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SW:TCG Australian Championship Preview

Welcome to the Star Wars TCG, Australian style!

2004 is a huge year for Australian players, as the first Star Wars TCG Australian National Championship takes place on 14th June.

Until last year, Star Wars TCG barely had an active sanctioned tournament scene in Australia. That’s not to say SW:TCG wasn’t popular here—in fact, far from it. Each expansion brought more and more players, until people all over the country were pitting Jedi against Sith, Rebels against Imperials.

The problem has been just that, however. Players are spread all over a country where getting together means travelling a distance equivalent to several European countries! The lucky ones have gaming stores close by, but for most, the numbers and support were simply not available for sanctioned tournament play.

A guy gaining real popularity in the Australian scene.

Last year, that all began to change.

State of Origin Battle: Queensland vs. New South Wales

Battalions of Separatist and Republican forces slowly collected in two of our seven Australian states—first in Queensland, then in New South Wales.

The Queenslanders started off as the original masters of the Force. During the Sith Rising and A New Hope eras, such players as Bernard Tang, Brendan Nimwegen, David Werner and Kerry Clarkson quickly established themselves as rulers of the sanctioned galaxy.

Dragons dominated early Australian sanctioned play.
In recent times, however, New South Wales has toppled these Queenslanders from power. First Emperor Palpa-Tyng (Tyng-yann Yenn) rose to ascendency using Krayt Dragons amongst his trademark cards. Yoda (Scott Hunstad) then banished the Emperor and snatched back power for the Light Side, using a “if it doesn’t stack, I don’t want to know” strategy. After establishing what many thought would be an unassailable position, however, the Dark Side cast its shadow over the Force once again—Yoda was forced to disappear into the Dagobah swamps as Dark Lord Lindsay Heming rose to dominate the Australian scene with Han’s Promise and Rebel Surrender decks.

The fallout of this recent turmoil is the prospect of a classic "State of Origin" battle (a fiercely contested Rugby League event for all non-Aussies out there!) between Queensland and New South Wales for the national title.

Predictions: Players to Watch

So who are the Jedi Masters and would-be Emperors to be reckoned with at this year’s Australian Championship, and what decks will they be using?

The Dark Lord (Lindsay Heming) is the bookies’ favourite to take this year’s title. A master of subtle manipulation, Lindsay is the current Australian No. 1 ranked player, and his trademark decks combine build and Force generation combos along with power-denying tricks for his opponents.

Expect to see Mace front up to Vader many times at this year's Australian Championship.
Queensland’s hope lies with Bernard Tang and Brendan Nimwegen, whilst the current New South Wales elite are the Dark Lord’s own young apprentices: Ryan Dare and Shaun Baker. However, it remains to be seen whether any can stand against Dark Lord Heming himself.

Will Yoda come out of hiding and contest the galaxy with the Dark Lord? Will Emperor Palpa-Tyng try to reclaim what was once his? Negotiations continue… What’s more exciting, however, is the possibility of unknown heroes rising from the many gaming groups scattered throughout the country. If only a handful of these players make it to the event, the Australian Championship could be blown wide open.

Predictions: Decks to Beat

And what’s expected to be played?

No surprises with Dark Side. Kessel Swarm is the current deck of choice in the Australian SW:TCG scene, closely followed by Falcon’s Needs. (Take a closer look at both these decks in Michael Kelly’s article: Dark Side Power Decks Part 1.) With the banned and restricted list coming into effect a few days after the Australian Championship, this will probably be the last chance for Australian players to field such decks—and many will grasp that opportunity like a fallen Jedi reaching for his lightsaber.

For the Light Side, Chewie-Reanimator will undoubtedly be a deck to reckon with, but by no means the only one fielded. Rogues and Scoundrels-fuelled Tuskens, Diplomats, Rebels and stacked-Jedi Beatdown decks will undoubtedly all make their presences felt. When you consider that a Jawa-themed deck took first place in the Newbury, Ohio Qualifier, nothing can be taken for granted!

The Missions expected to dominate the Australian Championship.

Information on the Australian Nationals can be found at With guest appearances by Star Wars actors, it’s a must-be-booked date for Australian Star Wars TCG fans—we’ll see you there!

Next week: Results from the Australian Championship!