Join Scwont as he takes a deep dive into the Redemption release party meta.
Recently one fine Sunday (or cold Saturday, if you prefer), the Destiny community came together to celebrate the release of the second ARH set, Redemption. Once again the ARH team did a great job of rallying the troops for a release event, and once again everyone showed how much enthusiasm there is for new Destiny sets, and thumbed their noses at the d*** g*** naysayers. And congratulations of course to Rainmaker, who casually won the whole thing with Leia/Anakin!
Sadly I wasn’t able to play in the tournament myself or to watch too much of the live stream coverage, since (not so sadly) I was enjoying a holiday at the beach with my family. Yes it’s summer here, and yes we aren’t in full Covid-19 alert mode right now. In any case, I’m not only a Destiny nerd but a stats nerd, so I spent far too much time compiling data from the lists that were kindly made available via tabletop.to, and I figured I should share the results as my belated contribution to the event.
The attendance numbers tell a very encouraging tale:
- 156 players registered for the event
- 140 players played at least 1 game
- 139 lists were submitted
- 135 lists were valid/legible and used for the analysis in this article
I would hazard a guess that this was the biggest online Destiny event ever. If I’m wrong, let me know in the comments section below. If you’re the editor, let me know if there’s no comments section below (Editor’s Note: There is no comments section, maybe I’ll add one).
A few things to note about the data:
- For the purposes of this article I’m going to talk about the 135 lists I could extract data from as though that was the entire field. The remainder form a small portion of the overall numbers, and none placed highly enough to feature in the top deck stats.
- For stats involving characters I counted every occurrence of each character, so for example a team with 2 x Pirate Loyalists contributed 2 to the count.
- I’ve labelled Redemption cards with a * to help them stand out.
- I didn’t collect any data about cards in decks, for the sake of my time and sanity. I’m going to hazard a wild guess that Merchant Freighter was the most widely played card.
In each category I looked at the overall field (all 135 eligible lists), as well as the decks that went 5-1 or better in the Swiss rounds (15 lists). Apologies to JrakPin and Norman who made top 16 as the highest seeded players with 4-2 records, but missed out on being included based on my criteria; for the record they played Hondo/Kragan and Jyn/Cassian respectively.
Do my eyes deceive me? A meta where hero decks outnumber villains by almost 2 to 1, and not just due to one or two broken decks? It’s early days of course, but so far it’s looking like the pendulum has swung in a different direction than we’ve often seen in Destiny’s history.
Looking at top decks, there isn’t a significant difference, with hero still having the edge but villain still in the picture.
Yellow characters were the most popular choice overall, but all 3 main colours saw plenty of play when we look at individual character representation.
The top decks tell a more definitive story. The Faltering Allegiances meta felt very blue with Taron-Vader ruling the roost for most of that era, and then Luke-Obi making a strong showing at the tail end after a Balance of the Force update. Yellow has come charging out of the gate with Redemption, looking very strong – or should I say headstrong?
Looking at a team level, we see mono decks remaining prevalent, even without the free access to United that they used to enjoy. Meanwhile, remarkably there was only a single rainbow deck in the event – it was not very long ago that you needed a good reason to not utilise all 3 colours. For the record, this outlier was a hero mill lineup (Lor/Greez/Sniper) piloted by ShadyBuffalo, who took it to a 4-2 record.
For the purposes of this stat, I didn’t include grey characters as an additional colour, since they generally don’t add anything in that regard (apart from one or two cards which require you to spot grey). As it happens, there were 2 mono-colour decks and 1 two-colour deck with a grey character.
The top decks reinforce that there is good cause to play mono-colour in this meta, other than just making deckbuilding choices a bit simpler when applying filters in swdestiny.db.
Faltering Allegiances and rotation saw a renaissance of 2-wide decks and upgrades, and the early indication is that Redemption solidifies this in the early ARH era, even with some strong supports in the set which are the traditional friend of 3+ wide decks.
As you’d expect from such a skewed distribution, it largely carried over to the top decks as well. All of the 3-wide decks here were some form of Pirate deck.
What stands out here is how well represented Redemption characters were in the event. This is a huge credit to the design team for making so many new characters that are fun and playable, but also to the community for taking on the spirit of the release tournament and trying out new decks!
- 153 out of 278 characters were from Redemption
- 123 out of 135 decks used at least 1 character from Redemption
- 31 out of 35 characters from Redemption appeared in at least one deck. The “challenge accepted” category consists of:
- Bothan Spy
- Tenth Brother
The most heavily played character was Transformations Han. Not too much of a surprise as the value he provides for his cost is well known. The most heavily played character from Redemption was Ackbar. A raft of other Redemption characters also hit double figures, as well as Ahsoka who gained a couple of strong new partners in Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
|Imperial Death Trooper||2|
|Jawa Junk Dealer||2|
In the top decks we see Pirates coming to the forefront, while Han’s non-Dash partners dropped off. It’s also clear that there are plenty of strong character options in Redemption.
There were 73 distinct character lineups played in the event, meaning over half the field were on different decks. The most popular was eAckbar, the one-Mon army. Dash/Han followed close behind, and there is a big gap down to the next most popular lineups. The Pirate archetype was popular overall, but there was a wide range of different character combinations.
Dash/Han was the most played lineup out of the top decks, with Ackbar dropping off compared to his overall popularity but still proving that playing him was not a trap. 5 different Pirate decks with either Hondo or Kragan appear in this list though, suggesting the supporting cards play the key role. Time will tell if an optimal Pirate lineup will eventually rise to the top.
I can’t recall if the balance between decks with plots and without plots was a stated aim of the ARH design team, but if it was then they can take a bow on this as well. It was close to an even split, with 55% of lineups utilising a plot.
Once again an older card was the most represented in this category, but a new contender was close behind. Redemption still did its part in the #1 position by offering up a bunch of new 30-point Sith+Apprentice combinations, giving Rule of Two its time to shine. The Ultimate Heist was a key part of the new treasure given to Pirates to help bring them to the forefront. The recently rebalanced United rounds out the clear top 3 – all but one of those were courtesy of Ackbar, who doesn’t need a partner to be united. I don’t know that much about squids, but I’m guessing it’s an asexual reproduction thing.
The only Redemption plot that didn’t get played was Sound the Horn. As a diehard Ewok fan (yes, we do exist and no, you can’t hit me if you throw things at your screen), this just tells me there is a gap in the meta begging to be filled!
|Rule of Two||13|
|Any Means Necessary||2|
|Destroy the Death Star||2|
|*Watch Your Career||2|
|Rescue Han Solo||1|
|Allies of Necessity||1|
By comparison, the complete absence of Rule of Two is notable when looking at the top decks. The strong showing of Pirates is clear here, with The Ultimate Heist being the standout plot. The top decks also reinforce that decks without a plot can still provide a viable option (particularly if they happen to be Dash and Han).
An interesting trifecta is completed across the categories: an existing card taking top spot and a new one in second place. Salt Flats is a tried and true staple of decks that can muster a Leader or two (and may have even showed up in at least one Leader-less lineup). Cyber Center gave it a good run for its money, being an easier fit in a wide range of decks. In fact, there were 11 different character lineups appearing on this battlefield.
Mean Streets was also prevalent, mainly thanks to a certain scruffy-looking nerf-herder. Although there were 19 Hans and 19 Mean Streetses, there were actually 3 Han decks without Mean Streets and 3 Mean Streets deck without Han.
After the ARH team took the cautious approach and went battlefield-free with Faltering Allegiances, Redemption saw the self-imposed shackles startcome off. All 4 of the new battlefields saw play in this event, and their numbers compared to the existing options suggest the design team did a good job of getting the balance right.
|Pyke Syndicate Mine||2|
|Snoke’s Throne Room||1|
The picture looks quite different among the top decks, with Mean Streets clearly ahead. The variety of battlefields here is very encouraging, especially with the era of Theed Palace still pretty fresh in our collective memory.
Looking through Redemption once all the cards were available on swdestinydb, I realised I hadn’t been this excited to build new decks with a new set in a while. I felt like Redemption delivered interesting new deckbuilding possibilities in droves, and the release tournament proved this is definitely the case!