Written by Dion Cracknell
Hi readers, my name is Dion Cracknell and I hail from Adelaide, Australia. At the recent Galactic Qualifier in Sydney, I placed 2nd with a 5-1 record at the Day 1 Standard event among a field of 46. I took the highly touted Satine droids lineup with me to the event, and although I didn’t bring anything revolutionary to the list, perhaps my thoughts and insights into key meta matchups will be of benefit to anyone tuning in.
I’ve considered myself an avid Destiny player since I was first introduced to the game just prior to the launch of Legacies. I’m a pretty competitive individual, and so, it was only natural to throw myself into the game and try to get as good as possible, as quickly as possible despite having some catching up to do with a full block of cards already out. Becoming a patreon of various content creators, joining their discords and listening to podcasts helped speed up this process. The noticeable jump in ability, and subsequent results, came when I formed a team at the local store (Greenlight Comics) with my good friend, Luke Bartter, and brother, Aden Cracknell. Thus far, I’ve competed in the 2018 and 2019 Regionals, a 2018 Store Championship, the 2018 Australian National Championship and now the most recent 2019 Sydney Galactic Qualifier, and hope the game continues to stay strong for many competitive events to come.
A little background into my Destiny journey thus far, and now on to the deck and the Sydney Galactic Qualifier.
The Deck and GQ Preparation
As you can see, there’s nothing revolutionary about the list. It’s modelled from Joe Colon’s list that was taken to GenCon 2019, with some very minor adjustments. Near Miss over a second Flank is a change I made keeping in mind rounds where I would roll the droids in early to spike a character or disrupt their resources. In these situations, Flank is almost always a dead card. On the other hand, Near Miss is a dead card as soon as one of the droids go down, but it was a risk I was willing to take over including the second copy of Flank, which sometimes can invite poor sequencing. The exclusion of a Hired Muscle for an A300 Blaster is another change I made after the results of Gen Con. Hired Muscle has some big die sides and great versatility when combined with the droids but I never saw myself playing it in testing in favour of Fickle Mercenaries or Resistance Crait Speeder. The A300 Blaster provided valuable redeploy, ranged sides and disrupt that could potentially be used for the auto-disrupt game the droids like to play.
The reason for electing to play Satine droids was simple. The droids are so versatile in what they do, Fateful Companions provides large amounts of value while both are alive, and opponents have more trouble interacting with their character dice in comparison to other ramp decks. At the back end of the Legacies meta, I found myself playing another one of Joe Colon’s highly touted creations, ‘Drive by Shooting’. I had some success at the local level with this build and watched a ton of content about how to play this one. The Satine droids feels similar in how you sequence your round and the ability to spike an opposition character quite early, albeit less fair than the ‘Drive by Shooting’ model.
Leading up to the Sydney GQ and prior to the results of the 2019 North American Championship at GenCon, the majority of testing for this deck was done against Aphra, Vader, Reylo and Ewoks. Despite Field Medic and the chance for the droids to disrupt Vader’s opening resources on turn 1, his ability to naturally roll big piles of damage and Fear and Dead Men were causes for headaches during testing. You could potentially put this down to Luke, my main testing partner, being exceptionally good with Vader but with the emergence of Reylo and Ewoks, we felt Vader wouldn’t have a strong representation at the GQ and I persisted with the droids. Once the results from GenCon had spread throughout the community, the team knew for certain that Satine Droids, the Destiny Council’s Chopper droids and Mike Gemme’s tournament winning Ewoks list would be representing a large percentage of the field. Our testing then primarily focused on these three decks, with the main focuses for me being 1) trying to stem the large flow of indirect damage from the Ewoks and delay the inevitability of the Arena of Death battlefield, and 2) finding the best approach to beating Chopper droids. The matchup into the latter felt dreadful when the Chopper droids could action cheat into a two-disrupt play, so test games became about accepting that the disrupt play was inevitable for the first couple rounds of the game and trying to play around it. I felt an early Entourage or Resistance Crait Speeder, rather than an upgrade, would help Satine droids fight their way back from that early setback, as well as a piece of zero cost mitigation, like Hidden Motive or Electromagnetic Pulse. This became part of my mulligan strategy into the Chopper droids matchup at the tournament.
Before I get stuck into the Day 1 Standard event, I wanted to express my excitement at having the opportunity to be a part of the first Galactic Qualifier event held in Australia. This was a massive win for the Australian Destiny community, who up until this point, has largely been invisible to FFG Organized Play. The structure of the GQ encourages more casual players to attend, but still holds a strong sense of competitiveness. Aside from some of the prize playmats given out at the major events across the globe, featuring some gorgeous artwork, the spot gloss cards are the ultimate swag in the game. The opportunity for Australian players to get their hands on these without going to the secondary market and paying ludicrous shipping rates brought excitement to so many faces and I hope the chance arises to host these events in future.
Round 1 – eKylo3/eRey3/Temporary Truce (Gary Ward)
This match was played against a friendly guy from Melbourne named Gary, who I ended up playing three times throughout the weekend. He was on the Reylo pairing which is a lot of fun to pilot when resolving specials, moving shields and playing its trick cards from hand. I won the mulligan, elected to take my battlefield and opened with a Droids’ Day Out (DDO) to eat his resources. Two-wide decks that rely heavily on upgrades struggle with this play, but my opponent managed to find his way out of that predicament by rolling and resolving a couple resources early to set himself up for future rounds. Throughout the match, I struggled to ramp out and handle his shields and specials, which meant spiking the first character took much longer than expected. I was always trying to be wary of the potential No Mercy/Draw Closer play and at one point, a timely removal of a melee side prevented a No Mercy that would have dealt the exact damage needed to spike C-3PO off the board. I defeated Kylo Ren but that left a loaded-up Rey, who is a tank and can really draw out games. My opponent managed to shield up and mitigate my most dangerous dice, and eventually the end of round came. We calculated damage dealt and discovered we were tied. We then went to the next tiebreaker – cards in hand and deck – where my opponent had nine cards left in hand and deck…and I had ten! WOW! This was a game that was closer than I wanted it to be but I was happy to come away with that round 1 win, as I didn’t want to start off on the back foot like I had in the Trilogies event earlier in the day.
Result: Win (1-0)
Round 2 – eYoda2/eBail (Kaveka Pereira)
Round 2 saw me face another shield-heavy deck, but this time it was the new Yoda from the Spark of Hope set teamed up with Bail Organa. This deck was piloted by a member of our Adelaide Destiny crew, Kaveka, who is a strong player with a top 2 finish at our last Store Championship in 2018. I had played a couple of games in testing against this deck, so I knew what to expect. It was going to be hard to keep Kav off playing Admiral, since You Are In Command Now, stacked with Bail’s passive ability, allows it to be played for just two resources. I found during testing that Yoda resets were not as devastating as Palpatine – Unlimited Power resets, so I felt like if I could get a solid ramp, mitigate Yoda’s 3X melee and the Admiral special where I could, and keep Yoda off shields, I would be in a good position to win. Early in this match, Kav managed to get off an Ataru Strike on R2-D2 for 6 damage, at which point I had to play a bit more defensive, opting to play two copies of Republic Cruiser and resolving the special for shields. My mindset here was to keep R2-D2 alive for as long as possible to draw as much value out of the Fateful Companions plot. By the time R2-D2 was defeated, I had ramped out a powerful board state, with two copies of Resistance Crait Speeder and Entourage, to go along with the Cruisers and a Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle. Kav managed to do a good job of mitigating the most dangerous of my dice, and when I noticed we were close to time and Yoda was out of kill-shot, the strategy shifted to dealing as much damage into Bail as possible. At the end of round, I had dealt more damage and came away with a win from another grindy match.
Result: Win (2-0)
Round 3 – eChopper/eR2-D2/C-3PO (Aaron Chapman)
Aaron is a friend from the Perth community who I previously played at the 2018 Nationals event. That day I came away with the win but wasn’t super confident I could repeat that considering the lineup I was sitting across from, combined with the fact that he’s another strong player. He opened with the two-disrupt play from a DDO to eat my resources. I tried working around this with Satine and R2-D2 before activating C-3PO, but Aaron prevented my ramp by mitigating my character dice. By the end of the first round, I had only managed to get a Fickle Mercenaries on the board, and I felt like I was in a terrible position. Round 2 I focused on sneaking in a bit of damage while recovering my board state to set myself up for a Round 3 action cheat to snipe a character. Aaron’s R2-D2 and Chopper were both well protected with shields, so I decided to target C-3PO, with the aim of negating the effectiveness of R2-D2’s activation ability. Turn 3 I drew into an Ewok Ambush and my R2-D2, armed with a Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle, was able to roll in and, with a C-3PO activation pump to the Rifle, I was able to knock his C-3PO off the board. A timely DDO the next round allowed me to pour in more unmitigable damage and from this point on, the match was in my favour. Aaron had a few unfortunate rolls that prevented him from getting back into the game and I finished the match with no dead characters.
Result: Win (3-0)
Round 4 – eC-3PO/R2-D2/Chopper/Built to Last (Gareth Angeli)
The pseudo droid mirrors continued in round 4 where I played an interesting Built to Last variant of Chopper droids, piloted by another Melbourne player, Gareth. My first mistake was winning the initial roll-off and electing to take his battlefield, as he opened with a Rex’s Blaster Pistol, and with battlefield control and action cheating cards, this can have a devastating impact. My thought was to go for C-3PO in this matchup, seeing as he had two dice and knocking him off would shut down the activation triggers that R2 and 3PO have together. I tend to stay away from attacking Chopper first because of the ability for my opponent to overwrite a free droid mod upgrade, like Salvaged Arm or Grappling Arm, into a Riot Shield. Furthermore, not being able to get to their first character quick enough can have terrible consequences for the opposing player. I honestly don’t remember a lot of specific plays or moments from this match but deep into the match it wasn’t looking too great for me. I was behind on damage, and Gareth had some big unique upgrades, with redeploy, out on his droids. I managed to sequence my round in a way that prevented him getting extra value from his redeployed weapons after I managed to kill his Chopper, leaving him with his R2. My supports piled on indirect damage, and suddenly, I was in a position to win the match – Gareth’s last character only had 2 health left, my Satine was showing a focus and a resource and I had a Fickle Mercenaries in hand ready to play if needed. Both myself and my opponent were a bit shocked that the game had turned on a dime but strong sequencing leading up to the final round, with the help of some lucky rolls, put myself in a strong position to steal the victory.
Result: Win (4-0)
Round 5 – eChopper/eR2-D2/C-3PO (Luke Bartter)
Although it was bound to happen at some point, the dreaded team pair-up came in the fifth round of swiss. I wasn’t particularly confident that I would be able to continue my strong run past this point, seeing as Luke had repeatedly beaten me up in this matchup during testing, and I consider him among the best handful of players in Australia. I lost the roll-off and he elected to go first, opening with a DDO to eat my starting resources. He proceeded to open with an action-cheat card into the two disrupt for the next two rounds, and although I managed to edge my way back and get him down to one character, I always felt I was playing from behind. A Convergence to wipe my first Entourage off the board early was a huge play from him, along with a terrible misplay from myself in the first round. Even though I noted Luke’s two resources and that he had the potential to steal it away, I decided to play a Fickle Mercenaries to try and push more damage through and race him. He paid the two resources to stole it. My other option was to incite a double pass and go to the next round, which in hindsight, I should have allowed but I took a risk. He didn’t manage to get much value out of my Fickle before I stole it back later in the match, but it still had some impact on the outcome and was my only notable misplay of the event. However, the credit must go to my teammate for forcing me into a position where I made a poor decision. This match was a long one, both players taking their time on sequencing and decision-making but it was Luke who pushed through the damage needed to take out my last character.
Result: Loss (4-1)
Round 6 – eC-3PO/R2-D2/eSatine/Fateful Companions (Almerick Li)
Almerick, or Almo as we like to call him, is a good friend we made back at the 2018 Nationals event and was my final round pairing for the Day 1 Standard event. He’s a super strong player who went undefeated in swiss and finished in the Top 4 at that same Nationals, and I knew I would have my work cut out for me. Unlike the previous mirrors, I was happy to opt for the DDO play to disrupt his two opening resources since Satine droids suffers from this play more so than the other droid variants. Early round two I slapped a Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle down on Satine and swung the game heavily in my favour, taking down his R2-D2 and piling heavy damage into his own Satine. Almo managed to fight back with his own Entourage/Fickle Mercenaries ramp, sniping my Satine off the board but at this point, he was left with his 3PO and I had both droids left kitted with a couple upgrades. Next round, I drew into my second DDO, and the activation of both droids was enough to kill off his final character. The mirror can go either way and a lot comes down to luck and draws but being able to apply heavy damage pressure early to your opposition is perhaps the key to victory in this mirror. I would recommend prioritising Chewbacca’s Blaster Rifle in your opening hand for anyone encountering this mirror at future events.
Result: Win (5-1)
I was super happy with the 5-1 finish, seeing as I was most focused on doing well in the Day 1 Standard event. I brought along three other decks (Palpatine/Wat, Reylo and Mace/Aayla) for the other events to keep things fresh but I was under no illusion that they would do as well as the Satine droids deck. Coming away with some extra tickets to put towards those juicy spot gloss prizes was a bonus for a great showing in a strong field of players.
Firstly, I’d like to thank Adam Wiseman, who was the head judge for the entire weekend and made sure each event ran super smoothly. Thank you to Kieren Otton and his team for their hard work to make the event possible and lay down the foundations to hopefully have more Galactic Qualifier events in Australia. Special shout out to Blake Moody, the two-time Australian National Champion in Destiny, who has also provided me with this platform to recount the event and express my thoughts on this great game. The Australian Destiny scene will greatly benefit from more content creation coming from within its own community and players. Lastly, thank you to my teammates for the frequent discussion and hours put in grinding games away.
If you made it to this point, thank you for tuning in and devoting your time to this report. Looking ahead, I’ll now be putting my focus into the Prime Championship (Regionals) here in Adelaide and the Grand Championship (Nationals) being held in Melbourne. Hope to see you there!