With the central characters of Star Wars being the heroic Jedi, you can certainly expect plenty of people to show up at Worlds with a hero blue deck. At the top of the list of potentials is, in our opinion, Rey Aayla. The deck takes advantage of effeciently costed characters to allow it to also run Profitable Connections, which can give it a huge boost in early game. It’s definitely a deck you should be prepared to face, and we hope our article helps.
- Her ping adds great consistency and value.
- 11 HP is good
- Relatively weak die for 15
- Her die is amazing for 12 points elite
- Solid hp
- What’s a weakness
- Both characters are above the curve, with Aayla having way better dice than normal for 12, and Rey having great value once you factor in her 1 damage
- 27 points allows for space for a good plot (Profitable Connections)
- 21 HP is low.
One of the greatest strengths of the deck is its upgrade suite, and the benefit the 3 resource start has for upgrade choice. Playing an upgrade round 1 is imperative for blue hero melee decks. Because of this, you typically need to run 6-8 2 drop upgrades. With a 3 resource start, 3 cost upgrades can now be considered round one playable. This gives the deck great upgrade flexibility, allowing you to run much more of the 3 drops than would normally be advisable. This leads to better dice in general, and also allows for an extensive Reaping the Crystal suite. Furthermore, with the ability to include 2 Rey’s Saber and 2 LS pulls, your odds at starting the game with 2 free shields is quite high.
The deck has access to many of the games most broken cards. Once you have another blue weapon, Shoto at 2 has 2-2-3-2-2-1 as its die values, which is way above the curve. Force Misdirection is one of the greatest blowout removal cards in the game. Synchronicity at 0 for 2 unblockable is way above the curve. Force Illusion is great. Close Quarters Assault is one of the most NPE and easiest “free win” cards in the game. All of these cards are reasons to want to play the deck.
Both characters are quite good at closing. With Aayla’s indirect sides being much better in late game, she’s no slouch as a closer. Rey on the other hand is incredibly beefy and consistent as a late game closer. Being able to finish with either character makes the deck more resilient and able to react to whomever the opponent chooses to target.
Perhaps one of the decks greatest strengths is that it’s one of the few top decks with multiple viable styles of deck lists. It can use that extra resource start and It Binds All Things (along with other resource gen) to be a tanky ramp deck. Or it can use that resource as a kick start in a much more aggressive game plan utilizing aggressive shield cards and more early events. You can run a Reaping the Crystal + Decisive Blow suite for that late game blowout, or more 2 drops like Vibroknife for that unblockable damage. In any case, when you sit across from Rey Aayla in swiss, you really don’t have any clue what the deck’s last 10 cards could be, and this is a huge advantage for Rey Aayla.
The greatest weakness of Rey Aayla is that it plays quite “fair”. It’s only truly broken play is a CQA for an opponent’s entire hand. Beyond that Rey Aayla simply relies on better math to win. It gets more value out of its cards than its opponent does. However, not having “unfair” plays allows its opponents to play without as much fear of potential nasty plays. When sitting across from Thrawn Talzin, you have to be concerned for Three Steps Ahead or Tactical. Against Yoda Hondo you have to be considering Hyperspace Jump. Against BrOTK you have to be prepared for the ready effects. Against Rey Aayla you have have to be concerned for… CQA? Riposte? The fact that Rey Aayla plays relatively fair allows its opponents to play more aggressively without fear of unexpected plays.
Rey Aayla can also suffer from damage inconsistency with only 2 melee sides on Rey. At times the deck can really struggle with getting any damage done. While double Shotos is incredibly broken, that leaves plenty of modifiers that can be easily stranded. At times Rey Aayla can find itself way ahead, but unable to close out the game with damage, and giving your opponent an extra round for the potential come back is never a good thing. If Aayla is the one closing, this is less of a problem, with her focus and 2 indirect side, but with Rey closing, you only have a 33% chance at getting damage on her dice.
If at all possible, look for a Rey’s Saber in your first hand. Resource gen is great, but not entirely needed. Beyond your first upgrade and resource gen, look for your 0 cost removal (Guard, Caution, Sound the Alarm, etc.). While you can afford to pay for 1 cost removal, playing a 3 drop or saving that extra resource is usually better.
The biggest advantage that Rey Aayla has is that extra resource. With it, if you roll a single extra resource you can have 3 two drop upgrades on Rey before activating her round 2. If you get a single resource gen card, you can have 2 two drops and a three drop on her instead. While spending all your early resources on upgrades would usually leave a deck vulnerable, the natural survivability built into Shotos, Rey’s Saber, and Ancients allows you to play greedy. While your opponent could choose to target Aayla first, as long as you make your round 2 count you should be fine. With those 3 extra dice and a few re-rolls you could be looking at a lot of damage. Getting a kill round two is huge, and if you succeed, most decks will struggle to deal enough damage with their remaining character (s) to get through your shields.
As you move on to round 3 you’re doing one of two things. Either you’re doing your best to get value out of Aayla before she dies, or you should be looking to get redeploys on Rey before your opponent can finish her. Beyond this there isn’t a whole lot to say. Go for as much damage as you can, but don’t be afraid to resolve shields either. Rey’s steady ping along with Shoto’s should help you win an extended game, as long as you prevent your opponent from doing too much damage at once.
Make sure you’re rolling out as early as you can as your final character gets closer to death. Many of your best control options are reliant on having dice in the pool, so getting your dice out first can be the difference between winning and losing. For this reason you should be careful about rerolling too much and falling behind, as your opponent could roll out first next round and you won’t have any control.
Get at least one of your characters dice in the pool early each round to give your dice reliant control something to work with. Even if you don’t have anything, having the dice out there will make your opponent have to play around potential Misdirections or Guards.
Don’t be afraid to resolve shields. Rey Aayla should in theory thrive in a long drawn out game where Shoto shields and Rey pings begin to add up.
Don’t play more than 1 shoto on Rey. Having 2 non-redeploys on her is risky, but more than that you can struggle to deal any damage. With only a 33% chance at rolling a base side on Rey, and a 16.7% chance at rolling a base on Shoto, a double Shoto Rey will struggle to deal any damage besides her ping. For this reason, having Rey’s Saber or Ancient Lightsabers is usually better than having that second Shoto, especially if Aayla is already dead.
As mentioned above, there is nothing particularly broken you need to prepare for in this matchup. As such, for the most part you should be mulliganing normally. Try to get a good upgrade, resource gen, and at least 1 removal option. If you are playing Blue villian, mulliganing for an Intimidate is a good move. If you have upgrades that allow for unblockable damage or shield removal, you may want to mulligan for them.
You need to decide right away who you are going for. If you are going for Rey, you need to push out as much damage early as you can, before your opponent can get their Shoto shenanigans off and running. A Shoto Rey is very difficult to kill, and the last thing you want is to get stuck trying to kill her. If you go for Aayla, your main goal should be to kill her late round 2 or early round 3, while also ramping up your finishing character. If you try to go against a beefed up Rey without your character also being beefed up, you’re going to have a bad time.
Against any 2 character deck, timing is crucial in the mid game. This is even more important against Blue hero deck. These types of deck thrive in those situations where they get the first kill; all the shields make it very difficult to finish off a character if you only have one character remaining.
You have to be able to do burst damage late in the game against this deck, especially if you are closing against Rey. One of the great advantages of Shoto Lightsaber’s and Ancient Lightsaber’s is that they render 2-3 damage chunks essentially useless, as they just continually get swallowed up in shields and healing. You need to be able to do damage in chunks of 5-6 in order to finish off that last little bit of health. Be aware of Decisive Blow as a potential game changer in the late game.
The removal in Rey/Aayla is situational, but very powerful; cards like Force Misdirection, Guard, and CQA. You need to be aware of their resources and the dice they have in their pool, so you know what events are possible.
You also need to be aware of where surprise damage can come from in this deck. Avoiding the character with shields may lead to an easier kill, but could also lead to a killer Ataru Strike or Riposte. And ignoring a potential Synchronicity can lead to a character dying a round earlier than you were anticipating.
Try to find ways to remove shields or do unblockable damaging. Using Vibroknifes to get out a chunk of unblockable damage or Light Bow’s to remove shields can be a major boon in this matchup. Slotting in Intimidates or Unyielding can give you that extra reach you need as well. Trying to go through all the shields for the whole game can be a death sentence, especially if you fall behind.
Ataru Strike, Swiftness + Concentrate, The Power of the Force
With Rey + Aayla’s relatively fair playstyle, we believe you should be playing at least a few unexpected damage cards in your deck. The Ataru for that extra reach when your opponent targets Aayla first can be huge and secure that early round 2 kill. Swiftness Concentrate can help close out late game with a huge damage spike. Even the Power of the Force can be quite strong with Rey Aayla’s ability to have 3 two cost upgrades early round 2, and if you run Force Speeds it can actually do some work. Especially when you roll that random discard side on Rey, TPOTF can dump your opponent’s hand and secure a free round. While these are all inconsistent, you need a little extra something if you want to win close games with strong opponents.
Force speed feels a little awkward in Rey Aayla. Rey tends to get fully loaded by round 2 and with Aayla being the first target in many games, Force Speeds can feel pointless. However they are one of the few cards that allow Rey Aayla to “cheat” and can be extremely powerful if drawn round 1. In addition it can pair quite well with any die fixing cards you may run.
While we ended up choosing to run no Ripostes in QuiGon Kanan, in Rey Aayla we feel strongly that you should be running at least one, if not 2 Ripostes. Due to Rey’s Saber dropping 2 shields on Rey, and the fact that Aayla already has less health to start, people often go for Aayla. This leads to excess shields on Rey quite early in the game, and a round 2 Riposte for kill can be the decisive play that wins you the game.
Aggro Melee decks (Boba Seventh):
Rey Aayla has a lot of good HP gain and removal options that can help it whether most aggro matchups. It’s the matchups against aggro melee decks that can get quite disgusting though, as an early Force Misdirection can all but win you the game. Especially decks like Boba Seventh, which tend to leave their dice in the pool for quite awhile due to modifiers and Boba special, are particularly susceptible to Misdirection.
Against most matchups, taking those shield sides on dice, and deciding to draw out the game can lead to easy mathematical victories for double Shoto Rey. However, deciding to wait till next round into a 6-8 vehicle board is sheer stupidity, which puts the pressure on Rey Aayla to actually roll damage. Add onto this Easy Pickings and Garbage Chute, and Rey Aayla can struggle to kill vehicles fast enough. The one saving grace is CQA; if Rey Aayla can CQA away a couple rounds, the game can turn around and be a blowout in favor of Rey Aayla.
Don’t get us wrong, every once in awhile Rey Aayla can destroy mill with double Shoto and Rey pings, plus Ancient looping at the end. However, the addition of Easy Pickings and Garbage Chute has made it hard for Hero Melee to get enough damage done. With shield gain and the survivability this offers being one of Rey Aayla’s greatest strengths, you can see why Rey Aayla might struggle into mill, which doesn’t care at all about your 6 shield board state. This is another reason for you to be running 2 Ripostes.
Early game is incredibly important, and the 3 resource start helps Rey Aayla perform quite well early on. However, it can at times struggle to deal killing damage at the end of the game, and plays quite fairly. Should you bring this deck to Worlds? Potentially. We feel the deck has some incredibly broken cards: Shoto, Synchronicity, Close Quarters Assault, Rey, Aayla, Force Misdirection, etc. It should be able to easily take you to day 2, and quite possibly top 16. Our concern is that in top 16 rounds against top tier opponents, you may struggle to outplay them with the relative fairness of the deck. So if you’re looking for a great swiss deck Rey Aayla may just be the perfect choice. But if you want to win it all, you might want to look for a deck with a few more broken interactions.