No Bans. Let’s Go Defeat Snoke.

With the recent GQ results and Jackal Hunt coming in showing how well this deck can perform, I wanted to look at some ways to counter Snoke, and specifically Snoke/Watto/FOST. In our article yesterday ORS Lanza stated how he wanted Snoke banned from the game to deal with his constant place at the top of competitive results. I can’t say I agree with him about a ban but he does bring up good points concerning Snoke and his Power Action and point cost. I’m more in the camp of leave Snoke alone and look at the characters and supports surrounding him. However, there are others who to take his Power Action and make it “Deal 1 damage to a character to increase that character die by 1, or deal 2 damage to increase it by 2.” We have seen dealing a character 1 damage just doesn’t deter anyone from using the Power Action. I don’t know that a 1 point bump again will help as people will still find ways to ask “Is this second character Snokeable?”

Snoke last Regional season was a winner of 15 regionals out of the 76 total, coming in with a win percentage of just under 20 percent at 19.7. That ranks third behind the Terror to Behold and Yoda2018-2019 Regional Championship Results  I have attached the link from last regional season so you can see the many pairings Snoke won with during the season, and a big thank you to i Rebel for putting this list together. The work they do makes looking up information much easier. Thank you. While not the top dog in the regional season he did win quite a few Store Championships shortly after his release with Way of the Force, including the Birmingham, AL one where I played against a Snoke/Bazine/FOST deck piloted by YOUR Destiny’s own Craw. It was a pain to play against then and it still remains a pain to play against now.  Snoke has been around and a strong contender since his introduction. While others have come and gone through metas Snoke seems to find a way back into the hearts of competitive players looking for that ultimate "Tier 1" deck. This just shows how powerful a character we have in our game at the moment and that, even if he’s not the top deck at a certain time, you should expect to see Snoke often as long as he remains where he is currently. So what makes Snoke so great and so versatile with so many different decks?

Snoke is mostly used in support decks save for Kylo/Snoke, so his Power Action is being targeted towards resources or disrupts more than damage in these types of decks. Snoke/Thrawn look at the 2 resource of Thrawn for Snokin. Snoke/Bazine/FOST focused on the discard or resource side on Bazine to kill an opponent’s hand or ramp for Planetary Bombardment or other big supports. Snoke/Ciena/Traitor looked to Ciena and her 2 one resource sides to once again ramp vehicles and possibly abuse, at the time, action to pay 2 resources and reset a vehicle. This errata on Ciena was never needed until she was paired with Snoke. I will say that Snoke/Tarkin had the option to Power Action the 2 indirect on Tarkin which helped with the flow of the deck dealing indirect. Snoke/Aphra/BD did have the variety of the dice to deal 3 indirect with the Battle Droid but in most cases you want the resources to get your droids out early and often.

In Snoke/Watto/FOST we are introduced to a new problem. Not only can Snoke Power Action a Watto die for extra resources, as the opponent you are NOT given the option to remove the die through event cards! No Forsaken, Hidden Motive, By Any Means, or regular removal card can take the die out of the pool. Throw on top of this the Watto Power Action to spend 1 resource, call a side on a die (in most cases the Watto die calling resource) and getting 2 resources if it hits. For Watto that is a 50 percent chance for a free resource AND it lands on the resource side. Gross. So how do we get around this since our events cannot remove the die? Well there are a few ways to slow down the deck and keep you in the game longer. I just finished listening to the Arrow Brook Gaming podcast (GREAT podcast by great players that know the game well) talking about the Denver GQ and I remember them stating how if Snoke/Watto/FOST doesn’t ramp Turn 1 it can get dicey really quick for the deck. I agree fully with this statement in that if they can’t ramp are they going to simply hold onto the resources for the next round or use them on a few mitigation cards? I would assume they try to hold onto the resources which gives us a chance to put the pressure on early to kill Watto and turn the money off. So how do we accomplish our mission of slowing down a ramping deck with the “Unholy Trinity” just waiting to be played Turn 1? Let’s start with some characters that can help followed by some other cards to slow it down.

Count Dooku – Corrupted Politician AND Count Dooku’s Lightsaber

A deck that sports almost 10 supports means there will be at least 1 almost every round if not 2. Count Dooku can help us whittle the hand down with a discard side and a Power Action to play a Blue event from our hand THEN force an opponent to discard a card from their hand. The opponent will in most cases ditch a mitigation card but what if they are down to one or two cards and still haven’t ramped due to bad rolls? Do they pitch the first Entourage and hold onto Forsaken to ensure a Round 2 ramp or will they hold onto the card in hopes they can play it later? Either way it works to get cards out of the hand meaning less supports to deal with down the road. Now let’s throw in his new Lightsaber. If you play it on Dooku you get to force the opponent to ditch another card. So hey, POWER ACTION. Then drop 2 from their hand while having an upgrade with 2 discard sides. That’s a decent way to slow down. It doesn’t touch Watto but they can’t play the upgrades from the discard pile so Turn 1 goes in your favor. You would need a good aggro character to go alongside Dooku to push the damage part but at 13 points this gives you quite a few options.

Yoda/Leia Mill

Yoda is always the character with a direct comparison to Snoke in Star Wars Destiny. Back when Snoke got the Nerf many thought Yoda would get touched as well. He didn’t. He doesn’t have a Power Action to bump a die by 2 but he can special chain and get rid of cards from the deck quickly. This works especially well in a mill deck. Hero decks do no have the same mitigation package as villain and it is much more expensive to remove dice, so usually a Yoda player will gain a resource and mill from the top unless they need to change another Yoda die to a special. Gaining resources and playing cards with specials help make this character pairing the absolute best for mill at this time. Leia grants you access to red for great mill cards like No Answer and Resistance Ring (more on those later). She also has a 2 discard side and a Power Action to remove a die and mill cards equal to the value of the dice from the top of the deck. This alone made Lando/Leia a threat during last regional season. With Watto in the picture though we need another way to force Snoke/Watto/FOST to lose cards and Watto resources. Welcome back Force Focus. It’s started to see play again with new Palpatine to help with the Force Storm special but what about the ability to turn an opponent’s die to any side with the special? It’s Salt Flats built into an upgrade. It’s Force Jump to help with non damage sides. The chance to change your Yoda die to a special and start the chaining process while also blanking a Watto die to force a discard to reroll is an all around win that turn. Force Meditation also helps us accomplish our goal of getting rid of supports from deck. This is just a top tier deck overall, but a change like adding Force Focus, No Answer, and Resistance Ring give this deck extra power to combat Snoke/Watto/FOST.

Saw Gerrera

This one is out of left field, but if you can make this work you can not only discard their supports but deal indirect to them based on the cost of the card can be brutal. Many Saw players stack their own deck with high cost cards to deal indirect but what if the opponent’s deck did that for you? Here’s JOHNNY! With two 5 cost, two 4 cost, two 3 costs along with some others mixed in there is plenty of opportunity to deal two blows at once. Getting a Vader’s Fist AND dealing 5 indirect has to feel pretty good. You will need to find a solid partner for Saw to make this happen, and including Moxie is a must. Padme feels right but you will need to focus more on the Saw special than indirect. A truly Risky Move (a card that needs to be in the deck) but definitely high risk/high reward. Impulsive will need to be there to help focus Saw and Moxie dice to resolve. This would need some fine tuning but I could see this really being a thorn in the side of Snoke. Where does a 5 indirect go when it’s unexpected? You can’t put all your damage into the FOST…he only has 7 to give.

Nute Gunray

Nute is the antithesis of Watto: He can kill the money the opponent just got. The 2 disrupt side will need to be used as much as possible to keep that resource count down. In a deck that needs as many resources as possible to get the supports they will gamble discarding the top 2 cards to get the extra resource, especially if you are disrupting them. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some decks start playing Nute more often as Snoke/Watto/FOST becomes prevalent.

Mind Extraction

A new 2 cost villain blue downgrade introduced with Convergence. This card lets you play it on an opponent's character and removes all of their non special abilities INCLUDING a Power Action! This gets rid of the 50 percent chance Watto can hit for extra resources and allows you to remove his dice with any events. The issue with this card is it cost 2 resources and can be removed if the opponent exhausts the character. It is important to sequence your steps correctly to get the most out of it. You have a few options to make this work. You can either throw it on them before they activate and force them to exhaust the whole turn. This will take care of the die for the round but it does not fix the Power Action on Watto. He can call range on the FOST or Focus on Snoke and still have a chance for a free resource. However, it is with much lower odds than Watto has with his resource side. Conversely you can wait until he activates, killing his Power Action for the whole round and possible next round while still letting his die have a chance to be Snoke'd. It's a tricky gamble either way but I think option 1 is the better way to go. The odds are much more in your favor to gamble on the Power Action rather than leaving a die out there you can't remove.

A Tale of Tragedy

This card is only really usuable on Vader, Palpatine, and..oh wait...the new Dooku IS A SITH! Here is another great option for your new Dooku deck to counter Watto. Paying 1 to turn the die is the same as Use the Force where you pay 1 to turn a blue die to any side except this lets you turn a character die to any side. We are looking for ways to get cards out of hand for rerolls and this accomplishes that.

Alter

Very costly, but can let you turn one of your dice and Watto’s die to a blank. If Snoke is sitting on a focus you can use Alter to blank it and Watto to definitely force a discard to reroll. Being a neutral card opens it up to any blue character so both sides can benefit from this card.

Forced Compliance

How about turning Watto’s die into a discard while turning ours to a discard as well? Sort of like an old Western standoff. Dare them to Snoke for 3 cards. Now they can’t ramp for the turn. Players will discard to reroll while you resolve your discard. That’s a 2 card swing. This will be a great add in decks looking to kill hand size.

Suppressive Fire

This is by far the easiest way to get rid of Watto's die. It cost 0 to play and only 1 resource to remove the die once it activates. It's not an event so it slides by the wording on Watto's card. All Red Hero decks will be running two of these short term and trying to mulligan hard for one of these Turn 1. If you get one of these through the mulligan you play this immediately and just shut down Watto. As the game goes along the card does become worse so hopefully you find yourself with two of them in the early rounds.

Lore Hunter

You can run 2 of these in your Yoda/Leia mill or any blue hero deck and look at the top 2 cards and discard one of your choosing. With 6 primary supports to fight through this increases the chances of finding them and getting rid of them. Snoke/Watto/FOST CANNOT win without these supports so picking them apart will slow the deck down once again.

Force Pull

In a quick blue deck you could use this to roll Watto out and use his die as if it were in your pool. Even just playing the card makes the opponent second guess their strategy early on and may get them out of rhythm for Snokin Watto.

Sith Teachings

What a way to punch Watto in the mouth than playing this on Palpatine or DOOKU while Watto is showing a blank. There goes the die and now the special becomes 2 damage. When I first saw this card I thought it was just ok. Nothing special. Against Watto though, it could be the blowout you need early. What's that below the plus 2 melee? A discard side. Sith Teachings: Count Dooku is on Line 1.

Enfys Nest's Electroripper

The special on this card lets you deal 1 unblockable to each character but it's the second part that makes this interesting against Watto. If you play this on Enfys Nest, you can then remove one of the opponent's character dice. Might be time to revisit the Enfys Nest/Yoda/BR deck we did a few months ago. Enfys can hit hard by herself and with the inclusion of cards like Sonic Detonators and Hired Muscle there are multiple ways to control the resource ramp. The 3 damage is nothing to write off, but we are looking for ways to get Watto off the field. Enfys also allows us to play 2 villain cards. Do we dare try for one Vader's Fist and one Mind Extraction? I'm not ready to say that quite yet but it's worth looking into as an option.

Skilled Tracker

Remember we can’t remove Watto with events. Dice will be the trick to help mitigate dice. Play this on Dengar or any Yellow villain, roll the special, and get rid of Watto no matter what he rolls. Great for a Padme/Boushh deck as a Yellow Villain card for the specials also. At one cost it’s Force Jump for villain without rerolling but at least you get to completely remove the die. For this it definitely serves its purpose to slow down ramp. You know who this really sounds good on with so much 3 wide running around? Yoda/Boushh. Two of these help fill the 5 yellow villain card ability for Boushh and with special chaining we can turn this to get rid of that pesky money.

Senate Chamber

This card fits right in with so many red decks with the 2 focus and 2 resource sides. But it's the discard side and Power Action we will focus on against Snoke/Watto/FOST. The ability at any moment to Power Action one of your dice to turn another die is risky, but once again we want them to get rid of cards in hand to reroll, including those coveted supports. This card in general is just great but can really do wonders in...let's say a Dooku/Wulff/Blockade mill deck.  They are already starting with one less resource and you discard 2 with the Saber and Dooku Power Action. Use the 2 focus for a 2 discard on Wulff and a discard on Dooku. That's their whole hand. (I literally just thought of this pairing so it will probably do terrible but it does show a way Senate Chamber can be beneficial with its versatility).

Slave I

Another great way to mitigate Watto’s die. A Power Action to reroll a Yellow die and remove a die showing the same value can get rid of that pesky Watto early and often. In a mirror match you might want to reach for this first and go toe to toe with your Watto die and the opponent’s to keep their ramp down. This is in the Snoke/Watto/FOST deck but using it against the deck will work wonders. A vehicle that can remove die and help pump damage or shields for your characters is a solid Support to play. I would not suggest running two of these unless you absolutely know you will see almost all Snoke/Watto/FOST at an event. Then I could see running two to ensure you get one out ASAP.

Resistance Ring AND No Answer

This combo is just bonkers against anything. Resistance Ring lets you pay 1 to discard one from the top of the deck. That’s not great in itself but add in a die with the special to play a red event from EITHER player’s discard pile and now we are talking. The focus side can be used to help Leia get that 2 discard side as well. No Answer is what most people say about the card No Answer. There’s no way of telling when the card will be played or at what time it can be played. If an opponent is holding onto a particular card for a while and you want to get rid of it you can play No Answer before the hand is emptied and try to grab it. You might fail, but it is still one less card for the turn. It is, however, when played to its upmost potential that the card can destroy a Snoke/Watto/FOST deck. An opponent holding onto a Fist for the next round when they will have the money to play it now has to get rid of that card AND the top 3 of their deck. Well lookie here: You just discarded an Entourage, Forsaken, and a MegaBlaster Troopers. Even if they say screw it and discard the Fist for a reroll you STILL get to take the other 3 cards. That’s what we call a win-win. Did I mention Resistance Ring lets you pull a red event from your discard pile (Yes I did but it’s for dramatic effect). Pull back No Answer a few times and that huge support deck dries up real fast.

...SNOKE...

Heck sometimes if you can't beat them you join them. Snoke gives you so many options against himself it's almost ridiculous. If Snoke played basketball he would be Damian Lillard. He makes everyone else around him better but when it comes down to it he's the one you want shooting the shot to win the series. We always hear how sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Can't get much more true than with Snoke. A Snoke/X aggro deck could whittle down Watto enough and provide a battlefield like Salt Flats to turn opponent's die (Watto). Meeting the enemy head on in battle can be rough, but if you prepare harder and plan better than maybe you can find the advantage to sway the battle your direction. Just going to leave this here. A Snoke/Watto/FOST vs Snoke/Nute/FOST deck. Ramping vs. Disrupting.

WRAP UP

I think it is safe to say at this moment that Snoke/Watto/FOST is a powerful deck. It can ramp like very few decks can, and being rainbow grants you access to all the heavy hitters. The point of the article today is to open up the idea that ANY deck can be beat, we just need to look at ways on how to accomplish this. When Snoke/Thrawn was super popular, we saw Vader and Yoda/Boushh rise to the occasion. What deck ideas do you have to help take down a strong deck like this? Let us know on our Facebook page or in our Discord channel, which is free to join. Any deck can be beaten on Any Given Sunday…or any other day for that matter. Let’s get to work as a community and make this happen!

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out our article. We strive to bring you content that not only is fun to read, but provokes thoughts about the game and how to make us all better players, whether we are casual or competitive. Check out our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Discord channel for all the latest information about the Outer Rim Smugglers.

WRITTEN BY:

Matt Rice