Lessons I Learned Sucking At Star Wars: Destiny

In gaming shops around the UK, in the evenings and during the weekends, there is a familiar sight that can be seen. Gamers gather, deck boxes in hand, to take to the competition scene. Some play Magic the Gathering, some play Pokemon, some play games like The Legend of Five Rings or A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. I, one Saturday back in October, went to the Proud Lion Gaming Store in Cheltenham, UK, to play Star Wars: Destiny.

For those who don’t know what Star Wars: Destiny is – it is a fast fire, deck-building dice game based around the notion of small teams taking place in epic battles. It involves strategy, quick thinking, and forethought to crush your opponent. As a player you control (typically) 1-4 characters (usually 2-3) and build a deck of 30 cards. Using special abilities, events, upgrades, and die – the players take it in turns committing actions that hopefully forward their goal. This goal is usually to cause as much damage as possible to the characters you are playing against, as the game ends when the opponent’s characters are defeated; however, different decks call for different strategies.

Of course, muggins here decided it would be best to play a mill deck – or a deck based around the other way of winning the game – making your opponent discard or use all the cards in their deck. I played an elite version of Lando, who can generate resources like it is going out of fashion, and an elite version of Padme. Padme sucks in the films, like just as bad as Anakin, but in the game she is the queen of card discards. My strategy was to discard my opponent’s cards faster than they could cause damage to me.

I entered a tournament with 15 players in total. I came 14th. Needless to say, that isn’t exactly high – unless you physically turn the table upside down and read it backwards – but somehow I feel that is cheating.

That being said, the entire day wasn’t fruitless. I thoroughly enjoyed playing and learned a lot when I did. Here is a list of some of the primary lessons I took away with me.

Know Your Deck

Lesson number one came very bluntly during the first couple of games I played. It occurred to me, that I had switched out/in a few cards before entering the tournament that I hadn’t played before. I also removed a few cards that it was recommended to me by a few players to remove, in favour of bigger hitting cards. This meant losing cards like Rebel, which lets you go back and fetch cards out of your discard pile. The downside is I knew how it played and enjoyed it, meaning I was (a) kind of still expecting it to turn up and (b) was at a loss when I could only guess how to play the replacement.

Knowing your deck is so vital in deck-building games because you need to understand the synergy between certain cards. Ultimately, if you don’t know your deck, in practice as well as in theory, then you will lose out and you only have yourself to blame.

Play With Colours

Very specifically, within Star Wars: Destiny, there is an ability used by Kylo Ren. It allows the opponent to name a colour card they believe you have in your hand, and if you do then you take damage for it. He, as a character, became incredibly popular within the aggro scene earlier this year because he could deal so much damage per turn. It really hurts.

It hurts even more when your entire deck is one colour. Yes, Lando and Padme are both yellow characters, and my entire deck (all 30 cards) were yellow cards. You can probably see where this is going. Even without doing any extra damage the game would have been over in 10 turns. With Kylo doing around 5 damage a turn on his own anyway, pre-skill, that brings his damage total up to 7 for a turn. When Padme only has 10 health then she doesn’t last long. There is a strong possibility she is dead, even before it becomes possible to play a card like Second Chance on her (which brings a character back to life with five health when they would otherwise die). Even with Second Chance she can be killed by Kylo in three turns, and that could be sooner if the opponent is playing two aggro characters. 

Mixing up colours, adding a few grey cards, would help defend against this. A multi-colour deck would help entirely.

Know When to Pass

We were the last game to finish in the final round of the tournament. Everyone had gathered around, crowding in to see one of the closest games I have ever been a part of. I was playing against a Sabine/Ezra combo (also, an entirely yellow deck) and had managed to get him to discard down to the final card. My opponent discarded to reroll, the whole place went quiet. All I could do was Run Interference, but only had rubbish die to play, so when he rolled exactly what he needed to kill me outright my face dropped.

I couldn’t think of what to do and passed.

So, it turns out, there is a rule I was unaware of going into the tournament (as a total noob may I add). If you pass and then your opponent passes (or the other way around) the round ends. If I had resolved my rubbish die (I think it was a resource) and Run Interference, which would have meant my opponent couldn’t resolve a die, followed by passing then I would have won.

Understanding when to pass is vital, and understanding when inaction is the best action can win or lose a game. This does, however, lead to the next point.

Know The Damn Rules

There were two rules I didn’t overly know going in as I have only ever learned the game by proxy. The first is the above point, about knowing when to pass. The second was knowing that at the end of each round you can discard cards to pick more up. You don’t have to just restock but you can discard to draw even more and have more turnover in your hand.

Playing as a mill deck, and never really knowing any other form of deck to play, I have only ever played people who don’t want to discard cards because they know it helps me towards my goal. This means I have never seen it being used. Thus – may I suggest that everyone reads the rules to the game they are about to play if they are going into a tournament, just to refresh their memory.

Don’t be like Luke. Don’t be a noob.

Gamers are awesome

Playing Destiny in a store reinforced a positive image of gamers I have developed over the past few years.

Gamers are, in my opinion, some of the nicest and most genuine people on the planet. Everyone I have ever played in a tournament with has been incredible, with high levels of talent and skill, as well as being friendly to boot. Gamers are fantastic people, and I genuinely look forward to the next tournament I play in, whatever the game may be.

Then again, gamers being awesome is something I already knew. I mean, look at all the ace people who follow this blog.

SIMILAR ARTICLE: Star Wars: Destiny – Jyn/ePadme – The Mathematics Behind the Milling

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