With the release of the new Home One, Jeni and I thought we were looking at the new face of Light Side Beat Down. We thought for certain that a unit packing as hard of a punch as that monster had to be beastly, as long as it was in the right deck. We were certain it was what we would run at the April 9th regional here in Texas.
We tried a really weak, not worth mentioning Rebel list right out of the gate. We crammed as many silly Rebel theories in as we could, but nothing came remotely close to being tournament viable. We did note the immediate synergy between Home One’s set and other strong vehicles, and shifted gears a bit. Our second build looked like this:
Solidarity in Spirit x2
Running the Trench x2
Secret Weapons x2
Mobilize Renegade Squadron x2
Asteroid Sanctuary x2
We really liked this list, but it was a bit too slow and clunky. Tons of vehicle and plenty of synergy, but we had a horrible time winning edge battles. We knew we needed to switch to something strong enough to handle Navy, and it felt like May the Force Be With You was necessary.
We shifted gears again and ended on what we thought would be our no-brainer deck for the regional:
Solidarity in Spirity x2
Running the Trench x2
May the Force Be With You x2
Watchers in the Wasteland
A Hero’s Beginning
Ties of Blood x2
In the early stages of testing, this list was destroying mono-Sith and had very little trouble beating Navy. The deck fights on two fronts: vehicles with massive amounts of damage and winning the Force. Leia and Ties of Blood force the opponent to fight back, which felt necessary to open up the doors for striking them on your turn. Additionally, we really loved Protection for Home One, and I Have You Now is always fantastic against anything when combined with A Hero’s Beginning.
As the weeks went on, we spent a lot of time retooling our Imperial Navy list. The above LS list continued to give Sith fits, so we knew we wouldn’t be piloting Sith at all for the event. After several retooling of our Imperial Navy list, we developed a new problem: the above LS list stopped winning consistently. With the release of So Be It, we discovered we had a much harder time winning edge battles against decks running Endor Entrapment. The Star Destroyer unit gave the DS plenty of time to sit back and set up their board position, and we weren’t in a place that we felt we could overcome a big, Navy board.
By Tuesday afternoon (regional on Saturday), we were struggling to find a LS that made sense. We felt our Imperial Navy list was the ‘best version of Navy you could run’, so we didn’t even bother to test against any other Dark Side list. We’ll post an article tomorrow covering the DS list. As a result, we felt it was best to scrap the LS we were in love with, something we really, really didn’t want to do the week of the event.
We started looking at Jedi/Smuggler breeds, specifically the list that Stephen (CataractCowboy) used to win his store championship. It could be explosive, but it wasn’t winning at nearly a high enough win percentage for us to be sold on it. Eventually, we narrowed down a list of three objectives we felt we had to choose from:
Solidarity in Spirit
The False Report
Flight of the Crow
We knew the strength of Solidarity in Spirit, but we weren’t sure if we could find the right build in a short amount of time. We especially didn’t feel comfortable against Endor Entrapment. Freeloaders are big, mean threats that are hard to remove from the table (and Tarkin does little against), but we really dislike the non-Freeloader cards in that set. We had played Flight of the Crow at Worlds and it helped deliver me into the Top 16, and I knew it was strong against Imperial Navy for both My Ally is the Force and removing their shields and protection.
We ultimately set our sights on the Crow and got to work late night Friday on figuring out what we wanted to do with it. By around 10pm Friday evening, we still couldn’t find a way to be aggressive enough to punch through damage. We were having resource problems, but we were also having edge problems (I lost an edge battle in testing where the Navy player only had three cards in hand and still hit 9 for the edge!).
We decided that the only play that made any sort of sense was to include Twist of Fate in the list somehow. It felt absolutely needed in order to combat several of Navy’s strongest options. The best way, we felt, to include Twist of Fate into our Moldy Crow list was in the form of Asteroid Sanctuary. It meant that we couldn’t start Smuggler and Spies, which might sound weird at first but actually works pretty well.
First of all, in Asteroid Sanctuary, the only cards that require a resource match are the Falcon, Cloud City Operative, and Bamboozled. Neither the Twist of Fate nor the Cloud City Guest Quarters need yellow. So, if you miss your resource match, you can easily throw Falcon into an edge for a hefty three Force icons.
After playing a few games of what was essentially mono-Jedi splashing the Falcon, things still felt a little off. We called TGO and told him what we were up to and got promptly laughed at. After reasoning with him a bit, he pointed out that if we included a third Smuggler and Spies objective, we could increase our odds of hitting yellow. He started going through the list of strong Smuggler sets and Along the Gamor Run ended up being the third one he thought of. As soon as he said the objective, we knew we had our deck:
As you can see, it’s effectively our old Force Lock build, but with Moldy Crow instead of Freeloaders. It has seven resource enhancements, three of which are ‘Force Resources’. Additionally, it has 10 ‘Mains’ in terms of units, six units with Edge and Flight of the Crow giving it to an additional six, along with two Twists, two Seeds, and a Supporting Fire. Winning edge battles became pretty easy!
We played two games against our current Navy list and the deck handled itself swimmingly. We sleeved it up and felt like we were all set for the event.
For the first round, I used a Regional bye I had won off of a Store Championship in Austin. Sitting on 6pts, I was paired with David Tietze, who I consider a good friend. You never want to be paired against your friends at events, even though the games are fun it’s no fun trying to stop your friend from advancing in the tournament. I started as the Dark Side player and felt like I had the game mostly under control even though David had a strong start (I’ll go into more detail in tomorrow’s report for my DS games). We switched sides and I kept a mediocre starting hand as the LS player, knowing it would improve as I drew cards during subsequent turns. Unfortunately, my turn 1 drop of a Speeder Bike and Roussan Colunist was ruined by a turn 2 Moment of Triumph. I spent the rest of the game digging back up against his mono-Navy list, and felt like I was in a solid position by about turn 7 or 8. Unfortunately, I had ate a lot of damage from Enforced Loyalty, and David drew a Navy Executor off of his five card draw to finish off the final objective he needed to get the dial to 12. It was a pretty crushing defeat, as I had worked so hard to undo his early damage and lost it all at the hands of a deployment.
In round 3, on 9pts, I was paired against Greg, who I met at a previous Texas regional. Two for two against friends was not the way to start the day! Unfortunately for Greg, my LS list fired on all cylinders this game. I missed my Smuggler and Spies objective, but I still found enough tricks and abuse to punish his mono-Navy list. His was playing Deploy the Fleet, but an early Yoda meant I was able to control his Death Squadrons and load up the board with units to finish his objectives.
Sitting on 15pts, in second place, I was paired against another friend, Ryan, whom I had also met at previous Texas regionals – small world! Since we were 1st and 2nd, we decided to split the round with concessions.
After prizes were given out to the remaining players, the Top 4 was set. Ryan was 1st seed, tied with Michael Richards on 19 points. I was 3rd seed on 18 points, with Matt K in 4th on 18 points as well. I won’t get into it here, but thanks to a complete bumbling of tournament organization via the tournament organizer, I was upset at the unprofessionalism shown by the TO in regards to how the dinner break was handled. I felt it was best to take a loss, remove myself from the situation a bit, and continue playing in the lower bracket.
Matt K, playing LS, ended up beating Ryan in their round, which meant that I would be playing my Dark Side against Ryan’s LS. Ryan had a really neat version of Rebels/Rescue Mission that I unfortunately didn’t get to see much of. He was using Cracken and the new Rebel Han, along with some attack tricks to strike for lots of blast damage.
Matt K won against Mike in their round. I ended up winning with my Dark Side, which meant that I had to play Mike with my Light Side to see who would move on to the finals against Matt K.
Mike was on a Navy trooper list and had an interesting start of double Forward Command Post and a Trooper droid. I dropped a Cloud City Guest Quarters and played a Hired Hand. I had May the Force Be With You on my objective flop and went in for an attack. Thankfully, a Twist of Fate on my side got rid of several decent edge cards for Mike, including a Heat of Battle. I ended up winning this edge as a result, killing the droid and double damaging an objective. I played Yoda, You Seek Yoda and attacked another objective against an empty board, then committed Yoda to take the Force back.
Mike drew into one of his Targeted Strike Troopers, and came in to try to remove Yoda from the board. Unfortunately for Mike, I was holding my other Yoda and a Nudj for seven edge off of two cards. From here my board position continued to stabilize with a Falcon and a Wolfman. A turn later I dropped a Marauder, played My Ally is the Force and discarded six units from his side.
I ended up winning that game and found myself in the finals against Matt K. It was then that I realized that the only thing I actually cared about winning at this point was the regional trophy. I plan on attending Gen Con, but don’t have any interest in playing Nationals this year. Recognizing that if I were to play and win, I couldn’t pass the bye down to Matt, I decided to pick up my cards and concede the game. I definitely wish I would have thought about the bye situation after making the Top 4, as I easily would have dropped out and let 5th place play instead. It’s a real shame that byes cannot be passed down if a player simply doesn’t want it or can’t make it to the event. I would have loved to have played Matt in the finals, but there’s just no reason for me to try to win and deny someone a bye when I have no interest in it. Out of any play mistakes I made during the regional, the mistake I regret most is not recognizing sooner in the event that I might deny someone the bye if I chose to continue playing in the Top 4. Additionally, I could have left 2hrs earlier!
I’ll post part two of this tournament report tomorrow, which will feature all the details of our Dark Side mono-Navy list!