One With The Force: Learn to See

When first approaching the Star Wars LCG, many players feel like the objective based deck building is limiting and too straightforward. What I have discovered to be the truth is in fact the exact opposite.

In most card games, you decide on the ratios beforehand and build towards an optimal number. In Star Wars, that is much, much more difficult. You can’t just put 25 characters in your deck or 10 resource cards. Finding the right balance is a very difficult task and is key to winning at this game.

The most important tip I can give new players is on finding a way to really visualize your deck, something I will be outlining below.

You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned

Slapping together what you think are the best objectives might leave you sitting at the bottom of the tournament results. The first several decks I built were really just mashing together what I thought were the best objective sets. Initially dropping Emperor Palpatine on the second turn meant I won the game. Then local players started to actually get good at deck building and playing the game, and this no longer does the trick. I found these quick build ‘best’ objective set decks often have resource issues, missing tools, and generally get beat.

You really have to look at a deck in this game just like you would any other game to truly appreciate what is happening with your deck. Let’s take a look at a Dark Side control deck to make it clear. Here is the list:

2 x The Emperor’s Web
2 x Fall of the Jedi
2 x Counsel of the Sith
2 x Heart of the Empire
2 x Cruel Interrogations

The idea of the deck is to never make a single attack. It’s all about control and keeping the balance of the force. It’s really difficult to see the what is going on in this deck by just looking at a list like this.

With a standard card game, I could look at your list and pretty quickly say, “you’ve got 50% characters, 20% economy, 10% draw, 10% removal, and 10% tricks”. If you’re not careful, this might be something you never even think about with this game!

So, after I build a deck here is how I lay it out to really see what is going on (click the image for a bigger view).

If you look at the image for maybe 30 seconds, you already get a much better sense of what is happening in this deck. Starting left to right, I organized it like this:

6 x Economy (technically 8 with the Advisors) (12% or 16%)
4 x Edge Battle Cards (8%)
4 x Attachments (8%)
14 x Events (28%)
22 x Characters (44%)

Knowing these stats can help you know some interesting things about the deck. For example, the average cost of a character in my deck is 3. I also know that if I’m going to draw 3 cards I statistically should expect either 1 or 2 characters. So if I only get 1, I shouldn’t complain to my opponent that I just can’t draw characters.

If I drop an extra card to the discard pile to draw 4 instead of drawing 3, I’m now likely to draw at least 2 characters and extremely likely to at least get 1. If I want to see an event, I probably need to draw at least 5 cards to have nearly guarantee it.

By looking at the deck like this, I think you can really get a sense for some of the concerns the deck might have. Taking a look at the objectives, if Heart of the Empire isn’t in play, the deck won’t be able to play 6 of the character units without drawing economy. If it draws into a single economy card, there are only 2 cards that it cannot play.

This is where this layout gets pretty amazing. You can now see easily what swapping a particular objective set out does to the deck. If you haven’t laid out your decks like this, I highly recommend it! It’s made me much more successful in this game and I would love to hear how the process goes for you.