Mono Red ITS A TRAP! (High Win Rate, New List)

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Derived from
Beauty and the Carp (3x Tournament Winner) 109 85 27 1.0
Inspiration for
A Trap You Say? 16 12 4 1.0
Political Princesses 0 0 1 1.0

TattooedOni 147

This is my main deck, what I play competitively, and what I have been playing for 5 weeks for the Destiny League at Level 1 games in Kansas City to a 16 win 70%win rate 2nd place record. I have been playing and adapting the deck for 2 months, and I think its the best version until SOTR releases. This is an aggro deck.

Background: I started playing Destiny in January when I was first able to get cards. Before that I was following the game through online research. I am not sure why but for some reason (probably the cost of singles, and its combo-ish nature) the first deck I wanted to build was eLeia eAckbar. I didn't understand the actual purpose of the deck at the time, but I started modifying a list I found online, then updated it to reflect pearlyeti's list when that was published. The next changes were all from playing the deck over and over in person and online. I have played all of the different top meta decks, fun looking lists, any other Ackbar based list, but I think this list is the strongest deck that I can play. It belongs in Tier 1 of the current meta (more on that to come).

Deck Philosophy: This is an It's a Trap! deck, pure and simple. Your goal is to deal consistent damage while keeping your characters alive and combo out to kill their characters "out of nowhere". The deck is upgrades, upgrade support, defense, or combo cards, and that it. It is designed to do the most damage with the least resources possible.

It's a Trap!: It's a Trap! is in my opinion the best hero event, but arguably the best hero card in the set. Obviously it's power is to allow you to fix all your dice at once, and then resolve before your opponent can do ANYTHING. The card is absolutely brutal, and can be rage inducing even when your opponent is expecting it. Because the set is also so ranged damage heavy (thus the meta is), it allows you to do massive damage before they can respond. There are almost no decks you face that you cant It's a Trap! for ranged damage off of something including a Force Throw from Kylo/Dooku. Using it to its max potential is what makes this list tick, and I think the most powerful version of any Admiral Ackbar list. All of those decks fall into two catagories: It's a Trap! decks, or Mid-range decks with It's a Trap! in them. The current crop of choices are Leia/Ackbar, Fin/Ackbar, Ackbar/trooper/trooper, and Ackbar/trooper/hired gun. I have tried all of them to see if they are better than this list, and I don't think they are mostly because of It's a Trap!.

I "ran the numbers" on these decks, and figured out what the worst (W) (Its always 2 from a naked Ackbar which can still win you a game) and best It's a Trap! damage totals can be. The best possible I figured from having 3 upgrades on the board (B1)which I think is probably the average It's a Trap!. Then I figured out what the best possible 6 upgrade It's a Trap! would be for the deck (B2)which is probably the upper limit of reasonable to see in a game. Then I figured out what all the possible die combos for 1, 2, or 3 characters alive with all the possible upgrades in the deck between 0-3 equipped, and used that to calculate the average (A). Here is what I found:

Ackbar/Fin____W)2 B1)10 B2)16 A)6.5

Ackbar/Trooper/Hired Gun__W)2 B1)12 B2)16 A)7.9

Ackbar/Trooper/Trooper____W)2 B1)14 B2)18 A)10.8

Ackbar/Leia___W)2 B1)14 B2)18 A)10.4

The numbers are pretty worthless out of context, and are sort of obvious to people who have played these decks (The decks with a focus on yellow have less red die, and worse It's a Trap!s). To me It's a Trap! is the most important and powerful card to these decks, and the mono red versions are going to be the best because It's a Trap! only lets you change your red dice. I think this deck is superior to Ackbar/trooper/trooper even considering that 0.4 weaker average It's a Trap!, because its faster. I like the extra health pool 2xTrooper gives you, but I think this version is better because you can roll out faster, and Leia's ability is relevant on non-It's a Trap! rounds. You need to have all your dice out before your opponent can resolve their ranged damage, or you lose your ability to It's a Trap!. This deck also has to claim the battlefield as often as possible, and doesn't care about protecting Ackbar to stockpile .

The List: This is as tight and optimal as I think the deck can be until the release of SOTR. You have to run some useful but not optimal stuff until the card pool is larger (Holdout Blaster, Block, Take Cover). I still test changes, but it always comes back to this list. The deck boils down to cards that increase your damage output, or cards that let you stall until you can take advantage of It's a Trap!.

The Battlefield: After lots of testing, I have decided Frozen Wastes is what this deck wants to run. You will be the faster deck in most matchups and you can use that to play your turns quickly and then claim defensively to remove their character die most likely to hurt you and keep tempo in your favor acting first next turn and turning on defensive cards. The nature of the game keeps a lot of decks re-rolling for better sides, and being able to remove those with frozen wastes after they invest cards into the re-rolls adds up quickly. If your opponent claims first they can set you back, but that is more annoying and less scary than what they are going to be doing with their own battlefield that has much more synergy with their deck. I choose my Battlefield most of the time.

Playing the deck: You want to be acting as quickly as possible and doing the most damage you can each round, and then claiming the battlefield. You have to also be thinking about what you can do defensively to keep your characters as healthy as you can throughout the game. Doing the most damage requires playing upgrades if possible, and rolling those dice into the pool as soon as you can. The way I play it this deck is very low economy. I take where I can, but for the most part, I plan my turns to use between 0-2 resources. You accumulate more over time, but for the most part Scout is there to let you get an extra focus sometimes, look at what the opponent has and make them discard a cheap removal even sometimes, but mostly its just to take down the cost of an upgrade when you overwrite it. Rearm lets you get back upgrades at a discount when you pitch them to discard, discard to re-roll, or over-write them to upgrade their damage output. You want to be using It's a Trap!, All in, and Hit and run and not holding them. That is where the real combo engine of this deck is and honsetly you can start using it turn 1. I have rolled out Leia, Hit and Run Ackbar and then played It's a Trap! for 6 damage and a claim first round many many many times. Its an easier choice to make if you play Blaster Pistol or Promotion first. All In (with hit and run if you can) lets you resolve a ton of damage on turns without It's a Trap!. You can from Promotion or Scout, into from Ackbar into the most damage the rest of your dice can do. You use the same strategy on turns you don't have or can't play your combo cards. Use focus or re-rolls (from Leia's ability if you don't want to pitch cards)to get the most damage you can most of the time. Don't be afraid to resolve damage in batches to avoid disruption, and keep your sides clean so they cant be as easily disrupted by removal. Sometimes they have the removal and you just need to play the rest of the round defensively, and claim to see what you can do the next round. After you have focused on your damage, you can decide how to best play out the round. Usually you want to play defense to keep your characters as healthy as you can (through block, dodge, defensive position, dug in, field medic, and take cover. As you do this make sure you are tracking your opponents actions so you can claim first. Claiming also allows you to act defensively to remove a character die with whatever side can hurt you at that time, and its often better to claim to remove a character die than gain 1-3 shields. Your turns leading up to It's a Trap! add up smaller chunks of damage so your It's a Trap! can finish characters off.

Opening Hands:Your first round you want options, and especially options to increase your damage output. You want to keep cards like Promotion, Blaster Pistol, and Dug In if you are going first. Cards like Holdout Blaster, IQA, Rearm, all defensive cards except maybe Defensive Position going first you can feel free to mulligan since you don't really need to see them until later rounds. I am not unhappy to see All In, Hit and Run, or It's a Trap! early. They are far more powerful after you have the upgrades, but you also may not see them again for a while if you pitch them. I usually keep these and look for the first possible chance to use them, unless its an opening hand that has 0 playable early upgrades, and since there are few in the deck at this point that happens more than I would like. You need to play games and experiment with the deck of course, and that includes what you think is must keep and must mulligan.

That's way more than you need to get started playing the deck. This is my first deck I have posted, but I assume I can edit this section later to include match-ups against specific decks.

Please feel free to ask any questions you have about the deck, match-ups, card inclusions, cards not included. I am happy to try and answer them, and it will let me talk more about the specific cards included without doing another long section here about why play Holdout, Block, Scout or why not play Logistics, Datapad, Comlink, etc.

19 comments

WarTeacher 52

Thanks for the extensive write up. It is appreciated.

TattooedOni 147

Yeah it's been my main deck for a long time, and I have had a lot of discussions about it and other versions of Ackbar decks, so I have a lot to say about it. If you have any questions about cards or match-ups you can ask them here and I'll give you my thoughts.

Raczy1 1

Why are you playing Take Cover? I've never seen it in any other decklists. Is there some reasoning behind it or just nothing else better to slot?

BigMac826 7

Just curious, what was the reasoning behind replacing 2 x Logistics with 1 each of Block and Dodge? Did your win rate increase after this change, and how did it affect your games?

TattooedOni 147

@Raczy1Take cover is one of the cards most likely to get replaced after SOTR. It's best in slot for this deck in the current available card pool. It does have some good reasoning and ONE important purpose. The reasoning is it costs 0, and it negates 1 damage. That can be huge, but its okay if its not, this deck just needs to stay alive long enough to get out resources and deal damage every turn. The big purpose it has is giving you an option to pass while doing SOMETHING. This deck plays out very quick, and most of your its a trap or hit and run/all in turns are going to leave you finished resolving and playing cards from hand, but waiting for the opponent to commit to activating characters or re-rolling dice, and you have to pass so you can keep your defensive dice manipulation active. Usually you are just going to pass for 1-3 turns to see what they do and then claim when you know you can't wait any longer (hopefully removing something big with frozen wastes, but even if you are just keeping the battlefield and denying them their battlefield ability that is enough). Take cover lets you pass and still accomplish something. Even negating 1 damage done to the character they choose to focus first is helpful, and its better than doing nothing. It also allows for re-rolls, and just using it lets you draw a replacement at the end of turn so it is really almost never dead. I would still replace it if something more helpful is in SOTR.

TattooedOni 147

@BigMac826My playing the deck taught me that Logistics is really bad for this list and the way I play it. Some Ackbar decks want to generate resources to get access to more expensive cards. This deck's most expensive card is IQA and I do not pay retail for it unless I absolutely have to (Pro Tip: I always discard them for rerolls then re-arm them, or I overwrite a holdout blaster). Logistics costs a card to do something I don't want to do unless i absolutely have to (I would rather Ackbar rolled 1 ranged damage than one resource), and if I HAVE to claim resources 1 or 2 is usually enough. So that card is dead to me.

As far as Block and Dodge go: They are expensive for me, but they are should be played as blowouts, and to buy you one more turn of having 2 characters. The deck needs defense. I started with 2 dodge because of the ranged meta, and hey if I have the resources I can its a trap! a Jango deck, then remove the big turn they re-roll or roll more characters into. Block I added 1 of while i tested other cards after removing the dead to me Logistics. You want decks rolling ranged so you can its a trap, but you need block against decks that have little to no ranged sides. In the end I found that having access to 2 block is better than anything else in the current card pool for this deck.

The changes improved my win rate. This deck is most powerful with 2 characters active, and you can always re-roll with your Block/Dodge if you can see you wont have the money to spend on the next couple turns, and if you cant do that pitch them at end of turn against decks they wont be good against. They are better than almost anything this deck has access to for negating damage. Your other options for removal are all too narrow (situational, or requiring luck to be as powerful as block dodge) and about the same cost. Even in the deck they cost more than dug in/defensive position, but can save you more damage and dont require you to have the battlefield. It effected the games by giving me an out, and allowing me to do what the deck wants to do: hit hard then defend.

Chuftbot 365

Took a slightly different version of this list to a tournament (1 block, 1 dodge, 2 Daring Escape). Split top prizes. This deck is real and only going to get better with the next set.

TattooedOni 147

@ChuftbotCongrats! You're right of course, the deck could use a couple of card improvements to become completely insane. It still runs sub-optimal cards.Luckily between Overkill and Rebel Assault we know they are coming. Seems like you have a good understanding of the list and playing it, but feel free to ask if you have questions.

I cut Daring Escape pretty early in the development of the list. I really like that it has ambush, but the cost is too high and the effect is too situational/risky for me to run it over dodge/block. It can be a blowout, but it requires luck to do so. I would rather wait till they get lucky and then negate their luck if I am holding back two resources to pay for defense.

Chuftbot 365

@TattooedOniI'll touch on those points! This deck deserves to be worked on. Also to clarify I didn't win the final (needed my last Hit and Run, it was the last card in the deck and I drew the other 29) but since prizes are the same for the top 2 it didn't really matter.

Both red hero cards from SotR that we've seen thus far are amazing. Rebel Assault is the big one. It'll handle the few dice that the deck can't really deal with (specials in particular). Overkill is just going to make It's a Trap even more stupid.

Block never got played, and I played against two Kylo/Dooku decks. Even in the melee matchups it's way harder to get value from than Dodge. I want it gone but there's not a better option right now. Take Cover was actually not half bad as a pseudo-pass but obviously it's not optimal.

Daring Escape is a swingier version of Feel Your Anger but at the very least it's a decent way to undo a god roll and respond with Ambush. It's expensive for what it does and I'd like to replace it, but I'll still probably slot it over Block if a proper replacement isn't in SotR.

TattooedOni 147

@ChuftbotMaking the finals is good no matter what the outcome. I finished the League I made this deck for tied for first with 18 wins and in 2nd place on tie breakers.

For me Daring Escape doesn't have the impact that a block or dodge has. If the opponent god rolls, you have three outcomes on your Daring Escape: 1) you hit the jackpot give them a worse roll and remove some of their die 2) You change some damage into dice they can re-roll or still use (specials, discard, disrupt, sheilds are all side you don't want to leave out there) they still get damage but less of it and it ends up with a neutral result or 3) they end up in a better position after daring escape. 2 is probably the most likely and average result, but I don't have the math degree to figure it out. In all cases getting the ambush action helps because you can hopefully negate or capitalize on their rolls before they can resolve. On the other had block or dodge lets you remove damage and dice somewhere in the 4-10 range because you wipe out their god rolls or hold it for their rerolls. I think that is a better answer, and all three (block, dodge, daring escape) are for sure answer cards.

Block does feel like it's harder to get value from, I agree. It is only there to keep your characters alive and pumping out damage so even if your just negating 3-5 damage from Vader/Raider or Kylo/Dooku on a turn it did its job. Playing 2 gives you more chances to do so. It also is huge late game after there are light sabers every where and the opponent is finally just trying to roll damage to finish the game.

For an example:

Vader Rolls a 3 melee side: 1/6 chance its the same result, 1/6 chance you save 1 dmg, 3/6 chance its a relevant side still on the table, 1/6 chance you remove it.

Kylo Rolls a 2 for one resource side: 1/6 its the same, 1/6 save you 1 dmg, 1/6 you are now taking X dmg equal to cards in your hand, 2/6 it stays out on a relevant side, 1/6 you remove it.

Lightsaber rolls a +2 melee side: 3/6 the same or more damage, 2/6 stays out on a relevant side, 1/6 you remove it.

Kylos Saber rolls a +2 melee side:4/6 the same or more damage, 1/6 well at least they only get a shield... not great, 1/6 you remove it.

In each example a block get you 0 dmg and removed die, but no ambush. That's basically why I run the sweepers over it. Daring Escape is a lot more helpful against force powers clearly, but you run into the same problem of odds are they get a good result if not the same result more often than you get to remove the die. For me it's too luck dependent in a game where variance is extremely oppressive.

Chuftbot 365

Your numbers are totally accurate and your logic is sound. Direct removal is typically better than anything that forces a die roll. I still very much want a replacement for Daring Escape and Block in the next set. A one of Dodge will probably stay in just because it works better than block does.

To be clear, my changes weren't meant to be definitive as much as meta calls. The deck currently has no way to get rid of small numbers/specials reliably, and I knew I was going to end up playing against blue villain, Hyperloop, etc. For that purpose Block was weak and DE had at least some chance at controlling that, while still giving me an opportunity to Dug In or Defensive Position if the roll went sideways. The fact that it also nulled one or two entire rounds was just a bonus.

Regarding your last point, the next set will likely give enough options that variance will feel a bit less oppressive. As it is right now the game is inherently swingy. Part of that is obviously by design (dice + randomized draws), but on the other hand cards like It's a Trap completely remove chance from the equation. It's hard to say where they're going to go but they seem to be working toward consistency.

TattooedOni 147

I agree about the design of future sets working towards consistency. For the next couple months, and worlds competitive decks have to work at reducing the variance that is meta defining with only the one set of cards. DE sounds like a great call for your meta. Someone posted a new list today running Retreat and cutting 2 upgrades, not a choice I would make for the list walking into a cold tournament, but maybe that's a meta choice too. It also runs a different battlefield, which I am sure I wouldn't do. Are you running a different @Chuftbot?

Chuftbot 365

@TattooedOni Nope, being able to reliably claim Frozen Wastes is too powerful to pass up. I could see an argument for Separatist Base or maaaaybe Rebel War Room, but they're not as impactful. Freezing dice with the new battlefield might work well but it's risky.

I don't think I would cut any dice from this list. 14 is as low as I would want to go. Having said that I would probably cut Holdout Blaster or Scout before the others.

Retreat is a card I need to experiment with. I don't know if this is a deck that wants it though. Seems like it would either get you hit one more time or have them take initiative, and both of those outcomes are bad.

TattooedOni 147

@ChuftbotAgreed, I wouldn't consider a different battlefield from this set.

I think the reason Retreat probably isn't right for this deck is you have to wait for a turn where you do everything you can do for the turn very quickly, you don't have any removal in hand, and you claimed last turn. THEN if your opponent plays slow and has a lot left to do you can play it and make them choose between taking the battlefield or getting to do one of the many things they were planning. Probably too much of a corner case for me to pay 2 for, but I havent tested it at all yet. If my local meta was all melee control decks and mill decks maybe....

TattooedOni 147

Currently Spoiled Spirit of the Rebellion Cards that go right in: Rebel Assault, Overkill.

Cards I really want to test: A180 Blaster I don't like that it costs three, but I reliably get IQA-11 Blaster Rifle out between overwritting and Rearm. I really like the sides and the specials for this deck. I also want to test Maz's Castle as weird as that sounds since I think Frozen Wastes is battlefield of choice for this deck by far. The castle lets you dig in your deck for you combo cards, cycle away things you don't want until later in the game, and even helps against mill even though I don't think that's a legitimate concern right now. Could be good, I think its worth testing.

I really have no interest in Salvo, Astromech, or Temmin "Snap" Wexley for this deck though.

@Chuftbot

Chuftbot 365

@TattooedOni

Agreed on Rebel Assault and Overkill.

I'm less excited about A180. It seems closer in power to F-11D than IQA. I could maybe see playing one but I doubt I'd want to in the long term. Maz's Castle is extremely strong though and worth testing. None of those other cards fit in this deck.

Some of the cards that were spoiled in Polish seemed like they might fit really well, but I won't go into those until we have reliable English translations.

Kit Fisto 7

@Chuftbot @TattooedOni

Given the SoR preview event and having actual cards in hand (or at least reliable/confirmed spoilers), are there any new cards that look like natural inclusions in this deck beyond the ones mentioned in the earlier posts?

I've been playing with this lately and it's a really fun deck that seems will only improve with more cards - even though it's pretty well honed with just the Awakenings card pool.

TattooedOni 147

@howdypertnerThanks, I have just recently seen all the spoiled cards on the site here. We didnt have a pre-release in my area so I have to wait until the launch day to do a lot of testing outside of TTS. The cards I absolutely will play are: Overkill, 180, and Spirit of Rebellion replacing Take cover, and probably wingman.

Other cards I want to test are: Rebel Assault, Planatary Uprising, Air Supperiority, and the battlefields Maz's castle and maybe Secret Facility. I am not looking to change the battlefield but those might prove to better for the deck with testing.

I would look to cut Holdout, scout, maybe defensive position for something stronger. Block/Dodge are also going to become more local meta dependent, but it will also be harder to chose just one after the new set. If the deck is fast and tough enough in the new meta to be as good, I could see cutting both, but its way early to tell.

After I have some time play testing changes to the deck and seeing what the new meta is like I will absolutely post a new version of the list.

Chuftbot 365

@howdypertner``@TattooedOni Overkill was tailor made for this deck, ditto with Wingman. Holdout Blaster is going out for certain. I may ditch the Take Cover/Spirit slots entirely for something else, but I need to experiment more to figure out what. There's a lot of options now.

I intend to give Mon Mothma a shot in Ackbar's spot but I don't think she'll be as good. Leia dying first will mean Mon can only do as much damage as her upgrades allow, and that seems bad.