This is a Setup!
Putting All the Pieces Into Place
Decisions you make during the Setup phase of the Star Wars Trading Card Game will affect the entire game. While you're trying to play your units as effectively as possible, you're also trying to trick your opponent into wasting his or her starting build points. Whereas the game itself is a mixture of subtle maneuvering and brute force, the Setup phase alternates between clever cat-and-mouse tactics and chest-pounding displays of raw power. What units you choose, what order you play them in, and how you react to your opponent's choices during Setup could determine who wins or loses the game. There are several elements of setting up you have to consider:
Plain Old Bad Draw
If it seems just impossible to win a game with your starting hand after you Mulligan, go through with the Setup phase anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised with the cards you draw as you play your units. If by the end of the Setup phase you still feel like you have no chance, play out the first turn and then concede. The best reason to this is to preserve the secrecy of your deck's construction. Why reveal your strategy if you're just going to lose anyway? In a tournament, cutting a losing game short could give you the crucial time you need to finish your match with a 2–1 victory instead of an 0–2 loss or a 1–1 tie.
If you think you have any chance whatsoever of pulling victory from the jaws of defeat, play the game through anyway. Your opponent could easily underestimate your deck's true strength and be lulled into a false sense of security. If your opponent believes that he beat you easily because he played better or has a better deck, game 2 of a tournament match is your opportunity to prove him wrong. Who wouldn't jump at a chance to replay a deck pairing they just won?
If you can manage to, start out by seeding two or three arenas each with a cheap unit. This usually requires you to spend 4 to 9 build points, but they are nearly always well spent. You'll have a toe-hold in each arena without having spent much of your starting build points. If your opponent never deploys anything to one of the arenas you're controlling with a 2- or 3-cost unit, you've won half the game for practically nothing.
Getting low-cost units out of your hand early allows you to draw more cards, giving you more choices when it comes to spending the rest of your starting build points. When your opponent is presented with one cheap unit in each of the three arenas, he or she must choose to match at least two of them each with an equally cheap unit or to one-up you by playing a bigger unit. That's when the fun part starts.
This is Tense!
If you're feeling particularly evil, play a second cheap unit to the arena; your opponent will be encouraged to keep adding units to insure his or her control of it.
Just as playing a cheap unit is a good first play for the Dark side, the Light side's first play can be just as masterful. Idealy, you should play a unit that costs one more (or a pair that total a cost of only one more) build point, and follow the guidelines above.
This is the point where your deck's strategy takes over. If you've built a Mace Windu-centered deck, you have to decide which Mace Windu to play. If your opponent has abandoned the Character arena, it might be wise to start with the cheapest Mace. You can stack the more expensive one underneath, or save him to for later.
And in the End...
Ultimately, you want to have fewer "wasted" starting build points than your opponent. Any build points you spent on units that stay in your build zone for the entire game, as well as any you spent in an arena you had no need to reinforce further, can be considered wasted. Of course, the game changes every time you or your opponent draw a card or roll the dice. Until the game is over, you can only assume that a play was good or bad.
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