Today, we’re talking about Obi/Maz. It was one of the first decks to pop up in the Legacies format, and has been among the top decks ever since taking the Chicago regional in mid February. The most popular lists have taken a bit of a hit with the errata to Running Interference, making some wonder if it will remain among the top decks in the format. We think it will, and it is a deck you should be prepared to face at worlds.
- 12 health plus his passive ability makes him very hard to kill, having a functional HP of closer to 15.
- Has two 3 damage sides, giving him explosive damage potential
- With only two damage sides – one of them costing a resource – his damage can be inconsistent
- At 19 points for elite, his possible pairings are limited
- Having two focus sides adds a great deal to the consistency of a deck
- Her ability makes the focus sides that much more potent, and helps to increase the speed of the deck
- She has very little damage potential on her own, making it difficult for her to close out a match (unless it is close)
- Only 8 HP makes her an easy target for a quick kill
- The most important character in the deck is very difficult to kill
- Maz’s ability makes the deck consistent and fast
- The deck is heavily reliant on one character for damage
The most important character in the deck, Obi, is very difficult to kill. This leaves your opponent in a tough position – either kill your secondary character or risk having his/her main character die first. This is part of what made Vader so potent back in the day – his high health increased his odds of getting the first kill. Additionally, once you kill a character, Obi’s ability (plus Shoto Lightsabers and Ancient Lightsabers) makes it very difficult for one character to kill him by themselves. An opponent can very easily get stuck going nowhere through a wall of shields. Add in a Hyperspace Jump on an important round, and sometimes it can feel like Obi is nearly invincible.
Although this deck does not put out a ton of damage in the early game, it can spike really hard in the mid-game. A typical third round play might go something like this: activate Maz, focusing to an Obi 3 and resolving force speed special into a Concentrate to turn the other Obi die to a 3 and Ancient Lightsaber to a +3. And just like that a character your opponent thought was safe is dead on your second turn of the round. It is these bursty turns – rather than consistent damage – that wins games for Obi/Maz.
The deck is heavily reliant on Obi for damage. If an opponent can burst him down early (which some of the best aggro decks can do), it can be game over really quickly. While Maz’s consistency can help her finish off your opponent in a close game, she just isn’t going to bring you back from a deficit. Additionally, if an opponent can consistently remove your Obi dice, it can be very difficult to pump out damage. This over reliance on a few dice for damage can be a serious liability in some matchups.
The deck is about as resource hungry as they get. Between Obi’s pay side (which you really want to be able to resolve), playing upgrades, playing your 1 cost removal, and trying to save up for Hyperspace Jumps, there is a lot to pay for in this deck. Maz’s Vault and Outer Rim Outpost can help with this, and there are plenty of games where you have enough resources to do everything you need to. But the games where you struggle to get resources can be tough, and decks with a lot of disrupt can shut down many of your best plays.
Early in the game, your main goal is to build up your board state and prevent too much damage to Obi. You want to get one of your 0 cost removal options, and resource generation cards like Truce and Maz’s Vault are really nice to get early in the game. Force Speeds are great to have in your opening hand, and you’d like to have one of your 2 drops as well (Ancient or Shoto being the best). Against aggro decks, you may want to keep one of your more impactful removal cards, such as Force Illusion or Easy Pickings.
One of the mistakes people make is assuming that this is an aggro deck – it is not. This is a classic midrange deck, trying to build up for bursts of damage on round 3, maybe round 2 at the earliest. So don’t worry too much about doing a lot of damage in the early game. Try to get in your Obi 3’s with Maz, but don’t sweat it beyond that. Get your upgrades set up (ideally getting a Shoto and an Ancient on Obi), and try to build up some resources for those mid-late game Concentrates and Hyperspace Jumps. Try to prevent too much burst damage from your opponents, and don’t be afraid to resolve shield sides if that’s what you roll. If you can go through the first round or two breaking even with your opponent, you are in great shape.
The mid game is where you strike. Either using a Concentrate play (best if in combination with either Force Speed or Running Interference) to burst out a bunch of damage, or using Hyperspace Jump to basically blank your opponent’s round. Either of these plays can lead to very lopsided rounds in your favor. If you have a Maz’s Vault on the table, you can pull this off multiple rounds in a row.
Late game is just a battle of attrition. And if Obi is going 1 on 1 versus your opponent’s last character, you will usually win that battle. Make sure you keep track of how much damage is on the table and how much damage they need to kill Obi. As long as you can keep him out of range it can be very difficult to kill him. One last Concentrate play is often all you need to finish it. Be aggressive in trying to find this card if you know there’s one left in the deck.
Be patient. Don’t force damage early, and try to build up your board state as best as you can. When the time is right, strike hard and fast. Timing is ultra important in this deck. Learning when to play cards like Concentrate and Hyperspace Jump, as well as when to use Running Interference to protect your dice, is super important. If you are considering playing this deck at worlds, you really need to get in your reps so that you have a good feel for when to play these cards.
Resource management is critical in this deck. Resolve resources when you can (especially with Maz’s dice) and take advantage of your battlefield if that’s what you’re playing on. Knowing when to resolve the Obi 3 for 1’s or use your 1 cost removal cards – and when to save those resources instead – is important.
You’re probably going to want to have at least a single removal option just in case your opponent rolls hot. Beyond that you’ll want to mulligan for as many aggressive cards as you can. With Obi Maz’s mid game shenanigans, you need to have a hand that can really pressure your opponent early. Keep in mind that Obi Maz needs at least an RI or Force Speed to pull of its shenanigans, so keep any Vandalizes you draw to help delay the combo plays.
Don’t blindly remove Obi dice. Maz typically will only roll a single focus, providing Obi with a single 3. If you can’t remove both Obi dice, don’t waste your resources and cards on the removal, unless Obi rolls natural threes. Obi Maz’s early mulligans have plenty of cards they want to play (Force Speed, RI, Maz’s Vault, 2 drops, 0 cost events), so they won’t be rerolling as much. This means removing that Obi 1 shield is probably pointless.
Beyond that, you need to make a decision about whom to target. If you’re deck deals lower amounts of damage, and is more mid-late game oriented, I’d consider targeting Maz first. You’ll want to kill her round 2, to prevent the ridiculous shenanigans of Maz and Force Speed plays, and shut off any remaining Easy Pickings. If you don’t kill her by end of round 2, you’ve probably wasted your time. If you do have a higher damage start, you’ll want to take down Obi. Should you manage to kill him, this will secure a free win. However, what’s more important is that you pressure enough to force Obi to use Ancient Heals, or spend more resources on control rather than on Concentrate plays. In any case, you’ll want to have Obi near death by end of round 2. If you don’t, then between Hyperspace shenanigans and Concentrate kills, you simply won’t have the damage to finish him off. Ultimately, early game against Obi Maz is about aggression, and if you don’t pressure them enough you’re going to lose.
Now is when you’ll want to remove Obi’s dice whether or not they actually roll damage, as Concentrate is a very real possibility, and the Obi player is more likely to spend several re-rolls to get to those 3 sides. This means that removing a Obi shield likely did prevent 3 damage.
You need to kill a character, even if its Maz. If you don’t, the combination of Maz activation and Force Speed is going to wreck you now that Obi has several damage upgrades. Additionally, Hyperspace now enters the picture, so Maz’s speed is going to matter that much more. If you are attempting to kill Obi, you need to do it fast, or Maz may yet still be able to close the game with a couple of Heirlooms.
If you’re in a late game 1v1 against Obi, you need to go for max damage rolls. He probably has a Shoto down, and if you don’t deal high bursts of damage, you’ll never get through the constant shielding, and eventually Obi will draw into a card like Concentrate or Hyperspace to secure a win.
If you’re against Maz, Hyperspace is probably your biggest concern. However, Maz’s max damage is quite low, being limited to whatever upgrades she has equipped. Thus, you don’t need to be quite as aggressive, as Maz’s flimsy 8 HP isn’t going to last for long. Avoid Easy Pickings and you should be golden.
Use your combo breakers when you draw them. FILP can hit Concentrate, and Scruffy can hit that Hyperspace as well. Using a Probe early on to potentially prevent the combo can also pay huge dividends. Use your Vandalizes on Force Speeds or RIs and it’ll help delay their big plays.
Some Obi Maz lists have been extremely greedy recently, and run almost nothing to help Maz finish. Because of this, it can be smart to go for Obi in almost every game. However, I’ve found that Obi is much more potent with Maz in support, so killing Maz, provided you do so fast enough, is still a viable strategy. This is especially true for a more control oriented, lower damage deck.
Deal damage quickly in round 3 and on. If you let yourself get Hyperspaced without having done damage you’ll have trouble coming back, as Obi’s shields will compound next turn. Don’t ever let them get max value from a Jump – get out there and use your dice.
Force Speed/Running Interference
It is hard to understate how big Force Speed is for this deck. It just opens up so many good lines of play, because of how well it works with Maz’s ability. Activating Maz, turning an Obi-die to a 3 and then resolving Force Speed special, giving you a chance to Concentrate or reroll into even more damage, can be insanely good. This also increases your speed quite a bit (naturally), making it easier to pull off impactful Hyperspace Jumps. When I first looked at this deck I wondered if Force Speed was really necessary, or if other cards could be better for the deck. But it doesn’t take long playing the deck to realize how important it is. This is one of the cards that pushes the deck into the top tier, and is a must include if you want to play this deck at the top levels.
With the errata dropping, many have questioned whether or not Running Interference should see play anymore. While it certainly will leave many decks, this is not one of them. Because the deck relies so much on Obi’s dice for damage, the ability to protect his dice at key moments in the game is ultra-important. Running Interference is still the best option for this, and can be used quite effectively with Ambush cards (Vibroknife or Truce) or Concentrate to produce big damage turns. Deciding when to use this card has become trickier, however, and requires practice to get right.
Handcrafted Light Bow / Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber / Heirloom Lightsaber
After the core weapon upgrades of Ancient, Shoto, and Vibro, what upgrades should you include? The Las Vegas deck list (linked at the top) includes 2 Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber’s, and it is probably the most powerful upgrade you have access to. It can be absolutely bonkers on Obi. However, because you can’t put it on Maz, this makes your deck almost completely reliant on Obi staying alive. The max damage Maz can do with a focus at the end of the game is 1. This leaves you in a precarious situation, where Maz cannot even finish off close games. Still, if you think that most of your opponents are going to target Maz first, than this is may be the right choice.
We believe, however, that a number of decks should be targeting Obi first, and players at worlds are going to realize this. As a result, we feel that it is probably better to include a couple upgrades with good damage potential on Maz. The best options for this are Heirloom Lightsaber and Handcrafted Light Bow, which both have 3 sides she can focus to. Heirloom Lightsaber has the added benefit of being redeploy on Obi, while Light Bow is extremely good into shield matchups.
Mid Game Decks (Rey Aayla)
Rey/Aayla is a deck that toes the line between being an aggro deck and mid-late game deck. This is part of why it thrives in so many matchups. But this is the type of deck that Obi/Maz likes to see, as they typically can’t do quite enough damage to threaten Obi early, but also don’t ramp into enough damage to stomp out Obi late game. It is also just slow enough to make Hyperspace Jump a real threat in the matchup.
More generally, any deck that relies on its turn 3 and 4 as a peak is going to struggle. Decks like that can’t threaten Obi fast enough, and during turns where they would normally spike, Obi can either one shot a key character, or can simply Hyperspace the turn away after dealing 3-6 damage.
Aggro (Boba/Phasma, Aurra/Talzin):
Aggro decks can be difficult for this deck because of their ability to rush down Obi early in the game. If you can keep Obi alive through the early game these matchups are winnable, but they can fall apart quickly if your opponent rolls hot.
Hero mill can also be a difficult matchup for Obi/Maz. Survivability is one of the greatest strengths of the deck, and it means nothing in this matchup. Cards like Force Speed and Vibroknife can help if you draw them, but it can feel really bad if they get milled. This is the matchup where the Running Interference errata hurts the most. Consider adding a Light Bow to the deck if you’re worried about this matchup.
So how has the deck changed with the errata to Running Interference, and how does this affect the deck? What it’s done is decreased the ability to consistently protect Obi’s dice. Before the errata, an early Running Interference meant Ambush card activity almost every turn to protect those dice before Maz/Force Speed shenanigans. This was a powerful effect that helped to alleviate some of the weaknesses of the deck. You can’t do that every round anymore. Does this kill the deck? It definitely hurts (in some matchups more than others), but making a few adjustments to the way the deck plays leaves it still in a pretty good place. You have to be more patient, and focus a bit more on defense early in the game, trying to keep Obi alive for those big plays later in the game. Keep in mind that most decks are not going to be able to remove both Obi dice at once, allowing you to still produce solid damage with your Force Speed shenanigans if you have a couple upgrades on the table. And all you really need is that 1 turn where they don’t remove any dice to produce that big damage round that seals the deal. On those rounds where you need this to happen, Running Interference can still protect your dice quite nicely.
So all that being said, why should you play this deck? Even with the hit to Running Interference, it still takes advantage of some of the most broken cards and interactions in the game. Force Speed + Maz, Force Speed/Running Interference + Concentrate, and Hyperspace Jump are all amazing plays that can be completely backbreaking for your opponent. Add to that the great survivability of Obi and the powerful blue melee upgrade suite, and this is definitely a deck that has legs for worlds. So if you like playing decks that run fast and have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, this may be the deck for you.