“For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.”
–Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope
In our last preview of Star Wars™: The Card Game, we learned about the game’s three dark side affiliations and their different approaches toward galactic domination. Today, Senior LCG Designer Nate French introduces us to the three affiliations of the light side and informs us how they work to oppose the spread of tyranny.
Nate French on the Light Side Affiliations
Even more than the dark side player, the light side player is pressed to marshal his forces and to act quickly in an attempt to destroy three dark side objectives. If the light side does nothing, then nothing will interrupt the dark side’s strides toward total dominion of the galaxy. All hope will be lost. Fortunately, all three light side affiliations are up to the task, but they go about their goals in strikingly different ways.
The Rebel Alliance is the most tactical and combo-based affiliation in the game. Surprise units like Admiral Ackbar can turn the entire tide of a battle, and exciting cinematic combos like Leia Organa and You’re my Only Hope can provide a variety of unexpected twists and turns as the game unfolds. The Rebel Alliance also gives the light side player direct access to the Rebel fleet, and its aggressive use of cards like X-Wing and Heroic Sacrifice allow the Alliance to successfully engage in dogfights with some of the deadliest Vehicles in the Imperial Navy.
The Jedi may be all but extinct, but the few that are left can make a tremendous impact upon your games. Powerful character units form the heart of the Jedi strategy. A single Jedi, such as Yoda, can be enhanced in a variety of ways; build him up with a Jedi Lightsaber and Shii-Cho Training, and you have an extremely powerful character on your side. Jedi tenets like protection and defense also take shape within this affiliation and cards like Lightsaber Deflection allow you to protect these uniquely powerful units. Even when a Jedi seems down, he is never completely out, and cards like Return of the Jedi ensure that the dark side player can never rest easy when playing against this affiliation.
Smugglers and Spies
The light side’s gallery of noble rogues find a home in the Smugglers and Spies affiliation. Like Han Solo, characters from this affiliation have quick wits and quicker trigger fingers. They tend to be independent operatives, and excel at running covert missions behind enemy lines.
As we saw in our previous exploration of the dark side affiliations, players of Star Wars: The Card Game can combine objective sets from two or more affiliations. While the decision to mix your affiliations may create some challenges in your ability to generate and spend resources, it can also open some rewarding synergies. It’s possible to find objective sets from one affiliation that play well into the strengths of another, and you can sometimes shore up an affiliation’s weak spots by adding another affiliation’s objective sets.
For example, the Rebel Alliance are an extremely tactical affiliation, with a lot of units that can attack quickly for significant damage to your opponent’s objectives. However, few of them have the kind of staying power that Jedi provide you. You could provide some muscle in combat by adding Jedi like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, or you could go the other direction and focus even more upon quick strikes and direct damage. The Jedi objective Jedi Training includes Jedi in Hiding and Believer in the Old Ways, a couple of units that fit well into a Rebel Alliance deck focused around icons, while Ancient Monument helps shore up the Alliance’s vulnerabilities in the Force struggle. More importantly, Jedi Mind Trick can help you get your Y-wings past dedicated dark side defenses while It Binds All Things lets you get extra use out of your key events, like Rebel Assault.
On the other hand, the tactics from the Rebel Alliance objective set, Decoy at Dantooine, add some nice surprises to a Jedi deck. The objective itself, along with the enhancement False Lead, can buy you time to strike deep into the heart of the Empire. Meanwhile, A New Hope and Fall Back! add resilience to decks built around a few, strong units. A New Hope serves as a nice board reset should the dark side gain a significant advantage with its number of units. And Fall Back! is far more useful than it might at first appear. When you have a limited number of Jedi, you can’t afford to have them fall in combat or stumble into Emperor Palpatine’s trap and become exhausted because of his icons. Fall Back! lets you take your wounded, exhausted Jedi back to your hand and play him again on your turn – fresh and ready to strike!
While the Smugglers and Spies affiliation isn’t fully developed in the Core Set, you can bet players will still find ways to fit Han Solo into a good number of light side decks, where his quick trigger finger and icon are sure to come in handy. In fact, we offer a deck list below, built around the handy tactics these Smugglers and Spies can add to the Rebel Alliance.
An Alternate Path to Victory
“I’ve outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk-cruisers mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now.”
–Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope
Though the Smugglers and Spies make only a cameo appearance in the Core Set, with just one objective set, you can still make good use of these tricky pilots and soldiers. Of course, the set’s utility increases dramatically if you pick up two copies of the Core Set and double your chances of drawing into Han Solo or any of the set’s other cards.
This sample deck explore the tactical advantages provided by the Smugglers’ icons, using them to clear the way for a host of inexpensive Y-wings and Rebel officers to engage multiple dark side objectives each turn.
Affiliation: Smugglers and Spies
2x The Defense of Yavin 4
- Red Two
- Astromech Droid Upgrade
- Hidden Outpost
- Rebel Assault
2x Mission Briefing
- Mon Mothma
- Battlefield Engineers
- Heavy Blaster Emplacement
- Heat of Battle
2x Fleeing the Empire
2x The Rebel Fleet
- Home One
- Repair Droid
- Hidden Outpost
- Target of Opportunity
2x Questionable Contacts
- Han Solo
- Twi’lek Smuggler
- Cloud City Casino
While Han Solo and Home One are powerful, game-changing units, this deck doesn’t have the raw strength and steel of the dark side deck posted last week. Still, what shortcomings it shows in straight, card-for-card comparisons, it more than makes up for with its wealth of tricks, starting with the versatility of the icons provided by Han Solo, Leia Organa, Mon Mothma, and the Twi’lek Smuggler.
So long as you have a single resource available, Crossfire can grant any of your units the combat icon of your choice. If that single resource happens to match the Smugglers and Spies affiliation, then Swindled can remove a key attacking or defending unit from a combat. Mission Briefing, You’re My Only Hope, and A-Wing help boost your card flow, and Heavy Blaster Emplacement, Questionable Contacts, and Han Solo allow you to fire the first shots each turn. Meanwhile, Rebel Assault provides direct damage at key moments, and when Home One strikes at a different objective, you can find these cards combining in the deeper strategy, even though the deck may look a bit scruffy on the page.
Assemble Your Strike Team
Star Wars: The Card Game is coming later this week! Whether you build your deck with a focus on a single affiliation or mix objective sets from two – or even three – you’ll find your games full of iconic characters, fantastic starships, and tactical combats!