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Star Wars TCG Problem Solvers #1
Share Your Dark Dealings with Light Side Space
By Len Fowler (A.K.A. RedneckJedi)

Those steeped in TCG knowledge and experiences have most likely had to deal with the "triumvirate" or "big 3" of Light Side Space domination... namely:

Luke's X-wing (B)... the bane of many Dark Side decks Shrugging off TIE Fighters since (D)'s inception Luke's X-wing
Millennium Falcon
Obi-Wan's Starfighter
Nice... More nice!

Given the nature of their versions' speed, power and defense, they're a nasty, but efficient combination that many a Dark Side player must deal with. Princess Leia (G) is a natural choice for the Light Side, since she pays for herself after 2 turns while her pilot ability on the Falcon nets +3 build points per turn.

So, there's the problem. Are you content to just let the Light Side dominate Space and optionally let Leia (G) gain free build points for the Light Side? Or how about when she's piloting the Millennium Falcon (G), and it's attacking your Characters?

Have good answers already? Then jump to the forums to share it! Otherwise, read on for one of my latest Dark Side deck strategies focusing on this "problem". Here are the pertinent cards:

Space Ground
2x Devastator (A)
1x Guardian Mantis (A)
1x IG-2000 (A)
1x Sith Infiltrator (A)
1x Sith Infiltrator (B)
1x Slave I (B)
1x Slave I (C)
1x Slave I (D)
1x Slave I (F)
1x Tyranus's Solar Sailer (A)
1x Tyranus's Solar Sailer (B)
1x Vader's TIE Fighter (A)
1x Vader's TIE Fighter (B)
2x Death Star Turbolaser Tower
2x Tatooine Hangar
Battle
3x Hanging Around
2x Imperial Misdirection
Mission
3x Capture Obi-Wan
2x Disturbance in the Force
Location
3x Cloud City Battleground

I'll start with the meat of the deck: the Space arena. Every single unit is unique, and that's not necessarily by choice, which I'll get into shortly. The fact is, many of the generic Dark Side units don't have the punch to really affect the "big 3" we're dealing with. My primary desire is to stack these units to not only bring up their power (for the added punch), but also for their speed. The Light Side triumvirate quickly get up to 70 speed or more, and the Dark Side preferably needs to meet or exceed that value. Stacking does not only that, but it also helps thin the draw pile, and conserve build points, which has always been the Dark Side's disadvantage.

Getting to the specifics, I chose Devastator for its raw power and health stats, Shields, and the fact that it gets even more power when attacking Rebel units. All Luke's X-wing versions and most of the Falcon versions also have the Rebel subtype. Ten attack dice against either of these can cause a lot (and hopefully discardable) damage.

Accuracy for me!The inclusion of Guardian Mantis (A) was solely for its ability to give my units Accuracy 1 against a selected Light Side unit. Accuracy helps offset the Evade Luke's X-wing (B) and Obi-Wan's Starfighter (B) possess, as well as the Armor, Shields, and Evade a handful of the Falcons optionally have.

IG-2000 (A) is a staple in many Light and Dark Side decks, and I've got it in here not only for its abilities, but also for the opportunity to contest it, should the Light Side play it. Even if its Upkeep isn't paid, and it taps, both players still must contest it as a unique unit. Its inexpensive build cost gets me Armor, Critical Hit 2, and an optional +20 speed (handy) or +2 power (preferred, considering the Critical Hit). The Armor is a huge defensive boon, requiring even the most powerful of Falcon stacks with Accuracy to roll at least average to possibly discard it. Critical Hit, when rolled, is a difficult amount of additional damage for Luke's and Obi-Wan's starfighters to overcome.

Sith Infiltrator has a combination of uses, depending on the situation. The (B) version has a nice effect that allows me to discard a Light Side Space or Ground Location when it's deployed. However, the (A) version allows me to return it to my hand, instead of discarding it, during battle. When stacked, the two give me a nice 60 speed, 5 power unit for a reasonable build cost.

Yes, I like Accuracy.Ah, the many uses of Slave I … If Darth Vader is the Dark Side's "tool belt" in the Character arena, then Slave I certainly is for Dark Side Space. I selected the (B) version for it's Stun 3 stat. If I can inflict damage with it on the Starfighters, then they're nearly taken out of the equation for a turn. Otherwise, if the Falcon is damaged, its power will be nearly halved just that quickly. The (C) version, while the most costly of any version created so far, carries with it Accuracy 2 (!) and gets +2 power against Jedi units. The Accuracy is just phenomenal against non-Armored units, and the +2 power helps out against Obi-Wan's Starfighter, and against any other Jedi Space unit that might come along. The (D) version is mostly for stacking, but if my strategy pays off, or the Light Side draws poorly for Space, then I can use its ability to attack Space units in the build zone as a bonus. Finally, the (F) version is also nice for its Accuracy 1 ability, but is also mainly a "payoff" version. Should I get some of my opponent's Space units discarded, I can start removing one of them per turn from their discard pile to gain +3 build points! Take that, Leia (G)!

Tyranus's Solar Sailer has seen a lot of play since the game's inception, and I've still seen it work its magic in today's game. Nothing like the (A) version that allows you to attack with Critical Hit 2 (with a lowly 2 power, though unfortunately) but then retreat to the safety of the build zone after its attack is finished. It's 60 speed made it a top choice "back in the day" for many Dark Side players, but the advent of the Light Side's "big 3" speed advantage diminished it greatly. That's why I included the (B) version… purely for stacking purposes to boost it to a 70 speed and 3 power unit to regain (hopefully) the speed advantage and help ensure that Critical Hit 2 occurs.

Lives to fight another dayFinally, there's the little Dark Side Space unit that should. Many players agree that Vader's TIE Fighter, even stacked, is woefully underpowered, low on speed… you name it. It has some nifty abilities that make it a worthwhile unit to play, but not a great unit to play, like Luke's X-wing. Vader's TIE Fighter (A) has a respectable Evade 2 for 2 Force, or return it to my hand instead of discarding it for the same amount of Force. However, that's all I get! It's a 50 speed, 3 power unit with 2 health! A couple of decent attacks on it, and you're ponying up the 2 Force to return it to your hand quickly. Vader's TIE did a little bit more damage than that in the movie. For a purely offensive strike, or at least for stacking with the (A) version, the (B) version has Accuracy 1 and the ability to gain +1 power for 1 Force. Coupled with Accuracy and stacked on top of the (A) version, you can attack with 5 power, Accuracy 1… but that one shot will probably be all you get, since there's no other defensive capabilities built into what should have been one of the baddest starfighters in the game. However, for my deck's purposes, it fits in nicely as a unit I can recycle, or get a decent shot at some damage infliction.

With the "meat" out of the way, it's time to discuss the "potatoes"… the support cards. The Ground units I listed support the Space arena in two ways. The Death Star Turbolaser Towers can attack Space units with a respectable 5 power. The Tatooine Hangars allow me, each, to deploy my Space units for one less build point. Also a nice ability to offset that build disadvantage. The rest of the Ground units in the deck are meant to gain a quick domination of the arena to allow these units to do their thing.

The Battle cards have great generic uses in the game, and I'll highlight their use in the Space arena. Hanging Around is just a monster when it denies the Light Side player the power to do the damage their "big 3" inflict. For 2 Force, a base Luke's X-wing (B) suddenly has no power to try for that Critical Hit 4. For 4 Force, a stacked Falcon loses a lot of its punch with a loss of 6 power.

Power-less!

Another great "generic use" Battle card is Imperial Misdirection. It allows the player to move damage around within an arena, either between their units or between their opponent's units. This is a good thing, either way, as it makes for an offensive or defensive Battle card selection. If Devastator or Slave I is risking discard with a lot of damage, I can move that damage to another unit and provide them with some salvation. If that damage is moved to Vader's TIE Fighter (A) or Sith Infiltrator (A), and they're discarded, I can use their similar ability to return them to my hand. Or, when moving my opponent's damage counters, I can inflict damage on a hard-to-hit Falcon , to move discardable damage to Luke's X-wing (B) , since the movement of damage through the use of Imperial Misdirection can't be prevented.

My Mission selections are to either make Evade a difficult decision, or impossible to play. The old but effective Capture Obi-Wan "transfers" 2 Force from my opponent to me. This is a great and classic play in the early game. Disturbance in the Force is a great game swinger, and if it's build cost wasn't so high (for obvious reasons) can really turn the tide in favor of the person who played it. Turning off your opponent's activated abilities for a turn can be devastating. The triumvirate possesses versions with the Evade ability, and Disturbance shuts them down cold.

No Evade for you!

Finally, my Location selection is a no-brainer. Cloud City Battleground makes Hanging Around a cheap and easy option for me to play, saving Force for other abilities and Battle cards. The Light Side as a large number of Location options, and many players tend to keep the number of Locations in their deck fairly low. With the Light Side's ability to generate a lot of Force, Cloud City Battleground is usually superfluous in these decks, and tends to get overlooked in favor of build cost lowering, or damage prevention and removal.

There are certainly other options that can be used. Some are simple, some are complex. Simpler possible exploits could be the Yinchorri Fighter with free Retaliate and Critical Hit 1, the Modified YV-300 (A) with Critical Hit 1 and Shields 2, and Inferno (A) with Critical Hit 1 and Lucky 2 (a vastly underrated ability).

How do YOU cope with the Light Side's "big 3" when they pop up? Let us know in the forums!

26 August 2004

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