Mos Eisley Gazette: US Grand Championships at Gen Con!

The Resurgence Online Championship is just days away and we’re warming up for the big event with a look back at last month’s US Grand Championships. We’re joined by final four members LiquidSnake, Norman, and Rando Mando (check HERE for KingGrouber’s take on his own run to the semis) to share some highlights, reflect on the early Resurgence meta, and offer a word of caution about attending tournaments with your brother.

A quick glance at the Swiss leaderboard what we’ve been celebrating all year… the ARH meta continues to be extremely diverse. Sure, Yaddle/Luke showed up 3 times (and twice in the semis), but with the exception of two “Scum and Destiny” teammates playing an identical Aphra/IG11/Rose/Losing the War list, every other pairing was unique. Cad Bane was the only other character to show up more than once, leading a parade of yellow villains that included Jabba, Pre Viszla, and Jango.

Perhaps most surprising? The absence of big baddies like Vader, Palpatine, Talzin, and (yeah, yeah we know he’s neutral) Dooku.

Pre-Tournament Prep and Deck-Tech

Leading up to the event, what did you expect to see and how did that influence your ultimate deck choice?

Norman: My vision for what would be the “best deck” this Gen Con was definitely less clear than what I understood leading up to the 2022 event. This year, in addition to mill, there were easily four aggro decks to be concerned about: “Spoons” (Luke/Yaddle), Son/Qira, Vader/Palpatine, and Talzin/Palpatine.

LiquidSnake: In the weeks leading up to Gen Con I spent quite a few nights on TTS with Norman and my 2v2 partner TurkeyClubSamich. I really have to give these two a huge shout out because without them I wouldn’t have gotten the necessary reps in to prepare for Gen Con or assess the meta fully. TurkeyClubSamich in my opinion is one of the best mill players in our community. Norman needs no introduction being a former world champion and top player in numerous events. It was great to spend time discussing deck tech, strategies, and the meta with these two fantastic players. The decks I expected to see at Gen Con based on our testing and from ARH League data were: Luke/Yaddle, Vader/Palpatine/Crucial Intel, Dooku with Ezra or Palpatine, Leia mill variants, Son/Qi’ra/Path to Mastery, and three-wide support decks with Cluster Missiles.

Rando Mando: I expected to see Yaddle/Luke from Norman and Son/Qi’ra from LiquidSnake. I figured most other decks would be pretty crazy.   

Clockwise from Left: KingGrouber, LiquidSnake, Rando Mando, & Norman in the Semis

When you look at what folks did bring, what’s most surprising? What does it tell you about early Resurgence meta?

Rando Mando: There were a few surprises despite me not really expecting much. The burn deck from the “Scum and Destiny” team (Sylvie and Tank both ran this) was really nasty and then there was this absolute mad man playing Crosshair. I think it tells me that people haven’t quite found out some of the really nasty secret sauce that’s in this set or are too nice to play it.

Norman: The lists that were most offbeat were definitely Tank’s/Sylvie’s Losing the War and Rando Mando’s Barriss/Thrawn/WYCWGI deck. Losing the War was a bold choice, and my loss to Tank in round 2 was close. Rando’s deck being what it was made for a difficult day that could run to time easily, and that ultimately hurt him in the top cut but it was certainly a neat deck choice. Casero’s Crosshair-CadBane deck and Turkey’s CadBane/Asajj deck were also very creative. Three of us were on Luke/Yaddle and two made the top cut, which I think demonstrates the overall power of the deck in the meta. In sum, I think this meta is not solved by a long shot and while we can likely intuit that a number of strategies we haven’t explored fully won’t measure up to some of the more obviously strong decks, I do not believe we have reached the potential of what’s possible right now.

Pre-Tournament Prep & Deck-Tech

Which deck did you play and why? 

LiquidSnake: I actually brought three different decks with me to Gen Con as I wasn’t 100% sure what to play. On the night before the big event I ended up deciding on The Son, Qi’ra, and Path to Mastery because I felt that it had a good matchup against the majority of the meta decks and I had huge success with it winning a recent ARH League.

This deck wants to get ability upgrades on Son as quickly as possible utilizing Path to Mastery to accelerate his ability to add a 3rd character die. Qi’ra is the perfect partner as her ability to gain resources by taking indirect damage dealt by indirect pay sides pairs perfectly with Son. Being yellow she also gives access to some key damage from hand cards as well as great mitigation options making this deck very strong. 

In the initial build I had two copies of Sanction but with the introduction of Resilience I didn’t feel that this card would be as optimal as other options. So I swapped them for one copy of Dangerous Maneuver and one copy of Dark Forces. These options improved the cost curve of the deck and gave more flexibility. Card 31 would have been Blue Milk for anti mill, healing, and resource generation. 

Norman: I built all four of the aggro decks above before leaving home anticipating that some extra games with LiquidSnake and Turkey would help me narrow the choices. “Spoons” was my early preference since I had played it a good bit, and despite getting pummeled multiple times the night before I still felt that I could pilot it properly into the field. My intuition, though, was that the matchup against Son/Qira was probably a 30% win rate overall, very much depending on the starting hands, and that ended up being a pretty solid prediction.

Finally, I’d be remiss not to note that discovering the Cluster Missiles combo really had me going for a bit to try and break the meta. About a week before, I concluded that while it was good and had a high ceiling, it was incredibly risky and the floor could be so low so as to make it big-tournament-untenable. I still maintain that it’s hilarious and fun to play, but not ultimately a consistent competitive deck outside of the occasional surprise league game or a Jank-the-Tank event.

Rando Mando: After the release event, I was pretty sold on Yaddle but felt my previous Yaddle/Lars deck was lacking against opponents that could control the board. I had won a recent echobase playing Yaddle/Leia to exploit 2 of the most bonkers characters in Destiny, with Leia hitting the opponent’s hand and allowing for free abilities on Yaddle to go ham… a true mill/kill version! The risks are when Leia fails to produce discards early against Luke/Yaddle or when I don’t draw my engine, but it still felt strong.

Now that I knew mill/kill was possible in hero, I looked to replicate that with villain. I remember Gameslayer beating my Yaddle/Lars using WYCWGI so I wanted to incorporate that, but I also knew Thrawn is bonkers into mono decks and ticks up the plot automatically. That meant I needed a blue character but I didn’t want to rely purely on Tydirium which brought me to Barriss. She brings hero mill cards, ticks up the plot and even allows me to kill Thrawn and go aggro if I want to. Ultimately, I felt there was some synergy here but hit the road for Gen Con still planning on playing Yaddle/Leia.

On the first day, my brother decided to play my “Filthy Casuals” deck (“Suicide Jawas” a version of Gameslayer’s BK deck) so I quickly mocked up a version of Thrawn/Barris that I thought would be total jank. It performed so well that I decided to run it again on Saturday, but when I got to my first round I realized it was only 27 cards because my brother had borrowed 3 for his 2v2 deck. I quickly ransacked my Leia/Yaddle for any 3 cards I could use and that was the mess of a deck I played! It’s missing some polishing from cards I didn’t have on hand (Intel Breach being an obvious one) but still had a great run.

Check out the database for a more detailed deck strategy guide from LiquidSnake (HERE) and Norman (HERE). Rando Mando is happy to answer questions too, but his Barriss deck somehow broke the DB!

ARH Grand Champs Highlights

Swiss Highlights from LiquidSnake

Round 1 vs the defending champ Norman. Not really ideal to match up so early and it came down to time with Qi’ra needing to hit a 2 damage side on my last reroll. She missed and I lost by 1 HP. Well played by Norman but that put me on the back foot for the rest of the swiss rounds.

LiquidSnake admiring Darteo’s Misfiring Light Repeating Blaster

Round 2 vs Darteo. This match was very tight and the deciding factor was getting Ataru Mastery and dodging his faulty Light Repeating Blaster.

A crazy moment was during my round 3 match vs Atomisk on Luke/Yaddle. We both lost our main characters (The Son and Yaddle) fairly early in this game as we traded large amounts of damage back and forth. Qi’ra was able to win the game with 2 copies of everybody profits and a chem strike to deal 8 damage from hand to Luke Skywalker. 

Semifinals: LiquidSnake vs Rando Mando & Norman vs. KingGrouber

Semifinal Match Ups!

Norman: The Luke/Yaddle mirror match against KingGrouber was very fun. This 9-year-old playing so well is a tribute to his enthusiasm for learning the game and getting better all the time. He can get a little ahead of himself at times, but that’s a skill he will easily acquire with experience. My recollection is that the first game was relatively close but my removal carried me through a little better than his, and in the second game I believe he underestimated my damage output and over-committed to Yaddle, so when Yaddle was defeated he could not recover.

Rando Mando: The highlights for me were all in the first game, it was honestly one of the closest games I’ve ever played. I almost threw a couple of times. Probably the most important play was checking his discard pile before rerolling to see if he had infamy (which he did, and it would have been lethal) and taking shields instead to win the game. Two takeaways: 1. Check your opponents discard pile more often. 2. If your going to play this deck play faster then me lol

LiquidSnake: First I’d like to give Rando a huge shout out. It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet him and play some Destiny with him in real life. He is a very talented player and creative deck builder. Thrawn/Barriss/WYCWGI was definitely surprising to see. That element of surprise can be such a huge advantage in any tournament. Combined with his experience piloting mill/kill style decks this gave Rando a massive edge in Swiss. I knew going into this match up that it would be very challenging and take near perfect sequencing to win.

LiquidSnake vs. Rando Mando in the Semis

Our match up was a long slugfest. In fact our match up actually went to time and we were at a 1-1 draw. According to the rules, we break the tie with a three-round game which gave me a huge advantage based on the fact that my characters can out-damage his characters significantly in a shorter period of time. This also changed my strategy for what cards to mulligan for and I was able to win by utilizing two copies of Everybody Profits and hitting good damage with Qi’ra and The Son.     

Finals: LiquidSnake vs. Norman

Norman: The finals against Snake are really the story of two monster starts on his side of the board. His ramp in both games were just bonkers, plus he managed to roll almost nothing but 2 damage sides on Qi’ra in both matches. I remember in particular the second game where I was like “surely he doesn’t have that card too” and then of course he does. Even comparing the boards where it was obvious that he was simultaneously ramping harder AND outputting more damage faster indicated pretty early each game that he had the upper hand. Good stuff, and again confirms what I believed to be the case regarding the matchup overall. I beat Snake in round 1 of the day, and lost 2-0 in the finals, and hit that 33% win rate!

LiquidSnake: The grand finale. Not to discredit his opponent in semi’s or the rest of the field of players, it was no surprise to me to be facing the 2022 world champion Norman in the finals. Norman is a consummate professional, ambassador of the game, and a wonderful friend. Most people don’t know this but he inspired me and taught me to become a better player overall. I was extremely excited to be in the finals and have a chance to redeem my round one loss in Swiss to Norman.

The final best of three couldn’t have been more lopsided for me to be honest. I was able to draw perfect opening hands in both matches. Ataru Mastery and Dark Devastation in both games. The sequencing was very simple. Activate Qi,ra and if she doesn’t roll the two melee for one indirect side then place the charm token on herself to ensure the resource generation from her passive ability. Gain the resources necessary to play Dark Devastation. Once I activated The Son I was able to roll the special side on Ataru Training which enabled me to play Ataru Mastery for free. I was able to load up The Son with excellent abilities and gain his 3rd die heading into round 2 of each game. It was actually quite interesting how important round 1 was in this match up. For both decks it’s really important to see Ataru Mastery and can really swing the game for either player. It was an uphill battle for Norman in both games and I was able to win 2-0.      

Gen Con Reflections with LiquidSnake

(For a bit more “getting to know LiquidSnake” check out THIS previous issue of the Mos Eisley Gazette)

This was your first Gen Con. In the weeks leading up to it, what were you looking forward to most? 

This being my first Gen Con I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard nothing but amazing stories from several players in our ARH community that have gone to Gen Con in the past. All I can say is that it certainly lived up to the hype. What I was looking forward to the most was getting to put faces to the names of the players I’ve spent countless hours playing TTS with since ARH was founded. Our community is unmatched and to be able to spend time with all of these wonderful people was a dream come true. 

Other than the Grand Champs, what were some of your favorite Destiny-related highlights?

Overall every event was such a success. I really want to give Majobasil, Polyfly, Duncan, and Casero huge shout outs for being amazing hosts and for their efforts to ensure the events ran smoothly over the course of Gen Con. Some of my favorite moments were: 1) Rando Mando never removing his helmet and always staying in character. 2) TurkeyClubSamich for taking the Jankyard title home with a solidarity deck. 3) Witnessing my fellow Dice Commando team member Sparks Navada take home the SMASH title.   

How about non-Destiny highlights from Gen Con?

This being my first ever Gen Con it was all highlights for me. Being so close to the convention center I was able to get some good time in the vendor hall as well as demo a bunch of games. Also being an avid sports fan seeing Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time was pretty awesome. 

This victory caps a very successful stretch, winning 4 of the 6 monthly ARH leagues between January and June, plus a Renewed Prime in Toronto back in March, and now an ARH Grand Championship. What approach have you taken to get to the next level?

I think it’s really important to define what your goal is and what “the next level” is for you. My approach to becoming a better player was to seek the advice of better players and learn from them in different ways. I knew it would take practice and patience. I watch streams of top cut matches, interviews with top players, and even watch my own recorded matches to see where I might have made some mistakes to learn from. The great thing about our community is that everyone from the casual players to the professionals are very friendly and welcoming. Most players are willing to share ideas and have discussions about in game tactics and strategy.

We also have some incredible content creators that put out quality work such as Dice Commando Team, On The Sensors, Destiny Junior, and Echobase that can help improve your game. One piece that stood out to me as I was trying to get better as a player was a YouTube video series from the On The Sensors crew. In these videos The 86 and other OTS members interviewed the top players in Destiny. One episode really stood out to me and it was with Norman and Vika. The video is titled: “How To Destiny Episode 7: Breaking Into Competitive Destiny.” In the video (HERE), they explained their mindset and approach to the game and that really inspired me to try to become a better player. It also inspired me to reach out to both of them directly.

Over the past year I noticed that my decision making in game drastically improved. I have started to take more time with my actions, slow down, and try to maximize as much value as possible per action. I feel that a common mistake that I used to make when I first started playing competitively was to play too fast and assume that I made the most optimal choice and didn’t think twice. It’s important to look for opportunities to get to your win condition as quickly as possible but also have a contingency plan in case things don’t go your way. Poor rolls and bad card draws can happen quite frequently but if your opponent makes a mistake it’s important to recognize it and capitalize.

My advice is don’t be afraid to reach out to the top players and try to practice with them. Share your ideas and decks. Ask for feedback. Be open to learning and trying different strategies. Hopefully I can inspire other players out there and help them achieve their goal in becoming a better Destiny player.

In closing I just want to say thank you so much to the ARH team for everything they do to keep this amazing game going. Gen Con 2023 truly was a dream come true. 

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