Holocron changes are on the way, and they are significant enough to impact the Worlds meta. The changes are:
+1 BOF to C-3PO
Errata to Wat Tambor, so that his Power Action only works with Red supports
Ewok Warrior and Arena of Death restricted so that you cannot play them together
DDO added to the restricted list, so that you cannot play it with C-3PO
Phasma2 removed from BOF
So what do these changes mean for the World’s meta? Here are my initial thoughts:
- Droids are still broken
- If you thought these changes were going to knock the R2/3PO combo out of the meta, you are wrong. They still have the ability to gain obnoxious amounts of resources, resolve damage very quickly, and play extremely disruptively. They are still amazingly flexible, and are likely to have play against most other archetypes. For this reason alone, I expect them to still be one of the most popular choices at worlds.
- What did get worse was the starting lineups. And this does matter – the decks will still be powerful, but will lose something in efficiency and consistency. If DDO hadn’t been hit, I would have expected eChopper/R2/3PO/Fateful to be the clear choice, but losing that card is not insignificant. I still expect that lineup to be viable, however, and I have some suspicions about what other lineups might make the cut. Han/e3PO/R2/Fateful as almost a mix of what the Satine and Han decks were like previously? Some sort of 5-die version that seeks to maximize the ramp potential? We may not really know until after worlds what the best new droid deck is.
- Villain supports are also still broken
- The power of the unholy trinity and the Aphra engine are still there. Wat Tambor’s Power Action is still one of the best in the game. Rainbow villain has access to an incredibly efficient card package. These things are all still true, and I expect these kind of decks to be relevant at Worlds.
- What did happen was that Wat Tambor got separated from the Entourage package and most of the Aphra droid package. That’s a big hit. I suspect that lineups and/or card packages will change to facilitate this separation, rather than current decks staying as is and absorbing the downgrade in power level. In any case, what comes out will be worse than what we have now – how much worse is the question.
- Ewoks are probably out, but still scary.
- Guaranteeing Arena of Death gave Ewoks the inevitability and closing capacity that has made it an important part of the current meta. Losing that is a huge hit – ultimately, I think it will be a knockout punch to their case for being a contender. However, even before Hyperloops brought out the AR combo it was considered a scary deck, and it will remain that – especially for decks with low health pools. In that sense, I do think Ewoks will remain relevant (and don’t underestimate the power of Meme to inflate deck numbers) – so don’t completely ignore them in your testing.
- Reylo and Palp are big winners
- These were two of the best decks among what I would have considered the second tier of contenders. And they were the only decks among the contenders that did not see a hit. At the very least, I expect the holocron updates to even the gulf between the previous first tier (villain supports and droids) and these decks – perhaps they’ll even come out on top.
- What does Phasma’s removal from the BOF mean?
- At 13 points, does she become the premier aggro character in the game again? Could we see 17/13 pairings rise again (Kylo2, IG88)? I’m not sure exactly what will come out of this, but I do expect to see her played at Worlds, and wouldn’t be shocked if an aggro Phasma deck makes waves.
- Will the nerfs allow previously unknown decks to make waves at Worlds?
- As mentioned above, I fully expect Droids and villain supports to remain meta staples. But they have taken a hit in power level – was it enough to even the playing field is the question. Could some of the Admiral decks that weren’t quite there before make waves now? What other decks have been lurking in the shadows, waiting for this kind of opportunity? It’s hard to know, and with only a month to prepare anything could happen.
With a little less than a month left before Worlds, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to test. I think the gauntlet remains unchanged in some sense – the same archetypes are present. What the droid decks and villain support decks look like will change, but they should still be there. One of the challenges for competitive teams/players will be figuring out what these new versions look like, and how good they are. And the odds that a completely new deck could make waves just got a whole heck of a lot more likely, which is exciting, but also makes it hard to prepare.