Worlds 2019, was quite memorable. But possibly for none of the expected reasons.
I’d been planning on Chopper for quite some time leading up to the event, basically since popular opinion had said Satine was the better yellow (gotta stick up for my main man). Played three pods, to 8-1 overall, which felt decent. My one loss was to the legendary Cuenca delving a Fist turn 1. But I also had a scare vs the standard Reylo matchup, (which was harrowingly close) and it pushed me to reconsider the blue titan.
Rolled in Thursday with the intent of finalizing my Reylo list. Played one pod, had a matchup vs the 8-0 Hunter on Aphra, and he literally dropped BT, Trip 0, AND Megablasters, turn 1.
Let’s just say, that’s the game that I won.
The other two matchups I got smoked. Turns out Delve Fist turn 1 is good and Rey’s special is removable. Who knew. :’) At this point, I was officially off Reylo and on something that could beat Delve Fist.
Re-enter the master of versatility himself, C-C-C-C-Chopper. This little guy is Jango Fett, if Jango Fett could recur stuff, namely melee Dh-17’s, hello Grappling arm, and another card that’s arguably better. He also comes with Easy Pickings and Flee the Scene. Oh yeah. The fact that your opponents often shouldn’t target him first, is icing on the cake and also hilarious, in an evil master of villainy kind of way.
I’d previously had success at GenCon with the yellow tyke and frankly thought rumors of his demise to Satine were greatly over exaggerated. But Satine got defeated by the great JZ himself, and thus, Chopper came back into the popular limelight.
Coming into major tournaments, I’m always looking for slight tweaks to good decks that will push them from good to broken. An aspect of Chopper that I found commonly underutilized was his ability to ramp, and the question was, how to effectively use it. Basic theory being that if you drop an Ezra’s and melee DH-17 turn 1, bump resources, and Entangle, Easy, or Flee your opponent’s best dice, you’ll probably win the game. I found that this level of aggression and removal was particularly difficult for most decks to answer, especially if you could also keep them off of bombs and even rerolls once bombs were in play.
The decision to cut the second Easy.
I will lead off, that if I knew I would be playing 3. 3! ~ 4-Loms in top cut, with a grueling final in which I would repeatedly stare at lines of 2 damages turn 1. I would have slapped myself a bit and unsleeved my underutilized Crait Speeder in a hurry (Oh, Desperate Measures). That said, outside of the 4-Lom matchup, Easy Pickings has never been more useless.
Let’s take a look at the meta matchups.
Aphra – It’s quite difficult to play Easy on a good Aphra, I often found myself discarding it at the end of the round in the matchup. It’s useful into Mega’s, but you’re already looking to prevent them from dropping it.
Reylo – I often found I was losing matches with Easy, which a one die removal would win. Guaranteeing the removal of a special is just overall more consistent, although the games you win may be closer.
Palp – This match is freelo if you draw upgrades, pump damage or disrupt (possibly discard on Admiral rounds), and remove their shields and / or resources. Even having the ability to remove their Theed target can be particularly helpful.
Mirror – This is actually one of the worst matchups for Easy, it’s super round 1 centric, and the odds of a good opponent playing into it are low, which often restricts it to the ⅙ chance of Chopper blind rolling into it.
Falcon / Caster AR – I haven’t seen much talk of AR decks, but they’re quite good at the moment, even to the point of beating DM lists. Notable pilots including Madz, HonestlySarcastic, and Jon. The matchup typically consists of keeping off of a major pull round 1, if you can keep them off round 2 as well, you should win. Good players will play around Easy and it’s fairly easy for AR decks to do so.
The other upside of generic one die removal is that it can target anything, anytime. Shields, Resources, Fist, Siege Cannon, Admiral, and so on. The versatility adds a note of consistency across a lot of different matchups.
TLDR; spot yellow, easy (heh :P) to play around for most meta decks, somewhat restrictive and unreliable, often causes you to win by an unnecessary margin (which inflates valuation), and a largely matchup dependent card in an unfavorable meta.
In any case, on to the event.
Swiss was, fairly standard. Fairly, because at moments it was anything but. 450 players equals easy early rounds right? Righhht.
Round 1 – A first round Reylo, was a bit terrifying, as it’s my least favorite matchup. But R2 survived round 1 with 3 hp, after 2 Field Medics, which felt nice. I’d dodged the turn 1 lethal. A round 2 action cheat sniped Kylo, which put me far enough ahead to comfortably close out. He was a good guy and we had a few chances to say “hey” later on and catch up on rounds. Thanks for the match Thad.
Round 2 – Ok, so I said swiss was fairly standard. I wasn’t planning to meet Jon in round 2. Like seriously, what are the odds. Jon was on a super spicy, eChopper, 2x Engineer, AR list. Turns out that Engineers can pull Chopper mods. & yes, it is amazing with the Reassemble into Mr. Bones powerplay combo. We’d both been repping enough of the matchup to familiarize ourselves with our own decks, that I was painfully aware of my win con. Keep AR decks off of Shadow Caster or Falcon. Just an unfortunate matchup. It feels bad beating a teammate and even worse when they were one win away from cut on such a spicy brew.
Round 3 – This was a bit of a crazy match into 4-Lom. Somehow he Delved Fist turn 1, and it was the longest game of my life (excluding finals), I think I pitched back an Ewok Ambush pre-mulligan and regretted it for the rest of the game when he controlled my R2 & Chopper disrupts. Super close matchup, was extremely close to spiraling out of control, but a clutch Easy, which he forgot he CI’d until after activating Imp Officer, pushed me out of range (I still like the card ok :P).
Round 4 – Bobby Sapphire – Chopper Mirror
There’s a certain thrill you get when playing someone who’s really good and has a different playstyle. Definitely my favorite part of competitive Destiny.
That said, I literally don’t know what was the matter with Day 1A, ‘cause I had the hardest schedule I’ve ever had at a major. Two top players in your first 4 rounds is a little crazy. I’d like to save those for after I’m 6-0, thank you very much. :’)
This was a round 1 match, in that every decision point that mattered happened in the first round. For how brief a period of time that is, Chopper mirrors make the decision points extremely interesting, far more so, when against a skilled player.
It was an odd round 1, in that I had R2(support) and Ewok Ambush, in hand, one shield in play, with my R2 standing at 5 hp and his at 3 hp remaining. I was guaranteed lethal if I claim (not activating my own R2), if he didn’t have a Riot Shield overwrite or reroll into a resource for Field Medic on 1 die, or discard my cheat (he had one die on discard in play). It was an interesting predicament, and I’m still not certain whether I made the right choice, but I pushed my R2 to 6 hp and dealt an additional 2. He claimed, whiffed on the opening cheat (he needed a base 2 on one of four dice. approx. 50% chance), and was one away from taking my R2 off the table. I closed out his R2 with a return cheat, and snowballed from there. Easily the fastest game of the tournament, but an extremely close one as well, with one of the more interesting questions of the event.
Round 5 – Post Lunch Break Blues. Aphra. Ran into my top 16 opponent. The toughest Aphra player that I played at the main event. I believe he dropped BT & Trip 0, turn 1, and played a turn 3 Fist. He’s just good at Destiny and double EMP felt really strong in the matchup. Especially when Sentinel played it off the top. There was a moment when I had a choice between putting 3PO or Chopper within a ⅙ chance reroll of lethal, and I made the wrong choice :P. But, it was also a lesson to take more time on assigning indirect, and memorable enough to help me in top cut.
Round 6 – Post Lunch Break Blues. Maul FO Trooper. This was my second game vs Maul ever lol. It was an odd match, that despite the seeming aggressive nature of the matchup, both of our decks ran heavy control, so we spent a few rounds removing each others dice and Riot Shielding up. He knocked out 3PO, I put lethal damage on table, which he removed by Tactical Mastering into lethal on R2.
His Maul was on 3, and my dice weren’t overly in love with base sides. He Maul PA’d into a clutch 4, I claimed, and rolled out, whiff on bases, he activates into 2, 2, +2, My Chopper is at 4 hp and I’m looking at my hand dreaming of Easy Pickings :’), with only a Field Medic and Rout in hand. GG.
Uff. I’m 4-2, after a 4-0 start, and need to reset my mental. The two losses were extremely close to great opponents, but with a deck like Chopper, there’s nearly always an alternate line of play and I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps I had missed a take on the matchups. Now it’s ride or die.
Round 7 – Palpatine. This is a matchup that I consider highly favorable, which was a nice upside after two difficult losses. My opponent was Marty, an awesome guy from St. Cloud. They’ve got a strong meta up there and are always running some off the wall, deceptively strong stuff. Val, Palpatine, Lightsaber Mastery in this case.
Turn 1 was good for me and bad for him, he played like 3 abilities and had to Bacta for 3 to push himself out of cheat range. Round 2 – I’d held an Ewok Ambush for shenanigans and drew into my other two cheats. Instigated Chopper into 3 blanks, but with two Ewok Ambushes, a focus from 3PO, and a good roll from R2, I dealt 13 damage in one shot. It’s always tough ending someone else’s run, but he played well, and I’m sure in a more favorable matchup, would have taken the win.
Round 8 ~ 4-Lom. I was hoping for another Palp. or Maul, tbh, I was on a warpath vs Maul for a bit lol. Instead, I played a friendly guy from Italy on 4-Lom. We were both looking to make cut and it was clear that only one of us was going to make it, which was tough. The match wasn’t particularly close, but he played correctly and did his best. It’s a matchup that’s largely determined by Delve Fist and he didn’t find his in time.
Phew. I was in cut and felt like I had a shot into any matchup, but was also patently aware of the high roll potential at the heart of the meta. Getting focused and taking a similar mindset to swiss successes has always helped me push through cut. It’s much easier to get tilted in a bo3, than a best of one, and maintaining a consistent mentality was super important throughout top 64.
To ensure this, I built a mental framework to have a baseline for gameplay, starting with the following. Every action matters. Having a philosophical dialogue on Destiny about the proper action sequencing to take when you’re in finals, is a bit silly. But it also kept my brain interested enough to power through a 12 hour, non-stop run of 17 games. Finding ways to stay involved in what was happening helped a lot. In the past, the occasional move made out of habit has burnt me, and one of my top cut goals was to not fall into that trap. The reality is that not every choice matters, but when not considering whether an action matters or not, it’s much easier to miss one that does.
If you’re interested in seeing my run of the gauntlet on tape, the Destiny Council Youtube will have nearly all of my best of 3’s, with the finals located on the FFGLive Twitch account.
Top 64 – Chopper Mirror
As comfortable as I was with the concept of the mirror, I was also patently aware it could easily spiral out of control.
Game 1 illustrated this as he drew into 2 cheats round 2 and easily dealt the 6 or 7 he needed to down Chopper.
Game 2 was an odd affair, in which he Flee’d 7 damage from Chopper, but I was able to set up 5 damage onto R2 and pass out the round. I had the Ewok Ambush in hand and closed his R2 and the game on the beginning of round 2.
Game 3 – I netted a turn one R2 kill, which felt like freelo, but he answered with lethal into Chopper early round 2 to make a game of it. Some spicy back and forth, but the hefty nature of my control suite gave me an edge and I won out. Win: 2-1.
Top 32 – Bounty 4-Lom
People have talked about bounty’s being an inefficient version of the deck, but frankly as a droid list, they feel pretty scary. 8 hp isn’t much, particularly with Hunt them Down in play, and bounties are a pretty decent way to circumnavigate the choke of Chopper’s disrupt and discard. I won 2 of 3 games, but there was a definite possibility of getting snowballed if I whiffed on removal, which was fully realized in game 2. Win: 2-1.
Top 16 – Aphra
I was a little relieved to see Aphra after the 4-Lom matchup. Less so, to see my swiss loss buddy. Aphra has an easier time Delving Fist, but a much harder time threatening a droid without it. A fantastic opponent, he got Fist down early in two games, but in the 3rd match I was able to control it effectively. I will say, double EMP was brutal. Outside of how chill of a guy he was, the thing that most stands out is he said “My friend will never forgive me if I lose to Chopper”. Sorry man 😉 We’re still 2-2 to be fair, we’ll have to finish the bo5 sometime. Win: 2-1.
Top 8 – Aphra
Another Aphra player who had the notable success of beating Edwin, the reigning world champ, in the mirror. I was relieved to see no EMP’s which had felt particularly effective in the last match, but also concerned with two Probes, which can play havoc with my control suite. My opponent played quite well, yet, my previous experiences put me in good stead (no turn 1 fist for you lol) and I was able to close out. Win: 2-0.
Top 4 – Kroozin- 4-Lom
We were both running low in the tank, some hours into the event, but the gameplay was flawless. Good games from a great player. A bit of conversation and banter, but we were both drained and hungry for the final. In one particularly devastating game, he Delved Fist turn 1(my favorite combo :’). In the final match, there was a supremely nail biting moment, in which he rolled out his Siege Cannon with 5 resources on it, and I needed the value to be three or less in order to Entangle the die and save one of my three droids from an instant one shot, and a much more difficult mountain to climb. Luck was on my side and I made it to finals. Win: 2-1.
Vika – 4-Lom
The first two games, were the hardest matches of the tournament. Cheap one drops are a great way to support bombs, and the reroll on Energy Bow in concert with Grievous PA was pretty dirty. By far the most aggressive of the lists I played in top cut.
Game 1 – I remember thinking it was over, when I was forced to Riot Shield overwrite Ezra’s to save R2, but the game stabilized and I came to be in the lead until a particularly fateful discard play. Vika had pushed himself to 3 resources and I had reason to suspect Delve Fist, which prompted a double discard on 4 cards. I flipped a fist, and was celebrating internally, when he Delved his second Fist with his two remaining cards. Oh gosh. I believe his Fist rolled reasonably well and the game was back on. There were some back and forth moments, with an interesting turn in which he dealt 5 into Chopper, rather than lethaling R2. I was personally pretty ok with this, as Fateful is OP, but it stood him in good stead when he fired off a Scorched Earth for 4. WP.
Game 2 – This was a tale of unluckiness lol. The most obvious point is Fist missing 5, 1 in 6’s at lethaling R2. Thanks dice gods. However, they must’ve been looking to make the final as spicy as possible, because I also completely whiffed on melee in back to back action cheat rounds, which with 3 dice was a traumatizing 1/36, causing me to take an additional 3 from Messenger, to put R2 in that predicament. I firmly thought I had lost following the second action cheat whiff and was feeling the heat, but looked for an opportunity to make the most of the play. & got rewarded by Vika’s turn of fate. The next round had an interesting moment where I set up double redeploy to threaten the win, which allowed for a final round closer off of Ewok Ambush.
Game 3 – Phew. This was a breath of fresh air. Having a clean slate after the previous two grueling matches was a life saver. I drew into the early Flee, which was refreshing after my previous low removal rounds (Hold up buttercup, it gets Probed lol). And I had a weird setup, where I decided to push him towards R2 on account of my support R2 in deck, sequencing Riot Shield placement so that R2 would be the clear target. R2 was put to 4 hp remaining, which felt fairly comfortable compared to the other two matches. Enter the long grind of pushing him off of Fist resources in a match where he wasn’t drawing any of his bomb supports, some interesting back and forth, with a clever Fickle bait into Desperate Measures, and a spicy R2 support play, after R2 was defeated, which allowed me to lethal using Fateful proc.
Vika played a mean game and had a great list for the meta. His early 1 drops were extremely disconcerting and put a lot of early pressure that more standard lists could not bring. This was an incredible set and his level of play gave a supreme intensity to the closest final in Destiny Worlds history. It was a genuine pleasure to be a part of, and to play such a tight series of matches.
This really was my favorite tournament of all time, in terms of gameplay and interactions. Some incredible moments and the sheer number of opponents that played at an extremely high level, and pushed for super close games, made it all the more fun.
Shoutout to everyone I played for some great matches.
Shoutout to Jon for the last minute Hidden Motive and R2 adds.
Shoutout to Brian for playing the good or bad juju game with R2 support vs Crait Speeder. lloll. Definitely good juju.
Shoutout to the folks who heroically setup 13 unique shield tokens and 62 alt arts for a lone event. Literally collectible magic.
Shoutout to YourDestiny for an enjoyable Wednesday evening with Italian cheese curds, contemplative conversation, and terribly genius jokes.
Shoutout to my Team, Zach, JZ and A-A-Ron for a fantabulous after party(and Last Jedi conversations xD).
& Shoutout to all of you, for a fantastic time at the tables and all around general interactions and chill factor and the ability to be with a whole bunch of other peeps who love Star Wars and love Destiny. You are individually amazing.
Good game, well played. ❤