While a lot of the online chatter towards the end of the Redemption Meta for Star Wars Destiny seemed to focus around the power of Darth Vader – Driven by Anger after his points reduction to 19 (now reversed to 20 elite), echobase events saw the opposite side of the force come to the fore, as you probably worked out from the title.
Luke Skywalker – Fulfilling His Destiny took the win in not one but two events, both piloted by Keco39. Now if you’ve ever played in an echobase Thursday night event then you’ll know that each week Keco39 aka Kevin Cocquyt brings a different version of Transformations Luke each week, only diverting from our original trilogy Hero in an ARH Cards Only event. Kevin has three wins playing Luke each with a different partner: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Satine Kryze and Jawa Junk Dealers.
Over to Kevin to take you through the Rebel Alliance’s greatest hope.
As a fan of the hero side in all kinds of SciFi/Fantasy and a bit of an adventurer myself, I have always been drawn to the character of Luke, as a kid as well as a cosplaying adult. I previously played the Decipher CCG in the late 90s and “Luke with Lightsaber” became a staple in all my light side decks. Then life happened and it took me until 2 years ago to pick up card games again. I looked at different games and being able to actually play as a character was the main draw for me to try out Destiny.
I started playing “Old Man Luke” but did not quite grasp the correct playstyle until Luke‘s “Fullfilling His Destiny” persona took to the stage. Finally, a Luke that could rival Vader, “Terror To Behold”, so I started to try out all kinds of different partners to pair him with. And that quest is what this article is about.
Firstly, he’s a 20 point character (elite) so the possible partners are limited, let alone elite versions. I have tried him out in different styles but straight on aggro seems to work the best for me.
There are a couple of Blue partners you can choose from like Jedi Apprentice (Jar’Kai build), Obi-Wan – Wise Protector (with United) or Vigilant Jedi (with Lightsaber Mastery) and I have won an Echobase Tournament with Obi-Wan. Because of the small nerf to United and a lot more mitigation in today’s meta, I cannot get him working anymore. So that is why I recently changed to play him with other colours.
[EchoFives – I also played with the Transformations Obi-Wan as soon as these got released together and the pairing has one of my highest win ratios at 73%. It also took me to the final of a much delayed Regional Event last August. I really need to play this again]
You can go 2 ways with a Red pairing. General Rieekan or Bail Organa are perfect for an Admiral + You Are In Command Now [echofives – and also General now] build whilst Kashyyyk Warrior gives you the possibility to add the Lightsaber Mastery plot in there. Using the plot, you can go either with Niman Mastery + Draw Closer or with Jar’Kai + Fatal Blow.
The other staples that red brings to the table consist of Imposing Figure for much needed extra resources. Even though the card becomes worthless against the extremely healthy Ackbar, it is very useful against everyone else. The second staple is Feat of Strength as one of the best mitigation cards in the game when you have a starting health that lets you always remove two damage dice (IMHO) [echo7: no argument with that here].
Until the mid-Redemption holocron, Lumpawaroo was a good character to be played together with the Rescue Han Solo plot, giving you lots of nice options and a potential extra partner. But since the latest balance update, Satine Kryze is the last woman standing for an elite pairing [echofives – although we do now have Kuill from High Stakes which I’m sure Keco will be playing soon] and I did have some success with her lately.
As Vader is the new force to be reckoned with, I also tried to go with some techy stuff and chose Instigate for surprise damage, Controlled Chaos for damage-doing rerolls (handy with melee weapons like Jedi Lightsaber, Mandalorian Axe, Yoda’s Lightsaber, Quilloned Lightsaber etc. becoming even better with Jar’Kai) or as light mitigation. Together with Satine’s natural ability to make resources or help out with some timely focus, you can also get your aggro events back with Deathwatch Hideout for some late game power. As it turned out, it is not as strong against Vader. I also had success against Pilots and Supports.
Next to those cards, there is also Reap and/or Truce for extra resources and Headstrong and Loth-Cat And Mouse as mitigation. Be careful with Headstrong as it is a “spot yellow” card but, as your opponent usually goes for Luke, a minimum of 1 is totally justifiable.
Grey – General
As the Redemption meta was coming to a close, I wanted to end it with something I had not tried before so I made a line-up with Luke and 2 Jawa Junk Dealers. The meta contains lots of good neutral grey cards like Merchant Freighter, Bacta Therapy, Fury and Mandalorian Executioner Vibro-Ax [echo7: playing the latter for 1 resource is amazing value] which were already staples in most of my other decks. You can ramp as hell with the Jawas, put Jar’Kai down and start rolling damage. Mitigating with Fury is free and even Bacta Tank‘ing is cheap and won me my 3rd tournament.
To have a clear picture about which cards I use the most, I made a complete overview for myself of all Tabletop.to tournaments I participated in and took those cards I used at least 10 times, these are listed below, including why I chose them. A bit of a nerdy move, but very useful.
– Anakin’s Lightsaber: Good, consistent weapon and an extra way to activate Luke’s Power Action to do damage with the on play ability
– Jedi Lightsaber: Extra Power Action advantage similar to Anakin’s above and Jar’Kai makes this into a very versatile upgrade
– Cal Kestis’ Lightsaber: Good die with the possibility to have a second one
– Jar’Kai (for an aggro build) or Niman Mastery (for a more controlling build). Can’t have both in play so go with your favourite
– Yoda’s Lightsaber: Easy to get that extra shield with Luke’s Power Action for 2 unblockable from the special and just a cheap, versatile weapon overall
– BD-1: as Luke is your main character, everything that can keep him alive a little longer is worth it. Cheap upgrade with a very decent dice and as Jar’Kai gives you extra upgrade slots, not that costly to attach it to him. Can also be attached to his partner as support [EchoFives: and then moved to Luke for a double use in a round]
The following cards looked good in theory but have some very definite downsides.
– Leia’s Lightsaber: This looks great as you can get shields on tap but as Luke will always be the main target, you will lose them quickly too
– Force Repulse: Its strength is very debatable as all dice must be non-blank (to get the damage) but I think it still has a place in an Obi-Wan build as there are no other own character dice you can blank. Its special was also decisive in my 1st tournament win.
Supports (not a lot of viable options IMHO)
– It Binds All Things: resources for ramping
– Merchant Freighter: resources for ramping and really good with the Jawas
– Yoda’s Spirit: I would love to add it as it can be a good helper (and I’m a sucker for thematic builds) but having 2 resources left rarely happens as you usually need it for mitigation or upgrades. I hope someone can prove me wrong someday 🙂
Others are rarely worth it. There is an Aphra pairing which depends on supports but I have yet to try it out (@Erik_ can give you the necessary tips if you’re interested).
– Acute Awareness: good focusing card which usually comes as a bit of a surprise and you have a couple of high damage sides to make it worthwhile
– Apt Lesson: only played this in non-Lightsaber Mastery builds as it is great for Draw Closer / Fatal Blow plays but also to play mitigation as Fluid Riposte or Rising Whirlwind from your discard pile. I have not needed it in a Satine build as it still takes up 4 slots and, together with Yellow, there are better options out there. Also, because of the chance of playing these, your character dice will be mitigated first leaving you with only Draw Closer as a viable option
– Bacta Therapy: only worth it when playing Jar’Kai, to give your main character some extra longevity
– Dark Reflections: I am still in the early phase of trying it out but potentially devastating having 2 or 3 damage sides on Luke and weapons like Anakin’s, Cal’s, or Quilloned Lightsaber amongst others
– Fatal Blow / Draw Closer: very similar cards with Fatal Blow going in a Jar’Kai build and the Draw Closer with Niman Mastery
– On Guard: An extra shield is never bad and can give some surprise Power Action damage as it has Ambush
– Nullify: 0 cost removal and not too difficult to get that needed shield
– Fluid Riposte & Rising Whirlwind: Straightforward removal options with the possibility to get them back from the discard pile with Apt Lesson, or can be added to the Lightsaber Mastery plot
– Fury: Unmissable in a big-small deck
– Headstrong, Loth-Cath And Mouse and Feat Or Strength are all talked about in the color descriptions
– Deathwatch Hideout: Extra resource means a big lightsaber to start the next round with or a decent upgrade + the possibility to play some mitigation
– Defensive Perimeter: A recent favourite of mine as it turns a worthless die into a possible 2 damage for Luke’s Power Action
– Lightsaber Mastery: I really love this one because even though it limits the amount of possible partners, it gives you some easy blowout options in Fatal Blow / Draw Closer
– United: probably made for big characters like him and I absolutely adore it in combination with Obi-Wan. Unfortunately, it only falls in the decent category nowadays as it limits your colour options and his best partners are Red or Yellow
– Jedi Code: looks good on paper but playing defensively rarely works using Luke. It gives too much time for your opponent to get set up and Luke is rarely a good match-up versus a fully loaded board state
Over this period, I learned not to wait anymore for that great combo I have cooked up in my brain the days prior to a tournament, as it rarely goes off the way you want it to. So unless the combos can be played from the discard pile, they are not worth it. When thinking about Draw Closer or Fatal Blow, I personally prefer playing Lightsaber Mastery, together with Vigilant Jedi or, even better, Kashyyyk Warrior as it is great to have one of those blowout events on tap. These have won me games more than once [echofives – surprising as neither of these pairings have given you event wins].
The strategy I had most success with is going for aggro. Shield up whenever you can, try some ways to focus when the dice work against you and pray to the dice gods for favourable rolls [echofives – pretty sure we all do that].
Great overview and insight from the most dedicated Luke player that there will ever be. Thanks, Kevin for taking us through your journey with Luke and helping Luke fulfil his Destiny. What deck will you be bringing to the table next or is the journey ongoing?