Today’s tournament report comes to you from Michael Berg – 14 year old phenom and youngest player to make the top cut at Worlds this year! He’s been practicing with us for a while now, and it’s been a pleasure to watch him improve as a player. And now that he beat both Magnuson brothers at Worlds… we had no choice but to take him on as an official Padawan of the Destiny Council! Maybe someday he’ll achieve the rank of Master and sit on the council ;). The format is a little different for this one, as I (Luke) did a question/answer article with him. Turns out he’s also funnier than Jon and I 🙃. Hope you enjoy!
To start, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself Michael. Who are you and how did you get into Destiny?
Hi I’m Michael the first padawan for the destiny council. Just one quick note before hand, I have been playing for about 15 months and this worlds was my first worlds. I am a freshman in highschool at Totino Grace. I’m 14 years old and run cross country. Star Wars has been a part of my life since a young age. I play guitar and love card games as a whole. I first came across Destiny when I was at Games by James and my dad pointed it out. The next week I bought the two player starter set and two packs of awakenings (keep in mind this is in the middle of legacies release) and pulled Qui-Gon and Luke’s Lightsaber. After that I was hooked. I started playing in tournaments later that year and have been playing ever since.
You were one of the first players I know playing Chopper Droids – eventually convincing Jon and Andrew to play it at Gen Con. And I’ve seen you with all sorts of droid paraphernalia. What is it about the droids that you love so much?
I know it seems strange, but in a world of bounty hunters and MMA fighters dueling against 4 armed cyborgs with laser swords I found the robots to be the most enjoyable. The droids have always been funny characters because R2 has a foul mouth so he is always bleeped out and 3PO is a very sophisticated Britishman. The pair has never made any sense and yet it is perfect.
After playing Chopper for so long, you eventually decided to make the change to Han. What led you to that change and how do you feel about it now?
The change to Han was one I thought about a lot, mainly because what I did with 5 dice chopper was very similar to what I did in Han. My main objective with chopper was to stop you while also ramping and going for a round 3 kill. In Han droids the goal is to play a lot of upgrades and flood board state for a round 3 kill. Considering my favorite thing in the game is spamming dice, Han droids felt perfect. The deck felt a lot more smooth for my playstyle – play fast hit hard – and after seeing the hype for mean streets I wanted to see how helpful it really is.
Take us through your day 1A at Worlds
Round 1: eJango/sentinel messenger/battle droid with LSM: win. The deck was very scary at points because of the two pulse cannons on the table, but the moment Jango died the game was over.
Round 2: ePalp/eWatto: loss. Palp ramped hard round one and I couldn’t ramp fast enough to match it. Thankfully, with the help of Andrew I was able to figure out how to consistently beat Palp with droids.
Round 3: ePalp/Jabba/LSM: win. This game felt really bad because it was against a local and good friend of mine. After this game I realized the power of action cheats and Chewie’s Blaster when used together.
Round 4: Reylo: win. This game was a little too close for comfort. I managed to spike Kylo early but my opponent killed R2 as well. Reylo has been about 50/50 for this deck so getting it in the end was a good moral boost going into the break.
Round 5: eLor/eBail/Anakin: loss. If you are going to learn anything about me from this article there are two things that I hate in this game. Delve fist and mill. Sadly I had to deal with the latter of the two, putting me on the bubble. The deck utilized rebellion leader to get rid of most of your hand and admiral with resistance ring to use no answer and other healing cards multiple times a round. After this game the stress was really starting to show.
Round 6: Vigilant Jedi/Chief Chirpa/Younglingx2/Built to Last: win. This is the part of my day one experience I like to call the wild west. In the couple rounds you will see two very unique decks that were unexpected going into worlds. This lineup utilized Younglings to get big upgrades for cheap and would move them around with built to last. The one thing that made this deck suffer was that if you could kill the two high health characters before the small ones the upgrades can’t get very spread out.
Round 7: eMaul/Super Commando/Retribution: win. I know this deck was seen played by more than one person, but don’t worry the greatest deck that I had never heard of is coming soon. This matchup showed the power of Mean Streets, Rex’s gun, and action cheats. For the last three rounds of the game I was able to activate all my characters and resolve the damage dice before maul could activate, and when he did activate he rolled into claim into Flee the Scene and claim into Easy Pickings.
The final round: Padme Ewoks! ePadme/eChirpa/Ewok Warrior: win. This game will be forever engraved in my memory. For one this deck was insane the amount of potential, the indirect was so much. However I killed Chirpa very quickly and Padme was soon to follow. But when I had to defeat the Ewok Warriors it became hairy. My opponent played bones right after I claimed and killed one of my characters with him and thankfully he whiffed with the second roll in. The last turn of the game was a 2 health Han with Ezra’s saber and Dx-2. my opponent had a 1 health ewok with one shield. Turn one I played Ewok Ambush and rolled into the two damage of the DX-2 barely winning the game.
After you won that last match, I was there to witness your exclamation and tears of joy (one of my favorite moments all of worlds!). Tell us what that moment was like for you – what was going through your head after you won that game?
That last moment right before dealing lethal and winning was a rush of emotions. That moment was the product of months of practice. The adrenaline from the last game felt like EpiPen – long story – and looking around I realized how many people had helped me to get where I am and I am thankful for that. I think my parents might have been happier than I was. I think the biggest thing was I did it everything else now is just bonus prizes. A local put it perfectly, “You already won the jackpot you are now playing on their money.”
What was your matchup in the top 64? How did the match go?
In the top 64 round I went against e4-Lom/Grevious/Sentinel and lost 0-2. Both games were ridiculously close and if the game went one more round each game the entire set would have been different. I’m talking a 3 health difference in the end. My opponent was super nice and a fellow youth which was a bummer because it would have been cool to have so many young people make it far in day two. My only regret was not targeting 4-Lom first because I forgot the support that turns trooper dice is a leader, so Megablasters would be on even when I killed Grievous.
Overall, how do you feel about your performance at Worlds? How did it feel to be the youngest player in the top cut?
Overall I was super happy with my performance at worlds. I got my goal of day two and I had fun in pods with my friends. Being the youngest person in day two was a weird feeling because I knew I earned my spot in the top cut but going against people twice my age is still kinda scary.
How was the Worlds experience in general? What was your favorite part of Worlds outside of the main event?
Like I mentioned before I was able to participate in my first ever pod grind with both local friends and new ones from around the world. The prizes this worlds where amazing especially the shields. The side events where very fun as well. My favorite thing from worlds was one of two things. Either meeting all the big names in destiny like Claus from Your Destiny, Zach from Team Covenant, and the entire Hyperloops squad. Or HONDO POD!!!! Which was a fun pod run by local James who is notorious for his love of the shady pirate.
Okay, switching gears here a bit – now that you’re officially a Destiny Council padawan, when are you getting your padawan braid?
I do not plan on having a hair braid I know I should but not right now. I feel like I would get hazed for having it at school.
You’re following a similar career path to Anakin – becoming a Padawan at an unusually age, quickly surpassing your masters in skill, hanging out with droids – are you worried about turning to the darkside?
I do not plan on murdering children but playing villain decks are never off the table. Also what is the dark side of destiny community? Scrub Council or the hyperscoops probably.
If you were stuck on a desert island and you could choose one council member to be stuck with you, who would it be and why is it Luke?
If I was stuck on an Island I would have Rami with me. I feel like Andrew would make a hammock and chill for a little bit, Jonathan would be the reason I’m stuck on the island, and Luke would make sure we survive but wouldn’t get us home. Rami would have a 50% chance of finding a way to make alcohol and sell it and make enough money to get a private jet to take us home in style. The other 50% chance has us partying for two weeks and then we would die and booth of those sound great.
What are your Destiny plans going forward – do you think you’ll keep playing Droids for awhile, or are you planning to try out some new stuff?
In the future I am going to always play droids but also try other things like 4-Lom and Jango. The droids are always going to hold a special place in my heart now so I must play them forever.
Which of the spoilers from Worlds was your favorite and why?
Probably my most anticipated topic. My most hype cards are either Boba or Anakin. Yes I know Anakin isn’t good. Boba probably will be my fun deck for casual tournaments with Jango and any means necessary for the bounty hunter action. For Anakin I want to play him with 3PO because DROID LIFE!!!!! And also Admiral with Anakin seems fun. The best card from the spoilers is probably Shien Mastery because it is both removal and damage.