The Seedier Parts of the Galaxy: My Favorite Cards from the SW:TCG Core Set

Star Wars is awesome! That galaxy far, far away has held fans captivated for years. No matter how many times you watch the movies, they just don’t get old. I remember spending one summer as a child watching an episode every day. But in addition to all the space-fantasy action of the movies, Star Wars has developed a deep lore through games, books, comics, and other media. One of the first Star Wars books I read was Tales of the Bounty Hunters. It was thrilling to learn so much back story to these

characters we see for less than five minutes in The Empire Strikes Back. Though the same can be said for dozens of other characters from the original trilogy, my early exposure to the bounty hunter stories has endeared them to me for all these years. If there is one affiliation I’m excited to see fleshed out in the new Star Wars: The Card Game, it has to be the Scum and Villainy.

Unfortunately, Scum and Villainy only contains one objective set in the core: The Bespin Exchange. But if the flavor of this set is any reflection of what we’ll see in the rest of this faction, I doubt I’ll be disappointed. Though I never played SW:CCG competitively, I’ve heard that bounty hunter decks were one of the most popular and enjoyable decks for people to play with. How can you not get excited about bringing in the mighty Chewbacca, or personally handing Luke Skywalker over to the Emperor? I’m excited that this game captures that same thrill, packaged in its own affiliation.

So, just what can you expect from this objective set? BOUNTIES!

Bounty Collection

Ah, reaping rewards for a job well done.

This is what being a bounty hunter is all about! While capturing enemy units isn’t unique to the Scum and Villainy affiliation (the Imperial Navy can do this as well), bounty hunters are in it for the credits. Bounty Collection allows you to remove focus tokens from non-unit cards after you capture an enemy unit. Currently, the only non-unit cards we expect to see focus tokens on are those that generate resources. Thematically, this card pays you credits as a reward for capturing a bounty. The requirement that the captured unit must be in play when you capture it further adds to the feel that you are really out there trying to capture bounties and earn some credits.

But this card goes much further than being a fun, thematic card. It really opens up possibilities. First of all, it’s free. Well, as a card whose purpose is to accelerate your resource generation, it makes sense to not need to spend money to gain money. But more importantly, you don’t need a resource match to play cards with a cost of zero. So feel free to splash your Imperial Navy deck with some bounty hunter scum and watch the credits come rolling in! But how does this card really play into your strategy? Some resource-generating cards allow you to produce more than one resource in a turn, but at a cost — you must place one focus token on a resource-generating card for each resource you use and you only remove one focus token from your objective each turn. If you spend 2 resources in one turn, you are spending the same number of resources per turn as if you spent 1 resource per turn for two turns. Still, the extra resource boost is an effective way to get more expensive cards into play, even if it means you have fewer resources for the next round. But Bounty Collection accelerates your resource (re)generation. Imagine having three cards in play that generate two resources. With Bounty Collection, you can spend all six in one turn and still have resources on your next turn because Bounty Collection will remove one from each card, and you will remove the other during your next refresh phase. Now that’s money — literally!

But as mama always used to say, money doesn’t grow on trees! You’ve gotta work for those credits, namely by capturing your enemies. How do you do that? . . .

Take that, quarren filth!

Boba Fett

. . . Hire a bounty hunter, of course! Boba Fett is the best of the best in the bounty hunting game, and it shows. As a reaction, you immediately capture an enemy character unit that you damage. All it takes is one damage! That’s almost like a one-hit-KO! And with a black unit-damage-icon, he’s guaranteed to deal a damage when he strikes, so as long as there is a character unit to capture, Boba Fett will be taking somebody for a ride in the Slave I.

But while his capturing ability is Boba Fett’s most impressive aspect, he has plenty of other good characters. First of all, he has three Force icons. If you need to, he can fight your edge battles for you and make sure things line up for your other forces. Also, he’s not a bad choice to commit to the Force. Adding three Force icons to the Force Struggle is a definite boon, and with the Elite trait, he will be removing two focus tokens each refresh phase which takes care of the two tokens he’ll receive for striking when committed to the Force.

Finally, though not inherent in the card, I must reference Mandalorian Armor. This enhancement is included in the same objective set and increases Fett’s damage capacity (or hit points) as any good armor should, but it also gives Fett a special bonus: Targeted Strike. With this trait, Boba Fett can focus to strike any enemy in play, meaning if your opponent is trying to keep Ackbar or Kenobi safe on the sidelines, Fett will still hunt them down and take them prisoner. Pure awesomeness!

Han Solo

Pure sabacc!

So you’re probably thinking, “Where did that come from?! Aren’t you a bounty hunter fan?” Well, yes, but there aren’t very many bounty hunters yet. Also, I recently read the Han Solo Trilogy and in doing so, I really came to like this soft-hearted scoundrel. So what does Han bring to the table (other than sabacc cards, of course)? His blaster! Han immediately struck me as a great offensive character from the moment I laid eyes on his three black combat icons. He can fire off rapid shots with his two unit-damage-icons and can outwit and outmaneuver his enemies with his tactical icon. “We’re fine. We’re all fine here now..thank you. How are you?” Okay, so maybe he’s not always the most convincing, but he definitely knows a few maneuvers. His Targeted Strike ability makes him deadly to any Imperial resource-generating commanders that are too afraid to get their hands dirty in combat. But this card turned to gold when I finally read his reaction. As soon as Han Solo joins a combat, whether as the attacker or the defender, he deals one damage to a target enemy unit. We’ve known it all along: Han shot first!

  1. When you first post, you can select categories on the right side of the editing screen. The images at the top are based on which category(ies) you select. I’m not sure if you can edit it after it posts, but I would try to go to your dashboard and edit this post, and on the right side change the category to star wars lcg or some such.

    Hopefully you find this helpful, let me know!

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  2. I really like this deck. The idea of using the Rancor as board control with the rest of your force being vehicle based is pretty inspired. Part of me wants to swap out Heart of the Empire for another Shadows of Dathomir, although I’m a little torn. You get another Rancor, but two more character units for him to eat, and The Hand’s Blessing is pretty much a dead card in this deck (or as close as you get in this game). You also lose the Coruscant Defense Fleet, which is a very solid defense card. But with only the one Coruscant objective that you currently have, you’re not getting much out of it’s protect ability. Anyway, just some thoughts for you to ponder or not. I’d love to hear how this plays.

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  3. I completely agree. I was torn between 2x Heart of the Empire or 2x Shadows of Dathomir. In the end, I went with a 1-1 split for those two objectives in order to showcase how they both fit in with the deck. I predict that while the Rancor will be fun to use, going with Heart of the Empire will yield better results. We’ll find out soon.

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  4. x2 Shadows of Dathomir in a vehicle deck would punish some LS builds severely — x1 SoD gives you 1 Rancor in a 50 card deck, which can very easily be your bottom card. Numbers say x2 is the way to go if you run that pod. Plus it’s a 2 resource objective!

    LS decks that the Rancor makes very sad:
    — Jedi
    — S&S affiliated Jedi
    — Rebel affiliated Jedi (4/6 might do OK)
    — S&S (once it exists)
    — three-affiliation decks (2/3/3 w x2 RatC)

    LS decks that might make the Rancor sad:
    — Rebel
    — Jedi affiliated Rebel (4/6 might struggle)
    — S&S affiliated Rebel (4/6 might struggle)

    I like those odds, and the right Rancor deck to take on the bottom three possibilities seems like the right avenue to me. I’m not sure what that means yet, but so far “Rancor deck” seems like a very real and valid archetype.

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  5. Rancor could be run as a modal deck — vs a slew of vehicles and little else, you are looking at only 1 or 2 Rancor cards in your deck that you can just use toward edge battles. In those games, the deck would be designed to win without the Rancor.

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  6. I’ve been arguing that this is the best card in the game for a while, but I think I’m finding a better way to say it. This is absolutely the most important card in the game!

    There are very typically 2-4 extremely important edge battles in a game. Having this nearly guarantees you can win when you need to if you play it right.

  7. Good question. I didn’t really consider that much. I was focused more on how usage changes with experience.

    Thinking about it now, I’m not sure there is a difference between LS and DS when defending with Twist of Fate. In both cases, it helps you siphon off cards from your opponent so you can win the edge more easily on your next turn. I suppose if you are a control-oriented DS player, making your opponent lose cards so you can attack easier may not be the #1 priority.

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  8. I really like Self Preservation. I want to try incorporating that into a deck with Moldy Crow and some unique Jedi. I need to do some thinking and testing with it, though.

    As soon as I got Flight of the Crow, I built a deck with a bunch of unique Jedi as one-of objectives and all my sample draws were terrible. It didn’t have the resources to consistently get out the Jedi I wanted. I also think it would be interesting to run one copy of A Message From Beyond so that you can have Old Ben’s Spirit to keep your singleton Jedi alive, but then you’re dropping pretty low on the unit count.

    In any case, Jedi is my favorite LS faction so I try to build them, but I kinda hate Smugglers so I try to avoid them. 😀 I wouldn’t have played the deck I did if I knew that it was a Smuggler-splash. As soon as I played Han Solo, my opponent said, “I hate Han Solo,” and I replied, “Me too.” Its not that I really hate him or the Smugglers, they’re just so overused that they don’t have any appeal to me. And they seem athematically powerful. I feel like they should be running the synergy/card combo sets and Rebels should be getting the solid blast.

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  9. I think that’s definitely part of it. But even during regionals, we’d get a post every few weeks or so from somebody giving a report. The LCG has never seen the sort of activity X-Wing gets on this website. I don’t think it ever will, but I’d like to see more.

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  10. I think it is partly canibalization too. I liked Star Wars but didnt love it, so sold it all for XWing which I love. That said, I still enjoy following the game and seeing the state of the game. Really enjoyed the final and thought the opposite. Perhaps this game just takes more time to develop? Or more resources are going to the new SW game coming out.

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  11. I fully admit to neglecting the game. I have friends who are really big fans, but at the end of the day I come from a background of miniature games so I can get into a miniatures game with cards a lot easier than a true card game. The genre just doesn’t do much for me.

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  12. Oh drat. I just found out a ruling I missed and it could have changed the game. During one round, my opponent had the balance of the Force with him. At the end of my turn, he had no more units, but I had no ready units. On his next turn, he lamented needing one more resource. I reminded him that he won the last Force struggle so he really should have no focus tokens on the Dark Temple. He disagreed and said that since we tied for Force icons, there was no winner. He persuaded me, though I was still skeptical. I just found out that he was wrong and he should have had the extra resource open, which means he probably could have played the Executor. Many apologies to my opponent.

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  13. It did what it usually does in my decks: provide good edge cards. Honestly, I love the idea of Last Minute Rescue, but I think it’s time to face reality and admit it doesn’t really do much for me. That is to say, I usually never get Redemption out and Return of the Jedi usually doesn’t show up at the right moment to be used.

    However, Corellian Engineer was what saved me in the final match of Regionals 2013. She shielded Home One, allowing me to lose the edge battle and still win the game. I think that’s part of why I keep trying to get it to work.

    Also, Emergency Repairs has turned a few games around for me.

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  14. When teaching the game there is probably a lot you can leave out at first. I would think the main thing is to get them used to the phases first, how resources work, edge battles, and engagement resolution. Just stick with the cost to play a card, its damage, ready vs. exhausted, its combat icons, ignore all abilities and traits except unique, ignore fate cards except for their force icons. Then when they grasp all that then introduce everything else. You don’t have to play a game to its conclusion, just a couple of turns. Then move onto introducing enhancements, event cards and fate cards.

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  15. I come from a city where Magic is the dominant life blood of players. I’m always shocked when players of high caliber ones who I have watched on live Pro tour and Star city open Steams watch me play SWLCG and comment with “this looks so complicated”. I do my best when playing at my LGS to voice turn structure.

    “draw phase ” I will discard one card” I will draw up to my reserve value which is six”. and so on naming every action window.
    I do this mostly to show onlookers where me and my opponent are in our match. Sometimes I stop and explain how I have to play defensively because his Yoda now controls the game.

    That is how I try to explain the game to onlookers hoping the amazing mechanics and strategy the game provides would peak their interest.

    Now as an avid star wars fan and a assistant manager of a large gaming store. I sell the game differently. I sell it as Star Wars. The thrill of the battle. Stopping the death star, Han shooting first. How Luke and Palpatine are constantly fighting for control. I want future players to know this is Star Wars. It’s not going to be the battles we saw in the movies. It’s going to be you creating a team to defend or take down the empire. You get to create new great SW stories. I love getting to talk about Mara Jade and the 501st taking out rebel objectives for a quick win.

    All of that to say I’m glad the people around you are seeing the excitement the game has.

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