As the battle between the Light Side and Dark Side wages across the universe, thousands of worlds and races are caught within the struggle, forced to either cower in the shadows or take sides.
Back in June, Joseph Brescol brought us the Bespins of Cloud City, a populace under threat from the Empire and forced to choose where their loyalties lie. Today, we look at another group caught within the Light Side/Dark Side struggle, yet rather than feel threatened by this conflict, they embrace it!
Introducing the scum of the universe—the Bounty Hunters!
“If you give it to me, I might forget I found you…”
Firstly—like Joseph’s Bespins—this is a deck for casual play, every card carefully chosen to fit in with the Bounty Hunter theme. Be warned, however, this deck is no pushover!
The Bounty Hunter Characters are all about sheer power, featuring up to 70 speed, 9 power, Critical 2, and bounties that include card drawing, healing, and additional build points.
Continuous repairs and upgrades have made their spacecraft pretty impressive as well. They are versatile (IG-2000 (A)’s choice to boost power or speed, and Hound's Tooth (A)’s pilot ability), durable (most have Armor), deadly (most have either Accuracy or Critical) and relatively inexpensive (most costing 5 build points or less).
Weaknesses to Overcome
As powerful as they are, however, the Bounty Hunters have a number of weaknesses that need to be overcome if you're going to win with this deck. The first is the Ground arena. It doesn't have one. Sure, there are units that can be put here, but very few that are in keeping with the Bounty Hunter theme.
Secondly, the Characters are expensive. Careful planning needs to go into this arena, otherwise you'll end setup with only one or two Characters facing down a Jedi Master—and just ask Jango how that ended!
The last weakness is potentially the most crippling. Upkeep. Bounty Hunters are a greedy lot. Stop paying them and they will stop working for you.
Building on Strengths
With those weaknesses, how does this theme win? In true Bounty Hunter fashion—sheer brute strength! This Bounty Hunter deck has to win early, because it will lose longer games against Force-using Characters and such healing tricks as Rebel Hangar. So, we're going to build on this theme’s inherent strengths and overwhelm your opponent in the Space and Character arenas, whilst pounding them with vicious tricks!
It's a brave pilot that ventures into the Ord Mantell system...
The Light Side may have stackable Millennium Falcons and Luke's X-wings, but the Bounty Hunters have something far more stylish—a fully stacked Slave 1! It also comes with some great support in the forms of Mist Hunter (A), Punishing One (A) and IG-2000 (A)—each incredibly cost effective and made even more threatening by Guardian Mantis (A). The CloakShape Fighter (a favored craft amongst Bounty Hunters) is fantastic value at 2 build points, and during setup enables you to deploy a handy little unit (2/2, Critical 1) for very little cost, helping you draw deeper into your deck.
Well, this was always going to be a struggle. We're not looking to win this arena, and so want to waste as little build as possible here.
That said, we still need 12 units in our deck…
I have the answer! What do Bounty Hunters need whilst on the ground? Speeders! Zam's Airspeeder (A) and (B) are a must, each for 2 build and stackable. For the rest, we'll choose a range of speeders that don't cost more than 2 build, so that we're not disadvantaged if we draw these units in setup.
And where are they running these speeders? Where else than Mos Espa! With a total of 24 neutral units, this Location is fantastic in this theme deck.
You really don’t want to walk into this room. All the big guns are here: Jango and Boba swapping stories, Durge looming over Boss, and wrinkling his snout in the corner is everyone’s favorite Bounty Hunter, Greedo!
To combat this arena’s high build costs, a number of units that can be deployed for relatively few build points have been included. These include a fully stacked Jango, a stacked Aurra Sing and—to recreate the Padmé bedroom assassination scene in Attack of the Clones—an Assassin Droid ASN-121 (A) and 2x Kouhun. Not only are these three units effective by themselves, but the Assassin Droid (together with 4-Lom (A)) helps out with IG-88 (A)’s Upkeep.
There were many options for a Location in the Character arena, but one just shouted to be used. Where do Bounty Hunters go to get their latest upgrades? Why, Watto's Shop, of course! This Location turns each useless Ground unit into a valuable build point, helping to pay Durge (A)’s regeneration ability and to bring the next bad-guy out to play.
Well, first we have to include Jango’s jetpack, so Dark Speed is straight in. This really helps with the low speed of a lot of our units. Continuing with the Kamino Attack of the Clones scene is Brutal Assault—lick your lips as Slave 1 comes in for at least 9 dice at Accuracy 2!
Next, the bounty! Death Mark is fantastic, as you'll take out at least one unit in the opening turn. If you didn't lay Durge in setup, he'll soon make an entrance!
Finally, every Bounty Hunter has a personal feud with someone out there, so Vendetta is in. It also fits in nicely with the violent nature of the Characters as they blast their way forward with unpreventable damage.
The Strategy to Win?
This theme is fun to play, as it's very simple—just keep throwing yourself forward!—and it really causes your opponent issues. Boba Fett (G) takes away their Force, Bossk (A) takes away their Characters, and the beats just seem to go on and on, with Durge (A) appearing time and time again.
Will this deck win the next world title? Probably not—there are no Jawa Sandcrawlers in here after all—but it's still great fun!
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