How Many Characters?
Choose the Size of Your Team in STAR WARS: Destiny
“Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.”
–Yoda, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars™: Destiny has been out for just a few weeks, but thousands of players are already diving into the Awakenings cardpool, exploring how to make the best teams and play out epic duels from your imagination in the Star Wars universe.
Pulling a team together and building your deck isn’t always easy, so today, we invite guest writer Tiny Grimes to explore some of the advantages behind playing a team of three characters in your games of Star Wars: Destiny!
Tiny Grimes on Three Characters in Star Wars: Destiny
While there are many important decisions to be made in a game of Star Wars: Destiny, perhaps the most important one is made the moment you conceive of a deck. Will it be based around two or three characters (or four, with the villains)? This choice has a huge impact on the deck you build and the cards that you include in your deck. I’ll make my bias clear up front, I love three-character decks. In fact, I have a hard time even making two-character decks these days. Today, I’ll try to show you why I love three-character decks so much.
Control vs. Aggressive
The decision between using two or three characters often boils down to one question: am I running a late game/control deck or a more aggressive deck? Most aggressive decks use two characters, often doubling down on the power of one character’s dice. For example, elite Darth Vader (Awakenings, 10) and Tusken Raider (Awakenings, 22) or elite General Grievous (Awakenings, 3) with Count Dooku (Awakenings, 9) are potent two-character decks. In these cases, the strength of your elite character’s dice makes it acceptable to use only two characters. These types of decks generally try to win in the mid-game, around turn four or five. In a perfect situation, they’ll eliminate a character on the second turn, if possible. The downside to this approach is that when your terrifying elite character dies, the game dramatically shifts. You had better be close to winning when Darth Vader goes down, because the Tusken Raider’s death will quickly follow.
Three-character decks, on the other hand, often focus on the later game. For example, I like to use Jabba the Hutt (Awakenings, 20) and Count Dooku in three-character decks. Both of these characters fill support roles, and they have a ton of health at the relatively cheap cost of eleven points for the normal version. This extra health lets you enact more long-term game plans, such as using Crime Lord (Awakenings, 23), setting up Force powers, or even abusing weapons with the redeploy keyword. In other words, by having three characters with less explosive power, the game lasts longer, allowing for more setup. If one of your characters goes down, there are two other characters ready to pick up the slack. Hopefully by that point, your characters are loaded with powerful upgrades and ready to win.
While three-character lineups can create better control decks, what are the specific advantages of using three characters? Two elite characters are more cost effective, if you’re just focusing on the number of quality dice you bring to the table. In fact, you can use elite Han Solo (Awakenings, 46) and elite Rey (Awakenings, 38) together or elite Jango Fett (Awakenings, 21) and elite General Veers (Awakenings, 4). These are certainly formidable combinations that begin the game with four powerful dice. So what do we gain from using three characters instead?
More health means your characters are harder to kill, which means it’s harder to lose. I realize this is an incredibly simple statement, but it’s one of the primary advantages of using three characters. Let’s take a look at a sturdy three-character deck: Count Dooku, Jabba the Hutt, and Bala-Tik (Awakenings, 19). This lineup provides 29 health, but with Count Dooku’s ability, it’s more like 35. That’s an incredible amount of damage that your opponent has to inflict, which allows you to upgrade the characters that aren’t being damaged. Essentially, one character becomes a sacrifice to buy time for the others.
By using three characters, you have the opportunity to deploy upgrades and know that they will last. By upgrading the two characters who aren’t taking damage from your opponent’s attacks, you can play expensive upgrades and be relatively certain that they will get at least two turns of use. These upgrades become especially potent when paired with the redeploy keyword. One of my favorite tricks is to wait until your first character is almost dead and then replace their upgrades with redeploy weapons. Is your opponent really going to let Jabba the Hutt live with one health just to prevent a Lightsaber (Awakenings, 59) from moving over to Count Dooku? Of course not!
With three characters in your deck, you have the option to include more factions, and of course, more factions means more choices. For instance, a three-faction hero mill deck with Padme Amidala (Awakenings, 48), Admiral Ackbar (Awakenings, 27), and Rey has access to plenty of cheap upgrades, which can open the window for a brutal Patience (Awakenings, 119). In fact, discarding nine cards from an opponent’s decks with Patience as early as the second turn is common. Multiple factions also lets you access every faction’s control cards, keeping your opponent off balance since they don’t know which cards you’ve chosen and how many copies you’re playing.
There are a few cards that just work better with more characters. The primary example is Flank (Awakenings, 156). Flank is a remarkable control card that lets you remove any die, as long as you have more ready characters than your opponent. This is usually easy to accomplish when it’s three vs. two. Another great option is Drudge Work (Awakenings, 76). By having extra characters, it can be easier to exhaust one of them for a resource in order to build something bigger. Redeploy weapons also become even better with three characters. An early Holdout Blaster (Awakenings, 63) or Lightsaber has a tremendous impact on the game. They can also keep an important character safe, as nobody is eager to kill the character with redeploy weapons. There’s no sweeter feeling than paying two resources for a Holdout Blaster and having it wielded by three different characters.
My favorite aspect of playing three characters is that you are guaranteed to make it to the middle/late game. This allows you to play more expensive cards, knowing that you’ll have time to leverage their power. One of my favorite cards to work towards is Crime Lord. By playing Underworld Connections (Awakenings, 101) and maybe even Drudge Work, money starts flowing like water. Throw in some Datapads (Awakenings, 62) and Crime Lord becomes a reality. Additionally, cards like Millennium Falcon (Awakenings, 49), Launch Bay (Awakenings, 31), and AT-ST (Awakenings, 5) become much more tenable in three-character decks. If your lineup only has 19 health, ramping into a Launch Bay doesn’t work. However, if you have 25+ health, these expensive cards become playable and terrifying.
I must admit that I have an obsession with using three characters. While the raw power of elite Darth Vader and Tusken Raider is appealing, I prefer three bodies that provide more wiggle room when the dice don’t go my way. I’d urge you to try three characters for yourself, but I must warn you, once you’ve gone down the path of three there may be no turning back. Until next time!
Three Is Company
Characters (30 points, 3 dice)
Jabba the Hutt
Rebel War Room
Draw deck (30 cards, 17 dice)
Upgrades (18 cards, 16 dice)
1x Crime Lord
2x Force Choke
2x Force Throw
1x Gaffi Stick
2x Holdout Blaster
2x Hunker Down
1x Mind Probe
1x On the Hunt
2x Sith Holocron
Supports (2 cards, 1 die)
1x Speeder Bike Scout
1x Underworld Connections
Events (10 cards)
1x Feel Your Anger
2x He Doesn’t Like You
Tiny Grimes is an avid card game player and has been playing Star Wars: Destiny since the very first cards were spoiled. He posts strategy videos on his YouTube channel and hosts The Smugglers Den, a podcast dedicated to Star Wars: Destiny.