Profile photo of Matthew By Matthew On December 11, 2012 Posted In Star Wars LCG

Star Wars LCG Community Deck, Episode II

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December 11, 2012

UPDATE: Episode III is now posted.  As is IV and V.  And finally, Episode VI.  The final deck can be found here.

Welcome to Episode II of my community deck building series.  If you’re new to this series, welcome!  You should check out my deck building overview for an idea of what format we’re following for this process.  In my last post, we looked at the different deck goals available to the Light Side player.  There was quite a bit of discussion on what control would look like for Light Side in a game where the clock was against them, but by far the vote was to attempt to build a control-style deck.  Which brings us to…

Episode II: What Works with the Goal?

So our goal is to control the game board and the force struggle and use that advantage to get damage through as opposed to trying to overwhelm the dark side with brute force.  The next question we need to ask ourselves is: what should we be looking for in cards and objective sets to help us do that?  Not only will answering this question now help us evaluate the objective sets we want later, but it will make it much easier to update the deck as new Force packs are released.  For now, these are characteristics of theoretical cards.  Feel free to come up with traits that don’t currently exist on cards, but would be nice to have in the future.

I’ll start with my take on our ideal units.  Tactics icons are clearly our friend here, with unit damage a ways behind.  Both let us take DS units out of the picture, either by locking them down with focus tokens or just plain killing them.  We also want units that can help us win the force struggle both to give us more time to win and to give us some direct damage.  Abilities like “elite” will help with that while abilities like “targeted strike” can help take out DS units that are causing us problems.

For the rest of our cards, we’ll want to prioritize removal and cards that place focus tokens as well as cards that contribute to the force struggle.  The control staple of counter-cards would be nice, though there isn’t much selection there currently.  We’ll also want to consider some cards that give us “reach” to do direct damage to DS objectives as our units probably won’t have tons of blast damage.

So what are your thoughts on our ideal cards?  Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, I’ve had some time to think about LS control but haven’t tried building the deck myself yet or playing with it (obviously), so I am by no means an expert.  Leave your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll use that in the next episode to evaluate the 18 LS objective sets to see what best fits our needs.

A few final notes: Since we already started discussing some of these things in the last blog’s comments, I’ll try to post the next episode a little faster.  I can’t make any promises though because I’m traveling again for the next couple of days.  I can perhaps post from my hotel room tomorrow night if things seem pretty settled though.  Also, since somebody asked in the comments last time: we will be assuming unlimited access to the cards (ie 2 core sets) for this exercise.  Finally, as it also came up last time, the rules pdf as well as a video tutorial for the game can be found on the Fantasy Flight Games website here.  I look forward to reading what you all have to say.

  1. You’ve pretty much covered most of what I think we’d need. One thing is, for our tactics control to work we will likely need to be winning edge battles – so we need to look for sets that include fate cards and cards with decent force stats. That pairs well with our ideal of maintaining the force as well.

    We need some tactics icons and any effects that can stall characters from either participating in fights or using their ability. Counters to opponents events also seem really handy. You mentioned effects that can bypass the defending characters and do direct damage to the object and I think that type of effect would be excellent.

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    1. Good call on the fate cards. One of my desk building weaknesses is that I tend to undervalue them, I think. Of course, working to include units that are good at committing to the force will also give us some nice cards for edge battles.

    2. Huge huge VETO on blast damage as a control weapon — it affords no control whatsoever, and should not be favored. If some incidentally makes its way in because that pod brings other things… that’d be OK, but it would have nothing to with blast damage.

      I’d actually say that more than anything, blast damage is the premiere aggro build for LS. It just punches thru the win, or at least attempts to do so. I’m certain it could be a weapon for LS to commit minimal cards toward attack and still kill off objectives — but to rely on it would mean multiple blasting pods, and we’d end up with a diluted level of control pods in the deck. It goes toward a sort of aggro build that tries to outpace instead of outfight.

      I think we need to favor pods that help do 2 things:
      — max tactics to pick off DS Force holders
      — max anti-tactics defenses to protect LS Force holders

      Winning edge battles means more LS firepower and less DS firepower, so I second its importance to the deck. We want to be looking at this from a “win the board, permanently” POV — just not at the expense of losing the Force. Outgun, then overrun.

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      1. I don’t think anyone was saying that blast damage would be considered control. We’re just speculating on the ability of a light side deck to win without some extra damage. I suspect that we’ll end up with enough damage incidentally due to the objective set composition that we won’t have to dilute the deck to make sure it can win before time expires, but I’ll leave that up to the community (I’ll give my thoughts on the sets next post, but will let the comments overrule my impressions)

      2. If the LS stength build-up (focusing on tactics damage) on the board just so happens to also have a lot of blast damage, that is the ideal thing. That would make the overrun of DS objectives very easy to do. Cards that have both icons are best then, but if they have just one of the two it should be tactics not blast.

      3. Agreed. If anything, it would be an end-of-build fine tuning to go back and add a little more blast damage if it didn’t look like enough, at least at first it should be a low priority. We’ll probably get that balance completely wrong this time around due to lack of experience… that’s the fun in a new game :-)

  2. Under the control scheme, there needs to be a way to do some objective damage in addition to keeping the balance of the force. At most, that will net 11 damage, which is not usually enough to win. High reliance on tactics doesn’t necessarily open up the ability to do unopposed engagements. Although at least being able to inflict unit damage does.

    To keep control of the force, that may mean having a high force character (or multiple medium force characters) not engaging, as they need to be ready during the balance of the force phase. If we can find means of refreshing characters before the end of the turn, then they can also possibly participate in battles, although we’d need to be able to do a double refresh.

    There are at least a couple of cards that manipulate the Death Star dial, so we should consider those, as they can give us a few more turns of potential force damage. But I do believe we’ll need a few dedicated sources of objective damage in the deck to get to a win.

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    1. Agreed. I really should have listed cards that decrease the Death Star dial on my list of theoretical characteristics, nice catch there. I hope more of those are printed in the future (the only ones I can think of right now trigger from an objective being destroyed, which isn’t the most useful trigger… but I’ll spend some time looking through the cards when writing the next post so maybe I’ll find a few more).

      1. More importantly, the process of thinking of things cards could do to help your goal before looking through them so that you don’t miss helpful cards while scanning through your giant pile o’ cards because you weren’t thinking of it. Granted there will always be cards with abilities you didn’t think of that you catch, but it’s easier when there are fewer of those abilities to worry about. But yes, looking through all of the cards for the next episode is definitely the most fun part of the process.

      2. Decoy at Dantooine is the block that decreases the Death Star when objectives are destroyed. It’s a Rebel Alliance block. In particular, I think you could pair this with The Secret of Yavin 4 block for maximum effect.

        The Secret of Yavin 4 forces your opponent to engage it instead and with Decoy at Dantooine’s False Lead enhancing it, it could slow down your opponent decently.

      3. Delay the Death Star, but outfight DS forces. Control should be looking at what a card effectively saves or kills. Buying some time for that plan to reap its reward (LS eventually owns the board) has its place, but too much focus on tempo will cost LS its reward and put it looking to aggro in the win “just in time” against mounting DS board strength.

        — Control the Force to slow Death Star progress.
        — Fend off DS attacks and kill off DS cards doing it.
        — Make careful attacks and kill off DS cards doing it.
        — Keep LS cards alive, especially Force holders.
        — Push the win late, after LS owns the board.
        — Counter any DS cards that equalize the board.

        This is what I propose.

      4. You need some objective damage in there somewhere, either from some of the careful attacks, or card effects. The light side only has 11-13 turns to do 10 to 16 objective damage. Light Side control currently needs to have at least a bit of aggro in it to win, as long as there’s a hard time limit before they lose automatically.

      5. How much damage can LS rain down on DS objectives by controlling the force for over half of the game? 6 damage? 7?

        We are talking about getting in maybe 3-9 damage over 9-10 turns with LS forces, outside of having the Force. That’s not really a high level of blast damage needed, and if killing off DS forces goes well you could get in quite a lot of unopposed free damage in the later turns. I do think blast damage could help, but weapon damage could help just as much and provide the same amount of objective damage (via granting us unopposed).

        I think I would prefer “tactics > weapon > blast” as a better priority than “tactics > blast> weapon”.

      6. I don’t think anyone is suggesting blast icons would rate at #2. I think most everyone has stated blast dmg is our last concern but we don’t want to just ignore it all together. There needs to be some “closers” in there to finish up the game.

        I agree with everyone (which does include Theorist) that the priority of icons should be tactics/blaster/blast on our characters. But we should definately keep in mind Force strength and surprise elements.

        Things that do dmg to characters or objectives outside of the “engagement” that happens after the edge battle is decided should be fairly high on our priority of cards to include. Now that I think about it, Targeted Strike ability should definately be on the list of things to consider since it vastly improves our ability to remove troublesome characters.

        Also things to keep an eye out for are things that expand our capabilities after winning edge battles. For that matter, I don’t know if there are any cards that do this, but recursion (from the discard pile) sure would be a nice mechanic to have access to.

      7. It depends on the nature of the recursion. We would want to be getting better than 1 for 1 in card exchange, or at least be ramping our kill/survive rate with what we could recur — big pulls so to speak. Pods with high caliber cards would go great with any recursion. And if we can find repeating recursion (Ewoks?), it deserves a definite look to see what it can do when in play.

        I think we need to consider resources as well. if we want to win the force right away and also start killing, we want pods that have good resources and a portion of cards that don’t expend any resources. Slow out of the gate could speed up the Death Start by 2 or 3 turns and/or maybe lose vs a DS deck that is spamming out guys.

      8. I agree on draw. Draw wins games, so long as we don’t blow our resources on it. Establishing the ability to kill faster than we get killed is essential.

      9. If we’re including tough Force-users like Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Luke to control the Force, we’ll have some of the blast icons we need. While those characters should primarily be committed to the Force away from the battlefront, they’ll be there at the end when we just need to make a final push against a weakened opponent. If the last strike is going to take out the Dark Side, there’s no reason to worry about the Force Struggle at that point.

      10. Without looking through the rest of their objective sets, I cannot imagine not including Obi-Wan, and Yoda and Luke both seem like rather solid includes as well.

  3. I’m loving this discussion! Definitely going to be a lot to think about when building the deck. I’ll get started on my next post tonight, but probably won’t have it finished and posted until tomorrow night at earliest (if I can get decent internet access then…)

  4. How about shielding? I don’t think that’s been mentioned yet, but it will be very important to keep our units alive while we try to chip away at the opposition. It is essentially a method for increasing our units’ damage capacities, which allows our unit to last longer, giving us more use for their cost.

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    1. I didn’t say shielding, but I id say “our units need to survive”.

      The issue that might come up with shielding as a plan is DS tactics. They’ll go after the less shielded LS units, and you’ll have to tell me (I’ve not looked yet) if you can even shield LS Force holders who may not always even be in the battle.

      Shielding to me is blast damage protection on an aggro deck. Pop out your blast guys, shield em to keep the assault going without losing offense, and cross your fingers.

      If it can be used in a control way, I say worth looking at.

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      1. Shielding does also protect against tactics. Typically a unit with shielding can only put a shield on a unit in the same engagement as the shield provider, but there are other methods of providing shielding that bypasses that restriction. I think those would be an excellent include to keep our force users protected in the balancing act.

      2. If they are “surprise shields”, that would be a lot better. Broadcasted shields seems best if you are protecting one card in particular that the DS absolutely must target.

      3. “Our Most Desperate Hour” I think has the surprise shields you’re looking for.

        I looked it up, and it turns out I was wrong: the typical shielding only works on units in the current engagement, or the engaged objective, so it’s not going to help protect our Force-committed units.

      4. Shielding is an ability on units (generally) that gives out a shield token on a unit or objective in the same engagement. But, there are ways to get a shield token on a unit other than the shielding ability, that aren’t limited by being in the same engagement. For example, Fleeing the Empire lets you place a shield token on a unit or objective you control during the refresh phase.

  5. Looks like I’ll be able to get at least a draft of the next post finished tonight. With any luck, I’ll be able to post it tomorrow night after making any changes the comments between now and then would warrant.

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