Star Wars is truly a strategic game, it isn't just about who rolls best or who has the best cards. Jedi mind tricks actually work in this game. There are many keys and strategies to the game.
Set up is probably the most crucial aspect of the game. Set up is more than just playing cards in an arena, it's battle plan that requires strategy and skill (Art of War). Learning set up can help you win before the game starts. LS has an advantage at first, by playing second they are in a better position to react to what the DS player is doing. The DS player can combat this by playing cheaper units first and try to let the other player overspend in arena and not be able to compete in the others. Another strategy is to only build in 2 arenas and concede an arena. But the downside to that is that you don't get the BP bonus. Also if you're opponent decides to challenge you in one of the arenas and you start losing the arena, you might not have another arena to come back in. Another strategy is to not play any units in an arena (Let say ground), Bluff your opponent into thinking you have conceded the arena. He will probably only commit a few units there, then you can drop something big like Trade Federation Control Core. This can backfire because if you are playing something big, usually it is high in build so your opponent will still have build left for reinforcements. Also, you can drop something big right away and your opponent may concede the arena right away. Some other strategy involves reading your opponent's plays. Try figuring out if they are weak in an arena because of not drawing units or they have a lopsided draw and have too many units of one kind. They are a lot of "Tells" (like poker) which will help you read your opponent. The more practice you get the better you'll get. There's so much more strategy involved here that I could write a whole article about it, but I'll let you guys learn for yourselves.
Buy yourself extra turns is another important strategy. Buying yourself extra turns give you the ability to build reinforcements or draws something you need. I was playing a game where I controlled the character arena, my opponent controlled space but only had 2 Geonosian Defense Fighter, 1 Sith Infiltrator. I was holding on in the ground with a Jawa Sandcrawler with 4 counters on it. Things looked Bleak. Anyway, during my build I drew into a Acclamator so I put 3 counters on it (I also had a partially built Jawa S. with 2 counters on it). Then I brought back my Jedi Scout figuring my JS would die. Some people might have given up here, but I decided to play it out. My opponent attacked with the GDF doing 1 point of damage, I then played AI and stunned the other GDF. Sith Infiltrator attacked for 3 hits and Yoda's Intervention prevented that damage. Next turn build was 4, Damn I needed 5, oh well I put 2 counters on JS and put it out, and retreated Jedi Scout. Terrible rolls by my opponent stopped him from killing the JS and next turn I had enough for the Acclamator. I actually didn't win with the Acclamator. My opponent kept using his build so he could compete in space and the Acclamator bought me a few turns and I came back in the ground to win. Finding a way to buy extra turns helped me win. Another lesson to be learned from this is never give up. Always make your opponents roll the dice. I've missed on 7 dice before, 2 hits on 11 dice, and lost many games cause of dice roll where I clearly had the advantage.
Anther strategy I don't see people using too much is coming back in an arena you concede. Sometimes you can stall in one arena and come back in another. My play test group know I like to do this so they are not as surprised. In a match at Gen Con I was winning in the character arena and my opponent had 2 Jawa S. which where going to take a while to kill. Instead of trying to keep committing units to the ground I started building space units a couple of turns later I came back in space, and eventually won that match.
Another match was at a Jedi Night's tournament. I had the advantage in the character and was solid in the ground with
TF Core holding strong. My opponent started aggressively playing and building characters (Sidious gave me the heads up). I started drawing space units so I started building them. I could have tried to reinforce the character arena but I didn't. Since he was so aggressive about it I just hung in there as long as I could and when I couldn't stall anymore I flipped over 3 space units (one was a Techno Union Warship) and blew through the arena with ease. So even though I was probably could of won the arena I in a way conceded the arena. I took advantage of my opponent's aggressiveness and used it against him.
Force is probably the most important aspect in the game. It is also easier to manage force than build. So many games come down to who has force and who doesn't. Some people say speed is most important, but force fuels most of your battles and abilities, without it you guys are sittings ducks unless you have a speed advantage naturally. Without force Jedi become overpriced clones. To get to the late game consistently you need force. I see many decks and so many times people do not play with force gainers. I think this is a big mistake. With Maul's Strategy and Capture Obi-Wan in the environment force gainers are a necessity. Also MS and COW can be used as force gainers not just for force denial.
Stacks are a big part of the game. Stacking units can be a powerful strategy. But what is the best way to get the stacks? I like to run multiple characters and card cyclers like Jawa Sandcrawler. The reasons for this are, 1, Having multiples increases the chances of drawing one. 2, If one dies you can start building another one. 3, If one type dies early, there's no way to complete the stack. Even 3 card stacks are good. So having more than one option is good. There is no point in having Anakin D if A dies. 4, the risk of drawing multiples of the same type isn't high. Also in set up you have the ability to cycle through many cards thus increasing the chances of getting a stacked unit, also underlaying stacked units is cheap so it helps you go through more cards and help to can be used as a strategic tool to make you opponent overcommit in an arena. Another way is to use just one copy of the unit. Then use tutors effects like Jedi Call for Help and Splinter the Republic. This can be faster than the former, because 1, you can get the version you need and you cant get it for sure (assuming you have the bp), without hoping to get it. The biggest drawback is that if the stacked unit is discarded, there isn't anyway to get that character back. The tutor strategy can be credited to Team Bus's Gen-Con winning decks.
Deck building is another key factor in the game. The biggest mistake I see with people and decks are they tend to stick to certain themes. By sticking to a theme you could overlook good cards or possibly use bad ones. For example, there are a lot of Jedi decks around, some people are using cards like Out of His Misery, Jedi Scout, Jedi Patrol, Recognition of Valor, which are solid cards but there counter parts are better: Windu's Solution, Acclamator, and Seek the Council's Wisdom. Sticking with certain themes can lead to sub optimal decks. Keeping you deck focused is a must, If you are running a force denial deck adding Hand denial cards isn't a good idea. Also keep an open mind, some cards might not seem good but in the right environment could be good. Look at all the Unfriendly Fire decks running around now. What can the LS do? Well they could try Bail Organa. He is the only force control the LS has. I am not saying he is an answer but he causes a dilemma for the DS, especial if the did a turn 1 Maul's strategy. They can tap the guy and keep the force, but then they could weaken the arena or the could pay the force and move further away from using UF. Also Jedi Knight's Deflection can help vs. UF. So don't overlook cards. Also try using cards that aren't to situational like Lull type cards, Hero's dodge, or Starship Refit. These cards have there uses but if you don't draw them at the right time, they lose some value.
Well to all those who people who think this is a kid's game, I hope I have changed you view about this. Hopefully this will help people grasp the game a little better. Send any comments or feedback to Davion007@aol.com
16 September 2002