A New Player in a Competitive World

A little preface before I begin. This is my first article about any collectible card game EVER. I have never played a competitive ccg until the release of Star Wars: Destiny. I am by no means experienced or knowledgeable about how typical ccg’s go. This isn’t going to be about the intense strategy that goes into playing a FN or Poe/Maz deck. What I want to provide in my writing is a sense of empathy and realism. Meaning, what your average Joe experiences, thinks, and does. Having no background in ccg’s I have picked up Destiny and am trying to become a competitive player. What I am going to try and do is express to you guys what I have experienced the last few months and what I have learned (hopefully you can learn from too).

About 8 months ago, when the Awakenings set released, I decided I would buy myself a couple of starter decks. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into at the time. I played a few matches with some friends I had made at my flgs (friendly local game store). I fell in love with the game immediately, I knew after the first match that this was a game I wanted to get into. I was already a fan of the Fantasy Flight’s X-wing miniatures game so I knew Destiny would be supported well with them as publisher. I immediately bought myself a booster box and commenced to, for the first time in my life, experience the addiction known as “opening packs.” I couldn’t get my hands on enough booster packs and I didn’t have any free money to spend. I bought as many as I could without spending money I needed for bills, which meant Ramen for an entire month! With the collection I was able to scrape together I started building all kinds of wild decks. The community was abundant with eager players and new people buying in every day. I was having a blast. About a month later we had our first local tournament. I realized, after getting stomped, other players were building crazy powerful decks and all of mine were subpar and just not optimized. I still remember the first two decks I built; Qui-Gon/ Rey/ Hired Gun and eKylo/ eJango . I was young, “couldn’t tell me nothin’ and didn’t know nothin’.” This is what we like to call, “being on JV.” ‘Coach’ finally decided to put me in and I missed every shot. (Coach is a term Sir Christopher and I like to use a lot. Not sure how to explain what it means but you’ll figure it out from context sooner or later.)

After getting stomped repeatedly, I knew what I had to do. First I had to get Sir Christopher into this game. I lived 45 minutes from my flgs and did not get to play or practice hardly at all. I rung him into Destiny because I knew he would love the game (both of us are huge Star Wars fans) and so I could have someone to actually play the game with. After that I searched for tips and strategy online, I discovered Tiny Grimes. Yes, I am name dropping *boom*. Tiny was probably the biggest influence on me learning more about the game. I soon found other Youtubers and podcasts (Jedi Trials and Chance Cube) to listen to. I joined Facebook pages and groups. I scoured the FFG forums. I absorbed every bit of information I could find. Then I started deck building my own variants of popular decks and testing them against Sir Christopher. Obviously with him being a new player, I beat him most of the time. However, it didn’t take long for him to learn the ways of the force. He caught on quickly and every time we would meet up he would be that much better. Learning something new from research of his own, much like I was doing. We quickly started getting better and better.

First Tournament:

One day, we decided to pack up a deck and head out to Moxie Games for a tournament. I was playing eVader/Raider and Sir Christopher was playing eLuke/Ackbar. Both were pretty solid decks at the time. This was Sir Christopher’s first ever competitive tournament and my second. So like your typical new player, we were pretty nervous. Nowadays I realize Local tourneys are pretty casual but when we started the game we had no experience in ccg games. We signed up and prepared ourselves for a 12 person local tournament, which to be honest is a pretty good turnout. We started the tournament, we were scared about how our decks would do, wondering if all our work was useless. The first round went well - I don’t remember exactly what decks we ended up playing against but we both won. There were a lot of Jango Veers, Poe Hired Guns, Vader Raiders… the typical meta decks back then. The second round came about and we were cooling down, not quite as nervous anymore. We both won our second round as well, again I don’t remember that decks we played against. There was only one more round left, Chris and I were both the only undefeated players, thus we had to play against each other. It didn’t matter who won though because we knew we both would make the cut. This game was the most competitive game I had probably ever played up until this point. We knew each other’s decks, knew how each other played, and were playing at our absolute best. I went on to barely defeat his Luke/ Ackbar deck after a gnarly Leadership play. Such a cool experience as a new player to be at the top table with the partner you had been practicing with.

The Cut:

This is where we learned a few things. We didn’t play each other. I was playing a mirror match, Vader/ Raider versus Vader/ Raider and Sir Christopher was playing against a ‘Hyperloop’ deck. For starters, I now know this was more of a casual tournament but this was a pretty big deal in my eyes as a new player and that point is crucial to the concept I am trying to get across. It was a best of three and I knew for a fact my deck was more optimized. I should have won this match but because it is a card game after all I lost. He drew into Holocrons turn one in both games and I didn’t draw either of mine for both games. He beat me round 1 pretty soundly. Round two was much closer. It came down to me not knowing the rules of the game, asking my opponent (there wasn’t a TO) and him lying to my face. I had a 2 disrupt on Vader and his Tusken has a force throw special showing, he was at 1 health and I was at 2. I was unsure about being able to resolve disrupt if my opponent didn’t have any resources. As I now know this is a legal move. I asked if I could resolve the disrupt showing and he looked me square in the eyes and said, “No you cannot.” Obviously, the point I am trying to make here would be folly if my opponent didn’t know the rules either - but he did! Evidence of that comes later when he performs the exact same action he told me was illegal in the finals of the tournament. So I was forced to reroll and hope for a blank or 1 side… I had one shot, if I missed, I lost the game. It came up the three damage. BAHHHH!!! GAME OVER, YOU LOSE, GOOD DAY SIR! OF COURSE! WHEN I WANT THE THREE DAMAGE SIDE HE DOESN’T ROLL LIKE A ‘SITH LORD’! MORE LIKE A “Shit” LORD! BUT WHEN I WANT A BLANK, NO SIR! …So needless to say, I was still on JV. Coach took me out the game, sat me on the bench and made me think about what I’ve done.

The point to take away from this is that small tournaments like this are huge in the eyes of new players. You need to be inviting and set aside your selfishness of wanting to win and have integrity. Watching him in the finals do the exact action he told me I couldn’t was a harsh blow. I had to leave the store I was so frustrated; almost wanted to quit the game entirely. There are people who play ccgs and all they care about is winning, not who stays in the hobby, not who gets screwed over, not having integrity. So please, be mindful of your actions at tournaments. Spot the newer players so you can try to make them feel welcomed and help them as much as possible.

A combination of cards that in turn sets up a ridiculous chain is what I like to call, tomfuckery. In a ‘Hyperloop’ deck, the player can claim the battlefield throne room and use the special of a Millennium Falcon to Hyperspace Jump endlessly. Sir Christopher learned very quickly about this tomfuckery as he played against this in his match. He had no experience against this deck and didn’t know how to respond to it. Once his opponent was able to set this combo up, he was screwed. Round after round of the hyperloop Sir Christopher got so tilted that he basically threw in the towel. When I say tilted, I mean he was fuming out of the ears. Sir Christopher proceeded to lose the first match in the cut. We were the 1 and 2 seeds going into the cut and now we had both lost. We were pretty demoralized. The point I want to get across with this part is very similar to my last one. People are going to break and abuse the game in every single which way they can in order to win. They are going to play the most overpowered decks they can find and play those at tournaments so they can win. What’s worse is we didn’t know how this combo worked and his opponent didn’t bother explaining how it operated. This was obviously abusing the game because every time Sir Christopher rolled out and had damage, his opponent claimed, ending the round. Yes, we now know ways around these shenanigans however at the time we had no clue. This is the kind of deck list that I have no respect for (although I am now very close friends with the person he played in this tournament). So for newer players, be mindful of people abusing the game. For vets… don’t be that guy.

Lastly, probably the most important thing to learn from here is to not allow yourself to get tilted during a match. Yes it can be frustrating but this is a dice game. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve won a match I thought I was so far gone in. Allow yourself to cool off, play at a pace you can stay calm and just use your head. Had Sir Christopher not gotten so tilted he might have been able to realize what play he could make to win. Also, don’t let a handful of people that are assholes ruin your experience or enjoyment of the game. There are going to be those kinds of people in this hobby. Try your best to avoid them and above all else, just have fun!

-Jay out!

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