Busy night… but there’s always room for another! Themes in the games we love.

Hey folks, Shane here from The Golden Dice Podcast here to talk to you about themes game designers put into the games that we love so much! I will be focusing here on Star Wars Destiny, but also relating some themes I have seen in Hearthstone to Destiny. So whether you are new to Destiny or a Regional Champion, hopefully you can find some use from this article. And if you have played Hearthstone, hopefully you can start relating that game to Destiny!

So first of all we need to talk about how Hearthstone and Destiny are related. Let’s break it down.

Similarities:

  • 30 card decks
  • You pick a particular class/color(s) to play
  • Standard rotation
  • Board state is everything
  • There is a massive amount of cards to choose from to fit into such a small deck

Overall, the games are played differently, but have a surprising amount in common. In Hearthstone, you are slowly increasing your mana turn by turn and are limited to what you can do at the beginning of the game. In Destiny, you are getting 2 resources per turn whether its the end of the game or the beginning. In Hearthstone, you have minions to protect your hero, while also attacking the opposing hero. Once your hero is dead, that’s it. In destiny, you are playing upgrades to enhance how much damage your characters can do, or protect them. Once all your characters are dead, that’s it. In both games, the designers attempt to weave in certain themes on game mechanics they think will make the game more interesting. This offers a lot of decision making to us, the players. Which themes should we buy in on? Which themes should we let jump themselves to hyperspace? What even are you talking about with these “themes” Shane? The best way to describe what I am talking about when I say “themes” is to use some examples. So lets talk about how game designers challenge us with deck building.

Theme 1 – Deck Building

If you are reading this you most likely have built your fair share of decks, and if you have not, you should start trying to! In both games your options are limited. You can only have 30 cards and at most 2 of the same card in your deck (For Hearthstone you can only have 1 of some cards). And of course, in both games you are limited to what color or class you decide to play. In order to give players more options when deck building, Hearthstone introduced a minion called Reno Jackson. This character has an ability that when you play him, you heal your hero to full health. The stipulation with Reno is that your deck must contain no duplicates whatsoever. This means that your deck will lack consistency as you can not make sure you are seeing certain cards in your deck by putting 2 of them into it.

Image result for mother talzin destinyImagine this in Destiny, you can only have 1 of each card in your deck but you can include a Rise Again type card that fully heals one or all of your characters. Does that seem worth it? Before we discuss whether it was worth it, let’s look at how deck building gets challenged in Destiny. Enter Mother Talzin.

I always knew math and magic were related, but this Nightsister is proving it. When you decide to make a Talzin deck, you are faced with an option. Do you want to buy in on her ability and make a majority odd costed deck, or just use her for her low point cost, decent health, and good dice sides with the off chance that her ability triggers? If you do decide to go the odd costed route, how far is too far? In my opinion in order to maximize this you should run at least 26 odd cost cards. But are the other events and supports that also belong to this odd costed theme worth it? If you look at Spell of Removal and Nightsister Coven, do you see two cards that are worth it, or two cards that are taking it too far? In my opinion, I see one of each.

Image result for spell of removal star wars destiny

Image result for nightsister coven destiny

Spell of Removal is a solid option depending on what colors you are running. If you can guarantee you are going to discard an odd cost, this card can remove any die with no limitations. If you are playing a mono-blue deck, you might find room for this. If you have access to more colors, you may find some better removal options than this. Still, this card has a place in particular situations. As for the Nightsister Coven, personally I think this is pushing the theme too far. This card is not bad, it is just hard for me to see it getting a spot over other very important cards. The ability only triggers if a blank is rolled, which can be likely after re-rolls, but it is not guaranteed.

Overall, Reno Jackson saw a ton of play at a highly competitive level. He made it into various different classes’ decks and the options for deck building changed a ton. Cards that normally were not seeing play began to come out of the wood work, and Reno decks were running wild. Is Talzin going to have this effect on Destiny? I believe she already is. She is making her way into a lot of decks in both Standard and Trilogies, and for good reason. She is a beast who brings a lot to the table and offers a fun take on deck building. If you are looking for proof for how much play she is seeing you have two options. Go to your Local Game Store for a tournament, or check out Golden Dice’s Pizza Charts to see where Talzin decks ranked in the Regional season.

Theme 2 – A New Offense

Not all themes have to completely change how the game is played, some just offer a new way to deal out damage. Lets look at the Jade Golem theme in destiny. This theme played out sort of the same way that ID9 Seeker Droids do. The idea was to keep getting JaImage result for ID9 seeker droid destiny tcgde Golems out and the more that you got out, the more powerful they were. The downside to this was that initially, cards that got out Jade Golems were under powered. So you had to initially start out fighting from behind, but if the theme paid out, you would be ramping up to an unstoppable force later in the game. This theme ultimately did pay out and a few versions of this deck climbed very high in the ranked ladder of Hearthstone. In the midst of all of this success, let’s look at a theme that did not pan out.

Enter Grand InquisitorAt first glance, this character seems very strong. He is highly costed which is his down fall, but his dice sides are really solid, 12 health is a lot, and blue villain is a good category to fall into. The problem comes with his special, and players attempting to force this “Blank Mania” theme into their decks. There are a ton of cards that try to help this character out by producing blanks on the opposing side and also punishing opponents who get stuck with blanks. Cards like Anger, Insidious, Manipulate, and Feel Your Anger. A few of these cards can see competitive play, but all of them coming together to build around the Inquisitor’s ability just seems like a dream not worth dreaming about. The fact that this guy barely saw any play on the competitive level could be proof enough that this theme fell flat.

Image result for the grand inquisitor tcg

There are so many more themes in both Hearthstone and Destiny, some of which have some competitive potential and some who might just provide a casual amount of fun. Some of my personal favorites that I did not mention are the healing supports theme that can be seen in Red Hero cards, the fully aggro theme that can be seen in Yellow Villain, and both the droid and self-indirect damage themes that Dr. Aphra provides. So what are you favorite themes in Destiny or Hearthstone? What have you seen success with and what dreams are you still trying to live out in Theme Heaven? Let me know I would personally love to hear about it!

As always, I have been Shane from The Golden Dice Podcast. Tune into all of our social media to stay up to date with our podcast, articles, and whatever other content we have for your Star Wars Destiny needs. Until next time, stay Golden.

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