Mos Eisley Gazette: “Sparks of Gen Con” (aka Smash Championship)

In this issue of the Mos Eisley Gazette, it’s all about SMASH: the pick-up-and-play format created by Dice Commando.

In SMASH, each player is randomly assigned two half-decks that “smash” together to form a legal deck. Check out the playlist HERE for an overview and links to the PDF decklists for each phase.

SMASH aficionados Sparks Nevada and Jenna know the format better than almost anyone on the planet and it was no surprise to see them showcasing their skills at Gen Con earlier this month where they competed with 25 other players for the SMASH crown.

Getting to Know Sparks Nevada and Jenna

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

R2 Jenna & Sparks Nevada

Mitch:  I watched the original trilogy as a kid and I was really into it after that.  Even though The Phantom Menace wasn’t great, my parents dropping my brother and I off at the movie theater as a surprise was a big childhood memory of mine.

Jenna:  We had to watch all the Star Wars movies before we went to Disney for the first time back in 2016 and liked it.  I also saw The Force Awakens when it came out at the Drive In and really liked Rey.

How did you get into SW Destiny?

Jenna:  My dad bought 2 copies of the 2 player set for me for Christmas several years ago (just before Across the Galaxy came out) as a way to find some sort of challenging game to play together.  It was also on sale at Best Buy for under $10!

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?  

Mitch:  Good question.  I live out in the middle of nowhere with nobody besides my family to play with so we play fun and interesting decks. Each member of our family has our own favorite decks that we play regardless of what is standard or not. We’re a bunch of casual players at the Nevada house and that’s why we gravitated towards SMASH so much.

Jenna:  Whatever I feel like playing at home – usually something with original FFG cards. We don’t play a lot of ARH at our house, except when preparing for competition,

Looking back, what has been your favorite meta?

Mitch:  We started playing during the Legacies block and that remains my overall favorite chunk of cards to play.  We don’t play too much outside of Smash anymore, except for Gen Con – plus Adepticon last year when Destiny was there.

Jenna:  We played a lot of cards from Way of the Force, Legacies, Empire at War, and Spirit of Rebellion and had a lot of decks made from those sets until SMASH came along.

BB8 Jenna Guards the Smash Decks

This is your 2nd Gen Con. What are a couple of non-Destiny highlights?  What advice do you have for others considering Gen Con in the future?

Mitch:  We didn’t do that much outside of Destiny this year for Gen Con, but we did hit up the vendor hall a couple of times and did the consignment shop for some deals.  We also did Star Wars Unlimited (underwhelming to be honest) and played pinball.  Overall, we got 5 games to come home with.  Big advice would be to plan ahead and come up with a game plan.  Gen Con can be overwhelming with the amount of people and events.  Playing in 5 Destiny events was a lot and we might pare that down next year to do other events and play other games.  

Jenna:  We played pinball and Star Wars Unlimited (which I wasn’t that impressed with) and I also got the Wild Bill’s Craft Soda.  We also bought several games including Disney Animated, which has been a fun co-op game.  Advice would be to plan your time wisely and visit the consignment shop for deals.

Smash Academy with Sparks Nevada

You and your family play a *lot* of Smash. What draws you to this format? 

I like the fact that it’s a very easy format to pickup and play.  The decks are premade and it’s a unique matchup every single time.  I also like the fact that everyone is on the same playing field with the premade decks.  It’s a very easy entry level way to get new players into the game and also a way for players to continue using their old cards.

Tell us about your family tournament

We have done 5 Smash tournaments at home with all the characters and we have yet to have a character win multiple tournaments.  Basically we draw random pairings and put them into a bracket and that pairing is together throughout the entire tournament until we crown a winner.  I always play as the top line of the bracket and my wife always plays as the bottom line so more likely than not we each play at least one round with the champion pairing. 

K-2SO & Padme Win the 2023 Title at the Sparks Household!

It’s always fun guessing which pairs will do well and we’re surprised with some of the pairings that can make semi-finals.  Funny thing is that Yoda/Pong Krell won one of the tournaments and was randomly paired together again for the next tournament and lost in the second round.

What are some highlights from this year’s kitchen table tournament? 

K-2SO/Padme won the tournament and just absolutely wrecked everyone.  There might have been one close matchup with it during the tournament.  Vader/Leia was also a dangerous pairing and did very well until the finals.  My wife had a lot of sub-optimal pairings throughout the tournament but did pilot the winning deck in the championship game.  We don’t have a championship prize except for bragging rights for life.  

Sparks Nevada – King of Smash

You had an amazing run over the course of the event, winning 9 games and losing only 1. What were some highlights from your 5 rounds of Swiss?

I had a lot of good synergy with my partnership pairings so felt confident with my games as long as I could roll.  I did get some funny looks with who I left my opponent with sometimes and vice versa.  Excellent matchup with Casero (who I would meet up with later) where I barely won with a final discard to reroll into the damage needed to win.  It was also fun playing with people that I had never met before and that had stopped playing when FFG support ended.  

Talk us through your Quarterfinals matchup against KingGrouber and Semifinals against Jim the TANK

Against KingGrouber, I had the dream start with Aphra and Krennic, getting BT-1, 0-0-0, and the LR-57 combat droid down round 1, then Megablasters soon after, but was still behind until about halfway through the game. I was able to roll a bunch of shields late to save me with all the indirect pings to win the game – which was probably my second closest of the day.

In the semifinals, TANK had a perfect Seventh Sister start – getting both seeker droids down round 1 – but he could not roll to save his life and I couldn’t miss.  Once Seventh Sister went down, I was able to run away with it.

What were some highlights from the first two rounds of best of 3 championship?

First two games of the championship match against Casero felt like a blur. In the first one, my Dengar/Iden knocked out his Hera quickly and it wasn’t close with only Leia left. 

Casero & Sparks Nevada kick off the championship with TANK

The second game was not close at all. I didn’t have very good synergy with my pairing, Krennic went down to Casero’s Rey/Jango right away, and I didn’t roll the greatest either. This ended up being my first and only loss in the entire tournament!

At that point, we had played 9 games of SMASH and it was almost time for the FFG Standard event to begin, so we decided to play the rubber match the following morning. We drew our pairings before turning in for the night, which gave a bit of time to strategize in advance of the match.

Casero’s Hera/Leia fighting a losing battle against Sparks Nevada’s Dengar/Iden

What strategy did you use in selecting and banning for that final match?

I drew Jabba/Boba/Leia and Casero drew Rey/Droids/Quinlan. My main strategy was anticipating what he was going to give me and play off my pairing that way. I figured that I was going to have Leia no matter what, so I chose Jabba.  I could handle a Jabba/Boba pairing if I had to, but I knew through experience that I absolutely did not want Boba/Leia.  It also helps knowing going into the matchup that I was committed to full mill instead of mill/kill.  Having my battlefield helped significantly as well.

Banning Quinlan was very easy once Casero chose Rey.  I didn’t want to face two blue melee characters and knew that Rey with the Droids were going to be very slow with mixed damage and not very reliable without some of the droid tricks so I was going to be able to control the battlefield for most of the matchup.

What were your favorite moments from that final match?

Lots of nasty moves and combos being able to be pulled off. Being able to discard over 15 cards in the span of a couple of turns is nothing to sneeze at.  Buy Out is ridiculous with no money cap. 

<Editor’s Note: The turning point was a virtuoso 2 turn sequence that milled 10… Buy Out for 6, then Hit and Run into Commando Raid for 4 on the next turn>

The ultimate highlight was another big combo for the win.  Casero had claimed with no cards in hand and 5 in deck. After a Leia power action, I played Cheat to dig Buy Out out of my discard pile for the final cards.  Knockout punch out of nowhere!

Little Did Rey & the Droids know that Jabba & Leia’s 6 Resources Were About to Buy Them Out…

Everyone kept teasing me throughout the entire tournament that I was the favorite but I honestly didn’t believe that.  I wanted to do well, but figured some of the more experienced Destiny players would prevail in the end.

Support ARH On Patreon

ARH is a completely volunteer, non-profit organization with a single goal: To provide the best possible experience for the continuation of Star Wars: Destiny. If you enjoy our content, please consider supporting us on either Patreon or PayPal.

100% of your contributions will be used for prize support and direct costs to run ARH. We appreciate your support, and may the Force be with you!

Donate via PatreonDonate via PayPal