Hi Destiny Players!
In today's article, we're going to be talking about Battlefields. I won't be reviewing them, instead I'll be talking about how to choose one, how to make it work for you, and why not to choose certain battlefields. So let's crack on!
Destiny: Battlefield Choices
Choosing your Battlefield is an important part of designing a Destiny deck. Most people will choose a Battlefield that helps their deck, but I often see people windmill slamming Imperial Armory with the reasoning of "it makes my stuff cheaper" without considering something very important; it works equally well for your opponent! So, how to we make better Battlefield choices?
This is a pretty good Battlefield choice.
Breaking the Symmetry
This is a term that was popularised in Magic: The Gathering. It's used in reference to effects that symmetrically affect each player, where your intent is to make said effect hurt your opponent more than it hurts you. For example, a (made up) card in Destiny that read "exhaust every character with a starting health of 8 or lower" would have more impact on decks running smaller characters than bigger ones, so if we built our deck to only include big unique characters and used this imaginary card, we would have broken the symmetry of that card effect.
In reference to Battlefields, breaking symmetry means this; you want to choose a Battlefield that your deck can utilise well, but you also want to choose a Battlefield that you are likely to get more benefit from than your opponent when you claim. Imperial Armory is a good example of a card that is generally quite symmetrical; everyone has plenty of upgrades in their deck, so everyone can make use of it easily.
Imperial Armory: not even once
Now let's consider ways in which we could break the symmetry of Imperial Armory. One way is to use Rey. Because Rey gets an action after attaching an upgrade, she gets double usage out of Imperial Armory. Another would be to run Imperial Armory with a deck that runs a good few 1-cost upgrades; often when you claim an Imperial Armory you haven't got any money left over to play an upgrade, but it makes 1-cost upgrades free, so if you have some in your deck it makes it easier for you to make use of the claim effect. Are either of these effects a good enough reason to run Imperial Armory? Probably not, because Armory is a very symmetrical card, but they are examples of things you might consider when thinking about playing it.
A great example of a card that you can play non-symmetrically is Emperor's Throne Room. If your deck includes a lot of cards with abilities (and especially if you have a character with an ability, such as Kylo) then the claim effect is going to have many uses for you, but won't necessarily have much use for your opponent. Against some decks, this card can be incredibly non-symmetrical - some decks just don't run many abilities at all. And whilst some decks may make use of it, as long as you have a better use case, you've broken symmetry. I'm playing a deck right now that uses Kylo as well as lots of blue force ability cards, so I'm almost guaranteed to have something I can use with this claim effect, and I get a lot of utility out of it because I can choose precisely which ability I need when I claim, so this card is a great fit for my deck.
Let's take one more example, even more extreme. I have a Han Solo deck that uses Ambush upgrades (DL-44, Holdout Blaster, anything yellow with Infamous) to give Han shields. I realised that there was a Battlefield that let me return these to my hand, to play them again and give Han even more shields - Mos Eisley Spaceport. Mos Eisley lets me keep the shields flowing, the Ambush keyword means I don't "lose" actions to replay things, and the extra resource when I use the claim effect keeps the replay cost down. In addition, DL-44 also has an ability when played (removing an opponents' dice) so I'm getting even more value out of that replay! I decided to push this theme even further and added Comlink to my deck, meaning that for effectively 1-resource I had a card that could make me or my opponent reroll every dice - every turn.
Mos Eisley Spaceport: A wretched hive of scum and villainy and blaster recursion
Even though all of these uses cost resources, and sometimes I won't be able to afford to use them, there are plenty of great options here. Contrast that with the opponents you'll be playing against; how many times have you ever thought to yourself "man, I wish that I could get that upgrade back in my hand and get 1 resource"? I'd hazard never (especially since you can upgrade upgrades), so my choice of Mos Eisley gives me options - even if they are not always great ones - whilst giving many opposing decks absolutely nothing in return.
Think about breaking the symmetry when choosing your Battlefield. If in doubt, use this maxim; a weaker effect that only you are likely to use is better than a stronger effect that both players can use to similar potential.
I use this term quite often when I talk about Destiny gameplay. Every turn is a race to claim, even if it isn't your specific goal; and therefore, every action you take has a hidden cost of pushing you further away from winning the claim. Therefore, a key skill for a Destiny player is to be as action efficient as possible whilst taking their turn, making it more likely that they can claim later.
Of course, you can also build your deck to win the claim race more often. Jango Fett, Ambush cards, running fewer but more powerful characters, and running dice that makes use of the same icons (eg sticking to just or just damage cards) are just some ways in which you can make your deck faster. If you make your deck fast enough, then you can potentially ignore symmetrical effects of Battlefields and simply pick the one that you want to use, with the aim of making sure it is you that uses it most turns.
A good example of this is Separatist Base. This effect is pretty symmetrical no matter how you look at it, but in a deck that is designed to be very "aggro" (ie, kill the opponent very quickly with damage) you can break the symmetry a little because you are intending to put your opponent under much more damage pressure than they are applying to you. Breaking the symmetry even just a little is good, but if we are built to race for this claim each turn then we are probably not concerned about that - we're simply playing this for easy damage.
I have a deck that runs 2-dice Jango Fett and General Veers along with this Battlefield. Thanks to running just two characters, Jango, Infamous, ambush effects and cards like All In, I'm very fast to end my turn and win most claims, which means free damage that works well in combination with a deck full of damaging cards. Additionally, I also have a better initiative roll than most people (4 dice with a good total sum of sides) meaning I'll often start with the Battlefield, which in turn makes it easier to win future claims.
Coming back to Imperial armory, using the racing technique is one way that we can make good use of it. It's a very powerful effect, but too symmetrical to ever really break its symmetry well - so make sure you win most of the claims, and keep it all to yourself!
That's it for today's article, and as ever we hope you found it useful. If you'd like to support us, please consider checking out our Destiny Singles Page (we ship worldwide).
Also, check out our Youtube Channel and subscribe! It's going to be chock full of Destiny content, starting today (1st December 2016) when I'll be uploading a video that walks through the deckbuilding process and my thoughts as I put together a yellow villain deck featuring Jango Fett and Thermal Detonator!