Darth Bane is not a character who has seen much competitive play since he was released. I’m a big fan of the character, and wrote a character review a while back, but I’ll admit to only dusting him off every once in a while. However, he’s cropped up twice recently, both times paired with Dooku, taking a Top4 spot in the Entourage Gaming Tournament of Champions, and winning the Destiny Down Under TTS event last weekend. Today, we bring you a review of this deck, written by DDU Tournament Champion, Moophisto:
Destiny Down Under put on a fun event on October 24, 2020 (or on the 25th for those time-traveling Australians and New Zealanders) that I happened to take down with a Bane/eDooku deck. However, before we get to the tournament and how my deck did, I’d like to take a bit to talk about how I got there.
For anyone who knows my habits when playing Destiny, they know two things about me. The first is that my preferred flavor of deck is one that includes blue villain, and usually in a two-wide format.
That first trend of mine is important to explain how this deck came about – I actually created it at first for the Convergence-block trilogy tournaments that Entourage Gaming was running for its weekly online TTS tournaments in the month or so prior to the release of Faltering Allegiances. Throughout the Convergence block my deck of choice was Palpatine and Watto, but I felt that the yellow Palpatine lost too much when the Legacies block rotated out to continue to be that strong. And, while I think running Wat in place of Watto is perfectly acceptable and probably the best partner for Palpatine currently, I was wary to play Palpatine into a trilogy meta where Trandoshans and Anakin (Transformations) with Fateful Companions were well positioned.
However, I had had fun with Bane previously – he’s a very fun aggressive character, and I toyed with him during the Legacies/Convergence Standard with both yellow (with Greedo + Retribution) and red (with either Nute Gunray or a First Order Storm Trooper with Retribution). Red ultimately became my preference (as well as most people’s), but nonetheless Bane did not feel great as a big elite with a small support character into the same aggressive meta that was a threat to Palpatine – especially because so much of what Bane usually does is indirect damage. In other words, when he is your only real threat, you’re racing his 14 health vs. your opponent’s entire pool, which is usually a losing contest.
However, preparing for Trilogy tournaments nonetheless led me to re-examine other characters just to see what may be viable in an overall weaker field than Standard. It was then that I realized between the recent debut of United and the loss of so many strong yellow and red cards, that mono colored may be viable. United in particular gave a big boon to Bane because it could protect either his dice or the die of a big upgrade like Shien Mastery or Death Field, allowing for the game to end sooner in a way favorable to Bane.
Still, to pair him with the blue 8-point character available at the time, Snoke’s Praetorian Guard, seemed like a losing proposition for the same reason that Bane was not that strong with Greedo, Nute Gunray, or a FOST – once Bane’s 14 health evaporated, I had no clear path to victory. Instead, I decided to explore single die Bane with an elite partner in order to split the threat. As it turned out, the 13-point option in trilogy was a character I always wanted to make work – Count Dooku from the Allies of Necessities Draft set. Dooku has always been considered over costed due to his meager 9 health, but he has a strong power action and decently aggressive dice. By pairing him with Bane, I give my opponent two unappealing options – deal with Dooku stabbing you for his 2 melees for half the game while you burn Bane’s 14 health and I build up Dooku, or burn 9 damage into Dooku and let Bane get big enough that him having only one character die ceased to matter as much.
I only wound up playing it in one trilogy tournament and ended up getting second, losing in the final round to a Palpatine/Wat (go figure) because I couldn’t do enough damage to Palpatine before he reached critical mass. Still, the deck had promise, there just weren’t many weeks left to give it a go and refine it further before Faltering Allegiances dropped.
Then, Faltering Allegiances was released, and blue villain deck of Taron Malicos/Darth Vader (Covert Missions) became the early meta frontrunner. Seems great for a guy who loves blue villain, right? Sure. The problem though is the second thing people who play Destiny with me know is that I dislike playing mirror matches.
Going into the Destiny Down Under Tournament (I told you I’d talk about it eventually), I suspected there’d be a fair amount of Taron/Vader because of its prevalence in the tournaments prior to the DDU event, and I didn’t want to sign up to play mirrors all tournament (I think there wound up being only one Taron/Vader deck in the tournament, but alas). I hadn’t really tried Dooku/Bane too much yet in the Faltering Allegiances meta, but I thought it had a few potential advantages and did a few things better compared to Taros/Vader that I didn’t mind playing it. (Note: I am not advocating that is better than Taron/Vader – I think it is likely not. I’m simply saying it is not a strictly worse blue villain deck).
What are those potential advantages?
First, both are Sith, meaning things like Unending Hate, the draw effect of Forbidden Lore, and Sith Teachings do not get turned off when one-character (e.g. Vader) dies. Additionally, the power level of the deck does not plummet quite as much when one character is defeated. After all, for Taron/Vader, either character dying limits the power of Force Affinity and disables Taron’s power action – and that’s in addition to all the Sith cards and Ejects going inactive if Vader dies.
Second, Bane allows you to ramp faster due to his innate two-resource discount on the first ability played on him, allowing for potentially hotter starts.
Third, there are no pay sides like there are on Taron, allowing you to hit harder earlier regardless of rolls without affecting your ability to continue to ramp in power.
And, finally, Dooku’s power action makes up in a way for not having Taron’s power action – Taron’s power action often forces a reroll that may otherwise be used at a more opportune time – Dooku’s power action can just deny that more opportune reroll.
Of course, the disadvantages run aplenty too – you don’t get We Stand, you don’t have the massive disruption Vader’s double discard side allows, you don’t get to gain super-efficient health gain from Eject, and you don’t have on-activation damage, just to name a few. Still, there is at least a tradeoff that makes Bane/Dooku feel worth playing.
So, I queued up Bane/Dooku and decided to see what it could do.
The first game was against double Haxion Brood Droids. I was surprised to run into them since I considered them mostly a meme deck, but this was probably the closest game I played all tournament. Those guys can dish out damage, and the two of us traded haymakers all game. Luckily, I got the finishing blow, but I won with only three health left on Bane and Dooku in the ground – it was definitely close.
My opponent this game was on Reylo (he actually asked me for a Reylo list for Faltering Allegiances before the tournament since I had told him I had been working on one, but he told me he did make a couple of changes). I was worried the shield generation potential might let him weather my damage long enough to get the best of me, but not even Reylo could withstand the firepower of a round one Death Field.
That game can be found at the beginning of the VOD found here:
I played against Jango Fett/Boba Fett/Closing In in this matchup. Like the first game, it was set to be a very aggressive match up for both players. Luckily, I had my Breaking Bonds right on schedule to throw off his game plan by making Closing In a non-factor, and I was able to leverage that advantage throughout the game.
The final game of the tournament saw Bane face off against quite possibly the only character that can do more indirect damage faster than he can – Saw Gerrera. My opponent was playing Saw Gerrera, Kashyykk Warrior, and Vengeful Wookiee – it’s less aggressive than Saw paired with Ewoks, but the Wookiee health pool and Vengeful Wookiee’s ability allows for some good survival.
I recall this game clearer than most – my opponent started out like Saw wants to do by rolling out 9 Indirect. However, I was able to blank the 5-for-a-dollar with a Bane-discounted Niman Mastery. My opponent proceeded to resolve the 4 indirect, leaving a blank in the pool for me to remove with Sith Teachings, putting him massively behind on damage.
The rest of the game went similarly – I just always had the answers I needed on each Saw roll out, and my opponent could never get anything going.
That game can also be found on the above twitch link, starting at about the one-hour-and-fifteen-minute mark.
Bane/Dooku is a deck I thoroughly enjoy and that I have a lot of fun with when I play it. I’m not sure its Tier 1, but it’s a solid Tier 1.5 or 2. If you enjoy blue villain and don’t want to be part of the Taron/Vader horde, feel free to give it a whirl – maybe even in one of Entourage Gaming’s weekly Thursday TTS events!
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