You may remember a series of articles we did leading up to last year’s worlds (a long time ago, I know!), in which we profiled decks we expected to see at worlds. Since we’re unlikely to see a new set before Worlds and Gen Con has given us an idea what to expect in this sets meta, it’s time to begin Worlds prep again! Today will be the first in this years Road to Worlds series, in which we attempt to profile as many of the meta decks as we can – giving overviews, evaluating strengths and weaknesses, and looking at matchups against other meta decks. I’m starting with Han Droids, because it’s the deck I played at Gen Con, and thus the one I know the most about! The deck didn’t have a great performance at Gen Con, but the deck IS strong, and fills one corner of what I would consider the droid trifecta: Satine Droids (ramp/support), Chopper Droids (control), and Han Droids (aggro).
This deck is very aggressive and is unbelievably good at spiking a character off of a round two action cheat. With six different cards that allow you to cheat dice into the pool (more, if you count Han’s Blaster), and a double use of droids with the plot, hitting 6 damage off of an action cheat early round two is almost automatic. If you have time to set up with Han (or have a Rex’s Blaster to pull him in), the upside becomes even higher. Bottom line – this deck almost always gets first blood. It’s worth noting that this version of droids, more than any other, will want to use C3PO for extra damage to help get those snipes.
As with the other droid decks, this one is ultra consistent and very flexible. R2’s ability guarantees a die on the side you want every round and Han’s ability pretty much guarantees you’ll hit at least one 2 side on him every round. C3POs ability gives the deck it’s flexibility, allowing you to add shields, generate resources, and disrupt your opponent if the game situation calls for it.
The last strength worth mentioning is the removal package with Mean Streets. The heart of the yellow hero Mean Streets package – Easy Pickings, Flee the Scene, and Entangle – can make for some stifling games. And although you won’t get Mean Streets often (the roll off is bad), this decks speed and resource generation can keep the removal package online in the absence of Mean Streets. Jump to Lightspeed is also an option in this deck, depending on which way you want to go with the dice package.
The main weakness of the deck is that it loses steam over the course of the game. The plot just adds so much value, that once one of your droid pair dies, your damage output drops with it. And unlike the Satine version of droids, this deck doesn’t really build a huge board state over the course of the game. What this means is that you have to get ahead and stay ahead, especially against support based decks that are building a board state and can whether an early character loss.
Rex’s Blaster is the key upgrade you’re looking for in your starting hand (as it sets up brutal round two action cheats), though the other 2 drops are fine as well. Beyond that, you want to make sure you have enough removal to keep your droids alive and healthy through round one. Action cheats you’ll want to save for later in the game.
The early game is all about setting up the round two kill. Round one, you’ll want to put the opponent’s most important character within range of a kill, and you’ll typically want to pump a resource side with 3PO, so that you can get some of your expensive removal online or add an extra upgrade. Save the action cheat cards for round two – that’s when you’ll want to catch them with a big play.
The mid game with this deck is all about trying to keep all of your characters alive. As mentioned earlier, the damage curve drops off significantly once someone dies, and if you can keep all three characters alive into round three, your odds of winning go up significantly.
This is where the action cheat cards become very important again. You’ll often win close games, because you can get your damage in faster with all of the options for getting your dice into the pool and resolving quickly. Count your damage closely though – risking it all for a kill you can’t actually get will lose you games.
Do what you can to set up the early round two kill – this is the decks power move, and will win you games against a lot of decks.
Keep all three characters alive as long as possible, and don’t be afraid to use 3PO for shields if needed to keep a character alive. Han is the character you want them to target, as he is harder to kill – try to entice your opponent in that direction and away from your 8 health droids.
Understand your matchups, and what you want to do with your droid procs. Damage and resource bumps are the standard plays in this deck, but certain matchups will require you to disrupt a lot (villain supports) or take shields consistently (ewoks).
If you’re playing a deck that can’t afford to loose a character early, keep enough defensive cards to keep out of range of the round two kill. The Han player won’t usually action cheat round one, so your removal will be most useful then. If you’re playing a support based deck that can afford to loose a character, you want a really aggressive starting hand. Grow a big enough board state and you are likely to win – even if it feels like you’re taking a lot of damage early.
Again, if you can’t afford to loose a character early you need to keep out of range on round one. Use your removal aggressively – if you have 7-8 health left, you can probably survive early round two, which is important.
Take out the easiest target. It doesn’t usually matter which character it is (though if you can take out an upgrade, that can be big), but the earlier you can get a kill the better. If you can turn the tables and sneak in an early kill yourself, the game is likely over in your favor.
This is the point in the game where you need to overtake them, as the Han player is likely to have a damage advantage early. You have to take out a character in the early/mid game – if you don’t you are going to loose – and you need to establish a larger board state than them.
Stay outside of an action cheat win if you can. There damage is going to exhaust quickly in the round, and if you can avoid dying and have a superior board state you can make up a lot of ground in the late game.
If you’re playing a more aggressive deck, you can’t afford to let them get ahead of you early. You either need to keep out of range of the early kill from the Han player, or you need to focus on getting an early kill yourself – 8 health is an attainable number round one and easily within range round two – provided you didn’t loose a character before you were able to use them.
If you’re playing a support deck, you just need to build a big board state and make sure that one of their characters dies in the early/mid game. Whether the early storm and you can make up a lot of ground. If the Han player drops a vehicle, be prepared for a Jump to Lightspeed.
In this section, we’ll be evaluating matchups with other meta decks. This will be updated from time to time, as more testing leads to a better understanding of the matchups and new meta decks emerge. The scale is as follows:
++ = very favorable
+ = favorable
+/- = neutral
– = unfavorable
– – = very unfavorable
Chopper Droids: +
Satine Droids: –
Jabba Supports: –
Room for Growth – Fixing the Support Matchups
As you might have noticed, the bad matchups for this deck tend to be support decks – decks that can afford to loose a character early, and can really put the hurt on mid/late game. If you’re looking at Han Droids as a World’s possibility, how might you fix these bad matchups? I see two directions you could go:
Jump to Lightspeed – if you can get off just one Jump to Lightspeed in support matchups that can win you the game. Desparate Measures and Dismantle can make it difficult to pull off, however. My Gen Con version had two Crait Speeders and one Jump to Lightspeed, with the hope that it could win me a game or two (as it did occasionally in testing). I didn’t play it once. Going more all in on the Jump to Lightspeed plan might involve adding a few more cheap vehicles and a second Jump to Lightspeed.
Disrupt – Chopper Droids is so good into support decks because of it’s ability to disrupt them and keep them from building a board state. Han Droids will never beat Chopper Droids at the disrupt game, but adding more guns with disrupt could give Han Droids the capacity to slow down the ramp of support decks just enough to swing the matchup back in their favor. The A-300 Blaster and the DX-2 Disruptor Blaster Pistol both have two disrupt sides, and I’d consider playing two copies of both if you want to go the disrupt route into support decks.
Han Droids is the most aggressive deck in the format – it runs fast and produces explosive plays very consistently. As a result, it has very strong matchups into non-support decks that loose a lot of value when a character dies. Chopper Droids and Reylo are the best meta matchups for the deck, and fringe meta decks like Vader and Palpatine are cakewalks for Han Droids. The support matchups can be rough, however, and there are a lot of good support decks in the format – this made Han droids the worst version of droids for the Gen Con meta. But if the meta shifts away from support decks, or if you can adapt Han droids to make the support matchups a wash, it could be a great choice for Worlds. Make sure to keep this deck on your radar!