Profile photo of Zach Bunn By Zach Bunn On November 26, 2013 Posted In Star Wars LCG

One With the Force – Top 16 Worlds Decks

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November 26, 2013

Inspired by Steven’s blog yesterday outlining his Netrunner top 16 decks from worlds, I decided to post my own blog detailing my top 16 decks from the Star Wars Card Game World Championships. Both my light side and dark side decks are derivatives of the decks I used at the North American Championships back in August, so I’ll start with my dark side deck (ie the less interesting one).

Affiliation: Imperial Navy

2 x Imperial Command
1 x Reconnaissance Mission
2 x Executor Arrives
2 x Fall of the Jedi
1 x Ghosts of the Dark Side
1 x Emperor’s Web
1 x Counsel of the Sith

The big changes to the deck were the addition of the Executor Arrives and dropping an Emperor’s Web for a Reconnaissance Mission. Nothing too off the wall, except for maybe the fact that I’m only running a single Emperor’s Web.

Often regarded as one of the best objective sets in the game, I was finally convinced to drop one set after a several hour discussion with a local player (Grant, finalist at GenCon, top 32 at Worlds) that the Emperor wasn’t as good as he once was. Instead of analyzing the entire deck, I want to discuss The Emperor’s Web.

First, let’s look at what’s in the objective set:

The Emperor’s Web
1 x Emperor Palpatine
1 x Emperor’s Royal Guard
1 x Sith Library
1 x Force Choke
1 x Force Lightning

The Emperor’s Web

According to conventional wisdom, the weakest part of this objective set is the objective itself. The objective being four health is a liability, particularly if it’s dropped as a replacement objective in the middle of a game. The reduction of the first sith event is solid, but in a deck with Force Chokes and Dark Precognitions it can often go unused on most turns. Running two means you have a solid chance of seeing at least one in your opening objective draw. This basically forces you to choose the other three objectives.

Considering that the light side needs to do, on average, 15 objective damage, you have to ask whether reducing the light side win condition by 6.6% is worth the cards in the objective. So, let’s take a look at those cards.

Emperor Palpatine

In a vacuum, or if you used this character for the first 5-6 months of the game, the Emperor is the boss. Practically guaranteeing you the force and being one of the best blockers in the game, it’s hard to argue with this card. Yet, I’m going to anyways.

First, the issue I’ve had with the Emperor from the beginning. He costs six. It’s likely that if you drop him early, you are going to be spending all of your resources and possibly doubling up a resource (so using it for two turns) to play the Emperor.

This not only means you have less cards on the board, it also means you kept more cards in your hand. This effectively means you’ll be drawing less on your next turn, with the side benefit of having more cards for the edge battle on your opponent’s upcoming turn. This issue has been slightly mitigated thanks to the Sith Holocron, but without that card it’s an issue.

Second, thanks to Sleuth Scouts + Blockade Runners (note both finalists at worlds were using at least a pair of these objectives) he can easily be useless in a game as a blocker. You cannot pay 6 resources for a card that won’t be able to block. You just cannot.

Now, he is still great to pitch to an edge battle and against anything not running Sleuths and co, he’s fantastic. I still think he’s great. The probably comes in with the frequency at which you see him. He’s not great early and he’s not great late. You really care to see him in the middle of the game when you have a solid board presence and can seal the game with him. Outside that, he’s an edge card.

Emperor’s Royal Guard

This is perhaps the greatest two cost dark unit in the game. Packing the all important two unit damage, alongside THREE health plus the ability to protect your other characters all for the cost of two, it’s really just crazy. I would argue that if there is a reason to run this objective set this is it, not the Emperor himself. No arguments here, he’s a great card.

Sith Library

How can you argue with this card? You definitely want resources in your deck, but if I have the choice to play this or the Sith Holocron, this is effectively a dead card in my hand.

The importance of resources in Sith decks was taken down a notch thanks to the Executor Arrives, providing a consistent boost to resources for Sith decks that once heavily struggled with resource production. So, while I still want resources in my deck I don’t want as many as I did at GenCon. I have the same issue here that I have with the Emperor. It’s not that this card isn’t great, it’s just that I don’t want to see so many limited cards any more.

Force Choke

While I love this card more than I care to explain, it’s really just not that great right now. The decks I think can beat this Dark Side deck generally rely on vehicles, not characters. So unless I have Darth Vader on board, this card is of no use to me. Again, it’s not that I don’t want this card in my deck, it’s just that I don’t necessarily need four in my deck at this point in the game.

Sith Lightning

Once the bane of the Light Side, this card has really lost some edge for me. Sure, it’s great at removing a unit. It also triggers Vader and you can recur it with Palpatine. The problem I have with this card currently is that I have to pay 3 resources and a card to remove an opponents unit, with the contingency that they must also be focused down.

If my opponent has characters, I can generally kill them through damage. That means this card is going to most often be used against vehicles. See the problem yet?

The best vehicles, or at least the ones most often fielded, cost 2 or 3 resources. Is killing a 2 resource vehicle that has already been used to strike worth 3 resources and a card? I would so much rather spend a resource and a card on a unit… or a Force Shockwave. I find myself sitting with this in my hand and ultimately dropping it in an edge battle more than not.

This card is great, but again, how many do you really want to draw?


So, as I begin to really look at the objective set, the main conclusion I draw is that just about every card in this objective set (excluding the Royal Guard), is probably better as a one of. I’ll see everything a little less often, which I’m actually quite happy about. In a vacuum, sure. This objective set is nearly an auto include. But when you start looking at the deck as a whole and considering what you’ll be sitting across from, it’s just not as good as it once was.

My Dark Side deck lost one game out of seven at the World Championships. I think the Dark Side has the advantage right now and this is a deck that can answer pretty much any light side deck I’ve run into. Nothing extremely fancy, but for now I’ll be running a single Emperor’s Web and drawing a lot less dead cards throughout the game.

Now, let’s talk about the Light Side!

Affiliation: Smugglers and Spies

2 x Trust Me
1 x Asteroid Sanctuary
2 x In You Must Go
2 x A Heroes Journey
2 x Secret of Yavin 4
1 x Forgotten Heroes

Before diving too far into this discussion, it’s important to note that I refuse (currently) to use Sleuth Scouts / Blockade Runners. I think they are fantastic and are probably the best option for Light Side right now, I just don’t get any enjoyment out of using them.

I also think that as Dark Side you have to prepare for these and I enjoy running decks that people aren’t preparing for. At the time of worlds, that meant running Jedi… sort of.

After opening Edge of Darkness and going through the cards, I made two conclusions. First, that the most game changing objective set in the box was Trust Me. Second, that Asteroid Sanctuary was probably the ‘best’ objective set in a vacuum.

We all know how good the Falcon is, so I don’t really care to go into that. However, I do want to talk about Trust Me, it’s overall affect on the current game state, and why I think the lack of it being around has caused Sith Control to dominate.

So, let’s look at the objective set:

Trust Me
1 x Lando Calrissian
1 x Saboteur
1 x Cloud City Casino
1 x Sabotage
1 x Target of Opportunity

Trust Me

This objective is AMAZING. For starters, it has two resources. It also comes with what I feel is one of the most meta breaking abilities that exists right now, which is the ability to cancel enemy event cards. The ability to cancel a Shockwave or Force Choke or a Talon Roll (ie Matt Kohls deck) is absurd. All of the things that really take Sith over the top, excluding the Holocron, are shut off by this objective. More on this below.

Lando Calrissian

For four resources, we get a character with a black blast damage and tactics. We also get a unit that is Elite. If that wasn’t enough, we have one of the most powerful abilities in the game.

The options that open up when you can pay a resource on your and your opponents turn to push a character out of an engagement are just silly. By attacking with a single unit, your opponent has no good option. If they block with more than 1 unit to make sure they can block, you pay one to bring your unit out and they are now focused down. If they block with a single unit, you can push them out of the engagement.

So. Freaking. Good.


By no means is this unit lighting the world on fire, but having enhancement removal can be huge. This is particularly good against Imperial decks (which I actually think are viable) and is decent against Sith. If they are running Ghosts of the Dark Side, dropping off a Dark Memories from an important character can be key. Even just tagging one of their resources can make a big difference over the course of a few turns.

Cloud City Casino

More resources? Sure!


This is a very tricky card. The first time I actually used it was against a player attacking with an Emperor Palpatine and an Advisor to the Emperor, just to lock my board down. It was quite excellent. Like the Saboteur, this card isn’t fantastic, but I do think it is great against Imperial decks. Note that you can use it on your turn, which can really surprise an opponent.

Target of Opportunity

A great card to have as light side, I’m almost always happy to see this. I know I need roughly 15 damage to win, so this card scores lots of points in my book.


You run this objective for Trust Me and Lando. One of the biggest weaknesses of the Jedi is that you can invest a lot of resources in a single unit (see Luke or Yoda + enhancements), and then your opponent plays Aggression or Force Lighting, ruining your day. The ability to cancel events at will is big. Lando is also a great character that you can place Trust Your Feelings on, drop in with the Falcon, or just play to great affect. I’ve won so many games on the last turn by dropping Lando into play on that final turn.

I only lost twice as the Light Side at Worlds, my one regret being that I only ran one Asteroid Santuary. Any game where I had Falcon semi-early was just extraordinary. He also helps me get around resource match for my big characters (dropping Obi-Wan in is the best) and I saw way too many protectors all day long. I would much rather have seen Bamboozle, Cloud City Operative, or Twist of Fate more often. I typically have an In You Must Go on the table, so that makes Cloud City Guest Quarters just crazy. It was the better choice and I didn’t catch it until too late.

Lando, the Chosen One

You may not know this, but the entire Star Wars story arc is actually about Lando. Ok, maybe not. However, I want to touch on why I think in the current meta Lando is the one that brings ‘balance to the force’.

Most top level players would agree that Sith is ‘the’ deck at the moment. It has answers to just about every good Light Side deck out there and destroys objectives while slowing the opponent down. I think there is a viable Imperial deck, so in games where they show up the not so great cards actually become worthwhile card slots.

I can’t help but look at my own Dark Side deck, which is probably a little lighter on events than most Sith Decks, and realize that 8/50 cards are events. That’s roughly 1/6 cards (16.66%) of my deck that becomes much less effective with Trust Me on the board. So if I am drawing 4-5 cards a turn, odds are good that one of those cards is an event. I can’t stress this impact enough.

Now, I imagine a meta where Trust Me is in 30% of Light Side decks. As a Sith player, that’s terrifying!

Final Thoughts

After spending a few days at worlds playing against and discussing the game with some of the best players on the planet, I am extremely excited with where this wonderful game has come through it’s first deluxe and cycle of Force Packs. I think the balance is leaning to the dark side right now at 60 / 40, but don’t think it’s skewed enough to be a problem. I’m extremely excited to see where this game is after a few more cycles and will be waiting patiently for Scum and Villainy to have their time in the spot light.

We’re entering a quiet season for the game, with Store Championships not until February / March, so I really recommend experimenting and trying out objective sets that don’t see as much play. If I could make any recommendation to players of this game it’s to not settle for ‘conventional wisdom’. I really hope to see a wide range of decks win throughout the Store Championships, Regionals, and of course at the North American Championships and Worlds.

Until then, if you’d like to see our local players duking it out (including World Champion Dennis Harlien and myself), we live stream the top table EVERY Tuesday night from 6:30 pm to 10 pm central standard time. You can catch our live stream here.

Before I end, a huge congrats again to World Champion Dennis Harlien on the win. Also props to Matt Kohls for finishing second at worlds and then partnering with me to take the 2 v 2 title home. Crossing my fingers that it’s an “official” format next year.

May the force be with you,



  1. First, great read! Second looking at your dark side deck I personally think you have too many 1 drops. I would have ran it a little deferent.

    I think having only 1 cots is a no no. Being able to draw 2 cards on your opponents turn is simply too good.

    I like the reasoning behind dropping 1 web and I think I will be doing that in my deck for 1 copy of ghosts.

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    1. Thanks for the comment! What do you mean 1 drops? 1 cost units?

      As for Counsel of the Sith, what would you drop?

      I liked the balance of one of those and one Ghosts of the Dark side for the 2 copies of Force Wraith. They are fantastic units to have on the board.

      1. 1 drops meaning only having 1 of a object set. I would drop 1 motti honestly. Motti is strong but with the current meta being LS vehicles with rebel assault. Motti is too risky to play.

        Ghosts is quite possibly one of the best support sets next to COTS the sith have.

      2. Didn’t you say you thought I was already running too many 1 drops?

        I definitely could drop a Motti objective set now that I’m looking at it. I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes!

  2. I definitely agree about the Emperor. He is pretty widely overrated. Still a very good unit, but not as useful as people think. The Royal Guard, on the other hand, is amazing and certainly at the top of the curve for 2-drop units for either side. As far as Ghosts goes though… I just wish it had a card in it that I wanted other than the Shockwave. The wraiths are ok, but at 3 cost I’m rarely happy to play them. Dark Memories is good, but very situational. I do like the objective, but never really need it. Shockwave almost makes up for that for me, but it’s a close call. I also personally like Trandoshan Terror a little more than Imperial Command. I’d rather have Motti than Bossk early in games at least, but late game it’s much closer. The trandoshans are almost strictly better than the stormtroopers (they are strictly better in this deck as it doesn’t have any effects that care about troopers). The duty officer vs bounty is a close call. And I’ll pretty much always prefer drawing a Heat of Battle over Orbital Bombardment. That one’s just personal play style though. :-)

    I do love Lando though. My problem with his set has always been the affiliation restriction. I really want to have Han and Lando and the Falcon, but then I’m pretty much locked into a pure Smugglers deck (which can still be good). But man, if I could run the big guns of Han/Lando/Luke/Falcon/Chewie I’d be happy…

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    1. It’s so tough for me not to bring Motti, not even for Motti. I think Orbital Bombardment late game is such a closer. So many games I’ve locked down thanks to bombardment.

      I do like the idea of Trandoshan Terror. It’s an interesting objective set, only having 1 card that even needs the resource match.

      1. I just usually find that I have enough closing power without orbital bombardment. There’s Vader, the Executor, the Emperor, the Wraiths, and even a couple of the smaller units (the Kuati Security Team and Dark Side Apprentice), not to mention pinging with the Executor’s reaction. I’d rather have the slightly better killing units power from the Trandoshans than Orbital Bombardment, which usually feels like a “win more” card to me by the time I’d be playing it and using it.

        All of this is probably because we have slightly different styles, of course. If you ever play on octgn, we’ll have to play sometime :-)

      2. New kickstarter to build Zach a PC. Or everyone can just send me money and I’ll just build him one once I get enough cash to build one and ship it across the country.

  3. Good article, Zach, and congrats again on your making it to the top 16, and the 2v2 championship. I’m wondering if you have the plaque displayed prominently in the store somewhere….

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Palpatine is over-rated. Yes, he’s no good vs the unblocable ships on defense, and yes he’s expensive, but there are ways around those things.

    While getting both Palpatine and the holocron in hand isn’t super reliable, it does happen with a moderately alarming frequency (at least it seems that way when I’m playing against Sith). Getting him out for three plus a card is a massive discount, and well worth it. And most of the time I don’t see Sith hurting for resources, so even at full cost he can usually come out when needed.

    When going up against a sleuth type deck, the big three (Palpatine, Vader and the Executer) are still solid plays. Now you don’t have to worry about wondering if you should hold them back on defense. Palpatine can lock down those ships after they get one attack through. Sith can accelerate the game pretty well with those three, and Palpatine doesn’t lose any control on the offense, which is great.

    Palpatine is also a foil to Lando as well. Because Lando can only pull out one unit from a combat, throw Palpatine in there plus someone else that’s a serious threat (which could be someone as simple as a Heavy Stormtrooper Squad), and the light side is left with no real good options. Pull out the LS unit, and Palpatine then gets to lock down the side. Pull out Palpatine, and the LS has to face what’s left in the engagement, leaving Palpatine to defend again.

    I’m curious as to why you included a copy of Obi’s set in your LS deck? What was your thought process there?

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    1. Good thoughts here Nick! I think the Palpatine discussion is a huge one and like seeing both sides of the coin. He’s generally worth 6. The more I play this game and the more I’m drawing 5-6 cards a turn, I realize how important not having dead draws becomes. If you run 2 of each objective in your deck and each has a solid unique character, you can have some pretty unfantastic draws in the middle of the game (especially if you do get to drop Palpatine turn 1). I still think he’s a great card, I just don’t think he is an auto 2 include as most people assume.

      As for Obi, there are lots of reasons. It’s mainly that ever card in the objective set is awesome.

      As a one of, it’s an objective I don’t mind seeing when it comes out. Then of course there is Obi, who is a fantastic pairing with the Falcon and an awesome card to drop into an edge battle. It also gives me more units that can use all of my Jedi enhancements. I’ve had way to many games with enhancements in my hand, In You Must Go on the board, and no one to play them on. You also get the beast of a unit Jedi in Hiding. Mind Trick is UNBELIEVABLE. And then you get a friend shield at will? The ability to stop a key damage or, more importantly, tactics can be game breaking.

      Overall I think it’s a fantastic objective set and gives me another character to drop in with Falcon that pairs well with the rest of my deck.

      1. You must have had more luck with Jedi in Hiding than I ever have. Even with 2 copies of Secret of Yavin 4, he just seems to die too quickly.

      2. I wouldn’t say luck, it’s more perspective and this deck in particular.

        I have 2 copies of Trust Me and 2 of the Jedi event cancel. Unless Vader is on the board, this unit seems to stay alive. With the cancel I’m running, this is rarely a unit worth targeting. I also have the protectors.

        Jedi struggle for characters so having anything is good. It works because of the style of the deck honestly. Add that with working well with my enhancements, being a “decoy” to get them to spend their damage cards, and being another Falcon option and it’s not an awful card.

      3. My problem with them is more in the getting them through an engagement issue. My opponent usually (though not always) has enough unit damage on the board that they end up dying without accomplishing much for me.

      4. In a vacuum, sure. Imagine a situation where you have it on the board and any other big unit (outside Falcon). If you swing with both, it can be really annoying for the opponent to have to strike this guy or take 2 unit damage. The really annoying part is when you have a protector. It makes battle math hilarious.

      5. Yep. I used to think the objective set wasn’t good. Then I revisited it and realized how wrong I was using a lot of the cards in the beginning.

        I really think as players we have to be careful not to develop specific opinions about cards or objective sets because of how they work in one deck or another. They can act completely different in other decks.

  4. Hey Zach, I agree that with the Sith decks being so reliant on event cards, it makes sense to build a deck to counter it. So if you were to make any changes to your LS deck from Worlds, you would remove one set of protectors and replace that with another set of Falcon?

    And in the unlikely event that you flop all Smuggler objectives, I imagine you’d need to would then use Falcon to drop your jedi characters?

    I’m playing in my 2nd store championship game this weekend so any feedback would be appreciated..thanks!

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    1. If I were going to play that deck again, I think I would actually just add the Falcon objective and run with 11. That makes the odds of seeing all smuggler lower and gets me what I’m wanting.

      Truthfully though, if I went back I would run the vehicle deck I had built at the time. It’s explosiveness and consistency is just too good not to run. If the dark side ever has a weak turn it can just destroy.

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