Star Wars: Destiny – Jyn/ePadme – The Mathematics Behind The Milling
Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about Star Wars: Destiny. A group of my close friends entered the Fantasy Flight National Championships earlier this month, and in doing so they have tried their hardest to get me into the game. This month I have invested a bit of cash, received a lot of free cards from a lot of people, and have actually started building a few decklists.
As a card game player, I have always been interested in the non-just-hit-them-with-everything-you-have as an approach. Aggro decks are all well and good, but they can also be a bit dull to play. There isn’t as much enjoyment in them (for me at least) as playing control, combo, or mill decks. This is why, in the Game of Thrones LCG, I prefer to play a Baratheon control or Baratheon/Lannister combo deck, as opposed to a Greyjoy aggro.
In Star Wars: Destiny I am determined to play a mill deck, just to try it out. I’ve never played a mill deck before, but I have tried playing both control and aggro decks in Destiny so far – one of which I enjoyed a lot more than the other (ePoe/eMaz was not a fun combo).
With that in mind, this week I have started putting together my first decks, and Jyn/ePadme is a combo I am toying with. I figured those two cards can do a lot of deck damage between them.
At least in theory…so, let’s have a look at the maths to see just how damaging they can be.
What Is A Mill Deck?
Just quickly, before we look at the cards, let’s explore what a mill deck is. A mill deck is a type of deck, in a card game, that keeps the opponent discarding and spending cards. This works especially well in games where the decks are small (Destiny for instance, which only has a deck of 30 cards) and where one of the ways to victory is through getting the opponent to run out of cards to play.
To use a series of imperfect medieval warfare analogies:
- Aggro is running at a castle with a series of barbarians armed with axes, trying to hack down the door. You’ll take a lot of damage, but once you break down the door you will be unstoppable.
- Control is laying siege to a castle with a small group of men who get larger over time, ending with onagers and trebuchets. You start off weaker but get stronger as the game develops to control the mid to end game.
- Combo is laying siege with men at the front, cavalry at the back, and archers taking out the men on the walls. It is using different methods that combine to create something ace.
- Mill is laying siege and doing nothing violent but instead getting in the way of the farms/trade route to starve the city out. It takes time, but it is a route to victory.
All decks can be challenging, but mill are particularly difficult – namely because you have to figure out how to stay alive whilst getting the oppnent to spend all their cards.
The Jyn/ePadme Maths
As regular readers of this blog know, I like figuring out the mathematics behind dice games as I really like probability. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
Before we do though, let’s look at the abilities. Both characters have special abilities, of which Jyn’s is passive and Padme is active. This means Jyn is not so important when it comes to the dice rolls; however, she will still play an active part in the game. Jyn’s ability is:
The cost of the first Yellow event you play each round is decreased by 1.
Okay, so not all that impressive, but still helpful. Padme, on the other hand, is a superb mill character, with an active mill ability. This means she has two specials on her die, which when rolled trigger an event. She has the ability:
Discard the top card of an opponent’s deck or spend 1 resource to discard the top 2 cards of an opponent’s deck.
So if the goal of the mill deck is to eat through the opponent’s deck as quickly as possible we can already see that Padme is in a good standing. The maths, however, confirm this further.
Padme has two specials on her card. She also has a 1 Mill on her card as well. If we assume she has no resources, so can’t use the second part of her ability, she has the following mill table attributed to ePadme as a character:
That gives her a 27/36 chance (75%) of milling at least one card per turn. It gives her an 9/36 chance (25%) chance of milling two. To explain this simply – with Padme there is a 25% chance of getting nothing (not including focuses), a 50% chance of milling 1 card from the opponent’s deck, and a 25% chance of milling 2. Those are pretty goods odds; however, they can be improved, and this is where Jyn comes in.
Now we are only using the non-elite version of Jyn Erso, which means we only have one dice. For her dice we have a 2 shooty damage, a 2 shooty damage, 1 mill, 2 mill, 1 resource, and a blank. Her ability may not be the best (said he, not knowing a huge amount about the game) but her dice are amazing.
To work this out, we need to work with percentages (I’m not drawing a three-dimensional table for three variables – deal with it). By working out the percentage chance (like done above with Padme) we can multiply the percentages and figure out all the odds.
Jyn has a 16.67% chance of getting 1 mill, a 16.67% chance of getting two, and a 66.67% chance of getting no mills at all. I’m working to two decimal places, so bear that in mind. The numbers are rounded up from recurring figures.
So, what does this mean for the rolls? What is the most likely outcome? Well, to work that out we need another table. First, let’s look at the odds of getting each number:
Looking at that we can see that the odds say you are most likely to get 1 mill result. The odds are second most likely that there will be 2 mill results. Then 0, 3, and 4 in that order. The odds of getting at least 1 are different, however, and so if we use cumulative percentages we can see a different result.
So there is an 83.34% chance of getting at least 1 mill per turn, and a 4.17% of getting 4.
What Does The Maths Mean?
Okay, so looking at the maths and to put a practical correlation to this we are going to need to make some assumptions. Let’s assume that the average Destiny player plays 3 cards per turn (or just over half the hand limit). I have no data to support this, but I’ve played around 10 games of 7 turns each, and that sounds about right from that small sample size. This means they will officially run out of cards in the tenth round.
The more you mill per turn means you are shortening the game since the opponent only has 30 cards to get through. If players play an average of 3 cards per turn, and you (as Jyn/ePadme) mill an extra card per turn then it means you are reducing the game to a 7 round game (you will mill 1 and they will draw 3 to bring their hand limit up). If you mill 2 cards per turn then they will run out of cards in round 5 of the game. Since the odds are you will actually roll something like 1.8 mills per turn (I haven’t worked it out properly, but it is around that) then you will likely eat through your opponents cards by round 6.
What These Calculations Don’t Consider
What is more, Padme has a focus which means you can almost certainly guarantee milling two a turn. It makes me woozy just thinking about it. None of these calculations take the focus into account, but it is worth remembering.
The other thing they don’t take into account is Padme’s ability to spend a resource and mill two cards instead of 1. There is a reason for this, namely, I think the resources are going to be needed for upgrades if you are going to focus on milling as much as possible. That and it requires yet more tables that, right now, I am not going to draw.
So What Does This Mean For A Jyn/ePadme Destiny Strategy?
This means the goal of a Jyn/ePadme player should be twofold:
- The first is planning to survive at least 7 rounds. This could be difficult against some aggro decks, but it is possible.
- The second is to shorten a number of rounds by increasing the number of cards you can mill each turn.
I don’t have the largest knowledge of Destiny cards, being more of a casual player (said he after six tables working out the odds of one thing); however, there are a few cards that come to mind. Some of these have been suggested by my Destiny gaming group, some from my own research.
- Second Chance – 3 Resources – When a character dies, bring them back with 5 health, effectively increasing the character’s health by five.
- Lone Operative – 3 Resources – An additional dice with a 1 mill and a 2 mill on it.
- Friends in Low Places – 0 Resources – Look at an opponent’s hand and discard an event that costs 1 or less.
- Con Artist – 2 Resources – An additional dice with 1 mill and 2 specials. The special is to add a damage to the upgrade, then remove cards from the top of your opponent’s deck equal to the amount of damage on the card. The longer this is on the table the more damage it does.
Sooo…awkward question…but can Jyn and Padme survive six turns?
This is where it gets tricky. Jyn Erso has 11 health, and Padme has 10 health. This means that if an opponent deals an average of 3 damage per turn (again, seems about right) Jyn and ePadme will be able to last four rounds before one of them is down, severely reducing the milling capability, especially if they take down Padme. Jyn only has a 33.3% chance of milling on her own, whereas ePadme has a 75% chance of milling. Without Jyn in the picture, however, Padme will be able to do more with the specials as there will be less resources going on upgrades for Jyn. Opponents are likely to target Padme. She is a bigger danger.
I suppose the best thing to do is to play upgrades on Jyn to make her seem more dangerous than she actually is. That should draw some fire and hopefully keep both characters alive long enough.
With Second Chance played on both then this goes up to five rounds needed to knock out one character – far better odds. That if your opponent focuses an average of 3 damage per turn on one character. By that time the player will likely only have a few cards left and one milling character (especially if they have upgrades) should be able to do it. It requires both Second Chances, but it is possible.
Resources become a big question, as dice will likely be used for milling and you only get two resources per turn. The only thing I can think of is by using something like Con Artist early on in the game to get the additional milling goodness so Padme/Jyn’s resources can be used without rerolling or focusing. Of course, there is a fairly high chance of getting resources anyway (as both characters get them and so do some of the additional dice upgrades), but it’s worth considering.
It’s All In Theory
So I am not a seasoned Destiny player, nor have I actually tried this deck in practice, but I think this should work as a strategy. I haven’t played it yet, but I am really looking forward to trying it out.
I am well aware though that my idea (or maths actually) may be off, so please feel free to comment to set me straight.
If you have any ideas or comments, or if any hints, or ideas of further cards that could help, again, please feel free to comment below.
Geez – the longest post I have ever written for this blog (to date) and it’s about freaking Padme Amidala. Who would have guessed?