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|Dooku/Nines Store Champion (Writeup/Guide)||59||45||30||1.0|
This one will be a little long. Hopefully you find something of worth and let me know your opinions below, because I absolutely LOVE this deck.
So, as a preamble, I knew going into Champs that I was either playing my Poe/Snap build, or another deck of my own creation. I enjoy attacking established decks much more than “joining them”, so that’s what I had in mind that led to this list. I knew Poe/Maz, Poe/Rey, Vader/Raider, Palp, and Luke/Rey variants would be popular, so those were my targets.
Initially I found myself drawn to FN-2199 - Loyal Trooper as an opportunity to match (or exceed) Poe’s damage output, without having to play Poe myself. The best “other” deck that matches Poe’s damage is a split between Vader/Raider or Palp, but I knew those decks would have targets on their backs and I wanted to try something unique. I tend to stray away from decks that are too all in on one character, as dice hit so hard right now, often without an opportunity to react. I think to succeed, your deck has to hold up after your first character dies. If not, you should be playing Poe or Palp. So, I saw FN-2199 in various builds with Unkar, but I wanted to be a lot more aggressive than that and felt like I needed to stay two characters. Others have found varying levels of success with FN-2199/Hayden, and I think that deck is solid and can put out surprising levels of damage quickly. Still, it doesn’t offer much in the way of resiliency, and I had something better in mind.
In my opinion, pairing Count Dooku - Devious Strategist with FN-2199 is a much better fit, and works well with my overall strategy, which isn’t as simple as “drop a ton of guns on Nines”. Destiny right now is all about maximizing consistent damage in the first two rounds, and if you can’t keep up with Poe’s output (5-8 damage most turns) you’re going to lose. Usually, if you can kill Poe fast enough before he does too much damage you should be set, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, FN-2199’s ability is great for throwing out damage quickly, and Dooku’s ability is complementary as he can tank damage very well. Where Poe/Maz does what it does and falls apart (mostly) when Poe dies, FN-2199 can push out damage just as well, and set up a favorable board state with Dooku ready to out-damage and out-last their leftover character thanks to redeploy and his damage tanking. Basically, to sum it all up, I’m playing Dooku/FN-2199 to push high amounts of damage, knowing they will target Nines, looking to setup a boardstate with my upgraded Dooku against their leftover character. In theory, Dooku should come out ahead everytime.
So, the list. I think it’s a mistake to go “all in” on Nines ability, and red/blue’s weapons aren’t as deep as you think, so we need to play a mix of upgrades and mitigation. Vibroknife, Rocket Launcher, Z6 Riot Control Baton and Lightsaber are our best plays, and then the value goes down from there. Not to say that Holdout Blaster is bad, but we’re only hitting on 50% when we play it on turn 1 without an Enrage. F-11D Rifle isn’t great for similar reasons, but I hesitate to play two Makashi Training, as it’s not a weapon. My best upgrade by far is Force Illusion, which pretty much everyone should be playing. Against Poe/Rey, it’s the single most important card in the matchup, and does wonders keeping FN-2199 alive that extra turn. Lightsaber Pike is excellent, more on this later.
Most of the events are self-explanatory, so I’ll only touch on a few here. My list of “potentials” is miles long, and I could see an events package completely different than this do well also, but I think a lot of my choices complement my play-style, and revolve largely around Boundless Ambition. Rejuvenate doesn’t seem like much, but paired with Dooku, shields from rolls, and Force Illusion, we’ve got a surprising amount of resiliency. It’s free, and I love free effects, which is why we’re playing Doubt. Doubt is just all-around strong, but also the best free card in the format for handling Poe specials and Vibroknife dice. If I’m paying a resource for mitigation, I want it to have the greatest effect possible, hence the Overconfidence. Lightsaber Throw is excellent, similar to Bait and Switch out of Vader/Raider once you get in games and see how turns play out. We are definitely looking to resolve dice showing resource to pay the costs of our big upgrades, and Throw is a great way to turn extra resources into damage, or if our opponent mitigates the die we would have spent that resource on. Throw is great for killing their character a turn before they expect, which can often be the difference between our Nines getting another activation off or not.
The key to this deck and winning with it (in this specific format) is Boundless Ambition. Essential to my strategy is the necessity to kill their main character either before, or on the same round that they kill FN-2199. Boundless Ambition fits so well with my strategy, drawing us into more upgrades to chain with Nines, more free events like Rejuvenate and Enrage, and extra cards to discard for rerolls. It’s very easy to go all out, dropping all our guns without leaving some back to reroll bad rolls, and Boundless Ambition helps to refuel and keep the damage coming. Usually I can count on a Boundless Ambition for 3 or more “extra” damage tacked on to the end of the round, and it’s often the key to killing Poe a turn before they expect us to.
I expect some people will have problems with the Dug in, which I respect, I just think the card has one of the best effects for rate of anything in the set, and I like to “play to it” if that makes sense. We are rarely claiming, but there’s nothing stopping us from playing faster to set up a claim and a Dug in the following turn. I tend to feel my opponent out to see if Dug in will work against them, if they are discarding to reroll often I know I should be able to set it up once I draw to it, if not, discard it to reroll and move on. When we can fire it off, it can really turn the game around by giving our FN-2199 some much needed protection, or set Dooku up for a more favorable position once Nines dies. Still, feel free to cut it if you don’t like it, it's definitely the 30th card, I would say I play it in 25% of the games I draw it (which isn’t often at all), but when I do play it, it tends to heavily improve my position.
For mulligan tips, I keep Holdout/Vibro/Enrage in my openers against everyone. Makashi is great for the blue melee matchups, Force Illusion for Poe/x, Deflect for Palp. I send Deflect back against Poe/x, the card is great against them but I need to be playing a two-cost upgrade at least to keep up with them on damage, and there’s no guarantee they roll ranged in the first place. Plus, if they’re smart, they are playing around Deflect because we’re blue (even though we are a “Nines upgrade deck”) and they won’t give us many opportunities to ‘get em’.
Usually I activate Dooku first, and see if he rolls me a resource. That influences how aggressive I am with my upgrades on Nines, and lets me resolve Holdout immediately if I hit the 2 ranged side. Getting a melee out there lets me resolve Vibroknife with my ambush action if I roll the +2 as well. When we’re trying to maximize damage, little plays like this to blank their mitigation really matter. Play tight! I don’t reroll often, all of our cards have value unless it’s deflect against Vader/Raider or something. Sometimes I’ll toss a Lightsaber Throw to reroll if I’m resource light and my opponent isn’t showing mitigation (no resources, hand on table, etc) and I’ve got two or more blanks. Dooku’s discard side is a blank usually, when you take into account we love his other four sides (1, 2 melee, focus, resource). For the most part, I’m resolving most dice, as damage, resources, and shields are all on plan.
Lightsaber Pike is AMAZING as the cap on my turn, after I’ve resolved a Rocket Launcher or Z6 Baton die. Turning a lowly Dooku 1 melee into 2 or 3 is basically a free Lightsaber Throw, and if we ever resolve the +4 it’s hard to lose. The die doesn’t have a blank, as we’ll take the shield or resource and can always remove to give Dooku a shield if they mitigate our base melee die. Still, I don’t know if I can fit two in, but I’ll be testing it out.
I’ll keep the report short as I’m already 1500 words in. We had over 30 players, with a cut to Top 8 based on TO’s decision. In the Swiss, I went 5-0, beating Poe/Rey, Luke/Rey, Unkar/Nines/Trooper, Baze/Snap and the four character Bala/Trooper x2/Pilot deck. Our field was a solid amount of Poe, and a ton of people all looking to beat up on Poe. Lots of Palp and Poe decks but I didn’t face one after the first round (it was clear they were facing a prepared field). Highlights were killing Luke through mitigation and a Caution on round 2 (15 damage) and playing a Force Illusion, Lightsaber Pike and Holdout while doing some damage with a resource to spare on my first turn. Rocket Launcher do 3, roll in, Rocket Launcher do 3 is good clean fun.
The Top 8 saw a quick 2-0 win against Poe/Maz. I always take shields in just about every matchup. People that say shields are bad because Vibroknife are just plain wrong. They don’t always have it in their opener, which is usually when those shields are coming off anyways. If they didn’t damage you in the first round, you should be set to win anyways. I’m saying that here because there’s not much to say about this matchup, I poke them here and there and acquire around 6 damage in the first round, and then unload on them in round 2. Even if they match my output and kill Nines the same round it’s hard for me to lose unless I couldn’t find any redeploy.
After going 7-0, my day fell apart in the semifinals against Qui-Gon/Rey. Usually, I consider this a good matchup, as they have difficulty putting damage together without Vibroknife and most of my damage is resolved immediately, under their mitigation. In addition, Qui-Gon rarely can hold together any shields to Riposte or ping me, and even if he does, my incidental shields from dice resolves soaks it up. The deck is great, don’t get me wrong, but its dice are less scary than Luke and I’m almost always ahead on damage.
In this match, I got the first game, and then my upgrades started to settle toward the bottom half of my deck. I’m not going to blame it all on luck, as my opponent was an excellent player and Close Quarters Assault absolutely wrecked me in a few situations, but I was definitely running under average as far as luck goes. Makashi Training was good for both of us, but he had two and was able to mitigate damage multiple times. It seemed like my free rolls on upgrades with Nines ability were missing more than they were hitting damage, and I was forced to reroll which turned on his mitigation. Still, the final game came down to my loaded Dooku with one health, rolling into his Rey with 6 damage and no shields. I hit the damage (Rocket Launcher showing a 3, other melee dice, and had two Lightsaber Throw in hand) but he drew into both Deflect’s, a mostly dead card in the matchup.
Had I won, I was confident I could take down the whole thing, as the other two Top 4 competitors I had already beaten in the Swiss. Still, overall I’m ecstatic with the way the deck performed, and I hope other people pick it up and try it out. The deck has a ton of play to it, on top of doing stupid powerful things, and makes you solve interesting puzzles, like planning out damage a turn ahead, upgrade sequencing and resource conservation.
Since I’ve been getting a few “oh that’s who you are” recently, I’m including links to my Magic content, the deckboxes I make for Destiny, and my Discord/TTS handles. Stop by and say hi wherever, and if you enjoyed the report feel free to leave a favorite to support rogue deckbuilders!
ArchitectGaming on Discord
Trevorholmes1 on TTS
(imgur link is to my most recent boxes, please no orders until next month)