High Stakes release event

This weekend saw 74 players battle it out to be crowned High Stakes release event champion. If you want to watch some of the action yourself, all the way through to the final, check out our video on Twitch.

As promised, here’s our customary event review, complete with the usual graphs.

First up, congratulation to winner of the event, rockntroll, who was running eeDin Djarin/Rebel Sniper.

A solid deck, that contains just 6 FFG cards, none of which were the upgrades, plus the Sniper and the battlefield.

Rockntroll was not alone in bringing The Mandalorian to the event. He was far and away the most popular character. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise: he’s the premiere character of the set, represents a popular aggressive playstyle, and is relatively easy to build a deck for.

Here’s the characters which saw play. I’ve dropped all characters which were only in 1 deck (as there’s a lot):

25 out of 74 (actually, I think it was 26 out of 74, but Lanza is keeping his deck a secret) is over a third of the field, which is pretty phenomenal. He saw 10 unique pairings, either double elite or regular elite, with the Sniper pairing featuring 5 times, and the thematic Grogu/Protect the Child pairing 4 times.

There were some notable absences from the character lists. One of my favourite characters from High Stakes, Ki-Adi-Mundi, was completely absent, as was IG-11. There was only one Ahsoka deck. There were only 5 blue villain decks, of which 3 were Grand Inquisitor decks, and the other two looked quite experimental (eMomin/eMaul/WYCWGI and eVader/Palp). Despite the power of the Dark Trooper support and the addition of new droid tech, there were only 2 Aphra decks.

The second most popular character was Wedge, who is one of the most solid support characters we’ve seen in Destiny. Appearing in 13 lineups, 7 of which were with the ever frustrating Benthic and Stay Ahead. This pairing was the second most popular in the event, and was piloted by Vika to the top spot in Swiss.

Vika’s runner-up deck

With this deck, if you claim, you remove a die to deal 2 damage, gain a resource with the battlefield, plus do free damage from the Westar next round. If your opponent claims, you do 2 damage with Benthic. I was initially skeptical about this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” pairing (since I’d generally rather spend fewer points and build my deck around one or the other), but the sheer value these two characters together represent is ridiculous.

The double pilot pairing offers an additional 12 free health from Eject and Flanked by Wingmen. And that’s before you consider Benthic‘s Power Action and Wedge‘s ability which has a 52% of netting at least one free shield each round. And finally, they have access to fantastic removal, Veteran of War, Admiral and ramp from Merchant Freighter and Forbidden Lore Armory. The only card which I’m surprised to see missing is Roll in the Mud.

One other thing to note on the finalists’ decklists: both decks included 2 copies each of Rebel Assault.

Below are the lineups from the event:

Other is all 1-off lineups. As can be seen, eJyn/eHan/Intelligence Operation was the most popular lineup, and three of its 8 appearances made it to the Top8.

echobase OP3 promo

This diversity of lineups is something we’ve become accustomed to. Sure, there was a lot of Din, but overall the meta is still pretty variable.

This was an event dominated by hero, with just 17 Villain lineups (23%). It was also an event dominated by 2 wide, with a shocking 67 2-wides. There was also a distinct lack of yellow villain, outside Garindan/Moff decks, meaning that supports have been able to operate with relative impunity. Sure, there’s some more support hate out there, but they don’t seem to actually be cropping up in many decks. Strategic Strike, debatably the best support hate card since DM, was available to both finalists, but didn’t make the cut in either decklist.

This event was also dominated by Yellow/Red pairings. Below are the number of decks across all colour combinations:

That’s 42 Yellow/Red pairings, 8 Yellow/Blue and 7 mono-Yellows. Out of 73 lineups I have data for, that means that 58% of decks were Yellow/Red, and 78% contained yellow.

Honestly, I think most of the key stats are down to the short time between release and event. There’s more immediately interesting hero cards, red and yellow look much more appealing at first glance than blue, plus it’s going to take time to get a good Ki-Adi deck working. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of villain, and to be honest, it’s nice to see red hero outside of Ackbar doing well for a change.

Battlefield diversity was also relatively high. There’s some favourites out there, with Deathwatch Hideout in 6 decks, new location Krayt Dragon Lair in 8 decks, and Jabba’s Palace, Cyber Center and Salt Flats taking the combined top spot at 11 each (the former being unsurprising given the popularity of Mando).

echobase OP3 promo

Performance by Representation
This is the bit with more maths. As I’ve done previously, I’ve calculated the range of expected performance based on representation, and compared it to the actual performance of that lineup. Here’s all lineups which featured 2 or more times:

For those unfamiliar with these graphs, the Score is the average number of wins for the lineup. The boxes show the range of wins you would expect from random chance 50% of the time, and the lines (whiskers) show the range you would expect 90% of the time. These vary because the more popular a deck is, the more that random chance averages out (just like if you flipped a coin 4 times, it wouldn’t be surprising if 75% of them were heads, but if you did it 100 times, and it was still 75% heads, it would be highly suspicious). The dots on the graph show the actual average Score.

Boxes are colour coded according to how well the lineup performed compared to random chance, accounting for representation. Reds mean poorly, blue is average and green is well.

A few things jump out at me straight away:

  • eeMando/Rebel Sniper is one of the worst performing decks in the event. Sure, rockntroll won with it, but the other 4 players who brought the deck scored 2, 1, 1 and 0 wins with it. However, this may be a little misleading, as only 1 of those 4 players actually played all 6 rounds. Nevertheless, those that dropped did so after getting off to a bad start with it. Even if they had really pulled it back, the deck would only have scored averagely.
    It must be said though: winning in a best of three top cut though does show this deck is clearly very good, plus rockntroll is an excellent player.
  • The best performing deck when you account for representation is eBenthic/eWedge/Stay Ahead. The second best performance was from eHan(Tr)/eDak/Stay Ahead. Both decks are yellow/red pilots with Stay Ahead. Expect this archetype to be strong in the new meta. Finally, fast decks have a reason to be fast (the plot), and that boosts the value of piloting considerably.
  • If you turn up with an off-kilter deck (Other), chances are you did poorly. Good work if you didn’t.

I thought I’d combine all Mando decks into one category to see how Mando performed on balance:

As can be seen, eeMando decks did very poorly on average. It’ll be interesting to see how much Din Djarin gets played in the coming months, and whether he falls out of favour, or people find a way to make him better. Or perhaps we’ll end up with a Vader TTB situation: where he’s an average character, but the volume of people playing him, and the fact that he can roll anyone off the table on a good day keeps him in the meta.

In Conclusion
I thought I’d quote some Destiny regulars here. First off, Mawloc:
“New Hero stuff good, New villain stuff bad, old good hero stuff still good, old good villain stuff not interesting but probably still good.
“Red and Yellow better than blue, Mando actually had a low win rate compared to representation.”

Good analysis. Maybe I shouldn’t’ve bothered.

In response to a question about the absence of Ki-Adi and Ahsoka, here’s some BastMaster:
“They need a bit of time to build up. Which you don’t get against hero aggro.”
Or to combine both perspectives:
“The problem … is surviving and actually doing useful thing through the sea of removal AND big dice.”

A problem which is certainly tricky to solve, but I think not unsurmountable.

My initial intuition on the current card pool, and after looking at these results, is we’re probably in a state of unstable equilibrium, with shield and support heavy decks poised to do well against the biggest players. I wouldn’t be surprised if this meta shifts considerably over time. I think we’ll see a lot of metagaming against the big players (hero pilots and Mando) and I think the smaller events will see a wide range of decks over the coming months.

Looking forward to it.

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