By Matthew– January 8, 2013
Hello again. Before I start, I want to thank everyone again for the participation in the Community Deck Build. If you haven’t already, check out the comments in the final episode for a couple of modifications to the final deck that seem to make it work better.
Now that the game has been out for a few weeks and I’ve had plenty of chances to play some games, I’ve found that one area that is easily overlooked while deck building is possibly the most vitally important part of the game. This, of course, is the edge battle. For those of you who have been able to play several games, you know exactly what I mean. For those who haven’t, let me take a brief moment to run down the benefits for winning:
1. Edge-Enabled Combat Icons
This one is pretty obvious. When you win, all of your edge-enabled icons are turned on while your opponent’s are turned off. This makes your units more effective and their units less effective. Whether it’s giving you extra unit damage or tactics icons to deal with opposing units, the final blast damage you need to take out an objective, or just turning off icons your opponent had counted on using, winning the edge battle can swing the entire engagement right here.
2. Striking First
Units in SWLCG are fragile. Units with 2 unit damage icons are not unusual, but units with 3 or more damage capacity are. For the LS especially, they have Luke, Obi-Wan, and the Home One with 3 damage capacity and the Redemption with 4. The DS comes out a little stronger with a handful of units with 3, Vader and the Rancor at 4, and even a couple of units with 5 (Devastator and Coruscant Defense Fleet) as well as Mandalorian Armor if they want to splash Scum and Villany. Still, with most units able to be destroyed with a single attack, striking first and taking out a key unit can totally change the engagement. If you don’t have much unit damage involved, perhaps you have some tactics icons floating around. While a card with two unit damage icons can reasonably be expected to destroy one enemy unity, a card with two tactics icons can effectively remove 2 opposing units from the engagement before they get the chance to strike since the focus icons from tactics can be split up in any way you choose. But wait, there’s more: Let’s say you’re just attacking with Red 5, hoping to muscle through the 3 objective damage to take out an objective. Red 5′s 2 health isn’t going to stand up to a decent defender, but by winning the edge battle you get your damage in before your opponent can destroy your ship.
3. Other Surprises
There are plenty of other little surprises you can pull off if you won the edge battle. A Human Replica Droid might decide to join the fight on your side. Or maybe Hit and Run will get you an extra damage in. And, even though you don’t need to win the edge battle to make use of them, Admiral Ackbar and Backstabber would both love it if you won the edge battle before playing them.
Duel of the Fates
So now that we’re all thoroughly convinced of the importance of edge battles, how do we manage to win them? There’s obviously no way to guarantee you’ll win every time, but there are some ways to increase your chances.
1. Deck Building
Pay attention to force icons and fate cards while building your deck! It’s easy to overlook the little white dots on the edge of your cards, but if you’re stuck with a hand of all single-dot cards you’re going to have a hard time overcoming the Yoda or Emperor your opponent just tossed down.
2. Game Play
Here there’s a bit of an art to edge battles. Your ability to read your opponent to call their bluffs or to bluff them yourself is useful. There is one basic principal to keep in mind though: as awesome as it would be to wait a turn to play that Emperor from your hand, if you don’t win edge battles he’ll never get to do anything. Don’t be afraid to toss “power” cards into edge battles if it’s what you need to win. You’ll dig through your deck fast enough to find other good cards later, but you won’t be able to go back and change the result of this edge battle.
3. Fate Cards
Playing with and playing around fate cards can make or break your edge battling. Let’s take a brief look at each of them:
I. Target of Opportunity
This is probably the least tricky of the fate cards to worry about. The only real trick with it: don’t be afraid to use it on defense. Sure, it might as well be blank when used on defense (assuming no TIE Attack Squadron), but it still contributes 2 force icons to the battle, which might be your best play.
Present in Objective Sets: The Endor Gambit, Reconnaissance Mission, Black Squadron Assault, A Journey to Dagobah, The Rebel Fleet, Hit and Run
II. Heat of Battle
This one gets a little more fun. Being able to deal 1 damage to an enemy unit before striking even begins is very similar to getting in one first strike yourself. On defense, this will occasionally be the only card you’ll need to play into the edge stack if the single damage will eliminate a lone attacker (on offense, you’ll still want to make sure that you win the edge battle so that your surviving – and now unopposed – attacking units can do their full damage). This is definitely one that you’ll want to watch which objectives your opponent has showing (and which cards they’ve played) to have some warning that they might be holding a Heat of Battle. If they’re playing with it, you can’t consider any unit with only one health remaining safe going into an engagement.
Present in Objective Sets: Mission Briefing, Death and Despayre, Reconnaissance Mission, Fall of the Jedi, Forgotten Heroes, Hit and Run
III. Twist of Fate
I saved the best for last. This card is absolutely brutal when used well. You should absolutely become familiar with the objective sets containing this card so that you can have some warning as to when to expect it. Using it effectively is pretty easy. Using it really well requires some bluffing. I personally like to toss it out 2nd or 3rd on my edge stack after tossing out a single (or zero) force icon card. The goal being to get your opponent to commit some of their higher value cards to the battle while you save yours for the rebattle. If you have room to dump some cards (and a good enough poker face), you can get your opponent to waste an extra card or two, all but guaranteeing your victory.
Present in Objective Sets: Defense Protocol, Reconnaissance Mission, Counsel of the Sith, Fleeing the Empire, The Secret of Yavin 4, Hit and Run
I hope you enjoyed skimming the surface of edge battle strategy with me. There are of course a few other tricks to worry about (the edge keyword and Obi-Wan’s ability, for instance), but this should cover the basics. Good luck, and may the Force be with you.
(Post now updated with links to the cards I reference).