Trandoshan Hunters

Last week we published a deck review on double Trandoshan/Luce, in which Wojtek, the deck architect, stated that he thought Trandoshans were broken but that the Destiny community didn’t appear to share his viewpoint. I agreed with him.

After publishing, I had a very interesting discussion with Andrew Heinz of Dice Commandos, in which it was clear that he firmly agreed Trandoshans were broken, but he thought the Destiny community did share this viewpoint.

This mismatch in perception appeared to stem from the following:

The facts: Not many people are playing Trandoshans in tournaments, and people don’t seem to be talking about them much on Destiny threads.

Conclusion 1 (Wojtek and myself): People don’t think they’re that great or particularly broken
Reason for reaching this conclusion: Destiny players are highly competitive and want to bring the best deck to a tournament. They’re not bringing Trandoshans so they must not think they’re that great. Also, people in the past have gone on and on about broken cards pre-nerf (e.g. Snoke or Maul’s Saber). They’re not going on about Trandos so people must think they’re fine.

Conclusion 2 (Andrew): Trandoshans are busted and everyone knows it
Reason for reaching this conclusion: Destiny players are having fun and experimenting due to the lack of highly competitive events. They’re also good people, and there’s nothing clever about bringing a clearly broken deck to a fun event. People aren’t talking about it on Destiny threads because the matter’s been settled already.

Both conclusions are valid, and I’m willing to be convinced either way, but we lacked the data to be sure. Well, I love data, so I made an opinion poll to get some.

To work out what was going on, I had to know not only what people thought, but what they thought everyone else thought. And that’s why I asked about people’s opinion of the community in general.

Here’s the results of the first two questions, about perceptions of Trandos:

As you can see, about 50% of people think that Trandoshans are broken, while 60% of people think the rest of the community thinks Trandoshans are broken.

I can plot these two against each other, to compare how people thought to how they believed everyone else thought:

In the above, 14% of people (about 1 in 7) thought Trandoshans were broken and needed a nerf, but felt that the community in general thought they were powerful, but didn’t need a nerf yet.

So, does this help work out what’s going on?

First, why is there an absence of people going on about them in Destiny threads?

50% of the community don’t think they’re a problem, so they’re not going to ask for a nerf. 34% of the community think they’re broken and thinks everyone agrees so there’s no point talking about them. So it looks like it’s a bit of one a bit of the other.

That leaves just 16% of people (1 in 6), who, like Wojtek, think they’re broken but don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t agree, so it’s not surprising there aren’t many people going on about these guys on Destiny threads.

Next, why are they absent from events? This is trickier because there’s so many possible reasons why people might bring a certain deck to an event.

However, 50% of the community think Trandos are broken. If everyone was all about winning, we’d see lots of Trandos, at least from half the community. There would also be a few people playing decks Trandoshans are weak to (metagaming) but that’s harder to spot.

I therefore think we can rule out the hypothesis that Trandoshans aren’t being played much because no-one else seems to think they’re a problem. But I also don’t think their absence is solely down to people wanting to avoid a clearly broken deck, as only half the community hold this view. We’re seeing a wide range of deck variety in events, and it really does look like people out there are just experimenting and having fun.

But are they actually broken?

You can’t work out the truth by asking people’s opinions. What you can do however, is compare how busted people think Trandoshans are based on how many games they’ve played with them, and that’s what I’ve done below:

As you go to the right in the above graph, you’re looking at people who have tested Trandos more and more. The bars at the top tell you how many people fell into each category of testing: a 20/40/40 split between respondents having played a couple, a few, and lots of games.

It looks like the more games you’ve played with Trandoshans, the better you think they are (on average), with no players who have tested the Trandoshans lots ranking them as merely good (which is why the Good line stops abruptly). If you look at just players who have done lots of testing, we’re looking at a 55/45 split: 55% of these players think they’re broken and need a nerf asap.

I think this is fairly compelling: even if there are decks out there that can beat them, this sort of consensus of opinion, from players who have tested these guys a lot, is pretty damning.

How should they be nerfed?

The results for this question lacked any kind of consensus, with 36% of people approving of a points increase, 32% the Power Action changed to costing 1 resource and 28% approving of Trandoshans being restricted with Nightsister Lair and/or Face The Enemy.

Personally, I don’t think that a 9/12 balance would entirely fix the problem, as I don’t feel swapping a Death Trooper for a Battle Droid would hurt the deck too much, though I would be willing to be convinced otherwise.

I think the restricted list with Nightsister Lair or Face The Enemy would help, though in general I’m not a huge fan of the restricted list as it stands, as continually adding cards to the restricted list is just going to muddy it and lock out of the game perfectly legitimate combinations of cards.

52% of respondents proposed something else, with a number of people suggesting adding the card to the restricted list on its own. I believe by this they meant make the card unique, as you are allowed to run as many copies of non-unique cards on the restricted list as deck building restrictions allow (which is why you’re still allowed 5 Ewoks). I think this would work, but feel it would be a shame to remove this interesting character from the newly created and interesting dynamic of non-unique elite.

Another popular response in various configurations was to errata the Power Action to be more limiting (but not costing a resource), and it is this approach which I am most in support of. Going full circle to the debate that sparked this article, I can find no better proposal than that made by Andrew of the Dice Commandos, which I reproduce below with his permission (thank you):

This fix retains the points and non-unique elite flair of the character, but just makes the Power Action much more fair. Having to play 2 downgrades to flip to the double ranged side (or 3 for the triple) is perfectly feasible, even in round 1, but is just that bit harder. Plus only being able to focus his own die means if you nuts roll one Trandoshan and double blank the other, you can no longer Power Action both blanks.

Is anything else broken?

There were quite a few different answers to this question, but in the end only 3 cards or combos came up more than once: hero droids (in some form or other), Face The Enemy and ReyLo (though the latter only appeared 3 times). Amazingly, there was only one mention each of Vader’s Fist, Easy Pickings, Kanan and his Saber, Desperate Measures, Reap and Ewok Ambush, while about one third of people complained about droids and one in six thought Face The Enemy was broken.

I was expecting droids to feature heavily, even without prompting. I personally think hero droids are worse than Trandoshans, and I’ve written about them plenty of times saying they need (yet another) nerf. This time though I’d like one that actually tackles their oppressive combination of action cheating, focusing and die pumping.

However, I wasn’t really expecting Face The Enemy to appear so often, though I perfectly understand why. This card can absolutely wreck a round and costs nothing to play.

Public enemy #3

Finally, thank you for all the many comments: every single one was fair and interesting, such as one person requesting Crime Lord be made a title (wouldn’t that be fun), someone else asking for a Holdout Blaster reprint, another saying we should ban mill and one respondent saying people should stop whining about powerful cards and just deal with it. Fair enough.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far. Stay safe.


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