In this edition of Magnuson madness we’ll be examining the hero version of the Palp deck (infinite upgrades +Bacta + Fatal Blow). How do you get infinite upgrades in Hero you ask? Let me introduce you to my little friend: Custom Bandoliers. These guys are actually useful, given the right deck. What is this right deck? Mace Satine Built to Last. Yah yah, go ahead, laugh all you want, this deck is actually legit (somehow), and I recently took first place at a 24 person, cut to top 4 (with best of 3s) local MN tournament (shout out to Michael and Bowie who run the Twin Suns Cup tournaments). So lets go ahead and take a dive into the madness of a Magnuson deck build.
A bit of back story here. This all started with my desire to build a Mace deck. In looking for partners I was tempted to try a Built to Last deck as I figured Mace’s PA could be useful, and if you’re looking for a 10 point partner, Satine is the no brainer choice. Mace’s PA is also solid with 0 cost upgrades, as it becomes easier to trigger his passive, so I tossed in Aquata breathers and Bandoliers. After playing a few games I was actually shocked at how much work the Bandoliers put in, as they allowed me to play Lukes Lightning Rod and Republic Jedi Armor on Mace without taking weapons slots, and in almost every game I’d have a 4-5 upgrade Mace rolling out round 3. Then one fateful night Luke was like “why aren’t you running Bacta Therapy?” and I was like “… I have no idea.” So I tried it out and it felt like the missing piece fell into place. Having that extra 2 for 5 heal brought back many of the games where agro decks were previously killing Mace, and I began to feel I had a real deck on my hands. But enough back story, let’s start talking about the list, and what makes it solid.
The first aspect to discuss with the deck is how we’re making the money to pay for all our upgrades. The short answer is Satine. With 2 resource sides and a reroll effect on roll off, your main goal is to roll out Satine into at least one resource. After taking that resource to go to 3, you can now Mace PA, knowing that you can pay for a 3 drop if that’s all you find. At this point if you dropped a 2 drop unique you’re looking at having another 2 resources for playing a second upgrade (BTL gives you a resource), and if Satine rolled 2 resources, or you have Theed, you’re looking at 5 total resources. This means that unless your opponent controls Satine’s dice, you’re looking at 4-5 resources of upgrades on Mace before rolling out round 1. You rinse and repeat round 2 to get to the 4 dice upgrade count on Mace before rolling out. Round 3 and on it can change, against direct damage decks you can save Satines roll out for the potential redeploys should Mace die, against indirect decks you’ll still be safe activating Satine first to load up Mace even more. In conclusion, it’s the consistency of Satines dice + BTL proc that gives you the 4-5 resources a turn of ramp.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say here, we’re basically looking at 1 of each solid Unique upgrade, as well as 2 Jedi Armors. I’ll highlight the best upgrades:
This die is actually solid at 2. It’s essentially a regular Lightsaber that trades the +2 for a base 2 and costs one less…
Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle:
The double use of this die can really help push for that round 2 kill, especially since Satine provides really solid focus for it.
Lukes Lightning Rod:
This guy doesn’t even take an upgrade slot with a Bandolier down.
Qui Gon Jinn’s LS:
To be discussed next…
HP Sustain Each Round
Another aspect that helps this deck thrive is the amount of free HP you gain each round. For starters, Mace gives you an extra shield a round. Second, the Aquata Breathers will add another HP a round into indirect damage. Third, the QGJ LS is actually insane with its free shield gain a round, as Mace’s PA essentially guarantees you’ll have a shield to proc the ability with. Finally we have Republic Jedi Armor, which give you an effective +2 HP on play (you don’t ever have to overwrite and lose the +1 HP due to bandoliers) and will also resolve that 2 shield side each round as you have a lot of focus on your character dice. All this can add up to 2-6 extra HP a round, and combined with Bacta Therapy gives you the sustain you need to go late with the best of decks.
Most of the dice you run in the deck have at least a 50% chance at rolling a good side. Add onto that Satine’s 2 one focus sides and Maces double focus, you’re almost always maxing out your dice each round.
Big Play Potential
One of the biggest strengths Mace has over Palp is that he can actually run action cheats. Being able to Instigate a 6 die Mace is gross, and can help secure kills at crucial moments. Add onto this Impulsive and Fatal Blow, and the deck has 6 cards that can provide unexpected damage. Especially in tandem these cards can put in work.
An amazing aspect of Mace is that he allows you to view 18 of your 30 cards by the middle of Round 2 (Mace PA see’s 8 cards). By round 3 you’ve seen 27 cards (in theory) and can actually know exactly what the next 5 cards you’re drawing are. Round 4 is sort of late game but its definitely a round you hit in almost every close game with how much survivability is in your deck. This late game knowledge has helped me immensely at times, as I can know, for example, that I will be drawing cards like Instigate, Bacta, Impulsive, etc. that can be key for planning my actions. Not only do I know what I’m drawing, but Mace’s PA has been removing an upgrade from each set of 4 he views, so your late game hands are much more event heavy, which is definitely better than upgrades late in the game.
Unlike Palp decks where a Palp death literally means defeat, in Mace Satine all your damage dice redeploy over to Satine and you can get a double use out of them that round (hopefully). This increases the number of close games you can win.
A Final Note
It’s worth noting that yes, you get Bandoliers in every game in time. Why? Because you don’t truly need that 4th upgrade slot until round 3 ( you can always drop upgrades on Satine as well, everything redeploys if she dies), and by round 3 you’ve potentially seen 27 cards. In any case, a vast majority of games you have Bandolier by round 2, and combined with a single Aquata and 3 dice upgrades, you’ve hit that 5 upgrade suite spot for Bacta Therapy. It’s also worth noting that even if someone removes your Bandolier, as I’ve said you’ve gone through 27 cards by round 3 so you probably have your second one, and even if you don’t, at that point you’ll have likely 4 dice upgrades, so you’re not going to lose an insane amount of value. However, especially into yellow decks, be sure to jam down that second Bandolier as you’d definitely rather not lose the upgrade count for your events.
This deck actually works. I even would go so far as to claim it’s tier one. However it’s early in the meta so who really knows. The main reason you ought to go play this deck is because its FREAKING AMAZINGLY FUN to play. Like, the deck has everything, ramp, deck searching, action cheats, massive heals, massive damage plays, etc. Plus I mean, who doesn’t want to play Mace?