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Some Stategy From A Collectible Card Game Veteran


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#1 GongShowHost

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:56 PM

I've been playtesting for this game like crazy and itching to get some tournament play going somewhere and somehow. In doing so I've twigged to a few things I think others may find helpful in playing and deckbuilding. I have a fairly extensive background with collectible card games and a lot of the basic concepts are the same here so I'm going to explain some of them for newer players who may not be aware of them. Here they are in no particular order…



Card Advantage Is Everything

Just like any other card game, having access to more cards and/or information about the cards on the table, in hands, decks, or piles is key. Understanding cards themselves as an expendable resource is important to grasping how good or bad any particular card or strategy is. You must consider how and when you play a card as well to maximize its use. If you can play a single card in such a way that it makes an opponent have to expend two or more cards to respond, you have a distinct leg up. A specific example is causing an opponent to waste cards in an Edge Battle using Twist of Fate. Say you are defending against an attack and your opponent puts a card in their edge stack. If you respond by placing Twist of Fate in the stack, your opponent will likely place another card. By doing this you have used one card to make your opponent waste two or more. This is a shining example of card advantage. Another integral example is enhancements placed on units. If you attach an enhancement to a unit, you are expending a card. If the unit is subsequently destoyed, you have essentially lost two cards. In the case of, say, Force Lightning used in such a scenario the Dark Side has effectively used one card to make their opponent waste two. Drawing and "cycling" cards by discarding them in the Draw Phase is another form where you are effectively getting more and more information about the game state in addition to getting you closer to the card you want. With this in mind, I'm sure you can see why it's advantageous to try to be able to cycle a card on each and every one of your turns in most cases. The player with more cards or access to more cards is generally in a better spot than the player with less. Card advantage is potentially the most important thing to grasp in order to play this game well. 

 

Timing Is Everything Too

The more knowledge and understanding you have of the rules themselves, the better a player you will be. The best example of this is Action Windows. Being aware of when they occur is integral to assessing when and how to do literally anything in the game. This seems obvious, but it applies in significantly less obvious ways. Just to give you an idea of how effective this can be, consider Jedi Mind Trick, which I think is easily one of the best cards in the whole game. If you use this card just right you can end up destroying a Dark Side attacker regardless of the Edge Battle. How? Let me break it down: Say your opponent is attacking with Boba Fett alone into Luke defending. You play out the Edge Battle and the Dark Side wins, however, because there is an action window immediately after the resolution of the Edge Battle, the Light Side plays Jedi Mind Trick to focus Boba Fett which allows Luke to strike and kill Fett without reprisal. Pretty powerful, don't you think? 

 

Cards That Rely On Other Cards Are Crummier Than Cards That Don't

This is another simple concept with far reaching implications. How often do you find yourself with a card in hand that you are holding onto in hopes of drawing something else specific? Keeping Mandalorian Armor in hand and waiting for Fett, for example. By doing this you are essentially playing with one less card in your hand until you finally draw Fett and play him and the Armor. I'm not saying the Armor is bad, I'm saying you sould be aware of this premise because it can be extremely important. Trooper Assault, for another example, is a potentially devastating card under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, you need multiple Trooper cards in order to use it effectively. Until you do draw and play those other cards Trooper Assault itself is useless. 

 

Heart of the Empire Stinks


Pretty much every card in this objective set is great and it also includes the game's first "sweeper" in the form of There Is No Escape. However, this game revolves around keeping the Light Side from destroying three objectives, which is typically 14-15 damage that they have to deal. By playing this card you are saving your opponent from having to do four damage at a minimum. To offset this you pretty much have to draw Coruscant Defense Fleet. Is that really the wisest use of 5 resources? Considering that all its Unit Damage icons are Edge dependent, I would say no because its primary function is a damage soak. Given that Shielding's interaction with Protect is up for debate, the Fleet is even less useful by my interpretation of the rules. Additionally, this card effectively takes away any strategic thinking your opponent has to apply to deciding which objective to attack. The less balls your opponent has to juggle, the more likely they are to not drop any. You want to complicate their decision making as much as possible. Heart of the Empire is arguably most useful first turn when it can allow you to drop any Dark Side unit in the game and take hold of the board quickly. Unfortunately, that not only can tie the objective up for two whole turns, it makes your opponent's game a lot easier.

 

I'm going to keep updating this thread as I come across or think of any more. Hope this is helpful!



#2 MasterJediAdam

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Definitely agree about card advantage and heart of the empire. 


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#3 dbmeboy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:35 AM

Card advantage works slightly differently in this game than most card games.  The 2-for-1 advantage is less significant when you get to draw back up to your reserve value every turn.  In a game like MtG, a 2-for-1 trade leaves one player permanently behind one card until they can repay the favor.  In this game, using more cards lets you dig through your deck faster so playing that Jedi Lightsaber on Yoda that just let the DS take out 2 cards with one Force Choke lets you dig one card further into your deck on your next draw phase.



#4 TGO

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:49 AM

GongShowHost said:

 

Card Advantage Is Everything

Just like any other card game, having access to more cards and/or information about the cards on the table, in hands, decks, or piles is key. Understanding cards themselves as an expendable resource is important to grasping how good or bad any particular card or strategy is. You must consider how and when you play a card as well to maximize its use. If you can play a single card in such a way that it makes an opponent have to expend two or more cards to respond, you have a distinct leg up. A specific example is causing an opponent to waste cards in an Edge Battle using Twist of Fate. Say you are defending against an attack and your opponent puts a card in their edge stack. If you respond by placing Twist of Fate in the stack, your opponent will likely place another card. By doing this you have used one card to make your opponent waste two or more. This is a shining example of card advantage. Another integral example is enhancements placed on units. If you attach an enhancement to a unit, you are expending a card. If the unit is subsequently destoyed, you have essentially lost two cards. In the case of, say, Force Lightning used in such a scenario the Dark Side has effectively used one card to make their opponent waste two. Drawing and "cycling" cards by discarding them in the Draw Phase is another form where you are effectively getting more and more information about the game state in addition to getting you closer to the card you want. With this in mind, I'm sure you can see why it's advantageous to try to be able to cycle a card on each and every one of your turns in most cases. The player with more cards or access to more cards is generally in a better spot than the player with less. Card advantage is potentially the most important thing to grasp in order to play this game well. 

 

 

I have noticed that Twist of Fate is better when played on defense than offense.  When you play it on offense the opponent has the opportunity to see if you play a 2nd edge card and can choose to play a 2nd or not based on whether you pass or play another one.  When played on defense, against anything but Obi-Wan Kenobi, a twist of fate is a good play because the LS player has to play their 2nd edge card before you. Either way, a twist of fate is a good card, I just like it a little better on defense.  

 

 

GongShowHost said:

 

Timing Is Everything Too

The more knowledge and understanding you have of the rules themselves, the better a player you will be. The best example of this is Action Windows. Being aware of when they occur is integral to assessing when and how to do literally anything in the game. This seems obvious, but it applies in significantly less obvious ways. Just to give you an idea of how effective this can be, consider Jedi Mind Trick, which I think is easily one of the best cards in the whole game. If you use this card just right you can end up destroying a Dark Side attacker regardless of the Edge Battle. How? Let me break it down: Say your opponent is attacking with Boba Fett alone into Luke defending. You play out the Edge Battle and the Dark Side wins, however, because there is an action window immediately after the resolution of the Edge Battle, the Light Side plays Jedi Mind Trick to focus Boba Fett which allows Luke to strike and kill Fett without reprisal. Pretty powerful, don't you think? 
 

 

One of my favorite events is interrogation. I like to play it at the action window at the end of the draw phase on their first turn. If they did not mulligan then it usually means that they liked their hand at it has a good cards in it. Play this before they get the chance to deploy and you can ruin their first turn and put them pretty far behind. 

 

GongShowHost said:

 

Cards That Rely On Other Cards Are Crummier Than Cards That Don't

This is another simple concept with far reaching implications. How often do you find yourself with a card in hand that you are holding onto in hopes of drawing something else specific? Keeping Mandalorian Armor in hand and waiting for Fett, for example. By doing this you are essentially playing with one less card in your hand until you finally draw Fett and play him and the Armor. I'm not saying the Armor is bad, I'm saying you sould be aware of this premise because it can be extremely important. Trooper Assault, for another example, is a potentially devastating card under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, you need multiple Trooper cards in order to use it effectively. Until you do draw and play those other cards Trooper Assault itself is useless. 

 

 

 

 

I think this statement depends on a few things, mainly how good the rest of the objective set is.  Darth Vader's lightsaber is a below average card without vader, but we accept it because its part of a very good objective set and you are playing with a great unit in Vader. The mandalorian armor on the other hand is in an objective set that really doesnt have a home yet.  However, I would argue that mandalorian armor is a slightly better card than Vader's Lightsaber, giving an off target unit +3 damage capacity verse giving them +1 unit damage seems better to me.  I agree with your general statement though that cards with restrictions are worse than those without them.   



#5 GongShowHost

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:49 PM

2-for-1 isn't as profound in this game, but it is still important. Edge Battles are a perfect example where the more cards you have in hand the better off you usually are. Being aware of the potential to lose two or more cards with an enhanced unit can help keep you from playing out your hand and losing card advantage. 



#6 GongShowHost

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

I completely agree Twist of Fate seems to work better on defense. The difference is staggering. Interrogation is a card that lives or dies with the timing of when you play it for sure. If used correctly it can be devastating.

I also wanted to clarify that I wouldn't argue cards that need other cards to work are bad, but players should be aware of the hindrance they can become if not used correctly. 



#7 Ravncat

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:21 PM

I'm starting to think heart of the empire, is better than we give it credit for - and this is because light side decks seem to do really well on multiple strikes against different objectives, really leveraging chuds and unnopposed damage. Heart of the Empire, like trench run, require all the damage to be done to the same objective.



#8 TGO

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:29 AM

Ravncat said:

I'm starting to think heart of the empire, is better than we give it credit for - and this is because light side decks seem to do really well on multiple strikes against different objectives, really leveraging chuds and unnopposed damage. Heart of the Empire, like trench run, require all the damage to be done to the same objective.

 

Unless they have the enhancement that gives it +3 damage capacity and a Coruscant Defense Fleet or two out then its a bad objective. If you force the LS to attack 3 different objectives they will need to do anywhere from 12 to 17 damage combines, by playing Heart of the Empire you are spotting your opponent 2 to 7 damage.  



#9 dbmeboy

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:06 AM

GongShowHost said:

2-for-1 isn't as profound in this game, but it is still important. Edge Battles are a perfect example where the more cards you have in hand the better off you usually are. Being aware of the potential to lose two or more cards with an enhanced unit can help keep you from playing out your hand and losing card advantage. 

But even the edge battle thing is only relevant with a 2-for-1 trade immediately after playing the enhancement.  Otherwise, the enhancement-playing player has already drawn back up to their reserve and having played an extra card from their hand earlier won't hurt them in edge battles (and might help by increasing their chances of drawing good fate cards or such).



#10 Ravncat

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:01 AM

I agree with you on the damage numbers, heart's 10 compared to 12-17 among 3 objectives, and agree that defense force / defense upgrade are very good for heart of the empire. But, say you defend one objective and not the other two, light side gets an extra two damage via 2 units that don't need a blast symbol through unopposed damage. Hit and run can up that. This is six damage over three turns (assuming the units live that long, or ls can keep playing weaklings (rebels in particular)

 

Assuming tactics that work by attrition, splitting attack and doing damage to more than one objective is more efficient than just focusing on one objective at a time. This is a tactic well suited to the rebel swarm (not so much the Leia tricks and trench build w woodie navigator or Jedi) Heart of the empire then becomes an incentive to switch tactics and go for the "easier win."  But if your tactic is to get around 6-8 damage via unopposed and do the remaining 7-9 directly, you have to do more damage to heart of the empire.  I believe it's also easier to defend against one objective due to fewer edge battles and the limitation on attacking an objective once per turn.

 

then consider the cards in heart of the empire and that you can choose to play or bury it based on affiliation… And, in tandem with defense protocol or other objectives with strong powers, going after heart means ignoring other objective's advantages. And if they don't take the heart gambit right away, you're looking at a defense of two objectives at once over three, until they start in on heart.



#11 GongShowHost

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

You've convinced me to give it another shot.

#12 Loomis2459

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

I've found that card advantage is much less important in card games such as these.  Simply because you can dump your hand or make several plays that involve multiple cards and than get to draw back up to your starting hand size. 

Magic is completely different because the resource management of the game is so crucial - on an average game you see maybe 30% of your deck - meaning there are often games where you don't see upwards of 40 cards out of your 60 cards.  Which is one of the things that I've always disliked about the game in general. 

The old Decipher games that let you cycle through your hand size and had "draw back up" mechanics were far more skill based than Magic because you got to see so much of your deck every game.  Star Wars CCG and Lord of the Rings TCG were both wonderful games because it was a good feeling to reach well into your deck each game and see so many of your resources - thus increasing your options and tactical plays - and your opponent was also allowed to do the same.  It came down to who could best use those resources rather than degenerating into a "top deck" mode of game play. 

What happens to Magic quite frequently after your initial hand is depleted is that you go into only drawing one resource each turn.  Card advantage in Magic is so fundamentally huge with the draw only one card each turn that any adjustment to that game theory is just completely and absurdly huge. Ancestral Recall is absolute proof of how important drawing extra cards are for that game - even if it is only something that seems like it shouldn't be that impacting.  It's only three cards.  Which equates to three extra turns worth of resources and is so advantageous that it breaks the game regularly.

This game seems to fall somewhere in the middle.  I'm finding the objectives that let you draw a card during the start of your opponent's turn to be moderately important - especially in the Edge battles on their turn when you spent most of your hand during your turn to drop characters and resources.  Just having the ability to possibly drop an edge card during thier turn that gives you the option to act first with a character (or at least forces them to burn an extra card to win the edge battle) is an important game aspect.

Heart of the Empire is good because it lets you get a good early drop of resources due to the extra resource production of three - but than you have to protect it for it to be most beneficial to you.  I find it plays best in more defensive games.  Ones where using the resources to drop characters with shielding or powerful abilities allows you to protect it and also gives you the ability to get out the defensive cards you need quickly enough to set up.  If you can get a character like Palpatine or Vader out with it early and than win Edge battles constantly to clog up their resources with influence tokens before they can act it helps you protect all your objectives and keeps them from being able to perform focused attacks on it.

The old Star Wars CCG game was, and probably will always be, the most skill intensive CCG I've ever played because of the fact that you got to see and use all your resources every game. 

Magic has a large flaw in the fact that luck can become a major factor due to how little of your deck you get to see each game (so your opening seven are massively important - especially when the game averages about six to eight  turns these days - so you're only seeing one extra hand of cards unless you manipulate or draw more somehow).  

This game falls somewhere in the middle - and gives you the opportunity to recover from a bad opening hand (and mulligan) without it completely crushing your ability to win - or at least greatly hindering it.  This will probably be part of the game theory for this LCG that will have to be evaluated as we go along with the release of new product.



#13 AngryMojo

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

Honestly, I've found that Heart of the Empire deserves a lot more credit than it gets.  The downside of losing the game is only relevant if you draw into it as an initial objective, if it pops in later in the game the downside is pretty much nullified.  Combine the three resources with There Is No Escape, which effectively resets the game in a deck that relies on attrition, and you've got some pretty solid cards to work with.



#14 MasterJediAdam

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

AngryMojo said:

Honestly, I've found that Heart of the Empire deserves a lot more credit than it gets.  The downside of losing the game is only relevant if you draw into it as an initial objective, if it pops in later in the game the downside is pretty much nullified.  Combine the three resources with There Is No Escape, which effectively resets the game in a deck that relies on attrition, and you've got some pretty solid cards to work with.

I haven't played enough to understand entirely how that works. I agree that it is really bad if it pops at the beginning, but There is No Escape is an expensive event that is universal in its effect. How do you use it effectively?

(This is meant in all honesty, because I have never seen it played)


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#15 ziggy2000

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:30 PM

MasterJediAdam said:

AngryMojo said:

 

Honestly, I've found that Heart of the Empire deserves a lot more credit than it gets.  The downside of losing the game is only relevant if you draw into it as an initial objective, if it pops in later in the game the downside is pretty much nullified.  Combine the three resources with There Is No Escape, which effectively resets the game in a deck that relies on attrition, and you've got some pretty solid cards to work with.

 

 

I haven't played enough to understand entirely how that works. I agree that it is really bad if it pops at the beginning, but There is No Escape is an expensive event that is universal in its effect. How do you use it effectively?

(This is meant in all honesty, because I have never seen it played)

A "reset" card like There Is No Escape is usually played to correct a lopsided board position - if you're being overwhelmed by a lot of Rebel units and you have very little to defend with, it can even the playing field. You would most effectively play it on the LS Force phase to take out potential defending units, especially if you were holding some good cards you know you can drop on your turn and engage for unopposed. This of course would take some careful resource management. Ideally the force balance would be on your side, but either way you're going to get a click forward on the dial, and if you can use the opportunity to take out your second or third objective it will be a bigger advantage. If played on your own Force phase, it would be less effective and leave you vulnerable to unopposed engagements, but force the LS player to use resources in order to play new units to engage your objectives. In either case, you must be in a position to give up any units you may have in play. So it is a very situational card, but at the right time could completely change the game and give you the win.

Having said all that, I have never actually seen it played either, and have personally used it only in edge battles, or discarded it because it did not suit the situation.

As for Heart of the Empire, I always toss it if it shows up in the initial draw. After that, it really doesn't matter. If you're running two, and both show up in the initial draw, it's just one of those "Aw, s#!+" moments.

 



#16 dbmeboy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:20 AM

ziggy2000 said:

If you're running two, and both show up in the initial draw, it's just one of those "Aw, s#!+" moments.

 

I ended up tossing it from my Sith deck because that was happening too often (and because There Is No Escape was less useful in practice than it looked on paper).



#17 Darik

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:29 AM

As others have said, card advantage is big in this game, but I have to agree with those commenters that it isn't as important as it is in Magic and other games where your drawing power is more limited. 

As to Heart of the Empire - I think it is worth the risk. The cards in that objective set are powerful and it is the perfect "bait him into attacking" objective to use against your lightside opponent.



#18 dbmeboy

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

Darik said:

As others have said, card advantage is big in this game, but I have to agree with those commenters that it isn't as important as it is in Magic and other games where your drawing power is more limited. 

Card advantage is big, but the "traditional" ways of gaining card advantage don't work the same.  Since pretty much every card includes "draw one card" as a delayed effect of playing it (the exception being card drawing cards), 2-for-1 trades, sweepers, etc don't produce a permanent card advantage (they may give you a temporary one until your opponent has their next draw phase).  Currently the only way to gain a true card advantage is Recon Mission increasing your reserve value, though you can gain virtual card advantage with cards like Fall of the Jedi and Dark Precognition.



#19 JMCB

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

On the subject of Heart of the Empire:

The LS have very few OBJECTIVE damage units, and rely on unopposed damage from multiple chuds to become effective. Sure, The Heart of the Empire wins you the game it is destroyed, however, from my play experience it is much harder to destroy a single Heart of the Empire than attacking multiple objectives in a turn. Not only do you get less unopposed damage, you can get blown out by the Coruscant Defense Fleet soaking up the damage, as well as have your opponent defend with most or all of his units at the objective. Attacking multiple objectives in a turn adds to the complexity and strategic decisions of the board state and makes the opponent think a little more when it comes to which units to defend which objective. 

I know when I am playing as the Sith, I have no problem taking a Heart of the Empire as one of my starting objectives, because I know the route to my own victory will be even easier. 


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#20 Rogue 4

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 05:49 PM

HotE is good in my decks too because of the resources able to play anything to protect it. Guards, Defense Fleet, Vader and Emperor can all either kill things before damage gets through or tact them up. I run two in my Sith deck and it doesn't get blown up.


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