Road to Trilogy: General Grievous Starter

This week we have another guest article from Jarred aka Smerle. A few weeks ago he talked about starter events for new players which you can read here. Now with starters in a new player’s hands he dives into how those players can start making some competitive decks!

I am a huge basketball fan. I grew up playing it. I played in adult rec leagues for a good decade plus until I saw bodies hitting the floor and injuries piling up. I’m more of an NBA fan these days, but March Madness is still one of my favorite events of the year. I love a good unknown, small conference team that has been working hard all year coming in and surprising the big schools.

With that in mind, I came up with our first month of organized play with the new Convergence set to be inspired by that plucky upstart. A new player comes in with a new starter deck, starts learning through some open play nights, drafts, and/or escalation leagues and is now ready to make their splash in a big event at the end of the month to show off all that practice and hard work they put in by being engaged. I call this the Road to Trilogy–building a solid, budget Trilogy deck from starter to final form within a month’s or so time to play at your first event.

The first Road to Trilogy deck I want to tackle is the General Grievous Starter, mostly because I’m already a fan of the Droid sub-type being an Aphra main deck player. But I also really believe that once the deck is all assembled, it will be a solid budget deck choice for any competitive Trilogy events coming up in the near future. Without further ado, let’s first take a look at the base starter contents.

basestarter

This may be my favorite of the starters that Fantasy Flight Games has produced so far. It’s dripping with the Droid theme and most of the cards included all help to synergize with that theme. You have redeploy weapons with E-5 Blaster Carbine and Grievance Striker, as well as the Modular Frame boosting all your Droids and Grievous by +1 health, Assassin Droid and Stap Droid supports bolstered by a Tech Team to help with resources, and really solid red events (The Best Defense, Probe, Automated Defense, A Sinister Peace, and Roger, Roger). There are a couple duds, which we will get to later, but overall this is what I believe is the type of Theme Deck FFG should be shooting with each set release. Not 30 cards, but let’s solve that now!

The Next Ten Cards

Okay, so you’ve decided on Droids to be your team and you’ve gone to your local group and started playing, maybe did a Starter Smash or Turbo Draft event (wink, wink) and are in an escalation league trying to figure out to make this gel and take down your league. In our league I recently opened a Sentinel Messenger and Forsaken, two really solid blue cards with the latter being perhaps a format staple for a long time, and I started thinking about an old favorite deck from Awakenings/Spirit of Rebellion era that featured Bala-Tik and First Order Stormtroopers that did quite well during that meta. The idea was go wide, have tons of health, solid control events and just win via attrition and resolving lots of guns. With Grievous’s deckbuilding ability you can add Messenger as a 7pt character and have a full 30pt four-wide squad!

So with that, here are my picks for The Next Ten to fill out that starter deck.

starterplusten

Damage

A300 Blaster, Conscript Squad, Fickle Mercenaries, and Imperalis. These should be easy rares to get as they aren’t the most sought after but fit really well as we slow grow the starter deck. A300 is a redeploy gun. Conscript and Fickle are just a cheap 1-drop supports that can be free with Tech Team. I also like the 3 base sides on Fickle to match up with the modified sides we have. Just now when to activate if your opponent is sitting on cash.

Imperialis may raise an eyebrow but early on that focus turns into big potential damage spikes and that FOUR INDIRECT finisher is no joke. This brings us up to 10 damage dice which is where you want to be.

Removal

Riot Shield, A Sinister Peace, Automated Defense, The Best Defense, Forsaken, Near Miss. We doubled up on our good common removal events and added two incredible options for our deck in Forsaken and Near Miss, the latter which is most likely live all game with all our Droids. Riot Shield is just a solid pay 1 for 2 “soft removal” which is all you can ask for. This gives up 10 mitigation options if you count the re-roll on Press the Advantage (or the +1 health to survive longer with Modular).

Utility

Tech Team and Probe. Just add one more of each. Tech Teams serve as our Aftermath-like effect from the old four-wide decks, giving us a discount on supports. And Probe allows us to use those double focus sides on Grievous and Imperialis without worrying about our dice being removed and spiking in big damage.

Yes, I picked 12. I removed Fresh Supplies as that requires having that battlefield and no way that is happening unless you win roll off and choose your battlefield (I’d probably take shields most of the time). I also removed Block because that’s very meta specific and very expensive.

In my local escalation league, this is very close to what I’ll be playing for the next couple weeks. I had a red draft where I picked up a lot of the doubles and was lucky to get all the blue pieces as well. Let the droids swarm!

The Final Form

By now hopefully you’ve played quite a few games with the deck and have a good feel for how it functions. Put redeploys on Grievous since he’s probably the target and try to get more than one resolution on those weapons before they redeploy. Knowing when to resolve for resources to ramp out more damage versus going for damage focus and re-rolls is also something you’ll want to understand. And become the master of Probe!

For us locally, I am running a Convergence Trilogy event at the end of our escalation league as our own little March Madness type of event where hopefully new players have found a deck they like and acquired/traded for pieces they need and our now ready to take on the challenge. I feel like this is a nice “slow grow” path to engage new players each week and let them learn the ropes before trying their hand at an event. So if you also are ready to try and event at your store, here is my take on what a final form of the Droid Train Trilogy deck could look like.

finalformdroidtrain

Again, most of these choices are made with cheap budgets in mind and should all be relatively easy to acquire. The biggest purchase here is getting a second General Grievous starter! I want to focus on our best damage options, with Defoliator Tank becoming our “win con” of the deck as it hits like a truck if you get those specials off. Double up on all the “good stuff” and I threw in an Electromagnetic Pulse to fend off any pesky vehicles or Droid mirrors.

If I have concerns about this deck it’s that we may not have enough money, especially if Tech Teams get buried at the bottom of our deck (another reason I removed Assassin Droid to lower the curve). Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of money making options in Trilogy with Blue/Red villain. Much like the 4-wides of old, it’s takes some practice to know when to resolve for money or pitch to re-roll for damage. If you have issues, try adding in some more 1-drop upgrades like Punch Dagger that you can override later with redeploys. Or more 1-drop supports like Conscripts and Fickles.

Hopefully this gives new players an idea on how to “slow grow” what I feel like could be a solid budget Trilogy deck that you can master at your local open play nights and events. And maybe after the event you can start to build your own elite Grievous deck! Next time I will attempt to tackle the Obi-Wan / Satine starter deck, which I feel is a bit more of a challenge to make into a solid budget Trilogy deck. But you know March Madness, sometimes miracles happen!

 

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