Is Snoke Overrated?

With the release of Way of the Force, Store Championship season in full swing, and the recent announcement of Across the Galaxy (Set 6), you would be hard pressed to find a more exciting time in the history of Star Wars: Destiny. While there are many great signs for the games overall health, like Store Championships happening every weekend, it is all a bit overwhelming to keep up with!

So, when I discovered the Edmond Unplugged Store Championship would be a Trilogies event, it quickly moved to the top of my list. I knew I would be spending a lot of my play time drafting Way of the Force to practice for the Covenant Masters Draft Qualifier this weekend, so the Trilogies restricted card pool made it easier to prepare. I also honestly just prefer the more fundamental style of play that Trilogies offers compared to Standard.

On my constant quest to prove to Eric Wainright that Anakin is actually awesome, I initially built an Anakin Skywalker, double Executioner deck. After a few games I knew I did not have the time to make it a competitive deck… or even something resembling one.

So, I pivoted to Kylo 2 / Anakin 2. I had tested the deck extensively ahead of the Adepticon Galactic Qualifier, so I felt like I could easily get it back into fighting shape. With the addition of cards like Dagger of Mortis and Undermine, I knew, at the very least, that the deck would not be worse!

After a few test games, I had a deck list I was pretty comfortable with that I knew would give me the chance to win a lot of my games. My final deck is below and on swdestinydb.com.

Characters:
Elite Kylo Ren – Tormented One
Elite Anakin Skywalker – Conflicted Apprentice

Battlefield: Sith Temple

Upgrades:
2 x Crossguard Lightsaber
1 x Dagger of Mortis
2 x Dark Counsel
2 x Force Jump
1 x Force Wave
2 x Heirloom Lightsaber

Events:
2 x Clash
2 x Doubt
2 x Hidden Motive
1 x I Am Your Father
2 x Intimidate
1 x Lack of Faith
2 x Mislead
2 x The Force Is With Me
2 x Triple Threat
2 x Undermine
2 x Your Skills Are Complete

If you are like many of the players at the Edmond Unplugged Store Championship, you might be wondering why I didn’t play Snoke – and I admit that the temptation to get a powerful, new character on the board was almost too much to resist. I was also briefly tempted to switch out Anakin for Mother Talzin, but Steven helped talk me out of that! I ultimately decided to play Anakin because I believe he is a much stronger teammate for Kylo 2 than Snoke.

Before you start calling me a heretic, let me explain. If you have played Trilogies, you know resources are less abundant than in the Standard format. Snoke’s power action lets you spike your other character dice values. Given the format, the most powerful use of this ability is dramatically increasing your resource curve early. If you are unfamiliar with resource and damage curves, check out this chapter of Learning Destiny.

Unfortunately, Kylo only has a single resource side. He does have three damage sides, so that is a plus. If you roll a resource with Kylo on your first activation and your opponent isn’t wise enough to control it, Snoke’s power action can completely warp the game. The problem is what happens when you don’t. Smart players are going to focus on Kylo. Even if Snoke’s power action spikes your damage curve early, you have to deal damage to Kylo to do so. My main issue with Snoke is what happens when Kylo is defeated.

Snoke is awful in the end game. His power action is useless and he has a single, indirect damage side. His focus sides can help you get a lot of value out of your upgrades, but with a general lack of resources in the format you are less likely to have a stack of upgrades in play by the time Kylo is defeated. With minimal control your opponent can shut Snoke down.

You run a gambit by playing Snoke with Kylo. In the first two turns, you must spike either your damage or resource curves so high that by the time you only have Snoke in play you win anyway. If your opponent is able to control the right dice on those turns, your entire plan collapses. Meanwhile, characters like Anakin or Talzin add to the damage and resource curves consistently without risking a total collapse in the late game if your early turns don’t go so great.

While I still think Snoke is going to make waves with characters like Cad Bane (who also has the option of a discard side), I am starting to think that the community is overrating his power in general. Thematically he fits with Kylo perfectly and if you don’t mind a little (read “a lot of”) risk, I think it is a super fun pair to play.

As much as I love Dagger of Mortis, my favorite addition to the deck was Undermine. This let me include a mini blanks package, something that wasn’t really possible before Way of the Force. Cards like Force Jump and Triple Threat, as well as Your Skills Are Complete, provide nice synergy.

The next most important addition was Lack of Faith. While it was basically blank against Gungans and Hero Vehicles, it single handedly turned the tide in my Top 4 games against Zeb / Yoda. It also proved useful earlier in the day against two Kylo Snoke decks. Removing both Kylo dice on an early turn slowed them down enough to basically end the game.

Steven and I talk pretty extensively about our experience at the Store Championship on this week’s episode of The Covenant Cast below. You can also check out his deck list on his blog!

If I could go back and do it all again, there are a few changes I would make to the deck:

1. Character dice manipulation – Six of my control cards manipulate character dice. While that is somewhat hard to avoid with a mono blue villain deck, some minor tweaks could have made my control more consistent. Against decks like Hero Vehicles or Gungans though, these cards become nearly unplayable. I would likely drop Triple Threat for other control cards, as it was consistently the card I never wanted to play.

2. Force Wave – I did not see Force Wave in either of my finals games against Steven’s Gungans and I am pretty sure you have to see it to win that match. This card is too critical for this deck to overcome wider decks not to include two copies.

3. Torment – I love this card more than I should and it still did not make it into my deck. After seeing it played, this card is incredible in Trilogies. Most opponents will want to focus down Kylo, so his 12 health makes this a near auto include. You will likely get to use it two or three times and if you can upgrade over it into a redeploy upgrade before he is defeated it brings immense value to the table.

If you are looking for a consistent and fun deck for Trilogies, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. While I look forward to revisiting this deck with these changes, I will be taking a reprieve from Trilogies to prepare for the Covenant Masters Qualifier on August 18th and the Covenant Tulsa Store Championship on August 19th.

For anyone not aware, we are running a killer promotion on our Destiny Box Subscription right now – $86.12/box, free shipping when you subscribe to two or more, and no money paid until a few weeks before Across the Galaxy releases. If you do not want your pre-order cash tied up until November and still guarantee the lowest priced boxes, this is truly the best option possible.

We also have Across the Galaxy Saga Sets up for pre-order. Check them out! I already have mine pre-ordered.

Until next time, keep playing!

  1. Why did you choose anakin instead of Pryce? Pryce gives you access to a whole second color (red) and while She does make cards like force wave unplayable you can make up for it by playing upgrades like executioners axe instead. You have precisely 1 card with Spot blue on the text, and that is lack of faith, which just so happens to be unplayable when kylo2 is dead.

    Another strange deckbuilding decision is the lack of sound the alarm, the deck’s resource curve is quite high (a good approximation is to add up the resource cost of every card in the deck, ) and when you use that method you get a total deck cost of 34! Now overwriting upgrades pushes that number down. I figure dagger of Mortis and Heirloom saber are typically going to be overwriting a 1 cost upgrade (accounting for the times you don’t use it to overwrite), which takes the total cost of the deck down to around 31. Still, that number is significantly higher than guideline of a total cost of 24-26 . Each one of your characters has only 1 resource side, and both of them have pay sides on their character dice, which would imply an even lower curve.

    To answer the question above, No. Snoke is best when played with 2 other characters, with something like Mandalorian Super Commando/Snoke/Executioner. That way you have 17 health to snoke with rather than 12. At that point people seriously consider going after snoke, since it is extremely hard to actually kill all of snoke’s support. Bala/nightsister/(ciena or FN 2199) became insane partially because Nightsister could use her health to deal extra damage. Snoke’s ability is a much more powerful nightsister ability, which gets added to every character you control. While I’m not certain what the best snoke deck is, I think the best snoke deck will be playing 3 characters and be abusing that power action all the time.

    1. There are a lot of reasons I did not play Pryce!

      1. While playing her does give you access to red cards, there were no red cards I felt were significantly better than the cards here (especially in Trilogies).
      2. She is a great character that dramatically increases your consistency. However resolving one of her dice as a special only adds 1 to your damage curve and only IF you control the battlefield. Meanwhile, resolve any of Anakin’s damage sides immediately adds 2 damage.
      3. While they don’t require spotting blue, Force Wave is unplayable on Pryce. Heirloom loses redeploy on Pryce.
      4. With Anakin and Kylo, putting an upgrade on Anakin can often be enough to convince opponents to attack him first. With Pryce, the decision is pretty obvious no matter where an upgrade goes.
      5. In the end game, I like Anakin better than Pryce. While she is slightly more consistent with her total damage, she is likely to do less damage than Anakin. She has a single 2 damage side, which means the odds of activating and showing 4 damage is only 1/36. With Anakin, those odds are 1/4.
      6. I also love quoting Anakin and Kylo when I play this deck. Pryce’s quotes are just a lot less fun for me!

      As for Sound the Alarm, I honestly just don’t like the card. I actually am only Luke warm on even Hidden Motive and I think a lot of players overrate both of those cards. In regards to the resource curve, 30 is what I aim for in most normal decks. Trilogies is a bit different though. The card pool is much smaller and I rarely expect to play every card in my hand in a Trilogies deck.

      I totally agree with you about Snoke! Pairing him with two other characters, preferably with one or both having resources and discard sides, is what I expect to be the most powerful use of him. When a new character like Snoke is released, a lot of players can see hype for them online and start including them in decks they don’t belong (like with Kylo 2).

  2. Zach, I played an eObi-Wan Kenobi: Jedi Master + Cassian Andor deck at a store championship tourney this past weekend, and during Swiss I faced an eKylo + ePryce deck that destroyed me in short order. He ran Emperor’s Throne Room and used Pryce’s special to zing me for extra damage many times. A first round CQA that discarded my entire hand, including 3 of my weapon upgrades, did not help! That player went 5-0 with that deck during the Swiss.

    I was fortunate enough to scrape into the Top 8 with a 3-2 record. I was in last place among the Top 8, so naturally I had to face 1st place: Kylo Pryce again. Get this: one of his turns consisted of Vibroknife on Kylo (1 bonus action), Tactical Mastery (2 bonus actions), Tactical Mastery again (2 more bonus actions), 1 Force Speed special (2 bonus actions), and, finally, another Force Speed special (yet 2 more bonus actions.) He used all those bonus actions to fix his dice and obliterate Obi-Wan and put 6 damage on Cassian.

    Meanwhile, I fell asleep…

    …and a spectator muttered, “Please tell me you have ‘No Cheating’ in your hand.”

    Sadly, I did not have “No Cheating” in hand! That would have been epic.

    Anyway, it was one of the shortest and saddest games of Destiny ever. Kylo Pryce was unstoppable!!

    It was still a fun afternoon of Destiny, though!! I was pleasantly surprised by how a 2-character 3-dice list performed. i.e. I actually won some games with it. 😀

    1. Congrats on the top 8! I have always hoped they would stop adding action cheating to the game, but Tactical Mastery is the most acceptable version of it for me. Spending a card and a resource to gain two actions feels somewhat reasonable. I need to actually test Kylo + Snoke in standard constructed, but I strongly believe Kylo + Pryce is flat out better.

      1. Yeah, Tactical Mastery is fine, but it still hurt to be on the receiving end of 9 extra actions. Holy mackerel…

        BTW: the other deck I lost to that day was a really cool eJango + eSnoke! That player came in 7th, also with a 3-2 record. That was the second time I lost to that deck, too.

        How are you supposed to deal with Jango? It’s tough when he uses his ability on my activation, b/c then his dice are just there, ready to be “snoked” for +2 damage, or, if he rolled resources, Bait and Switched to damage, *then* “snoked!”

        I guess you just stall, right? Play an upgrade. Play a support. Piddle around. Pass. Make him impatient and activate Jango the old-fashioned way?

      2. Jango can be tough, but he is ultimately a glass canon (especially if they use Snoke’s ability). You ultimately just need to deal with him and fast. His odds of doing a ton of damage aren’t impressively high, but when it hits he can feel unbeatable.