Gungans are Nass-tay

Gungans are cool and hilarious, right? That’s what I thought as a kid when I first saw The Phantom Menace. Now? Not so much. I’m not going to go as far as saying Gungans – more specifically Jar Jar – ruin Star Wars, but they can make Episode I a little harder to re watch. All that being said, I’ve been running a trilogy Gungans deck the last few weeks in the Outer Rim’s Thursday Night Kessel Runs, and though I haven’t won much (yet), I think they will look stronger when we reach rotation. Maybe not Tier 1, but strong enough to greatly annoy people.

Characters and Battlefield

Let’s talk about how this deck wins. Indirect. Lots and lots of indirect. The deck I’ve been running has been eJarJar/Boss Nass/Gungan/Gungan for 28 health alongside Arena of Death. The first indirect piece is Boss Nass’ ability, which deals one indirect damage for each blank rolled when I active a Gungan character. By the math, that’s an average of 1.33 indirect damage each round just for activating all four characters. As the game progresses, characters will be defeated, allowing me to claim and deal one indirect for each defeated character I have.

One of the wackiest forms of mitigation in this deck is Jar Jar. He can work both for me and against me. If I have yet to activate Jar Jar and I have lots of indirect on the field, my opponent can choose to activate him for their action, and then cause me to re-roll any of my sides not matching Jar Jar’s sides. It also works well against opponents too. Since Jar Jar has no range,melee,special or focus sides, any time I activate him my opponent will automatically have to re-roll any dice not matching Jar Jar dice. I’ve found that some players forget they can activate Jar Jar, which works well in my favor.

If Arena of Death is the battlefield, that can help be a deterrent against defeating characters. As those characters are defeated, I can do one indirect per character when I claim. Therefore, some players may also deem it necessary to load each character with damage before defeating them, therefore minimizing my chances of doing more indirect with claiming.

Deck Tech

A primary piece for this deck includes a few different supports. Runaway Boomas/Gungan Catapult/Resistance Bomber all work extremely well in this deck. Each have strong indirect sides, and also at least two blanks if I play Dumb Luck, which can help me re-roll plus deal indirect for each blank a gungan die rolls. If I roll blanks, then I still do damage, if I roll damage, then I’ve avoided another re-roll. I also have included cards such as Locked and Loaded and Gungan Offensive, which allow me to turn dice to sides showing indirect damage. These cards are very important in helping maximize damage, otherwise the Gungans WILL get slaughtered.

Ideally, by turn two, you can get a Gungan Catapult out. That will typically be the first thing I activate each round after it is in play due to its ability in which each time I activate a Gungan character, I can re-roll the catapult dice. This allows me more chances to get the 4 or 6 indirect sides, which help pump out damage. It's free re-rolls without using a card or paying a resource to change the die. Nice!

Alongside these supports, I also have thrown in two On The Mark, a 0-cost support that allows me to resolve dice showing indirect damage as ranged damage until the end of that round. This really makes a difference in taking down characters. Naturally, people will spread out the damage between their characters, allowing their abilities and dice to stay in the game longer. It is very important to be able to knock one of them out, specifically in a meta dominated by two wide teams.

The other support I love in this deck is Senate Chamber. Not just because it’s thematic with Jar Jar being a member of the Senate, but because of its focus sides and power action. I can essentially get three focus to turn my dice to sides showing indirect/resources, or two focus and then PA my opponent’s dice to a less favorable side for them. I will typically mulligan hard for the Senate Chamber specifically for those reasons.

Now, let’s talk events. A big focus of this deck is also to keep the boss alive. That’s why cards such as Karabast!, First Aid, Dangerous Maneuver, and Blaze of Glory are important. In some way, shape, or form they either heal damage, move damage, or absorb damage that would typically hit Nass. Nothing feels better than using Blaze of Glory to sink a ton of damage into a Gungan that only has one health remaining. And, as a plus, sometimes you’ll roll a blank before the Gungan dies and ink out one more indirect, just to piss your opponent off a little bit more!

The last piece I’ve added, outside of mitigation, is Diplomatic Protection. It can work two-fold. I can place a Diplomatic Protection on a Gungan and then Blaze of Glory it into oblivion, and give my other characters each two shields as a result. The other option is to place it on Boss Nass as a deterrent. My opponents may think twice about gunning for Boss Nass if it means giving my other characters two shields apiece.

The Ideal Opening Hand and Late Game Cards

If I were to pick five cards that I would have Round One, they would be the following: Senate Chamber, First Aid, Diplomatic Protection, Dangerous Maneuver, and Hasty Exit. I’ve talked about Senate Chamber, so I’ll go into the other cards. First Aid is a great round one card for any deck running red, allowing you to heal 4 damage for one cost the first round, followed by healing 2 each round afterwards. Diplomatic Protection is a great card to play during round one because, like I explained earlier, it can potentially help deter people from targeting Nass. Dangerous Maneuver is a great way to help spread out damage for no cost if First Aid doesn’t cover everything. The last card is Hasty Exit. The first turn may be the only turn to really have control of the battlefield until the Gungans stop dropping.

Ideally, after you’re in the second or third rounds, you’ll have a couple supports in play. At that point, you would want Locked and Loaded and Gungan Offensive to help turn sides to indirect. Hopefully you will have an On The Mark out as well those rounds. Those combos can really help focus the damage and hopefully defeat at least one character.

Convergence and Final Thoughts

The biggest change I see coming is Target Acquired, a new downgrade in the upcoming Convergence set. Though it hasn’t been fully released, it is looking like it will be either Hero or Neutral. Target Acquired, when played on an opponent’s character, will force the controller to assign indirect damage to the attached character. Basically, a more permanent On The Mark. Ideally, you would get On The Mark or Target Acquired during or after round two.

This past week, FFG revealed the card titled Convergence, a two cost event that allows you to remove a support/upgrade/downgrade from play equal to the cost of the number of characters you have that share a sub type. Because I am running four Gungans, this card could allow me to remove a large number of cards. Except Vader's Fist. Which is a shame.

Near Miss is another card from Convergence I will likely be adding. By spotting two characters of the same subtype, I am able to remove a dice from play. This is an easy mitigation add in this deck, and likely will be available to me most the game even as Gungans begin to drop.

I also may consider adding the Clawdite Shapeshifter in place of a Gungan. Each time I activate it, I would get to declare it as a Gungan, therefore keeping Boss Nass’ ability. The other perk of the Clawdite Shapeshifter is that it is neutral, giving me access to Theed (Nerf-Dependent) and other neutral specific cards.

Another change I’ve looked into is using Taking Ground and sacrificing Jar Jar’s second dice. Gungans typically have do not have strong roll outs, and therefore lose battlefield advantage, commonly to those running Theed. Once rotation hits, I will likely be running Jar Jar/Boss/Gungan/Shapeshifter/Taking Ground with Arena of Death.

Convergence is looking to bring a lot of focus on sub types and interactions within sub types, whether Scoundrels, Leaders, Jedi, Etc. These cards will bring about lots of changes to the meta, and changes that I am very excited to see. I can't wait to see what decks end up at the top, and how players begin to develop new interactions between characters.

Overall, I think Gungans will gain a lot from rotation. Maybe not enough to be a top deck, but enough to be competitive. One of the best things about this game is that there are always interesting character combinations to try, some of them work, and some of them are just plain awful. I’m a firm believer that this one can work, but if it doesn’t, it is still a lot of fun to play!

 

WRITTEN BY:

Kenny Guion