Running demonstrations of the Star Wars Trading Card Game at conventions goes like this: Warm smile, handshake, politely asking the short-attention-span child to hold off any further questions until the game starts when all will be made clear, idle banter, asking the eager player in a slightly strained way to stop throwing the dice, brief introduction to game concepts and then the question: "What side would you like to play -- Light or Dark?"
I honestly don't know why I still ask this.
You see, everyone wants to be the bad guy. It seems there's little satisfaction in championing the ideals of noble Jedi or leading just Rebels to victory. People simply want to take the most feared Character, Space, and Ground units and mercilessly crush their opponent.
Well, who am I to argue?
This latest theme deck takes the most feared of Light Side enemies from every chapter of the Star Wars saga and combines them into a terrifying force. For those of you who see the label "theme deck" and don't think it's worthy of tournament play, beware! Do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side . . .
The Character Arena
Who else could spearhead the forces of darkness but the dreaded Sith? Darth Sidious commands and is represented by versions from the Revenge of the Sith and Attack of the Clones expansions -- the blackest of days for the Jedi. Darth Sidious (G) sucks Force from your opponent for every ability that requires tapping and has an existing force cost -- such as evade. His second ability can enable a fatally damaged unit to be discarded in favor of seizing your opponent's options -- such as the dreaded Luke's X-wing (B).
Add to this:
and you have a monster of a Character unit that is always useful.
Who should support the master of the Dark Side? His greatest apprentices, of course. Darth Maul (A), Darth Maul (C), and Darth Maul (E) combine to offer one of the fastest (80+ speed), most powerful (11+ power) and deadly (damage that can't be evaded) Character units to ever see play.
Beside the tattooed menace stands the former Jedi, Darth Tyranus. The G and F versions are solid fighting forces, while Darth Tyranus (D) takes apart anything that is not a Jedi Master.
Next comes Darth Vader. There are lots of versions to choose from, but I've gone with:
- Darth Vader (L) to give you not only Battle card options but the ability to stack your deck
- Darth Vader (S) to decimate your opponent's Characters
- Darth Vader (Q) to represent the ultimate destroyer of hope as the chosen one fallen to the Dark Side, fueled by hate for the Jedi.
The Emperor's chosen assassin, Mara Jade, completes the terrible line-up.
The Space Arena
When they've finished taking out their opponents on the ground, the Light Side's most dangerous adversaries move to the Space arena. From the aggressive Vader's TIE Fighter to the sneaky Tyranus's Solar Sailer and the manipulative Sith Infiltrator, the dark lords of the Sith are capable of taking on the most powerful of Light Side fleets.
But as if that weren't enough, the Dark Side has brought some extra punch -- the legendary Slave 1 (capable of Accuracy 2-3) and Devastator (A), the capital ship that Darth Vader made famous in A New Hope.
Supporting them all are the instruments of Dark Side dominance, the Empire's feared TIE Interceptors, with pilots willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater cause.
Just as they do in the Character arena, the dark lords of the Sith bring fast, decisive brutality to the Space arena. When coupled with some low-cost battle tricks and interceptors, they can hold their own against anything the Light Side can offer.
The Ground Arena
The Character arena features the apostles of the Dark Side, the Space arena hosts their favored craft, and the Ground arena is filled with only one other thing -- their minions. The Star Wars saga has seen the Dark Side employ many agents, but some have made themselves felt more than others, namely the Geonosians, the Trade Federation droids, and, of course, the clones.
The Geonosians are represented by the character-affecting Executioner Cart, the inexpensive Critical Hit 3 Geonosian Squad, the fast and powerful Geonosian Artillery Battery, and Tyranus's Geonosian Speeder that can search for the other three when attacked.
Stepping up in the power stakes are the infamous droids that paved the way for the creation of the dreaded Empire. The Battle Droid Squad and their gliding brethren, the STAP Squad, are cheap units that help draw through your deck in the set-up phase. Following closely behind is the brutal Super Battle Droid Squad and the versatile Destroyer Droid Team.
Standing alongside are those that fought against them at the battle of Geonosis, the clones. Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers and the legions of Stormtroopers are all represented. The Sandtrooper Squad can support other units such as the Geonosian Artillery Battery or the Stormtrooper Assault Team that deals unpreventable damage. With the versions provided, Darth Vader should be a sustainable member of the Character arena, and this makes the Snowtrooper Elite Squad a very annoying unit that just won't die! Completing the Character arena is the Stormtrooper Patrol rolling a base of 4 dice and inflicting Stun 2 to whoever is hit.
The Dark Side is all about manipulation, and that is personified here. The best damage prevention cards in the game -- Jedi Piloting and High Speed Dodge -- will keep you fighting, while Jedi Master's Deflectiongives your prevention a deadly edge. Dark Speed can ensure that your units attack first, and Thwart can really punish your opponent as it stops any activated ability from any unit, any arena for the entire turn.
The evil-doers in this deck need only one type of equipment -- the Sith Lightsaber. Three of them will make your already formidable villains even more so.
There are a few locations in the Star Wars galaxy where the Dark Side of the Force has been deeply felt.
- The first is the Death Star Control Room that raises your fearsome Space units to new levels of brutality.
- Cloud City Battle Ground marked the turn of the Force in the saga with terrible secrets revealed and father and son fighting harder than before. The Dark Side triumphed and enables you to play your vital battle tricks at next to nothing.
- The last location is the center of darkness, Occupied Coruscant, fueling your Sith powers.
Enjoy your journey into darkness with this deck. Next, we take a look at the other side of the coin….
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