Two new Bombard units calls for a new deck
Last week's Jedi Council deck had a lot of rares in it. More than I like to put in a single deck, but I thought the new Jedi Council Quorum victory condition deserved a no-holds barred deck. However, this week I'm here to show you that even a deck with NO rares can be quite fearsome. I didn't set out to make it rareless, but once it was built, I noticed that I hadn't bothered to use a single one.
This week's deck makes use of one the Dark Side's advantages: Bombard. There are two great new Bombard units in Jedi Guardians that called out to me to make a new deck. The smallest Bombard unit on the block is now the Trade Federation Droid Bomber. What makes it so great is its 60 speed, which allows it to perform in a Space superiority roll for a few turns before starting a Bombard campaign. Its cheap cost makes it an easy deployment even after the Light Side has long abandoned Space. The other new unit is the Trade Federation Blockade Ship with its deadly Bombard 5 and Overkill. That's the highest Bombard for any unit except for the Death Star (A). The Overkill isn't going to apply too often, but since it's rather slow, it may be able to put the finishing touches on a Light Side unit and then spill some excess damage to another unit occasionally.
All the Bombard in the world isn't going to do you much good if the fleet can't crush the Light Side fleet first. However, we don't want the deck to lose focus, so the Imperial Star Destroyer and Victory-Class Star Destroyers are the way to combine Bombard and Space superiority. Their power and health are excellent and they hit hard enough in Space to even take out the Light Side Space units with Evade. They'll need some Speed boost to gain any superiority, but there are ways of solving that. In the meantime, they will certainly benefit from some Intercepting TIE Fighter DS-61-9s. They can keep a Critical Hit unit away from the Capital Ships once… once.
With so many large units in Space, the deck needs help with the build point costs, so Tatooine Hangars are a must. They will last a long time and can dish out a point or two of damage each turn. While the deck can send a lot of Bombard dice into the Ground arena, the attacks usually won't be instantly deadly to the average unit. Instead, they are likely to be damaged and prone to an Overkill attack in Ground. The Corporate Alliance Tank Droid is a good mid-sized unit with a power high enough that it's Overkill should come into play a reasonable number of times. Since some of the Space units are better at hitting the Ground, it's only fair to help out Space with some Ion Cannons by way of the Death Star Turbolaser Tower. What makes this a valid tactic is that the Light Side will likely go all out to destroy the Bombard units and won't want to deploy much into Ground until they feel safe there. So the extra dice into Space will really come in handy. Finally, for a bit of card drawing, a couple of Jawa Sandcrawlers will do the trick and can hold out in Ground if all other resources end up in Space.
With so much Bombard, what could be better than extra Bombard dice? The Death Star Superlaser Gunner is an extremely cheap and effective way of turning the Bombard bomblets into some serious nukes. And with 3 health, it might even survive an attack. However, for more reliable protection, Darth Vader (C) is the way to go with his Intercept ability. While the deck doesn't try to win in Character, Vader can at least hold tight there a while. Adding a bit more oomph to the Capital ship fleet is General Tagge (A) and the +1 power he gives them. Just make sure you don't need to play any Battle cards to stay alive that turn… Also helping the Capital Ships are a couple of Star Destroyer Commanders. The Critical Hit 2 they give is a great way for the Capital Ships to take out enemy Space units. However, with a Gunner in play, that Crit is great for a devastating Bombard attack.
Finally, for a bit of extra card draw, the deck employs the Battle Protocol Droid (A). The 2 cards it gives when it goes is great. Since it's unique, if you play one while there's one already in play, the one in play is discarded and you get to draw the 2 cards all the same.
The Droid is also good fodder for a Departure Time. Since the deck simply must win Space, you must be able to deploy reinforcements there, as the Light Side certainly isn't going to let it go without a fight. Since most of the units are large, the extra build points are definitely needed. To keep the Capital Ships alive as long as possible, a couple of Starship Refits are also included.
Jedi Guardians has a great new neutral damage prevention card: Jedi Knight's Survival. Versus some of the Light Side's Critical Hit Space units, preventing all the damage a unit does is a lifesaver. The deck still packs the reliable Pilot's Dodge for more typical engagements, but if the Light Side manages to get some pilots in Space with extra Crit, be sure you have at least 5 Force handy for the Survival. However, the best way to deal with the Light Side's units is just to blow them up before they get a chance to attack. The best way to achieve this is through Pilot's Speed. The +40 speed will bump an Imperial Star Destroyer up to a sizzling 70 speed. It's also quite useful to speed up the Trade Federation Blockade Ship so it can be sure to get in a Bombard attack. Once it has attacked the Light Side will probably leave it alone and try for a unit that hasn't attacked.
Finally, for a quick shot of offense for either Space domination or Ground pulverization via Bombard, Well-Aimed Shot performs a double duty in this deck. I tested the deck with Strength of Hate for the versatility, but the sheer hitting power of the Shot was too good to pass up. Also, the extra 4 dice as Bombard were almost always better than +3 dice for the Tank Droid, despite its Overkill.
Here's what the deck looks like all put together…
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After seeing your opening hand, it's usually a good idea to mulligan any Missions and any Jedi Knight's Survivals you may have drawn. They aren't too useful in the first few turns. A great opening setup would be: Imperial Star Destroyer, Victory-Class Star Destroyer, Trade Federation Droid Bomber, TIE Fighter DS-61-9, Jawa Sandcrawler, Death Star Superlaser Gunner, & Darth Vader (C).
Try not to deploy any Gunners until the end of setup, as they are a dead giveaway as to the focus of the deck. If you don't manage to get a good number of Space units, try to stock the Ground arena with a few Hangars and Turbolaser Towers. That way you can shift your opponent's focus to the Ground and then move into Space in the meantime. Deploy the Star Destroyers first, then bring in the Blockade Ships as reinforcements. Since you build first, you will need to add more units to the Space arena on occasion, even if it seems that the Light Side has given up in Space. Otherwise a crafty Light Side player will jump back into Space, leaving you without adequate units. So be on the lookout for multiple partially built units in the Light Side's build zone. They are almost certainly Space units, waiting for the right moment to pounce.