Star Wars is inherently about the conflict of Good versus Evil. Since the very beginning, each storyline has been laid out as the struggle for righteousness by Our Heroes against the Oppressive Evil. Rebels versus the Empire, X-Wings versus TIE Fighters, Kylo versus Rey. Destiny continues this dichotomy, carefully locking us into the good versus evil battle by making us choose a side. Making us choose whether we want to use the few cooler toys on the good side of the fence or give into ourselves and relish the power that is the Dark Side of the Force.
Every once in awhile, though, we get to bridge the two. We get to mix and match to see some truly spectacular Star Wars shenanigans they would never show us on screen. The most obvious of these situations is, of course, limited play. In draft or sealed mechanical limitations of the game force Disney to sanction playing good guys and bad guys on the same team. Who could forget the first time you placed Maul’s Saber into the hands of Jar Jar or ran a TIE Fighter and an X-Wing on the same team? The downside to that, however, is that we don’t get to choose the cards we play with. We are at the mercy of RNJesus to decide what good and evil pairings come out of the packs we bust. If we want to carefully craft a mixture of good and evil cards, we’re generally out of luck.
About once per block, FFG gives us a card that breaks these rules ever so slightly. They give us the tools to dabble our toes in the delicious waters of the “What If?” game. It started with OG Finn in Awakenings. It was totally thematic to give Finn the opportunity to rock an F-11D after hopping out of a First Order TIE Fighter, and I know for certain that, at the time, most of us gave it a try. Unfortunately, Finn sucked. His high point cost and crappy die showed how terrified Lukas was of this power, and this ended up relegating Finn1 to the dustbin.
Since then other cards have come along, some competitively playable, some less so. Bo-Katan was limited in what she could bring and simply cost too much to be worth it. Leia Boushh was pretty good, but you were limited to Yellow villain cards only. In the right situation that was amazing, but the awesome game of “What If?” around that was a bit constrained. Qi’ra has probably been the most successful by opening up all of the hero and villain Yellow events. I rode those to a top 4 finish at the Austin Regional. Even that, however, was thematic.
The newest set, Convergence, brings us two new cards that break these rules. Enfys Nest and her Pals give no hoots about what color or type of hero or villain card you want. They only care how many you get to bring. If you run them as a team, you get four total cards from each side. I’ve done that, and it’s a fun and powerful deck (just a TOWER of health). What it’s not, however, is an example of truly spectacular “What If?”. I need something spicier, even if it’s not quite as powerful. Sometimes you have to sacrifice straight power to satisfy the ten-year-old Star Wars fan that lives in each of us.
My inner ten-year-old has a dream. It’s more a vision, really. He would love to relive the memories of the Emperor Palpatine toasting folks with lightning, but this time with someone cooler. Someone like Yoda. Imagining Yoda as an all-powerful Sith whose only desire is to flay his enemies with electricity would be the absolute coolest game of “What If?” that inner child could imagine. Now that our cross villainization restrictions have been relaxed with Enfys & Pals, Inc, my inner child’s only desire was to set someone on fire with Yoda.
Folks, my inner child has been satisfied, and it was glorious. I got to sit back and watch that kid giggle like an idiot while Yoda fried his enemies to a crisp at his feet. This is the story of that deck.
First, a disclaimer. This deck is fun and can win some games. It’s not, however, going to take down anyone’s Nationals. It’s simply too fragile to win a long tournament. When it wins, though, the fun is unimaginable. You giggle and look like a moron, but simply do not care.
When starting a deck this way, you have to set the parameters to build around. Here that means I start with Yoda and 2 Force Storm. Team-wise that means pairing Yoda with either Enfys Nest or two of her cronies. Trying to use Enfys means less health and a negative plot, so I’m going for her henchmen.
Next, I want to pick the cards that will keep Yoda alive long enough to fry people. Fortunately, we are hero (mostly, hehe), and they have access to all the best multi-die removal. Easy Pickings and Entangle are auto-includes for me. Removing two dice for one card is just insanely powerful.
The next multi-die removal card I like here is Into the Garbage Chute. It doesn’t work in every situation, but when it does work it’s fantastic. Chute wants you to be running some small characters whose die you’re willing to give up for one turn in order to stay WAY alive. This deck has two of those dudes, so Into the Garbage Chute makes the cut.
Next up, I examined the good removal in Blue. Beguile is a whopping three dice removal card. They’re not all hard removal, but you tell me the last time someone wrecked your life by playing Beguile and you didn’t care.
Blue also gives us access to the excellent Hidden Motive and Force Jump. Force Jump is even better in a Yoda deck because you always have the option of Special chaining it as a panic button. Any deck that gives me a free panic button always gets my thumbs up.
Finally, a side benefit of these Marauders is that they satisfy some solid conditional removal. Near Miss is a one-for-one that only requires those guys to be alive, and Indifferent is similar except it only requires one of them to be alive. There are other solid cards, but this is what I ended up starting with for v1.0 of the deck:
Stay Alive Juice
Now that we could stay alive, I wanted to look at other cards to win the game. There are two avenues I looked at here. One goes through Yoda. To do that I’ve chosen to include Force Focus (moar Specials!) and Force Wave, because, well, Force Wave. Outside of those, I didn’t want to go too heavily into Yoda, though. If I stack everything on a single character, then losing that character means I lose the game. I want to spread the threat out so that I always have a route to victory. Obviously, I’m sacrificing some power so that Yoda CAN BATHE IN SCREAMS OF TERROR AS HE ROASTS HIS ENEMIES IN THEIR OWN FLESH, but I still want to win as much as possible. That means not going all-in on our little blue monster. Assuming Yoda is dead, we need to figure out how we’re going to win with the Marauders.
If our enemy has pummeled Yoda to death, that means we should have a fairly robust 18 or so points of health to finish the game off with. From my experience with the all-Enfys deck, I’ve come to realize the power of Scoundrel. Specifically, the ability to plunk down a Scoundrel death ball and go get another one out of the deck. The package of Entourage and Fickle Mercenaries is a potent damage-dealing machine that is willing to bring itself online as long as you bring enough resources to the party. What’s more, if you’re stumbling on the Force Storm plan, you can Special chain Entourage to do some sick amounts of damage with all the Scoundrels you’re spotting. It starts at 3 and only gets bigger. Coupled with Entourage is Fickle Mercenaries. As a 1-drop Scoundrel in a deck that makes plenty of money, I’m happy to either resolve this die or force my opponent to go broke trying to keep it from me. Just make sure you roll this guy out first so that they get no extra dice when hiring him away from you.
For my final upgrade, I’ve got with Mandalorian Jetpacks. I don’t have a great reason here other than it seems like a fun theme to have my Marauders either jetting away from danger and smacking my opponents with their own dice or hopping into battle and doing more damage. Side Note: Also, Special chainable.
Win the Game Suite
The last bit of deck construction comes in the form of resource generation. Yoda can generate a fair bit himself, but the pay sides on my Marauders and the high cost of some of these haymaker cards mean I want a bit more the 2 + 1/2 Yoda special I get every round. There are a few choices you can make here. The first is between Truce and Well-Connected, assuming you’re not running both. Giving your opponent a resource is a much larger drawback than giving them a card, but you do get the extra action out of it. My choice always comes down to the deck I’m running. Do I expect to need the extra resource in such a way that my opponent will not have time to react? Do I need it for emergency removal or dice resolution, or do I expect to use that resource more ponderously by playing a 3-drop when I only started with two resources? If I need the explosiveness, I will run Truce. If I’m trying to ramp for an Entourage or Force Storm, I’d rather go a little slower and only give my opponent a card.
My next choice is a bit controversial in some places. Some people really hate Smuggling Ring. They say that it’s just way too slow. Why should they invest two resources now for something that’s going to pay dividends two rounds from now? I shake my fist in the air at those whipper-snappers and yell at them to get off my lawn. What’s the rush, you ninnies? I REALLY like this card. The truth is that it’s actually deck-dependent. When you’re building your deck examine it as a whole. Does your deck look like something that a) could defer its second round one resource until the second round and 2) feel like it’s going to push the game for many rounds? If that’s the case, then Smuggling Ring could pay off huge over the course of the game. Let’s see:
a) Can I live off one resource in Round 1? I have two 1-drop cards I can play in Fickle Mercenaries and Force Jump to develop my board. I also have a ton of 1-drop removal as a first-round panic button if things get squirrelly. I also have plenty of opportunities to generate more resources in the first round through my four character dice.
2) Do I expect the game to go long? Umm, it’s Yoda. None of these games are finishing before the clock gets low.
DING! Smuggling Ring it is. Love me some Smuggling Ring.
Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to run here. I’ve got no leader to use Salt Flats, no truly terrible dice to eat with Theed (and I’m already giving up a die for Into the Garbage Chute), and nothing else looks particularly enticing. In addition, I don’t see myself ever claiming this. This deck wants to go really slowly, y’all.
An old (and no longer necessarily accurate) adage of deck building is that if you built a slow deck you tried to pick the most do-nothing battlefield you could find. Something you didn’t care if you played on and wouldn’t come back to bite you if you weren’t claiming. Back in the day, this was Mos Eisley Spaceport. Pick your fight in there, and you don’t care if your opponent always has it. Nowadays I’m feeling like a big fight in Watto’s Shop isn’t going to give our opponent any advantages over us. There are just not a lot of situations where people really want to eat their gear for the next round’s money.
With that all settled, we now have our starting squad:
To the Tables!
The next step in playing this deck is to sleeve it up and take it for a spin. I could go into detail about how to play the deck. How you should look for this or that card in your opening hand, or how to recognize when Yoda is doomed and fall back on the Entourage plan. That, however, is not what this deck is about. This deck is about damning the torpedoes, and plowing full speed ahead with
my your our dreams of “What If?”
Before you sit down, though, wrap your head around this.
You. Are. Going. To. Lose. Not every time, maybe not even half the time, but,
if you’re the type of person who is used to winning, this deck will drop your
win percentage. The wins, though, oh, they are so sweet. When your friend or SO
looks at you with bewilderment in their eyes. When you hear yourself
cackle/giggling just like the Emperor. When you hit that one round where you
resolve Force Storm at least four turns in a row, visions of
Evil Misunderstood Yoda awash in the purple glow of his hate. That’s when you will
understand why this deck is the best.
Please excuse me, I have to go challenge my daughter to a game now.