Mos Eisley Gazette: Deck-Building with Djclero

Getting to Know DJ & His Unusual Suspects

Our last issue covered highlights and deck tech from the Ryloth Galactic Open. This time, we sit down with the only player who made the top group in each heat, racking up a 14-4 record over the course of the tournament. 

A regular at Echobase Thursdays, ARH playtester, co-creator (and lead vocalist) of the hilarious/educational Maz’s Vault series, and the current world record holder for number of decks that include Unique Perspectives and/or Tydirium, meet “Mr. 3Wide” himself: Djclero from Genoa, Italy!

DJ Celebrates his Win at the “European Cup” (aka Guys at a Game Shop in Reading, UK) Last June

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

I will probably get kicked out for admitting this, but I actually watched the new movies before I watched the classic ones. For a few Christmases in a row, my friend’s mom dragged a group of us to the cinema for a proper fantasy education. I watched the classic trilogy at home a few years later, and then after I met Jar Jar Binks I couldn’t help but fall in love with the whole genius world!

How and when did you get into SW Destiny?

Unfortunately, my Destiny story has a bit of a sad start. In 2021, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia so I quit my job and moved back to Italy to stay with her. Thankfully, she got much better but between the pandemic and her weak immune system, I really couldn’t leave the house. A friend introduced me to TTS and invited me for a draft with an FFG cube. I used to play Magic and Legends of Runeterra, and immediately fell in love with Destiny. There was no turning back after joining an Echobase evening event, so I spent a whole summer learning the game the hard way: trying to survive with Babu Frik versus Din Djarin.

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?  

In the playtesting process, you have to take whatever is strongest at any given moment as the meta; this is what wins games in the League or Invitational tournaments. My personal meta, however, would be the Echobase Thursday night meta.

Looking back, what has been your favorite meta?

The current one, not a hint of doubt about it.

You’re one of the community’s most creative deck builders and have become (in)famous for building 3-wide decks with obscure characters. What is your process when building a new deck? 

Mr. 3Wide in Action!

I’ve never really thought about it, but guess most of the time I start with either a combo or a single card that I find interesting, and then I try hard to find all the possible ways to enable it. My standard structure for any deck is 12 dice and 8 pieces of mitigation. The fun comes when from a single combo, piece after piece a lot of synergies align in the same deck. It doesn’t happen often and doesn’t necessarily mean the deck is good, but when it happens I am really happy with a deck. My aim is to have fun whilst not losing just because losing is extremely annoying. Winning is nice but it’s decoration.

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

The truth is: I didn’t! I originally signed up for just the first event and my only thought was that there should be some Vos going around. That was probably going to be the best chance ever for Alazmecs to shine, so I went to the first heat with that. Needless to say, no one played a single Vos deck in the whole weekend ahahahah.

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

It’s hard to say, I enjoyed it all. I really loved helping Rando Mando prep his 4 x Imperial Navy Squad Leader deck in between heats and all the chat we had in between games during the various heats. Playing and enjoying the tournament with company is an incomparably better experience than going into it alone.

Heat 1 Deck Tech: Evazon/Alazmec/Alazmec/Underworld

Why this deck?  What does this deck want to do?

This deck basically wants to abuse the Alazmec passive, attack the opponent’s resources to prevent them from playing big stuff, and then punishing them for it when they inevitably have to discard their more expensive cards. It turns out that attacking the opponent’s money is just really good anyways and actually one of the very few ways to have some sort of chance versus hero solitaire decks which ramp into value and can build a board off a single resource very fast. Then, the deck is loaded with burn because in yellow villain that’s just too good and a lot of self-removal of dice because I don’t like rerolling or having to find good sides but I love when you can use a blank and turn into a value. Blank synergy is a great life lesson: work with what you have, make failure your weapon.

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

The last one to come in was the Through Power, Gain Strength after the Headstrong restriction. Against an aggressive blue deck, it can be quite neat, especially because no one expects it. Desolate Deed was card 31, because it seems like the perfect card for this deck, and it is, but sadly it turned out to be too slow even in this deck when burn is just so much more efficient.

What do you want to see in your opening hand?

Tusken Camp because it insane and three dice in this deck is even better than in many other decks. Blackstall Station is another ideal one. Weak Mind is also good, as it’s often a free resource with Underworld. That said, you really want to immediately activate Evazan to get in the way of whatever the opponent is trying to develop, so finding the right time to play it round 1 is not as easy as you would think. That said, I am pretty lame and cowardly with the mulligan… if I have a hand that makes some sense in the match up I’ll generally keep everything that makes sense since I really don’t like the sensation of bricking your hand because you were too bold with the mulligan.

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

The best matchups are greedy two wide villain support decks (like Vos or Gideon/Garindan) that have little health and a Blizzard to make you dream. The worst matchups are against Jar’Kai and blue hero shield decks that have infinite walls and play a low curve.

Heat 2 Deck Tech: Ziro/Jerjerrod/Thrawn/Crucial Intel

Why this deck?  What does this deck want to do?

This is a deck that I made as a joke just because I wanted to try Demand Tribute before it rotated. In the end, it functions as a pretty flat boring standard Thrawn mill deck. It’s a deck that I didn’t plan to play, but when I used it against Rando Mando to help him with his testing he thought that it was so obnoxious that I should play it in the tournament. Having a weak mind myself, I ended up getting stuck spending my Saturday evening playing Thrawn for three hours in a row. Don’t do it at home kids, you’ll regret it.

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

It pretty much built itself, like Merlin’s tools in ‘The Sword in the Stone’ that pack themselves in the suitcase all by themselves. The only original additions are Demand Tribute and Exposing Disloyalty, to mitigate Thrawn’s weakness against rainbow.

What do you want to see in your opening hand?

Probably some card with dice (ideally the Scout Troopers) and Name the System because it allows you to take a look at the opponent hand and play the other discard cards in a more efficient way.

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

Mmm…. That’s hard to tell. As with any mill deck, you want to play against a slow deck more than a fast one, though would prefer a deck that needs to play a lot of small cards over one that has all the value in a few big key supports/upgrades.  And of course, Thrawn wants to play against any mono deck.

Heat 3 Deck Tech: Nute/Maul/Cultist/Crucial Intel

Why this deck?  What does this deck want to do?

I made this deck because I wanted to play Nute with Unique Perspectives. Nute and Maul have great synergy, but 23 health for me felt way too low to feel comfortable, so I ended up with the Cultist. The idea here is to ramp with Nute, load up the Cultist with all the best redeploys in the game and then sack it in the late game with his passive or with self-indirect. If the opponent goes for the Cultist, which hardly ever happens because this guy is pretty obscure, you can’t pull the combo but you are still doing pretty good because your opponent is wasting 5, or 6 damage with shields, on a health tank Cultist of the dark arts that is gonna deal them 2 when it dies. Plus, at some point you will still get all your redeploys anyways, and, the longer Nute and Maul stick together, the longer your mitigation is all fully online and the longer their synergy sticks around.

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

The last card I added was the MSE. I am a big fan of these little mouse droids since they came out in High Stakes! They are nearly an auto-include for me in red villain decks, because of how flexible and how consistent they can be. In the worst case scenario they are pseudo-ramp. I used to have Blue Milk in here, but I cut it just because giving money to your opponent has proved devastating in too many scenarios and Maul’s ability deals with mill. I wish I had space for more synergy cards and to experiment with a Seeker Droid + Self-destruct combo, but it’s really hard to find room for that in a deck unless you are super-all in on it and on nothing else.

What do you want to see in your opening hand?

It’s pretty straight-forward: ramp and one of the weapons with a double die, so either a Light Repeating Blaster or preferably a Standard Issue Blaster hoping that it pays for itself. If you can also find a Z-95 to start to draw with Maul from the get go, then it’s really your lucky day. One thing I have noticed is that it’s often better to activate Maul’s Power Action by playing your whole cheap hand really fast rather than by trying to gain card advantage over the opponent.

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