Author - People’s Champion
One of my favorite decks, even one of my favorite characters, from the Convergence meta has completely disappeared from the limelight: Captain Phasma. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not surprised. As unique as her design space was—adding two dice to the pool—she was a rather one-dimensional character, especially when you compare here to the variety of things you can play, including about fifteen different hero droid decks, or any number of villain support decks that rely entirely on what has been dubbed “the unholy trinity.” With Captain Phasma, every new set you might get some new tech for her, but the change to her overall deck build and play style is very slight. And so with that being said, today I want to look at some of those slight changes to the incredibly fun pairing of Captain Phasma-Stormtrooper Commander, Sentinel Messenger, with Retribution.
There are a couple of notes, maybe reminders, about the characters and how they play. First of all, with Phasma, and with the Megablaster Troopers, the First Order Stormtrooper dice they roll into the pool are considered character dice, which is important for Retribution and such. They also are not removed from the pool either when Phasma is defeated or when Megablaster Troopers is removed from the game. This is important because if you are aware of when your opponent might be able to defeat Phasma or Desperate Measures your Megablasters you can get an extra round’s use out of your Stormtrooper dice. Regarding the Sentinel, you want to have a sense of what you could be drawing with his ability, and whether you can pay for it. I try and make sure I have tech team ready to go and some extra resources lying around so that if I hit a big support I want to play, I can actually afford to do so.
Anyway, on to the deck.
Conscript Squad-An incredible value for one cost, giving you one to two damage, and not slowing you down activating when you activate a leader. It’s nothing special, but it can put in work. This is a trooper, meaning you don’t want to forget that Phasma can change the damage to melee, or that you can modify the 1 range or disrupt with the AT-RT.
Megablaster Troopers-High value, giving you three dice in your pool. Sure, none are particularly powerful, but you can get up to seven damage from them in one round, and don’t forget that with Phasma alive you can resolve the three indirect as melee damage. This card rides that line between very strong and broken, but the synergy with Phasma is incredible.
Vader’s Fist-Unlike Megablaster Troopers, Vader’s Fist is well known for completely ignoring the line where balanced ends and goes straight for broken. But this card is not just in the deck because it’s one of the best cards in the game, but it also works well with our trooper theme, being able to be turned by the Imperial Officer, or modified by the AT-RT, or have it’s indirect resolved as melee by Phasma.
AT-RT-This card isn’t pure aggression, but that makes it even stronger. There are a wide variety of sides it can modify, including the 1 resource side on a Stormtrooper or the 2 focus on Phasma. Or if you’re in a pinch, turn the Conscript Squad’s 1 disrupt into a 3, surprising your opponent and crushing their plans. And the general danger of playing it—leaving it stranded when you run out of trooper dice to modify—is very slim since there are three dice in this deck that cannot be modified it, two Imperial Officers and the Sentinel Messenger. Every other dice in this deck can be modified by the AT-RT, meaning it never really loses its value.
Imperial Officer-While this has pretty solid synergy with all of your trooper dice fixing the ones that whiffed (because, you know, they’re stormtroopers) the real advantage the Imperial Officer gives you is having the Leader subtype, meaning that even when Phasma is eliminated your Megablaster Troopers still keep up the pressure with three dice coming into the pool.
Focused Fire-Some new tech coming out in Spark of Hope, this is the standard two damage for one resource and one card. It’s limited because it has to resolve ranged damage and it has to be directed against one character, but it can turn two little 1 ranged damage sides, of which this deck has many, into four damage out of the blue, potentially surprising your opponent and securing a kill.
Intense Fire-Similar to Focused Fire, except that it will increase one damage dice by two if you spot more red cards than an opponent. This means you only need one dice, and it can be showing any sort of damage, not just ranged. The downside is that you have to be able to have more red cards in play than your opponent to get full value. But given how many cheap red cards this deck plays, (Tech Team, Conscript Squad, AT-RT, Riot Shield) it should have no trouble giving you two damage instead of one. And unless you need to defeat a character and can get it with one, I would always wait until you can spot more red cards.
Counterintelligence-This is a solid play before you play one of your big supports since you can make sure it doesn’t get Desperate Measured or Vandalized as soon as it hits the table. And if they want to take five indirect the round after you’ve resolved Vader’s Fist three times, that’s really their call. But Counterintelligence gives you the hand knowledge to protect yourself. It might make sense to replace this with Probe, which has a significantly higher upside, but Counterintelligence gives you hand knowledge and targeted defense of your cards and dice.
Tech Team-Most of your important cards you want to play are going to be supports, and you want to be playing at least one per round. It does take two rounds to get value out of this card, but in three rounds it exceeds its value, making it a very strong play. And given the manner in which it generates resources it works very well with the Sentinel Messenger’s ability.
Riot Shield-This is well above curve defense on Phasma, and can completely block a Glider Attack or claim of the Arena of Death. On top of that, it is proactive mitigation, meaning it works around the speed that droids and other action cheating decks can generate.
Automated Defense-If your Sentinel Messenger is alive all game then this is one for one removal without drawback. If they target your Messenger, that’s good news for you since you will probably win because Phasma can keep pumping out damage getting kills quicker.
Doubt-It’s free mitigation. At the very worst they get what they already had. At the best you force them to remove their own dice.
Forsaken-When you have this card you can play around it so that you can meet the play conditions. For zero cost removal it’s worth the effort it takes to play.
Hidden Motive-It’s kind of the opposite of Doubt, which rerolls their dice and removes the worst side. Hidden Motive rerolls the dice and removes the best side.
Measure for Measure-With as many trooper dice as you’re running, and as many blanks as they have, this is incredible value for free removal.
Training Room-This is an odd pick. Brining Theed to get money out of a Stormtrooper blank may be better, but given that training room can reroll all of your First Order Stormtrooper dice and your Sentinel Messenger, rerolling up to seven dice, it has pretty good value which your opponent should never get out of it.
This deck does have some meta calls you can make. If you are worried about taking down wide teams like Ewoks rather than bursting a character as you want to do against Chopper Droids, I would suggest replacing Focused Fire and Intense Fire with Sudden Impact and Fear and Dead Men. Fear and Dead Men? Yes, because remember, Phasma turns all trooper damage into melee which you can use Fear and Dead Men on. The 3 indirect on the Megablaster Troopers or 4 for 1 on Vader’s Fist don’t look so scary to a swarm of Ewoks, especially not one with Diplomatic Protection, until you play Fear and Dead Men to wipe them out.
The real trick to playing this deck is remembering all of your tricks. Remembering that all damage except the Imperial Officer’s 2 for 1 ranged side can be resolved as melee. Remembering that whenever a character dice is removed, including the Stormtroopers’, you can ping a damage from Retribution.
Remembering that while this combo might not be top tier, and this deck will need a lot of work even to not be embarrassing at a competitive event, this is a game, and this deck can sure be a lot of fun to play.
Thanks for reading!
Author - People’s Champion