I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to NOVA this year. It was my first time ever going and I was joined by plenty of my local group which made the week all the better. It was a relatively last minute decision of going as I registered the last week of July. I hadn’t planned on going due to work but realized it was over by Saturday and I could be back for work on Sunday without an issue.
As for prep I felt 100 miles behind as compared to Worlds. As some of you know this summer was crazy for me and didn’t get a chance for any real testing until August hit. After running some fun but not great decks for Store Champs I decided to buckle down and run a real deck. My co-host Tommy has been on Aphra since 000 was spoiled and I decided to finally list to him. He started out with Aphra/Pryce/Droid and moved over to Snoke once it was realized how broken he is for 13 points. Tommy narrowly missed cut at both SCs he went to and Scott won his with the deck. It was time for me to give it a try. I showed up to our SC in Brick, NJ and managed to go 4-1 in Swiss and lose in Top Cut as we played a single game. If I was a half decent player I would’ve won the game by rolling BT so he couldn’t do both Force Waves to kill me but oh well… Still taking 2nd with 0 reps felt good.
I decided it was going to be my NOVA deck because I needed to decide and the 3 wide hero mill did not interest me. So Tommy, Scott, our friend Joe and myself started talking about this deck and really tweaking it. Around this same time is when Nick Cuenca balled out and got top 4 at GenCon with a similar list. From that Drew and Cody from Arrow Brook Gaming also got onto it. This led into a South Jersey meta of Aphra/Snoke/BattleDroid. We all were kind of surprised no one else was talking about this list. People kind of wrote it off as Nick being a mad scientist.
Originally our list was a bit different from Nick’s and ABG’s. We ran Chance Cube and paid removal. It felt good against decks with some of those big dice, I was never worried about a Planetary or Obi dice as I could easily remove them. My worry was sequencing with a character like Bazine running around. My ability to play out my hand or resources quickly was tough and if I did use my resources that meant the rest of my hand could not be played. After some testing I fell somewhere in the middle of paid removal and free things:
This is what I ran at NOVA. Five 0 cost and five 1 cost. You can maybe count Dangerous Maneuver as removal if you can put it on a bubble shield but you can decide that however you want. My big YOLO was 2 Deflects but they served me great during Swiss. I deflected for a kill on Sabine. Helped remove some DJ dice. Talzin turning to 2 damage made me happy. Yet it was dead against my top 32 Luke/Rey matchup. Overall I was happy with the list, my biggest disappointment was Sebulba’s Podracer. It was great in testing but I am not sure I got any value out of it, I would rather have a second Podracer now.
I won’t go over the list as a better breakdown and a list that actually won can be found over at ABG’s YouTube page. The fundamental difference between our builds is that I would aim to Snoke a resource side round 1 or 2. This let me play removal, droids and still get a paid side in. Where as Drew and Cody only snoked damage, so they went with all the free things. I still think this list is just as solid, though I would definitely find room for one Relentless Pursuit.
Round 1: vs eSabine/Rebel Trooper 1-0
Sabine. A blast from the past. I was worried of a roll of 10-12 but he never got the chance to get going. I pushed for damage hard and fast against a 18 health deck. I was able to discard one of his Second Chances and forced him to overwrite his only gun for a Second Chance, setting him even further back. I think this is a good matchup anyways but he rolled very poorly. Maybe only did 3 damage off of a Sabine activation. The rest of the time he had to reroll which gave me time for removal like Deflect 😉 I was never worried and started off on the right foot. Killing the past like I had to.
Round 2: vs DJ Snoke 2-0
Nothing like playing your best friend, testing partner, shotgun rider, roommate for the weekend in second round. This featured on Chance Cube stream on twitch if you would like to go back and watch. I do not like this match-up. I want to Snoke my character dice but he removes them consistently. I was able to get 000, Hailfire and a Climate Array out which help me set up closing out the game. The big talking point is where I early claim without rolling in 000 or the Hailfire. Crazy I know. But at this point I had BT in my hand. I knew next round I could play him and activate him immediately and next action do Climate Array to leave him with 1 hp which I knew I would be able to find. Luckily I drew into Dangerous Maneuver anyways to kill him without rolling any of my dice. Finishing a game with the Climate Array definitely feels good.
Round 3: vs eSnoke/Aphra/BattleDroid 2-1
First I played Brian and now I get to play Cody, the eventual runner-up. I was really hoping to avoid my local scene as much as I could but out of the four of them playing I got to play two of them. I started out much better than Cody along with him rolling extremely poorly. Despite that he saw both his Bubble Shields and I didn’t. He was able to move the damage I did onto them and gave himself 6 extra health along with 1 Force Illusion. I lost by about 6 damage. My deck draw did me dirty, on top of facing a top level player.
Round 4: vs eRex/Maz/CloneTrooper 3-1
I was worried a bit about this when I sat down. It also has a relatively high health pool and 3 characters to spread it around. My main worry was if he was able to get both Hit & Runs and Quickdraws off and then quickly Hyperspace Jump or Retreat away. Luckily he drew pretty poorly and Deflect came up clutch. He was shocked when I played the card. I guess I was a little too… Overall it went well when he only finds 1 Hit and Run and only drew in Jump when I only needed one Climate Array activation to win.
Round 5: vs eYoda/Cassian/Anakin 4-1
I normally had Chance Cube in this deck but changed to Tech Team a day or two prior. I was interested to see how much I would miss the Cube in this match-up. This game I did not. A early 000 and BT set me up nicely to draw my Climate Arrays. I was able to win with 4 cards in my hand and only a Cassian dice to try and pull my hand from. With BT activations and 2 Climate Arrays it was just a matter of time.
Round 6: vs eYoda/Cassian/Anakin 4-2
I felt good about mill after last game and then I get to play Andrew Cox. My dreams were crushed. You would think getting out 2 Climate Arrays by Turn 2 that I would be in a good position but it didn’t work out that way. I didn’t get 000 out until turn 3 and never got BT out. My draws weren’t what I had hoped. Sure I was doing 4 damage a round but that can easily be soaked by his podracer and Yoda shields. The game ended without any character dead and a awful board state. I am not sure it could’ve gone worse for me.
Round 7: vs eYoda/Cassian/Anakin 5-2
3 mill decks in a row? Oh boy! I honestly don’t hate playing against it with my deck because I normally just do damage without my dice anyways. After last game though I was nervous. I had a much better setup this time around finding 000 and BT early and capped it off with a Hailfire and Climate Array. I was very far ahead in this one and was able to pile on way too much damage for him to deal with. Yoda died first and his shield generation stopped and Cassian and Anakin followed after.
Round 8: vs eTalzin/Commando/Commando 5-3
This isn’t a match-up I like but one that I know I can beat. I started out nicely being able to drop BT early and getting 2 Deflects off. Sadly that is about as good as my board state got. I saw 000 at the end but it was too late. I still did about 25 damage with my character dice and BT. I feel if I see 000 at any point that game I pull it out. I had him on the back foot but he was able to stay alive with Witch Magiks as I fell behind due to a lack of board. Overall I was happy with my play this game but again my deck drew in a weird fashion.
I finished 10th overall on the day. It felt weird going into Top 32 after going 5-3 but I will take what I can get
Top 32: vs Luke3/Rey2 1-2
When I look at this on paper I am happy. A two character deck is what I thrive on, even if it can shield heavy. Overall I still think normally I can win a best of 3 against this deck. My first game everything clicked. Probe took away both his Synchronicity cards. I pushed damage so hard he had to use Ancient’s earlier than he would’ve liked and I got to win the game off playing a Hailfire. Game 2 and 3 were very different stories. Why? Double Shotos turn 1 both games. The damage swing this caused made it impossible for me to really get any damage to stick. Rey with 2 Shotos let him give the ancient’s to Luke to heal him when he would put indirect on him. With 2 shields and a damage a turn I just could not keep pace. I had some poor rolls but overall I think if that double Shotos don’t hit the mat in round 1 both games I have a decent shot. I don’t think the two dead Deflect cards really killed me that much but it sure was annoying at times. Well played to Jake, was a really great guy and was a fun guy to play against despite it being a top 32 game.
I end the tournament with a 6-5 record which isn’t really anything too exciting and I had hoped to do better. Which is weird to say when I still made the cut but it was a top 16 of only 50 people. Overall the weekend was a blast though. I got to play Alex Davy in Destiny and got a First Order Stormtrooper Spot Gloss. I played in the Battle Royale side event 3 times and got 2 Hidden Motives per event! It was an extremely well run event and glad I was able to make it. Best of luck to any of our international friends as your Nationals continue on! I will see everyone at CAPA Cup next! Congrats again to Drew and Cody for winning, now imagine getting to play them every week at my weekly local tournaments…