Star Wars TCG - Player StrategyTwo weeks before GenCon, Joey Leake and I had just finished making our first decks that included Sith Rising. I put together the first draft for the deck, and Joey used his battle simulation program to put statistics behind the choices, and making adjustments where his program showed that a unit matchup had a different outcome than expected. We completely based our deck around unit efficiency, and at the time only threw Unfriendly Fire in the deck because "Pyroclasm for Star Wars HAS to be good."
Designing a Deck Around Unfriendly Fire
Around that time, we decided we should prepare seriously for GenCon, and that we work with someone else to get an outside view of our builds, and so we could basically work together to create a more tuned deck for the championships. Well, in our area, the best deck builder we could think of was Steve Smith. The entire deck was built in one night; nothing was changed between when we first put the deck together and the GenCon championships itself. This was mostly due to the fact we only had a week to test it, although for that particular tournament I'm not sure we would have changed anything even looking back (it’s hard to argue with results).
We thought about how we should put our heads together to build this deck, and we finally came to a solution. Joey and I laid our deck out, Steve laid his deck out, and we sat around discussing each slot in deck. We asked each other questions about why we picked that particular unit for that slot in the deck (or that battle/mission card). Specifically, the following points were brought up:
For every card we played in the deck, we spent about 5 minutes in a discussion about these factors. Some cards were obvious; they were already in both decks. Some were issues of hot debate. It also just so happened that many cards were brought up due to the fact we were playing Unfriendly Fire. What follows are examples of our discussion regarding specific cards.
Techno Union Warship
Discussions about choices like these went around for every card we ended up playing, although for certain cards the conversation only took about 5 seconds. For example, I believe the "discussion" for Tyranus's Solar Sailer went something like this:
In the end, we came up with the decks you see in our championship decklists today. Were those choices the best choices we could have made for the tournament? Probably not. I'm sure if we analyzed what everyone else was playing we could have come up with slightly more optimal units here and there. However, in a large tournament where your opponents are going to be playing very varied decks, I think our strategy was correct in building your deck to play the most efficient units possible with emphasis on doing the best against the most efficient units from the other side. Sometimes you'll face a unit that may just happen to be superior in the matchup against the units you’re playing, but if your units are the most efficient ones possible that effect should be minimized.
As we approach the release of A New Hope, we're finding out that the formulas and theories we applied to decks now are quickly being invalidated. New abilities like intercept and piloting add a new dynamic to card interactions and we'll have to put our heads together and hash out what we feel is the best deck for the next environment. The most important piece of advice I can give people is to communicate. One of the main reasons we feel our deck is so good is that we combined the deckbuilding knowledge of 3 people who have drastically different deckbuilding styles. We discussed and came to a universal acknowledgement of what should be in the deck and what shouldn't. Keeping an open mind between your playtesters and knowing to trust the judgement of the other people when they disagree with you is extremely important.
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