A belated happy new year's, everyone! During this time of year, I always think of giving back to the community. And if there’s one card that exemplifies giving back, it’s the almighty Executor (A).
Executor (A) is a very giving Space unit -- while in the Space arena, all your other Imperial units receive +2 power. Obviously, to get the best value out of this unit, we'll need arenas based around Imperial units, but we'll also want to design the deck to draw a lot of cards to ensure we deploy Executor during setup. I enjoy this kind of design challenge because it flies in the face of many standard design builds.
The Space Arena
Starting off with the Space arena, we need to reserve spots for three or four Executors, since that card is the focal point of the deck. Considering that I have only two of these hard-to-find rare cards, I’ll design around having three of them. The next two Space units are pretty obvious choices: TIE Interceptor and TIE Fighter. Both will greatly benefit from the Executor -- TIE Fighter with Accuracy, and the Interceptor who is fast and can Intercept for those occasional Luke’s X-wings. The final Space unit is a dual-purpose unit, the TIE Fighter DS-73-3. It not only offers another Intercepting unit, but it also offers the possibility of a 4 dice, Stun 2 unit that can be devastating against a slow Space arena.
The Character Arena
The Character arena will look a little strange at first. Normally, you don’t see 12 Vaders in this arena -- not if you expect to win, anyway -- but that's exactly what you'll do here. First off, there are only a few Imperial Vaders, and hopefully you'll get them along with Executor during setup. Second, having this many Vaders allows you many more stacking opportunities. This will let you see more cards during setup than you typically would. It's generally best to start with a medium-sized Vader (5 to 7 build) during setup and play reactively, putting larger Vaders on top as your opponent puts more and more build into Character. The process of understacking is a great way to see additional cards and respond more appropriately to your opponent's build.
Unfortunately, Vader can’t do it alone, so I decided to add a few Stormtrooper KE-829s for utility. These units are nicely sized Imperial units. For 3 builds, they're pretty good, but most importantly, they can Intercept for Vader during times of extreme stress. Even if Vader finally is defeated, Darth Vader (O)’s Hidden Cost ability allows him to appear the same turn and is a great help at getting the stack started again.
The Ground Arena
The Ground arena is tricky. One of the obvious choices is Royal Guards from the Return of the Jedi set. This cheap Imperial unit offers Accuracy, Critical Hit, and is generally a heavy hitter.
Since we're utilizing Vader so heavily in the Character arena, it seems that Snowtrooper Elite Squad will be a good choice. This unit for 4 build simply won’t be killed through typical means as long as Vader’s around. It provides a long-term problem for Light Side decks because it just won't go away.
The last choice is largely a personal preference, and I went with Snowtrooper Squad as its offers a 3/4 with Accuracy for just 4 build. While it isn’t the fastest, most efficient, or biggest hitting unit, it's what we're looking for -- a cheap Imperial unit that will cause problems if left alone.
Battles, Missions, and Locations
For this deck, Battles, Missions, and Locations are largely up in the air. We're not tied into any specific cards at this point, so let’s throw in some of my favorites that I never seem to find room for. Death Mark is one such card; for 1 build, you choose one of your opponent's units, and if that unit is discarded, you gain 4 additional build next turn. This will help to keep the pressure up and offset the cost of the large number of Locations in the deck.
Locations will prove very useful, because the deck tends to run out of cards to play after setup. That's one of the side effects of running large stacking units with small, cheap units in the other arenas. In an effort to compensate, this deck needs some long-term cards, and the new tri-Location arenas are just the answer. These Locations will not only replace one of your opponent’s Locations but also provide us with benefits as the game goes on.
For the Battles, the only arena that needs help is the Character arena, and Lightsaber Throw is one of the more interesting cards out of Return of the Jedi. For 2 Force, you can do 3 damage to a unit in the Character arena, and for 6 Force and tapping a Character, you can do 6 damage and discard a Location in the Character arena. This card will work well for Character swarms, because Vader's only capable of killing one unit per turn.
For Ground, I wanted to add a similar card to help with the recent uprising of Light Side Speeders, and no card does that better than Down in Flames. This card is very rarely dead, and for 4 Force, the ability to kill a Ground unit makes it a darn efficient card.
Jedi Knight’s Survival is an expensive damage prevention that will work in any arena and protect against the large number of Critical Hit Light Side units. A few Change in Destiny cards are never bad, and they can add consistency to a deck designed on stabilizing for a long, drawn-out fight. Overall, these battles are designed to be powerful early game cards, and offer tricks for the long fights.
Overall Deck Strength
This deck should do well against a majority of Light Side decks because it should win the Space arena, which is a staple Light Side strength. Once you win Space, your Executor’s abilities will slowly take their toll on your opponent's units. The Character arena features a large Vader stack and Darth Vader (K), which does very well against a majority of Light Side Characters with the exception of Mace Windu (A). But even against Mace, Vader will live a few turns, and during that time, the other two arenas should be decided.
One of the trickier aspects is where to spend Force each turn. Sometimes it’s better to play battles, while other times it’s better to activate Intercepts. It'll take some practice to get the hang of it, but when you do, you'll have a very powerful deck.
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