Dark Side Power Decks, Part 2
Part 2: How to Beat Them
In today's Star Wars: TCG environment, it would appear that the tides have shifted. Dark Side has become the side everyone wants to play—and oh, how low it can bid. To this group of Dark Side Power deck players, I say:
"Don't be so proud of this technological terror you've constructed..."
As a Star Wars: TCG player who may well encounter this new wave of Dark Side Power decks, how can you adequately prepare yourself? While the latest decks are difficult to combat, these few tips should help you recognize what you’re facing when you sit down to play a game, and be able to react in time to save your skin. The latest and "greatest" Light Side deck, Chewie-Droid Reanimator, is a perfectly good deck that can combat the two recently featured Dark Side Power decks—with some upgrades. (If you haven't seen the Chewie-Droid Reanimator deck, please refer here, as it will be the basis for my subsequent analysis.)
The two main Dark Side Power decks that have Light Side players baffled are Falcon's Needs and Creature Swarm. Both of these decks work in a completely different way, but they each have telltale signs of when they are coming. In most cases, because they play first, there isn't anything you can do to prevent the Dark Side deck from "going-off” (that is, activating its major series of combos). As a Light Side player, you can merely watch what happens and begin to plan your reactionary strategy. That's the strong suit of the Light Side—being able to react to your opponent's actions.
Vs. Falcon's Needs
So, my Padawan learner, how can we get around Falcon's Needs? I have good news! Mission cards like Departure Time and Leap Into the Chasm are nice ways of getting your affected unit discarded. However, a good Falcon’s Needs deck will have you in a position where you’ll never even build a Mission card, so these methods won't work often enough to be useful in our revised deck. For the same reason, units such as Lando Calrissian (C) won't work either—if you don't drawn him in set up, you'll never build him, or else he's likely to be the recipient of Falcon's Needs. That strikes out most of the ready options to break the grasp of Falcon's Needs.
Enter Decoy Tactics: a Battle card that allows a player to pitch a unit for free, along with the option of putting another one into play from your hand (if you pay Force equal to the cost of the unit to be played). Brilliant!
Unfortunately, Falcon's Needs is a "mill" deck. In other words, it churns the Light Side player's deck into the discard pile—which means you’ll often lose one or more of your Decoy Tactics to cards like Alter the Deal on turn #1. One way to combat this is by putting Mos Eisley in the deck. Not only does it help Chewie-Droid Reanimator put more droids into the discard pile, but if you're able to play it against Falcon’s Needs, you could also choose Battle cards—and be guaranteed to draw one of your 4 Decoy Tactics.
Since Falcon's Needs uses San Hill (A) to deny you those odd build points, one way to squeeze that single point you need for Mos Eisley or for Chewbacca (G) to bring out a droid, is by attacking San Hill every time your opponent deploys one. This is a good move to consider if you do not draw a Decoy Tactics after Falcon’s Needs goes off.
Vs. Creature Swarm
Now for the second Dark Side Power deck: Creature Swarm. This deck uses Orrays and Wampa Caves to drop in lots of small critters, and then Kessel System and Lull in the Fighting to basically draw the entire deck. The good news is that the stall tactic in the Character arena weakens the deck, so that's where we’ll attack! Chewbacca is already very good at whacking creatures with his Retaliate ability. Let's make it better by removing one Chewbacca (G) and adding Chewbacca (I). Against creatures, this guy will win it for the Light Side.
But that's not enough; let's also do a quick search for any droids that help us. Ah ha: LIN Demolitionmech allows us to do two points of damage to each unit in the Character arena. This will take care of those Scurriers, Massiffs, and Kouhuns, as well as severely damage the Creature Swarm deck's collection of Nexus. Other cards, such as Slumming on Coruscant, already work well against creatures, and who can argue with such Characters as Mace Windu (A) and Yoda (D)? After winning in Character, pick the second arena of your choice (Space preferred) and mop up the game in quick fashion. Our deck was a favorable match up already, and those small options leveled the Dark Side advantage. As an added bonus, this deck also works against Dark Side Tuskens.
After making a few small tweaks to Chewie-Droid Reanimator, we’ve taken a deck that was already good to begin with, and added a few extra tricks and cards that help us even out matches against the metagame. In general, if you know which decks are dominating the field, take a step back and look at how they win, where their weaknesses are, and where (and how) you'll need to attack them. Many times, you’ll find an effective strategy in cards you might have never before considered to play.
Here’s our new Chewie-Droid Reanimator deck loaded up with anti-Falcon’s Needs and anti-Creature Swarm/Tusken cards. May this deck do well by you, and may the Force be with you!
—Michael “Skymiles” Kelly
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