Only the strongest shall rule Mandalore!

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For those that know me, they will know I am a huge Maul fan and when ‘Maul – Skilled Duelist’ was spoiled in Spark of Hope I was 100% set on playing him. 

The big/little archetype has been a thing in Destiny from the start. While they have fallen in and out of favour with the tide of meta changes I believe they still have a position in the current meta. While they might not be the cream of the crop they once were, if played well they can muster an offence that can pressure an opponent to play on the back foot. But that doesn’t mean they are easy to play, in fact it’s the opposite. These deck archetypes require accurate action execution, a game plan and an acceptance of their weaknesses. 

First of all, I want to talk about the difference between ‘Maul – Skilled Duelist’ and ‘Darth Vader – Terror to Behold’.

Most will argue Vader is better, they might be right, but it’s not that clear cut! They are different beats, Maul is a mini ‘Fear and Dead Men’, he has more partner options and technically only has a 2 damage output behind Vader for 3 points less and 2 less HP, which is balanced out or slightly ahead of Vader with his spread damage power action, lack of paid sides and larger pool of partner options

Now onto the deck itself. This build is kind of the opposite of what you expect for a big little. eMaul – Skilled Duellist, partnered with a Mandalorian Super Commando. Which isn’t just a bit fluffy, it’s also practical. Now I said it’s not what you’d expect cause in this case the Commando is your build character and Maul is the support character… yep, that’s right, the big is the support!

No, I’m not crazy. Maul is clearly going to be the main target and so he should be, if left free to skilfully duel whoever he wants, he will carve his way to dark glory.

Upgrade Package

The deck has some very solid upgrades not seen in many decks. Maul has his greatest weapon, his saber. Which might be one of the best upgrades in the game, while on Maul. There is also Darksaber, now this maybe more of a fluff include but with redeploy, solid base side’s and some really beneficial sides not seen often in the deck it’s a justifiable inclusion and there are a few upgrades we can put on Maul early game that lead into either Maul’s Saber or Darksaber mid game.

Dooku’s lightsaber and Resilient (which pairs extremely well with Retribution) are the build upgrades.

Mandalorian Super Commando, has a larger array of upgrade targets which is part of the plan as they are the build character in this deck. Mandalorian Vambraces, Energy Bow, DX-2 Disruptor Blaster Pistol and Pulse Cannon. Which all add dice symbols not shown on our starting dice that are game impacting, especially disrupt and discard. These will help us interact against our opponents game plan and as we can Power Action them in, to net us a point of damage to squeeze out extra value for their cheap cost.

I want to mention while there are upgrades clearly designed to be played on Maul, these exist because you need to maintain him as the target and give him a extra bit of bite!

Removal Package

The deck also includes a very solid removal package not to dissimilar to that found in most blue/yellow villain decks, so there isn’t really much to talk about here. But I want to point out the reasons behind the choice of cards as some of them may look funny at first glance, that being Forsaken as we are going to load up out single die character this makes it harder to play. But then again, we have Maul’s power action to turn it back on, resolving dice that don’t always match and or course if you opponent has a single die in play, it’s on. Hasty Exit is a one of to eliminate the chance of drawing two of them in one hand and the fact that giving up our battlefield to play it doesn’t give the opponent that big an advantage as it’s a claim ability. Even though Breaking Bonds is only soft mitigation its real protection is against downgrades such as Target Acquired seen in Ewok decks, but also the unseen and very damaging to Maul being Refusal, Hampered and Mind Extraction.

Maul’s Commando

The Mandalorian Super Commando has seen success in past metas combined with Mother Talzin and is a forgotten solid character at 9 HP, that can actually close a game out when we give them the tools to do so, with mini fist power actions of the pulse cannon and unblockable damage through the DX-2. Where the Commando really adds to the deck is its power action to maintain a constant damage output, granting access to the yellow package and a character that can close out the game, which in big/little decks can sometimes be an issue.

Happy coincidence…

The thematic factor of the deck is a happy coincidence, the time Maul ruled Mandalore from the shadows, wielded the Darksaber and had a loyal force of Mandalorian Commandos from The Death Watch. The inclusion of Darksaber is still the one upgrade I hum and haw about, but it isn’t terrible and really gets opponents attention when played on Maul. It has no blanks and its side are really quiet important as Maul is 20pts elite, 3 shields will keep Maul going, 3 discard has a huge disruption to your opponent’s turn and options, 4 focus sets up a lot of your other dice, 3 resource goes a long way for this deck and last but not least the damage side all get that nice +2 when you resolve them (not such a great target for Maul’s power action however) the other thing I want to mention is the claim on your battlefield with Darksaber which increases 4 of its side’s to greater game impactions for you which are the damage, discard and resource side’s. But the last thing is it has redeploy and while the Commando won’t increase any of its sides Darksaber still remains a solid upgrade and allows for a free Power Action override into a Pulse Cannon to save resources for said Pulse Cannon’s Power Action.

Extra factors

This deck has a lot of little combining factors that help make up for the smaller starting dice pool. These factors include:

  • The Mandalorian Super Commando’s Power Action to burn a point of damage.
  • Our battlefield, Comm Tower which acts like a +1 modifier to side shown on our die.
  • Maul’s Power Action to help start applying pressure to a 2nd target earlier in the game.
  • Retribution, still nets us damage from our character dice from opponents’ removal.
  • Resilient, when combined with Retribution can cause an awkward state of pro’s and con’s for opponents’ removal.
  • Pulse Cannon, giving us multiple resolutions of a single die.

The plot, battlefield, Commando’s and Maul’s Power Action combined all act like additional dice, so we could argue this feels like a 6 – 7 die starting deck.

Battlefield Choice

As most Destiny players will know choosing a battlefield to round out a deck can sometime be hard, we want something that is going to benefit us more then our opponent and there are two battlefields I see Maul players choosing a lot online and that is Fighting Pit and Theed Royal Palace. So I want to discuss why I didn’t choose these, Fighting Pit may allow extra damage from Maul’s dice without removing them, but it also causes him to take damage at the same time which will most likely not put you ahead in the game, late game it really doesn’t pair well with the Commando. Maul already has a Power Action re-roll that is better.

Theed Royal Palace is probably the most common battlefield used in the game and even though we are low on resource sides the deck has ramp cards to cover that and we have a high chance our opponent has brought it to the game for us. I’ve already mentioned and pointed out the benefits of Comm Tower for the deck, but what I didn’t mention is the fact that we want a battlefield that discourages our opponent from choosing it, as gaining the starting shields nets us extra health, but more importantly means we have 2 less HP to chew through. In saying that we have an average roll off of ‘4’ for the battlefield, which on average isn’t that far behind the average for this meta which is roughly ‘4.5’ and while ¾ of the meta plays plots, we can argue that we are much more likely to claim first and that Comm Tower greatly benefits our deck.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and gain some inspiration for building your own “non-meta” deck that can rule in the shadows like Maul!