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Foretelling Phantom Menaces
TF.N Exclusive Preview of The Phantom Menace
By Len Fowler (A.K.A. RedneckJedi)

This July, Wizards of the Coast will reveal the mysteries of The Phantom Menace! In this 8th release for the Star Wars Trading Card Game (SW:TCG), Wizards stays true to form by giving us the essence of the movie in card game format. The might of the Trade Federation can be pitted against the intrepid Naboo and Gungan forces. The Sith, believed long extinct, reveal themselves to a surprised Jedi contingent. Opportunities to benefit from the exciting Podrace from the movie are also offered in the latest edition of a fantastic card game!

Nute Gunray (C)Hearkening back to the Attack of the Clones and Sith Rising releases of the SW:TCG, the Trade Federation played a supporting role for Sith and Geonosian combat efforts. In The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation is the primary antagonist, and many of their key units are portrayed in this release. The chief representative of the Trade Federation is Nute Gunray, who received a version in each of the previously mentioned releases.

A new version of the Trade Federation Diplomat makes him an even more valuable resource for Trade Federation units. Nute Gunray (C) allows you to deploy each of your Trade Federation units for 1 less build point, and they're each given "Pay 0 Force ? Intercept." This is a tremendous boon for the Trade Federation, and will work well with the new units The Phantom Menace offers, as well as many from previous sets. When stacked with his previous versions, his abilities can be quite troublesome for the Light Side.

The effects of the June 20th Banned and Restriction additions will have finally settled in by the time The Phantom Menace is released. The "word from Wizards" is that we would get additional "fog" cards (cards that, essentially, allow "no combat" to occur in an arena for a turn) in future releases that were more "appropriately costed." Wizards delivers with just that!

Discuss It in Committee

Queen Amidala lamented that while the Senate was essentially taking no action, her people were suffering. This is just what happens when Discuss It in Committee is played. For 4 Force, you may choose an arena and prevent all damage dealt to units in that arena until end of turn. Unlike Peace on Naboo, and its other "fog" Battle card brethren from the Attack of the Clones set, this card may be played anytime during a play-or-pass chance in battle (much like Slipping Through). But probably the best value this card provides is the prevention of damage from cross-arena attacks, or even those done by damage effects not due to an attack. Although the Senate's deliberations were a problem for the good people of Naboo, this Neutral card is available to both players.

Delta Six Jedi StarfighterFinally, I'd like to introduce a new friend for Jedi decks, or any Light Side deck focusing on Space superiority. Whether it was the desire to scale back offensive weaponry in peaceful times, or just plain ol' Jedi arrogance, some techniques became lost or forgotten. Apparently this is what happened to the Delta Six Jedi Starfighter prior to the events of Attack of the Clones. For a thrifty 3 build, this Jedi Starfighter has the same stats as Jedi Starfighter 3R3, but also comes equipped with an additional Critical Hit 1 and "Pay 1 Force ? Evade 1." The Trade Federation will have their hands full with this little "lost gem."

There's plenty to look forward to in this upcoming set. You'll be able to recreate the Battle of Naboo, as well as the underwater journey through Naboo's core. Units that played minor or Expanded Universe roles will come as a pleasant surprise to many gamers, especially with the abilities they wield. In my opinion, the set is a return to a more combat-oriented feel, comprised mostly of units, with a reduced focus on Battle and Mission cards (though there are some nice and juicy ones). Rather than a sense of foreboding, as the movie elicited, this set provides another exciting chapter in the Star Wars Trading Card Game!

18 June 2004

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