One With The Force: Short for a Stormtrooper

Roughly ten days before worlds I built a strange deck that I nearly decided to run for worlds. Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and play the light side deck I had been playing for over a month (write up about that deck here). Since worlds though, I’ve been playing the ‘experimental’ deck. I thought my only regret from worlds was not running a second Falcon objective set in the deck I took to worlds… but man, now I have two regrets!

Not only do I have a whole lot more fun with this deck, it actually seems to be working much more consistently against the ‘good decks’ that I expected to see at worlds. I would think it was a fluke, but it’s been doing well against players I consider to be top level players.

The more I play the Star Wars LCG though, the more I’m learning to ‘unlearn what I have learned’ about card games. In particular, the way I value a card is drastically different in this game. If the structure of objective sets wasn’t enough, add in the fact that you can draw four or five cards just about every turn and card value is drastically different.

So, what does all of this have to do with this strange deck I built before worlds? Everything, of course!

The deck I built isn’t necessarily seeking a particular advantage, but has a lot of cards that play well with each other. I often have turns where I have to sit for a few minutes just to figure out what I want to do, primarily because there are so many ways to use the cards in my hand. This is very unlike my Jedi deck, where the right move is generally obvious. This makes using the deck a lot more fun and playing against it all the more maddening. When you do so much with so little, it can really catch your opponent off guard.

This deck is honestly the combination of several cards I’ve been looking at for quite some time. It all started with everyones favorite stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder, in the guise of a rebel card: Han Solo.

Aren’t You a Little Short for a Stormtrooper?

Searching through your deck for a card is, arguably, the most powerful effect in any card game. Well, maybe outside of a free resource that generates three resources instantly…

So, for the first time in the Star Wars LCG we get a search effect and it comes on a Rebel Han Solo with solid stats. Since you don’t need to win an edge battle, you can often force your opponent into a situation where if they block and win the edge battle, you get to search your deck for a card and they had to focus down a defender. Or, you can also just win the edge battle and clean up most defenders.

Of course, searching your deck is only as important as the cards you can go get, so when I first saw the Rebel Han Solo my brain immediately starting thinking of Rebel cards I could want to get on command. My list looked something like this:

– Rebel Assault (Defense of Yavin 4 or Mobilize the Squadron)
– Home One (The Rebel Fleet)
– Princess Leia (Fleeing the Empire)
– A New Hope (Decoy at Dantooine)

This list has two of my favorite cards that I rarely use: Princess Leia and A New Hope. This is when things began to really start working as far as the deck concept. I didn’t like the idea of basing the deck around Han alone, as I might never even see him.

However, if I also have Princess Leia. who becomes insanely better when you can control when she leaves play, now I have four characters I can draw into that all my leave play effects work well with. Add in Bright Hope that comes with the Rebel Han that removes a token of any type from itself when another friendly unit leaves play, and you have lots of reasons to have characters leaving play. This is not to mention Sith damage decks that find ways of removing lots of units just about every turn!

Where things really took off though, was the fact that these two objectives (Fleeing the Empire and Decoy at Dantooine) really solved my problem of consistently getting these characters to leave play through You’re My Only Hope, A New Hope, and Fall Back. Han’s objective, Evacuation Procedure, also packs a removal effect. So at this point, the core of the deck is:

2 x Evacuation Procedure
2 x Fleeing the Empire
1 x Decoy at Dantooine

Now, on to the junk.

Hunk of Junk

The rest of the deck really fell together after this. In any deck that has a decent number of characters in it, Asteroid Sanctuary has to be considered. The thought of attacking with the Falcon, triggering the ability to drop in Han, and then attacking with Han just seemed way too good to pass up. The Falcon also interacts fantastically with Bright Hope, forcing a leave play with the Falcon each turn can make Bright Hope do some serious work.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least a single Rebel Assault in a deck that let’s me search for Rebel cards, so Defense of Yavin 4 is at minimum a one of. Considering I’ve already got two Falcon and two Bright Hope in the deck, the objective itself has become a huge part of this deck. Playing the Millenium Falcon for 2 or 3 resources can just ruin your opponent. This also gives me two of each Y-Wing, Red 2, Rebel Assault, Hidden Outpost, and Astromech Droid Upgrade (wonderful with Bright Hope).

So now the deck is shaping up and looks like this:

Affiliation: Smugglers and Spies

2 x Asteroid Sanctuary
2 x Defense of Yavin 4
2 x Fleeing the Empire
2 x Evacuation Procedure
1 x Decoy at Dantooine

With one objective slot left to get to ten objective, the final slot could easily go to any Smuggler or Rebel Objective. To be honest, this final slot is anything but decided at this point. There are several options here. On my consideration list is:

Renegade Squadron Mobilization – This objective seems too good for the deck to not include. For starters, the objective itself pairs with A New Hope amazingly. I’ve had games where I draw 4-5 cards off of playing A New Hope. It also features Renegade Squadron, which is a great card. It’s especially great with Princess Leia being captured so often in this deck and it likely that Defense of Yavin 4 is on the board. The other really amazing synergy here is Echo Caverns. A great card in it’s own right, when Evacuation Procedure is out it becomes insane. Being able to use it on you and your opponents turn is just sick.

Raise the Stakes – The objective and the Blockade Runner give the deck quite a bit of added punch. I could live without the Bothan Spy and the Smuggling Compartment, but an additional Cloud City Operative and Swindled are fantastic. The Swindled is a great option for getting Leia to leave play when you need her to and for triggering Bright Hope if necessary. Of course, bouncing a Royal Guard isn’t ever awful either!

Trust Me – I think any time I start Smugglers, this objective is on my list. The objective itself is great against Sith and Lando in a Falcon deck can bring the pain. It has a few cards you don’t want however, so it’s certainly not at the top of the list.

At the moment, I think there are just too many synergies not to use Renegade Squadron Mobilization in this deck. So, on to the deck list:

Affiliation: Smugglers and Spies

2 x Asteroid Sanctuary
2 x Defense of Yavin 4
2 x Fleeing the Empire
2 x Evacuation Procedure
1 x Decoy at Dantooine
1 x Renegade Squadron

The deck might not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.

Cards Are Cards

While the list may not look like much, I dare you to try the deck a few times. I can literally have nothing on the board and generate an unimaginable amount of damage. You have to know the various options of the deck to really see it’s beauty, so I recommend trying it when you have time to take the game slow and consider your options. It’s really quite insane just how many options the deck presents each turn.

In the end, what I continue to learn about Star Wars is that the value of each card is drastically lower than in most other games. This has a lot to do with the draw mechanic, but also because so much more of this game happens outside of the stats that what is on a card. How you attack, with which units, and in which order makes all the difference. The player skill involved in using the tools at your disposal appropriately is immense. Even if a card doesn’t seem all that great at first, give it a try. It may not be tall enough to be a stormtrooper, but it might end up being quite a bit better than you think.

I’ve seen quite a bit of ‘conventional’ wisdom being developed in this game and I think Star Wars is way too young to be developing hard and fast rules for decks and what is viable. If you play this game, I implore you to not settle for conventional wisdom, to experiment with objectives people aren’t using, and to push the limits of what is possible in this game. Don’t believe the all powerful they. We’ve got several months until Store Championships and regionals roll around, so this is a fantastic time to give objectives a try that don’t look that great on paper.

Until next time, I’ll be seeing if I can’t find a way to make a viable Scum deck… As always, may the Force be with you.