Today we’re going to use our best guesses of what decks and cards are going to be popular in Covert Missions, and use it to do a bit of metagaming: we’re trying to pick some key cards to consider which might give you an advantage over the most popular decks. Any picks at this stage are of course just guesswork, but that’s not going to stop us.
META 1: Face the Enemy
This character is probably the best villain support character ever printed. At 8 points, it’s as cheap as you’re going to get for blue, and has some pretty decent sides, with focus, resource and a free 2 melee base side.
But I’m liking this character for his ability. Previously pretty random unless you built your deck around it or ran double Sentinel (e.g. Grievous/Sentinel/Sentinel/Greedo), this character provides some excellent protection against the egriegous Face The Enemy.
So long as you hold off activating, this will give you on demand access to one of the two cards your opponent returns to your deck. Counterintelligence has always been popular, but it required a leader to spot, so having a Sentinel for protection against it was a handy bonus rather than a viable metagaming strategy.
Face The Enemy by contrast can (and will) be used in all villain red decks, so running this character in your lineup may help take the sting out of this OP card.
Another alternative to counter Face the Enemy (and Execute Order 66) is Separatist Embargo. If you are running Villain red, you are also going to be running Face the Enemy, but it might just be worth playing and turning off Face the Enemy for you and your opponent for the match. A round 1 Separatist Embargo against an O66 deck will shut them down. Ironically though, Face the Enemy also counters the later.
META 2: Trandoshans
Unshackle/Dangerous Escape/Breaking Bonds
If double Trandoshan is as popular as we think it’s going to be (and Boba Fett too), downgrades are going to become a big part of the game.
Being able to turn off the opponent’s auto-focus (and possibly costing them a resource if they played Dead Or Alive), at least for a round, could represent a huge swing in your favour.
For this reason, downgrade removal may be a worthwhile include. What you include depends on your build: Unshackle is neutral grey; Breaking Bonds has additional upside for Bane/Palpatine decks; Dangerous Escape can discard multiple downgrades and provides from-hand damage for a downgrade deck (so is a consideration for a Trandoshan player, providing them surprise offense and defense in the mirror).
It’s worth noting that Protective Suit provides no protection against bounties, so is not a viable metagame card against Trandoshans.
As an alternative to ridding yourself of the bounties to combat the Trandoshan decks: how about the old Awakenings classic Dodge (Reprinted in Convergence)? A two cost event that removes all of an opponents dice showing ranged damage. The value this card presents in the Trandoshan match up could see you removing 2-5 dice.
Similarly powerful is the Legacy card Dive, which caps at 3 dice but comes with handy ambush.
Dodge also has place against Destroy the Death Star Decks. I’ve been testing various Destroy the Death Star Decks and I believe this alternative win condition to be a genuine threat. Mid to late Round 4 seems to be where I have a final action of giving the old proton torpedoes a full send.
META 3: The Return of 2-wide
I’ve previously talked about the Rise of Order 66 decks at the end of the Spark of Hope meta, and we published a review of one of these decks: the Aphra 66 deck from the North Carolina Prime.
With the exception of the Trandoshan deck, I believe that we will likely see a resurgence of 2-wide decks such as Bane, Kragan and a revamped ReyLo, and if that’s the case, an Order 66 deck may find a strong place in the meta.
Even against Trandoshans, this can be strong, as the Death Trooper contributes relatively little. Executing Order 66 against a Trandoshan, especially after they’ve used their Power Action, can really set the opponent back.
META 4: Darth Bane
Darth Bane feels like Public Enemy No.1. He’s the chase Legendary that everyone is keen to get their hands on, for good reason too, as this guy packs a punch. I really am expecting to face this guy a lot in the upcoming meta. Let’s take a look at a few cards to help mitigate Bane and the almighty Death Field.
Hidden Motive has a 66.67% chance of removing a Death Field die when calling ‘indirect’. Sure, the opponent can then exhaust Death Field to roll the die back in, but having dealt with the die once you have already devalued the five resources they have just put into playing it. Hidden Motive however grants you a 16.67% chance of removing a Bane die. Just don’t do it. [echo7: though in an emergency, it could be chancy soft control]
The best way to mitigate Bane would be any type of multi-dice removal card. [echo7: I agree. I feel like removal in general is a great strategy against Bane. He packs a punch, but his strength lies in resolving only a few big dice, rather than flooding the board with small dice.] The Best Defense… resembles excellent value to countering Bane’s dice. I’d trade 3 damage and a resource to remove his dice all day long.
Technically Assail is not multi-die removal. I am including Assail for it’s ambush action: therefore we can simulate multi removal with a combo piece. Play Assail to remove one of his dice, then with the ambush action play a second piece of removal to deal with the other die. Free Fall also fits this mould because of the additional action granted from the event [echo7: I’ve long been a fan of Free Fall, and I think can be very powerful against Death Field as it is likely to be the only card in the opponent’s pool on occasion].
Other multi-die removal cards worth mentioning; Rout, Easy Pickings, Entangle & Feat of Strength. These respectively feel too situational for dealing with Darth Bane but hold their own against other decks.
META 5: The Interactive Meta
I believe the droids meta made a lot of players start to ditch dice mitigation from their decklists, as droids were so non-interactive your mitigation was useless. Palpatine also flooded the board with so many dice that removal just felt inefficient: it was generally better to focus on your own offensive strategy rather than try to pick off all the little dice. And let’s not forget Ewoks
With the rise of Bane, 5-die villain and 2-wide lineups like a revamped ReyLo or Kragan lineups, which lean heavily on a few big dice and seem to play fair with little action cheating, it might be time to start stocking up on mitigation again.
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