In preparing for the 2004 SW:TCG Championships, our group came up with numerous deck designs. The few that performed decently, we kept for future testing, awaiting the one or two cards that would separate them from the pack. This article highlights two such decks -- a slightly inconsistent Executor Bridge Combo and a very consistent Trade Federation Control.
Executor Bridge Combo Deck
The Executor Bridge Combo Deck revolves around reducing the cost of Pilots and Space units to zero, playing them, and then playing Alter the Deal to refill your hand. Reducing the cost of Space units comes from Tatooine Hangar and Hoth System. Ideally, you end your setup with two or three Tatooine Hangars. Reducing the cost of Pilots comes from the Executor Bridge Location, which is (hopefully) played early. This deck can be very explosive -- I have seen it deploy 20 build points worth of units on the first turn. Once the core pieces are in play, the deck becomes like most combat-focused decks.
The addition of Executor (A) strengthens each arena, and should last awhile hiding behind the TIE Pursuit Pilot/TIE Fighter DS-61-9.
While the main focus of the deck is winning Space, winning Ground is assisted through the use of TIE Bomber EX-1-8, along with TIE Bomber Pilot, allowing for multiple Bombard 5 units, or Bombard 7 with Executor (A). The Ground arena is designed to stall the game while you focus on capturing Space. AT-AT with an AT-AT Driver provides a very cost-efficient stalling unit.
The Character arena is also definitely winnable, especially since your Pilots are all Imperial and so gain Executor (A)'s bonus.
Trade Federation Control Deck
The second deck is the Trade Federation Control Deck, which, through the use of Nute Gunray (C), allows you to maintain nearly complete control over a game. One of the problems with this kind of deck is not drawing one of the four Nute Gunrays (C) during setup. In an effort to avoid this, we added four additional Nute Gunrays (versions A and B) and Splinter the Republic. Splinter allows you to search for the proper version of Nute Gunray as long as you have any version of Nute Gunray in play.
The goal behind Space and Ground is to abuse the Trade Federation Battle Freighter and Trade Federation Core Ship while putting out small units to keep the pressure up. Giving all of these units Intercept is a great start; because you choose where damage goes, this allows your big units to survive longer. Then there's the added ability of sacrificing a unit to deploy its counterpart. Doing this is fairly inexpensive, as Nute reduces the cost by 1 -- meaning that with Nute it only takes 2 counters to discard a nearly destroyed 7/7 in order to put another fresh Trade Federation Battle Freighter or Trade Federation Core Ship into play.
While this is a strong strategy on its own, you can make it even stronger. The big restriction on the ability is that you can only put these units into play as long as no unit is attacking. But you can wait until after all units in that arena have tapped. This tactic works because even without a legal unit to attack, a unit still taps. This allows you to wait until all of the opponent's units tap, then discard your Trade Federation Battle Freighter or Trade Federation Core Ship, and put a brand-new Trade Federation Fortification or Trade Federation Capital Ship into play and attack.
Trade Federation Control Core and Blockade Battleship both meet the requirements for placing counters, and are there to provide more consistency. While Pilot's Dodge and Sacrifice help account for the unexpected, Trade Federation MTT keeps the pressure up and works particularly well with Trade Federation Hangar. Neimoidian Shuttle (A) is particularly good late in the game when you start running low on units to intercept for Nute in the Character arena.
The Character arena is largely a stalling arena, though you are capable of winning through underhanded tactics. Rune Haako (A) and Rebel Surrender provide a neat trick, as Rune intercepts for the attacker, and then retreats. This causes the attack to end immediately. Since the attacker has attacked and rolled no hits, this satisfies the requirements to play Rebel Surrender.
Imperial Misdirection can function in the same fashion, by waiting until the attack has been declared and then playing it. This moves counters from one of your damaged units to your defending unit, killing it before dice are rolled; again, this ends the attack and satisfies Rebel Surrender. This is especially helpful because it can be played in the Ground arena and can be used to remove counters from one of the rather large Ground units.
The reactive approach this deck takes is why we classify it as a "control" deck.
James McCoy took 3rd place in the 2004 SW: TCG Championships. His winning decks may be found here.
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