Ready for Action
A State of the Game Report on Star Wars: Destiny
“Right now I feel I could take on the whole Empire myself!”
–Dak Ralter, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
The entire Star Wars saga is open before you in Star Wars™: Destiny. You can play out the duels of your imagination—pitting iconic heroes and infamous villains against each other in battle. Five sets of booster packs have already released and with Across the Galaxy coming soon, it’s the perfect time for designer Jeremy Zwirn to take a closer look at the state of the game in Star Wars: Destiny!
Jeremy Zwirn on the State of the Game
What has been most successful for the game in the past year?
The fourth booster pack expansion and first base set for the game, Legacies, has been very well-received! The set introduces a new card type (plot), a new die symbol (indirect damage), and a new action (power action). Many popular and strong characters are featured in the set, such as Yoda (Legacies, 33), Boba Fett (Legacies, 19), Tarkin (Legacies, 12), and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Legacies, 32). A multitude of cards from Legacies have been incorporated into decks and the set has been instrumental in creating an exciting and diverse metagame.
The Rivals Draft Set has also been very popular since it introduces draft and sealed play to Star Wars: Destiny. By having to construct their decks from a limited pool, players can experience the game in a completely new context, forcing players to reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of many cards.
What are you most excited about for the year ahead?
I’m really looking forward to expanding on the foundation laid by Legacies and Way of the Force with Across the Galaxy. A new mechanic, Modify, lets players attach upgrades to vehicle supports. Equipping an X-Wing (Across the Galaxy, 86) with a Triple Laser Turret (Across the Galaxy, 133) is just plain fun. The iconic Millennium Falcon (Across the Galaxy, 103) even enters play with the Escape Craft (Across the Galaxy, 102) attached to it as an upgrade, which can then be detached and reattached every round!
Much like how plots in Way of the Force evolved from the plots in Legacies, plots are taken to a whole new level in Across the Galaxy. Multiple plots allow players to build teams of more than 30 points, such as No Allegiance (Across the Galaxy, 155), and another plot breaks a basic rule for constructing decks. Plots like these make possible what was once impossible. Players have never had so many options to explore in Star Wars: Destiny and I'm looking forward to what they come up with!
Three major Star Wars: Destiny tournaments took place in August and September: the North American Championship at Gen Con, the U.K. Nationals, and the U.S. Nationals. How did those tournaments go and what were the top decks?
Each of these big tournaments featured innovative decks, strong competition, and plenty of intense games. Over 250 players dueled for the title of 2018 North American Champion and Andrew Cox, piloting his elite Yoda / Cassian Andor / Anakin Skywalker deck, claimed victory. Greg Pike and his elite Snoke/ elite Bazine Netal / First Order Stormtrooper deck bested over 100 participants in the U.K. Nationals. Elite Snoke / Doctor Aphra / Battle Droid, played by Drew Warren, was the winning deck out of over 120 players at the U.S. Nationals. Congratulations to each of these players for their well-deserved wins!
Are there any cards that are either overperforming or underperforming, based on your expectations?
Snoke (Way of the Force, 4) is one card that has been performing better than expected. Support characters generally rely on other cards to win the game, especially when it comes to dealing damage. Many previous support characters have been underwhelming and we'd like to make them more appealing going forward, with Snoke being an example of that.
A character that hasn’t seen as much play as we were expecting is Palpatine (Legacies, 4). He has a strong Power Action that allows you to play events at a decreased cost, potentially saving you up to three resources every round. His Power Action and low health make him a big target for opponents though, and it’s difficult to win games after he’s been defeated. Late during playtesting, Palpatine’s point values were raised from 15/19 to 16/20 in order to prevent pairings with Seventh Sister (Empire at War, 10), elite Bala-Tik (Awakenings, 19), and elite Greedo (Legacies, 21), but in hindsight, we were a bit too cautious with such an iconic character.
What is one of the biggest challenges the game is currently facing?
Blue has consistently done well over the past year and currently the majority of strong decks feature Blue. Blue in Star Wars: Destiny represents some of the most iconic elements: lightsabers, Force powers, and many extremely popular characters, such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda. It’s important to always have some of these elements play a role in competitive play but we also don’t want a single color to dominate the metagame. We're watching how the strength of Blue affects the constantly evolving metagame and, if deemed necessary, can use tools at hand to diminish the current prevalence of Blue.
If you could do one thing to improve the game experience, what would it be?
There are many different types of players who enjoy Star Wars: Destiny. The game experience offers competitive players a multitude of formats to master (Standard, Trilogy, Draft, Sealed, and eventually, Infinite), Organized Play support, and a robust tournament system that culminates in the World Championship. I’d like to improve the game experience by offering less competitive-minded players more ways to play Star Wars: Destiny.
Creating a new format for the game is one way to strengthen the experience. Exploring the novelties and subtleties of a unique format can be a very enjoyable process for players. Many players also really appreciate the social aspect of gaming with friends and I’d like to implement another multiplayer mode, such as team play or one versus many, in addition to the official Free-for-all mode. Providing alternative ways to play Star Wars: Destiny can create new experiences and enjoyment for all types of players!
Former five-time LCG® World Champion Jeremy Zwirn began his work in the gaming industry as a playtester, and he has since worked his way into a design position for Star Wars: Destiny. In his spare time, he enjoys cheering on the Minnesota sports teams, biking, and “scooping” people—which roughly translates to winning.