Sometimes you just want to blow stuff up. There's nothing quite as satisfying as counting a stupid amount of dice into your palm, and then scattering them across the table in a display of power that any emperor would be proud of.
That's what this deck is all about.
"Witness the Power..."
Many cards leapt out of the latest set, but none more so than this beauty. The Imperial army has certainly learned a few things since those blasted Rebel upstarts took out their first ego-boosting toy. It may lack the punch of its predecessor, but the Death Star II (A) has a massive advantage.
The original Death Star was at the mercy of starfighters everywhere. Sure, it was a powerhouse, but you needed a darn sight more than the Force on your side if you faced Luke's X-wing (B) or a fleet of X-wing Escorts each at Critical Hit 3 or more.
Return of the Jedi brought the ultimate partner for your new planet, too. The TIE Interceptor is fantastic value for the money. For 3 build, you receive a 60-speed unit almost guaranteed to strike first with 3 dice at Critical Hit 1. This guy is a serious threat. Even if your opponent tries to ignore it and attempts pot shots at your planet killer, for 1 Force you get to jump in the way and take one for the team -- which, by the way, will be looking for vengeance with 14 dice in Space and 10 on the Ground.
Talking about bombardment, the TIE Bomber EX-1-2 is a very effective stand-alone unit, but the bonus it gives your Death Star can be truly devastating. Combine these two with Tactical Leadership for the ultimate dastardly combo!
The Space arena is not only about wiping units out of the Ground arena, though. With Droid Starfighter DFS-1VRs and Endor Imperial Fleets, this deck is more than capable of taking on your opponent's Millennium Falcon and winning what has traditionally been a Light Side dominated arena.
The Ground Arena
Bruised and somewhat surprised by the savagery experienced in Space, your opponent's day does not get any easier when the battle moves to the Ground arena.
Jabba's Guards are another revelation from the latest set. With or without paying their Upkeep, these guys are a solid foundation for your force. Their Intercept ability also ensures that vulnerable support units, such as Death Star Turbolaser Tower and Kaadu Scout, stay around as long as possible. Sebulba's Podracer (A) darts between your minions, weakening your opponents for the power card -- the Gungan Grand Army -- to threaten multiple units every attack with its Overkill ability. This is especially nasty if your Kaadu Scout has improved the number of hits with its Accuracy bonus. The scout can also willingly sacrifice itself for the cause to heal the army, prolonging your opponent's agony!
The Character Arena
Jumping out of their speeders, your opponent's characters find themselves facing the most feared figure in the galaxy -- a fully stacked Darth Vader! While Vader may seem like a no-brainer due to the sheer power of Darth Vader (K), there is more to his inclusion than you may first realize. While Darth Vader (B) is one of the most cost-effective and aggressive versions available and formidable by itself or stacked, Darth Vader (I) and Darth Vader (L) search for answers. Their ability to place Battle cards at your disposal cannot be underestimated, especially since the Battle cards in this deck are powerful effects that can radically turn the tide of battle.
IT-0 Interrogator Droid takes problems such as disrupts and damage prevention away from your opponent. Grand Moff Tarkin can either heal your Death Star or gain you an extra build while giving Vader Retaliate, depending on the state of play. These support units, together with the deadly Kouhun, are quite vulnerable, however, which is why our favorite crime lord -- Jabba the Hutt (C) -- is making an appearance, keeping your vulnerable units safe.
On to the Tricks!
I am a huge fan of Hanging Around; the versatility of this card can completely change the game. Countermeasures is a powerful foil to your opponent's power units, such as Krayt Dragon; and Imperial Misdirection can heal your Death Star II for the small price of a TIE Interceptor or TIE Bomber. Tactical Leadership may be a little expensive, but the Locations will sort this out and it can be a game winner. Fight on All Fronts is viable in this deck, as you will very likely have units in all three arenas and the aggressive boost to an Endor Imperial Fleet, Jabba's Guards, and Darth Vader is grinningly evil!
As you may have noticed, a number of key units are a little expensive. Jabba's Death Mark is the solution. After set-up, you should have one uber unit capable of taking down at least one opposing unit and another being built. Jabba's Death Mark the unfortunate about-to-die unit, and presto: two or three turns will see two arenas under your domination.
Occupied Coruscant fits well in this deck, because it can help build your Endor Imperial Fleet, fuel your Darth Vader, or simply enable you to play multiple Battle tricks. Three copies may seem indulgent, but it grants you the versatility to find a solution to your opponent's annoying locations as quickly as possible.
So there you go, a powerful Dark Side deck full of huge amounts of dice rolling and blowing up multiple units!
Until next time, may the die rolls be with you!
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About the Author
Canadian born David "Darth" Cornford currently lives in Sydney, Australia after spending most of a former life in England. His aim in life is to write as much as possible -- preferably getting paid for it. David has written for various British newspapers, music and hobby magazines; and produced enough marketing literature to cover a small African country. David is currently working on his first fantasy novel and will offer his first born to anyone willing to publish his work.