If you haven’t read the intro article to this series, check it out here.
Also, here’s an example decklist.
- Her ability really helps protect herself and Bala.
- With 2 ranged black sides, and a focus, she is going to roll something that will help deal damage.
- 11 HP
- Random 1 discard side often isn’t that helpful.
- While her sides are decent, they still aren’t amazing.
- Her value takes into account her ability, bumping her point cost up from what her die sides are worth.
- Insane trigger effect that snowballs games.
- 8hp for 8 points.
- Only 1 black ranged damage side, only other damage being a modified side.
- Needs other dice to actually deal damage.
- 3 Black ranged damage sides.
- 7 hp for 7 cost.
- 2 blanks.
Overall character evaluation:
- 26 HP
- Guardian really helps protect the value characters, Bala and Phasma
- 3 dice with focus.
- The numbers on the dice aren’t as high as many of the other tier 1 decks.
The biggest strength of the deck is its incredible ability to control dice, and to do so especially well in early turns with the guardian keyword. A lot of decks will struggle to remove dice in the opening turn or 2, as they spend resources on upgrades, and are left without anything to pay for removal. With guardian, you can both play a 2 cost weapon, and on the same turn, direct the potential 3 damage side of your opponent away from your key characters. In addition to guardian, you have a lot of strong single die removal in Electroshock, Flank, He Doesn’t Like You, and a very reliable The Best Defense (you have 18 red HP). Additionaly, you have a reliable Disarm for your opponent’s high value early game upgrades (Redeploy guns and Holocrons).
The second biggest strength of the deck is a reliable Bala-Tik trigger. All of your early weapons get placed onto Bala with the goal of getting him 4 dice. Since you have such good early game removal, you can almost always kill an opponent’s character and trigger Bala’s ability before he dies. This turns an opponent’s first death, which is already rough, into an additional 3-6 damage on the next character, sometimes even more ( I’ve dealt 19 damage in one turn with 2 Bala triggers).
You have a lot of focus in this deck. This becomes really important because most ranged damage decks rely on just putting out a ton of weapons, your opponent removes the first few black sides, then you reroll at the end of the turn and deal damage with what’s left. Having the focus sides on your character dice really helps guarantee at least one black side for enabling the modifiers that plague ranged decks.
Often you can force your opponent to kill Trooper with guardian, he then kills Bala, and you’ve now given your ePhasma 15 extra hit points. Having your closing character also be your best character in a majority of games is really strong.
To be honest, there really aren’t that many. The biggest one is that you don’t have many options for pushing damage through your opponent’s removal. There isn’t a reliable Fight Dirty, Armed to the Teeth, Jango trigger, etc. You’ve got to play honest and make good use of the few action cheats you have available.
The deck can suffer from your opponent’s action cheats. Nothing feels worse than a Bala or Phasma dying while you still have a full HP Trooper.
How to play early-game:
Choose your opponent’s battlefield in most games, toss one shield on Bala and one on Trooper.
Mulligan for your 1-cost upgrades and/or Redeploy weapons/Logistics. If you draw it, keep He Doesn’t Like You. Being able to both play an upgrade AND control your opponent’s dice is a big deal. If you can afford to, also hold onto a Disarm, especially against another gun deck or blue villain.
Get upgrades onto Bala as quickly as possible such that when the Bala trigger does happen, he’s rerolling a lot of dice.
You almost never want to roll in the Trooper until your opponent has resolved all his dice, or you have a guardian opportunity. This is an especially big deal when your opponent has a die that could reroll into 3 damage. The game will be so much better for you if you take the 3 on the Trooper instead of Bala. Bala getting to trigger is a win condition, protect him.
Get a Hunker Down on the Trooper. This will allow you to force your opponent to waste damage on shields. This is especially true against ranged decks.
Use your removal. Once again I’m going to emphasize how important using Bala’s trigger can be for winning a game. Use your removal early and often so that you can keep Bala alive.
How to play mid-game:
Mid-game starts about turn 3 or 4, about when your Trooper or Bala is close to death.
Here is when you are really looking to set up an All In or Tactical Mastery play while you still have your character dice for focus in play, and several upgrades to increase your damage potential. With ranged decks, you quite often roll out modifiers but no base damage. Your opponent, when he sees a focus, is going to wait to use his removal on whatever you focus to. This will result in a huge swing play for you. Play the All In, or Tactical Mastery, resolve your focus and then your ranged and hit them for 4-5, or more. By now their characters are low, so this should be a kill, and a subsequent Bala trigger.
Keep playing your removal. You’re trying to play a game of attrition. You aren’t flashy, you just keep reducing your opponent’s damage while dealing a steady stream of damage yourself.
Make sure you play your Redeploys so that as Bala and Trooper die, Phasma gets loaded up.
How to play late-game:
Late game begins when you are left with just your Phasma.
By now you should have 5 dice on Phasma, but your control options are significantly hampered now. Just go out there and deal as much damage as you can. You’re probably going to hope you roll out a focus, so that you can make use of the All in or Tactical Mastery, and finish the game with it.
Claiming becomes tricky, you really do want to roll in first, but if you have the potential to win the game, it’s sometimes better to just reroll 4 times to try for the win. It ultimately comes down to reading the situation, and the likelihood of your opponent being able to kill you this turn, or to be able to action cheat or make some other play in the next turn. It’s hard to give a flat best choice, but search for the win condition, and play towards it.
As with all gun decks, reroll, reroll, reroll.
Play slowly. Your deck relies on guardian, which really slows down your action curve, as you don’t roll in Trooper until you can actually use guardian. On top of this, you love to be able to reroll into 4-10 damage at the end of the turn, so by playing slowly, you can force your opponent into a tricky spot where they’ve used thier actions/cards for the turn, and you still have 3-4 cards and plenty of dice to resolve.
Control, control, control.
Ultimately, you’re looking to win a game of attrition. Ramp up into lots of upgrades, reduce your opponent’s damage each turn, and chip away at them (you do get a couple of explosive turns from All in and Bala-Tik Triggers).
I usually roll Phasma first, as her die are solid on her own. If you roll out Bala first, you often don’t threaten your opponent, rolling something like a +2. Rolling Phasma can pressure your opponent, and force him to remove a die with his next action rather than setting up his own damage.
How to play against early-game:
Kill Bala-Tik if you think you can cheat enough damage through. Otherwise, just remove the trooper so that PBT can’t spread your damage out effectively.
Disrupt their ramp if you can. Their character dice won’t win the game for them, and the Bala trigger is trash if they don’t have at least 2 upgrades on him.
How to play against mid-game:
Be wary of the All in and Tactical Mastery plays. If you let them get off a 5-8 damage play, they will probably just win off of it.
Kill the Bala-Tik before he triggers at all costs.
How to play against late-game:
You still need to be wary of the explosive focus play.
There’s not a whole lot to say about playing against the deck. It’s a rather straightforward deck, it’s going to control you all game, and it has 4 burst plays.
Don’t claim too early or the deck will wreck you off of rerolls.
Holdout and F11-D
These are the upgrades that are by far the most important to draw and use in the deck. These are what enable the deck to excel, even after a character dies. If you don’t draw and use them, you are likely going to lose the game.
This card is sooo strong early game that I think it’s crazy to not run it. It often allows the play of 2 upgrades turn one, which is a big deal in a deck which relies so heavily on damage from its upgrades.
Flank functions extremely well with guardian. Since you want to use guardian, you keep the Trooper ready. The first damage your opponent rolls you flank, the second you guardian.
This is key for an attrition deck. Removing an early upgrade will reduce a ton of damage throughout the rest of the game. Not to mention how good it is for dealing with Holocron decks.
This card is a win condition for the deck. You have enough focus that you should eventually get one. Since Bala trigger is so strong, the All in’s effect is amplified when you pull it off. Not only can you do an unexpected 5-8 damage, you also get to reroll Bala’s dice.
I prefer to use this card as a miniature All in. I hate how luck based it is when you use it to roll out a character. Sure sometimes it’s worth making the play because the payoff is high enough. However, half the time you just roll poorly and you wasted a resource. Instead, wait for a focus to be showing, then play it and catch your opponent off guard.
This is actually one of your strongest matchups. Unless they get early Holocron usage, the deck has very few dice. You have a ton of great single die removal, and a guardian, so you’re able to really control Vader’s damage. On top of that, Vader has very few cheats with only Force Strike, so guardian is almost always going to work on him. You have a ton of pidley dice, none of which are particularly valuable on their own, so VR’s single die removal doesn’t hurt quite as much. Essentially, you win the control/attrition game.
My general advice is as follows:
- Try to have a Disarm ready for that first Holocron play.
- Never, ever, roll in Trooper while VR has rerolls left. Taking 3 to Bala really hurts.
- Remove Vader dice, even when they’re bad. Don’t forget that he can Force Strike you.
- Play around the potential for No Mercy.
- Kill Vader first, unless you see a turn 1 Holocron on Tusken, then you can kill him and look for a Bala trigger.
I feel like the sheer amount of single die removal really hampers VR and stops them from doing enough damage to win. You have more reliable ramp; eventually they won’t be able to remove enough dice and Vader will die. I’d say the matchup is something like 60-40.
This is perhaps your toughest matchup. It’s a two character deck so Bala’s trigger doesn’t mean as much, and it ramps better than you do. On top of this, it can cheat damage through your Guardian extremely well, so there’s a very real threat of Phasma dying first. That being said, if HR doesn’t get its action cheat going, your control can help you get an early lead, and you can win off of a Bala trigger advantage. Usually PBT wins games through attrition, but HR is just better at it with Second Chance and shields on Han.
- Kill Rey first and get that Bala trigger. Once you’ve done that, you can probably keep enough pressure up on Han to force him to start looping Second Chance instead of dealing damage.
- Never choose their battlefield.
- Play around Riposte.
- Get as many shields as you can on whoever they’re targeting. Action cheat is annoying, and shields are the only way to deal with it.
- All in/Tactical Mastery in mid/late game can be a way to unexpectedly kill Han before he thinks he needs to Second Chance. The game becomes so much easier if that occurs, so try to set it up if you can. At the worse you just hit the Rey if it won’t be enough to justify hitting Han.
HR naturally counters both your character abilities, Bala’s because it’s only 2 characters, and Phasma because action cheating wrecks guardian. Your playstyle of attrition won’t work against a deck that has 25 effective HP on a single character. If HR gets the battlefield, you’re probably looking at a 40-60; with your own, 45-55.
Jango Bala Trooper:
This is perhaps one of your easiest matchups. Yes, JBT has lots of ways to push damage through your control. But at the same time, you are just so much better at getting off the first Bala Trigger, and from then on you just steam roll through them. You also have better starting dice, and more HP.
- Try to get a Hunker Down on the Trooper and use that guardian to control his dice all game.
- Kill Bala first.
- Remove dice before you trigger the Jango activation.
- Try to remove one of their redeploys with Disarm.
- Be wary of the Fight Dirty/Armed to the Teeth plays.
PBT should have the advantage in this matchup. Focus on getting the trigger from Bala and snowballing from there. I’d say you’re looking at something like a 65-35 win rate, with most of the losses coming from Jango god-rolls.
JD while being a 2 character deck, should still be an okay match for you. You won’t get as much out of Bala’s activation, but ranged decks handle Dooku’s passive well with all their modifiers. Keep in mind that most of the deck’s damage just comes from Dooku and the upgrades, so especially early on it’s quite easy to control all of the damage dice. The only thing that can truly hurt is if the Jabba hits you with discard, limiting your own rerolls.
- Be extremely wary of the All In play. JD has tons of focus, and if you let him, he will All in and one-shot your Bala.
- Be careful about placing shields, JD can really abuse the Kylo’s Saber special, as the focus allows them to guarantee special usage.
- Really focus on getting your Disarm for removing Holocron.
- Be aware of the potential blowout removal of Feel your Anger.
- Try to set up an early All In/Tactical Mastery to hit the Dooku with 5-7, using as many modifiers as you can.
- Kill Dooku first. This will reduce incoming damage as he isn’t able to reroll as much.
- Backup Muscle is key for finishing off the Dooku.
If Jabba hits hard early game with the discard, this matchup is going to be tough. However, in most games you can handle the 2 discard here or there, and you have enough tools to allow you to kill Dooku early. This should be something like a 55-45 for you.
This is also one of your harder matchups, due to similar reasons as HR. Action cheating can really push damage through your control and wreck the Bala before you get a trigger. On the other hand, if they don’t roll well early, you will win the attrition game. You have lots of control to deal with the non-cheated rolls, and you don’t get hit as hard by the unlimited removal that Poe Rey brings.
- Control Poe’s dice whenever you can, even if they’re currently on a side that isn’t scary.
- Try to claim the battlefield when you get the chance.
- Be aware of Force Misdirection and Defensive Position. Consider resolving smaller numbers of dice to avoid the blowout.
- Be aware that if you’re opponent is running It’s a Trap, you could instantly take 4-6 from Poe.
- Try to get off an early Disarm if you can. Poe/Rey relies on stacking Rey so that she can finish the game after Poe dies. If you hold her back, the game will be much easier to finish after Poe dies.
- Shield up whenever you can to soak the action cheat.
This is a pretty hard matchup if you’re opponent plays it well. It’s just so hard to keep him from killing Bala before you get a trigger off, and if the deck gets going it can just steamroll over you. That being said, if the early game goes decent, you win the game of attrition. This is highly dependent on player skill, but I’d say it’s a 45-55.
PBT is quite possibly the most reliable and solid tier one deck. While its ceiling isn’t too high, especially against 2 character decks, it’s floor is the highest. It’s focus sides help guarantee damage, and its control is extremely reliable. The deck plays a war of attrition, and explodes on a couple key turns with All Ins and Bala-Tik triggers. A very solid deck, and if you’re searching for something to play at worlds, this is a good choice.