In the second of our more in-depth analyses, we’re taking a look at Anakin/Vader, and present an impulse deck based around an Anakin transformation.
I love both these characters . Although he’s only 10 health, Anakin is a monster for 15 points elite. Guaranteed damage on activation and a decent die. I know his die is inconsistent, but with A Fair Price or some focus sides, he could be dealing 10 damage without any upgrades.
Vader is pretty formidable. His die sides are so-so, but 15 health is a lot to chew through. It’s his Power Action though where he truly shines. Not only is he putting that 2 disrupt to good use, but he can even resolve his blank as a single melee. Load him up with a Stun Baton and no matter what it rolls you can resolve it as melee and remove an opponent’s die, so long as it’s not blocked. Hi PA is even better if you’ve defeated an opponent’s character and can combine it with shield removal, which is a headache for anyone relying on shields to protect their characters.
Anakin‘s ability to transform into Vader makes him really interesting. To pull it off, the opponent needs to have a character 1 or 2 damage from death before you activate Anakin, which feels pretty situational and fairly easy to play around. And if he does transform, you lose all his character dice for the round. However, the benefit of gaining 5 health and that PA means it’s worth it in most situations.
The card suggests to me three basic deck build options:
Use Anakin because he’s a strong character, build a solid middle-middle aggressive deck and if you happen to get the chance to transform into Vader, great;
Use Vader to start with, build a big-little deck similar to a Vader TTB deck;
Use Anakin and plan your deck around trying to flip him.
After a bit of thought (including toying with the idea of killing my own Youngling) I am 100% on option number 3, and it’s almost entirely thanks to these two cards:
Fateful Companions is going to see a lot of play with Transformations characters (see our Clone Trooper article from yesterday), and with Anakin it’s giving you 4 direct damage on activation for 1 resource, which is unprecedented. Sure, Anakin takes two damage, but if you pick the opponent’s battlefield he’ll start with 2 shields. Alternatively, you hard mulligan for Steadfast, meaning you can deal 6 damage for two resources before you’ve even resolved a die. This makes the deck highly aggressive, which I think is going to be strong in the current meta.
But the key advantage is that by giving Anakin two goes at his ability, you’re hugely increasing the odds of converting him to Vader. All you need is an opponent’s character with 4 or less remaining health, which should be fairly easy to achieve by the beginning of round 2, especially considering you dealt 4 damage off the activation in round 1.
Elite Anakin plus Fateful Companions leaves 13 points. For me, this presents a few choices for partners:
My favourites for each colour are Yoda, Rex and Han, but I think there might be room for Aayla, Fenn or the Smuggler. The last one there may seem an odd choice, but given you’ll be down a resource early thanks to Fateful, a 97% chance of a resource or 30% chance of two resources as your first action seems good.
At the moment, I’m going with Han for my build, as he brings a lot to the table:
He’s 12 health (for 13 points elite!), has a decent die, and gives access to yellow removal (Easy Pickings, Loth-Cat And Mouse and Draw Attention come to mind). We also get to play For A Price to get some value out of Anakin‘s dice before he flips (and for use on Han‘s dice), and Darksaber (which is good on Vader, especially as it has been ruled that his points update to 21 when you flip him, meaning you can resolve any side as +3 melee with his Power Action). His piloting is also pretty nice with Merchant Freighters for ramp or Luke’s X-Wing.
Mark (echofives) Lockett however favours Yoda, and I can see why. You’re on mono, but that’s hardly much of a disadvantage at the moment given the huge card pool. On the plus side, you get Yoda‘s amazing special for ramp and shields, which may be exactly what the deck needs. Also, having a second target for Niman Mastery and Shien Mastery may pay off late game. He said he’s tried it out three times so far, and flipped Anakin every time.
Anyway, back to Han.
This is the deck I’ve been working on for now. I’ve only tested it a few times, but it feels strong:
This deck certainly needs some serious tuning, but it’s what I’ll continue testing for now.
I’d just like to quickly shine a light on my choice of battlefield. It may seem like an odd choice, but in the limited testing I’ve done so far, Mortis is amazing. It may be my favourite card of the set.
So long as you’re fast enough to get the claim, you get to heal in round 1, then choose whether you do additional damage (to put an opponent’s character within reach of Anakin‘s activation) or additional healing (if Anakin is looking a bit wounded) after claiming.
If you keep control of the battlefield throughout the game, making this choice every round makes this battlefield incredibly flexible, and gives you a huge tactical advantage that can be problematic for the opponent. It can also force your opponent to play sub-optimally as they don’t know whether an additional damage or heal is coming their way until you claim.
I’ll be testing and tinkering with this deck over the coming days. Anakin’s Saber most likely needs to be a two of, my removal suite probably needs some work and could do with an Entangle or Electroshock, but this is the broad idea I’m working with.
I’d be interested to hear what other people have been working on with Anakin, and whether people out there think this deck or something like it is going to be strong in the new meta.
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