Vader + Guard: Covenant Tulsa Store Championship

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zachbunn 50

This is the Darth Vader + Royal Guard deck that I played and won with at the 2017 Covenant Tulsa Store Championship. As you will notice, the deck only has eight dice upgrades. I started experimenting with the idea of lower upgrade counts in decks and recently wrote an extensive blog about how I evaluate upgrades:

Going into the Store Championship, Poe Maz was the deck people were talking about most. In testing against the deck, I quickly developed guidelines to follow to increase my odds in the Poe Maz match:

  1. Mulligan for control
  2. Control Poe dice if possible
  3. Attack Poe first
  4. Claim the battlefield if possible
  5. Do not play upgrades if it will restrict my control options

The Vader + Guard deck, as I built it, is well suited for the Poe Maz match. The two most important factors are Guardian on the Royal Guard and the damage curve of this deck. Guardian is a safety net for when I do not draw a control card. If Poe rolls a ranged damage, I can control one of his dice without using a card or resource to protect Darth Vader. In the meantime, cards like Lightsaber Throw, No Mercy, Force Strike, and Price of Failure let me do significant damage and almost always defeat Poe before he can defeat Darth Vader.

You can read this deck and my thoughts on Poe Maz in my most recent blog:


ordinaryjedi 563

Thanks for your write up and congrats on your store champs win.

After competing recently with Vader Raider running a holocron suite, I find that I am rarely drawing in to what I need, when I need it which makes for difficulty times when an opposing Vader is piling 6-8 damage into you with no response.

I have done a complete overhaul of my Vader Raider deck with 8 dice upgrades (at the moment Vibroknife, Gaffi Stick, Lightsaber and Force Speed with a suite of 0 and 1 cost aggro and mitigation/control cards. The issue I find is that I now have trouble drawing in to my upgrade suite and struggle to rectify bad rolls on Vader or recover if Vader gets mitigated.

Do you find you have the same issue or because you're running mono blue, you somehow get around this? Appreciate your feedback.

zachbunn 50

The issue with Vader Raider right now is most of the time it is just too slow. If you hit Holocron into Mind Probe on the Tusken, it can move fast. Otherwise, the deck just takes too many turns to get the job done. Even cards like Backup Muscle become questionable when long games are now only really three or four turns.

With my mono-blue version, it's less about building my board and more about Guardian buying Darth Vader time to put all of the damage cards to work. This includes Force Strike, Lightsaber Throw, No Mercy, and Price of Failure. If I get the chance to build my board, Price of Failure gets more powerful of course. Guardian with mild control usually means I can put out damage faster than my opponents can pile damage onto Vader.

ordinaryjedi 563

@zachbunn been playing a few games now with this deck and played based on your above guidelines. I've gone 5-2, losing one to a Poe/Maz (best of 3) and one to Jabba/Jango (best of 3, milled in the game).

The only issue i've personally encountered is 1: deck moves slower than most meta decks so the opportunity to use Abandon All Hope seems minimal (even though when it's used against me, I know how powerful it is) and 2: with only 5 mitigation cards, I've been finding it difficult to draw into them and these happened to be the games I lost.

Granted 7 games is not a big sample to gather data from but what do you feel would be the wiggle cards?

How do you feel cards like Now You Will Die and Overconfidence would slot in here(i understand why Doubt hasn't been included)?

So far, I haven't been finding myself needing to play Lightsaber either, is this in here purely for the redeploy or are you overwriting Makashi Training or Vibroknife?

Overall, I am really liking this build (despite missing the splash of yellow, Bait and Switch is a fave) and will continue to test in local meta before the next store champs as Poe/Maz has died down since errata in favour of 3 character build decks.

Cheers for your contribution to the community!

zachbunn 50

@ordinaryjedi it is worth noting this was my first iteration of the deck. After testing, I'm less fond of the Lightsabers in play than I was in concept. I end up using Price of Failure more often than I thought I would, making redeploy lose all value. I have since dropped them both and am trying a slew of options (including added control, card draw, and even Kylo's Lightsaber). If I feel like I get somewhere significantly better or different, I will either post a new deck or note those updates in the comments here. Glad you're digging the deck!

ordinaryjedi 563

I've removed Lightsaber x 2 and only put in Kylo Ren's Lightsaber x 1. If the opportunity arises to overwrite Makashi Training I will use it.

I added in 1 x Overconfidence for the other (although I feel this is a swing card and feel maybe it could be swapped for Lightsaber Throw - see below comments).

I've also swapped out Lightsaber Throw for Now You Will Die. It takes one less action to do damage and helps mitigate any left over modifiers you might have on the board. Only got a Makashi Training showing +2. Boom, its now 2 damage. Darth Vader - Sith Lord showing 2. Boom, it's now 2 damage. Want to The Price of Failure Royal Guard but is only showing his modified side? Boom, Force Speed into Now You Will Die into The Price of Failure. In theory, I feel Now You Will Die will be used more rather than hoping one of your die will be showing to be able to play Lightsaber Throw.

I'm gonna test out these changes on TTS, maybe a local tourney this week as well and see how it goes.

ordinaryjedi 563

Just as another side point, I worked out roughly that Royal Guard should be mitigating roughly 2 damage per round, so he would equal 3-4 mitigation event cards?

zachbunn 50

@ordinaryjedi I do not have a link to an official ruling, but as far as I am aware Now You Will Die does not work on modifiers. It replaces the symbol, but the value is specifically referenced as staying the same. If it does work on modified sides, that card would absolutely go in this deck!

As far as the Royal Guard, it really just depends. I do not use that ability unless I need it, as this deck is completely reliant on the damage curve. If I can control their dice without taking damage, I opt for that. Of course, I inevitably want to Price of Failure the Royal Guard, so damage on him is less of a negative.

Let me know how overconfidence goes!

Zenclix 1

@zachbunn What do you think about Lure of Power in this deck (as part of the 8 Upgrades, not in addition to)? I have tested it a bit and have found it useful, particularly as a way to boost resources since the Royal Guard does not have a resource side. Thanks!

ordinaryjedi 563

@zachbunn just looked into The Price of Failure and you are correct, it changes the symbol, not the modifier so will need to be removed as it has no value in this deck now.

@Zenclix I think the 2 x blank side of Lure of Power is unappealing. In my playing of this deck, i havent found to be overly hamstrung by lack of resources. I have generally been looking at my hand and board state and making a decision at the start of each round whether i need to utilise resources on control/mitigation or upgrades. Most of the time, control wins out and you can still pump out 6-8 damage with no upgrades, its just a bit of a slower game.

I've found Kylo Ren's Lightsaber is a bit of a game changer though, if you can get it out over top of Makashi Training in round 3, you're in a good position to win the game. Im even contemplating adding a second one in for consistency.

Zenclix 1

@ordinaryjediI hear you about the 2 x blank sides on Lure of Power. However, that really only bothers me when playing another Blue Villain deck and Feel Your Anger. Otherwise I am content with 50% of the sides directly benefiting my other dice, whatever they may be (plus an additional resource side). I agree that it is by no means a necessary card, but I have found it to be valuable, even if I am hitting it just once or twice before overwriting it into a Kylo Ren's Lightsaber. Thanks!

ordinaryjedi 563

@Zenclix im going to try Lure of Power however I feel Makashi Training is the better option for 2 reasons.

1: Makashi Training has 5 useful sides (even though I can see your argument that Lure of Power is more flexible)

2: Makashi Training has a dice mitigation effect which this deck heavily relies on. This makes the each modified side a chance of removal on , especially if all your black damage sides have been mitigated.

With that in mind, Makashi Training might actually be a better card to play over Vibroknife purely for this reason, which makes me wonder if Vibroknife has a place in this deck and you would be better to overwrite Lure of Power with Kylo Ren's Lightsaber? Further testing required.

I am also starting the question the usefulness of Deflect. Our local meta seems to be moving towards Funkar decks which often leaves Deflect dead.

Back to drawing board.

Supo 1

Are you sure you can't convert a modifier with Now You Will Die? It says "as it show melee damage", So I think it will overwrite the modifier symbol

zachbunn 50

@Zenclix I definitely am looking at Lure of Power. I'll be testing this deck a bit this week and using it at a Store Championship on Sunday, so we will see what I land on for those Lightsaber spots!

@ordinaryjedi Makashi is definitely better than Vibro in general for this deck, but in my experience they have very different use cases. They both are two cost upgrades that increase your damage curve, no doubt. Vibroknife can single handedly win games against shields, whereas Makashi can win games against a heavy melee hitter. Both upgrades are critical to the deck as I play it.

zachbunn 50

@Supo I am confident that the modifier does not go away with Now You Will Die. It only replaces the symbol and says nothing about removing or replacing the value or the modifier.

psutton1012 1

How does this deck do against FN?

zachbunn 50

@psutton1012 FN is really great, no doubt. This deck can dish out a lot of damage though and usually gets him off the board on turn 2. As long as Vader is relatively healthy, the rest of 9's team usually struggles to put Vader away.

psutton1012 1

@zachbunn Nice. Hope your most recent store champ went well.

zachbunn 50

@psutton1012 thanks! I went 5-0 in Swiss and then lost in the top 4 to my brother. I was playing eKylo + FN + Trooper. I plan to post the list this week!