The arrival of Covert Missions left us with some potential problems in competitive Destiny: Hero Droids have persisted in their domination, we’ve said plenty on the subject of Trandoshan Hunters, and Desperate Measures (and to a lesser extent Face the Enemy) have been warping the meta. We also have 173 characters to choose from in Standard, but only a fraction of these actually see competitive play.
One man has taken it upon himself to issue his own holocron: Nicholas “The Gandork” Nelson. Head Judge from World’s and a tireless presence on Destiny forums for answering rules questions, there’s few out there who could publish a holocron and expect others to adopt it; this man is one of them.
The Gandork Holocron, or Gandorcron, has been utilised by a number of TTS event organisers, and it makes some pretty major changes which shake up the game considerably, nerfing key decks and giving underplayed characters a new lease of life. As The Gandork has been heavily involved in Destiny development with FFG, it wouldn’t be a surprise if these changes represent the direction of travel for an upcoming official holocron.
- Chopper joins C-3PO on the restricted list along with Abandoned Refinery.
- Trandoshans are now 10/12 and also on the restricted list along with Face the Enemy, Desperate Measures and Hidden Motive.
- Armored Reinforcement con only pulls red vehicles.
We’ve written again and again about how overpowered droids were, and certainly haven’t been alone in that opinion. These changes might kill off droids as a top tier deck, but it’s hard to say for sure. Chopper himself less formidable without the Refinery, and the addition of Chopper to the restricted list means that 3PO and R2 need to find another strong partner to remain current. Satine Droids still looks strong, as you get your 5 die start (eSatine/eR2/3PO), and the droid interactions remain as broken as ever. Only time will tell if the pairing of R2 and 3PO remains a significant part of the meta.
However, both R2 and 3PO can live on separately in a restricted world. C-3PO may find a home in pairings with a big blue or in 3-wide mill and support decks. He’s still a solid support character at 11 points, and if you can get R2 down early as a support, you’re looking at being able to consistently resolve a double resource or double focus on activation. R2 will also still see play in pairings with characters boasting big top sides, such as Legacies Obi-Wan (3 melee) or Bo-Katan Kryze (3 ranged).
A Trandoshan nerf is also very welcome, and as we wrote about in our Trandoshans article, was supported by over half the Destiny community.
Is this enough of a nerf? It certainly helps. You can still pair 2 elite Trandoshan Hunters (or one and eTalzin) with a Battle Droid, or a Zombie, but losing the options of Face The Enemy and Desperate Measures (as well as Hidden Motive and Vader’s Fist) weakens these guys even more. We’ve not seen the last of Trandoshans, but they’re not as broken as they used to be, and that’s fine.
The errata to Armored Reinforcement to pull only red vehicles makes good sense if Desperate Measures is restricted. Armored Reinforcement was only really broken in Shadowcaster, Falcon and Firespray decks. It also provided an potentially overpowered alternative to Profitable Connections in the form of a free Merchant Freighter, a strategy that was (arguably) only kept in check by fear of Desperate Measures.
It’s a shame that Luke loses the ability to pull Red 5, but there’s plenty of other excellent red targets for hero such as Resistance Crait Speeders or Padmé Amidala’s Royal Starship. I’m also pretty excited to revive my not so-competitive-but-fun eGrievous/Sentinel/Super Battle Droid/AR deck to abuse a heavily modded Wheel Bike, if DM is going to be less of a thing.
The large extension of the Restricted List is probably the most controversial change in this holocron. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it difficult to picture all the cards on the restricted list and remember what they all do, so, to make life easier, here they are in full (you’re welcome). All cards which were already on the list are greyed out slightly. I’ve attempted to group them roughly by interaction:
This list is starting to look pretty long.
We’ve talked about the impact of this list on droids and Trandoshans, but it has much wider implications than that. The most controversial addition is probably Hidden Motive. This card is potentially free removal, sure, but it’s hardly broken, and it’s fairly ineffective against a number of decks. It is however an auto-include for most blue decks, and adding it to the list does present additional choices when deck-building, especially when it comes to battlefield choice.
Face The Enemy and Desperate Measures being put on the list will hugely reduce their play. If you’ve got a leader on your team, Face The Enemy will likely get replaced with Counterintelligence (plus Probe) in decklists, with Desperate Measures being retained. But this will be a meta-call. If supports make a return, even after a nerf of Armored Reinforcement (to pull only red vehicles), the choice is easy. If supports remain niche, Face The Enemy (or Hidden Motive) may be the restricted card of choice.
I’m still not sold on the idea of making an ever longer restricted list. This is consistent with the approach taken so far by FFG, but it’s just going to continue to eliminate perfectly legitimate combinations of cards if it continues to grow, especially in the infinite format. I’d rather see a series of short independent restricted lists. However, we cannot fault the fact that this approach does exactly what it set out to do: it removes from the game overpowered combinations of cards.
Balance of the Force
This is always my favourite part of a new Holocron, especially when characters become cheaper. We were not disappointed here, as a myriad of characters have been discounted. As with the restricted list, here they all are, sorted by discount, with characters which were already on the list greyed out, along with our opinions on the new additions:
K-2SO: 10/13. Actually pretty good value, but an awkward points cost. Might eK-2SO/C-3PO/R2-D2 be worth a go?
Amilyn Holdo: 9/12. Again good value, but so is Bail, who is better unless you’re playing vehicles, and even then you’re relying on a single special side.
Enfys Nest: 13/17. Perhaps the most interesting looking -1/-1 character in the holocron. I’ve tried her out already with Yoda, and she can ramp hard with Reap and Salt Flats, but found that even with Fist on the table round 1, and Shien Mastery round 2, it lacked punch. If you want some serious ramp, pair her with elite Lando and you’re looking at pulling 10 resources per turn (either with Double Down or elite with Allies Of Necessity). Or perhaps a villain partner could give you more bang, but we haven’t given it a try. Pryce, Dooku or Snoke? [edit: Lanza pointed out that Snoke would be a bad idea as it prevents you from abusing both Power Actions. He suggested Rex as a good partner, which sounds like fun]
Zuckuss: 9/12. Hmm, a decent support character now, but I’m still not a fan.
Dengar: 10/13. Consistent damage is nice, and might make Dengar playable, but two 1 damage sides is still bad.
Asajj Ventress: 12/15. Her ability is painfully restrictive, but if you ignore it, her sides and health are actually decent for the cost. Could be fun middle-middle with 4-LOM, Vader or Iden?
Anakin Skywalker: 13/17. I was experimenting with Anakin at 19 points, so a 2 point drop here is very welcome. He still feels quite expensive for the sides and slightly inconsistent ability (though Pacify and Nullify help). We’ll be posting some holocron deck ideas soon, and Ani is definitely going to feature.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: 12/16. Well, here’s an interesting discount. Decent sides, in fact better than Anakin‘s, though only 11 health. That Power Action though… it means we’re potentially boasting 4 sides with a value of 3 or more. Who to pair him with? I’d love a 14 point character with a 2+ resource pay side, but that doesn’t exist. Maybe Padmé for some quadruple focusing, or eKashyyyk Warrior/Valorous Tribe?
Chewbacca: 11/13. Excellent health value, but really bad die sides. You really want him to have 6 damage to get any sort of value, and for that you probably want Valorous Tribe and an elite Chewie. But that leaves only 14 in change, which isn’t looking great. He could be a non-elite meat shield with Valorous and a 16 point character, or an elite guardian partner for eEnfys, but he’s probably not going to be competitive.
Sinjir Rath Velus: 12/15. No, sorry, he’s still just bad.
Here’s the rest of the list, with the only new addition being the aforementioned Trandoshan Hunter.
That’s 10 new characters getting a discount, 4 of them being -2’s. There’s some interesting additions to the list, and we’re looking forward to giving some more of them a try. Even if many of them aren’t going to be particularly competitive, it’ll still be fun to digitally (or actually, hopefully soon) dust off some of these characters and give them a spin.
That’s all for now. Watch this space for some Gandork Holocron deck ideas.
If you like what we do, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter: https://www.patreon.com/echobasedestiny