With the release of the Star Wars LCG coming Soon and a full spoiler kindly posted by those who were lucky enough to score early copies, it’s time to dive in and pick a preseason top 3. Before I get started, a little background on myself: I first started playing CCGs in the mid 90’s with the Star Wars CCG from Decipher. Since then, I have learned to play several other games, playing at various times L5R, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic. Of those, the only games I still play now are Magic and Star Wars. I learned about FFG and the LCG concept a couple of years ago when somebody posted on the Star Wars CCG forums about Fantasy Flight winning the Star Wars license. Since then, I have started playing the LotR LCG and am loving how the LCG model makes it quite possible for somebody as behind as me to catch up as far as card pool goes. I’m looking forward to staying on top of the card pool for Star Wars. It certainly will be much cheaper than keeping my Magic decks standard-legal.
While I was not lucky enough to be able to attend the FFG Worlds event and score a prerelease copy of the game, I was able to test the game out at GenCon this summer. The game was a blast then with just the Jedi and Sith demo decks and I can’t wait to get my hands on a full set of cards and start deck building. So, without any further delay, I present the Top 3 Core Set Cards:
#3 – Trench Run
I would love to put this card even higher. Of all of the cards in the core set, I feel like it is by far the most thematic and flavorful. You can take your X-Wings and Y-Wings and blow up the Death Star (dial) for an instant win! And not only is it a cool card, it can be a very good card. The ability to focus fire on one objective and not worry about any of the others can be useful for the Light Side player. Unfortunately, that only really helps them out if Trench Run can be played early in the game. If played after one Dark Side objective has already been destroyed, the benefits are minimal. If two objectives are already out of commission, playing this card is probably the wrong thing to do. Luckily, the game gives you two different ways to deal with what would otherwise be a dead card draw. First, the two force icons make it a perfectly serviceable card in an edge battle when trying to sneak in the last bits of damage to that third objective. Second, if you’re behind on board position and need a card that will be more useful played than in an edge battle, you have the ability to discard a card at the beginning of your turn to draw an extra card. For fellow Magic players, that means every card effectively has Cycling 0. I have seen this card in action once so far, playing proxied versions of the Imperial Navy and Rebel Alliance starter decks and it almost won the game for the LS player (and would have had the DS player not drawn a nice combo allowing them to take out 2 LS objectives on the final turn). To recap: this card is easily tops for flavor and in the right situation can be one of the most useful LS cards.
#2 – Luke Skywalker
I know that it will be the helper cards and non-unique cards that really make a deck shine. However, it wouldn’t be Star Wars without some awesome cards for the main characters and Luke does not disappoint. No more worrying about whether you should use a card on offense or on defense, Luke can do both without compromise! His ability to remove a focus token at the beginning of the Dark Side player’s turn is a slight upgrade to Elite in several situations. He will still remove 2 total tokens between the end of your turn and the start of your next turn. The only time Elite ends up better is when two focus tokens are placed during the DS’s turn. Luke’s 3 force icons make him a nice contribution to the force battle if absolutely needed, but his best use is to attack every turn and still be around to defend your objectives from counterattacks. His second ability, Targeted Strike, is key to take out Dark Side support cards who are staying out of the fights (Tarkin, I’m looking at you!). Another easily overlooked part of the card: he only costs 4 so he can always be played first turn no matter what your objective draw is! For some real fun, give him his lightsaber and go make a Trench Run!
#1 – …
I think the top card deserves a little fanfare. This being Star Wars, instead of a drum roll, please start humming the Imperial March:
#1 – Darth Vader
Darth Vader and I have some history together. Back in August, when I first sat down to demo the game in GenCon, Darth Vader was in my opening hand and was consequently the first Star Wars LCG card I ever played. There have been some changes made to him and his best combo card (Force Choke) since GenCon because it was an almost unbeatable combo then. At the time, neither Vader nor Force Choke were limited to once/turn and Force Choke could hit any unit. While the changes certainly make the combo weaker, you won’t find a better card than Darth Vader for completely destroying the Light Side’s board. There are no shortage of good Sith event cards to trigger Vader’s ability. Sure, Force Choke is free, but you can also trigger it off of Force Lightning, Dark Precognition, Force Stasis, or A Disturbance in the Force. The common theme: All of those are very nice event cards by themselves, but with Vader on the table they also get to hand out a damage to any enemy unit (that’s right, while Force Choke is limited to characters and creatures, Vader can send his damage to that troublesome Red 5 while you Force Choke Luke). Give him his saber for Targeted Strike and watch your opponents flee in terror. One last perk for our favorite dark lord: 4 health means he will survive pretty much any initial hit. So even if you lose the edge battle, your opponent has to worry about Vader hitting back for considerable damage (I don’t even want to think about how much of a tank he could become with some armor…).
So there you have it: the top 3 Core Set cards. While they may not end up being the 3 most powerful cards or the cards that have to be in every deck (though they will all certainly be good cards), they are what makes this game Star Wars. From blowing up the Death Star to powerful main characters that force your opponent to deal with them quickly or lose just as quickly, these 3 cards will instantly make you feel like you’re living out the movies.
Honorable mention: Han Solo. Once the Smugglers and Spies faction gets a little more support, everyone’s favorite smuggler will have a spot in lists like these. He misses out this time because there just isn’t enough support around him quite yet…
Thanks for the support everyone! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on real cards instead of proxies from my cheap printer… If you haven’t already, take a look at my entry into the X-Wing blog contest. Thanks!