Author - People's Champion
I made no qualms about saying that I thought Reylo decks were lame as I was looking at the set. Part of it was the fact that as a villain player I didn't feel like collecting all of the hero cards required to play it. But I also thought that it would be a gimmick deck, one that was too reliant on specific cards designed specifically for them, and so it wouldn't be able to compete with decks that completely ignored theme. Obviously I was wrong, very wrong, with it doing extremely well. And the more I thought about it the more the deck grew on me, mostly as the idea of being able to play a specific scene from the movie, and still play Destiny, which is awesome in my opinion. And so as I'm looking forward to Covert Missions (eventually) coming out, I'm getting rather excited about the possibility of playing more movie scenes, specifically the Death Star ones.
I've been spending some time thinking about these alternative win conditions, and I really like the design space. Essentially what the design team has created are aggro (Destroy the Death Star) and mill (Construct the Death Star) decks that don't attack your opponent, but simply march toward your win condition. And so I wanted to discuss Construct the Death Star, and some of the possibilities regarding this deck. Unfortunately I don't have a deck list for you today, as I imagine there are still plenty of tech cards that we have yet to see spoiled yet. But I want to start walking down the path of possibilities.
First I want to talk about character pairings. The most obvious character to play is Director Krennic-Death Star Mastermind. He reduces the cost of Construct The Death Star from two to one, giving you more room the build the rest of your team. On top of that he has two resource sides and the ability to turn another dice to a resource, basically guaranteeing at least one resolution of the plot's action each round. With Krennic, however, I see two possibilities of teams we could build, either Krennic's Entourage, or Imperial Officers. Krennic's Entourage would consist of Director Krennic at elite, two Imperial Death Troopers at a single dice each, leaving enough room for a single point Construct the Death Star Plot. The Imperial Officers would be Krennic again, Wullf Yularen, and Conan Motti, with a single point left over for the plot.
Krennic's Entourage-This deck is the one that it looks like FFG wants you to build. If you hit a single resource on Krennic's dice, then you can flip his second to a resource with his ability, and use the Imperial Death Trooper's power actions to turn their dice to resource sides. Then, if your dice aren't mitigated, you can use the Construct the Death Star's action twice just off of character dice, getting you nearly a third of the way to your win condition. Another significant advantage this deck has is that the Imperial Death Troopers would have guardian, meaning they could spread out your opponent's damage and keep those dice putting resources on your plot. The point of this deck would be to aggressively put resources on the plot trying to stay above the damage curve your opponent could put out.
Imperial Officers-This deck, however, would operate with a much more control oriented play style. All three characters have a 1 and 2 discard side, a 2 focus side, and abilities to keep you moving forward while keeping your opponent down. Taking cards from their hand with discards and Wullf's ability, hitting their dice with Motti's ability, and using Krennic to keep building the Death Star, you can keep moving forward while extending the game. And your higher health pool should be able to help you extend the game giving you more rounds to add resources to your plot.
Below are some ideas for cards you can include in your deck to help you advance your win condition. Not all will be good, some will probably turn out to be bad, but these are just things to try and see what you can make happen.
Separatist Landing Craft-This card is all about extending the game. First of all, it is one of the rare red/grey cards with two resource sides, which gives it automatic consideration when trying to build the Death Star. Second, if you hit the special and can pay for it I would do so. You lose the extra dice, but you gain the extra six health from the Battle Droid, which can give you extra rounds to finish your construction.
Macrobinoculars-Another rare card that has two resource sides which can be extremely useful for your Death Star. It's cheap too, which makes it very useful to include in this deck.
Senate Chamber-Our third card with two resource sides, but also with a lot of dice fixing possibilities. You can use its focus to prepare two other dice for Death Star resources. And you can use its power action for either defense or to get another dice prepared for construction.
Cultural Records-It doesn't have two resource sides, only one, but it's a card I'm thinking of including because it's a rather strong control card. The special allows you to snipe powerful cards from your opponent's hand and possibly gain resources and removal later in the game. It has strong focus sides, and if you don't hit the focus and specials, you can always use the resource side for your win condition.
Death Star Plans-One of the very few tech cards for this deck that we know about, but a rather solid one. You can exhaust it to place a resource on the Death Star plot, which means an extra resource every round. And if you play it early in the game you can get a lot of value out of that. And, don't forget, there are plenty of shenanigans you can get into with this. You can play it, use it, then overwrite it with something like Macrobinoculars, then play a second and exhaust it for the extra resource on your plot. There is the possibility that your opponent could steal it, but that possibility has a pretty narrow condition to be met, since it's not any damage, but damage from an opponent's effect, meaning not dice but from a card.
Probe/Counterintelligence-These are pretty obvious includes, because they're control cards that show up in almost every red villain deck, so putting them in an actual control deck is pretty obvious. Regardless, I wanted to make sure you are aware of how well these will do in your deck, providing you with plenty of defense to keep your characters alive and your resource sides protected.
As I was looking through cards I could include in this deck something struck me: there are several amazing blue cards that would really shine while trying to Construct the Death Star. So I looked at options for replacing one of the Imperial Death Troopers with a blue character, and here is what I found:
Snoke's Praetorian Guard-You're not really looking for damage, and this dice is 50% damage. That being said, the ability to remove an opponent's damage by removing one of your own makes the damage sides on this actually worthwhile. You get good defense, as well as a character you can add your blue abilities to.
Dark Advisor-Basically you would play the Advisor for the inclusion of blue and the ability to draw a card. Not bad, but not fantastic either.
Sentinel Messenger-Ah, the Sentinel Messenger, everyone's favorite cheap blue character. The ability is amazingly strong, and the points are right. The only disadvantage is that you can't play abilities on him, and some of the cards you want to play are, in fact, abilities. Not bad, not fantastic.
If you rotate in one of those characters (or find a better blue paring than I did) here are some cards you definitely should consider:
Nexus of Power-To use your Death Star ability, your dice has to show a resource side, which means you can flip to your 0 resource side and still remove it with the plot. Perhaps not the most amazing option, but if you're paying 1 for a one-in-three chance of hitting a resource on Macrobinoculars, paying 1 for the free flip to exactly the side you need is going to be better.
Soresu Mastery/Training-Since this runs like a pseudo mill deck, defensive upgrades are great. Soresu Mastery and Soresu Training can really help you extend the game, giving you many more chances to put resources onto the Death Star.
Force Jump-Force Jump falls into the same category as the Soresu cards, though with a lot less investment. You don't mind filling an upgrade slot with this since you won't be using them too much, and it can get you an extra round that you need.
Crystal Ball-Guess what else has two resource sides: Crystal Ball! Usually Dark Council is better because the card draw and reroll special is fantastic. But since you're trying to hit your resource sides, the extra modified resource side on this makes all the difference.
Whichever iteration of this deck you decide to go with, it’ll be a control deck, and so you will want to be slow playing, sequencing your moves for the greatest disruption of your opponent’s plans. Take your time, and make sure you’re getting the most out of all of your dice. And I’m imagining that in a game that goes well you should be able to win by round three.
This concept is very exciting for me. I’ve been interested in alternative win conditions, but mill has given me such a negative play experience that I really don’t want to do that to someone else. Well, Construct the Death Star is a way to play like a mill deck, have an alternative win condition, but avoid some of the NPE of mill. I hope you’re as excited about the release of Covert Missions as I am!
Thanks for reading!
Author - People's Champion