“General, prepare your troops for a surface attack.”
–Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Inspired by the early scenes from The Empire Strikes Back, The Hoth Cycle of Force Packs carries players through one of the greatest battles in the galaxy. Starting with the Rebels’ early efforts to establish Echo Base, then marching forward toward the final shots between Imperial AT-ATs and Rebel snowspeeders, The Hoth Cycle gives players a chance to feel the heated conflict between the vast Imperial military forces and the daring Rebels who seek to defend a base under siege… And it all begins with The Desolation of Hoth.
Launch Your Assault
Since last December, when Star Wars™: The Card Game arrived at retailers around the world, players have had the opportunity to experiment with its different affiliations, decks, and play styles. Accordingly, many dark side players have come to recognize two major archetypes and gravitate toward one of them:
- Defensive decks are built around the icon, events and abilities that destroy enemy units, and units with enough Force icons to win the Force struggle each turn
- Aggro decks focus on advancing the Death Star dial by destroying light side objectives and often include a large number of cheap units with icons and a few larger “finishers” like the Devastator (Core Set, 44).
Both styles have their merits, and veteran card gamers may gravitate toward “aggro” decks for many reasons. They may like how the style applies pressure to their opponents, they may like how it allows them to control which objective abilities their opponents have available, or they may simply like “blowing stuff up.” Veteran card gamers may intuitively gravitate toward any of these abstracted elements of the aggro style. However, fans who decide to pick up Star Wars because of their love of the films may find that aggro decks built out of the Imperial Navy lack one key component… Darth Vader.
The Dark Lord
Notably, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader (Core Set, 35) exists as a Sith unit in the game’s Core Set, and, of course, he’s one of the game’s strongest Characters. So how can the Imperial Navy compete with the Sith? It has its share of TIE fighters, stormtroopers, and Star Destroyers, but do any of these really conjure the same chills as Darth Vader? Do any of the Imperial Navy’s vessels and troopers inspire you to hum the Imperial march in your head?
Fortunately for Star Wars fans who want to dabble with both the Imperial Navy’s aggressive style and Darth Vader, The Desolation of Hoth offers them a new, Imperial Navy version of Darth Vader (The Desolation of Hoth, 195). Where the Core Set’s Darth Vader is the Sith Lord who hunted down and destroyed the Jedi, this new Darth Vader is the focused commander who oversaw the discovery and destruction of Echo Base, and his ability is a terrific boon for the Imperial Navy’s aggressive play style. While Darth Vader is attacking, each dark side unit gains . Note, too, that these icons aren’t edge-dependent. If a unit gains an edge-dependent icon, that icon is indicated in paratheses (), but the icons that Vader grants function even if the light side wins the edge.
Of course, Darth Vader is the feature card in his objective set, and the rest of the unit-rich set plays to his strengths.
- The objective, Lord Vader’s Command (The Desolation of Hoth, 194), makes it harder for light side players to thwart the Dark Lord with Jedi Mind Tricks (Core Set, 65) and other events.
- The Communications Officer (The Desolation of Hoth, 196) provides two resources to help get Vader into play earlier. However, since he’s a unit, once he’s provided all the resources you need, he can join Vader on an engagement and contribute a icon to the greater cause.
- The objective set comes with two copies of the Probe Droid (The Desolation of Hoth, 197). You can have them attack with Vader, or you can save them to serve as defenders. Either way, when they leave play, they’ll help you coordinate the destruction of your opponent’s objectives.
- Finally, if Lord Vader’s Command doesn’t sufficiently discourage your opponent from targeting Darth Vader with events, Imperial Suppression (The Desolation of Hoth, 198) allows you to cancel any one event he plays, returning it to the top of his deck. The cost? Free.
Together, the cards in Lord Vader’s Command establish the foundations for a unit-heavy aggro deck, one capable of destroying multiple light side objectives in a single turn.
The Troops Have Landed
As the first Force Pack for Star Wars: The Card Game, The Desolation of Hoth opens up some interesting new strategies, and the deck list below serves as an example of how its cards and specifically those in Lord Vader’s Command may lend new strength to an Imperial Navy rush deck. Built around Darth Vader, dozens of cheap Troopers, and Orbital Bombardment (Core Set, 103), this deck is packed with an astounding thirty-three units and can easily destroy any objective your opponent brings into play.
1x Corporate Exploitation
1x Death and Despayre
Heat of Battle
2x Take Them Prisoner
Death Star Trooper
Death Star Trooper
Tear This Ship Apart
2x The Ultimate Power
Grand Moff Tarkin
The Imperial Navy Sets a New Course
Expand your Star Wars universe today as the Imperial Navy sets a course for the ice planet of Hoth. The Desolation of Hoth is now available at your local retailer and online on our webstore!