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scoddyboy

Meta vs The Theme

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When I first saw that FFG were going to be releasing Star Wars Destiny I was most excited about re-enacting famous battles or creating my own within the Star Wars setting. Unfortunately, for me, the 'Meta' has such a strong influence over what decks people put together that anytime I attempt to play what I would call a thematic deck I am generally getting crushed and the game play experience isn't a positive one.

What do you other players think?

Will thematic decks become strong enough to compete with or become the meta, as more cards are released?

Will the meta continue to grow at its own rate and maintain the gulf between the two?

Also on a side note, has anyone managed to build any competitive and thematic decks?

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The issue of a thematic deck getting crushed by an optomized deck is largely negated by telling your opponent you're playing something 'thematic' and asking them to put away their top meta deck for a round.

Remember those few minutes in The Force Awakens where Han Solo and Rey were together on screen? eHan/eRey. Competitive and thematic.

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I get that, but the problem is competitive players wanting to test their competitive decks, and even though I consider myself a good player, thematic 'for fun' decks aren't much competition for the meta.

My other problem is I don't have any Han Solo cards, but I fully get your meaning.

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1 hour ago, scoddyboy said:

I get that, but the problem is competitive players wanting to test their competitive decks, and even though I consider myself a good player, thematic 'for fun' decks aren't much competition for the meta.

Yeah, players like that irk me as well. There's a really competitive guy at my FLGS, and sometimes I say to him: "Look man, just bust out your most gimped deck, because I want to play this Poe Dameron/Finn Deck for a laugh. So he fishes out a Tier 1.5 Luke/eRey with six Legendaries in it. Sometimes there's no reasoning with a player who won't put aside competition for fun.

1 hour ago, Vitalis said:

One of the strongest decks is Vader with Tusken. 

 

Thats it for theme :P

HeLovesThem.jpg.dcc8d1580e0e037bd30710c61c0b34c7.jpg

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18 minutes ago, Ajones47 said:

Yeah, players like that irk me as well. There's a really competitive guy at my FLGS, and sometimes I say to him: "Look man, just bust out your most gimped deck, because I want to play this Poe Dameron/Finn Deck for a laugh. So he fishes out a Tier 1.5 Luke/eRey with six Legendaries in it. Sometimes there's no reasoning with a player who won't put aside competition for fun.

HeLovesThem.jpg.dcc8d1580e0e037bd30710c61c0b34c7.jpg

Isn't luke rey thematic? I mean he is going to be her master? 

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Some good points made so far, but I'm not just referring to character pairings, I am meaning all the other cards that make up the deck including battlefield. Also some thematic pairings aren't viable due to points cost.

Edited by scoddyboy

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This game was doomed to have that happen, given there's still very few characters, and they're from all over the Star Wars continuum. X-Wing, for example, until Episode VII forced their hand, only had characters from the original trilogy era, so fleets in that game were a little more thematic for the first several years. 

Currently, the most thematic decks that stand a chance (if played well) are Dooku/Ventress, Jango/Aurra, and Kylo/FN-2199/Trooper.

The meta (read: Rey) can still be thematic, from a certain point of view. Luke/Rey (as said above) and ObiWan/Rey and QuiGon/Rey (if you imagine ObiWan and QuiGon are Force ghosts).

That being said, I still build and play thematic-style decks with my friends, in casual play.

And anybody who hasn't tried the multi-player free-for-all variant in the rules reference hasn't really played this game! That's really fun, and you can play whatever you want, because you get punished for playing the meta (everyone gangs up on you!)

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I tried Luminara/Padawan x2 because I thought it sounded thematic, and maybe not awful lol. Took it to a tournament and got stomped lol

Maybe organize an event that requires the teams to be thematically linked, including the battlefield. That could be a fun event. (until people remember that they can just use ePalp :P

There's a lot of cool thematic team ups you could do and if everyone in a whole event is playing like that it might create a pretty fun atmosphere.

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9 hours ago, Vitalis said:

One of the strongest decks is Vader with Tusken. 

 

Thats it for theme :P

When I see Vader/Raider, I just imagine it's an alternate history where Vader decided to take on an apprentice and overthrow the Emperor (like he was planning to do with Luke), but he actually came to the planet's surface when the Empire was on Tatooine in Episode IV, where he encountered the young A'Sharad Hett and took him on as an apprentice. The Hetts are not actually Tuskens, so Vader might not hate them. Anakin was friends with Hett's father Sharad Hett, which means Darth Vader might have hated Sharad. A'Sharad seems to have shunned Sharad's legacy and teachings, so it is feasible Vader and A'Sharad might form a bond there. 

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Krayt

So, there's at least a feasible what-if for Vader/Raider canonically. As opposed to Unkar/FN/Trooper or Kylo/Vader...

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I am forgetting that a plus side to this game, (which will sound like I am totally contradicting myself), are the 'what if?' fantasy battles, where, with a little bit of thought, can create all new story arcs for our characters.

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ePoe/eRey, eHan/eRey, eChewie/eRey, eBaze/Chirruit, eLuke/Maz, eLeia/eAckbar, ePhasma/FO Trooper/FO Trooper, eSnap/Commando/Rebel Trooper, Death Trooper x3, eKylo/eVader(SoR), eKylo/Vader(Awk), eCount Dooku/eAsaaj Ventress, eJango/Aurra (or vice versa), eJango/eJabba, eJabba/eUnkar, eMon Mothma/Hired Gun/Hired Gun, eLuke/Ackbar, eHan/Chewie (or vice versa), do I need to go on? These decks all range from Tier 1-Tier 2.

Im not sure what youre gripe is about?

~D

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2 hours ago, scoddyboy said:

I am forgetting that a plus side to this game, (which will sound like I am totally contradicting myself), are the 'what if?' fantasy battles, where, with a little bit of thought, can create all new story arcs for our characters.

I had a IG88 + a few first order stormtroopers. I guess the story is something like this: "IG88 gets put back together after the events at Cloud City and swears revenge on Boba Fett, Ariving onTatooine after Boba ends up in the Sarlacc pit, IG88 kills the beast and takes Fett's armor and weapons and leaves in the Slave one. He continues to do bounty work for criminals and the newly formed Fist Order."

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My favorite part of the movies is when Chewbacca and Anakin Skywalker killed each other, but then Kylo Ren attacked Admiral Ackbar's ship. But it was a trap, and Ackbar gunned down that punk with his dual blaster pistols.

Seriously though, CCGs are generally a poor choice for a thematic game (at least, representing specific events). It just doesn't really match up with how card games work unless they are built around it (e.g. the old Decipher CCG, but it was kind of a mess design wise because of it). And you can't really expect people to accommodate you without lining it up with them first, because there's a good chance that's not what they are there to play the game. It's not always that they 'can't break away from playing competitively', but if they are there to have a competitive match, they probably aren't going to get the kind of enjoyment out of your 'theme' deck that you are.

Honestly, if you're *really* looking for a thematic Star Wars experience....well, my first bit of advice would be to be try another game; something like Imperial Assault or Rebellion is probably more suited to what you are looking for.

Failing that.....Well, the first question is how thematic a deck has to be to scratch your 'itch'. If you really want to go all in, you'd probably want to look at lining people up to play some kind of 'variant' gameplay that rewards/requires a more thematic take on the game...But I think it would be important to realize you're potentially imposing on their enjoyment of the game, so be understanding of that and don't try to push them on it. Obviously this likely works much better if you've got a friend(s) who you can rope in to this, who might be more willing to give it a go.

 

 

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To answer the original question, I think this is the sort of game where there will probably always be a massive power gap between a top tier, optimized tournament deck and a non-optimized deck.  If you throw some cards together and go for a fun build and then go up against a ePoe/eMaz deck, you'll probably lose 100 out of 100 games.  You might have a fluke and get a 1% win ratio, but I doubt it.  Optimized decks are too consistent and, right now, too fast.  Even with a Millennium Falcon in your opening hand, you might lose a character before you get the 5 resources you need to play it.  Ergo, the only use the Falcon has in the current meta is as ammo for Poe's ability.  Even then, there are plenty of other better options.

If you want casual play, find other casual players and either avoid organized events or just learn to be ok with the fact that you'll finish towards the bottom of the rankings in any organized event you go to.

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Thanks for the input so far. I will try to address some of the comments...

Firstly, I do play competitively, and have won my local quarterly and store championships.

I agree, I can't expect other players to field what are, ultimately, weakened sides. This doesn't benefit either of us as I get stomped and they don't really get a proper challenge.

A BIG part of the theme for me, is fielding a deck that, within what we know of the SW universe, is realistic, so Vader(dark apprentice), and Kylo aren't thematic to me in the sense that Vader died many years before Kylo became what he is.

Also for a thematic battle both sides need to be thematic and in order for that to happen my opponent would need to know what theme we are aiming for so we could build accordingly. As mentioned in my OP the theme will improve as more cards are released, but I do think that squad costs will hamper the flexibility.

And lastly, I have realised that putting theme first will spoil my enjoyment of the game as it would eliminate the possibility of those 'what if' scenarios.

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This is a game where light side faces light side. Thematics were never a consideration. I'm sure they tried to point cost some characters so they fit together, and individual card abilities are probably made to match the most thematic card title/type. Other than that, theme has no place in this game. If you want theme, play Decipher's SWCCG. It's a much better game anyway. And, even though it's been dead for over a decade, it's easier to find sealed product for.

Edited by gokubb

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48 minutes ago, gokubb said:

This is a game where light side faces light side. Thematics were never a consideration. I'm sure they tried to point cost some characters so they fit together, and individual card abilities are probably made to match the most thematic card title/type. Other than that, theme has no place in this game. If you want theme, play Decipher's SWCCG. It's a much better game anyway. And, even though it's been dead for over a decade, it's easier to find sealed product for.

I will check that out, thanks.

I do enjoy this game tremendously, and I suppose playing thematic decks would be more limiting than constructing decks that would be competitive in the current meta. I guess I just want to have my cake and eat it, but as has been said previously this is a possibility as long as the rest of the gaming group are on board.

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1 hour ago, gokubb said:

This is a game where light side faces light side. Thematics were never a consideration. I'm sure they tried to point cost some characters so they fit together, and individual card abilities are probably made to match the most thematic card title/type. Other than that, theme has no place in this game. If you want theme, play Decipher's SWCCG. It's a much better game anyway. And, even though it's been dead for over a decade, it's easier to find sealed product for.

Sad, but true.  I can walk down to my local gaming store and buy sealed Decipher SW product today.  I can't do the same for Destiny.

I would also say that if you're looking for more thematic, try out the Star Wars LCG from FFG.  It's light versus dark each game and cards come in 6 card objective sets that are almost universally internally thematic.  It's entirely possible, for example, to build a Jabba themed deck where every card in the deck is either directly or indirectly Jabba related.  Two different versions of Jabba, Jabba's Palace, Jabba's Pleasure Skiff, Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb, various Tattooine toughs, etc, etc.  More thematic AND easy to find.

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1 hour ago, KrisWall said:

Sad, but true.  I can walk down to my local gaming store and buy sealed Decipher SW product today.  I can't do the same for Destiny.

I would also say that if you're looking for more thematic, try out the Star Wars LCG from FFG.  It's light versus dark each game and cards come in 6 card objective sets that are almost universally internally thematic.  It's entirely possible, for example, to build a Jabba themed deck where every card in the deck is either directly or indirectly Jabba related.  Two different versions of Jabba, Jabba's Palace, Jabba's Pleasure Skiff, Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb, various Tattooine toughs, etc, etc.  More thematic AND easy to find.

I have considered this but feel I would be coming in too late as from a budget point of view it would cost a lot to buy into. It does seem the best option to scratch my thematic itch though.

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7 hours ago, KrisWall said:

Sad, but true.  I can walk down to my local gaming store and buy sealed Decipher SW product today.  I can't do the same for Destiny.

I would also say that if you're looking for more thematic, try out the Star Wars LCG from FFG.  It's light versus dark each game and cards come in 6 card objective sets that are almost universally internally thematic.  It's entirely possible, for example, to build a Jabba themed deck where every card in the deck is either directly or indirectly Jabba related.  Two different versions of Jabba, Jabba's Palace, Jabba's Pleasure Skiff, Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb, various Tattooine toughs, etc, etc.  More thematic AND easy to find.

I would warn anyone, if theme is the desire, to stay away from the LCG. The combat has Rancors fighting Mon Cal Star Cruisers. There is nothing thematic about that. True, the objective system reinforces thematic ideas in the same deck, but the gameplay is totally non-thematic. Add in that it's often better to discard and use large theme defining characters in an Edge battle rather than playing them. That game just doesn't play like Star Wars to me. 

As someone else mentioned, Imperial Assault is another great game with theme at it's core. You may not be recreating the movies, but the new campaigns tell a great story.

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As a challenge, try to use only cards in a deck that have a picture relating to the characters you have chose or are a direct theme to that character.

Examples are: Jango takes slave 1, infamous, jetpack, reversal, my kind of scum, armour plating, relentless persuit, flame thrower, armed to the teeth.

Luke would get: fast hands, luke's sabre, force training, deflect, it binds all things,  return of the jedi, willpower, force misdirection, daring escape, block

Han would get: Falcon, heavy blaster, long con, never tell me the odds, resolve, sabotage, shoots first, dodge 

Obviously it would depend on your second character, but try to build a deck only using cards that have contain the picture of your characters or are a direct theme for that character.

 

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