Star Wars TCG Qualifiers: Tulsa, Oklahoma
On May 8th, the 2004 Star Wars TCG Championship Series hit Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today, we take an extensive look at many of the decks that placed in the Tulsa Qualifier—starting with those from Team CAIN'T's Jason Czapansky, who won the event.
As always, our congratulations to the winners of completed Qualifiers, and best of luck to all SW:TCG players still in competition. (See this listing for a complete schedule.)
1st place: Jason Czapansky
"My Light Side deck was just a general beat-down deck, focused on prevention/Force gain. The deck was made specifically for overtime use, gaining build points with Princess Leia (G), the Gallofree Medium Transports (added post-Qualifier) and the Rebel Escape Squads, as well as gaining new cards with the Coruscant Air Buses. Getting out my Locations and Maces were also main goals with this deck."
"My Dark Side deck was made to be a menace to the Force—using Carbon Freezing Chamber and disrupting Battle cards to make sure the Light Side would have to use its Force wisely to win. The deck was designed to go in all three arenas, causing my opponents to use all their Force with evades and prevention in order to save their low health units, and then force them to put a high-build Character back into their hand on turn 1.
"Team Bus’s Falcon's Needs deck was my biggest concern, and yes I did play against it in the Qualifier. (In the Championship) my biggest fear will be the "Engine" decks, where you must draw two specific arenas to stand a chance against them.
"For some unknown reason, I was on top of my game that day (at the Qualifier). The decks I faced were great—each person had their specific play style and deck that fit them well. Also, I want to congratulate my team, Team CAIN'T, for placing 7 of its 8 members in the top 20, 4 in the top 8, and 2 qualifying for Worlds in the top 4. I also want to send some congratulations to Justin Beegle and Todd McFadyen. And I want to say great job to Phillip Rowland and Steven Wooley—Philip for just an overall great job, and Steven for giving me the 3 best games I ever played and the only blemish on my record (in the first round); all 3 games were decided by one build point-damage."
2nd place Justin Beegle
"Light Side is just a normal basic Dining Hall deck, with a slight amount of build gain involved with Leia. This deck fared pretty well against the Falcon's Needs deck: 4-2."
"I’ve noticed that people are just running three main units in Space: a stacked Luke's X-Wing, stacked Millennium Falcon, and stacked Obi-Wan's Starfighter, plus usually three or four other units. So knowing this, I decided to exploit the Light Side's Space weakness with a type of "swarm".
"I decided that the best way to win Space was to run the Dreadnaught Heavy Cruiser and Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer, along with Tatooine Hangars, to get my Starfighters either for free or 1 build. With this engine running, I should gain control of Space relatively quick, and then bring in the bombers along with the pilots to win Ground.
"Early on, the weakness of the Dark Side deck was the heavy damage prevention that Light Side decks can contain, so I threw in some Lando's Trickery and Sacrifices, not only to disrupt but also to get rid of Falcon's Needs.
"As for the Tulsa Qualifier, it was a very good competitive environment and I knew going in that it would be extremely competitive. I played everyone that qualified and I wish each and every one good luck at Worlds—and I shall see you there."
4th place: Zach Bunn
"One of my best friends, Steven Wooley (5th place, Tulsa), was my main playtest partner. Before the release of Rouges and Scoundrels, our decks were set in stone and we hardly ever lost. After the release though, our decks changed drastically. First off, we had to find a way to incorporate Falcon's Needs and defend against it in both decks. We knew that people would be running nasty strategies with this card, so we weren't worried about using it, just defending against it. Our decks went every which way, from using Krayt Dragons, to AT-AT Assault Groups, to Mace, to Chewie, to Han/Leia—we tried everything.
"Our Light Side deck was the one that came together first. I saw the idea of Chewie constantly recycling droids, such as IG-88 (A) and Guri (A), and knew I had to manipulate it right away. At first it was a beefy unit deck, that ran units with massive health—along with the Chewbaccas that removed damage for each card drawn (B), that could pay build to remove damage (E), and of course the re-animator (the nickname given to Chewbacca (G) from ESB).
"This was cute, of course, but it wasn't good enough and we knew it. It could be better, and we had to figure out how. Eventually, we realized that Dark Side generally doesn't try in Space, so we just threw in some Falcon stacks. We also realized that if Dark Side loses Ground, they basically lose. We could win Characters easily enough—considering that once the re-animator came out with some droids, it was over in that arena—so we had to figure out a way to win Ground. Eventually we came to rely on speeders: the Rebel Armored Freerunners, Luke's Snowspeeder (A), and Wedge's Snowspeeder (A) won Ground on a 60% basis. Then we found a lost jewel, Disturbance in the Force, which totally destroys assault groups. We also added starfighters and Power Dive, because it worked so well with the Freerunners.
"The night before the Qualifier, we stayed up for hours and finally got the decklist to what it was at the tournament. We decided to throw in the C-3POs, because they worked so well with the re-animator and Departure Times, so we really wouldn't have to worry about Falcon's Needs. Overall I believe it did quite well in the tournament. I only lost 1 game out of 6—not bad."
"Dark Side was a ride, let me tell you. Two weeks before the Qualifiers, I was running a Darth Sidious plus support Character deck, with assault groups as my hoss in Ground. Since Battle of Yavin, I've believed that if Dark Side could win Space without using too much build, they would win the game. So that is what I set out to do.
"First off, the biggest change was Ground. I used ion cannons, plus gunners, plus Hoth Battle Plains, to deal out a lot of damage to Space units. Then I changed Darth Sidious to Darth Vader, used IT-0 Interrogator Droids to get rid of Falcon's Needs, and gunners to boost my ion cannons.
"This deck was decent, but it was still missing something. Eventually I found it: Dark Sacrifice. I also threw in AT-AT Assault Groups, in Ground. It worked very nicely; I could clear out Ground with the assault groups, and then Dark Sacrifice them to give all of my ions +13 power—allowing me to win Space and Ground all in the same turn. If I needed to win Characters, I'd attack with Darth Vader, Dark Sacrifice him, and let my 3 or 4 other Characters gain +10 power. This gave me a lot of wins at unexpected times. The best thing, however, was that I could get rid of a unit with multiple Falcon's Needs on it for only 2 Force. It worked so perfectly.
"We were playtesting the night before, and decided that a powerful Space unit was needed. After trying the Executor, Death Star, Devastator, again and again, we finally stopped on the Executor (A). It gave my ions, my Vader, my IT-0s, my gunners, my assault groups, and my TIE Fighters: +2 power. What more could I ask for? Overall the Dark Side performed excellently, only losing 2 games the entire day out of 8, one of them due to a draw of entirely Characters.
"Thanks to the rest of Team CAIN'T, and I give mad props to Steven Wooley—without him none of it would have been possible."
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