Ever since Snoke stepped onto the scene, big villain supports has been a prominent archetype in the Destiny meta. This culminated with the dominance of Snoke/Watto/FOST in the Convergence meta. But with nerfs to Snoke and Watto, and the introduction of Desperate Measures as an easy way to blow up those big supports, there was a question mark as to whether or not these decks would continue to be a force in the meta. We should never have doubted. eJabba/Wat/Sentinel has become the big villain support lineup of choice, and it has seen multiple decks in the top cut of Gen Con, Euros, and Nova. I consider it one of the top 3 decks in the format, and it’s one that should most certainly be included in your gauntlet as you prepare for Worlds!
Decklist for the European Champion, Tony Franco. Image from yourdestiny.dk
The biggest strength of this deck is the power of the supports it can play. Vader’s Fist, Megablaster Troopers, and Entourage have been aptly dubbed the unholy trinity, and there really isn’t a more powerful group of cards you can play in destiny! Any one of these supports can win a game, and this deck is often able to put more than one of them into play quickly. The strength of Entourage is only amplified by Wat’s Power Action, one of the best plays in the game.
With all those expensive supports, you have to be able to generate a lot of resources, and this lineup is able to that. There are a lot of resource sides on the character dice, and Jabba’s +2 resource side can be a real coup when it’s resolved. Jabba’s ability to go and grab resource generation cards is also hugely important to this deck, and there are many potential options (Delve, Well Connected, No Good to Me Dead, Truce).
Perhaps underrated among this deck’s strengths is its ability to produce a card advantage over the opponent. Jabba adds an extra card most rounds, and this deck has a lot of 0 cost cards for Sentinel Messenger to pull off the top. Counter Intelligence and Probe are also good options for this deck, giving it the ability to reduce the opponent’s options as well.
The biggest weakness of this deck is that it can tend to fizzle if things go wrong. You start with almost no damage on the board and your supports are very expensive. So if you are unable to get enough resources (particularly worrisome because of the modified resource side on Jabba), or you just don’t draw supports when you need them, your board state can end up going nowhere. Additionally, while there is a lot of focus in the deck, Megablasters and Fist have a lot of unresolvable sides if you lack money – at times an intimidating board state can come up disappointingly short.
You absolutely want to make sure you have a support in your opening hand, so make sure to mulligan aggressively if your first draw has none. Megablasters and Entourage are your best starting supports, as both of them have resource sides and can facilitate building a further board state. Beyond that, Counter Intelligence is the best card to start with, as it can allow you to resolve those all important +2 resource sides. Last note – I would usually mulligan away your yellow events (there are a few exceptions to this). You want to make sure you have as many yellow events in your draw pile as possible, so that Jabba always hits.
The early game is all about building up a board state. Resolve as many resources as possible and play as many supports as you can. This deck doesn’t care as much about taking early damage as, so use your removal sparingly – sometimes it’s better to save your removal cards for re-rolls.
This is the part of the game where you really want to start going uphill with your damage. You’ll want to understand, depending on the matchup, whether or not doing direct damage is important at this point. This deck can do heavy amounts of direct damage, but you often need to be intentional about getting to those sides. If you can get a character off the board at the end of round two against decks like Chopper or Han, you are really going to be in tremendous shape.
Maximize, maximize, maximize. While in the mid-game you want to focus on getting direct damage in, late game you just want to maximize. Damage comes out really slow in this deck, so maximizing damage late in the round is important. You’re going to lose some close games if you can’t finish off your opponent, simply because your opponents damage dice will come out faster in that extra round.
Prioritize ramping early – the first round and the beginning of the second round this should be your primary focus.
Once you build your board state, you need to get the most out of your damage dice. Use your focus wisely and get to the die sides you need. This deck can put out a lot of direct damage, and it can put out massive amounts of overall damage – you just have to get your dice there.
Related to that – use your rerolls wisely. Try not to waste a reroll on something like a single Watted support. You really want to get to your best sides, and you also want to be able to play your plethora of good 0 cost cards – getting the most out of your rerolls is an important part of this.
Try to start with two removal cards in your opening hand. Preventing them from resolving a +2 resource side is a must round one, and starting with only one removal option leaves you vulnerable to CI. Besides this, if you have ways to get into the opponents hand or disrupt their resources, getting those cards in your opening hand can help slow down their board state.
Whatever you do, don’t let this deck play unimpeded. You need to try to keep them off of resources if at all possible – depending on what deck you’re playing there are different ways to accomplish this. Jabba starts slow and builds up throughout the game, so you need to get off to a quick start – if the Jabba player does more damage than you round one the game is probably over.
Don’t be fooled by the power of Wat’s PA – Jabba is the one you want to take off the board. For the most part, early kills aren’t that important against this deck – however, if you can take Jabba off the board early round two that can end up being pretty impactful, particularly if their ramp got off to a slow start.
Get to the next round. Their damage comes out slow, so if you can weather the storm on that critical round, you should have an opportunity to close it early the next.
It should be apparent at this point that the most important part of playing against this deck is making sure they do not go unimpeded. Get into their hand, stifle their ramp, discard their supports – do something that makes their life difficult. Not many decks can beat this one in a solitaire scenario.
++ = very favorable
+ = favorable
+/- = neutral
– = unfavorable
– – = very unfavorable
Chopper Droids: +/-
Satine Droids: +/-
Han Droids: +
The Desperate Measures Subgame
Desperate Measures has already established itself as one of most warping cards in the game, and it’s simultaneously one of the best cards in this deck and one of the most powerful cards against this deck. In both the mirror match and against other villain yellow decks, the DM subgame is often the deciding factor in the game. So how to make sure you win that subgame? Of course, some of it is just luck – who draws DM when. But here are a few strategies that can help you win the subgame:
The Bait and Switch – try to bait your opponent’s DM with some of your less important supports – Fickle Mercs, Senate Chamber, etc., so that you can play your bombs freely. Including a few more cheap supports in the deck (Hired Muscle?) could help with this, as it does usually require having a couple supports in your hand at a time to pull off effectively.
The DM+Embargo Combo – if you can manage to draw DM and Separatist Embargo together in an early hand, this gives you the opportunity to gain a huge advantage over your opponent. Delay playing your first support until after they’ve played theirs – then DM their support and Embargo DM. Basically, any time you can Embargo DM when you’ve played more copies than your opponent, you’ve won the subgame.
Probe – discarding your opponent’s DMs is certainly a great play in these matchups. Probe in particular is good – avoid playing your support until late in the round, and you can Probe their last couple cards to guarantee protection for your support. If you actually get their DM it’s a huge win, but even if not, knowing your support is protected is a good spot to be in.
Villain supports still has the most powerful card package in the game – the most powerful dice cards in the game combined with lots of efficient 0 cost cards. Because of this it has been and should remain one of the top archetypes in the game. There is no doubt that this should be a consideration as you decide what to play for worlds, and should be a major part of your gauntlet testing!