With the bulk of the regionals season behind us, we’re at a good point to evaluate the Across the Galaxy Meta. The last meta to include the Awakenings block, we’ve seen some serious abuse of some of the most busted cards to come out of the first few sets. From Friends in High Places, to Price of Failure, to Hyperspace Jump and Retreat – a number of cards have gone out with a bang. Not to mention the introduction of new meta defining cards like Vader’s Fist and Armored Reinforcement. While the meta hasn’t settled completely, I think we have a pretty good idea of what the meta is and what you should expect to see at the top tables. As I see it, there are two decks that have separated themselves from the field, one archetype poised to threaten the top decks, and a plethora of archetypes that have seen success but aren’t quite strong enough to garner Tier 1 status.
The Top Decks
Vader/Greedo came out firing as soon as the Snoke/OTK nerfs hit, and hasn’t looked back. Already winning 13 regionals (numbers from irebeldestiny.com), no deck has performed as well as this one during regionals season. The deck uses one of the most powerful characters in the game to abuse some of the most broken cards in the game – Vader’s Fist, Price of Failure, Friend’s in High Places, and Rise Again. Other Vader decks are strong as well (the Retribution decks being the next strongest, in my opinion), but what separates Vader/Greedo from the rest is its consistent ability to put Vader’s Fist on the table, making an already strong archetype almost unstoppable.
While it didn’t really hit the scene until after Christmas, this deck has been on fire over the past few weeks, already winning 5 regionals. No other mill deck shreds your hand as fast and as consistently as this one does (especially if Force Speed hits the table), and it can hit the deck pretty hard as well. It’s hard to over state how difficult it is to play against a deck that can discard your entire hand within 2-3 turns each round. A nice mitigation package and Yoda shields make this deck tough to kill, and Flames of the Past prevents death by Vader’s Fist. The only weakness of this deck is the low starting health pool, but this hasn’t seemed to be much of a problem for this duo.
Snoke + Vader’s Fist
This covers a number of decks that all have one thing in common – they run Snoke and Vader’s Fist. Probably the best decks at playing Vader’s Fist (Vader/Greedo being a close second), and the best at abusing the resource curve in general. Though these decks haven’t had nearly as much success as the above two decks, this archetype is one of the few that has solid matchups into both Vader and Mill, which is why I put it in the contender status. I expect to see a few of these decks top Regionals in the coming weeks. The best versions, in my opinion, are 3-wide support decks (Rami and myself ran a version this past weekend at the MN regional) and eSnoke/eTarkin – though eThrawn/eSnoke/Bitter Rivalry and eSnoke/eDJ are also very good decks.
A large category, this covers the archetypes I would consider to be tier 1.5/2. We’ve seen these decks perform well and make top cuts, but they all have weaknesses that prevent them from being truly Tier 1.
eYoda/Cassian/Anakin – the same deck the took down Gen Con and terrorized the Way of the Force meta – continues to perform well. It has a decent matchup into Vader, and tends to crush the field. However, a really weak matchup into eYoda/eLeia2 knocks this deck out of Tier 1 contention.
Decks using Armored Reinforcement to pull in powerful vehicles like Firespray and Shadow Caster were all the rage coming out of the rules update, and topped a couple events early in the season. These decks can be extremely powerful, using resets of loaded vehicles to do obscene amounts of damage in one round. However, as vehicle destruction has crept into the meta these decks have become risky to run. An EMP Grenade or Vandalize can completely ruin a game for a fat vehicle player. So as powerful as these decks can be, the hard counters have knocked them out of Tier 1 status and have made top players more gun-shy about playing these decks.
These are decks that roll guns and get out of dodge, thoroughly abusing Hyperspace Jump and Retreat. The best of these decks are eHan/eBiggs/Armored Reinforcement, eHan/ePoe, and eHan/eQi’Ra/No Allegiance. These decks continue to pepper the top cuts, but haven’t won much. Their biggest strengths are the ability to action cheat into large amounts of damage and the ability to time-walk the opponent. However, an over-reliance on rolls prevents these decks from having the type of consistency necessary to be Tier 1.
eTalzin/eIden and eTalzin/eBeckett have popped up in numerous top cuts, and won a few Regionals as well. (eTalzin/eQi’Ra is a similar deck that I almost took to the MN Regionals). All of these decks have similar strengths – brutal consistency combined with a few nice power plays – that make them strong choices. They also have similar weaknesses – low health pools and low damage upside outside of Vader’s Fist – that give them tough matchups into the top meta decks.
Yoda + Yellow Partner
A number of these decks have made top cuts, and Han3, Leia Boushh, and Chewy have all proven to be good partners for the little green man. These decks are all highly consistent and have a very strong removal package, but they are all a bit too matchup reliant to be Tier 1. Yoda/Boushh destroys 3-wides but can have a tough time against 2-wides, especially Vader. Yoda/Han can really abuse Hyperspace Jump, but a low damage ceiling can be a weakness in some matchups. And while Yoda/Chewbacca can be hilariously powerful against the decks running big damage sides, it can struggle into decks with a bunch of 2 sides (or no damage sides at all, as is the case against mill).
Mono Blue Sticks
I’m starting to stretch here, but I think these decks deserve mention. A number of decks in this archetype have made top cuts – eDooku/eTalzin, eKylo/eAnakin, eAayla/eKit Fisto, ePlo/Padawans, and eAayla/eQui-Gon2/Bitter Rivalry. All of these decks do nice things and have some great ways to counter Vader. However, they are not the strongest against the field and can have particularly bad matchups into the 3-wide support decks.
In summary, the Across the Galaxy meta is one in which numerous decks have seen some success, while only a few have truly performed like Tier 1 decks. A dizzying array of powerful cards making marks in the meta has made this meta both exciting and difficult to prepare for (how are you supposed to tech for hyperspace jump, fat vehicles, mill, and Vader at the same time?). And with a few weeks left, there’s still time for new decks to make an appearance (was that 2 Solo Sabines I saw made top cuts this past weekend?!). I hope you’ve enjoyed this meta as much as I have, and good luck as you prepare for the last few weeks of Regionals season!