It's time for a Knuckle Sandwich - Dark Side style
By Matt Hyra
I'm always on the lookout for tricky cards, so when I first saw Rebel Surrender from the A New Hope expansion, I knew I'd found a winner.
Instantly the idea of making my opponent discard her fully stacked Yoda came springing to my head. However, basing an entire deck around four cards can be risky, so you've got to have a fallback plan in case you don't draw what you need. Fortunately, Rebel Surrender is a Battle Card, so you don't even need to draw it to take advantage of it. Since it's not out on the table like a unit card, your opponent doesn't know if you have it or not. This card gives a Dark Side player the ability to bluff like no other card does. Matched up with other cards, the Rebel Surrender bluff can hamstring your opponent for fear of losing a powerful unit. More on that later.
There's a certain unit ability that's complimentary to this overall strategy: Stun. First introduced in Sith Rising, Stun will knock your opponent's attack dice down into Surrender range. Let's see what sort of units will work with this deck concept.
In the Character arena, the Dark Side has two main Stun users: Darth Tyranus (E) and Darth Maul (D). While there are several different versions of each of these characters, I want to use the lower build cost Stun versions most of the time. I'll just stack the larger versions underneath to boost the attack dice. However, if I run out of Surrenders, I still have the option to put a bigger, nastier version on top. There are two other Stun users that also feel right at home here: Massiff and Dannik Jerriko (A). The Speed of the Massiff will help it get its attacks in early, when Stun is most useful and the high Stun 3 of Dannik, plus his self-healing ability, is great for good old-fashioned annoyance. The final touch is Figrin D'an (A). Figrin has what amounts to a permanent Stun 1 on all the opposing characters. That's better than Stun in my book!
The Ground arena has two great Stun units: Hailfire Droid and Stormtrooper Patrol. Both are quite efficiently priced, but they are a bit too slow for their Stun abilities to be of use consistently. Enter the Luxury Airspeeder. Its Speed boost should help these guys attack first to make the most of their Stun abilities.
Unfortunately, Rebel Surrender doesn't work in Space. This deck hopes to win in Character and Ground, so I don't want to spend much build in Space. The Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR, Geonosian Defense Fighter, and the TIE Fighter DS-61-9 should do the trick. The Intercept of the TIE Fighter should only be used to protect the DFS-1VR, so it can use its Overload ability. These units are cheap, so it won't hurt much to deploy a couple of them to harass the Light Side and keep them guessing as to where I'm concentrating my strength. They should only be played if you don't have anything else to play or need to take out an annoying Light Side Space unit.
It's fine to get lucky once in a while and see a Light Side player roll six dice and miss on each one. But I say it's better to make your own luck. What's the best way to ensure your opponent misses with all of her attack dice? Don't let her roll any! Or as few as possible. There are a few Battle cards available to the Dark Side that work well towards this goal: Tyranus's Gift, Weapon Response, and Shoot Her or Something. With the latter card, I find that it's useful to play it when the Light Side player has hit with just one or two dice. If they hit with three or more dice, I find that they almost never roll all misses on the reroll.
In order to get the most of out these Battle cards, this deck needs a lot of Force. Gonna need some way to gain that extra Force. The Maul's Strategy Mission card would do nicely. Seven Force on turn one would allow for a Tyranus's Gift followed up by a Rebel Surrender. Everyone say your goodbyes to Obi-Wan. And finally, for some extra card drawing, Price of Failure is best used on a Space unit when all hope is lost in Space. I usually deploy one Space unit during initial build to spread my opponent out, but one unit there isn't worth much, so I turn it into Failure-fodder.
Here's how the deck looks all put together…
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In your initial hand, keep all the Surrenders you draw and at least one Tyranus's Gift or Maul's Strategy (if you're holding a Maul). Mulligan the rest. A great opening setup would be a stacked Darth Maul, a Massiff, Figrin D'an, one of each of the Ground units, and one Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR. The key to playing Rebel Surrender is timing. Be sure to wait for your opponent to declare an attack with a nasty mid-sized unit like an AT-TE Walker 23X before playing a Tyranus's Gift. That way, the attack still occurs since they already tapped it to attack, but your opponent rolls zero dice. Zero dice will net them zero hits with the Walker, so the Rebel Surrender is ready to kick that four-legger to the curb.
Once your opponent has seen how this deck works, you gain the ability to bluff. Whenever you have four or more Force and at least a couple of cards in hand, your opponent will never know if you are holding the Surrender or not. Be sure that you don't make it obvious if you aren't holding it! Since you might be holding it, the Light Side player will think twice about attacking with a valuable, low Power unit like Jocasta Nu (A). If Jocasta taps to attack, you just might play a Weapon Response on her, dropping her dice to zero, then follow it up with a Surrender. The fact that you can play a Tyranus's Gift or Weapon Response after they have tapped to attack will send shivers of doubt through your opponent's spine. No Light Side Character or Ground unit is safe when you have a pile of Force built up, so be sure to save that Force for this nastiest of Battle card combos.