Ever since it was spoiled, Trandoshan Hunter has been a hot topic. For only 11 points, you get an elite character with 3 damage sides and the ability to auto-focus one of his dice to any damage side. Before Covert Missions dropped, we published an article outlining how broken we thought these guys would be when paired with an Imperial Death Trooper.
They haven’t disappointed, scooping 2 TTS victories since release, as well as a handful of high placements. If you whiff on mitigation against a double Trandoshan deck, or it gets removed by Face the Enemy or Probe, you should expect to receive 11-12 direct damage in round 1 on average.
So far, the double Trando/IDT deck has been the go-to Trandoshan deck, but last week a new pairing reared its head: Double Trandoshan/Luce, designed and piloted by Wotjek “Hipo” Wisniewski of Krakow’s Krak Dragon Howlers.
Losing red means losing Face the Enemy and The Best Defense…, as well as another auto-focusing die, which seems like a huge loss. Nevertheless, he took the deck to an undefeated 5-0 run in the Entourage Gaming weekly event.
He kindly agreed to write up the deck for us, and here he is:
I have to confess – I’ve been playing Trando since Day 1. Not because I’m a mediocre player, who can’t think of anything else or win with anything else (or at least I think I’m not), but Trandos fit perfectly into my play-style. I always loved hard-hitting aggro, but I also struggled with my rolls a lot. Hence, Trandos.
I’ve played the typical version (with IDT) quite a lot, and over time I’ve started to consider myself a Trando whisperer and mastered playing them (winning every mirror I’ve played, plus most other match-ups). I know it’s nothing to be proud of, and that’s not my point. My point is: Trandos are still dominant in my local meta, and even I, with all my love for aggro decks, think that these guys are just broken; playing against them is a straight up NPE (Negative Play Experience) and they deserve a nerf or balancing.
But the community in general doesn’t seem to share my opinion (or are there Trando bashing threads I don’t know about?) [echo7: I’d be inclined to agree here: the community doesn’t seem to think Trandos are a problem. As for me, I’m still undecided], pointing out that there are decks that counter Trandos. There is some truth to that, BUT I don’t consider any of those to be hard counters that Trandos will lose to 80% of the time. I would give them 60% at best. And my second BUT: it only applies if you think about there being one Trando deck.
Which brings me to my Trando The Witcher deck, which runs Luce instead of IDT and works really well against all the counters for red Trandos, while still being an aggro beast in its own right. Of course losing Face the Enemy, Viper Droids or The Best Defence… hurts, but I think that Fist and blue removal more than make up for it.
But why Luce instead of Sentinel Messenger? That’s easy – because I’ve always wanted to make a competitive deck running Possessed. Plus Luce’s often overlooked Action can be very helpful. Though the Sentinel version of this deck should be good as well.
Here are some not-so-obvious card choices:
Vader’s Fist – of course it’s still the card in the game, but there’s not a lot of people that will expect to see Fist in a Trando deck [echo7: I certainly wouldn’t]. But I learnt that these guys, paired with bounties and their battlefield, can produce enough resources to play Fist.
Respite – here’s one of the cards that can make it happen even faster. And since you don’t care that much about Luce’s die, you can use her for Respite [echo7: this continues to be one of my favourite cards in the game].
Chancellor’s Edict – in an earlier version of this deck I’d been running Shadowed instead of Edicts, but since Trandos have a hard time against heavy-shielders, I’ve decided to use Edicts.
Possessed – this card absolutely wrecks any Big character deck and is at least very annoying against anything else using dice. Plus it enables Trando’s PA, so what’s not to love?
When mulliganning, you’re looking for a downgrade obviously. The rest is dependent on match-up. I’m always on a lookout for Possessed (but not as my only Downgrade) and at least two pieces of removal. And I don’t keep Fist in my starting hand. An ideal moment for it is around round 3. So my perfect hand is something like this: Wanted, Possessed, Forsaken, Entangle, Respite.
As for piloting this deck, it’s really no big deal. You need a downgrade, plus you always take your battlefield (if able). And then you do your Trando magic and use Luce for whatever is needed from her. Plus, if there’s a Fist in your hand, try to get money for it, even if it means using Trando 2s instead of 3s, or losing one of your characters.
Still, there’s enough removal in here to keep your Trando safe at least for a round or two and that usually should be enough to get ahead of your opponent and never look back.
Thank you to Wotjek for the excellent write-up and for sharing his deck with us. Will Trandos continue to be a force to be reckoned with, or will successful counter decks rise to the top of the meta?
It’s hard to be sure at the moment due to the lack of high stakes events, meaning most people seem to be playing for fun rather than purely for victory, but it’ll be interesting to see what people bring to the table when the Primes finally get going again.
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