Read the Fine Print
By Matt Hyra
Last week we looked at a tricky Light Side deck using a combo of Intercept and A Moment's Rest. But we all know that it takes a Dark Side player to REALLY show you a good trick or two.
Around here, we call cards like Lull in the Fighting and Lost in the Asteroids "stall" cards. They tend to help a player stay alive in an arena where he or she would otherwise be dead meat. They have no Force cost, so they're easy to play, but what's the one thing that would make them truly great? If you got to do damage but your opponent didn't, of course! A card like that would cost 12 Force or something, but there is a unit that can still attack and deal damage, even though a Peace on Naboo has been played: The lowly Stormtrooper Assault Team.
For only 2 build points, you get a 30 Speed, 2 Power, 2 Health Stormtrooper with a rather interesting special ability: "Damage from this unit can't be prevented." Now look again at Peace on Naboo: "Prevent all damage done by Ground units this turn. Play only before any unit in the Ground arena attacks." The Assault Team's damage can't be prevented, even by the Peace! A new deck idea, like nothing ever seen before began to take shape in my mind…
I'm figuring this deck to be a "swarm" style deck with lots of cheap units. Small units don't deal much damage, so it'll be important to put in some Power-boosting Battle cards. We'll also need a way to be sure that we end up with some Peace on Naboo cards in our hand.
The Ground is the key arena for this deck, though it doesn't need any heavy hitters. There won't be too much fighting going on there due to Peace on Naboo and the other "stall" card Slipping Through, so the deck can get away with using several utility cards to help the deck strategy come together. Tyranus's Geonosian Speeder (A) can grab a Peace or Precise Blast, while Reek can help sift through the deck for units we need. The Imperial Control Station would be a great asset to boost a horde of TIE Fighters. I'd like to overrun the Space arena with Fighters, which would then also allow the deck to utilize Air Cover, a great card to boost the Assault Team. In case I don't draw an Assault Team, Zam's Airspeeder (A) is the ultimate unit to boost with an Air Cover or two.
In the Character arena, the TIE Fighter Elite Pilot will boost the TIE Fighters enough to make short work of even the largest Light Side Space units. Just in case the Pilots come back to fight in Character, the deck could use some Intercept there in the form of Darth Vader (C). A few Infantry Battle Droid, B1 Series thrown into the fray will help draw some extra cards; something this deck needs. Darth Sidious (A), with his efficient Evade ability, can hold out for a long time. His (B) version can discard one of the droids for a few extra build and a card draw.
Since the deck is making use of the Control Station, I'm going to want to add as many Imperial Starfighters as possible. Fortunately, there are a lot TIEs to choose from. Four of each of them sounds about right and a couple of Vader's TIE Fighters as well. The Intercept ability of the DS-61-9 and DS-73-3 will be quite useful for keeping the piloted units alive. This is where most of the fighting will take place, so the deck needs a steady supply of Starfighters to win. I'll only go with one of each of the unique Vader's TIEs, as the deck must be able to deploy as many Space units as possible.
Here's what the deck looks like all put together…
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When you draw your initial hand, mulligan all Battle cards except for Peace on Naboo. This deck can get wrecked by an opposing first turn Slumming on Coruscant (taking your only Peace) or an Anakin's Inspiration, so hold onto a Slumming in the initial hand as well.
A great start would be to have out four or five TIE Fighters, an Assault Team or two, Tyranus's Speeder, and a Pilot. With this sort of setup, you'll be able to dominate in Space, grab a Peace on Naboo for the first four turns of the game, and leave the Light Side Jedi twiddling their thumbs in the Character arena. Also twiddling their thumbs will be the Light Side Ground units as your Assault Teams beat up on them without fear of reprisal.
It's very, very important to get out a Tyranus's Speeder, otherwise you'll have no way to ensure that there'll be Peace on Naboo… well, relative peace.
While this deck doesn't seem like it needs to worry about managing Force, the eight Force cost of the Slipping through demands it. The card may seem like an overpriced "stall" card, but it has uses beyond that. Since it doesn't have to be played before units attack, you can attack with fast units and then use it to deny the Light Side their shots. Great in Space or if you can boost the super-fast Zam's Airspeeder with a Precise Blast. You can see how useful the Slipping is, so if you have it in your hand, do whatever you can to make sure you'll have eight Force when you need it.
Once the Light Side player sees how the deck works, he'll know he has to go heavy into Space. When he does, that's when you can deploy the two Darths and show him that the deck has even more surprises up its sleeve. And when his Ground units figure out that it's not safe to stay in the arena, you can coax a juicy target back in with a fun little Battle card called Nowhere to Run.
This deck is a challenge to play correctly, but the bigger challenge will be to convince your opponent that you are playing fair. Be sure to have this web page at the ready, but also remind that Light Side do-gooder to "Read the Fine Print!"