Hey all, this is the deck tech and tournament report from my 2nd place finish at the Boonton, NJ prime championship on 10/12/2019. First and foremost, I could not have achieved such success at this event without the rest of the Discard to Reroll play team that was in attendance with me. BananaCrapshoot, Hinkbert, TalgaVassternich, and Handlebar, thanks!
There's not a great deal to discuss here as most of the deck builds itself with the Aphra/Droid synergies. 000, BT1, CDA, bubble shield... all like peanut butter and jelly. I elected for maximum Aphra efficiency by playing 2x of the Coruscant Police as well. While they sport an overall underwhelming die, the actual cost to efficiency is rather high when you only pay 1 for them off of Aphra's discount. To maximize value, you only need to resolve the ranged sides twice, the ID once, or the resource once to have them "pay for themselves", and that's not withstanding the potential removal on play.
We also felt the deck needed to play Vader's Fist, as it simply doesn't have the same explosive damage output without it. As long as Aphra is alive and drawing cards, it's rather reliable to get to both Delve and Fist fairly early in the game. I even hard-cast Fist a few times on the day, as the deck is extremely resource efficient. Given the resource efficiency, we opted for Respite as opposed to No Good To Me Dead, as the continued card draw plus 1 resource felt more valuable than 2 resources with no card draw.
I opted for Mind Extraction as anti-Palpatine tech, as well as Galactic Deception as further anti-Palpatine tech, along with oppressive tech against Reylo and any other deck that wants to shield up heavily to wall off my onslaught of indirect damage.
Most of the rest of the event suite is pretty standard Aphra. In all, you have 9 events that can trigger ID pings off of the 000 passive, plus Act of Cruelty for other damage out of hand. I actually felt like I would have been happy running 2x Act of Cruelty as it was always good/efficient when I played it, though I'm not sure what I'd want to cut for the second copy.
Round 1 vs Jabba/Wat/Sentinel (Win; 1-0): Not too much to say here. I was able to keep the opponent off big money round 1, and then promptly DM'd his Megablaster Troopers round 2. I had my murder droids up and running, and efficiently won the game.
Round 2 vs Yoda/Cassian/Anakin (Win; 2-0): I was pretty surprised to run into this mill deck as I haven't really seen it since rotation. My opponent played exceptionally well and had my deck milled out early round 3. Unfortunately, I was able to play a Vader's fist and 000, so I had a lot of damage pushing through that he was unable to deal with. Left with only a Cassian with no upgrades in round 3, I was able to pull this one out with 3 cards still in hand. My opponent was a round late finding Flames of the Past, or else this game may have went differently.
Round 3 vs GG/Aphra/Sentinel (Loss; 2-1): This game was on stream vs my teammate, Hinkbert. This was a great game that ended super close (1 damage, in fact). He found both of his Desperate Measures this game and I did not, and this ultimately was the difference in the game. The final round of this game was rather exciting. Hinkbert dropped a CDA, which represented lethal to me. I played Act of Cruelty to bring him down to 2 health, so it now represented lethal for him instead. He used GG's PA and hit the 1 in 6 on 000 to put me into lethal range on BT-1 activation, leaving him with only 1 health remaining in victory!
Round 4 vs Chopper/C3PO/R2D2/Fateful Companions (Win; 3-1): Not much to say about this game. My opening hand post mulligan was Respite, Respite, Delve, Fist, 000 and then I drew a BT-1 off of a Respite. Round 1 I played 000 and Fist, then BT-1 round 2. The game ended on a BT-1 activation to open round 3.
Round 5 vs GG/Aphra/Sentinel (Win; 4-1): My second mirror match of the day, this time vs Isaac, who also made top cut on the day. I want to take the opportunity to shout out Isaac, who played great on the day, and really impressed me in making cut at a young age in a really tough field! I think the main difference in this game is that I was playing Fist and he was not. He also played Separatist Embargo on DM round 1 to protect his 000, but it also protected my own 000 and my Fist that I played pretty early in the game.
Round 6 vs GG/Aphra/Sentinel (Loss; 4-2): My third mirror match of the day now, this time vs Cody (aka Manten) from ABG. This game was on stream as well. Cody had yet another different take on the deck as he was playing the entourage package, as well as Fist I believe. This game was another super close one, and I made a pretty bad mental mistake in the last round in allowing him to setup a Forsaken play and take 2ID from me off of a Grievous die. He ultimately won with 3 health remaining, though I believe he would have closed the game even without me having a brain fart.
Round 7 vs Jabba/Wat/Sentinel (Win; 5-2): My second matchup vs Jabba/Wat/Sentinel, this time vs Daniel R. (aka DiscGolfDan), who was the runner up at the Tamaqua prime a week ago. I knew going in that Dan is an excellent player, but I felt like Aphra was a really poor matchup for Jabba. The D2R team had been playing Jabba pretty extensively leading up to this event, and ultimately put him away as we couldn't beat Aphra. I had both of my DMs in my opening hand, and Dan was never able to "play the game", as he worded it, until it was far too late.
I was left biting my nails as the top 8 was announced, only finally hearing my name in the 8th and final slot. I was pretty shocked to be seeded at 8 as I felt like most of my schedule through the day was occupied by really solid players. I knew this put me in a tough spot as I would have to open top cut play vs the #1 seed from swiss.
Quarterfinals vs Reylo (Win; 2-0): My first Reylo match on the day, piloted by Joe K. who went 7-0 in swiss. This is the first time I've ever met Joe. He was a super nice guy and a very talented player. I spent game 1 mitigating Rey dice anytime they showed special (and sometimes before they did, e.g. via Forsaken). I also played Mind Extraction on Rey when I had a chunk of money and no dice cards, and then played Galactic Deception the following round. I kept him off shields almost the entire game, allowing all my auto-indirect to push through to lethal. Game 2 I was able to go Delve into Vader's Fist round 1 and continued to mitigate any dice representing shields.
Semi-finals vs Reylo (Win; 2-0): Another Reylo matchup, this time vs Andrew (aka OB13Kenobi) of ABG. I approached this matchup the same as my prior one vs Joe. I made a point to mitigate anything representing shields, although Andrew played more aggressively and pushed damage, possibly after getting intel from how I played the prior round. In both games, he did a great job cycling Niman and Soresu Masteries to mess with my dice, but without any meaningful shield generation he was not able to out-race me for damage. As an interesting side note, we were not given the opportunity to see opponent's decklists prior to top cut matchups, but I believed the ABG Reylo list(s) were playing Flames of the Past, which did force me to clog my hand at times to protect my droids and Fist, making these games a little grindier.
Finals vs 4Lom/GG/Sentinel (Loss; 1-2): The finals matchup was vs Drew (aka Original) of ABG. Game 1 was a spanking. I made a couple nervous plays early on, and Drew had some FOST dice that were putting on a total smoke show. I scooped about 10 or so minutes into the game just to make sure I had time for games 2 and 3 in case they turned into grinds (although this was unlikely as we were given 2 hours for the best of 3). Game 2 I settled in and felt like I played pretty flawlessly, yet I still needed Drew to whiff on a trio of rerolls of energy bow and conscript squad, where finding damage would have resulted in him winning 2-0. Game 3 I felt like I played extremely well right up until the final round. I felt like the game was a 50-50 proposition in the final round, and he had a butt load of ranged damage showing off of MBT FOST dice again. I had DM in hand and felt if I essentially traded damage with him by playing it, I put myself at somewhere around 85-90% to win either that round, or by a BT-1 activation the next round. However, I misunderstood how DM interacted with MBT and all I did was deal myself 4 damage and then still take 5 ranged to the face, instead putting Drew at 85-90% to win that round, which he did. 2 days later and I'm still pretty bummed out by this. The ruling is clear and correct in retrospect, but in the moment I didn't stop to consider the difference between dice "attached" to a card (which constitutes the vast majority of dice cards in the game) and dice from the set-aside zone. Overall a pretty feel bad final result, given I felt like I was a good die roll or 2 from being firmly in the driver's seat of that game 3, but Drew played great all day and earned a well fought victory.
Overall, I felt like our team did an exceptional job putting together a tight list that performed well all day. Also, kudos to Highlander Games for putting on an extremely well run event that moved along quickly and efficiently. They also offered store credit to the top 8 finishers, just because, which further impressed me. The wife says thank you for the Legendary expansion!!! Definitely a place I'd go back to for additional events in the future!