Vader's Fury shows how Vader gets it done in space.
By Matt Hyra
SW Rules Guru - WotC Game Support
The Battle of Yavin set finally gives the Dark Side its first unique Starfighter Pilot: Darth Vader (D). Placing an 8 Build cost Pilot on a fragile Starfighter takes a lot of nerve, so there better be a good reason for Vader to be in Space. There is and it's called Vader's Fury. This killer combo will allow Vader (or any Starfighter, piloted or not) to attack each unit in Space with the very real possibility of clearing the entire arena all on his own. In one turn. Yikes.
Since Vader's Fury may only be utilized by Starfighters, this deck should use a lot of them. The best ships to Pilot are, of course, Vader's TIE Fighter (A) and Vader's TIE FIghter (B). The (A) version is good for survival, while the (B) version hits a bit harder. Stacked together, you can't go wrong either way. Another way for a valuable Pilot to survive the arena is to just scoot after attacking. Tyranus's Solar Sailer (A) is a great choice if the Light Side has deployed large ships or has lots of Force with which to play defense cards. Intercept is a great way to protect an 8 Build pilot, so the TIE Fighter DS-61-9 will serve its master well. They aren't worth Piloting, so the deck could use at least one more Starfighter that is worth Piloting. The TIE Fighter DS-55-6 has Critical Hit 2 and could be used as a last ditch Fury-mobile. Finally, once the Fury does its dirty work, there needs to be some kind of payoff. Adding a bit of resiliency and a whole bunch of Bombard are a pair of Trade Federation Battleships. Once Space has been cleared, the Pilots can return to Character and allow the Battleships to take over.
The Ground arena will need some help, as this deck can't afford to spend too much in the arena. Helping to boost the Imperial Starfighters to truly threatening levels are the Imperial Control Stations. The Station won't survive on its own, so it needs some good fighters to (hopefully) take out any enemies before they can attack. Reek and the Destroyer Droid Squad are efficient units that can do that job.
While I've made much mention of Pilots, the deck isn't based around them, nor does it rely on them. Two TIE Fighter Elite Pilots and two (D) versions of Darth Vader are it. Since Vader should only go into Space for a Fury-attack, he'll spend most of his time in Character. The (D) version has an impressive Pay 3 Force Evade 3, so don't be afraid to keep the Pilot on top if you have a decent amount of Force. Ensuring that you have a steady supply of stolen Force is Darth Maul (by way of Maul's Strategy). Maul can put a big hurt on any opposing Jedi and is fast enough to take out anything else that gets too close. Since the deck is running Maul's Strategy, several copies of Maul are necessary.
The Dark Side doesn't have a long-lasting Power boost like Windu's Solution to combo with the Fury. However, after a Maul's Strategy and some careful Force management, you might find yourself with 11 Force, enough to play Vader's Fury and Alien Rage at the same time. The bonus of +20 Speed, +2 Power, and Critical Hit 2 lasts until the end of turn, so all of the Fury attacks get the bonus. The +20 Speed should be enough to attack first, but if the Light Side gets all uppity and tries to Speed past your boosted unit, it could be bad. Save a Dark Speed for just such an occasion. It's free to play, so you can afford it even after a full Fury/Rage combo. Once the big attack has ended, if the Light Side is left with anything that could send Vader spinning out of control, an Outrun is sure to keep him in fighting form, or a Pilot's Dodge will help if you can't afford to retreat.
As previously mentioned, this deck needs a lot of Force to work up to its potential, so four Maul's Strategies are required Missions for this deck. Also important for the deck will be to have the right version of Darth Maul or Darth Vader at the right time. Splinter the Republic is the quickest and easiest way to do that. It will also ensure that Vader's TIE gets stacked up pronto for maximum Vader's Fury potential. Finally, two Slumming on Coruscant will be useful to make sure the Light Side doesn't thwart the Fury with tricky Battle cards.
Here's what the deck looks like all put together…
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After seeing your initial hand, you'll want to discard all Mission and Battle cards (even Vader's Fury) as the deck has the minimum number of units possible. A good starting setup would be Vader's TIE Fighter (A), a TIE Fighter DS-61-9, an Imperial Control Station, a Destroyer Droid Squad, Darth Maul (B) with (A) understacked, and Darth Vader (C) with (D) understacked.
Part of the fun of this deck is it needs very few units to win. One good Space unit and a Vader's Fury can clean out Space in one turn. Darth Maul can get in a huge Overload attack or make an attack that can't be Evaded. Most of the time, Maul will have Vader to keep him company, as Vader shouldn't go to Space unless it's time for the Fury. If you have to decide between deploying Maul and Vader, deploy Maul if you have a Maul's Strategy in hand. Otherwise, deploy Vader, as he is more versatile and will survive longer.
When you're getting ready to play Vader's Fury, first be sure that the Light Side has no more than one Intercept unit in Space. With two or more, clever Light Side players can use the limitation of Vader's Fury to their advantage. Since Fury only allows you to attack each unit once, activating Intercept causes the attacking unit to be considered to have attacked both the original choice and the new target. So you won't get to retarget the original choice. It's fine if the Light Side only has one Intercept unit in play as you can make it your first target and they can't use that trick against you. Be sure to wait to target any units with Retaliate until the end. If a unit you attack activates Retaliate, it gets to roll its Retaliate dice as soon as you designate your next target or as soon as you end the Fury attacks, whichever comes first.