Since Covert Missions dropped, hero droids and Trandoshans have been the dominant force. However, in mid-May, an unofficial holocron was released by Nicholas “The Gandork” Nelson, which has been adopted by a large number of tournament organisers. We’ll write a more in-depth analysis of the implications of this move later, but for now, the important point is that droids and Trandoshans have effectively been nerfed by the community, paving the way for new deck archetypes to rise to the top.
The Gandork Holocron, or Gandorcron, has almost no direct effect on mill decks (other than the addition of Hidden Motive to the restricted list). Mill is already strong in the standard format, so the adoption of these changes effectively gives mill a boost.
There’s lots of mill decks out there, but the one we’re focusing on today is eLeia/eLor San Tekka/Long Term Plan, which took the runner-up spot in the first Entourage Gaming Event utilising the Gandorcron, and finished first in the most recent UK TTS Theme Event on 7 June (the deck being allowed as Lor San Tekka and Leia meet in the Poe Dameron comic book series).
To discuss the deck, we’ve got a return of Wotjek “Hipo” Wisniewski of Krakow’s Krak Dragon Howlers, who was the deck’s pilot in both of its recent successes.
However, before we dive into the deck, I’d like to mention that Hipo and others from the Polish Destiny community have started running regular TTS events: The TTS Polish Opens. While player numbers have been smaller than UK or US based events, most of the folks attending are seasoned Destiny players, making it the perfect testing ground for larger events. They also take place in the evening Polish time (UTC+2), putting them in the middle of the day for Americans, so are convenient for a lot of destiny players (with apologies to those in the Far East and Antipodes).
The next event is Saturday 13 June and anyone is welcome. If you’re interested, check out their events page here:
Twas the Night Before Christmas, or rather before the first big tournament using Gandorcron, and I had no idea what to play. I was testing a few different decks with my good friend and teammate at Krak Dragon Howlers, Adrian vel Night, and he destroyed me at every corner, both using his new Palp, as well as this horrible, horrible mill deck, and reminded me why I hate mill so much.
Unfortunately with Gandorcron disabling the two best aggro decks, I knew mills would have a field day and will rear their ugly heads again (that’s the main reason I’m not sold on this thing). So I thought to myself, if I was able to nerf Trando (kidding of course), why shouldn’t I do the same for mill, especially since Adrian choose to go with Palp.
So I took his Leia/Lor, changed a couple of cards and took it for a spin. After it performed very well (finishing 2nd, with the only loss after a really close game) in a standard event, I realized it would be legal at the theme event held by UK community. So I went with it, and won.
But enough with the backstory, on to the deck inself… it’s mill, it destroys your hand and discards your deck. It’s annoying as hell.
What makes this deck work, despite having only 4 dice and 21 total health? The answer isn’t easy to find. I still can’t put my finger on what the key factor is here.
The big part of deck’s success lies with the plot, and to me, it’s the only reason this thing’s competitive at all. Even when there’s only one resource on it, it can be (and often is) a game changer [echo7: I agree, this plot can be huge, and if it weren’t red hero I think it would see a lot more play. If this plot weren’t so good, you’d probably be better off swapping it and a Leia die for Anakin and Coaxium Heist, giving you access to yellow and the universal tutor, Covert Mission].
But there’s also a lot of synergy going on in there. Another obvious statement is that Leia is a beast when it comes to milling your opponent, and the fact that she can target your hand as well as your deck is huge. But without Lor this deck would probably fall apart as well, because one of its flaws is mitigation (especially cheap ones) and Lor can help with that by recycling mitigation. Plus he’s huge when it comes to mill on mill action.
Most of the cards in the deck are standard mill-enables and mitigation (with a little bit of healing), but there are some cards worth noting:
Clever Distraction – since each of it’s functions can come in handy.
Refusal – it’s a tough one. It looks really great, and when it hits the table at the right moment (or in the right match-up) it can singlehandedly win you a game. But I’m using only one, because in early stages of almost every match-up it’s very risky to give your opponent access to a ton of resources, so Refusal can often be a dead card.
Flames of the Past – for me, is an auto-include for any blue deck with all the Shiens, Death Fields or Admirals being overwritten right and left.
Fresh Start – now this is the card that disappointed me the most. On paper it looks tailor-made for this deck, but in reality it’s usually too expensive to be worth it. But I won’t change it just yet, because I can’t rule out that I just wasn’t drawing into it at the right moment.
My perfect hand would probably be the following:
Lore Hunter, Motivate, Pacify, First Aid and Suppressive Fire.
As for any piloting pointers for this thing it’s really hard to tell, because I haven’t found any universal truth about this deck, and most of the games I played were very different from each other. You just have to try to find balance between keeping Leia (for me, she’s the key) alive and milling. Plus whenever you see a resource on your dice, don’t hesitate ton take it, because economy is one of the weakest spots of this deck.
Still, although it pains me to say it, the deck is very solid and I’m afraid that Gandorcron might be the renaissance of mills. That’s why maybe it would be wise to add a new rule that would allow a player to add additional 2 cards to the deck for every point not used for characters/plot. That might balance the mills a little if they become a thing again, but still will give them a fighting chance.
Thank you to Hipo for the excellent write-up. I too would like to see mill kept in check, but would prefer if it were done within the existing rules of engagement. I don’t want to see mill die; I like alternate win conditions, and even though I know mill annoys a lot of people, I enjoy the unusual challenge that facing a mill deck presents. But I don’t think mill should dominate, as for me it goes against the spirit of Destiny. This isn’t a criticism of those who play mill, it’s just my view of the game.
It’ll be interesting to see how the game develops as long as the strongest aggro decks continue to be either self-censored by the community (via the Gandorcron) or nerfed by an official holocron. If mill rises to the top, will there be another public outcry followed by a nerf, or will there be a shift in the meta to accommodate the new norm?