Faction Identity: Villain Command

Today on echobase we are continuing our new series of articles that will focus on individual faction identities. We will be taking a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each faction and go over a few of the best characters, upgrades, supports and events exclusively available to each of them.

Note: This is based around standard play, not infinite.

Note: VC – Villain Command

Master Strategist – Grand Admiral Thrawn

The identity of Villain Command is focused around a few attributes. From a character perspective we have a plethora of non-unique troopers and a great selection of unique Leaders. What a Villain Command event suite offers that no other faction can, is the ability to get into the hand to control the opponents ability to play cards. Supports come in the shape of iconic star fighters along with powerful ground assault reinforcements.

A selection of Command Leaders

Interestingly we have 9 leaders that can act as a facilitator and support character in your squad build that come in at 13pts or less elite. I’m using facilitator as my key word here because many of the characters share a similar design space and similarity in resource, focus and discard sides. Not many characters carry a double discard side outside of VC, never underestimate the power of resolve that double discard. Captain Phasma – Ruthless Tactician stands out among these low cost leaders solely for her focus on delivering damage with her dice compared to the die sides on the other leaders. This version of Phasma represents excellent value in an aggro build for her points cost.

The design space on Grand Admiral Thrawn really does capture the essence of VC with his power action. The control aspect paired with events such as Face The Enemy, Probe and Counterintelligence is completely unrivaled in Destiny. With these combos you’re going to be able to have the advantage due to the hand knowledge and stay one step ahead of your opponent. Thrawn isn’t for everyone – only an experienced and great Destiny player will be able to make Thrawn work. *Tip’s hat to Zhil for beating me in the final of a 46 player regional with Thrawn*

Continuing with leaders, we migrate to the 15+pt characters that encompass aggression. Iden Versio‘s passive ability again issues control in the way that it curtails any additional actions by your opponent. Kallus is just 66% ‘get wrecked’ damage sides, and then we have Captain Phasma – Stormtrooper Commander who just looks to swamp the board state to shoot and destroy. The aforementioned characters also all have the sub-type Trooper.

9 non uniques

The Best Defense and Measure For Measure targets. The non-uniques within the faction. There are actually 9 non-unique characters, which is the highest number within any of the factions. Quite a few of the characters above represent great value and feature in high tier lists. The Mudtrooper had good success in a build with Mandalorian Super Commando/Snoke, The Imperial Death Trooper causes havoc paired with Trandoshan Hunters, and of course FOST (First Order Stormtrooper) has been around since the game’s inception and has found its way into many top builds.

In summary, just like the leaders we are spoilt for choice.

Command upgrades

Not too many upgrade options for our characters in VC. We have a few unique blasters but none are worthy of writing home about. Director continues the theme with ‘leader only’ character, as mentioned before; there are just so many Leader targets to play this upgrade on. The value to roll a die back in is great, as you’re probably resolving that leader‘s die for cash or focus. Mastermind hits the hand and Grand Moff, albeit at a pretty steep cost packs a powerful power action.

A selection of the best supports in the game are all in villain Command

Contrary to the upgrades package we have a great selection in the support department. This falls under what I recognize as the main identity of the faction: Supports.

I have selected a few images of the supports above; let me remind you of the other great supports that are missing from the image: Umbaran Hover Tank, Planetary Bombardment, The”Duchess”, Separatist Embargo & Climate Disruption Array.

The Megablaster Troopers, with its ability to continue theme in spotting a leader to roll an additional die, offers incredible value for a 4 drop. The TIE Fighters are able to tutor themselves, and the Superlaser Seige Cannon can be charged up to one-shot a character.

Hand knowledge

You can’t put a price on hand knowledge. Literally. The events cost 0. If you’re running command Red you are absolutely including 2 out of the 3 above events. There’s a slight argument to run all 3 but I think that’s overkill. Be careful with Face The Enemy as it now finds itself on the restricted list, so be mindful when constructing your deck. The only other event that gets into an opponent’s hand outside of VC is Hero Rogue’s Scruffy Looking Nurf Herder. Do not underestimate hand knowledge as this allows you to play around your opponents mitigation and/or allow you to disrupt their game plan. These cards are among the strongest events ever printed.

Unique mitigation comes from The Best Defense… and A Sinister Peace, Both of which see high play and are often considered auto-includes. Execute Order 66 obviously works better with the plot Order 66, as that plot is Villain Force we will pass over it for now. There are a few tricks available for surprise damage in the form of Scorched Earth (good tech against Palpatine) and Pulverize. Tactical Mastery is a classic, it has never been out of rotation due to the reprint in the 2 player set and I think we’ve all had a great ‘Tac Mac‘ moment.

Blockade Is an interesting plot. It fits perfectly with the control aspect of VC in an attempt to choke and control the opponent. Unfortunately it’s so easy to make money in the current meta that this will forever be resigned to the folder. Construct the Death Star is a plot that incites a different win condition. Reaching that win condition seems to be too slow of a feat to actually achieve in competitive standard. Talking of competitive play – The new Demolition droid plot is currently making a splash in the current meta in an Aphra/Sentinel Messenger/Battle Droid build. If you haven’t yet tested this, I’d recommend giving it a try as that indirect damage really does add up. Really cool design space and unlike some of the other cards in Transformations, it feels balanced and it plays fair.

To summarize, below are our picks to make the VC podium;

Tough call between Probe and Counterintelligence, but Probe takes it for now as CI could be a dead card if you find yourself without a leader. Comparatively Probe is always online.

In keeping with the previous article on Hero Blue, I present here my underappreciated Villain Command podium:

echo7 – my underappreciated podium – 1. Imperial Officer, 2. Inferno Squad ID10 Seeker Droid, 3. First Strike 

I like First Strike as a tech card if you’re looking for that 30th card in a deck. It’s a bit of a meta call, but with so many large damage sides floating around, it’s a great piece of surprise damage if you’re playing a deck that’s flush with resources, or especially late game if your opponent holds the battlefield and rolls out first.

The Inferno Squad ID10 Seeker Droid is one of my favourite upgrades in the game. For just 1 resource, not only does it have no blanks, it has no bad sides. I especially like this card in an Aphra build, as you can conceivably play it for free, or in a Grievous supports deck; yet I don’t see it appearing in decklists (though Nick Cuenca of the Hyperloops did utilise it in his Top16 Nova deck last year). Being unique, you’ll probably only ever run one copy.

Top of my underappreciated list is Imperial Officer. Those die sides look sub-par for a two drop, but they’re not terrible. Where this card shines is it’s a leader, so keeps online Counterintelligence plus the third Megablaster Troopers die. It also auto-focuses any trooper die on activation, so works with Mega, Vader’s First or of course a trooper character on your team, and that’s what puts it above curve for me.

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