Hurray For Orray
Dark Side creature decks get a few new superstars
The Krayt Dragon has held the title of best creature unit in the game for some time now, but if you don't want to go with such a big behemoth, there are 3 great new creatures from Jedi Guardians that are dangerous in their own right. They are Kouhun, Orray, and Scurrier. This deck utilizes an army of small creatures in order to take advantage of the Orray's ability to draw a card every time a new creature is built.
Kouhun and Scurrier appear in the Character arena, as 2 of the most diminutive units that one could possibly run in the arena. But the Kouhun is one of the most dangerous units to the Light Side. Its special ability does 5 damage straight to a unit… no rolling required. It's enough to wound even the largest of Jedi and any non-Evading unit is in real danger of being taken out. While it does have to discard itself in order to use the special ability that is a small price to pay for such a blast of damage. The build cost of 2 makes it far more efficient than the similarly priced Creature Attack Mission, which does 5 dice of damage. Also coming in at 2 build is Scurrier, which can be quite powerful when deployed in numbers as it gets +2 power for each other Scurrier in the arena. If you find yourself with just one, you might as well leave it in your hand. If you save them up and deploy 3 or 4 at once, they really get dangerous. Another cheap creature is Massiff with its 60 speed and Stun 2. The deck needed at least one fast unit in Character. At 3 cost it still qualifies as a swarm-style unit, but the combo of high speed and Stun makes it a bargain. I originally tested the deck using the Intercepting Darth Vader (C), but at 5 build it was just a bit too much build for my purposes. It did well when the game went on for many turns, but this deck should be able to win the game within the first 3 turns. The unit I brought in to help the Kouhun survive was Admiral Motti (A). At 3 build, Motti will step in the way of any attack a big Mace or Anakin stack can dish out and doesn't spend any Force in doing so.
The Ground arena is where most of the deck's utility originates. The priority build of the arena is the Orray, especially during setup. With a couple of these in play, card superiority will soon be yours and you don't even need to leave them in the arena to get the extra draws. Its stats are reasonable and it can fight, but keeping Orray alive is also a priority. It'll have a bit more punch if you can deploy some Geonosian Picadors. This one will need to stay in the arena in order for it to grant creatures a +1 power bonus, so it needs something that can survive a while and fight well. The Mounted Stormtrooper is a slow creature unit and even though I'm not running any Stormtroopers to take advantage of its special ability, it's still an efficient unit with a great power and health for the cost. It'll be one of the last units to attack, but it has enough health that it should survive long enough to attack. Finally, for some extra utility, Tatooine Hangar is a healthy unit that can survive and help the Space arena units to come out for less build.
A real creature deck doesn't put too much emphasis in Space, as there aren't any creatures there. Space units are the lowest priority builds for the deck, but the deck can make a showing there, especially if there are a couple of Hangars in play. When a comeback is attempted, the best way to do it is with speed; so all the Space units this deck packs have a 60 speed. The best unit is the Trade Federation Droid Bomber with its Bombard 2. Even if there's no chance to win the arena, these guys are fast enough to get in a Bombard attack before being taken out. The best survivor of the bunch is the Geonosian Defense Fighter with its great 2 power and 3 health. With 2 Hangars in play, the TIE Fighter DS-3-12 is free to deploy. It won't survive, but can still get in a nice 2 die attack.
A better use for the TIE Fighter DS-3-12 is as Departure Time bait. The extra build is a great way to make a big push into the creature arenas, like a quick deployment of a couple of Scurriers. To make sure you have an extra Scurrier or 2, Splinter the Republic is the easiest way to get more. Sometimes grabbing a 2nd Orray is a good way to go in order to double up on the card draw when you build a creature. When all the pieces are in place, go for the win with Desperate Confrontation. Even with just the standard 4 Force, it should be enough extra dice to win one of the arenas. When things haven't been coming together or you've run out of cards, Plot the Secession is the way to recharge your hand or get rid of cards you don't need anymore.
Down in Flames is one card that you might not need, but if the Light Side is playing Speeders like the Rebel Armored Freerunner, this Battle card is a life saver. The Freerunner can make mincemeat of the small units in the Ground arena, so taking it out before it can attack is the only hope the deck has against it. The deck also needs help to win the Character arena and one of the best cards for that is Knockdown. The Kouhun and Scurrier are slow and will need the help after Motti gets taken out. For protection in any arena, Tyranus's Gift can reduce the power of any unit enough to help even the smallest of your units survive an attack.
Here's what the deck looks like all put together…
After seeing your opening hand, you'll want to mulligan pretty much all your Battle and Mission cards. The units are so small that you'll probably end up deploying 10 of them by the end of setup and you could run out of units if you aren't careful. There's no standard opening for the deck, but here are some things to consider:
If you do manage to get a couple of Orrays built during setup, try to save some of the 2 build cost creatures for the first turn. When you build them, you'll get to draw a card for each one and that'll give you lots of options.
If the game gets prolonged any amount of time and you need to refocus, take a turn to partially build several units (to get them out of your hand) and then play Plot the Succession to refill your hand. This deck is very dangerous with a bunch of cards in hand, so if you don't get the Orray engine going, don't be afraid to Plot even when you might lose a couple of decent cards.
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