deck want to do?

After testing quite a few decks, such as Tenth/Fifth Brother, Luke/Ezra, Daughter/Obi, Baze/Chirrut and Cab/Embo, I ultimately felt this last one to be pretty consistent and kind of a wild card.  

I wasn’t playing that much these last few months as I’m working on my doctorate, so I wanted a deck that was simple and straightforward: get upgrades on the table, roll in, do damage, profit. Also, Bane and Embo combined have a lot of health: 25 in just two characters. And since there aren’t any other bounty hunters around, people don’t usually choose Jabba’s Palace as the battlefield, so most of the time we’re starting with 27 health. We’ve also got Embo’s passive ability to soak up some damage (and that’s mostly what that 2-disrupt is there for). 

You mainly want to focus on an easier target, put a bounty on it, activate Embo and see what your opponent does. If you see a damage die, PA it. If not, decide if you want to commit your resources to play a weapon on Cad (especially if you have LL-30 on your hand) or to mitigate big damage with Headstrong or Den of Thieves early on against big characters (like Vader or Qui-Gon, both of which I faced). Cad’s ability is nice, but it’s a plus when you get it, not your main goal. 

It’s worth noting that the championship took place before the new balance update, so I was able to include both Headstrong and Tusken Camp. In my DB post, I replaced Headstrong with Complicated Profession with I think is very viable. (See Clauberalex’s DB entry HERE for an even more thorough recap of his deck choices)

What were the last cards to make the list? What was card 31 that you wish you could have included?

Interestingly enough, Tusken Camp, hahahaha. I just thought it would slow down the deck, but it is just too good (especially with Fight Dirty) to not use it and didn’t hinder the tempo of the deck. I really wanted to fit in Infamy, but since I could barely use it properly in my tests, I ended up cutting it off. Complicated Profession, on the other hand, I really wish could have been included.

What do you want to see in your opening hand?

Ideally, Headstrong (in the case the opponent rolls in too hot), LL-30 (simply awesome early on), Dead or Alive (massive ramp in the long run), Trick (mostly for specials or 2’s) and maybe Tusken Camp (especially if facing someone with High Stakes).

What are this deck’s best matchups? Which matchups are most challenging for this deck?

This deck is really aggro and it reminds me a little bit of the old-old-old Jango/Veers from the first set; it is possible to get a whopping 11 damage with character dice alone from the start (15 with LL-30). So midrange decks – that want to build a board and don’t control you much – are gonna have a hard time with all that damage coming at them early on. This deck also fairs quite well against other aggro decks, since Cad & Embo have quite the life pool for just two characters, but it is a thin edge. Cad/Embo have a tougher time against decks that go long and can constantly control your dice along the way – or build a lot of shields. On that meta, my greatest fear by far was Obi/Ki-Adi, since they can abuse that Guardian 2 to remove low damage dice and lock you out of Embo’s PA, build up a lot of shields to avoid losing a character early on and Jar’Kai brings a mean endgame after they build up on weapons. Luckily, I only faced this deck once: it was my top 4 match.

Tourney Recap

Which pairings did you face in the early rounds?

A Boba/Qi’Ra/HS deck, where the extra resource from High Stakes helped me a lot more than him (and I rolled and resolved Cad’s 2-discard every turn to limit his actions and rerolls); a Leia/Obi mill deck, in which Obi died pretty fast (as he usually does when he guards big damages); a Qui-Gon/Roken deck, where I went pretty hard on Roken (same as above); and a Maul/Qi’ra from Dantona, which I lost after he relentlessly dealt me damage from every conceivable source, hahahaha..

When you qualified for the top 4, what strategy did you think would lead to victory?

As I said above, facing Obi/Ki-Adi was my biggest fear, and it was what I had to face in my top 4 match against my good friend Jeff. My plan was to wait a little bit, let my opponent guard a few dice and go hard on Obi, trying to down him as fast as I could, which worked beautifully in the first game when I went ballistic on the guardian. I should have thought of another strategy on the second game, but I guess it was already too hardwired in me and he won by loading Obi with shields and going easy on the guardian. In game three, I took the shields (since I knew we were going to time), he loaded Obi again and I went straight for Ki, when he started shielding him and taking damage on Obi, I switched to Obi to make some more damage go through. After some rerolls, he thought he was going to get a tie on damage, but I had an Embo’s die with 2-disrupt on the pool and he forgot about his passive, which got me the win. 

For the final match, I would again face Dantona: to whom I lost in the swiss rounds, was undefeated so far, and had already kicked me out of top 4 in our 2019 Nationals. So I was nervous! But after learning how his Qi’ra/Maul deck worked in my earlier defeat, I decided to try to avoid playing/discarding my hand too early (avoiding big damages from Maul’s PA), go for whoever was easier to kill (Qi’ra in most cases) and not fall for a big Infamy play (as I was traumatized from his Scorched Earth play that got me out of that other Nationals, hahaha).In the first game, we aggroed each other like crazy; I think we caused 11 and 9 damage on the first round! With that, I managed to kill Qi’ra in the start of round two and finish Maul off next round with Fight Dirty and dice to spare. On the next game, I rolled the famous 2-disrupt with Embo and, since I was always using it to get shields, my opponent zoned out and didn’t spend his resources, which prompted me to disrupt him and ruin his gameplan. Later, I was able to navigate around his ability to play Infamy (which would have wrecked me), played Act of Cruelty to kill Maul off and, with a fully loaded Cad rolling 6-dice against Qi’Ra with just a simple support, it was a matter of time. (Watch coverage of finals HERE)

Semifinalists: Jeff Olivia, Clauberalex, Dantona, and Darliane

Other than the results themselves, what was a favorite moment from the tournament?

As happened in prior events, it is a blast to simply attend this awesome kind of event. I had absolutely no expectation of winning this event and, after moving to the finals (especially having to play against Dantona, who usually plays near-flawless games), I was just happy to be awarded one of those gorgeous finalist playmats. Also, seeing the game continuing to be relevant – with players traveling to the event, theorycrafting, building all sorts of decks and, most importantly, fraternizing at the end of each day of play – simply beats it all. Most of all, we were there to play and have fun with the good friends this game gave us. 

Thank you so much to ARH for allowing our beloved game to continue, the Brazilian community for being awesome and engaged, Arcanjo for being an excellent partner, Dantona for such superb games, everyone in the Brazilian OP (ElBaiano, Guintage and MarcosGuiJr) and all 16 players who registered for this awesome event.

Final Word

Congratulations to SWDBR and everyone who participated in Brazilian Nationals, and thanks so much to Clauberalex for giving the rest of the world an insider’s view on this terrific event. As we look ahead to this weekend’s Galactic Open, there’s nothing better than experiencing what ties this amazing community together around the globe.  See you on Ryloth!

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