Today’s post is a guest article by Michael Spaulding. Michael is a Minnesota local who does a lot for the Destiny community here. He helps run the Twin Suns Cup – a local tournament circuit. He recently won one of these tournaments with a version of the Shadow Caster reset deck, beating both Luke and Jon on his way to the title! It’s a deck reminiscent of the 7th Sister reset decks from back in the Legacies meta, and I think you’ll enjoy his tournament report.
Sunday, December 2nd, I took my favorite ATG deck to a win at our local Winter Championship tournament at the FFG Game Center in Roseville, MN (Run by the Twin Suns Cup). I was up against some of the best players in Minnesota, including most of the Destiny Council, Gil Nevils (World’s 2018 top 16), Bowie Sessions (Adepticon 2018 Standard winner), Rohan Sadagopal, and many more that I do not have space to name. It was a great field, and I had no anticipation of taking home the trophy (actual trophy!).
I want to start by talking about my decision to run this deck, some of my personal choices on the cards played, and what I thought was going to happen.
I absolutely love the idea of this deck. It’s my kind of jank, and just reliable enough to work consistently. It’s pretty easy to get started, has a slow first/second turn while you set up the mods and get your resources in order, and then you just blow them out of the water on turn three. I love L3’s inherent ability, and I really love abusing it by using cards like Karabast! and Blaze of Glory. It’s these cheap/free cards that let you control the flow of damage that really makes this deck sing. Instead of spending all of your resources fighting against an inexorable flow of damage, you bend to it and direct it at low resource investment.
The first round is pretty straight forward. Get a truce or well connected and get Shadow Caster out immediately. Failing that, roll out Rebel Engineer to search for mods and get those sweet resource sides (2 resource sides, 2 focus sides. So good.) and get Shadow Caster. And if everything goes rough, and you have no resource cards, and didn’t roll resource sides on your engineers, L3 has a 50% chance to roll focus or resources herself. It’s hard not to get that one resource you need to get Shadowcaster on the table. The real danger is being disrupted while you hunt for it. That’s why either having your battlefield (for a 2 cost shadow caster) or truce in your opening hand is important against yellow choke decks, or Thrawn/Snoke (watch that power action for 3 disrupt). If they can keep you off shadowcaster for a whole round, things will be a lot higher of a climb.
Let them come out with damage round one (and if you’re confident that you won’t be disrupted) let them target L3, in an attempt to get her before you get a vehicle out. Holding onto a truce while you screw around isn’t the worst idea if you think they’ll try to snipe her. Once they have some damage down, you want to go into round 2 with a Karabast! and Blaze of Glory to overkill L3, get a free (and incredibly powerful, two die) mod on the shadowcaster, and take away most, if not all of their potential damage for the round. Then use your engineers to get those mods, hold on to focuses, and load up the Shadow Caster. Pace yourself, take your time and use time wasters like Hunker Down, and see if your opponent is impatient, or out of control, and let them claim. Roll in and start swinging with Shadow Caster and let the dice fall where they may.
This deck has great control suite, and you will have plenty of money for it rounds 2 and 3. Lots of control of different values to get by Thrawn’s ability, and keep you swinging even if you’re out of money. I’m considering Systems Gauge as control on a stick (and another mod for Shadow Caster), but you don’t want your activation of Shadow Caster dependent on your opponent’s board state, and you’re likely only to get one or two removals from it (so you’re spending 3 for 2 removals in the game, or worse, 2 for 1). It’s worth trying out to see if it fits your play style, but with the current control suite I didn’t find that I needed it.
Now, for the tournament report!
I was absolutely not planning on winning, so I didn’t take notes of my matchups or anything, but I remember it all pretty clearly. This deck has a weakness to Thrawn/Snoke (what doesn’t?) and I mostly just brought it because I think the deck is fun, and expected to get crushed. But the entire field just avoided Thrawn/Snoke themselves and mostly teched against it. We had one Throke player out of a field of 24. Luckily, I was teched for the field that teched against Throke.
Match one – Sterling Sherrell
eYoda/eBoushh – Win
Sterling missed his villain cards for most of the game, and I was able to pay off Leia and still get Shadow Caster and my mods out. I got an early 2 indirect, which he put on Yoda, and then rolled out a 6+2 on the Shadow Caster + Dorsal Turret, which took Yoda turn two and made for a secure match.
Match two – Rohan Sagadopal
eSnoke/Aphra/Droid – Win
This deck wasn’t something I thought I’d struggle with, and I was right in the end. Indirect damage is great for me, because I can control exactly when L3 dies (like immediately exhausting an R2 mod) and that deck was a lot of little pings of indirect which let me dance around how I wanted L3 to die. He got some scary stuff on the board, but I was eating characters at pace and in the end he had 2-3 dice I really needed to control every turn, while I was resetting a modded out Shadow Caster 2 times for too many dice to handle.
Match three – Andrew Rothermal
eVader3/Greedo – Loss
This was my only loss in the day, and it was a brutal one. We both managed killing damage round 2, but he had 3-4 actions ahead of me. His turn 2 hand was Price of Failure, Deja Vu, Fear and Dead Men and two meaningless cards because what else could he want. He rolled Vader out for 2x, 4x(r), +4x Maul’s saber, and Force Speed special. So I outgun the +4 and the special, and expect to eat the 6 damage. He came back with a Fear and Dead Men and took out two characters, followed by a Price of Failure and enough damage to end it. After the price of failure I hit 5 indirect, with a 2 focus left on the table and a strategic planning that, when coupled with w 2 focus, would have spelled the end for Vader. Fantastic match.
Match four – Brandon Edgeworth
eVader3/Bazine – Win
Brandon is a new player, he started after the Store Champ season this year, and he held his own, despite Shadow Caster getting everything it needed. This was the game where my deck just sang. I did truce/Armored reinforcements as my first action, played two mods on Shadow Caster, had two Karabast! in hand for round 2, and just ended Vader before he had a chance. Brandon is a great guy, and a fantastic player, but that was a brutal game for him. Loth-Cat and Mouse was the star of this match. He wasn’t given a chance. I hope he keeps participating in the community and I think we’ll see big things from him in the next year or two!
Cut to top 4, Best of 3 matches
Top 4 – Luke Magnusson
eBiggs/eHan/Armored Reinforcements – 2-0
This deck and its fantastic pilot gave me some trouble. There’s a lot of tricks and nonsense happening to prevent die removal. He pulls Millenium Falcon 2 (which lets you activate a character) with Armored Reinforcements, and activate Biggs, which activates the Falcon, which activates Han. If he has Hit and Run, it all comes with ambush, and he had some scary hits against me, but a very well placed Blaze of Glory, and some nice Karabast! work kept the damage where I wanted it and made my resets that more powerful. He caught me off guard with what the deck packed, but I played carefully and stayed ready for anything.
Finals – Jon Magnusson
eKit Fisto/Poe2/Armored Reinforcements – 2-0
This closed out the night with me facing all 3 of the Destiny Council members present. I have to give Jon a big thank you for beating Andrew in the top 4, I’m sure I only won because of it. Jon’s deck was a really interesting build. It seemed very focused on playing the middle, and maximizing the value of every die and every card. The strategy was just to have good dice, use them for offense when he could, and use them for defense when it made sense (with Kit’s ability). He played well, but most of his ramp was in upgrading Kit, and Kit can’t stand up to the bombardment of the Shadow Caster for long. We had a couple of very close matches, and I think his deck probably contends better against some of the scarier decks out there (Like Vader and Throke) but my ramp outperformed and brought me home the win.
I am always thankful (if not happy) to play against members of the Destiny Council, because win or lose I learn so much, and this tournament was no exception. I don’t think I’ll get a repeat performance from this deck as we start local regionals, but I think it has teeth enough to stand tall. I plan on spending the next two weeks testing it at length against Throke to make sure it can keep up, and I’d recommend doing the same if you want to try this deck out. Some cards I’d recommend looking at – Disable (hits ATST, Vader’s Fist, and Shadow Caster), and Surgical Strike. We don’t have that many dice we can use for it, Triple Laser Turret and Dorsal Cannon, but with one die you can take out an opposing Shadow Caster, and with two dice you can take out almost anything. Seems pretty good.
I’m Michael Spaulding, notorious nobody (and a patron of the Twin Suns Cup), and thank you for reading my tournament report.