Today on echobase we have a deck review of Vader – Driver by Fear / Savage Opress / Rule of Two. The main body of the review has been written by TheBastMaster, as he piloted the deck all the way to the final in our recent Battle of Hoth tournament last weekend; we figured that there’s no better player to analysis the deck. Without further ado, let’s get into the deck analysis:
The Battle of Hoth was lots of fun (with a sprinkle of THE WHEEL) and besides the winning deck of Dooku/Kylo/RoT, one clear contestant emerged from the snow covered battlefield, walking into Echo Base to crush his enemies: Darth Vader – Driven by Anger.
After running him to the final of the top cut myself, I now have to agree with the opinion that has started to bounce around: Vader is probably too good at 19 points elite. A large part is the choice of elite partners that come at 11 points, one from each color. Savage for blue, Trandoshan Hunter for yellow and Imperial Death Trooper for red. While he struggles against the consistent damage of Kylo Ren – Driven by Fear, Vader has an all round good match-up into the current meta, including those that his grandson struggles with.
Splashing Red with Vader will allow for deck includes such as The Best Defense…, Probe & Face the Enemy, the latter can strip the opponent’s mitigation for the round to allow you to focus on pushing through damage. Dare I say it you could also include Admiral (with You Are In Command Though). Though splashing command is probably Vader‘s weakest pairing.
But what makes him so powerful? Let me get into that with the deck I ran in the tournament.
First we have the main star of the show: The Sith Lord himself. Vader is a beast, sporting 15 health and a few big sides that together with his Power Action turn into damage no matter what he rolls. This ability is exactly what brings much needed consistency to his normally underwhelming die and any sub-par roll. Whenever an opponent’s character requires only 1 – 3 damage to be done in, Vader guarantees that with any kind of activation.
But of course we should not neglect to look at his newest apprentice: Savage Opress. He is the perfect blue partner for Vader as he brings not just his guardian and potential flip, but also the ability to run Rule of Two which is valuable on every side of your character dice, bar the disrupt. The former Nightbrother himself can hit surprisingly hard, rolling a total of four melee sides with two 1’s, one modified 2 and a whopping 3 for 1 resource.
I looked at several partners for our big guy, but I found Savage to be the most fun and potentially most hard-hitting to play. The sheer amount of damage this pairing can put out with character dice alone is impressive. A maximum of 14 (four 3s and a +1 increase from Vader and RoT each)! Now, while it is unlikely to hit that absolute god roll, both can roll huge numbers and blow a character off the field quickly. Which is greatly needed as Savage does not have a resource side and this pairing is greatly reliant on your ramp cards.
Which brings us to the deck itself, which is sadly not as exciting:
We are running a pretty standard blue villain ability build. We’ve got the usual trinity of ramp with Forbidden Lore, It Binds All Things, and Merchant Freighter. We are also running the must-have upgrades of Death Field, Force Valor, Niman Mastery, Palpatine’s Lightsaber and Sith Teachings. I opted for only one copy of Shien Mastery since I often liked the focus of Niman and put in a one-off Untamed Power, which provides some extra ping and removal on Savage.
For removal we have some more staples about which I don’t have to talk much. I only opted for one copy of Your Powers Are Weak and I think that might’ve been a mistake, but more on that later.
Now we have a few spicy tech cards that shifted the course of battle in several games for me. First up is Pushing Slash, one of my favourite cards. Depending on the amount needed both characters can roll enough to finish off a character with a single die. The added speed and flip, if the character has Niman, works especially great against decks that are faster than you.
The second is Bestow Wisdom. While I was not able to use it in this tournament, due to Savage being the first target most of the time, it completely blows the curve if it can be used. A week before in the Echobase Thursday tournament I moved an already resolved Niman and Death Field from Vader to Savage which won me the game.
And lastly we have another hidden MVP: Mind Extraction. With many other Vaders and characters with strong abilities (like Chewie) floating around this card won me several games by disabling those factors. And my opponents often could not afford to lose those dice for an entire round.
While some of the cards are interchangeable, like Untamed Power and Bestow Wisdom, I can happily report that basically all of them had a use. Personally I would try to find a way to fit in another Your Powers Are Weak and Pushing Slash (maybe cutting a Palpatine’s Lightsaber).
In terms of match-ups the biggest worry are fast moving aggro decks that can quickly kill off Savage before you can get enough out of him. I have already spoken about Kylo & Dooku, but a deck like Dash/Han can be quite dangerous due to their action cheating madness (while I also personally find them to be pretty asinine). However, the rest of the field you are well equipped to handle, as any deck that gives you time to build a boardstate and even flip Savage will probably lose to the sheer amount of damage and tricks the deck can consistently do.
Many thanks for Bastian for his write up and deck review.
In summary: Villain Force has risen to the top of this late Redemption meta, Vader at 19pts is truly a terror to behold. A Star Wars game should have Vader at the top, whose presence should strike a feeling of unease into your opponent.
Just roll 3’s