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|Dooku/FN-2199 – Store Champs Top 4 (30+) Writeup/Report||87||62||35||1.0|
|Count the Nines||0||0||0||1.0|
|99 Counts of Battery||3||1||4||1.0|
So, for some background, I’ve been touting Dooku/FN-2199 for about a month now, and prior to this event I had a chance to participate in one Store Championship, where I placed Top 4, and a competitive TTS event, where I also placed Top 4. Along with numerous weekly events at my LGS and a ton of TTS pickup games, I would say my win-rate has been around 80%, but I stopped recording my matches a couple weeks ago. I knew this deck was the real deal, and a few people who bought in on Discord agreed with me, but for the most part players seemed to stick to FN/Unkar/Trooper and Kylo/Vader, two archetypes that I feel are comparable to this deck, and more popular, but not as strong.
Hopefully, today I’ll have done enough to change your mind. With the addition of Premonitions, I have finally cracked the code to pushing FN/Dooku over the top, and I used it to take down my first Store Championship. This deck is a blast to play, one of the top decks in the field, and is excellent against Poe/Maz, Kylo/Vader and Unkar/FN/Trooper, with a solid matchup against Vader/Raider. After a month playing the deck, I honestly can’t say with any certainty what it’s worst matchup is, because I’ve got positive winrates against everything, but 4-Wide does give it some trouble if we get a slow draw. I would suggest reading my first post on the deck for reference, as this guide will build on the concepts discussed previously, and I’ll spend most of my time discussing the SC and how to change the deck (if at all) moving forward.
As a brief overview, the whole concept behind this deck revolves around pairing FN’s burst damage potential with Dooku’s late game strength, thanks to their abilities. Contrary to pairings like Kylo/Vader, the power of this deck lies in the latent abilities present on my characters, and not my dice rolls. As I discussed in the previous write-up, every card choice in the deck is designed to throw as much damage as possible using FN-2199 before he can be killed, in the hopes that I’m setting up a favorable board position of my Dooku, loaded with redeploy weapons and an ability that will grant him extra health against my opponent’s remaining character. In theory, I should come out ahead everytime.
Premonitions changes everything. In the past, I kept searching for some way to push our resource generation farther than what Enrage can give us, and found myself trying Logistics, Imperial War Machine, even Datapad. The games where Holdout Blaster/Vibroknife gave me a free resource to help me ramp into my 3 cost upgrades were very telling, and I knew I needed to find a way to push the engine to go faster.
Premonitions is exactly what this deck has always needed. With FN-2199 helping us power through our deck, we’re playing or discarding to reroll every card in our hand, letting us find the second copy of Premonitions much faster. With Boundless Ambition, we can see 15 cards (half our deck) by the end of round 2, or the start of the round if we play it on round 1. Getting out a 3 cost upgrade for free that early in the game is usually enough to win for any deck, especially one like ours that can push that advantage to the maximum.
A second upgrade on FN lets us just replace all future upgrades we draw, saving our resources per turn (and any we get from dice) for mitigation and paying the costs of our dice. Before, I would usually only be able to fit FN with 2 redeploy weapons, but now, I often have him filled by the time our opponent can kill him, which just puts us in a better position after we redeploy to Dooku. Premonitions might seem like a minor add, but knowing that its in our deck (and playing to it) changes the entire makeup of the list. I’m no longer looking to nickel and dime my opponent with Lightsaber Throw. Instead, I’m mitigating all the dice I can, pushing as much damage as possible, and digging for the second copy of Premonitions so I can combo off.
DH-17 Blaster Pistol is a solid role-player that gives a little bit of value and works me up to my 3 cost-upgrades, which is exactly what we want from a one-cost weapon. It’s not excellent, but to expect it to be for its cost is unrealistic. I’ve tried F-11D Rifle, Makashi Training, DT-29 Heavy Blaster Pistol, and all of these options are worse. 12 guns for FN is a little too few, so DH-17 is the “next best”. Take it for what it is, a way to turn latent resources into some value, while working our way up to our bigger upgrades.
Lightsaber Pike was a late addition at my last SC, and I was only trying out one in that list. Since then, I’ve come around on Lightsaber Pike, to the point where I consider it one of the best cards in the deck. To understand why Pike is so good, you have to visualize how turns are normally playing out.
Usually, a natural turn sequence involves playing/upgrading 3 cost weapons onto FN, and rolling in with the hopes of immediate resolves for value. Then, FN rolls in once he’s loaded up, in the hopes of getting double mileage out of those upgrades. The classic back and forth with our opponent involves looking for damage while they are mitigating our big hits. Usually, after our opponent has played a few pieces of mitigation, I’m left with a couple random 1 melee dice hanging around. In these situations, Lightsaber Pike is excellent for turning those unassuming small damage dice into huge hits with its potential +2 or +4. In the “failstate” situations where I roll in Pike and they mitigate my base die, I can always pull it back for a shield on Dooku. No matter the situation, Lightsaber Pike is guaranteed value, with the potential to do insane amounts of damage at any point.
Isolation has gone from a one of, to not played, back to a two-of, which is what it is here. Our mitigation suite should change with the field, obviously, and for this event I wanted to be removing Poe, Vader, and Kylo/Vader dice, no questions asked. Overconfidence is great for affecting multiple dice for one resource, like Vibroknife and a character die, but not so much for removing Vader and Poe’s big value dice. In a different field, I could see playing anything else (and I have, like Lightsaber Throw, more Rejuvenate, etc), but for this tournament, I wanted guaranteed character mitigation.
Finally, as I was playing Premonitions, I was worried I would lose the second copy to a Force Illusion, so I cut one for a Rejuvenate right before the tournament. I had tested the deck extensively before the event and that situation had yet to come up, but I knew it was possible and I wanted to hedge if possible. Saving the resource is nice, so it’s not a huge downgrade, but Force Illusion is definitely better. I think we’re burning through our deck too quickly to be able to afford both, but in those situations where we’ve successfully soaked two large hits with Force Illusion we should be winning anyways. I could see both, for this event I just really wanted Premonitions to go according to plan.
We had almost 30 players, which meant five rounds and a cut to Top 4. With the Fast Hands nerf incoming I expected a large amount of Vader/Raider and wasn’t disappointed, I faced it twice in the Swiss along with a Poe/Maz, Unkar/Pilot/Pilot, and a Vader/Royal Guard build. I started 4-0, all my wins coming against great players (three of which I’ve played before), and entered the last round of Swiss 4-0, against the only other undefeated player, who was running the Vader/Royal Guard. This matchup was very close, but he eventually took it down, as I Overconfidence’d his Vibroknife and my character die, and he hit one while I rolled blank. This was pretty unlucky, but I made a few minor errors along the way and I never blame luck for my losses.
With a 4-1 record I went into the Top 4 in second seed, alongside the Vader/Guard, a Poe/Maz I beat in the Swiss, and Asajj/Dooku, which I ended up facing in the semis. This matchup revolves around taking down Asajj as soon as possible, as his character dice are very consistent and No Mercy is a beating. I had an opportunity to kill Asajj a round earlier than I did, but Lightsaber Pike hit the +4, so I was able to start into Dooku with 4 damage. I was able to take down Asajj before he could get to Rise Again resources, and my two character team quickly took down his Dooku from that point. This match illustrated my strength against the mono-color aggressive options like Asajj/Dooku. They can’t hope to match FN’s damage output, I have access to better upgrades like Z6 Riot Control Baton and Rocket Launcher, and I get to play all the great Blue mitigation like they do, except for No Mercy. It’s a little more complicated than that, but for the most part, my pairing does everything their pairing can do, but better, except for No Mercy.
In the finals, I got my rematch against Vader/Royal Guard, and this time I took it down. I jumped ahead on upgrades quickly, and after taking down Royal Guard my Dooku and FN were able to whittle away at his Vader. Lightsaber Pike was an all-star here, as I was able to fit Dooku with multiple shields while also getting in a +4 at one point. Again, this match showed the strength of my deck against the other aggressive options in the field. Vader/Raider, Poe/Maz, and in this case Vader/Guard have a high floor of damage output, but a definite ceiling to what they can accomplish. Dooku/FN-2199 can match or exceed them on damage, outlast them with our survivability, while playing two characters capable of holding their own, rather than a main and a support.
The biggest question mark for the deck in the future is Cargo Hold, and what will happen once Poe/Maz potentially gives up a share of the format. I still think Poe/Maz is good, but if people abandon the deck, that’s actually bad for us, as we lose a good matchup. Cargo Hold is great against us, there’s no denying it, especially now that moving upgrades removes dice. We take too many actions to claim, and they can just wait for us to activate FN, claim, mitigate a die for free and move our upgrades over to Dooku where we can’t replace them for free.
Luckily, we win the roll often, and while I almost always take shields to deny my opponent from putting them on their best character, against Cargo Hold we’ll have to go first. I still believe this deck will be Tier 1 (assuming people start to pick it up more now), but there are a lot of questions moving forward, more than just Cargo Hold. How the metagame shifts, and what percentage of good/bad matchups are present will influence whether this deck can remain in its current form more than a battlefield clarification.
I hope this writeup inspires some people to pick up this deck. I was ecstatic to win the SC as its a great accomplishment, but mainly because I wanted to prove to myself and others that this deck is the real deal. It seems irrational, but for some reason I take it personally when people play Kylo/Vader or Unkar/FN/Trooper against me and get upset when I beat them, or write off my win as just luck. This deck is an engine, it's very, very good, and while I may be biased, I think when built and played correctly, its one of the best decks in the game. Let me know what you think, I'll answer any questions below.
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