Denver GQ Winner Writeup: Snoke Is Still Supreme

This last weekend I competed in the Denver GQ (along with fellow Cloud City Rollers AJ, Cheshire, and Jacob). For both Standard events I ran an eSnoke/eWatto/First Order Stormtrooper deck (though slightly different lists). On Sunday I went 6-0 to take the GQ win.

I think we all know why this deck is broken. The Snoke/Watto/FOST combination lets you use the best villain cards and generate tons of resources to pay for high cost upgrades. In Watto, Snoke was given a partner with a die that not only has 50% resource sides, but is very difficult to mitigate. This almost guarantees that you will be able to get Snoke’s Power Action off. I don’t want to get too deep into a negative meta wormhole, but I would say that while still beatable, this deck’s potential is absolutely unmatched.

However, that didn’t stop me from going 3-3 on Saturday with a very similar list! I was running a few more supports and upgrades that day, including two Handheld L-S1 Cannons, two Dark Councils, and one Senate Chamber. After the first day of the GQ, I took most of these out in exchange for better mitigation such as Entangle and Beguile. I also added two Mind Extractions. Now, on to the Sunday games!

Round 1 – eLeia Organa/eCassian Andor (David F.)

I was able to get a Vader’s Fist down early and put pressure on Leia. It was a pretty even match until I hit Cassian with a Mind Extraction after he had activated that round. After I killed Leia, his mill potential slowed down to a crawl.

Round 2 – eLor San Tekka/Leia Organa/Anakin Skywalker (Matt W.)

We started our match without realizing that the timer hadn’t officially started. Matt got ahead with a very good first round, as he was able to get Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer out. Unfortunately, I was not able to use Snoke’s Power Action on Watto or the FOST for money (Watto rolled four blanks in a row). Then we heard the judge let everyone know that the current match wasn’t going to count. Due to an error with one of the previous round’s results, we were likely going to have to re-pair.

After a short interval, we were informed that the issue was resolved and we wouldn’t have to re-pair after all. In our second game I had a much better start, but Matt still got Anakin’s Podracer out in the first round. This was a very intimidating mill deck to face.

We were a couple of rounds in when Matt played a Force Meditation and discovered that he did not have the corresponding die. According to tournament rules, if you don’t have all material for your deck with you, then you are disqualified. The judge left it up to me to decide if I wanted to continue to play or just take the win. I agreed to keep playing (I thought it was only fair, given my luck with the re-pairing shenanigans). Matt quickly borrowed a Force Meditation die from a friend, and we played out the game. It was very close; we went to time with me having only two cards left in my hand.

Round 3 – eMace Windu/eSatine Kryze/Built to Last (Mike E.)

This is a nasty deck if it gets going. Luckily I was able to focus Mace and take him out by the third round with a couple of Fickle Mercenaries, a Vader’s Fist, and Megablaster Troopers. Satine fell the following round.

Round 4 – ePalpatine/eWat Tambor (Jonathon R.)

This was a worrying matchup because I had played Jonathon the previous day in Trilogy and he was my only loss that day (I ended up with a 4-1-split). He took the Trilogy GQ 6-0, and knows how to pilot his deck expertly. Unfortunately, not much went right for Jonathon this game. I was able to get an early Fist and immediately started putting damage on Palpatine—he was almost dead by the end of round 2. Jonathon miscalculated my damage and scooped while Palpatine still could have lived with one health going into the next round. Maybe that would have changed things, but I was ahead by quite a bit in this one, including a potential Mind Extraction instant kill.

Round 5 – ePalpatine/eWatto (James L.)

This was one of the most stressful Destiny games I’ve ever played. Both of our starts were awful. The only support I got in my opening hand was Fickle Mercenaries, but James’ Watto wasn’t giving him many resources. At the end of round 1, James had two cards in hand. I Probed him, and he showed me one Force Storm and one Palpatine’s Lightsaber. I focused into Watto’s discard side and Power Actioned with Snoke to discard both of the cards.

The following rounds were not much better for either of us. Though James didn’t get Force Storm and therefore dealt minimal damage, I also didn’t get any more supports until round 4. At that point I had tons of resources to play them and started dishing out damage. By then the match timer had been winding down for a while, and we were clearly playing what was going to be our last and most intense round.

The game ended with both of us dealing the same amount of damage to each other, but I had one more card remaining in my deck and hand than James.

Round 6 – eCaptain Phasma/Sentinel Messenger/Retribution (Steven H.)

This is a scary deck. I was able to get down the Entourage package round 1 (both Entourages and both Fickle Mercenaries), but wasn’t able to deal that much damage. Steven started going after Snoke, so the clock was ticking.

In round 2 I made a huge misplay (or rather, I missed a huge opportunity). I could have mitigated Steven’s dice (which weren’t showing damage yet) to guarantee that Snoke lived with one health. This would have allowed me to use Snoke’s focus sides to turn the Entourages to specials (10 damage) and kill Phasma, ensuring victory. Instead, I opted to keep the money and save my mitigation for after his reroll. This is when disaster stuck. He rerolled into three two ranged damage sides, and no amount of mitigation could save Snoke (due to the Retribution plot). I thought that this was the end of my run, but continued trying to naturally land the specials on my two Entourage dice. I got one of the specials and landed some chip damage with my Fickle Mercenaries dice.

Round 3 was as brutal as round 2. My opponent played a Megablaster Troopers, I lost my FOST, and Watto was taken down to only three health. I ended up with one card left in hand (Megablaster Troopers), five resources, and my two Fickle Mercenary dice in the pool showing non-damage. Playing Megablaster Troopers at this point without being able to spot a leader seemed wasteful. I needed to get damage through, so I opted to pitch the card for a reroll. What a reroll it was! The Fickle dice landed on a two ranged and a three-for-one ranged side.

I then had to make one of the toughest decisions of the tournament— kill Phasma (who had a Mind Extraction on her and had already rolled out) or kill the Sentinel, who hadn’t rolled out yet. Maybe this was an easy decision, but it took me a while to figure out. I decided that Phasma needed to die because she gives the Megablasters an additional die, the Sentinel’s two melee side was not enough to kill Watto, and I needed my opponent to activate the Sentinel so I could Claim the battlefield and take initiative going into the last round. Luckily for me, he did activate the Sentinel but did not hit damage.

At the start of the final round, we both needed three damage to win the game. Activating an Entourage wasn’t too bad of an option, as it has a two in six chance of landing on three indirect damage or a special. However, a Fist is always better. I drew one into my hand that round, and as I had six resources, I was able to play it and roll it in. It hit shields, and though I was looking for any of its four damage sides, the shields side was also good. Those along with a Forsaken and a Riot Shield bought me enough time to roll the Fist again (hitting damage). My opponent had no mitigation, and the game was over.

Final Thoughts

The tournament was a lot of fun. Using the Best Coast Pairing app for pairings and results reporting was great because we avoided having to scrabble around with pieces of paper. Most importantly, it allowed us to keep a record of our opponents and their decks. While browsing through the ‘Placings’ I noticed something pretty cool—four of the six opponents I faced went 5-1 (Steven, Matt, Jonathon, and James). No wonder all my games were such close, intense matches. Thank you to everyone for the games, and thank you to Nick for being a great judge at the event!

From left to right: AJ, Cheshire, Arroz_con_Mango, Jacob