Lando, Han, and a Game of Sabacc – TCI deck review

This month saw the release of The Coruscant Initiative’s first set, Eternal Conflict. Here at echobase we’ve decided to run regular TCI Standard events on Thursdays. If you want to get involved, please join our discord:

Last Thursday saw 18 players battle it out to take the top spot, and the winner was OJ, who kindly agreed to give his thoughts on the deck:

Hello everyone,
I was lucky enough to win an Echobase Destiny event, hence the expected article about the new hot deck to hit the scene. A big thank you to all the guys at The Coruscant Initiative (TCI) who put a lot of work into designing and testing the set. Without further ado, here’s the winning decklist:

A winning deck, copy paste it for victory. Click the image to view this deck on swdestinydb

I’d planned to run a deck pairing up Qui Gon – UM and Rey – BBTF (brief aside, Jedi Knight makes a much better pairing than Rey). Anyways, dreams of making that deck work were somewhat dashed when Oli (Echo3ofClubs) dealt 6 damage to Rey – BBTF, as well as removing 4 of my 6 dice in the second round of a game. After such a brutal round I decided to switch decks. So, what sort of horrible cards are capable of such potential?

The dream team

Han Solo – CAC needs no introduction he’s being making waves since he dropped in the Transformations set. He has (quite rightfully) been increased to 11/14 under the TCI Holocron. The other two cards are new cards from the set Eternal Conflict.

At first glance Lando Calrissian – GT just seems like worse version of Han Solo. Less health, trades the 3 ranged for 3 indirect, and the 2 disrupt side for a 1 ranged side. The resource sides can be considered roughly equivalent between the characters. Lando‘s dice are bigger – meaning you’re more likely to win the battlefield roll, but trickier to resolve, especially if you don’t have resources already.

However, where Lando really shines is due to his ability: ‘After you remove one or more of your dice, you may resolve one of your dice increasing it’s value by one’. Initially this seems counterintuitive -surely removing your own dice is a bad thing? However, if we can remove one of our own dice, then Lando’s character dice take a jump, becoming much more like that the infamous Darth Vader – TTB.

Not too shabby for a 14pt scoundrel

The next question is what cards are there available that remove our own dice, that would work well in the deck? Fortunately, The Coruscant Initiative designers anticipated this and produced several cards, new and old, which trigger with Lando‘s ability.

Coruscant Initiative dice removal options

Negotiate is a reprint from the Awakenings set, and is straight up removal, trading one of your character dice plus a resource to force an opponent to remove two of their dice. But now you also get a boost on one of your other dice as well. 

Trading Goods is a fantastic card and incredibly versatile. Providing at least one of Lando‘s dice is showing a value of 2 or more (the odds of this are 8/9 upon rolling him out), you can convert his two 2 dice into 3 resources or 4-5 damage depending on your preference.

Turn even a poor roll into 4+ damage or 3 resources

Lando Calrissian’s Blaster is another recycled card from Awakenings (the potent DL-44 blaster). It provides 3 solid damage sides, and gives you two opportunities to trigger Lando’s ability. The first trigger is before playing the upgrade to reduce the cost of the blaster by one. The second opportunity is after you play the blaster you can remove one of your dice to roll in one of your character’s dice into the pool. This is fantastic, if situational bonus, where you can trade a low value dice for one of your character’s dice and you get the opportunity to resolve another die and +1 due to Lando’s ability.

Double Dare is a resource generation card and seems to be a hybrid of Theed Royal Palace (errated) and Mobilize. Regardless of what your dice are showing, this card allows you to net an additional resource, converting that useless blank into plus one resource, as well as providing a +1 boost on a different die due to Lando‘s ability. 

Money makers

Joining the character line-up is the plot: A Game of Sabacc. We’ve seen previously how strong tutoring is through cards like Armored Reinforcement, Entourage, and Covert Missions. Being able to access a key card is huge. The plot is versatile, allowing you convert potentially useless cards from your hand into resources on the plot, providing they are a lower value than the cards your opponent plays. This then provides a discount on whichever yellow vehicle you tutor in. So what yellow vehicles do we have available?

Anyone want to tutor in a Mining Guild Tie? Anyone?

At first glance the list of eligible yellow vehicles is seems a bit underwhelming, apart from one, the absolutely iconic Millennium Falcon, which reuses the matching Millennium Falcon dice from the Awakenings set. This ship probably deserved its own article given the insane power level of this thing: no blanks, all base sides, it has a damage side greater than its cost (very rare), a 3 discard side is basically unheard of (shout-out to FA’s Vibrosword) that will wreck your opponent’s hand, and it can be rolled in multiple times.

Phwoar, what a beast!

The designers have sought to limit the Millennium Falcon by adding in the condition ‘Before you resolve this die, remove one of your pilot die, or remove this die’. Combined with Lando‘s ability this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you could potential deal up to 8 damage from the three dice.

Remove Lando’s blank and boost his other die in the process

However, the pain isn’t over for your opponent yet. If you have another character with piloting, Han Solo in this case, but Luke Skywalker, Hera Syndulla, and Kazuda Xiono are options. Once another character begins piloting the Millennium Falcon you get to roll its die back into the pool. Only this time that special is now worth 4 damage instead of 3 (owch!) Depending on what the other pilot rolls there could be another potential 7+ damage coming out. The special is also capable of going up to 5 damage if you wanted to try a triple pilot line up (Lando, Luke Skywalker, and Rescue Han deck anyone?)

All you need to do is gain a resource, or discard a card to place a resource onto A Game Of Sabacc and boom, instant access to one of the strongest cards in the set. Plus, the ability to trigger Lando Calrissian‘s ability multiple times by resolving the Millennium Falcon’s die.

Mitigation

Now we have our fabulous line-up, the next task is how can we keep our characters alive. Given both Han Solo and Lando Calrissian have the piloting key word the staple Merchant Freighter and Eject combo seems an obvious inclusion. Yellow has a fantastic array of mitigation cards available, I opted for 2 copies each of Survival Instinct, Flee The Scene, Negotiate, and Jump to Lightspeed. With Desperate Measures banned in the TCI Holocron and a tutor to the Millennium Falcon it means Jump To Lightspeed is always a potential threat (providing you have the 3 resources). Negotiate works well with Lando‘s ability, and I was willing to bet I would be faster than my opponent so much more likely to be able to leverage Survival Instinct and Flee the Scene against them.

Dice mitigation cards.

There are many other options available: Too Fast For You, Loth-Cat And Mouse, Think On Your Feet, Electroshock, Near Miss, Entangle, and Reversal. Loth-Cat and Mouse could be particularly good, as you can activate the Millennium Falcon ‘sacrifice’ its die to remove one of your opponent’s dice and then roll it back into your pool when either Han or Lando begin piloting the Falcon.

The other piece of mitigation available was the battlefield. Mean Streets has been banned (very sensibly) so I opted for Resistance Base, and what is a fantastic card! Hard removal against villain decks and soft removal against other decks. Importantly, it can’t be leveraged for hard dice removal against my deck. I’ve been punished too many times by Mother Talzin decks running Rift Valley, and recognise how strong the free die removal every round can be.

The best new battlefield for hero decks?

Action cheats
Following protecting my characters through mitigation, the other question is how can I protect my own dice? A part of the game which can be frowned upon known as ‘action cheating’, resolving dice through ambush actions, or not allowing your opponent the chance to interact with your dice (i.e. to remove or turn them). Yellow hero has access to a number of cards which work very well with this goal.

I want to go faster

Instigate is an auto-include card: activate a character, pilot the Falcon and resolve some dice, boom, good job.

We’re Home is a bit more complicated: you activate the Millennium Falcon, then up to 2 scoundrels, in this case Han and Lando. Then, if you have a dice showing a resource side, you can remove it to re-ready the Falcon. There’s an 80% chance that you roll a resource side (both Han and Lando‘s dice have 2 resource sides a piece). By removing a die showing a resource you trigger Lando‘s ability, so you can now resolve the Millennium Falcon die at +1 , removing a pilot dice before you do so, which in turns allows you to resolve a second die at +1 because you have now removed a second die. Then, in case that wasn’t quite enough awesome, you roll the Millennium Falcon’s die back into your pool, because of the Falcon’s ability ‘After this support becomes piloted you may roll this die into your pool’.

We’re Home, has massive potential. In one game I was able to spike an 8 health character by playing this card. However, it does have a downside attached if you ‘miss’ i.e. your dice don’t hit a resource side. Then you lose your opportunity at two resolutions of the Millennium Falcon, because you roll it in each time you start piloting it, but now both your pilots are exhausted. Furthermore, because you haven’t removed a die, you can’t resolve a die, so the Falcon’s die is left sat there, ripe for your opponent’s mitigation cards [echo7: note that while the Falcon does get rolled into your pool before you resolve your second die, you can’t resolve it twice in one action as there is a rule which expressly forbids doing so with any die].

Rendezvous is a nice card, its ok with Han Solo but amazing with Lando Calrissian. Half his die sides are costed so you’re very likely to have an available candidate for the card. Being able to gain 2 resources with ambush opens up a lot of options.

Reap is obviously amazing, allowing you to consistently gain resources. I ended up cutting it on the grounds that the characters naturally have a lot of resource sides, and after the first round, where I usually play the Millennium Falcon the deck makes plenty of money.

Upgrades

I’m fully prepared to accept my upgrade package might look a little unconventional, I mean does anyone run Ewok Bow? But, there is method to the madness. Also, yes I am aware that Hired Muscle is a support.

Upgrade package, plus hired muscle

I discovered early in playtesting the deck, Lando’s ability can be amazing but it needs targets. You have to remove at least one character die in order to resolve the Millennium Falcon. Your opponent will also be playing mitigation cards to remove your dice, so you it can be a struggle for dice to use Lando’s ability on. Both the Ewok Bow and Bottoms Up! look unassuming, but given a +1 boost are looking distinctly tasty, especially for a 1 cost upgrade.

Yum yum, those are tasty 1 value upgrades

Han’s Dice is a nice little resource maker, makes it incredibly unlikely to ‘miss’ on We’re Home plays, provides a re-roll if the character hits a blank, and provides 3 more base sides for Lando. Han’s Blaster is a bit of everything, especially when played on Han Solo: dice removal, action cheat, and solid damage sides.

Hired Muscle is definitely the MVP in this deck, which may seem unusual. First up it doesn’t have any blank sides – meaning if it’s in your pool there’s always a target for Lando‘s ability. One play that I like is to deliberately fail to resolve the Millennium Falcon die, forcing me to remove it, in order to boost the Hired Muscle die. This is truly terrifying to be on the receiving end: 3-4 damage, a 4 disrupt, a 3 discard, or 3 shields. I can then activate one of the pilots to roll the Millennium Falcon die back into the pool. The Hired Muscle die is also an ideal target for Rendevzous or Trading Goods.

Hired with a +1 boost

Honourable mentions

Could be good?

A couple of cards that deserve a mention, and could work in the deck, especially if you like your decks to be thematic. Sabacc Trickster is clearly intended to synergise with Lando Calrissian. The ability to manipulate your hand to ensure you can take a resource from your opponent is nice, as is drawing more cards. However, given your opponent is probably going for Lando first, putting upgrades on him is definitely risky play. Plus, Sabacc Trickster only has 2 base sides so doesn’t work well with Lando‘s ability to boost a die.

Sabacc Playroom is clearly a thematic battlefield choice, and works well for those who enjoy gambling and potentially works as another means for taking your opponent’s resources. I prefer the certainty offered by Resistance Base.

In theory Ordnance Launcher should work well, with both Han and Lando being Scoundrels. Personally I found it difficult to get out, and preferred other upgrade options to it.

Conclusion

I found the deck fun, fast, and full of tricks – a lot like Lando Calrissian himself. The deck is potent, but by no means unbeatable. The biggest struggle I found with the deck was a lack of consistency – there is a distinct a lack of focus sides and cards that fix or turn dice. A couple of bad rolls early on can massively set you back. You need at least one-quarter portion of luck to pilot the deck to victory.


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