Star Wars TCG Qualifiers: Worcester
On June 19th, the 2004 Star Wars TCG Championship Series came to Worcester, Massachusetts. Christopher Beacham of Team Atlantis took 1st place—Brian Cieszynski, William Alessi, and Stephen Matousek also placed, and provided the following commentary.
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.)
1st place, Christopher Beacham
2nd place, Brian Cieszynski
"I tried to stay away from really high Upkeep cards. Boba Fett and IG-88 are powerful, but what good are they if you can't pay the Upkeep? I also like having "multi-purpose" cards that can boost different arenas. Dash Rendar (A), for example, works great in any arena, so I can deploy him where needed.
"One memorable action was realizing just how powerful Millennium Falcon (E) is (the version of Falcon that can attack Characters). This was a thorn in the side of any deck I faced. Most players prefer Falcon (F), but I plan to stick with (E).
"Otherwise, come Worlds, one major change in my deck will be speed. My Dark Side units were just too slow."
3rd Place, William Alessi
"For the sake of originality in building these decks, I knew I wanted to avoid taking basic designs I'd seen online. So I looked for an unused theme. The first one that jumped out at me was Bounty Hunters, along with Prince Xizor (A) as the utility tank.
"This deck switched back and forth from Light Side to Dark about five times before finally settling on Light Side for the build production engines. Running the new Princess Leia (I) and the pilot Princess Leia (G), along with Gallofree Medium Transports and Slave 1 (F), was consistently able to produce so much build that I could overwhelm the Character arena with bounty hunters and the Space arena with the hunters' ships.
"I was very nervous about many of the power decks around, such as Creatures, Tuskens, Chewie Reanimator, Falcon's Needs, etc. (especially since the banned/restricted list went into effect the day after the tournament). With such cards as Mos Eisley Cantina and C-3PO (G), I could handle Falcon's Needs; plus, a good variety of Locations allowed me to cancel out some of my opponents' important Locations (such as Kessel System) in many of the Swarm decks.
"Finally, as this deck uses almost no Force at all, it benefits from high-cost, powerful Battle cards."
"As for my Dark Side deck, as I'd just switched my Bounty Hunters back to Light Side I had nothing for Dark, so I went with my most basic concepts: Ion Cannons in Ground, stacked Darth Vader and Jango Fett in Character, and Death Star Swarm in Space.
"Jango proved especially handy, as he's one of the few Dark Side Characters able to beat out the Light Side Jedi for speed; and, if he manages to go first, using Vendetta against a 7 damage attack from a Mace Windu (A) can be devastating.
"Finally, a late addition of an Emperor's Bidding paid off as a last ditch effort against a Clone deck."
"In the Worcester Qualifier, I played against some tough competition, and was surprised to find myself end up so high up in the ranks. The only match I lost, I remember rolling terribly (2 hits in 11 dice over two turns gets frustrating).
"But against Imperials, my Bounty Hunter deck managed to overpower Vader and take Ground; against Creature Swarm, the hunters (with many great bounties) once again held off Character after running my opponent out of Peaces and Lulls.
"Game 3 went to time just after we started our build. My opponent built Kessel System and smiled, as I groaned (creatures + Kessel at time = sad hunters). Then, I drew my last card (through Zutton (A)) and sighed, as I overlaid his Kessel with the one I'd just top-decked. A few bounties and turns later, and he was done.
"The only things I would change in my decks would be to get a hold of a Chewbacca (G) (not as a cheap theme, but because he'd fit just fine). These decks may be larger than most, but they're plenty of fun, and I'm anxious to see how Xizor can wreak havoc in The Phantom Menace, let alone the World Championships at Gen Con."
4th Place, Stephen Matousek
"After Team Atlantis players took 1st, 2nd, & 3rd at the Charlotte SWTCG Qualifier, the pressure was on. We needed to win another Qualifier so we could take all the qualified players to Worlds—that is, assuming I could qualify, of course.
"The decks I decided to play were a Quorum deck and a Jawa deck.
"Of the 6 games I played, in 4 of them I used Quorum. I was much more confident with this deck as I had a good amount of experience with it. I had playtested it at 24 build, and still pulled off the combo without too much trouble.
"I knew that with a good setup, I could get a second or third turn win. During setup, I would try to play as many cheap units as I could in order to give a better card selection at game start. Card draw and resource acceleration are the keys to winning with Quorum. All of my Space and Ground were cheap utility units, with the exception of Escape Pods; they were there for the sole purpose of drawing a card in setup for 1 build, and then as resource advantage with Departure Time. I tried not to play any Jedi costing more than 4 in setup, so that I could cycle through the deck faster.
"Cycling through the deck in setup is very important. First turn should see 5 build points between build roll and Corellian Corvettes, which is enough to Gather the Council—very important, as it thins out the deck even more and gains massive Force to fuel Slipping Through and Surprise Reinforcements. This also makes it much easier to draw into the Battle and Mission cards that run this combo with Jawa Sandcrawlers, Jedi Patrol, etc. Average cards drawn per turn is 5.
"I immediately retreat all my Characters to keep them safe from attack, since they are the only way I have to win. Surprise Reinforcements is also a great advantage, since it's 4 Force for 5 build points. Also, Han's Promise is great for getting Yoda (D) or Mace Windu (D), since I usually discard them to Sandcrawlers or Jedi Patrols. Between Corvettes, Surprise Reinforcements, and Han's Promise, the 7 required Jedi come fairly quickly.
"The Departure Times were a last minute addition that I chose to help break out of a Falcon's Needs lock; Corvettes could easily tap for the 2 build needed to play it. Fortunately I didn't play against any HPC decks. I was a bit worried about Creature decks, though, since Nexu puts quite a hurt on all those activated abilities."
"First round saw me draw due to time. I bid down to 26 build. My opponent played 3 Nexus in setup, and I was playing units off the top. I ended setup with a Mace Windu (D) and Eeth Koth (A) in play, which spelled certain doom. 15 points of build were spent on expensive Characters. My remaining points were spent on 1 Sandcrawler, 2 Corvettes, and 1 Escape Pod—not very promising.
"A not-so-quick loss then saw me playing Jawas against my opponent. Time ran out after the first turn; using Jawa Supply Trip and Het Nkik (A), I laid down the beats with such heavy Droids as Guri (A), IG-88 (A), and Battle Droid Division. Ends in a draw.
"Second and third round saw a clean sweep with Quorum, where my two opponents expressed severe dislike of my cheesy combo. Let's just say that I heard, "Peace on Naboo again!?!?" and, "Finally, the last Lost in the Asteroids!" several times. To my opponents, I must say thanks for keeping a good attitude in matches that were probably not very fun for them.
"Fourth round had me against teammate, Chris Beacham, who was 3-0 at the time. My record was 2-0-1, which put us in 1st and 2nd. We decided to draw since that would guarantee Chris the win, and worst case scenario I would end up in 4th, which would still qualify me—the goal we set out to accomplish."
"Now all I have to do is figure out what to play for Worlds. I'll have to lose 3 Peace on Naboo and 3 Lost in the Asteroids due to restrictions. I will more than likely also ditch Departure Time, since Falcon's Needs is now restricted. I will probably add 2 more Han's Promise, some Force gain to fuel Discuss It In Committee from The Phantom Menace, and possibly another Slipping Through. I will definitely need to do some playtesting. I think Discuss It in Committee will be a better card, due to its versatility, since you can choose the arena it affects.
"With that, I wish everybody luck at Worlds, and I will be seeing you all there."
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