Making the Most of a Two-Week Metagame
Whether you’ve noticed or not, we’re smack in the middle of a unique situation in Star Wars: Destiny, one that might not come around for quite some time. The new Star Wars: Destiny Two Player Starter is out, as of September 1st, and Empire at War is hot on its heels, set to be released on the 14th. Empire at War will bring with it 161 new cards, upping the power level of decks in Destiny considerably. Before that happens, however, there’s a short period of time for cards from the Two Player Starter to shine, before some will inevitably be supplanted by stronger options. Welcome to the two-week metagame.
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It might seem an exercise in futility to worry about a metagame so short. After all, at max you might only get two or three opportunities to play in such a format. That being said, I’m bored with Spirit of Rebellion, and way too excited to wait two weeks for Empire at War. So, here we are! All jokes aside, taking a pre-dive into a new metagame by looking at a subset of cards is a great way to get a jumpstart on the format. While its true that Empire at War will overshadow the Two Player Starter in terms of impact, the starter still provides 37 new entries to the format that have the potential to impact the metagame. Ignoring (or overlooking) these cards in favor of the splashy new expansion entries is a grave mistake. With that, let’s take a look at a few cards I’m most interested in seeing make an impact in a post-Empire at War landscape, followed by the deck I’ll be playing for the next few days.
Kylo Ren/Captain Phasma
I won’t spend too much time on these characters, as their value is generally known and will only be determined based on how their abilities/dice line up against the field. At this point, most character pairings are relatively interchangeable (besides those with very unique abilities like Rey and Poe), so two characters that play like SoR Vader and AWK Kylo Ren isn’t anything groundbreaking. That being said, Captain Phasma is clearly pushed to be competitive, and I’d be surprised if she wasn’t a top character for Red/Blue aggressive archetypes and the like in a few weeks. Kylo Ren is slightly more curious, in the sense that he’s priced more ‘fair’ and his ability can vary based on the field. A ton of Rainbow (not necessarily Nines) makes his value go down compared to Mono Blue and similar decks. In aggressive archetypes I’m more excited to play SoR Vader, and Count Dooku for control/midrange, but I could see a pairing that wants high health and consistent melee damage from a mid-costed character.
I’ve seen some interest in this card, but I’m less excited for it than most others in the community. Guardian is a nice tack-on to a two cost upgrade, but if I’m playing this, its for the dice. Guardian alongside an upgrade that doesn’t have redeploy is disingenuous, as we can’t be too aggressive with our guardian plays or we won’t get the value back from our upgrade. Most red characters are pushing ranged damage and most blue melee upgrades outclass this one, which has me thinking this card won’t make much impact.
This upgrade has me more excited, as melee has been in need of two cost upgrades to go alongside Vibroknife. Melee decks have received a few options, so the question is more ‘which two cost will they play’ at this point. The ability is a nice little bonus, but again, 95% of the value of this card will come from the dice.
I love one cost upgrades more than the next guy, but the market for Blue Villain is kind of saturated at this point. Vader/Guard got a lot of consistency out of Force Speed and Holocron giving cheap access to focus (along with the specials), but Dark Counsel is clearly worse than those two. We can only play three upgrades per character, and Speed/Holocron/Vibroknife tends to happen by round 2. While I like what Dark Counsel has to offer, I just don’t think it makes the cut.
Poe is clearly worse than the Awakenings version, but watch out for an errata, which would theoretically up Poe’s value a little bit. The two focus side is the only thing keeping this Poe in the conversation, as the special isn’t too exciting. That being said, his dice are basically 1 ranged, 2 ranged, 1 focus, 2 focus, resource, with the added benefit of an extra shield and the ability to blank opposing dice on that special. Rey is fine, but like Poe, suffers from overshadowing by her better version. Two character dice for 12 points is too hard to let go with cards like Caution and Guard in our deck, not to mention Awakenings’ Rey’s ability being one of the best in the game. People will play with the new one, but the old one is probably better in most cases.
This card is great, and might be a game-changer for Blue Hero. I’ve made no secret that Qui/Rey is my pick for most interesting deck heading in to Empire at War, and it got a couple strong tools in the starter, primary among them being Rey’s Lightsaber. Rey’s Lightsaber is a clear upgrade to Lightsaber in basically every sense, and giving two shields for free to Rey just pushes it over the top. We trade in the special on Lightsaber for a regular 2 melee side, which is actually an upgrade for us as it makes our Rey modified sides more consistent. While not as generally powerful as Z6 Riot Control Baton, trust me when I say that in Rey decks, Rey’s Lightsaber is just as good or better.
My pick for best card in the starter, Luke’s Protection will, in my opinion, be at the center of a Qui Gon / Rey resurgence. The card is undeniably slow, but with the right support (get it?!) we can extract some serious value out of it. Alongside Trust Your Instincts, Fearless, and Journals of Ben Kenobi (cards we were already considering anyways) we can stack Luke’s Protection triggers, gaining extra shields for free during our turn. These shields can go on Rey, keeping her maxed to support Protective Mentor, for instance, or power up Riposte to go on the offensive, or ping repeatedly with Qui Gon. It isn’t hard to chain two or more draw effects per turn, which means Luke’s Protection can be a repeated source of 2-3 damage, every turn, for zero resources. Luke’s Protection offers the sort of consistency and streamlined engine that Blue Hero has needed to bridge the gap between their powerful incentives (Caution/Guard) and the rest of the filler.
Do or Do Not and Concentrate
This card is a curious one for me. Were it released in Spirit of Rebellion, the card would absolutely have seen play, but I worry that we just have too many tools at this point to want such a small effect. Granted, on a character like Qui Gon we’d love to increase 5 out of 6 of our die sides by one, but pulling back a melee die without modifieds we want to resolve with it is a significant drawback that shouldn’t be ignored. Concentrate, on the other hand, is a supercharged Use the Force that I’m excited to play alongside Running Interference out of Empire at War, or Swiftness if we want to stay Mono Blue. It isn’t the cheapest option, but it can add up to significant surprise damage with modified sides (or Luke dice) in the mix.
Mobilize will be great ramp in Hux decks, and unplayable elsewhere. Clash doesn’t seem great to me, as I still think Makashi Training is a great upgrade to play, but Ancient Lightsaber and some other EaW options might push it out. In that case, I could see Clash act as a pseudo-Deflect against melee heavy metagames. It’s close, which means its up to the field to determine if it will see play. Medical Droid is cheap enough, and healing damage is much better than shields, that I think it could be fine in the really grindy red hero decks (that currently don’t exist).
So, that’s my impromptu review of the Star Wars: Destiny Two Player Starter, but before I go, here’s what I’ve been running for the past few days while I’m waiting for Empire at War to come out. Trust me, whatever you have in mind for this week, shelve it and stack some Luke’s Protection triggers to your hearts content. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week, covering Empire at War!
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