[TF.N Main] [Contact Us]
[TCG - Main]
[TCG -  More]
[SWTCG - Articles]

[SWTCG - Deck Designs]
[Popular Stories]
CEII: Jabba's Palace Reunion - Massive Guest Announcements

Star Wars Night With The Tampa Bay Storm Reminder

Stephen Hayford Star Wars Weekends Exclusive Art

ForceCast #251: To Spoil or Not to Spoil

New Timothy Zahn Audio Books Coming

Star Wars Celebration VII In Orlando?

May The FETT Be With You

Mimoco: New Mimobot Coming May 4th

[Jedi Council Forums]
TCG: What of the reports of RotS cards massing inside Wal Mart?

TCG: Wizard's RotS Spoilers Begin!

TCG: Star Wars Problem Solvers #1 - Dealing with Light Side Space
CCG: Calling and inspiring all hardcore SWCCG collectors

CCG: Quest's SW:CCG Attack of the Clones Expansion Project (Probable AOTC spoilers)

CCG: Star Wars EU in the Virtual Cards

[Poll]
There are no polls
currently operating
in this sector.
Please check
back soon.

View Poll Archives


How To Build A Deck

A Primer For The Beginning Player
By Chris McLaren

Good deck building is definitely a skill that needs to be refined. And once you build your deck it needs to go through a refinement process; a constant process of "tweaking" to get the best cards and the best combination of cards possible in your deck.

If you look at this site and many others you will see many examples of how this can be done. You can see the end results of the whole process. However, there are often a couple of problems with this; it really does nothing to help you learn the process of building a deck for yourself. The bigger problem is often the cards. If you are just starting out, or even if you are just a casual player, you may not have access to all of the cards that are needed in the deck.

So that poses the question, what do you do to build your deck given the resources that you have? And how can you make it competitive? Well that is what this strategy article hopes to address. And luckily, it is not hard to make a reasonable deck with just what you have. Then as you get more cards, you can keep improving it.

This article is going to assume a few things. First, that you are a new player. In that I mean your spanking new and have not even opened your packs. Well not really. But, I will assume that you are almost ate that level. If you are not, well then you are just better off than the rest of those who are. I will also assume that your supply of cards is limited, but large enough to build a set of decks (1 Light Side and 1 Dark Side). I will also assume that you will be getting more cards as time goes on and that you enjoy the game. I hope this last assumption holds for everyone.

First Step -- What is a legal deck?

By legal, I mean a tournament legal deck. Of course to play in a tourney you need a LS and a DS deck, but that should cover it self in the reading of this article. Also to be tourney legit, you need to have a couple of rules satisfied. Some are the basic deck building rule, for completeness here they all are:
Each deck must be AT LEAST 60 cards (more is OK).
There must be at least 12 units in the deck for each of the three arenas: Space, Ground, and Character.
No arena may have more than twice the units of another arena.
These rules are not too difficult to follow, and actually make the job of building a deck easier. It adds some structure to the deck that we have to follow.

Second Step -- Where do you start?

Where do you start with this big mess? Well, I assume that you started the game somehow, so most likely you bought the 2-Player Starter Set. This set is a good introduction into the game and it gets you a base of 60 cards to start with. Unfortunately, half are light and half are dark. A quick look at the contents of this set show that you would have the following Dark Side cards:

Deck Name: 2 Player Starter, Dark Deck
By: WotC


Deck Stats:
Total Cards: 30
Rares: 1, Uncommons: 7, Commons: 22
Average Build: 3.2
Average Speed: 34.55
Average Power: 3.64
Average Health: 3.59

Characters: (6)
1x Zam Wesell (B)
1x Jango Fett (D)
2x Geonosian Warrior
1x Destroyer Droid, P Series
1x Darth Tyranus (B)

Ground: (8)
1x Destroyer Droid Squad
2x Battle Droid Squad
3x Geonosian Squad
2x Commerce Guild Droid 81

Space: (8)
1x Techno Union Starship
2x Geonosian Fighter
3x Droid Starfighter Squadron
2x Trade Federation Battleship

Battle: (5)
1x Dark Side's Command
2x Surge of Power
1x Target Locked
1x High-Force Dodge

Mission: (3)
1x Slumming on Coruscant
1x Splinter the Republic
1x Return to Spaceport


By the way, Darth Tyranus {B} is a Foil Card. But this gives you a place to start. You can see it is a somewhat balanced deck with 6 Characters, and 8 each of Space and Ground units.

Now what is wrong with this deck? Well, first of all it is entirely too small. We need to double the size of the deck to get it legal. Other than that it is a good start to a deck. Now we can also look at the Dark Side Starter to see if we have better luck with that. It contains the following:

Deck Name: Dark Side AotC Starter Deck
By: WotC


Deck Stats:
Total Cards: 41
Rares: 2, Uncommons: 9, Commons: 30
Average Build: 3.51
Average Speed: 37
Average Power: 4.27
Average Health: 3.97

Characters: (10)
1x Nexu
1x Ackley
1x Geonosian Sentry
2x Darth Tyranus (C)
2x Zam Wesell (B)
2x Jango Fett (D)
1x Jango Fett (C)

Ground: (10)
2x Geonosian Defense Platform
1x Commerce Guild Droid Platoon
1x Commerce Guild Droid 81
1x Reek
3x Destroyer Droid Squad
2x Walking Droid Fighter

Space: (10)
1x Trade Federation C-9979
2x Droid Starfighter DFS-4CT
2x Geonosian Fighter
2x Techno Union Starship
1x Trade Federation Battleship
2x Intergalactic Banking Clan Starship

Battle: (8)
2x High-Force Dodge
2x Surge of Power
1x Hero's Dodge
1x Knockdown
2x Target Locked

Mission: (3)
1x Capture Obi-Wan
1x Splinter the Republic
1x Tyranus's Edict

Again, the Jango Fett (C) is a Foil Card. This deck may be a better starting point, since it is 11 cards closer to the required 60 and it is only off by 2 cards in each of the three arenas. It also has some better cards to start with and to base your deck on.

Now a more interesting note is what happens when you combine the two starters. There are 30 cards in one deck and 41 in the other, so if we put the two together we will have 71 cards, we can eliminate the fluff and get a working deck.

Third Step -- Paring Down Your Mega-Starter

Right now we are sitting at 11 cards more than what we want. We also have a ratio of 16/18/18 in the three arenas. This is a little high. Most decks that I start with are 15/15/15 to start, and then I can either add or subtract as the need presents itself. We also have 19 Battle and Mission cards, some of these can be dispensed with.

Looking at the cards there are a few obvious cards to get rid of as "first candidates." "High Force Dodge" is probably too expensive to be playing and you have a total of 3 of them, lets ditch those. We can also get rid of the "Return to Spaceport", I would rather focus my build points on more units, we really do not have any critical units to keep pulling damage off of. This leaves us with 15 Battle and Mission cards.

Now that we have moved on to the Units, something to say about the units is how to evaluate them. There are many ways to do this and it could be the subject of an article twice as long, but for now I will stick to some basic ways to evaluate the units in a deck.

Average Build Cost, this is the average of all of the cards' in the deck build cost. This is important because you will be getting, on average, 3.5 build points a turn. If your ABC gets to high you will not be able to build anything. If it gets too low, you may run out of cards. So pretty much we would like to see this between 3 and 4.

Health is also important. A unit that has less than 3 health is really susceptible to "Unfriendly Fire," also we want to try to get as high of a health total as we can. But of course that is balanced by its ability to do damage as well. Generally, a basic card will have power and health equal to its build. Any deviation from that would be to pay for special abilities.

Now looking at the space cards, it is sometimes thought to go with a "swarm," lots of low cost units, but I find it better to go with a more balanced attack. This has just seemed to do better for players who are just starting out. Once they see how things work, they can alter their style. So what can we cut? Right now the deck is fairly balanced in terms of high cost units to low, so why don't we loose a "Geonosian Fighter," and "Techno Union Starship," and a "Trade Federation Battleship." This will keep our distribution fairly even.

In the Ground, using a similar argument, we should probably get rid of the following: "Commerce Guild Droid 81," "Destroyer Droid Squad," and "Geonosian Squad."

The character arena can be a bit more difficult to plan, but in this case it is easy. You want to be careful about how many of the same unique cards you put in your deck, so I am going to remove Zam Wesell B, because of the plethora of them.

Now our deck is down to 60 cards and it looks like this:

Deck Stats:
Total Cards: 60
Rares: 3, Uncommons: 15, Commons: 42
Average Build: 3.43
Average Speed: 36.44
Average Power: 3.98
Average Health: 3.73

Characters: (15)
1x Nexu
1x Ackley
1x Geonosian Sentry
2x Darth Tyranus (C)
1x Darth Tyranus (B)
2x Zam Wesell (B)
1x Jango Fett (C)
3x Jango Fett (D)
2x Geonosian Warrior
1x Destroyer Droid, P Series

Ground: (15)
2x Geonosian Defense Platform
1x Commerce Guild Droid Platoon
2x Commerce Guild Droid 81
1x Reek
3x Destroyer Droid Squad
2x Walking Droid Fighter
2x Battle Droid Squad
2x Geonosian Squad

Space: (15)
1x Trade Federation C-9979
2x Droid Starfighter DFS-4CT
3x Geonosian Fighter
2x Techno Union Starship
2x Trade Federation Battleship
2x Intergalactic Banking Clan Starship
3x Droid Starfighter Squadron

Battle: (10)
4x Surge of Power
1x Hero's Dodge
1x Knockdown
3x Target Locked
1x Dark Side's Command

Mission: (5)
1x Capture Obi-Wan
2x Splinter the Republic
1x Tyranus's Edict
1x Slumming on Coruscant

Step Four -- Refining Your Deck

Now comes the fun part. We have a 60 cards tournament legal deck (we can do the same thing with the Light Side, just remember no more than 4 of each card in the deck) now all we need to do is to "tweak" it. Tweaking is the seemingly never ending process of alterations that a deck goes through. This is the real process of deck building.

How do you tweak a deck? Well there is skill and practice involved, but the basic outline follows. There are a couple of steps. The first is changing the cards in your deck. And the second is play testing the deck. The third is to actually try it out in a tourney.

Now this first step is where we can make our test deck a lot better. I assume that you have bought some boosters. It probably had some Dark Side cards in it (don't laugh, I have had them without). Now the question to ask yourself with each card is whether or not that card would make your deck better. If it will it goes into the deck. And something has to come out. Now remember, we want to keep our ABC between 3 and 4, so we usually would want to replace a low build card with a low card and a high with a high.

There are some "specialty" cards in the deck as well. Cards like the Reek. This allows you to draw cards. We might want more than one of these in the deck as well to make it more likely to come into play. But when we are "switching in" cards, we could replace it with something with similar abilities, say a Jawa Sandcrawler.

Things to look at are the strengths and weaknesses of your deck. Right now the strengths are that you have a deck that is versatile. The weakness is there are not many "power" cards in the deck. If you get a rare version of a character, use it. Also look at having as many versions of that character in your deck as you can, because then you can stack away with whichever one you get out and make it more powerful. But don't over do it.

Some suggestions:
In Space:
Try to move away from the swarm mentality, get some more power.
Shields (IBC Starship) are a good thing to go for here.
Replace the Droid Starfighters ASAP, the health of 1, while making them a target, is lethal and a waste of Build.
Pull out your Bombard Units if you take control of this arena, and hit the ground units. Don't forget to use your battle cards.
A lot of the Sith Rising Cards would work well in this deck, especially the commerce guild cruiser and the Sith infiltrator.

In Ground:
Walking Droid Fighters (even with shields) are a walking target, look to replace them first.
Use units that have special abilities, like the Sandcrawler or Reek.
Look to go large in this arena if you have to, there are not many low power units out there that are good, so if your build creeps up a bit don't be surprised.

In Character:
Try to stack, it is efficient and it make your characters more powerful.
Nexu's ability is a good play, you might want to add more.
Keep the number of unique characters to a minimum. Don't try to stack more than 2 or 3 characters.
Get rid of some of your doubles of the unique units first.
Look at what your potential special abilities are.
Play the characters you like. I know it is stupid, but this is a game. If you really like Jango, build him into your deck. Might not be the best move, but you can make it work. And you will have fun playing it. Anyone care for Jar-Jar???

Look into trying to make the game as enjoyable as possible. And play with what you have. When you get more cards, put them in too. And then play your deck against someone, see how it works. Develop a sense of strategy on your own. If the mix of units is not working well for you, try putting in more characters. Or maybe you want to play an extra battle card. 62 cards wont kill you. Fiddle with your deck and enjoy the process.

Step Five -- Research

After you play for a bit, check out some sites to look a others decks and different strategies. Obviously there is this one, but there is also www.rebelbasers.com and www.decktech.net. The first is a good place for discussion, and the second is a good spot for posting and reading decks. Though traffic at Decktech has fallen off. Read up on what other players are doing and see if you can pull that off with the cards that you have. If you want to try something, try it. Then see how it works. And let us all know how you are doing.

16 September 2002

[All Posters]
Return of the Jedi - Special Edition
AllPosters.com
Search For Posters, Cardboard Stand-Ups & T-Shirts!
Upcoming Birthdays
(next 10 days)
4/27 - Rob Coleman
[Rebelscum.com - Star Wars Collecting]
[TheForce.Net - FanFilms]
[TheForce.Net - FanForce] [TheForce.Net - Fan Art]
TheForce.Net - Your Daily Dose of Star Wars
THEFORCE.NET IS NOT ENDORSED BY LUCASFILM, LTD. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLAIMER. © 2014 COPYRIGHT TF.N, LLC
The Galaxy is Listening
[TF.N Main] [TF.N FAQ] [Contact Us]