Doctor Aphra has always been an interesting character in both the Star Wars Universe and the Star Wars Destiny game. Since her introduction via the Darth Vader comic series many fans have had a special place in their hearts for her, while others just ask “Who the heck is that”. I fell into the latter category when I first started playing SWD. She looked cool and she has this awesome ability with droids but what does that have to do with the movies? Well after taking the time to read the comics and diving deep into the lore she quickly climbed up the ranks in my list and I have a true appreciation for her and those kick butt droids that follow her around. We already have her two primary droids in play with 0-0-0 and BT-1. Aphra not only allows you to pay one less for the first droid each round but if you deal yourself indirect damage you get to draw a card. That is some serious awesomeness. Not to mention the less talked about feature that is her 2 shield die side. That screams, “ RESOLVE ME FOR INDIRECT” allowing you to draw more cards and deal indirect with 0-0-0.
You know most of this stuff already but with the release of Convergence any day, week, month, year, century (My hope now is March. 28th but that's just my opinion) comes General Grievous, the Droid Armies Commander. He's not the over costed 13 health waste a good talent his former self was in WotF, this guy is leaner, meaner, and can bring a lot more pain with his ability to decrease the cost of each droid character by 1. So how many droids can we fit with Grievous? He's 9/12 cost, so we could fit in 3 Commando Droids if we run 1 die Grievous. That's a 4 die start with 30 health. Sounds good so far until you get to the place where it is Mono Red. Gross. Ain't nobody got time for that! This is a new set with rotation. We want to try new cards from different color groups. Is there another droid that could benefit from this decrease? Indeed there is. Welcome back to the forefront Battle Droid. Each of you are 5 points now so we could put 3 of you plus two Grievous dice and still run Armored Reinforcement if youto stay on that forbidden Mono Red path. Heck..let's have some fun with this. With Allies of Necessity, you could run four Battle Droids and Grievous elite. That is a SIX die start ladies and gentlemen. It's still Mono Red but it is 33 health. That is a lot of health for any deck to chew through including you Vader.
So what is the ultimate combination of characters for these two who both love droids so much? Obviously they would be paired together and throw in two Battle Droids for a total of 31 health. If you lose the rolloff? 33 health. That is stupid sick health. Aphra's ability will be triggering nonstop and you may draw your whole hand by turn 2 if you! Not really, but the opportunities are there. So we have a character pairing that I think will be strong just based on health alone but then you include the damage the support droids can do and this could get ugly quick folks. Let's just dive into the decklist Stephen (Outer Rim Lanza) put together and see what kind of mess we are getting ourselves into.
We are very light on upgrades. Our goal is to use the Support dice to deal most of our damage through indirect of BT-1/0-0-0 and straight up damage from the. We do run 2 Handheld L-S1 Cannons, and because we have four characters we can put them on different characters without worrying at all about the upgrade limit. They will do some of the damage for us but putting this on a Battle Droid turn 1 takes the pressure off Aphra for more turns and card drawing. The new E-5 Carbine in the Starter Set reminds me of the E-11 Blaster from Legacies. It has one better side than the E-11 but unlike the E-11 it can only be redeployed if the upgrade is on a droid first. Aphra doesn't get this gun but any of the other three characters do and it can put almost as much pressure as a Handheld.
Now we are into the meat of this deck. This is the gas that makes the Aphra engine run. Your base guys are there with 0-0-0, BT-1, and. With Convergence there were two new Droid supports added. The Assassin Droid is a 3 cost Villain support that has 3 range sides plus dealing 1 damage each time you roll the die into your pool. It doesn't trigger the Aphra ability but we can all agree that she could use a little break every now and then. The Stap Droid is a 1 cost Support with ambush to let you roll the die into the pool early. The damage sides are not the strongest but if it's the first droid you play in a round you get it for free. That's something. A 1 range, 1 indirect, 3 indirect with a pay side and a discard side leave you wanting more. I looked at this at first and thought about cutting it but it's really not a bad deal for free if you get one early. A support that you paid 0 for dealing damage or discarding a card from an opponent is pretty nice. It stays until something else better comes along.
The event package here is a combination of cards that deal indirect to trigger Aphra's ability or mitigating dice all together. No turning sides to a blank. There will be blood on the floor in a game against this deck. Starting off we go with 2 Automated Defenses. Spot a Droid to remove a die. 1 cost to remove any die we want to for almost the whole game. Clutch. 2 By Any Means is one of my favorite cards since it was released with Way of the Force. It's built for an Aphra deck but can work in any deck that plays 3 wide villain or above. Deal 1 indirect to yourself to remove a die showing 2 or higher. It's solid gold. 2 Crash Landings and 2 Dangerous Maneuvers are again there to trigger Aphra and help keep all your characters alive a little bit longer. Going four wide means we get to run cards like 2 Flank and 1 Outnumber. Our opponents will be going first in most rounds so we need to have a card that can stop early pressure from them. These cards do exactly that....will go towards the Battle Droids in most cases. Just a great card that is getting reprinted, and I for one am super happy about it. 2 Probes can kill an opponent's hand toward the end of rounds when they are trying to hold onto mitigation before my engine can really get ramped up. It's a sneaky good add into this iteration of an Aphra deck to let you have free reign some rounds while an opponent just takes a ton of indirect to the face. Vandalize is in because we have 4 dice and can get rid of most Supports. The issue with this however is a good player will see the Vandalize play coming. This is the only card I really disagree with concerning the deck list. I would rather see a Reprogram in there to help get one of the droids out sooner. I'd actually like to see 2 in there with so many droid supports but I'm not sure what else to cut. If I had to choose I would take one ...out along with Vandalize for 2 Reprogram. We have so much health we are not trying to mitigate everything coming our way. Just minimize the damage.
The Lair of General Grievous is a solid add to the deck. If for some reason we are able to claim we can deal the direct to whoever we choose due to spotting Grievous. If the opponent claims we can either deal one indirect or give them a resource. This deck does starve with resources sometimes so the indirect will probably be the poison of choice unless you try and run Logistics,, or Well Connected instead of the more important cards. If you don't like this battlefield you could try to run either Dry Fields or Petranki Arena. Most other decks have at least 1 resource at the end of rounds so this doesn't benefit them. Petranki Arena does damage to both you and your opponent. You're doing that yourself any way so why not let them help you out?
Ideally in an Aphra deck we want to see one of her droids, a Reprogram, two pieces of cheap mitigation, and either a Crash Landing/Dangerous Maneuver. Something like BT-1, Reprogram, Flank, By Any Means, and Dangerous Maneuver would be perfect starting out. The upgrades are great but we need the Aphra engine rolling out as soon as we can. Hopefully by Round 2 you have 0-0-0 and can really start dealing damage. If for some reason you are able to get aturn one, it might not be a bad option to hold it as well. If you get it with Reprogram it becomes a 2 cost droid, you get to deal an indirect to an opponent, and roll the die into your pool. It will also speed up your supports going forward allowing you to activate each droid as you play them. Getting an Assassin Droid late game can allow you to play it, activate it, and deal the 1 damage you may need to kill a character. Reaching, I know. Just thinking through things here.
This deck can do a ton of damage to you and your opponent. It's not the easiest deck to run as you have so many different triggers to remember so make sure to give yourself plenty of reps with the deck before trying to take it to a tournament looking to win. Missing the BT-1 trigger on activation could mean you lose the game if you're not careful. Remember: TAKE SHIELDS on Aphra! Get your support board state locked in as soon as possible. Don't forget your triggers. Do these things and this deck can lead you to some wins.
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Stephen Lanza and Matt Rice