By Matthew– May 8, 2013
Over the weekend, I posted a scenario from a recent tournament as a learning example. Today, we’ll go over how the game ended and look at some lessons we can learn from those last turns.
As many of you, I decided to hold on to my Force Choke in order to not waste Vader’s reaction. Also, as general principle I like to wait until the last possible moment to use Force Choke so as to have the most possible information before making my decision. This time though, waiting was the wrong choice. My opponent’s next play was a Guardian of Peace. Realizing that waiting no longer mattered, I attempted to choke the Loyalist, but it of course was redirected to the Guardian, as was Vader’s reaction. My opponent then played Red Five, used the Loyalist to lock down the Rancor, and was able to attack unopposed with Red Five to end the game.
If you look through the scenario carefully, you’ll see 3 main mistakes made between myself and my opponent.
The first mistake came just before the scenario picked up, though at least one commenter pointed it out: attacking with the Emperor. Some extra background: this game was the second of the match. In the first game, my Light Side deck had not fared well, losing while down 2-1 on objectives destroyed. As game 2 had already seen 2 of my objectives destroyed, I knew that I needed to get to 3 to force a draw. By attacking with Vader and the Emperor that turn, I was able to get up to 2 and be pretty well set for 3 on my next turn. Leaving a Rancor to defend seemed like a decent defense, especially with the LS having no units in play and a force choke sitting in my hand. The lesson to learn from this: trying to get a better match tie breaker is pretty useless if you lose the game in the attempt. I would have gotten 2 points whether I lost the tie breaker or ended up with a draw. The difference between losing 3-2 and a draw at 2-2 is not worth the risk of losing 4-0 when you’re confident of those 2 points.
This one was my opponent’s mistake. I should never have had the chance to survive the turn after attacking with the Emperor. Had his first play been the Guardian, there would have been nothing I could do. By playing the Loyalist first, he gave me the opportunity to steal the game back. He had no reason to gamble on the presence of a Force Choke or Dark Precognition in my hand. The lesson: Always play your protector first. The only exception would have been if he didn’t have the resources to play all 3 cards, in which case the Loyalist and Red Five would have been the correct plays as they gave the possibility for a victory. When you can though, play the protector first.
And now we come the the scenario itself. I should have used Force Choke on the Loyalist immediately. Of the three mistakes, this is the most debatable, but the odds very slightly point towards choking immediately.
To fully analyze this, we first need to look at how the Light Side could win on their turn. They have 2 basic obstacles. First, they need to find a way to get the necessary blast damage on table. Second, they need to find a way around the Rancor blocking the path. The Loyalist is a very effective way to clear the Rancor from the path. As long at it survives, there’s really nothing I can do to stop any attack that comes.
So the question becomes, what could my opponent play that would make me not want to kill the Loyalist immediately? The only answer to that would be a second Loyalist. What could he play that would make not killing the Loyalist a game-ending mistake? The answer there being a Guardian or C-3PO backed up by Lightsaber Deflection. In the given scenario, having a Guardian was slightly more likely than a second Loyalist. The C-3PO/Deflection combo also helps make the immediate choke the correct move.
There is one argument for why waiting is the better option, even considering those odds: if your opponent was holding a Guardian, they would have played it first. By playing the Loyalist, they are indicating that they don’t have a Guardian in their hand. I like this argument because it means that I made the right choice in the game. However, while you should never bet on your opponent making a mistake in your plans, you should also not plan on them playing perfectly.
I hope you enjoyed this scenario and analysis. I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the mistakes and my analysis in the comments.