"You were right about one thing, Master. The negotiations were short!"
–Obi Wan Kenobi
Gen Con or bust! That's my motto for the next month. I've been here in my lab cooking up combos and decks which boggle the mind and make even the purest of hearts giddy with evil, my friends—all my programming is now complete: I give you my Trade Federation deck:
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This deck can be easily assembled and played, with units that work very well together… and a few sneaky tricks not even the most skilled player may expect. Modeled around the Trade Federation, this theme gave birth to a set of combos which will leave your foe screaming: "Ban!".
Combo #1: Nute Gunray (C) can be paired with Trade Federation Hangar to give all your Trade Federation Droids a 2-build point discount. Talk about a deck that can really pump out units—with this combo in play, 50% of the deck's units can be deployed for 3 build or less.
Combo #2: Deploy a Trade Federation MTT, and you can then pull 3 Droids from your deck. With the above-mentioned combo in place, the following units deploy for free:
- Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
- Trade Federation STAP
- Protocol Battle Droid (A)
- Infantry Battle Droid, B1 Series
- Battle Protocol Droid (A)
Maybe you noticed (as I did) that this deck doesn’t use a lot of Force. That's why I went old school and brought out the Trade Federation Offensive Battle card from Sith Rising. It’s a little expensive, but boosts the velocity of every unit you control in the arena you choose.
Gas Attack was another sure choice for this deck. One thing which worried me as soon as I started reading The Phantom Menace card list was Yaddle (A)—did Wizards mean to make Jedi Council Quorum this easy? However, Gas Attack puts a thorn in the side of those Jedi dogs; as soon as it's played, dice of damage are rolled. WHAT? CAN THIS BE? Yes, you can roll dice of damage during the build step. This will be a card that makes it into every Dark Side deck I play.
One thing I've noticed about deck-based articles is the need for a simplified explanation of how each arena should be played, how the units in that arena may affect other arenas, and what other units might be good in the deck as well. So my pledge to you: from this point forward, expect an arena-by-arena breakdown in my articles.
This arena looks a little weak to the untrained eye; however all Space units either deploy for free, for only 1 build, or have the ability to “slide” 5 build points into the Ground arena.
Just before last year's Gen Con, when Trade Federation "slide" units were released, I fell in love with this tactic. Pitching a unit in an arena that's already won in order to gain control of another arena is a great asset.
One trick is to have the unit which needs to be deployed facedown in the build zone, with enough counters on it that it may be deployed mid-battle. The other trick is not to deploy it until after all attacking units have tapped. That way, for at least one round the unit doesn't face the risk of termination. This same tactic is also used in Ground.
Bring the PAIN—with this deck, you should never lose Ground. This arena plays itself. Just hold on and watch the fireworks. I included the new Trade Federation STAPs, which deploy for free with our Combo #1 in place. Need more Droids? Then try Combo #2. Also use Corridors of Power (and good timing) to maximize your surprise swarm.
In addition to the slide tech, I also threw in the Destroyer Droid Teams. This unit allows you to select its speed or power at the beginning of the battle step, which you keep until the end of turn. This will be a huge asset against those Light Side players who try to run Duel of the Fates. Select speed for the first round, and then power for the next couple of rounds (if the Ground battle lasts that long), for a combined 60 speed/8 power/4 health unit with Shields 1—and all for 6 build.
I know what you’re saying: "This won’t beat Jedi." Oh, but it will. Jedi who can’t afford to Evade are no better then the ears removed from a gundark—and with the addition of Darth Sidious (D), even Yoda (D)'s Evade becomes costly. Plus, most Droids in play either have Shields or let you draw cards when they're discarded; this helps fill your hand with Droids which can be played for a discount.
The Character arena will also gain the most benefit from your selection of Battle cards. With Nute Gunray (C), for example, all of your Trade Fed units gain free Intercept; this can be made very effective by playing such cards as Vendetta.
In conclusion, this Trade Federation Deck has great potential. Modify, expand, and build on this concept—this deck has a lot of room for customization, and anyone can take the basic concept and make changes to fit their play style. Keep in mind, the Gen Con title you've been thinking about all year is just around the corner.
"Wipe them out, all of them."