This fortnight, I’m going to do another deck primer, this time on the Old Allies objective. I chose Old Allies for a few reasons. First, it’s one of the top Light Side decks in the meta right now. Second, it’s a fairly new objective, released in Set 4. And third, I’ve been playing it a lot lately, and it’s a very fun deck.
Here is the text of the objective:
Deploy Jakku system and Niima Outpost Shipyard (with [Episode VII] Falcon there). May deploy Graveyard Of Giants.
For remainder of game, you may not deploy Luke or Jedi. Your Destiny is suspended. Opponent’s [Reflections II] objective targets Rey instead of Luke. While Rey at a battleground site, Visage of The Emperor is suspended.
While this side up, once per turn, may deploy a Jakku location from Reserve Deck; reshuffle.
Flip this card if you control Jakku system and occupy two Jakku battleground sites (or vice versa).
We Need Your Help
While this side up, once per turn, may deploy a Jakku location from Reserve Deck; reshuffle. Once during opponent’s control phase, if you control two Jakku battlegrounds and are about to lose Force, may reduce that Force loss to 1 (may not be further reduced). Once per battle involving your Resistance character, may subtract 2 from a just drawn destiny. While with Han, your [Episode VII] characters and [Episode VII] starships are defense value +2.
Flip this card if you do not occupy two battlegrounds.
Old Allies gets a powerful start, usually pulling Rey’s Encampment on turn 1, using it to pull Rey, and moving her over to the Falcon to either flip it to the vehicle side or fly up to the system. From there, the deck specializes in damage reduction; the flip side can reduce damage from a drain, Tatooine Occupation, That Thing’s Operational, You’ll Be Dead, or others.
Starting Interrupt and Effects
One question players wrestled with after OA’s released was whether Graveyard Of Giants was worth starting. Most players decided it wasn’t worth it; vehicles and starships simply aren’t lost from the table that often (and even if they are, your opponent could drain and retrieve too). Designing a deck around Ravager Crash Site, Baragwins, and Crusher Roodown might be possible, but it’s difficult to justify all of that deck space for a relatively small advantage.
The most common starting interrupt so far has been Don’t Tread On Me (V) for a 12-card starting hand. Doing a more traditional 3-effect start is certainly possible; Wokling (V) is obviously good, and Strike Planning could be interesting as well, but it’s hard to come up with a combination of effects that’s better than having a bigger hand.
Locations and Force Generation
Using the “12/4” rule of thumb, OA can get there fairly easily because the objective can pull locations. The deck starts at 5/2 (including personal activation), and Rey’s Encampment brings it up to 7/2. A second Jakku battleground site, necessary to flip, takes the deck to 9/3, or more likely 9/4 because you can drain for 2 at the Starship Graveyard. Some versions of the deck play a third Jakku battleground, just in case your opponent is able to hold at a site and a system (so you still have two battlegrounds you can control to use the damage reduction), but that’s optional. To get us over the 12/4 hump, then, we need to look elsewhere.
Earlier builds of the deck used Boss Nass’ Chambers and the Jedi Council Chamber (and their interrupt pullers, Wesa Gotta Grand Army and Speak With The Jedi Council) to achieve this. However, depending on your character package, it’s difficult to defend those sites against enemy spies and characters moving over from other Coruscant or Naboo sites. So more recent versions have cut the Jedi Council in favor of Harc Seff (V).
Characters and Starships
The objective’s restrictions make things challenging: no Mace, Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan (except the Padawan versions), or Luke. That means no EPPs with lightsabers or traditional “mains” packages.
So the question becomes, what’s the best character package left available to you? For now, the best option is probably speeders.
You don’t have Commander Luke Skywalker (V), but you can use Combined Fleet Action to find your vehicles, and the Admiral’s Order combines very well with Wedge Antilles, Red Squadron Leader, limiting your opponent to one battle destiny, which you then cancel.
It’s important to have a decent number of Resistance characters, to take advantage of the destiny-reduction on the 7 side. (This can also help protect your vehicles from Dengar With Blaster Carbine (V) and P-59.) Poe Dameron and Solo, in multiples, are no-brainers.
From there, you want characters who do good things when you put them on vehicles: Captain Hera Syndulla; Anakin Skywalker, Padawan Learner; Lando Calrissian, Scoundrel; Corran Horn; and others. Leia, Rebel Princess is one of the best characters to hide on a ship or vehicle, and she synergizes well with the deck’s damage reduction.
In space, you ideally want a way to use all of those destiny-adding characters, so you can put them in whichever theater you need to. With that in mind, the Home One package is usually used, with Admiral Ackbar (V) and several copies of Rebel Leadership (V). You can stack up as many of those powerful pilots as you want on the ship; between that and the flip Falcon, the deck gains a lot of flexibility to battle anywhere.
From there, a few characters are usually included to shore up Home One’s Achilles heels: Theron Nett (V) to protect it from weapons like the Superlaser Mark II, and Major Haash’n to stop Lateral Damage and allow movement to Endor or Coruscant.
Caldera Righim is one of my personal favorite additions to the deck. If Dark Side stacks a site with a lot of characters, Caldera functions almost like an Undercover spy, except you can hide him in a vehicle.
Weapons and Devices
Effects and Admiral’s Orders
The aforementioned Combined Fleet Action is important to the deck. Common effects include Launching The Assault (to find Home One), Ounee Ta (to get a key card out of your Lost Pile), and Projection Of A Skywalker (for more damage reduction).
Rebel Leadership (V) is essential for setting up Home One, and Wesa Gotta Grand Army helps find your activation. If you use Threepio With His Parts Showing, a copy of Were You Looking For Me? Is advisable as well.
The deck is particularly vulnerable to Set For Stun, so Inconsequential Barriers is usually included. Trample is particularly lethal against speeders, so Perimeter Scan (V) is a good choice as well. Antilles Maneuver (V) is a good addition to help find important low-ability characters like Theron Nett (V), Major Haash’n, and Chewie (V). You Do Have Your Moments (V) is another great card, and can boost a destiny to overcome immunity, cause extra overflow, or redraw a high weapon destiny. Jedi Levitation (V) is another good choice, helping dig through your deck to find characters and draw high destinies, and also retrieve characters.
My preference is usually to double down on the damage reduction, making it difficult for Dark Side to get damage through. So I like to use cards like Free Ride & Endor Celebration, It Could Be Worse, We’re Doomed, and It’s A Hit! Control & Tunnel Vision pulls double duty, as it can either find a key card in your Force Pile or cancel a big drain.
It’s also a good idea to consider abusive interrupts you can play from your Lost Pile with Solo. Jedi Levitation (V), You Do Have Your Moments (V), Control & Tunnel Vision, and Rebel Leadership (V) are all good options, but my personal favorite is On The Edge. If you have a high-destiny card like BB-8 or Artoo-Detoo In Red 5 in the deck, you can potentially track it to retrieve lots of Force with On The Edge, and then use Solo to do it a second time.
How to Play the Deck
Flexibility is the name of the game with OA. The Falcon and your big stack of pilots can go in whichever theater you need, and then you neutralize your opponent’s damage as best you can. Try a few games with the deck; it takes a little while to get used to the many things you can do with the Falcon.
Setting up a single turn for a big Home One beatdown in space can often be to your advantage. If you can kick your opponent out of either theater, that’s a winning recipe.
Finally, know what your opponent’s deck is likely to do early in the game, because that will affect whether you fly the Falcon up to the Jakku system, or leave it on the ground as a vehicle initially. For example, leaving the Falcon on the ground is often the best decision against Court Of The Vile Gangster or That Thing’s Operational, as those decks can potentially deploy some ships early to clear the Falcon. Conversely, flying up to the system is usually the right play against Hunt Down, Bring Him Before Me, Invasion, or Imperial Entanglements.
How to Beat the Deck
- Hold at two Jakku locations. Whether it’s two sites or a site and the system, you can ensure that OA can’t use its damage reduction and your big sources of damage go through.
- Do damage outside of your control phase. Interrupts like Sith Fury can deal massive damage during any phase of your turn, protecting you from OA’s damage reduction.
- Do a lot of damage early in the game. If you can get enough damage through before OA can adequately set up, you can stop them from ever getting going.
Old Allies is a flexible platform that can bring a lot of power to bear in either theater and neutralize Dark Side damage. It’s still a new deck, and the optimal build may not have been discovered yet. With even more Resistance characters no doubt on the way, it’s likely to be a force in the meta for some time.
That’s it for this fortnight. No Card of the Fortnight this time because this article is already pretty long and a few days late. Until next time…
Peace, Love, and High Destinies,