A few weeks ago as I began sorting out my Awakenings cards from my Legacies block I started to notice how much money I’ve spent on this game. I’m not upset about it at all because I love this game and love all the experiences it has provided me over the last year. It’s just looking at that massive amount of cards and just thinking to myself “Is there a way to play this game on a limited budget for someone who is a casual player?”. Weird thought, but with this lull in action my thoughts have been more focused on how to grow this amazing game. Convergence is now only one week away, and with that I to go over some options on how a local group or even a new player can get some decks built on a budget to draw in more players and cater to those who simply walk in on local night. Here are a few ways to make this happen:
It’s built into the name. These starter sets come with two characters and around 20 cards each to get you going in your new game of Destiny. At around 15 dollars each they can give you an array of cards to play and help your deck in those fun casual games. One single deck, however, is not legal for a tournament of any sort so if you go this route you will need to buy 2 starter sets, which now run the cost up to 30 dollars. That’s still not a terrible option and gives you more choices in what cards to double up on to finish that 30 card deck.
In the Legacies Block there were the Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett Starter Decks. Each of these decks provides quality cards that can be used in a constructed format and a few are top tier cards overall in the Legacies Block. Looking at the Luke set first you have access to cards like , Hidden Blaster, The , and the 4 cost Millennium Falcon. The Boba Fett set provides cards like Entangle, arguably one of the Top 5 removal cards in the game, Crash Landing, and Take Flight. The starters give you one character with one die and one character with two dice, or an elite character. This can provide some flexibility if you choose to buy two of the Luke or Boba sets. Their limitations are evident though, even in a casual game. Cards like Backup Specialist and the 74-Z Speeder Bike see no action other than with these sets. If your goal is to bring new players into your group these kinds of cards will not serve that great purpose. People want cards that are “cool” and can do cool things to begin learning a game. Then, if they decide to continue playing you can introduce these strategic cards into the fold and give the new player some ideas about how to construct a deck for more competitive arenas.
With Convergence we are introduced to two brand new Starter Sets, a General Grievous set and an Obi-Wan set. They won’t be officially out until April 4th, but we know what the cards in each deck include. These decks seem to be a little more directed towards being a single entity with a more thematic feel to the characters. General Grievous is paired with a Commando Droid and the ability to decrease the cost of each droid by one. Buy two of this set and you have a solid 4 die start with a battlefield and cards designed to fit this deck. The Obi-Wan set pairs him with Satine in yet another thematic feel to a deck. I’m personally looking forward to have a night where our group only plays with the starter decks and creates some fun times. These will be the same cost as the Legacies so 30 dollars gets you one of each or two of one you prefer.
BUDGET TO MAKE A CONSTRUCTED DECK: $30 plus tax
2 PLAYER STARTER KIT
While the Starter Sets are good for one person, the 2 Player set can provide an instant game with around 20 cards of the hero and the villain faction. The set comes with a full sleeve of tokens to get players started and enough dice to deal damage to your opponent! The set pits and against Rey and Poe Dameron. No yellow characters to be found in this box but for an intro set that won’t be a problem. The kit normally retails around 25 dollars, but every now and then you can find that magical sale for 5 dollars (See last August – October). At 5 dollars this is STEAL of a deal. I bought 4 of them at this price and used those cards to build 2 fully constructed decks that stay at our LGS. This set gets to stay through rotation so you can set your worries aside about it being obsolete. Introducing players to gives them a strong character that has won a World Championship and provides a good aggro character who has built in strategy. A new player can use Kylo to learn how other decks are built with the color combos and quickly become a better player. The deck has a few cards that see common use in tournament play with Flank and Doubt being primary cards. The main problem with the Kit compared to a Starter Set is the Kit only comes with 1 die per character. You are required buy two of these to make a legitimate constructed deck. I understand it slows the game down to allow players to learn but it’s not a true representation of the game. We want lots of dice to start and continue to add more dice as the game goes along. In the end, I just don’t see this as being the best option to get players hooked onto this game. Also, with the point adjustment to the 2 player kit is not fully legal for a tournament, which is sort of silly if you ask me. For casual play it's fine because you can play her as a 13 character, but bringing this to a local tournament will not be sufficient. I started with the 2 player kit and enjoyed my time but it also set me behind trying to learn the more intricate details about this game.
BUDGET TO MAKE A CONSTRUCTED DECK: $50 plus tax
LOCAL CUBE DRAFT
I’m putting this one on the list even though it needs multiple things: A local player base with a decent collection of cards, players to dedicate time to a draft AND playing games, and time to teach new players a crap ton of cards. The Sons of Mandalore just put out an EXCELLENT article about how to design a Cube (link at bottom of article) so I won’t go into detail about how to make one work. I will say this about the Cube Draft: It’s super fun and makes games more laid back which is a perfect environment for new players to thrive in. No , no , no Vader. Just put in some fun characters that no one plays and you can have a blast with this. Here is the best part about the cube: It costs 0 dollars and 0 cents to make one. A small player group can build one with cards that are rotated out. It’s just a fun alternative for us competitive players and a great way to get good cards in the hand of a new player.
BUDGET TO MAKE A CUBE DRAFT: $0 dollars plus NO TAX!
CONSTRUCTED DECK FROM KINGWOOD HOBBIES
Based out of the Houston area, Kingwood Hobbies offers a service that is great not only for the player looking for a cheap deck but any Star Wars Destiny player. The “Build a Deck” option for 10 dollars provides players the option to choose a premade character combo like Bo-Katan/Anakin or Plo/Force Mystic/Force Mystic, but also can let them choose a character deck with characters of their choice including plot. Once the player picks a deck they send it to Kingwood and they create a deck specified to use with cards that function well in the deck and provide a fun experience. The 10 dollar option does limit the character pool somewhat, as /Iden/Han/ are not choices available. I love that idea. Build a deck with easy cards and characters that are cheap help the store and the player. I’m going to guess this amazing package is due to an overstock of individual product at the store but coming up with this idea to get rid of some extra product and give players more options in deck building is genius.
I decided to give this option a try for the last Thursday Night Kessel Run of the AtG meta. I began to look over the site and to play some characters that see little action currently but still get a 4 die start. My first choice was Nightbrother, followed by Mando Commando, which left me with 11 points left. I ran Luce during our recent Solidarity tournament and think she could be a decent character. So with eLuce, Nightbrother, and Mando Commando we have a 4 die start and access to Blue and Yellow. The fun part about this is I let Trey, the owner of the store, to design the deck fully and will not be opening it until I am ready to play it. The video of me opening the box and a game with the deck will be featured at the bottom of the article. I’m really looking forward to trying this method out and if it works ok I will definitely be buying more decks from them going forward. One note: I made sure to ask that the deck be a trilogy deck and to add some spicy cards into the build to make it fun.
BUDGET TO MAKE A CONSTRUCTED DECK: $10 plus shipping (normally less than 5 dollars)
AFTER THE EVENT
Wow. That was a fun deck to play. It had tons of health and so many abilities to reroll dice for me. I ended up going 2-1 on the night, losing only to a Zeb/ deck that had 4 health left on . I actually had a game winning play but my opponent didn’t focus the like I hoped which would’ve won me the game. He played a great game and ended up winning the tournament tonight so I’m not too upset about that. Congrats Melvin! It was well earned. Let me tell you what. I opened the box and looked through the cards inside and there were so many quality dice in there. There is NO way this deck is only worth 10 dollars. Trey had put in 2 Energy Bows, 2 Canto Bight Pistols, a Hidden Blaster, and 2 Donderbus Pistols. Those ALONE are worth 10 dollars. Then you include the Arc Caster for some spice and this deck has some beyond this world value. Well done guys. The whole decklist is down below along with video of the first game I played with the deck, and the only game I lost that night. I’ll briefly go into detail about each game.
Rd. 1 – Zeb /
What a game. He targeted Luce first while I focused my attention on Zeb. I was able to deal some solid damage through the early turns and get rid of Zeb early before he could really do any damage. However, had decided to load up on solid upgrades. By Turn 3 he had 2 Energy Pikes and a out. I drew into poo poo mitigation and took a lot of damage. By Turn 6 I had down to 4 health with Melvin already using his Dex’s Diner. He had the die showing a 2 indirect with a 2 focus. My HOPE was for Melvin to focus to the special and I would use my Paid Off to deal him 4 damage and win the game. It didn’t happen that way but I thoroughly enjoyed playing against this deck. Super fun. (Video down below).
Rd. 2 – Biggs / L3 / Anakin / Armored Reinforcement
This deck looked to get the Shadow Caster out early and deal tons of damage. Unfortunately for Michael he couldn’t get many upgrades drawn and with little mitigation he couldn’t control my damage dice. I had Biggs out Turn 2, followed by Anakin and finally L3. Michael is really good at homebrewing decks and is the awesome guy who does the intro videos and intro for the Podcast so make sure to give him a shoutout in Discord!
Rd. 3 – Mother/Qi’Ra / Double Down
Todd is my nemesis. Something about his decks always has my head scratching because who knows what kind of crazy spice he throws in there. He had 3 Witch Magicks…THREE! Luckily, he was only able to get a hold of one the entire game and I was able to knock out Qi’Ra followed by Mother. They did not go down without a fight though. Well played by Todd. He was the only person to target the Commando first. That Power Action on him can do some damage!
INTERVIEW WITH TREY/KINGWOOD HOBBIES
Before I opened the deck up and played it tonight I sent Trey a few questions about what drives him to make such a great deal for the Destiny Community. Here are some of the responses he gave me.
Matt - What gave you the idea to run this “create a deck “ program?
Trey - I have thousands of cards above and beyond what I stock as singles, and they're just sitting here taking up space. I thought it would be a great way to clean out my office while simultaneously giving folks a easy in to picking the game up. As an avid Destiny player myself, I'm always looking to get more people involved in the game. I started by going over all of the extra characters I have and putting together my own teams. You can see those decks in the same spot where you pick up the design-your-own-team deck. After selling those for a bit, I ran low on some of those characters, so I came up with some new teams. After those were out for a while, I got both got tired of putting together teams and had a ton of characters that hadn't made one of the premade teams yet. I looked at my inventory and thought, "This is stupid. Why don't you let people come up with their own teams?" This the design-your-own-team was born out of my laziness.
Matt - Is there a most popular character choice?
Trey - The most popular choice, by far, has been the First Order Stormtrooper. I started selling singles back in Awakenings, so I was swimming in all the "garbage" rares. I don't remember how many I had exactly, but it was an impressive number. Somewhere around 40. I'm down to one. Strangely, the individual team that was the most popular was the Bo-Katan/Anakin2 one. I started with a fair number of those, and now they're all gone. The least popular premade team has been the Jabba one. I'm not surprised because that team lends itself to much more tricksy play. It's all about doing crafty things rather than just smashing your opponent in the face with sticks or blaster bolts. By the time most folks acquire that taste, they're beyond wanting to buy a $10 deck to learn the game with.
Matt - How do you choose what cards to use once a player selects their character pairing?
Trey - I just love building decks. I could do an entire article series on how I put together decks. I know I'm not the best deck designer in the world (I'm 43 with a wife and kids and multiple jobs, so I don't have the time to be the best ANYTHING at Destiny), but I do count myself as above average. I have a reasonably good intuitive grasp of the underpinning mechanics that make the game work, and I'm very good at math. Couple those with my love of teaching and helping folks, and I have a bit of track record working with people to either help improve the deck they're taking to Regionals or take the seed of an idea they have for their kitchen table and flesh it out into a full deck to smash their friends with. My favorite so far has been helping a customer take down an achievement league where the winner took home multiple boxes of Convergence. They have an achievement system with things like, "Deal 9 indirect with a single die", "resolve a (non-Vader's ) die three times in a round", or "build a deck with only rares and uncommons". He and I poured over the list and brainstormed how to snag as many as possible. Things like running Planetary Bombardment instead of Vader's in a Blue/Red deck, and then jamming one Imperial Might in there to nab to 9 damage. The "resolve a die three times" one came from building a fun Cienna deck where I jammed a single Grievous Wheelbike in there. Cienna Power Action plus Wheelbike Power Action dings the bell for that achievement. For these decks, I just take a look at the team that was submitted, and try to figure out what it was that made this particular team interesting to my customer. Once I feel like I have a good grasp on that, I'm able to dig through these mounds of cards to find some gems that help push the theme that snagged their fancy to begin with. One thing I'm really proud of during this is that I can use cards that are not necessarily the best, but work with the overall...
theme. I'm not just smashing ... and into every red and blue deck. There are plenty of other cards that will work, but maybe aren't the absolute best. In the deck you picked up, for example, a decent percentage of the removal is based on rerolling dice. This is because that works so well with Nightbrother. Reroll your opponent's good die and Nightbrothers bad die, and chances are you screw up their die while resolving yours at a bonus. Anyway, like I said, I could, and probably should at some point, go on and on about deck building.
I hope that the article will serve as a way for players to get new players involved in the local meta and to know there are plenty of options out there to make decks without breaking the bank. I cannot thank Trey and Kingwood Hobbies enough for allowing me to test a deck and have an excellent program like they do. You should check them out. Destiny can be played to have fun and not make you take out a second mortgage. You just need to find the right fit.
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