|Card draw simulator|
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|None. Self-made deck here.|
After winning a Store Champs with Poe/Maz a few months ago (thanks largely to the addition of Cunning -- hat-tip to the The Hyperloops on that one) -- I immediately ditched it for Phasma (mostly because I wanted to make use of the Phasma promo, but also because I like beefy play-fair decks that can hold their own). There were several lists floating around, but Phasma decks seemed to be having a hard time being considered above Tier 2, or at best 'Worse FN,' and the decks I was testing were pretty good but really nothing to expect to do particularly well in a serious tournament ('Worse FN' indeed!). Thankfully the Hyperloops to the rescue came to the rescue again (last shout-out, I swear). With three great changes to most of the standard archetypes: (1) swapping in Secret Facility for Mos Eisley, (2) putting in Z6 Riot Control Baton over other 3-cost upgrades (like Rocket Launcher), and (3) adding in 2x Hunker Down. I took a slight tweak of the build to an SC where it completely exceeded my expectations by going 4-0 before losing in the last round of Swiss and then the first round of the Top 4 to the same Poe/Maz deck. I hadn't teched at all for Poe/Maz because I really didn't expect to make the cut. So I then retooled the deck to at least make its worst matchup survivable, took it to our big 44p SC here at Outflank (shouts to them for running such a big tournament so well) and managed to 8-0 with a little luck and a lot of guns and Discipline. I actually played a nice diversity of decks on this day: Luke/Rey, Baze/Rey, Rainbow FN, Poe/Maz, Emo Kids, Emo Kids (Top 8), Poe/Maz (Top 4), and Rainbow FN (Top 2) -- so the deck definitely got put through its paces.
This deck comes from the semi-derided "play-fair" family. It has effectively no real tricks outside of Bait and Switch (which is an amazing trick, to be fair), but what it lacks in shock plays it makes up fair with painfully consistent damage. Between Imperial Discipline and Phasma's 1, by Turn 2 you can easily be putting out 5+ damage, incrementing by ~2-3 every turn after that with new upgrades to use all of your focus-like ability and rerolls on.
If I get shields early, I usually like to plop them down on Trooper to start using his shields to soak damage immediately (or Best Defense early in a Poe or Palp matchup). Hunker Down also goes one of Phasma's buddies -- ideally one you think can potentially duck Hunker-popping melee damage either via Guardian from his partner, or just not being an attractive target). But I will usually pick my battlefield and decline the shields if the battlefield is of any power to my opponent (e.g., Throne Room or even Otoh Gunga).
In most games, you're trying to survive Turn 1 and even sometimes 2 in decent shape, and then lather on the damage in Turn 3+. The only time I change this approach drastically is in the Poe/Maz matchup where you need to do everything you can to knock out a character by early Turn 2 at the latest. The deck has six redeploy weapons, so you can fairly consistently pull out turns where you get a couple shots from good weapons like Z6 and Holdout. Look out for this play instead of exclusively playing weapons on Phasma, who's usually the last survivor and who you thus won't benefit from playing redeploy weapons on.
I won't go over the core of about 20 or so cards in the deck, but here are the fringe cards and why they've worked for me:
Secret Facility: Facility is the most milquetoast battlefield out there. With nearly zero chance of being used to any special effect against you, and on rare occasion a great way to sneak in a claim and/or kill by resolving Z6 Riot Control Baton and guns. Even though I run Hunker Down, I still prefer Facility to Mos Eisley or other vanilla battlefields because Facility truly has a near-zero chance of coming back to bite you, which is exactly what such a slow deck wants. General tip is never expect to claim, but keep in mind those rare occasions when you can with Facility, especially against control-dependent decks like Poe/Maz, even if it means leaving a few dice on the table. This play was actually critical in one of my Poe/Maz matchups to turn off Dug in and Defensive Position.
Hunker Down: Another painfully unsexy card that just does work. Hunker's biggest downsides are (1) its slowness and (2) vulnerability to melee (especially Vibroknife), but for (1), again, the deck is built with the expectation of never claiming, and for (2) you can often keep Hunker around against even melee decks for a couple turns just by tactical use of Guardian to protect the Hunker (remember that Guardian damage doesn't count as melee damage). In most games where I draw them though (and obviously against ranged decks), I'm usually getting +4-5 health from Hunker, which is Second Chance level at the mere cost of burning actions that you don't care about because the deck is already so slow.
Z6 Riot Control Baton: Such good tech! Natural reroll, redeploy, and a great shot at hitting Salvage Stand when you really need it. Phasma decks tend to run Rocket Launcher over this, but in testing I found Rockets to be just too expensive (and again lacking that all-important resource side). In the early and mid-game you almost never have even a single extra resource, and are usually having to choose which pay-damage sides to resolve, or between pay damage and Backup Muscle. I just found that the money wasn't there, and the Redeploy really puts Z6 over the top as the 3-drop.
Sabotage: You rarely see this in Phasma and yet after a lot of testing, I started to think it was 2x auto-include. The deck is just dead in the water against Planetary otherwise (remember that thing I mentioned about almost never being able to claim?), and Sabotage also lets you play those wonderful 1- and 2-cost weapons without worry, and without having to put in a clunky Rocket Launcher as a play-around card for Imperial Inspection.
The Best Defense: Just for the Poe and Palp matchups, I think this is 2x auto-include. Might be a no-brainer to some, but the original list I ran only had one, which was perfectly fine until running into Moe. Best Defense to blank a Moe turn is just an instant play every time. Gives you the life you need to sneak in a kill before they can Thermal you twice.
- Guavian Enforcer: Remember his action! "Remove this die to remove 1 shield from a character." Hopefully as a Phasma player you will, but opponents will often forget or just not know, allowing you to sneak in kills when they thought they had one health left.
So where does The Queen stand in the current meta? It's really matchup-dependent because the Poe/Maz matchup is truly godawful (I won both of mine, but really had to grit them out with either opponent bad draws or bad rolls, as well as all the Sabotage and Best Defense tricks). Another tip against Poe/Maz is to try to keep your characters out of Thermal/U-Wing/Rocket range as long as possible. You hate to lose a Phasma Buddy with 3 health remaining to a Thermal. And mind the Defensive Position by just slowly resolving your damage die by die if you need to.
Against everything else though, I'd put this list at even or better odds. Especially if you're comfortable quickly calculating (all day) which permutation of Imperial Discipline + will net you the most damage (it gets tiring after awhile, at least for me :P). Guardian and the control might not feel particularly impactful against FN, but FN does need to roll out at some point, and plucking off that damage can usually be the difference between winning and losing. Good FN decks are a coin-flip matchup, which I'll take given how great FN is generally.
Everything else the deck is insanely consistent against. It's not especially vulnerable to mill, and it usually has a fairly straightforward time with regular-damage decks. Even the mirror is in your favor if you're packing Hunker Down and they're not. So it's a great choice if you're looking for something slightly outside of the absolute top decks that can still compete.