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Star Wars TCG Qualifiers: Lakewood, Washington

On May 8th, the 2004 Star Wars TCG Championship Series came to Lakewood, Washington. Snowspeeders and a field of asteroids helped Marcus McDaniel take third place in that event; Marcus provided the following comments on his deck, and the tournament in general.

As always, our congratulations to the winners of completed Qualifiers, and best of luck to all SW:TCG players still in competition. (See this listing for a complete schedule.)

3rd place, Marcus McDaniel

Marcus McDaniel: Light Side
1 Luke Skywalker (E)
1 Luke Skywalker (G)
1 Luke Skywalker (K)
1 Adi Gallia (A)
1 Obi-Wan Kenobi (I)
1 Oppo Rancisis (A)
1 Saesee Tiin (A)
2 Yoda (E)
1 Obi-Wan's Spirit (A)
1 Wedge Antilles (B)
2 Chewbacca (I)
1 Kyle Katarn (A)
4 Snowspeeder Rogue Two
3 Snowspeeder Squad
4 Unmodified Snowspeeder
1 Luke's Snowspeeder (A)
1 Luke's X-Wing (A)
1 Luke's X-Wing (B)
1 Luke's X-Wing (C)
1 Luke's X-Wing (D)
1 Millennium Falcon (A)
1 Millennium Falcon (E)
1 Millennium Falcon (G)
1 Millennium Falcon (H)
3 Rebel Escape Squad
4 X-Wing Attack Formation
4 Yoda's Intervention
4 Strange Lodgings
2 See You in Hell
1 Surprise Attack
3 Cloud City Battleground
3 Dagobah System
2 Medical Center
2 Rebel Hangar
14 Character
12 Ground
15 Space
10 Battle
1 Mission
0 Equipment
10 Location

“My Light Side deck was built around versatility. I played it at 25-26 starting build for the majority of the day.

“The Character arena I built to nullify the effects of Take a Prisoner. Chewbacca (I) and Yoda (E) teamed up really well, and Luke could jump from arena to arena to help out. Obi-Wan Kenobi (I) was there for back-up power.

“For the Space arena, I used typical power units (Luke's X-Wings, Millennium Falcons) with moderate build point gain units (Rebel Escape Squad) to help with those pesky Falcon's Needs.

“Ground was built around surprise. I wanted to get a Snowspeeder Squad out early and into the discard pile. This worked wonders against Damage Removal and Imperial Manipulation decks. I won at least 4 games by attacking with my small speeders, then discarding them to bring in Snowspeeder Squad to finish things off (before my opponent could remove damage or get another small unit in to discard for the AT-AT Assault Group). Unmodified Snowspeeder is an awesome card for this. A couple opponents left a near dead Unmodified Snowspeeder of mine alone in order to damage another unit, assuming its Upkeep cost would kill it. Then –wham!– it was the second speeder I needed to bring in the squad.

“The deck is designed for speed and survival. I capitalized on one of the Light Side’s greatest strengths: Evade. Light Side has all of the best Evade cards, so I figured why not use them? With Dagobah System, Cloud City Battleground, and Rebel Hangar in play, in almost every game I could Evade almost any amount of damage with no trouble at all.

“One alteration I would make would be to add Vendetta to the mix. Its evade quality, along with power boost on Chewie, would work great.”

Marcus McDaniel: Dark Side
2 Darth Tyranus (D)
1 Darth Tyranus (F)
1 Lobot (A)
2 Lobot (B)
1 Lando Calrissian (B)
4 Lando Calrissian (C)
1 Lando Calrissian (E)
1 Lando Calrissian (G)
4 Bespin Patrol Cloud Car
4 Bespin Twin-Pod Cloud Car
4 Bespin Cloud Car Squad
3 Cloud City Wing Guard
4 Big Asteroid
4 Medium Asteroid
4 Small Asteroid
2 Sith Infiltrator (A)
2 Vader's TIE Fighter (A)
4 Dark Sacrifice
4 Disrupting Strike
4 Lando's Trickery
4 Falcon's Needs
2 Bespin System
3 Cloud City Prison
13 Character
15 Ground
16 Space
12 Battle
4 Mission
0 Equipment
5 Location

“I love to capitalize on quirks in the game. I had been trying to find an effective way to use Lando Calrissian (C) when the asteroids came out. I immediately saw huge potential. Sacrifice and just keep bringing them back. However, as I playtested with only asteroids for Space units, sacrificing the Space arena was costing me too many games. Thus began the laborious task of switching in different styles of Space cards alongside the asteroids.

“Then I came across Dark Sacrifice. This one card took a useless looking Space arena, and turned it around. My opponents usually ignored the Space arena, placing a couple of units for Force gain or just to have presence. I would Dark Sacrifice a Big Asteroid and –wham!– the arena was mine to control.

“This brought up the question of how to control it. I couldn't use very many units due to the large number of asteroids in the deck. That's where Vader's TIE Fighter (A) and Sith Infiltrator (A) came in. My deck used very little Force, so recycling these two ships was a perfect solution.

“Unfortunately, I misinterpreted Dark Sacrifice, and thought that the new units coming into the arena until the end of turn would get the power boost. My interpretation worked really well until the day of the Qualifier. Then, in the first round of the tournament, my interpretation was ruled against, and the judges ruled in line with the new ruling (see Ask Wizards for May 13, 2004). At this point I resigned myself to bidding really low to play Light Side for the rest of the day.

“Twice I was forced into playing my Dark Side because I wouldn't go below 25 starting build (that's what my Light Side deck had tested at). On those occasions, the rest of my strategy worked flawlessly. I swarmed with Bespin units in Ground, and used Cloud City Prison to keep my opponent’s Force down, which made my own units fast and deadly. In the Character arena, Lando Calrissian, fully stacked and who couldn’t be hurt, packed a punch; plus, Lobot gave that little edge to win the arena. I’m still working to overcome the Dark Sacrifice mistake in order to keep Lando up and runnin'.

“I’m from a group in Southern California. I traveled up to Seattle to see an old friend and to do some business. I planned an extra day just to be at the Qualifier. The style of play was a little different than what I had seen back home. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I took my tournament deck back to our group’s Qualifier and got smoked. One difference that stood out was the Chewie Reanimator decks. I would say a good 60% of the people at Lakewood were running them. I hadn't even seen one until then. It's a good deck, but my gimped up Dark Side deck took it down without too much of a hassle.

“I am still working out details in hopes of making it to the Championship. My hope is to see an awesome variety of decks there. With The Phantom Menace coming out just before, there'll be all-new themes to conquer. This should be a great tournament season.”

—Marcus McDaniel

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