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2004 Championships: 3rd Place

The 2004 Star Wars TCG Championships have come to pass, crowning Adam Dittmer as the ultimate victor! Our congratulations to Adam, and thanks to all those who made the journey to take part. Top 8 results were as follows:

  • 1st: Adam Dittmer
  • 2nd: Jeff Simmerman
  • 3rd: James McCoy
  • 4th: David Staymates
  • 5th: John Alan Miller
  • 6th: Michael Van Norman
  • 7th: Chris Souther
  • 8th: Bin Chen

Today, we also present deck lists and comments from 3rd place finisher James McCoy.

Dark Side: Maul is Good

"First off I have to give proper respect to Christopher Souther, my playtest partner and fellow Top 8 finisher, who—without his help—none of this would have been possible.

"Dark Side was fairly straightforward; we've had a Maul's Strategy/Darth Maul deck since the 2003 Qualifier season. What made the deck so dominate was the addition of Bespin units in the Ground arena and high quality, Dark Side-accessible Space units. For a long time, Dark Side simply couldn't win the Space arena in a reasonable fashion. This changed with the release of Rogues and Scoundrels and its numerous high quality, neutral Space units. Suddenly, with a few revisions, we had a Dark Side deck that was beating everything we threw at it."

Maul is Good
2 Darth Maul (A)
1 Darth Maul (B)
2 Darth Maul (C)
1 Darth Maul (D)
3 Darth Maul (E)
1 Darth Maul (F)
1 Lando Calrissian (D)
4 Kouhun
4 Bespin Twin-Pod Cloud Car
4 Cloud City Wing Guard
4 Bespin Cloud Car Squad
4 Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
1 Stinger (A)
2 Virago (A)
2 Modified YV-330 (A)
2 IG-2000 (A)
3 Millennium Falcon (C)
4 Disrupting Strike
4 Brutal Assault
1 Tyranus's Gift
1 Down in Flames
4 Maul's Strategy
4 Capture Obi-Wan
1 Carbon Freezing Chamber
15 Character
12 Ground
14 Space
10 Battle
8 Mission
0 Equipment
1 Location

Light Side: '04 Jedi

"Now, Light Side was very difficult to formalize. Playtesting showed that if we added 3 Explore the Swamps and 5 Locations to any deck, it performed very well. We decided to utilize Han's Promise in the Character arena; it allowed us to run big, beefy Characters that also supported other arenas through Force gain, and helped overcome Light Side's biggest weakness: the Ground arena."

Ground Arena
"It became apparent that we couldn't afford the risk of running large Ground units susceptible to Lando's Influence. It also showed that running speeders was highly suspect, due to the power of Down in Flames. This left us with rather limited choices, but with the addition of the Location: Rebel Trenches, bad units became much better.

"We minimized the susceptibility to Lando's Influence by running Jawa Sandcrawlers as our neutral units in the Ground arena. It seemed unlikely that someone would influence a tapped Jawa Sandcrawler. Against Down in Flames, we simply ran very cheap speeders, so that if our opponents did play Down in Flames, it typically wouldn't be as devastating. Unfortunately this left us with 10 Ground units where we needed 12. After deciding that they needed to be big units capable of winning the arena, we decided that 2 Mobile Assault Cannons were the right choice, as their 8 health put them ahead of such other choices as Mobile Artillery Division—and especially since we were planning on giving them Armor through Rebel Trenches."

Space Arena
"The Space arena contains large stacks, which serves numerous functions. Stacking is one of the best mechanisms for improving unit quality. During setup, it also allows for the best mechanisms for having consistent draws. We added Millennium Falcon (F) and Millennium Falcon (E) to force the Dark Side to fight in the Space arena or risk losing."

Character Arena
"The Character arena offers a triad of utility, Force gain, and aggression. The concept behind the arena is that you win by discarding Yoda (D) or Mace Windu (A) to one of the discard mechanisms, such as Jawa Sandcrawlers or Yaddle (A), and then Han's Promise them back into play. Since Yoda (D) and Mace (A) can both provide Force, they also improve your Space and Ground-Evading units. Jedi Younglings, Anakin Skywalker (J), and Yaddle (A) serve other purposes, but are also there for the only Mission card in the deck: Strike Me Down. We added Orn Free Taa (A) as protection against one of the deck's worst match-ups: Death Star.

"The typical first turn for this deck is: (1) discard Yoda (D), (2) play Explore the Swamps by tapping Jedi Youngling, (3) find and deploy the Location that hurts your opponent the most at that time, (4) play Han's Promise, (5) return Yoda (D) to play, and then (6) Strike Down your tapped Jedi Youngling. This leaves you in a very strong position, and it only assumes a build roll of 3."

'04 Jedi
1 Yaddle (A)
1 Saesee Tiin (A)
2 Orn Free Taa (A)
1 Anakin Skywalker (J)
4 Jedi Youngling
3 Yoda (D)
3 Mace Windu (A)
4 Jawa Sandcrawler
4 Unmodified Snowspeeder
1 Anakin's Podracer (A)
1 Luke's Snowspeeder (A)
2 Mobile Assault Cannon
1 Luke's X-Wing (A)
2 Luke's X-Wing (B)
2 Luke's X-Wing (C)
2 Millennium Falcon (B)
1 Millennium Falcon (D)
2 Millennium Falcon (E)
2 Millennium Falcon (F)
1 Millennium Falcon (G)
1 Virago (A)
1 IG-2000 (A)
4 Strike Me Down
3 Explore the Swamps
4 Han's Promise
2 Remember the Prophecy
2 Rebel Trenches
2 Cloud City Dining Hall
1 Dagobah System
15 Character
12 Ground
15 Space
4 Battle
9 Mission
0 Equipment
5 Location


"Our playtesting gauntlet was pretty varied; we literally tried to throw everything we could think of as we tried to find a good Light Side deck. Here's a rough lists of test decks:

"Dark Side: Trade Federation Control, Vader (H), Vader (I), Blockade, Creatures, Gungan Creatures, '03 Tuskens, Death Star Control, Piett-Retaliate, Nexu-Sidious (D), Executor Bridge Explosion.

"Light Side: Rebels, Power Dive/Luke's Garage/Pilots, Chewie Reanimator, Chewie (B), Gungans, Naboo with Gungans, Falcon/Duel of Fates, Han/Leia.

"In the actual tournament I faced these Dark Side decks: 2 Trade Federation Explosion decks, a Droid Gas Attack deck, 2 Retaliate decks, 1 Blockade deck, 1 Death Star, and one mirror; for Light Side: 2 Duel of Fates, 1 traditional Chewie Reanimator, 2 Explore the Swamps/Chewie Reanimators, 1 Han/Leia, and one mirror.

"While it might seem that I had everything planned for, I definitely did not. One of the great things about the Star Wars TCG is the depth of deck build. For instance, one Duel of the Fates decks worked off Missions and Locations to stall arenas not using any Battle cards or Force. Needless to say, my Force Drain Dark Side deck didn't particularly like this match-up, but due to the bidding system I simply bid my Light Side deck lower then I normally would. The Trade Federation Explosion decks also proved to be much more effective then I anticipated, so much so that my Trade Federation Control testing was largely useless.

"Playtesting really paid off in deck construction. From playtesting, we knew The Phantom Menace-based Blockade {TPM} was largely useless against our Han's Promise-powered Light Side deck. We also knew that Sidious-Nexu was rather weak in the Character arena, and it was one match-up where it might be useful to drop Mace Windu (A) during setup.

"Playtesting also showed that adding the Cloud City Dinning Hall Location would completely destroy Piett/Retaliate and significantly hamper Trade Federation decks. In addition, it allowed us a combo with Millennium Falcon (F).

"One of the most significant lessons learned from playtesting was the addition of a 3rd Millennium Falcon (C) to Dark Side. The Han/Leia deck proved to be one of the most devastating Light Side decks, but against Millennium Falcon (C) and the Force gain our Maul's Strategy deck generates, we could compel our opponent's Falcon to retreat through contesting. It increased our odds of winning this match up to over 95%.

"Lastly, we knew Chewie Reanimator would be there in force, so we developed a Dark Side deck that was aggressive enough to end the game quickly. What's the big deal in getting back a 6 health IG-88 (A) if it will only get attacked by a faster, 12-dice rolling Darth Maul?"

Memorable Plays

"One of the most memorable Championship plays was against the Droid/Gas Attack deck. I had an Unmodified Snowspeeder and Jawa Sandcrawler facing off against 3 Trade Federation STAP's. I decide on dropping a Rebel Trenches instead of another Unmodified Snowspeeder. Next thing I know, Jawa Sandcrawler gets Lando's Influenced, then Dark Sacrificed. My poor Unmodified is taken down by the 6-dice Accuracy 1's, and I lose first turn.

"The only other surprise was the build rolls I was making that day. If I knew I was going to roll 5 or 6 for build 90% of the time, I would have played a Duel of the Fates-based deck.

"Overall I had a great time, I was able to see old friends, and I particularly enjoyed the lack of a draft portion this year, as it caused a lot of distress last year.

"Oh yeah, and playing your playtest partner first round in the top 8 (and eliminating him) sucks!"

—James McCoy

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