My name is Jarrett McBride and I am a pretty competitive card game player. I used to be a playtester for Fantasy Flight Games and Score Entertainment. In addition, I used to write for multiple games, like Star Wars LCG and Dragon Ball Z. I've decided to get my hands into Star Wars Destiny, and I've been enjoying the game very much. However, because of that, I also feel the need to write for my favorite games, so for the time being I'll be writing about what I am most comfortable with in the game at the moment. That thing is a deck in the game - eDarth Vader / Tusken Raider.
Elite Darth Vader and Tusken Raider is one of the first decks that appeared on the metagame scene thanks some hyped coverage by key active community members, like Tiny Grimes. Since then, there have been countless versions of this floating on the internet. However, with taking the metagame into consideration, this deck has been losing some stream lately with all of the Jango/Bala-Tik decks popping up, but I still think it can compete. Having played this deck for over a month now in that environment, I finally have the deck tweaked to my liking and the play experience to play it optimally. The first few events I finished 3/4th. Eventually I got a second place, but that followed with three back-to-back tournament wins. In this brief article, I'm going to show the list, as well as give a quick rundown on how to play it.
My list is based off Tiny Grimes' list, which can be viewed here.
Imperial Armory, Death Star (Awakenings #169)
2x Darth Vader, Sith Lord (Awakenings #10)
1x Tusken Raider (Awakenings #22)
2x Force Choke (Awakenings #13)
2x Immobilize (Awakenings #14)
2x Kylo Ren's Lightsaber (Awakenings #15)
2x Sith Holocron (Awakenings #16)
2x Force Throw (Awakenings #57)
2x Lightsaber (Awakenings #59)
1x Mind Probe (Awakenings #60)
2x Hunker Down (Awakenings #164)
2x Backup Muscle (Awakenings #99)
2x It Binds All Things (Awakenings #150)
2x Force Strike (Awakenings #83)
2x No Mercy (Awakenings #86)
2x He Doesn't Like You (Awakenings #97)
2x Deflect (Awakenings #145)
2x Electroshock (Awakenings #159)
1x Boundless Ambition (Awakenings #80)
There are a few noticeable differences with my version. I do not care much for Force Training and have opted to switch it for Immobilize. Sure, it has two shield sides (and some possible damage), but Immobilize has three shield sides and a powerful blanking ability when your opponent's hand size is critical. Those, along with Hunker Down, help keep our Vader alive for the long game, even against 3-4 character decks. I am also running Boundless Ambition as a 1-of to help roll "perfect" in the middle of the game. It acts as a finisher along with No Mercy when you have more upgrades available, allowing you to attempt to roll all damage, if possible. No Mercy is threatening, even if you're running 8 yellow cards. Sure, you cannot maximize it 66% off the game, but even paying two resources for 2-3 extra damage is very valuable.
Playing the deck is very simple. Hopefully you win the die roll and are able to choose the opponent's battleground, as you'll want those two extra shields for Darth Vader (however, if your opponent is running Emperor's Throne Room, elect to take yours). Mulligan for early Sith Holocrons and Force Chokes, and eventually stack Vader with upgrades to maximize damage. Around turn 2-3 you'll want to play Force Throw or Kylo Ren's Lightsaber to maximize damage. Keep Vader alive as long as possible. Use dice mitigation when needed, like Electroshock and He Doesn't Like. Don't be afraid to replace the upgrades at key times, like removing a Force Choke for a Kylo Ren's Lightsaber when you need to push damage. Play Sith Holocron on the Tusken Raider and hope to get some strong abilities on him, like Force Throw or Mind Probe. Finally, Backup Muscles push the remaining damage. Claim as soon as possible to keep your advantage in starting first every round as it's key in this deck. To push damage with the deck. just pitch cards from your hand to attempt to roll around 7-9+ damage a turn (even against Mill decks - because the faster you kill them, the less you have to worry about drawing out). Against resource building decks, use the disrupt when needed, but if they pass without playing a card when you have active disrupt dice available, don't be afraid to reroll. If you can't roll damage, don't underestimate rolling shields against 3-4 character decks like eBala/Jango/Trooper.
Overall, I still feel Vader/Raider is a tier 1 deck, but the deck needs to adapt and have some more playtime in order to still determine that it's still viable. At the last four tournaments I played this deck combined I went 13 wins and 2 losses. Those two losses were not flukes. I got outplayed or their deck was more explosive. I'm sure my local metagame will adapt again with the whole of the game and I'll start to lose even more. But because of that, I'm just going to change decks. And that's an article for another day...