While the first pack of the Endor cycle offered very little to players looking to increase their game, pack two brought about Sector Lockdown, a Navy set that every Navy deck had no idea it needed. Upon its release, we turned our attention towards finding the best builds of the two best Dark Side decks: mono-Sith and mono-Navy.
We started with Sith, basically because it’s just easier. Adding Fall of the Jedi, The Emperor’s Web, and Counsel of the Sith to a deck gives you 60% towards your final goal. Not bad. Except, we were ready to rule out Fall of the Jedi almost completely. The reason? Dark Counsel.
Basically, Dark Counsel, while lacking the ‘omph’ of Darth Vader (and his reaction), brings about a different form of synergy to Sith Control. Janus is a solid unit, the Imperial Functionary is incredibly great against sets like The Survivors, Sith Library is exactly what Sith wants (sort of), and Administrative Detainment is pure bliss. Battle of Endor is easily the worst card there, but I’d rather have it than a Dark Side Apprentice most games.
Because of the fate card and Sith Library in Dark Counsel, we wanted to focus a bit more on Mara Jade than on Vader. There’s some great synergy between the two sets and it really opens a lot of new and interesting doors for Sith Control. Our Sith Control list ended up looking like this:
The Emperor’s Web x2
Agent of the Emperor x2
Counsel of the Sith x2
The Executor Arrives x2
Fall of the Jedi
This list gives you a ton of resources (get ready to pitch Sith Library’s), and a whole lot of control options. You should never find it hard to pay for the Emperor or Executor. This is our favorite build of Sith Control and probably the only build we’d look at until the new Emperor arrives in the Endor cycle.
As mentioned in yesterday’s article, we knew everyone would be playing Navy at the regional, so we weren’t too concerned about testing against Sith. We did play a few games against this list, but it was really only sparingly and with little record of how they went. We just wanted to make sure our LS lists weren’t at a huge disadvantage to Sith – which we never found to be the case.
Mono-Navy was almost just as easy to build, up until pack four hit the week of the regional. The first thing we did was focus on our Worlds list and modify it once Sector Lockdown released. The reason for this is mainly twofold: Stalker can end up being just as good, if not better, than a Death Squadron Star Destroyer and Sector Garrison is like a Sith Library on steroids.
Most games you’re not in need of the Sector Garrison text, so you pitch it for other objectives. It’s text is okay, but I actually prefer it late game once my board is established and I have an easier time protecting it outside of abusive Navy objective text. For example, if the objective flop is Might of the Empire, Tarkin Doctrine, Enforced Loyalty, and Sector Garrison, I’d gladly pitch the Garrison to the bottom and keep the other three. If I were to pitch Might, then I can only protect one of the other two with Doctrine.
We started out by basically trying to figure out what we’d remove from our Worlds list to include Sector Lockdown. Our Worlds list was:
Tarkin Doctrine x2
Enforced Loyalty x2
Might of the Empire x2
Deploy the Fleet x2
Last Grand Admiral
We knew Deploy the Fleet wasn’t warranted as a two-of. That’s way too many big and bulky Star Destroyers. We added in both Sector Lockdowns and removed Reinforcements and a single Deploy the Fleet. We still weren’t happy with Fleet, mainly because there’s several dead cards and it feels like you’re looking for a goofy combo that you’ll rarely hit during a tournament.
Once pack three was spoiled with the Executor, we immediately knew what we were dropping that Deploy the Fleet for. We weren’t in love with the 1/1 living resource unit, but we really liked how potent the Executor could be.
Similar to our Rebel Light Side list, we thought we had everything decided upon a couple weeks before the tournament. Then, we got word that pack four would be releasing and with it came the spoilers for the Gladiator Star Destroyer. We immediately wrote off the set. In fact, the week of the event I bashed it to several close friends who responded with, ‘I don’t know…’.
But I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. I felt like the Gladiators were bad versions of Wolfmen. Very similar stats, but with the ability to be a Supporting Fire on a stick. But this is because I misread the card. I thought it was essentially identical to Supporting Fire and that Fate cards could not be added to the edge stack. Upon realization of this, we immediately fought to include them.
Our initial retooling included two copies of Endor Entrapment, specifically to get the objective in play often and to get a Gladiator or two on the board. We quickly learned a harsh lesson in that Endor Entrapment x2 adds a whole lot of cards to your deck that you don’t really want to see. However, we had decided to include a couple copies of Defending the Trench for the sick inclusion with Gladiators (Gladiators let you see if you’re going to win the edge or not, and if you are, you get to toss in a I Have You Now to murder one of their units). It’s dirty. And ugly. And awesome.
Dialing back on the Endor Entrapments meant that we needed to also dial back on the Defending the Trench. Our new (and final) build ended up like this:
This is, in our opinion, the best Navy list you could run at an upcoming regional. It has seven resources (two are free and one is a 1/1!), a whole lot of fire power, a whole lot of control elements, and lots of ways to prevent/remove damage. It is quite the machine.
Defending the Trench is here for Vader and I Have You Now. Vader is a great edge card, a decent unit, and a really fun way to prevent four damage if Endor Entrapment is out. Endor Entrapment is really only here for the Gladiators. Once you see one Control Room, you really don’t need to see another. Battle of Endor is a pretty pointless edge card, but it can become worthwhile sometimes. I refuse to put the Cruiser (or is it Crusier?!) into play, ever. Tarkin Doctrine is here for literally every single card in the set. I had a game in testing where I was able to play a turn one Fleet Staging Areas, a Rule by Fear, and a Mouse Droid. I committed the Mouse Droid, flipped the Force, bounced their only unit, drew a free card, and moved the dial twice on my turn.
Enforced Loyalty has bonkers text, followed by two fantastic units (Mithil is awesome against Luke’s Landspeeder… when you remember to use his text), another copy of Control Room, and an incredible Fate card. Sector Lockdown also doesn’t feature a single bad card and might actually have the best event card in the game. The unit burns a card off the top of their deck, Stalker features three guns and late-game can destroy objectives single handily. Sector Garrison is fantastic for pitching cards like Zed, Tarkin, Chimera, etc into edge battles and then recycling them directly back into your deck. My personal favorite is losing a Stormtrooper Assault Team from the board, only to recycle it back in. Your opponent really loves it when you do that.
Might of the Empire is the set I really love the most, as Chimera is by far the best unit in the deck. Three unit damage icons and it can place focus tokens on units. Reminds me a lot of Yoda (112-02). Fleet Staging Areas has 19 targets in this build, nearly half your deck. The Tractor Beam becomes hilarious with your late game Stalker, or is just a solid edge card. I’ve never used The Empire Strikes Back.
In the first round of the event, I used my Store Championship bye and hung out with Matt K (eventual winner) and Michael Richards (third place). We kinda tried to observe the field, looking for strange and unique builds, and I got excited when I saw the new Sith Wryms in play and another player on Scum. I like variety and think it’s neat to see players really think outside the box for big events. Sadly, I don’t think these builds made it to the top tables very often.
My first actual games were against David Tietze, and he started with his Light Side. My Navy was pretty unimpressive in that I kept finding resources and had a turn two Chimera if I had wanted, but I kept putting out filler units like Mithil, Yularen (to move some damage), etc. I love the Chimera and feel like the correct play is to always lead with it, but David was getting resource screwed and I felt it was best to capitalize by building up a large board position. At one point I deployed a second Mithil (first one died) and a Rule by Fear instead of putting down anything of real substance. That paid off as he dropped a Luke and ended up with nothing to show for his turn. He was sticking damage, but between Yularen and Imperial Fist none of it lasted for long.
The thing to remember about Navy Control is that you are always, always, in control of how the game will play. Your job is to build up a board that your opponent has to work through in order to do any real damage to your objectives. You have to make decisions on whether or not to block (sometimes it’s best to let damage stick and follow with a Yularen on your turn), whether to use Endor Entrapment, and so on. There are a massive amount of decision trees and it is really impressive just what you can do with the deck.
I ended up winning as the Dark Side against David, but lost as the Light Side, splitting games and going on 9pts into round three.
Round three was against Greg, and I played Dark Side in the second game. In the first, Greg had used an early Moment of Triumph to wipe both of our boards. I led with a turn one Fleet Staging Areas, followed by a Chimera. I committed to the Force and left Greg in a bit of a bad spot as he was on an interesting Rebel rush build designed around Home One. He dropped a couple of small units, so after I refreshed I returned his first game’s Moment of Triumph with one of my own, then ended my turn by dropping a Stormtrooper Assault Team. I did this to show that he would need to protect his board on my turns, hoping to slow down the rush a bit while I tried to set up my hand for winning an important edge battle. Greg ended up with some bad draws and, as a result, my board continued to stabilize and kept him locked out of the game. We ended this match pretty early, which was awesome as we were able to have a really long and fun conversation about some projects he’s currently spearheading.
In round four, on 15pts, my opponent Ryan and I decided to intentionally split our games (love the new tournament rules, yay!). We hung out and debated how the Gladiators worked if you didn’t have an edge stack (ruling still incoming).
I was set to play Light Side in the first round of the Top Cut, and proceeded to move to the lower bracket. In a position to win out, I was pretty surprised after being paired up against Ryan to see him on Rebels. I figured it might be a rush list similar to Greg’s, but he surprised me by flipping over his take on the Cracken builds. I was excited, as I don’t have much faith in those decks and knew Ryan was top seed going into the cut. I was ready to see some action!
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned for Greg. He had a weak objective flop and couldn’t get in to really accomplish the damage he needed to. I had Enforced Loyalty and was pressuring damage, while also ignoring some and moving it with Fist/Yularen. He made a slight mistake coming in with Endor Han for an attack, forgetting that my Chimera was purposely not committed to the Force (I was anticipating the Seeds). He realized after flipping edge and trying to focus down the Chimera his mistake. Han ended up dying and he wasn’t able to stabilize much after that. It didn’t help that I saw my Assault Team and pressured his side of the board.
In my next round, I replayed my Light Side and won. I’ll repeat what I wrote yesterday regarding the finals:
After winning and being paired against Matt K to see which of us would be the champion, 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!
Overall, if you have any upcoming events, I cannot stress enough to learn these builds and dominate with them. They really are fantastic and I wouldn’t change a single thing.