If you’ve played against Thrawn/Unkar recently, you’ve probably encountered these cards in tandem. If you weren’t too aware of these cards before facing them across the table, there is a fair chance that they caught you off-guard. I’ve personally seen several people get extremely tilted by the experience, with cries of “that’s broken!” or “that’s too strong!” not uncommon.
So how do you prepare yourself against this potent duo? Let’s start by understanding the cards themselves.
Prized Possession is a four-cost, unique upgrade, that removes one of your opponent’s character dice and places it on this upgrade (note, you cannot remove a die that is not yet in the dice pool). Basically, it keeps the character die until the attached character leaves play (aka defeated).
Being able to keep a character die out of play over several rounds is a very powerful ability, but it does have some limitations:
- Four resources in not cheap (well, for most decks anyway; Thrawn/Unkar generates a lot).
- It’s an upgrade, not a support, therefore easier to get rid of (since you can defeat the attached character to remove it).
- It can only remove dice in the pool, so it requires a small amount of timing.
- It’s unique. Note, you cannot overwrite an existing version in order to remove a different die.
Detention Center is a three-cost support that can be exhausted as an action to remove a character die. Your opponent may then remove another one of their character dice to discard this card from play.
This is basically repeatable dice removal, but it’s not completely straightforward:
- It requires good timing in order to avoid having it discarded from play straight after using it.
- It costs three resources, but doesn’t initially have an immediate effect (it takes another action to use it).
What’s All The Fuss About?
I’ve just been talking about the weaknesses of these cards, so you may be wondering what makes them good? Well, for a large part of the game against them, you’ll pretty much be down two character dice. You know, the things you spent lots of character points on?
How much this hurts you is going to depend largely on how many character dice you have.
Two Character Dice
I personally think that the existence of these two cards means that two character dice teams are currently unviable. Crazy combos aside, we’re basically talking about Palpatine here.
You opponent will use Prized Possession on one of your character dice, thereby leaving you completely at the mercy of Detention Center. This means that in general you will have to rely on your upgrade and support dice to get damage through, which doesn’t seem a viable strategy for these decks. The only way that I see Palpatine recovering from Prized Possession is to resolve a high-damage No Mercy, killing the character that it’s attached to; otherwise he’s screwed.
Playing a two-dice team will be a meta call, but judging by the amount of Thrawn/Unkar seeing play (see Australian Nationals), I think it is currently a bad call.
Three Character Dice
Okay, not as hopeless as two dice, but still pretty tough. Typically, in three dice teams you will have one dominant character, and a secondary, supporting character (for example, eMace + Rebel Trooper or eVader1+ Phasma2).
Since your elite character probably has better dice, your opponent will be looking to use Prized Possession on them. That will then let them use Detention Center whichever character you activate first each round. To counteract this, you should activate your secondary character before your primary one, as it will force your opponent to use Detention Center on your secondary character’s die before you activate your primary character, otherwise they risk you discarding Detention Center. It’s still going to be tough, but at least you will have the use of one of your primary character dice.
If you have three characters at one die each, then your ‘best’ character will probably be the one to have their dice removed via Prized Possession. After that, you should activate your ‘worst’ character first, thereby allowing you to use your middle character’s die.
Four Character Dice
Okay, this is much easier! If you have two characters, after one of them gets Prized Possession used on them, you should always activate your other character first. This will mean that you’re always threatening to discard Detention Center.
With three characters, you should activate your ‘weakest’ character first, as your opponent will probably use the small window of opportunity to remove that die.
Five Character Dice
This is going to be a breeze. After your opponent has used Prized Possession, each round you should activate your other elite character first. Simple!
All of the information above is based on the assumption that the kind of deck utilising these cards is likely to be a mill deck; I have personally seen damage-dealing variants of Thrawn/Unkar (using things like LR1K Sonic Cannon and T-7 Ion Disruptor Rifle). If you encounter one of these variants, you’ll need to work a bit harder.
I could go through lots of game-state scenarios, but instead I’ll leave you with this; try to make sure you have two character dice in the pool while their Detention Center is ready, or activate your worst remaining character first.
I hope this helps! Any feedback is much appreciated.