Earlier this week, A Renewed Hope shared a write up from Hipo on his deck choice and match ups for his impressive 6-0 run in the second heat of our Tatooine Galactic Open. In the coming days, we will also be sharing a deck tech write-up from Norman examining the Jyn Erso (Faltering Allegiances)/Han Solo (High Stakes) deck he won the first heat of last weekend’s Galactic Open with. However, today, we’re excited to share with you another tournament report and deck write-up from Hipo, this time about his Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) and Rebel Sniper deck that he piloted to a first place finish in the third heat.
Without further ado…this is the way:
Tatooine Open: Third Heat Report and Deck Write Up
Written by Hipo
Back in the day, I was often called The Trandoshan Whisperer…OK, so I mainly I called myself that, but it didn’t make it any less true. I played different versions of three wide decks involving Trandoshan Hunters quite a bit and did well. Trandos are long gone (from being active and competitive in the current meta, at least), but in the words of Yoda: there is another. I am now The Mandalorian Whisperer.
To be honest, I was actually far from confident that Din could get the job done anymore after his balance changes, but after I won Heat 2 I did not feel as much pressure and I decided to go with my heart.
The version of the deck I brought to the Galactic Open is more or less the same build I’ve been using since Din was errata’d and the reprint list went live. Inclusions from the reprint list include Easy Pickings (well, duh), but also Into the Garbage Chute (with mirrors in mind). However, I think one of the best includes was a pair of Dug Ins. I also added Well-Connected to help with my economy, especially given the prior errata to Din that nerfed the deck’s economy. After a few games I cut down on Imposing Figures since the decks with 15+ health characters were becoming more prevalent. One of the last reprint additions I added was Vandalize, primarily to counter Jar’Kai decks (though it works well against Viper Probe Droids as well).
Finally, the last, but not least important reprinted card I used was the original Darksaber from Way of the Force. I always loved its design, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to use it with Mando. As for my other upgrades, I included my standard upgrade-based removal package for Din consisting of Amban Blasters and Han’s blasters. That, plus staple Mando upgrades (Westars, Vibroswords and Generals) and events (Headstrong, instigate, etc) created the deck that was able to win the event.
When mulliganing, I’m always looking for at least one money-making card, one upgrade that also has built in mitigation (e.g. Han’s Blaster or Amban Blaster), and one piece of free removal. The remaining cards I’d want depend on the match up.
Speaking of match ups, I want to avoid burn decks (it’s not hopeless, but I need to roll super well to win) and Transformations Luke Skywalker (and if he’s paired with Transformations Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s a lost cause unless you truly god roll). Other than that, this deck should have at least a decent chance of winning into the rest of the field.
The Deck: Mando/Sniper
Heat 3 – the tournament
I entered the third heat without any real expectations. Obviously, I hate losing and I wanted to get as many wins as I could, but I knew going 6-0 again would be next to impossible and would’ve been perfectly happy with a 4-2 finish.
- When I saw what I was up against in the first round though, I knew getting to 4-2 wouldn’t be easy. It was Moophisto on… surprise surprise… Mando and Sniper. I’ve lost count of how many mirror matches Moophisto and I have played recently, and this seemed like it would be the most randomly determined of them all. After the first round I was certain I was going to lose badly. I wasn’t able to deal even one damage to Moophisto, but I took five myself. On the bright side, Moophisto was one Instigate short due to discarding it, and I was faster which meant more resources from claiming, which in turn led to an early General on my side of the table. Dug In and timely removal helped me close the damage gap a little and after the next two or three rounds both of our Mandos were well within instant killing range (I was very lucky Moophisto didn’t get his second Instigate earlier, because it would probably have been game over for me). Fortunately, I still had the initiative and was able to draw an Instigate to deliver 13 damage to earn my first win.
- However, my hopes and dreams of doing well seemed to perish just as soon as they appeared – and I had my good friend Night to thank for that. Right before the tournament he said he’d be running Ackbar (which I felt Mando would be perfectly equipped to crush), but he switched at the last minute to Transformations Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi – one of the worst possible matchups for me. After a terrible opening hand (of course I had to draw my one copy of Imposing Figure against a fifteen health Luke) where my only upgrade was a Vibrosword (which has very low value against any guardian) and sub par rolls, I lost in two or three rounds and wasn’t even able to kill Obi-Wan.
- So, the struggle to my goal of 4-2 had begun. My next stop was Majobasil with elite Commander Pyre/Elite 4-LOM/Any Means Necessary. I knew I had to watch out for unblockable and bonus damage, but other than that, I felt quite confident about this matchup. I was able to shield up my Mando quickly, so only unblockable damage was able to get through his shield wall. I was also able to use General to help fix The Mandalorian’s dice, and soon Pyre was out of the picture. 4-LOM was able to put a few dents into Din’s armor, but in the end Mando was driven by his hatred toward droids and proved to be too much for the robotic bounty hunter.
- I was afraid my next match up against Gringosto and his eHan/eWedge/Stay Ahead might be a different story. He and I have had some crazy games over the last few months with me usually being on Mando against various versions of fast Han/Red decks from Gringosto. This time it got even crazier. I drew an Armory and Amban in an opening hand, and from there I felt quite safe. I felt even safer when I casually one-shot Han round one (he definitely didn’t shoot first this game). Still, it turned out the game was far from over though, and my Mando got closer and closer to joining Han in the afterlife as the game progressed. Luckily for me, Gringosoto made a huge mistake by letting me claim to deny him two damage from Stay Ahead as well as two more damage from dual Westars pings on a subsequent turn. This became even more fortunate for me because he had a Hit and Run in hand and would’ve probably killed Mando easily on the next roll out. Instead, Din Dug In, took six Hit and Run damage like a man(dalorian), and retaliated. General’s power action fixed my dice and it was all over, and I started to feel like a contender again.
- Still, to prove it, I would have to go through Ki-Adi Mundi and Anakin Skywalker (Transformations) piloted by Oeklampadius. As you can imagine, I knew this match up quite well. I won the roll off and took my battlefield – which in hindsight might have been a mistake because the four health swing can be huge in this matchup. I also didn’t get any removal in my opening hand, though I did draw a Westar. My first round roll wasn’t super hot, but I did roll a two-disrupt, which forced my opponent to play an upgrade from hand instead of being able to take it slower and discard it to bring it back with Ki-Adi. He played a Shoto Lightsaber onto Anakin, but the lack of being able to utilize Ki-Adi Mundi’s power action denied Anakin from getting any extra shields early on. I still had all of my dice in the pool a lot of potential rerolls in hand and my opponent was out of money, so I planned to bring Anakin a lot of pain. Unfortunately, my rerolls did not go as well as I would have liked. On top of that, my opponent had two Hidden Motives in his hand. He was able to remove a die with one of the Hidden Motives, but I was still able to roll into some damage to put Anakin within three damage of being defeated. However, Anakin was also one activation from flipping and I knew that if he flipped my chances of victory would drop significantly.
Fortunately, I had the initiative (I think Oeklampadius might’ve made a mistake by not claiming before I did) and an Instigate which resulted (just barely) in a dead Anakin (at least he died a hero). At this point it was all over due to how far behind Oeklamapadius had fallen, especially because Ki-Adi was never able to get his shield engine going.
- Finally, there I was, all of the sudden at the top table playing for a win against an undefeated Gameslayer and his absolutely disgusting elite Garindan and elite Moff Gideon deck. I was well aware that Gameslayer could take the game very quickly, so I commited a lot of time and effort into removing his dice. Unfortunately, Mando didn’t roll any disrupts in a timely manner, which would’ve been huge in this match up. Not drawing any weapons for two turns was also very important. Sure, I couldn’t build my board state, but it also denied my opponent free ramp by not being able to steal my stuff with Gideon’s activation ability (and he even had a Grand Moff waiting for an overwrite). I managed to live for three or four rounds, which let me get a General out and kill Garindan and start working on Gideon.
Things were looking bright in Mando town – well, except for one little detail. Gameslayer was sitting on 8 resources and that could mean only one thing – Blizzard 1…and then things got crazy. Blizzard 1 hit the board and dealt ten indirect damage. This closed the damage gap quite quickly. Gideon, on the other hand, had five damage on him.
The following round I instigated, but my roll wasn’t enough to finish things off and only put Gideon to nine damage. Gameslayer then activated and detected my Han’s blaster. He played it, which forced Gideon to go to 11 damage, but he removed my 2 melee with its play effect which essentially amounted to a net loss of zero health of what he was going to take anyway. Gideon’s activation had resulted in him rolling a blank and a one resource side, and with the ambush effect of Han’s Blaster, Gameslayer rolled Blizzard 1’s massive dice in. Still, the roll wasn’t life threatening (or so I thought) so instead of resolving a disrupt, I went for a reroll to try to end the game. Gameslayer captalized by playing Bait and Switch into an All In, and after a flurry of dice flipping and focusing I knew I had made a huge mistake. My opponent seemed poised to celebrate his perfect run after he dealt 7 ranged damage to Mando and had his second Blizzard 1 die showing six indirect. I was frustrated at myself for not resolving the disrupt, but then I started counting: Mando had one damage on him at the time so seven more from the ranged die put him at eight damage. That meant that if I took the indirect damage from the other Blizzard 1 die, I could just deal it all to Din and redeploy Westar to the Sniper (who had one health left) before activating him for the win. We both counted through it a few more times and came to a conclusion that there wasn’t any way for Gameslayer to win at this point, so I took the game and thanks to higher strength of schedule, the whole heat as well.
Mando has spoken, and the message is loud and clear. He might not be as formidable as he once was, but he still packs the kind of punch to go through almost anything and he is definitely a top tier deck… as long as doesn’t come across any Lukes or Aphras!
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