Welcome to the second installment of Well That’s Uncommon, where we look at an uncommon card from the forthcoming Covert Missions. The day after I published the first article in this series (featuring Imperial Pilot), Fantasy Flight Games dropped an article of their own. A More Civilized Age previewed some blue cards from the new set, and my Twitter feed was all abuzz with spoilers from the article.
Kevin Sanchez of the excellent Roll On podcast tweeted out his interest to Rule of Two, and uncommon plot which touches on a thematic element near and dear to both of our hearts — the Sith. Kevin and I are also both huge Maul fans, and as you can see below, the card art features everyone’s favorite Dathomirian:
There was so much subsequent chatter in my Twitter about who the plot could be used with, I joked that I may write about it for the next Well That’s Uncommon. Kevin then reached out and offered to help brainstorm character pairings. If you’ve ever listed to Roll On, you know that Kevin has an encyclopedia-like knowledge of Star Wars and a photographic memory of Star Wars Destiny cards. He and his brother (and co-host) Corwin are also really good players.
So I immediately took him up on his offer, duh.
And you are in for a treat! While I had hoped to get a sentence or two of analysis from Kevin on each suggested pairing, he instead emailed me the glorious content you will find below. I’ll return at the end with a character pairing of my own, but in the meantime please enjoy our first ever guest contributor, Kevin Sanchez, and his take on Rule of Two:
Rule of Two is a theme-lover’s dream. It ticks all the boxes of what the casual player loves about Star Wars: Destiny. In this particular plot, we find a card that encourages two-wide deckbuilding, doesn’t incur any point penalties, has a negative balance to go along with a positive effect, and rewards you for innovation. And how can you look at that artwork and not think, “Wow, this is a cool Destiny card!”
Adding Rule of Two to your team also expands the spot requirements you can fulfill with your deck, such as granting the ability to include Comm Tower as your battlefield for 0 deckbuilding points, or giving you an extra Blue card to spot when playing You Were My Friend – no charge! However, what makes Rule of Two so unique is the flexibility within gameplay that it provides. There are two ways to play this plot in my view:
- Maximizing the effect of the last character die in the pool (whatever it ends up showing), or
- Maximizing the chances of resolving the Action itself.
By giving yourself 4 starting character dice, you’re likely looking at the former, as you’ll be rolling out multiple character dice at a time no matter who you activate. However, if you anticipate one of your elite character’s dice to consistently get removed, or if you begin with 3 starting character dice, you can more reliably count on the Rule of Two Action to buff your dice. Either way, you have the ability to turn something useful into something more useful, which is one of the best things you can do in Destiny.
Of course, the characters you choose to fulfill your Rule of Two will make the most impact on your strategy, as it usually is with this game we so enjoy. So who fits? Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at all the characters with the Sith subtype and the Apprentice subtype that we currently have access to in the Standard format.
As you can see, there are not a ton of characters to work with. Additionally, the dearth of options can serve to turn Rule of Two’s point cost into a negative as well as a positive; as 0-cost plot, you want to get as close to that 30-point cap as possible, since you cannot include another plot to offset the difference! With that in mind, let’s have a look at some pairings that may entice you to sleeve up Rule of Two on your kitchen table or at your locals.
Kylo Ren may have a better pairing than this, and we’ll come to that, but I wanted to highlight Count Dooku specifically because of the Action on Rule of Two. Because you will be turning Dooku’s die to a side showing damage every time you activate, you are automatically turning your plot online in an impactful way! If you can get around your opponent’s mitigation, Dooku uses Rule of Two to threaten a 3- or a 4-melee consistently, which can help take the heat off of your elite character and let Kylo go to work.
Kylo3’s power action may not be useful in a pairing outside of Reylo, but he is still toting a 1/2/2 on his die from a damage perspective, which is solid for 15 points. In addition, your upgrade package increases your damage from hand when you are able to play Count Dooku’s Lightsaber on Dooku and Crossguard Lightsaber on Kylo. And speaking of Kylo…
Here we find one of the few pairings you can get with Rule of Two that gives you access to four character dice. This deck is specials galore. Don’t have two copies of that elusive Niman Mastery? No problem! Force Focus is a great replacement in a deck where you want to be resolving your specials for damage. Want to disrupt your opponent’s gameplan? Both Vader and Kylo have discard sides – Vader’s being a free 2-discard! – so you should have no problem getting rid of some of your opponent’s tricks. Need some more survivability? Darth Vader’s Meditation Chamber will work on both of your characters, and you’ll get the extra bonus draw with Vader.
And when all is said and done, your last character die in the pool will have more value thanks to Rule of Two. Aside from the special sides, which you won’t be able to increase, every other side of your character dice that isn’t a blank will benefit greatly from the value buff. But what about another 4-die start?
Rule of Two could have been called “Make Starter Set Characters Great Again”, because the plot may well resurrect this previously-established pairing.
We have seen starter-character-only decks have success before (see: R2-P2), including this one. Yet now there is more incentive to sleeve Kylo Ren and Count Dooku back up again. The 9 health you get from Dooku is still just as concerning as it used to be, especially because of the extra indirect damage you will incur when Dooku is defeated. And with so many rainbow decks floating around – especially with the advent of Spectres and Spectre Cell – it may be hard to get good value out of Kylo’s ability. But it’s hard to argue with so many 2-sides, or with the same lightsaber package that you would be running in Kylo3/Dooku2.
The difference between these decks is that this particular pairing gives you the added die in place of more health and some consistency in resolving the plot action. With the accessibility of both of these characters, it would not surprise me to see this team floating around on Day 1 after Covert Missions drops.
Now, you might be thinking, “There’s a lot of Kylo Ren floating around here. What about a pairing that doesn’t involve Kylo?” Well, I gotchu, fam.
Ok, NOW you might be thinking, “How on Earth am I going to get my hands on all those expensive legendary upgrades for Bane?” It’s true that Bane will be made exponentially more powerful by plopping a Death Field or a Shien Mastery under his character and going to town. However, there are 24 other Blue ability upgrades for this deck that are currently legal in Standard (as of publishing).
Of those, there are three in particular that I want to direct your attention to. Each one is 3-cost and can provide a unique impact in this deck:
- Force Rend: You mean to tell me that you can’t get rid of supports in Blue Villain? Not anymore! If you can generate extra resources using Rule of Two, or by saving your money with 0-cost removal like Forsaken and Hidden Motive, you can use the Force Rend special to get rid of your opponents’ big pieces. And, Bane’s ranged side matches up with the modified damage on Force Rend. Can’t afford it? It’s a Villain card, so you can discard it for Anakin’s special!
- Force Lift: 3 damage sides, two focus sides, and the possibility of MORE support removal in Blue Villain? What else needs to be said?
- Way of the Force: Yes, this counts for Bane’s ability. For one resource, you can add another Bane die to your starting pool (or a proxy if you’re playing at home!) and have access to two character dice that show 2/3/3. It’s also good fodder to overwrite later if you choose.
Each of these upgrades turn Bane’s special into a 3-indirect side. If you play a 2-cost upgrade on him, you’re still getting value, AND it’s free for the first one! The obvious caveat is, you’re going to have to get your hands on a Bane die, but if you can’t run him elite, this pairing with Rule of Two gives you a creative way to get a spicy new character on the table!
The Rule of Two states that there should always be one to embody the power, and one to crave it. How will YOU exercise the Rule of Two?
Wow, Thank you Kevin! Those are four really interesting pairings for this new plot, but I feel we’d be remiss in publishing an article about a card that features Maul on the art without actually building a pairing around Maul.
Granted, his only two Destiny versions are both Legendary cards, which can be hard on the casual player’s wallet. The newer and more powerful one – Skilled Duelist (both a Sith and apprentice) – only has one partner from our lists that allows you to run him elite, and that would be single-die apprentice Anakin. While that could be exciting, it’s also costly (in real dollars) to run him at elite. Let’s look at a four-die start with the cheaper Maul instead.
With the Legacies Maul‘s point costs being dropped in the latest Balance of the Force, we can come up with a 4-die, 29-point team featuring the Vengeful One as the older and wiser Sith:
Honorable Mention: eMaul1/eKylo3
This version of our beloved Dathomirian isn’t as strong as the apprentice one, having only two damage sides on his die, and the one 3-melee side costs a resource. He’s also two health points weaker, giving us the lowest health pairing of the teams featured here. However, Maul’s dice do come with some built-in protection given his natural card ability. Like Kylo3, he also has a discard side, which could create trouble for your opponent. And…and…well, it’s not that great. But it’s Maul! He’s on the art for the plot! Surely there’s a way!
Honestly, I’m excited to try out any of these thematic sith-apprentice teams, even if they never existed in proper Star Wars canon. I’ll also be sure to throw in as many Sith-specific cards as I can into any of these decks.
I want to give one last huge shoutout to Kevin from Roll On for contributing to this Sith-tastic chapter of Well That’s Uncommon. If you have not listened to Roll On before, do yourself a huge favor and follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their pod. Kevin and his brother Corwin present thoroughly enjoyable Destiny content that dabbles both in casual and competitive play. It’s one of my personal favorites, plus they have this rockin’ logo:
Play some jank! Roll Some dice! Have some fun!