Today I’d like to talk about 2 alternatives for what recently turned out to be the most fun deck I’ve played in a long time.
We’ve already seen The Emperor before in the SoR era. He made some splash in the meta (some even talked about him as a possible Poe / Maz counter), but he never dominated. To be honest I don’t think he will this time either, but he’s definately a force to be reckoned with and if enough goes according to plan – he can kill You without much difficulty. We’ve all heard legends of OTKs performed by Palpatine + Force Storm. He’s there and probably not going anywhere soon. Time to put Mind Extraction into your Snoke decks? We just have to wait and see… Let’s look at pairing option number 1 – Watto.
This one is the first that comes to mind when it comes to building a Palpatine deck. This is my sample decklist that I’ve been testing lately:
What could be a little surprising is what looks like very limited removal suite. This is all a matter of choice of course, but I feel like it’s just enough given that removal is included not only in upgrade suite in the form of Soresu Mastery, Sith Teachings (I like this card for it’s versatility) and Force Lift, but also in the form of Palpatine’s ability. Each upgrade increases his life pool by one. This helps (in most cases) to get Palpatine to late game where Bacta Therapy and Deflecting Slash (combined with Soresu Mastery) will be devastating.
Although Fat Vehicles are a little less prevalent in the Convergence meta I think Vandalize is still a must have, but I no longer play 2 of them. Also I use Free-For-All as a one-of because I don’t want to get it early. It’s only really effective as a finisher mid- to late-game.
This version of a deck is also quite flexible. Bartering and Force Jump being 1-cost abilities make Palpatine’s Lightsabers easier to play round 1 which combined with Sith Teachings (another possible cheap damage dealer) could let you play aggressively early.
Strategy here is to put as many upgrades as You can on the board as fast as possible. Watto definately helps here with his 3 resource sides being immune to any event-based mitigation. Opponents can only re-roll his die or turn it, but almost never remove it. Also whenever You feel like it You could gamble with his ability. When it pays off You ramp even faster. It’s not unusual to have multiple 3 or higher cost upgrades on Palpatine by round 2. It’s also at this point that Watto will have already done his part. Usually all indirect damage will be put on him (somethimes with a little help from By Any Means) and an opponent will finish him off sometime after that just to keep disrupts off the table.
Let’s have a look at Wat Tambor at this point.
It may not seem so at the first glance, but this version of Palpatine is much more threatening (depending on how fast You get the Force Storm). It’s designed to abuse Force Storm’s special and try to kill an opponent in one round. Wat Tambor’s focus sides will help You keep it’s die on the right side. Probe and Stifle will keep your opponents from preventing that. Goal here is to find Force Storm as fast as possible and then just fish for Stifle, Probe and Force Focus to boost your specials even more. You could easily build your Storm to critical size by round 2 (sometimes even finishing a game).
Of course the game will not always go the way You want it to and it’s very possible You will have to build Palpatine up with abilities until You will get a Force Wave or a Force Storm. For this reason I included a Rout (2 copies). It’s incredibly good with Palpatine. All You need is 4+ upgrades on him to remove 2 dice after he’s activated. I know it sounds silly but it’s ridiculous how easily achievable this is. Wat has 2 base resource sides which make for a very good Logistics targets.
I only included 1 copy of best defense, because we want to keep Wat alive as long as possible (of course never at the cost of putting Emperor at any real risk). It’s still very powerful, but more often than not a second copy of it would be a dead card in this deck.
Both decks use the same battlefield – Salt Flats. Yes, it could hurt You when an opponent claims. But the upside is just too much not to use it. I played many games against Snoke decks which could have very well used it against me and I still preferred to go with my battlefield. It’s one of the easiest ways to mitigate enemy Watto. Yes, Snoke can turn him back to a resource, but it means he won’t turn something else, which counts as a removal.
Clearly there are more possible pairings for Palpatine, but Watto and Wat Tambor seemed most Interesting to me and these are the ones I’ve chosen to test. I’ve also seriously considered Palpatine / eTarkin deck. But this would be just a worse version of a Wat deck, I’m afraid, because 4 indirect / turn / 2 dice plus an occasional 2 discard don’t make up for the loss of a Palpatine die and Wat’s dice with 2 resource sides.
So far I can say that Palpatine is able to hold his own in the current, support-heavy meta. If we start seeing more of him then maybe Mind Extraction will become a thing, in which case Palp players will have to consider some precautions such as Protective Suit or Breaking Bonds.
Both decks are fun to play (well, not always for your opponents…). There’s nothing like rolling a bucket of dice – that’s what drawn us to the game to begin with. Let us know what You think!