Fun fact: My first ever Destiny content was a video on this deck. You can check it out if you’d like, although I can’t promise the highest quality (it was my first video guys), and it actually lays out the standard list used by most Poe Rey decks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ZQoZ1c7dY&list=PLBoEpfCxfrAbq5zq2Us-hDioEcHqji6hy&index=1
- Solid damage sides, with a 2 and a 3 for a resource.
- His special is the most versatile, and the strongest die side in the game.
- 12 hp is solid.
- Potentially a lot of blanks. If you have no resources, can’t use the 3 for 1, and if you have no cards for the special, it’s also a blank.
- The 1 disrupt is so much weaker than the other sides it’s almost like another blank, as you always want to reroll it.
- 2 Resource sides.
- Her passive is stupid broken (Not that I’m complaining, she’s currently the only thing keeping Heroes viable).
- 2 dice and 10 hp for 12 points is solid.
- 2 Modified sides.
- The 1 isn’t quite enough to significantly hamper your opponent, so usually you wish you’d rolled something else. (In some matchups this is different).
Overall Character evaluation:
- Strong damage from one character while solid resource ramp from the other.
- 2 strong abilities/specials
- 22 hp is not a whole lot.
- Mixed damage.
One of the greatest strengths of Poe Rey is it has possibly the strongest dice in the game sitting on Poe. This gives it one of the highest early game damage curves out there. Don’t get me wrong, Poe’s dice can also suck. Potentially you could have 3 blanks on his die, along with the 1 disrupt so in one a way it’s 4 blanks. However, when Poe’s dice do work, they deal more damage than any other die, and have more utility. The final element that really pushes Poe’s dice over the edge is their interaction with Emporer’s Throne Room, and its ability to guarantee special usage. The most notable uses with Poe’s special are arguably Mind Probe for 5 damage, or Force Throw for a 6 damage point swing.
Another of the decks greatest strengths is that it has multiple threats, and handles deaths extremely well. Now, in order for this to be true, the deck must be played properly, and this is one of the more important aspects to master. Poe is obviously Poe, he deals insane damage, but Poe alone isn’t enough to win the game. However, Rey offers two resource sides. This allows anyone playing the deck correctly to ramp Rey into 3 upgrades by the time Poe falls, and she can easily take over and finish the game. Now, if instead your opponent goes for Rey, on whom you’ve bought all your upgrades, you also handle this extremely well. You have 4 redeploys in the deck, and a pseudo redeploy from OWTF, so in most games where Rey is targeted first, you can save most if not all of your upgrades from leaving play.
The deck has extremely strong unlimited removal. First, it has Force Misdirection. While this can be hit or miss, it can also remove an unlimited number of dice. Especially in late game, when Rey is rolling 5 blue dice, the odds are actually decent of you being able to remove 2+ dice, and who wouldn’t pay 1 to remove 2 or more dice. Second, it has Defensive Position, which is arguably the most insane removal in the game. This card removes every single good side in the game, except for specials. Think of how many decks run Dodge, which is 2 cost and only removes ranged dice. Now imagine being able to pay 1 for something that targets both damage types, while also removing high value utility sides. While the card is limited by the battlefield, the deck is fast, and will often make great use of the card.
Poe’s special is extremely strong in that your opponent never knows quite what is going to hit him, so it’s hard for him to play around. Does he choose to act as if you have exactly what you need? Or take the risk and hope you have something else, or nothing at all?
The main weakness of the deck is that it can be really draw reliant. You almost always want a balance of upgrades and events in hand, and too often you find yourself lacking one or the other. Rolling Poe’s special without anything to resolve can be horrible, with the one caveat that your opponent may remove the die anyway. On the other hand, having a hand of 5 upgrades will leave you completely vulnerable, and with how many you run, this happens a decent amount. You also really want to draw your action cheats before the character you need dies (Rey for Holdout Blaster and Poe for Hit And Run). Finally, even your events vary wildly in strength depending on when you draw them. Drawing your unlimited removal too early feels bad, and drawing your battlefield reliant events when you don’t have it is also annoying. Essentially you can have a lot of different factors go wrong. The more experience you have with the deck, the better you become at mitigating this, but it never truly goes away.
Another weakness of the deck is that it has almost no single die removal, leaving it incredibly vulnerable early. The notable exception to this is Deflect.
Mixed damage can be a real pain, especially early. However, it is worth noting that this makes it harder to blow out your turn with a single removal card.
Playing With Poe/Rey
How to play early-game:
Take your battlefield in most matchups.
Focus hard on resources with Rey. Her job the first few rounds is to enable you to ramp. This can change if your first upgrade is Rey’s Staff, but for the most part you simply want resources.
Deal as much damage as possible with Poe. Poe has the highest potential early game output of any character in his insane special. You need to make use of this with every chance you get.
If you roll a resource on Poe, keep it in play until you’ve rolled Rey. You may end up wanting to use the base side to enable Rey’s +1.
Dont focus on removal until you’ve already bought upgrades. While this may feel bad, trust me that the ramp will pay off by making Rey a secondary finisher. The deck has a lot of retroactive effective hp that can be used on later turns after you have gotten several upgrades already, such as Field Medic or Dug In, and can help you bring Poe back from the brink. This can be risky, but hopefully you draw into what you need. All that being said, your best early game removal options are Force Throw from Poe’s special, early Comlinks for soft mitigation, and if you have your battlefield, claiming for Rey’s Staff’s special.
How to play mid-game:
Mid game begins about when you have 2-3 upgrades on Rey.
At this point you have gotten far enough into your ramp that you can begin focusing on making use of your harder to use, yet insane removal options. Keep both of your characters alive for as long as possible.
If Poe is being focused, make sure you are getting melee upgrades on Rey, and moving away from your early game utility upgrades like Robes. While force powers can be tempting, in general having 3 Melee upgrades is better, as they are cheaper (leaving more money for events and damage sides that cost resources to resolve), and they also enable Rey’s character dice. Once you’re rolling out Rey’s Staff and 2 Sabers, you almost always roll decent damage, and you get so much more value out of Rey’s dice. If instead you’re rolling out force powers, Rey’s dice do almost nothing late game.
How to play late-game:
Late game begins when Poe or Rey dies.
If you are on your battlefield, the game should be on a timer for your opponent. You roll out, resolve what you can, then claim for damage. If you’re opponent is behind there is almost nothing they can do. Also keep in mind how much damage they can do, and be aware of the fact that once you get them to a certain threshold, you can afford to claim very early, because even though they may end up dealing damage and putting you into lethal range, you can simply action cheat then claim for a win at the start of the next turn.
Be aware of your outs. The biggest examples being your action cheats. If you have 5-8 cards left, and you know you have one left, discard your whole hand at the end of a round if that will win you the game. Also keep in mind which removal or HP gain cards you have remaining, and whether discarding for them could save you.
Play fast. Poe is not very good at rerolling, as you may be forced to discard the very cards you want to use for his special, and you often are holding onto 1 key event. Instead, try to get ahead of your opponent, and be willing to claim early because you know the payoff of enabling Dug In and Defensive Position, as well as going first next turn, outweigh the potential gains of rerolls.
Hit your unlimited removal. You aren’t a VR who can keep removing dice each turn, instead you just take the hits. Some of this gets dealt with through healing and shields, but ultimately you need to make up for it by making your unlimited removal hit 3+dice, securing key victories in mid to late game turns.
Think before you use your action cheats. You only get 4 cheats for the whole game, so if you throw one away by using it sub-optimally, you’re really crippling yourself.
Try to avoid the trap of holding onto too many cards. So many cards in the deck have high potential gain, so you feel bad discarding them. However, you can’t let yourself move to slowly through the deck, or you won’t see enough of your truly important cards, such as your action cheats or your health gain.
Think of whatever card is best for you to use with your Poe special, and then convince your opponent you have it, even when you have nothing in hand. Theoretically, you can do things like passing with a single Poe special on the board when Vader wants to reroll. Through your actions, convince him that you just can’t wait to Force Throw that 3, and you might be able to get him to simply resolve that 1 shield/resource.
Playing against Poe/Rey
How to play against early-game:
You probably don’t want to take their battlefield.
Mulligan for single die removal.
Remove Poe’s dice as often as possible early game. If you can mitigate enough of his turn 1 and 2 damage, you have a really good chance of killing him before he delivers enough value for your opponent to win.
Try to claim early if you can. Poe Rey is probably faster than your deck, but if you let them take the battlefield every single turn, you’re probably going to lose.
Alternate to claiming early, you can also reroll extremely aggressively, as typically they won’t have removal early game, and you can take advantage of this.
How to play against mid-game:
Finish off the Poe. The longer he stays alive, the more HP that will be added to him, and the stronger Rey will be when Poe finally dies.
Claim early if you get one of their characters low. This will deny them from saving the character with Defensive Position, Force Misdirect, or Dug in next turn.
How to play against late:
Don’t let them get to you into lethal range. If you ever do, they will instantly kill you at the start of their next turn with an action cheat. (This changes depending on battlefield and cards remaining in their deck).
Keep in mind you may be able to mill them out if the game has gone long. They run through cards rather quickly in many games.
Be aware of what options are available to them. Keep in mind things such as which cards Poe could special with, and how likely it is they can action cheat.
Claim if you can ever afford to.
Watch out for unlimited removal.
Resolve discards if you can. It hurts PR more than most decks.
It’s a Trap and DH-17
If you want to argue for a different version of the deck, these 2 cards are a viable alternative take. I personally don’t like it, as I feel that it makes the deck more top heavy and reliant on Poe. However, this combination does give it more early game potential, and definitely gives it a huge boost against ranged damage decks. With even 1 DH-17 you’re looking at playing It’s a Trap for 6-8 damage, which will usually delete a character. However, once Poe dies, the cards are of no use to Rey, which keeps me from switching to this version.
If you want to swap a card out of the deck, this is the first to go. Willpower on its own isn’t that great. Sometimes it gives you a guaranteed kill, but at other times the moving of 1 damage is extremely underwhelming. However, what keeps it viable is its compounding effect with Field Medic and Dug In. Healing 1 is underwhelming, but healing 3 and then adding 3 shields is a huge swing. Playing any 1 of these alone is not that great, but it’s when you play 2-4 of them in a row that you really begin to see a strong effect.
This card is a must play on Rey. Until you have it, she isn’t a damage threat. After you play it, whenever you roll a +2 you now have a die that can reliably reroll into base damage. All of your other melee dice only have 1 base side, while Rey’s staff has 3, which enables all of the others to actually deal damage.
This is the second card I would cut from the deck. While it can be extremely strong, it can also end up doing nothing for you. What keeps it in the deck for me is that a late game Rey can very reliably make use of it, and when it does get played, it’s usually extremely effective.
This is actually one of your more effective turn one control options. PR really doesn’t have much removal early, so your opponent will often reroll several times at the end of his turn. Sometimes your opponent will get a dream roll, and Com Link is a solid early game safety net.
Phasma Bala Trooper:
PBT is a strange matchup for you. On one hand, PBT suffers from decks that can action cheat, and for that reason you can crush them with an early Bala or Phasma kill. On the other hand, if you don’t draw your action cheats, or you use them poorly, PBT can easily remove Poe’s dice each turn. On top of this, the guardian really helps prevent Rey from dealing damage, even after you have melee upgrades on her you can struggle to roll 2 base damage sides. Ultimately, I feel like it’s up to you to win the game. If you get what you need, you will win, but if you have sub-optimal early turns, PBT will win.
Conserve your action cheats. It’s really important that they hit, or you will struggle to get an early kill. Make sure that you use them at the right time.
Kill Trooper first if you don’t have the high damage burst play available. As long as Trooper is alive, Rey can’t deal damage effectively. Removing the guardian will significantly improve your damage output.
Play an early force power on Rey. Usually I prefer melee upgrades. However, until you remove the Trooper from the board, a Rey’s Staff or Lightsaber really won’t help you deal damage. Instead try to get an early Force Throw out, or potentially a Mind Probe.
Ramp. If you don’t get enough dice onto the board, PBT’s single die removal will hurt you too much.
Take your battlefield.
If you play a good game, you have the tools to win this matchup. However, if you have a couple sub-optimal early turns, PBT’s single die removal can significantly hamper Poe’s early damage, and Rey won’t get anything done with a guardian on the board. This is skill dependent, but I’d say it still favors you 55-45.
VR is always a terrifying deck to face. If they draw Holocrons, and roll big on Vader, you just get smacked. However, PR really does have a ton of answers for VR that I think gives you a solid chance at winning. If you get an early Rey’s Staff or Force Throw, you can claim each turn to remove one of Vader’s damage dice (if on your battlefield). On top of this, your unlimited removal hits Vader hard. It is worth noting that Vader reduces your hand size, which hurts, but in general, I’ve found that PR has enough burst to kill Vader quickly, while also having a few key options for removal that give it a buffer against Vader’s good rolls.
Take your battlefield most games.
If they play a turn one Holocron on Tusken Raider, you can consider killing him first. As I said, you have a couple blowout removal options that help you manage Vader in late game. Finishing against a Vader who can’t cheat feels much safer than against a Mind Probe wielding Tusken.
Spread your shields out. Hopefully when they draw Intimidate they will only hit 1-2 and not 3 shields.
Vader has solid single die removal, so make sure you use your action cheats well.
An early Comlink can help you deal with Vader’s turn 1 6 damage potential.
While I want to say this matchup really favors PR, I can’t. PR has all the answers, but there are enough games where VR simply draws Holocrons and rolls early damage, or you just don’t draw your action cheats and Poe gets controlled. This is somewhere around a 50-50 for you, but I will say that a PR who knows the matchup well can push this into the 60-40 range.
Jango Bala Trooper:
JBT is one of your easier matchups in my mind. PR is faster than the deck, and JBT can’t really make use of your battlefield. Many games, you can delete Bala too quickly for them to recover. However, if they manage to have Jango stacked by the time Bala dies, you are at risk of losing, as your late game removal options aren’t nearly as effective (although your heals and shields are very good in this matchup).
Take your Throne Room.
Kill Bala first.
Play aggressively early. All you have to do is finish off an 8 HP character and you remove half their dice.
Be wary of the many damage cheating actions JBT has.
Normally, I would kill the Trooper second. It is a quicker and easier kill, and removes Tactical Mastery from coming into play.
Don’t let them play the attrition game. The slower you play, the more turns JBT has to god-roll on Jango, and the more of their damage cheating plays that will occur. In most matchups you can afford to play some degree of attrition due to your blowout late game removal, but that simply won’t work well in this matchup.
You have a significant early game advantage and are far more likely to get the first kill, ultimately giving you the better odds in the matchup. This is somewhere around a 55-45 but can swing to a 60-40 depending on how well PR can play the early game.
JD is one of your more frustrating matchups. Most games as a PR player, you feel like you are in control of your fate. If you go out there and play well, you can win, as your potential damage is so strong. Against JD, you feel like the game is completely in the hands of the Jabba, and whether or not he controls your hand early. If he does, you simply lose as you can’t get out enough damage and JD will ramp. If he doesn’t, you have enough early damage to roll through Dooku and secure a win.
Go for Dooku first. By doing this, you will significantly hamper JD’s rerolls, and significantly reduce how much damage Dooku does early. If then you kill Dooku, not only are you up a character, but you’ve also taken very little damage yourself.
Prioritize getting out early Lightsabers so that you can roll through Dooku.
Be careful about placing shields, as JD can abuse Kylo’s Saber with the focus from its other dice.
Take your battlefield. If you have it and you get out an early Saber, it really puts a clock on Dooku.
This is an incredibly frustrating matchup, and too often Jabba’s discards wreck your early turns. If he doesn’t hit, it’s not a guaranteed win, but it’s still in your favor. This is something around a 45-55 for you.
HR can be a rough matchup, as it simply has more HP than any other deck. However, if you go out there and delete Rey turn 2 or beginning of turn 3, Han can struggle to have the resources and upgrades he needs to win. The most frustrating aspect of the matchup is that HR is simply faster than you, and is going to prevent you from making good use out of the battlefield. Ultimately, if the game goes late you’re probably going to lose, but I feel that you do have the stronger early game potential for a blowout.
Never take their battlefield, while you may be tempted (as you can use it well), HR is faster and will claim more often anyways. Also, if they disrupt your turn one resources you simply lose, so I don’t think you can justify the risk. Finally, if they have their battlefield then any game that goes late is an easy win for them, as Second Chance cycling is so effective.
Kill Rey first. While killing Han sometimes does pay off, it is too swingy. It’s an all in tactic that either gets the Han kill before Second Chance and heavy shields come into play, or you get bogged down and never even kill a character. Killing Rey first on the other hand is much easier to do, and does allow you to play a much safer game, free from action cheats. From there, you move into forcing the Han to loop Second Chance instead of ramping, and eventually Han loses.
Be wary of Riposte.
Be wary of an early Negotiate to remove Poe’s dice.
Try to get off an early Force Misdirection on resources if you can. It will often remove 3+dice.
Prioritize your healing and shield cards while Rey is still around.
Play fast. Both PR and HR want/need to abuse the battlefield. If you end up claiming a majority of the time you have a much higher chance of winning.
This is a hard matchup for you that forces you to go all in for the early game kill. If you don’t get it, then HR will have simply too much effective HP for you to win. This is somewhere around a 45-55 for you on HR’s battlefield, and 55-45 on your own. However, you can raise those numbers if you get better at the early game aggression.
I used to think that hands down Poe Rey was the best deck. I’ve been playing it since early January, and it’s done exceptionally well ( I think I’m sitting somewhere around 40-5 on the deck in tournaments). However, a couple of the newer iterations of HR decks and others have impressed me, and I don’t feel that Poe Rey is significantly, if at all, better than them. However, Poe Rey is simply the most enjoyable deck to pilot in my mind. There’s something fun about taking an X-Wing pilot and being able to Mind Probe someone, or Throw their dice around like a proper Jedi. On top of this, with Poe Rey, I feel like my ceiling is so high that if I play well, I will always have a chance at winning.
If you’re thinking of playing the deck at World’s, my main caution would be that the deck can be hard to utilize effectively. Resource and card management are extremely hard for the deck, and its removal options can be hard to make use of as well. That being said, I think that you’ll have a blast playing the deck, and have a really solid shot at winning in most games.
Thanks for reading and tuning in to this entire series, we’ll surely be doing it again when Worlds rolls around next year!