Star Wars Destiny - A Casual Player's Guide To Joining The Fun
Star Wars Destiny - An introduction to a growing collectible card game for casual players
Star Wars Destiny is a collectible card game like Magic the Gathering but with a dice element and thematic licensing for arguably the best franchise in the world. Some may compare this to Dice Masters but this game has more cards and abilities that allow for more control over the chaotic luck that dice bring to any game. This makes more strategy and variety possible while still having enough chaos in dice rolls and shuffled decks to make it infinitely re-playable and unpredictable. Unlike Dice Masters you have much smaller teams of characters to lord over and have to work to keep them alive.
Like any collectible game a segment of players are playing to win competitions and therefore making ruthless and consistent decks that will perform how they want to in the heat of battle and will rely on having a lot of the "Legendary" cards that are tough to get without dropping serious money especially since you often will want two of them. Then there are those who want to play more for fun and enjoy the thematic elements of the game and maybe maximize the use of their favorite characters. I am firmly the latter. While I appreciate the competitive scene, that isn't my world and if you are reading this with that in mind I would recommend you look up Tiny Grimes (not to be confused with the Jazz Musician) and some others on Youtube and the web who are excellent and approach the game with tournaments in mind. Here I will try to do a series on the characters in the game and some ideas on how to best utilize them, and maybe help you decide to jump into playing, or better identify which things you want to target on Ebay or as singles to get your decks going.
First, you will need a starter kit to get the basic elements of the game and enough cards to pad out a basic deck until you get boosters to improve it. You have three to choose from until the Legacies line is released Q1 2018, and you may want to buy them all eventually. The first sets released were a Rey/Finn hero pack and a Kylo Ren/Storm Trooper villain pack for about $15.00 and it isn't a bunch of beginner junk because Rey and Kylo are legit characters and many of the cards here are still used even in competition like the villain deck's Mind Probe ability. Each unique character in the game can be played with one die or two (referred to as Elite or with an "e" in front so an Elite Darth Vader/Tusken Raider deck has two Vader dice and one Raider) and there is a point value for them that you want to pair up to equal as close to 30 as possible. The starter packs I mentioned will give you two die for Rey and Kylo but only one for Finn or the Storm Trooper. The other starting option is the newer Two Player Starter Kit which has enough starting items for two players and gives you a new version of Rey and Kylo as well as a new Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma. You only get one die for each character though so you have to buy the 25-30 dollar set twice to run anyone at elite. Personally I bought all three so I had a decent starting core for both Heroes and Villains, but for those on a budget I recommend the 2 player starter or choosing the Hero or Villain side whichever you tend to enjoy. I will say that Villains tend to be more aggressive, and heroes tend to use more shields and counter punch, and it may be that villains have an advantage in a general sense, but it is not insurmountable. After getting a starter grab some boosters and hope to get some sweet characters and items to spice up your collection. (Legendaries are 6 to a box or one per 6 packs so you should be able to get a few without breaking the bank in a handful of packs). If you want to wait until next year two new starter packs are coming with Luke and Han for Heroes and Boba Fett and a Veteran Stormtrooper for villains.
The game is won in two ways, you either defeat all their characters, or you burn through their cards so at the beginning of the next round if they have no cards in hand and none in their 30 card deck to draw from they lose which is called Milling. This leads to two main archetypes, damage decks and mill decks. Within those they can split into various groupings like melee or ranged damage or it might rely heavily on vehicles for damage. Some decks are built on control where you do more to nullify what your opponent is doing and you whittle them away. If one of these play styles is appealing to you it will help you identify the characters and cards you will want to track down and in my upcoming character overviews you will see how they would work in each system if at all. Outside of Villain or Hero, characters fall under three categories which are Command (Red) which tends to be military focused and tactical, Rogue (Yellow) which tend to have more tricks and resource manipulation, and Force (Blue) which has a variety of force powers both defensive and offensive. Mixing colors can make for exciting pairings as you have two or three times as many cards to pull from, but sometimes running a single color deck means increased synergy and ensured compatibility with your characters. Choose wisely.
Some general tips for building a deck would be to try to have every card work within your strategy, and go heavy on cards that bring dice because that is how most everything comes together and ideally your characters should start with 3 dice or more (One Elite character and someone else, Two elite characters, or 3 or more single characters). When you are playing casually you can use a regular six sided die to proxy for a second die for a character to test them out while you build your collection, just don't expect that to fly in a competition. Your 30 card deck should have 8-14 cards that bring dice or remain in play as a support or ability with the rest split between mitigating damage or control and building up your scheme. The website SWDestinyDB is a great resource to track your collection, look up cards, and see decks other people have made and play tested, You can also watch tutorials and such on the official site from Fantasy Flight Games.
Here is a brief breakdown of each wave released so far and some of the characters featured which might tell you where to spend your money on boosters. You can also grab singles from many online retailers or eBay to get your favorite characters or to get the deck cards to support them. While you can certainly make decent teams on the cheap I will say teams featuring these characters tend to be more expensive because the characters are Legendary and coveted so the price is around $20 a die or more (Darth Vader from Awakenings, Emperor Palpatine, Sabine Wren, Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker from Awakenings, and Thrawn.
Awakenings - The first set so a lot of foundation cards are here featuring many of the franchise's biggest characters and vehicles like the Millennium Falcon are only in this set. It originally sold out and was reprinted when the game took off. It is still relatively available.
- Legendary Characters - Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Captain Phasma, Han Solo, Jabba the Hut, Poe Dameron
- Uniques - Leia Organa, Admiral Ackbar, Qui Gon JInn, Bala-Tik, Padme Amidala, Count Dooku, Jango Fett, General Veers, General Grievious
- Non-Uniques - First Order Storm Trooper, Tusken Raider, Padawan, Hired Gun, Nightsister, Rebel Trooper
- Hot cards - Holdout Blaster, Crime Lord, Millennium Falcon, Thermal Detonator, Second Chance, Force Choke, Backup Muscle
Spirit of Rebellion - This set is very aggressive and some of the most expensive cards are in this set like an ability called Force Speed which allows you to take several actions at once which is typically $40-$70 dollars to buy on its own, as well as weapons like Vibroknife which ignore shields and so every deck needs them. This set is likely to be the next one to get scarce but some stores still stock it, and a couple gravity feeds can be found on a few websites.
- Legendary Characters - Baze Malbus, Chewbacca, IG-88, Emperor Palpatine, Director Krennic, Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Uniques - Chirrut Imwe, Jyn Erso, Maz Kanata, Aurra Sing, FN 2199, Darth Vader (Young Vader), Unkar Plott, Asajj Ventress, Luminara Unduli, Mon Mothma, Temmin "Snap" Wexley
- Non-Uniques - Death Trooper, Guavian Enforcer, Jedi Acolyte, Outer Rim Smuggler, Rebel Commando, Royal Guard, Tie Pilot
- Hot Cards - Force Speed, Maz's Goggles, Z6 Riot Control Baton, Vibroknife, C-3PO, Fast Hands, Rocket Launcher
Empire at War - The last set to drop which fills out much of the Star Wars universe and works to make certain deck types like vehicle decks and blue hero decks more viable. It is nearing the end of its first printing and a second dose is rumored to be coming so it should be one of the easier sets to find for now. There are a lot of expensive cards in here at least for now so not a bad place to gamble.
- Legendary Characters - Mace Windu, Sabine Wren, Seventh Sister, K-2SO, Thrawn, Grand Inquisitor, Cad Bane, Ahsoka Tano
- Uniques - Bossk, Ciena Ree, General Hux, Quinlan Vos, Bazine Natal, General Rieekan, Hera Syndulla, Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, Lando Calrissian
- Non-Uniques - Servant of the Dark Side, Magnaguard, Gamorrean Guard, Wookie Warrior, Rookie Pilot, Jedi Instructor
- Hot Cards - Master of the Council, Ancient Lightsaber, LR1K Sonic Cannon, X-8 Night Sniper, Relby V-10 Mortar Gun
Legacies - Has been announced and adds two new dynamics in "in-direct damage" which is damage that your opponent has to deal with but gets to pick how to assign it, as well as Plot cards which will count toward your team score and grant different bonuses that can make teams that don't add up to 30 more viable and open up some new pairings. What we know so far.
Legendary Characters - Doctor Aphra
Uniques - Obi-Wan Kenobi, Wedge Antilles, Mother Talzin
(Rumored Characters with unknown rarity - Yoda, Darth Maul)
Non-Uniques - None yet spoiled
Hot Cards - Obi-Wan's Lightsaber
Rivals - A draft format pack - (I discuss this set in the link) For those coming to this game from one like Magic the Gathering you can pair the Rivals set with a collection of boosters to do a draft (6 packs) or a sealed (8 packs) battle. The cards in the Rivals pack are neutral so they can be paired with either heroes or villains and will likely feature versatile cards that should help any team. This is supposedly coming in Dec 2017 unless it is delayed to coincide with Legacies. Not pictured is a 6 point Jawa character which is the first Neutral (Grey) character.