Gen Con Championship Predictions
“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”
I've been challenged with the task of predicting the future. Today I see: People, sitting, at long tables with cards in front of them, the sounds of rolling dice, joy, sorrow, excitement, tension, victory and defeat. It's Gen Con! It's the Star Wars Trading Card Game Championship. Perhaps if I concentrate... Yes! I see! I see the decks that the people are using!
Would you like to know what they are?
OK, back to reality. A soothsayer I am not. But I do have an opinion on what decks I think will be used at this year's Gen Con. I foresee the use of some familiar decks and the use of some new combos.
Let's start with the Light Side.
Princess Leia (G)
Look for Light Side to utilize Chewie Reanimator, Rebel, Jedi, and Naboo/Gungan decks. That said, the #1 most frequently used combo in Light Side decks this year will probably be Princess Leia (G) and her Smuggler friends. Leia (G) provides damage prevention for all Smugglers, but the best part of her ability is that it works while she's piloting a Transport (providing you with an extra 3 build points per turn.) The most common Smugglers used in these decks are Han Solo and Dash Rendar (A), but you may also see Lando Calrissian. If you do see Lando, expect a heavy dose of Bespin units in the Ground arena to beef up Lando Calrissian (G).
The focus of this deck is to win the Space and Character arenas. The Space units revolve around a fully stacked Millennium Falcon, the Redemption (A) (to heal Leia), Luke’s X-Wing stack, and intercepting units to provide cover. Leia provides damage prevention for your Smugglers so that they can decimate the Character arena and remain unscathed.
Most of this deck's weakness lies in the Ground arena and it's susceptibility to Rebel Surrender. That's why this deck carries a good dose of disrupt cards. Variations might see card draw units in Ground, Luke Skywalker instead of Lando, and damage prevention cards.
Jedi Council Quorum
Secondly for the Light Side, expect to see the Jedi Council Quorum decks in the Championship. The cards that make Quorum work with efficiency are: Han's Promise, Gallofree Medium Transport (and its smaller cousin, the Corellian Corvette), Jawa Sandcrawler, Discuss it in Committee, and Yoda's Hut.
This deck is a wise choice for the combo-based player, but in my own opinion it wins through underhanded methods. Any deck that doesn't win through battle is, in my mind, an easy way out. I can see if you're playing with the Dark Side here, but the Jedi are above such trickery—winning by technicality and deception is the way of the Sith.
Duel of the Fates
In addition to Quorum, the Light Side might be using a new combo deck, one based on Duel of the Fates. This deck relies on three specific combos, one for each arena, all of which work with Duel of the Fates.
In Space, the combo is IG-2000 (A) with Dantooine System. Get the IG-2000 out during setup. When build starts, do not pay its Upkeep, thus tapping it. Deploy Dantooine System and Duel of the Fates. Discard the Location, so your opponent cannot attack tapped units. Make sure you choose speed for your choice on IG-2000. The next Space battle starts, and you choose speed again; by this time you should be faster than all the units your opponent. With Dantooine still in play, you can attack all his/her units and your opponent cannot attack IG-2000.
The Ground combo uses the Rebel Armored Freerunner with Han Enchained. Since the Dark Side cannot attack the RAF, it's free to tap and do direct damage until it wins the Ground arena.
If that wasn’t enough, the Character arena combo uses either Tusken Warrior or A'Sharad Hett (A) with either A Moment's Rest or Owen Lars (A). These combine to create an unpreventable unit that cannot be damaged. Variations of this deck can include the use of Bogwing to deck your opponent and Muftak and Kabe (A) to get rid of your hand and discard pile, building up a stockpile of 60+ build points for next turn. It's my opinion that these Duel decks also classify as winning by underhanded measures, and any player that believes in fair play and competition won’t use them on principle.
But you should know that this deck, as well as Quorum, is not without flaws. Both rely on a lot of build and a specific setup to work. There are ways that the Dark Side can hinder the functionality of these decks. One way is to make all their utilities cost Force. To do that, Dark Side will utilize Darth Sidious (D) and Nexus. Carbon Freezing Chamber will destroy any Duel deck and cause havoc for Quorums. And both decks rely on utility cards to function, so if you use IT-0 Interrogator Droids or Slumming on Coruscant to discard key cards, your opponent will not be able to get powerful combos off in time.
The Dark Side
So how does the Dark Side prepare to fight such insurmountable combos? (Please consult your nearest Astromech droid for the latest odds.) For inspiration, I think we can look to the article Michael “Skymiles” Kelly wrote on his Trade Federation deck. The Trade Fed decks, with their great combos, will probably be in the majority for Dark Side this year.
Nute Gunray (C) makes everything cheap and gives free Intercept to all members of his Federation. Combined with Rune Haako (A), Nute and Rune can really stall out an arena. Not to mention you can use Rune’s Retreat ability with Rebel Surrender. Don’t underestimate the ability to direct where your opponent is going to do damage. Intercept at the right moment wins matches.
However, as mentioned before, the Nexu/Darth Sidious (D) combination will more than likely see a lot of play because of its Force-denial ability. But don’t forget the following Dark Side decks either: Imperials, Tuskens, Piett’s Asteroids, and that ever elusive Dark Side deck that nobody has yet thought of (or revealed). Remember the surprise when Dark Side decks won the last two Championships.
"At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge."
Deck building for a major tournament like this is a lot like attempting to solve Rubik’s Cube for the first time. Just when you think you've figured something out, your next move screws up everything you’ve already accomplished. But with practice, patience, perseverance, and a little assistance, you just might find the solution out of the four quintillion possible combinations. In closing:
GOOD LUCK AT GEN CON EVERYBODY!
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