Hi! My name is Justin McBride and I am one of the founders here at Top Tier Gaming. I recently won the Portage, IN regional and placed second at the Mt. Prospect, IL regional. I have played TCGs on a professional level for many years and since have taken a bit of a break, but I LOVE this game. So I have played A LOT of it! So much so, I play semi-daily, testing out new decks and even visiting old ones.
I'm going to attempt to write an article a week, based on what I feel are important aspects to deckbuilding, as well as playing the game, and choosing the right deck for the game environment, or the metagame. I'll show you how I look at the meta-game to help my deck choices. I will show you some of my thought process behind the objective sets I have chosen. I also want to help you find your own style of play and how to adjust it. Sound interested?
Going into last week, I was kinda stumped on what I wanted to play for the regional. The new force pack came out on Wednesday and I couldn't find the right deck to play. I tried the Smuggler's Cavern deck that TinyGrimes over at cardgamedb.com was advocating but I just didn't feel that it was powerful enough. Going into the tournament I knew that The Hoth Lockdown Sith deck and the Top Tier TIES were the most powerful decks in the meta so I wanted a LS deck that I felt could take advantage of those.
My teammates and myself were REALLY excited about Preparation for Battle. It had a great early game if the objective happened to be in play but the set is also REALLY solid, with all the shielding. They, along with most players felt that it was the push needed to make the Rebel Vehicle decks more playable. I agree, but then I thought, what about the Jedi? I just felt like the Rebels were still very draw dependent. I also know that I am a control player at heart, so the Jedi style of play is more up my ally.
While the Smuggler's Den decks that were the top dog last month were really powerful (I even won a regional with it) it had one huge flaw, it lacked enough units, and sometimes it would have some really BAD hands, I'm talking hands that make you straight up lose.
Since I wanted to be rebellious and not play rebels like my teammates, I decided to port over a smuggler's den list over replacing Message from Beyond with Preparation for Battle and played some games.
The results were kinda mixed, but I could feel some of the power just from playing it.
First thing I actually didn't like was Yoda's Pod (In You Must Go). Yoda was a beast in the Smuggler's Den, but without all those Old Ben's Spirit, he just became a glorified tactic with 5 force icons (not too horrible, but not that powerful.) Also the deck started to crumble against the Top Tier TIEs deck, which I knew would be popular because it got a new support set with Deploy the fleet. So then it hit me...
1 x Smugglers and Spies
2 x A Hero's Journey
2 x Forgotten Heroes
2 x Preparation for Battle
2 x Questionable Contacts
2 x The Secret of Yavin 4
2 x AAC-1 Speeder Tank
2 x AAC-1 Speeder Tank
2 x C-3PO
2 x Guardian of Peace
2 x Guardian of Peace
2 x Han Solo
2 x Hoth Scout
2 x Jedi in Hiding
2 x Luke Skywalker
2 x Obi-Wan Kenobi
2 x Tauntaun
2 x Twi'lek Loyalist
2 x Twi'lek Smuggler
2 x Cloud City Casino
2 x Dagobah Training Grounds
2 x Jedi Lightsaber
2 x Trust Your Feelings
2 x Crossfire
2 x Jedi Mind Trick
2 x Lightsaber Deflection
2 x Our Most Desperate Hour
2 x Shelter from the Storm
2 x Swindled
2 x Heat of Battle
2 x Twist of Fate
The return of Obi-Wan. With all those glorious tactic icons. This was a true control deck for the light side. Even if you don't get Prepare for Battle in your opening objective, it is still a VERY POWERFUL deck.
This deck is really good in the meta at the moment. I found it really enjoyable to figure the deck out the morning of the regional, and since then I have played it many more times, and I find that it really is a blast to play. You really have to get a feel for the deck on your own because it plays a little bit differently than a standard Jedi deck.
While I wish I could tell you how to play the deck, I can't because its always changing depending on what you draw, what your opponent plays, etc. I can tell you a few things I found during my short time with the deck:
1. You don't always need to attack the first turn, but the most important step is to make sure you win the balance of the force to slow them down. It's also really important to try and keep the balance of the force with the LS (or at least never let them keep it on the start of their turn.) Also, if you do happen to draw PFB you will have great security on keeping your board.
2. Setting up a shielded unit is crucial. Mulligan for hands with multiple shielded units. You are not looking for mains early. Setup. It is much harder for them to deal with your big boys when you are setup.
3. Han and Obi-Wan are like the Emperor when you are playing against aggressive darkside decks. Deploy them and don't attack with them unless you really need them to. Its best for them to defend after you play them, then keep them alive the following turn to attack with them. You will take out more units.
4. Emperor Palpatine is not as devastating as before. With all the shields in this deck, instead of him locking down 3 of your units, he is usually only locking one. That is a great advantage!
This deck went undefeated at the regional, and I was top seed going into the final cut, and it never lost. Every single game I played (except for the semi-finals) the death star dial was only on 5. Crazy?!? I am pretty sure I would have won the regional, but I conceded in the finals because I already had my invite for worlds.
This deck was a blast to play as you have to really be a tight and technical player to play it correctly. However, just because I think it's the greatest deck ever doesn't mean it is the best for you. Find a deck that you like, and tweak it to your own play-style. If I didn't do that, I would've been playing something I would have regretted.
Next week, I will be looking at my dark side deck I chose for the regional (and boy, does it looks like a PILE) and also the advantages and disadvantages of running 1-of objective sets. See you next week!