How To Disrupt The Disrupter That Is Disrupting Your Disrupt
This week instead of showing a deck design I would like to focus a bit more on strategy. I have seen many decks that focus so hard on winning that sometimes they forget that this game offers many ways to lose as well. Some players are so quick to determine that their deck has become the next best thing while completely forgetting about many other beneficial cards. When you make a deck, you cannot always try to protect yourself from every angle. With the inclusion of Empire Strikes Back, it has become very hard to make a deck that will constantly win against everything it plays against.
This weekend a friend of ours called and asked for tips on making a Dark Side deck for a local Jedi Knights tournament that he was planning on attending that evening. He had very little Empire Strikes Back and he was quite nervous about what to expect from the play environment. We told him about our friend Andrew's Dark Side deck design that he used to get 9th place at the Sedalia Qualifier. It didn't need many new cards from Empire Strikes Back nor from Jedi Guardians. The deck was a solid idea and it helped our friend take first place (and win 18 packs of Empire Strikes Back) at the tournament. Immediately after hearing how the deck performed, I thought about a lot of weaknesses the deck possessed. Hearing that he had no problems winning, I became worried that players may not be utilizing some of the best strategies in the game.
With any game it becomes easy to lean towards a certain standard of playing. I have seen many cards become staples in decks. Players use cards and when the cards perform well, players tend to use them over and over in other decks that they create. This is always good as it keeps you familiar with those cards but it can also create the problem of players not willing to try other cards out.
Like the title suggests, I plan to discuss Disrupt. When Empire Strikes Back was released many players had jumped on the bandwagon of Locations. While Locations have become a great staple, many players are overlooking another great addition to the Star Wars TCG - Disrupt. I can't stress enough how powerful Disrupt can be. There are few units that are strong by themselves with little-to-no Battle cards to help them out. What is a Krayt Dragon without a speed pump? What are Tuskens without power pumps? What are Rebels without prevention?
I shouldn't have to explain how good canceling someone's Battle card can be. Admittedly, cards like Yoda (F) and Darth Vader (G) have given Disrupt somewhat of a bad name. Why would you waste the build points, a unique Character, and tapping a unique Character when your opponent can pay 2 Force and cancel your own Disrupt? This is not the Disrupt I am talking about. I am talking about the Disrupt that is worth your while and cannot be so easily cancelled.
Let's take a look at each of the newest Disrupt cards. It should be noted that each side; Light Side, neutral, and Dark Side, received a Disrupt Battle card.
Desperate Times -
Discard your hand - Disrupt a Battle card.
This is the worst of the Disrupt Battle cards. Why? Because if your opponent plays a Battle card that you would like to Disrupt and you discard your hand to play Desperate Times, and then your opponent plays a Disrupt card of his own to Disrupt your Desperate Times, you have no hand to defend yourself with. You are at the mercy of his Disrupt card and then your Desperate Times becomes cancelled. Desperate Times is not all bad though. Cards like Second Wave and Han's Promise make losing cards from hand a good thing. You do have to partially build the Han's Promise or Second Wave before you play the Desperate Times so you don't lose them. If your opponent plays a Battle card that has the potential of winning them the game it would always be in your best interest to try to cancel that card, even if it means losing your hand. Losing your hand is much better than losing the game.
Change in Destiny -
Pay 4 Force - Disrupt a Battle card.
This is my favorite of the Disrupt Battle cards. While it cost more than the other sides' Disrupt cards, it also comes at a much smaller loss. Both Light Side and Dark Side's Disrupt cards make you forfeit something while Change in Destiny only makes you forfeit four Force, two if your Cloud City Battle Ground is in play. This card is neutral and allows a Dark Side player or a Light Side player to run eight total Disrupt Battle cards. Since Change in Destiny only costs Force, it also becomes much easier to play multiple copies in one turn if needed.
Discard one of your units from any arena - Disrupt a Battle card that costs 4 or less Force.
I like this Disrupt card, but, I don't like the stipulations behind it. First, your opponent has to play a Battle card that costs 4 or less Force. The FAQ says that the printed cost must be four or less which is bad when playing against a Light Side deck that is using Cloud City Battle Ground to play expensive Battle cards cheaper. You also have to discard one of your units. This seems like a much better situation than discarding your entire hand, but it is still not as good as only spending Force.
Now that we know the Battle cards that Disrupt, let's take a look at the ideas we can use behind them.
In order for your deck to win using only Disrupt Battle cards, you must use units that are effective without Battle cards to make them better. The Light Side is at a strong disadvantage when it comes to units that fair well without the use of Battle cards. Many Light Side units depend on Anakin's Inspiration or Windu's Solution in order to live and do the most damage. Other cards like Yoda's Intervention and Pilot's Dodge also allow Light Side units that are weak to live longer and cause more havoc. While Light Side may have the best units in the game and may be the stronger side, I have yet to see a Light Side deck run absolutely no Battle cards.
Dark Side Space units like Executor (A), Techno Union Warship, and Imperial Fleet are all examples of cards that can live for a good amount of time without needing Battle cards to make them better. All have very high power and health and can live without the need of Battle cards that prevent damage or add speed to a unit.
Dark Side Ground units like Trade Trade Federation Control Core, AT-AT Assault Group, and Trade Federation Battleship Core are all examples of cards that can live for a good amount of time in the ground arena without needing Battle cards to make them better. Much like the Space units, these units live long and do maximum damage for the arena they are in.
Light Side does not have many options of high health and high power like the Dark Side has. Instead, Light Side has many units that function with built in prevention to help them last longer. Cards like Yoda (E) have also added to this built-in prevention idea by giving more units the ability to Evade without having to use Battle cards.
Light Side Space units like Millennium Falcon (B), Luke's X-wing (B), and Obi Wan's Starfighter (B) are all examples of cards that have built in Evade and can survive the arena longer than most other Light Side units. These cards can also be stacked, serving to help in their Evade.
Light Side Ground units like Luke's Snowspeeder (A) and Jedi Heroes are both examples of Ground units that have built in Evade. These kinds of cards allow the player to remove other prevention Battle cards from their deck in order to free up more room for Battle cards like Disrupt.
Quest for Truth is the best non-unit card for aiding in your Disrupt deck. In a Light Side deck, if you run four copies of Desperate Times, four copies of Change in Destiny, and four copies of Quest for Truth, you are running twelve cards that aid in canceling your opponents Battle cards. Quest for Truth allows a player to reveal their opponents hand and set aside all Battle cards found there for the turn. While set aside, you may use any of those Battle cards while your opponent cannot. If you use one of the Battle cards, it is discarded after it is played instead of returning back to your opponents' hand. Quest for Truth has the potential to "cancel" any amount of playable Battle cards from your opponents hand by allowing you to play them so your opponent doesn't get them back. Not only do you reap the reward of discarding their cards, but, you also reap the benefit of the card itself. In the decks that I have played using the formula of eight Disrupt Battle cards and four copies of Quest for Truth, I have never allowed my opponent to successfully play a single Battle card. In closing there are a few key things to remember about playing Disrupt:
- Even small cards like Pilot's Dodge are worth cancelling. You are in essence playing one Battle card to do two damage. Also, it's one less Pilot Dodge that they may need later.
- Try not to mulligan any Disrupt Battle cards if you can help it. Letting your opponent know that you are playing Disrupt cards is not always a good thing. Quest for Truth is okay to mulligan as it doesn't reveal too much.
- Using other cards that manipulate your opponents Force can be very beneficial. Cards like Maul's Strategy or Carbon Freezing Chamber or Bail Organa (A) can all be effective.
- Cards like IT-0 Interrogator Droid and Slumming on Coruscant are not good choices in a Disrupt deck. These cards take Battle or Mission cards out of your opponents' hand. If you remove Battle cards using these kind of cards, you are making the Disrupt cards you are playing worthless.
- Do not think that four copies of each Disrupt card are too much. When playing Force denial you don't run only one copy of Maul's Strategy do you? When running Force gaining cards you don't run only one Seek the Council's Wisdom do you? No, because by running as many as possible you are optimizing your odds of having the cards when needed.