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Lucky Rules: The Phantom Menace Mechanics

Overkilling, Evading, Deflecting, Reserving, Enhancing, Upkeeping, Bountying... did things used to be this complicated?

And now The Phantom Menace introduces Lucky! How does it work? When can we use it, and does it kill Jawa Sandcrawlers? These are important questions that need to be answered as you insert this new mechanic into your deck.

And just how many mechanics does your deck now contain? Star Wars TCG has come a long way since those first A New Hope rulebooks we all tried to make sense of. With that in mind, my Imperial cadets, I think we’re overdue for a refreshing look at the structure of our game, cleaning up the dust that's settled along the way, and revealing when we can, can't, and should play our favourite tricks.

The easy version:

  • 1. Setup
  • 2. Ready Phase
  • 3. Command Phase
  • 3.1 Build Phase
  • 4. Battle Phase
  • 5. End of Turn

Now, the useful version:

1. Setup & 2. Ready Phase

Let’s skip past these. Need to know more? Take a look at the General Rules and Questions.

3. Command Phase

Here's where it gets interesting. First of all, you must now complete the following steps (it doesn't matter in what order you do these, but you must do them before anything else):

  • c1 Draw a card.
  • c2 Collect bounty.
  • c3 Pay Upkeep (even if the unit is retreated).

Take it SLOW, even if your opponent is shoving that umbrella in the air in a very Tusken way! Rush, and you’ll miss something. Having to tap twin Rogues & Scoundrels Star Destroyer {RaS}'s two turns in a row—because he was too eager to build a new unit or use an activated ability of an existing one—probably cost Ming Qin a place in the top 4 playoffs at the recent Australian Nationals. So go slow. It hurts if you don't.

Once those steps have been resolved, you enter the build phase and can do the following in any order:

  • cb4 Build/stack units, build Missions.
  • cb5 Use activated abilities (such as the legendary Jawa Sandcrawler).
  • cb5 Rearrange the order of stacked units.
  • cb6 Move pilots on or off appropriate units. Note, you can only move a pilot once.
  • cb7 Move units from your build zone to an arena. This includes tapped units—even those that have used a Reserves ability, such as Depa Billaba (A).

Sidebar 1: After Princess Leia (G) gives you +3 build points during your build roll, you can move her to the Character arena and rearrange the stack—putting Princess Leia (I) on top and tapping for another +2—but you cannot put her back on a transport afterwards (" can only move a pilot once"). You also can’t rearrange Leia's stack whist she is on a transport to make her "fall off," thereby avoiding the only move once rule.

After your Build Phase, it’s time to decide which units stay and which retreat.

  • cb8 Retreat units. Move them into your build zone, tapping each unit that retreats. Next turn they can stay here and use a Reserves ability, if they have one.

4. Battle Phase

Now it gets fun. Starting with the Space arena:

  • b1 Held abilities trigger. These include Homing Missile and "At the beginning of the (Space/Ground/Character battle)" abilities such as that of IG-2000 (A).
  • b2 POP (Pass or Play)! This is your first chance to play activated abilities and Battle cards such as Dark Speed or Windu's Solution.
  • b3 Speed announcement. The speed of the fastest unit that has not yet attacked is announced.
  • b4 POP! Second chance to play Battle cards or use activated abilities. If you forgot to play speed tricks, too late! You cannot stop a unit from attacking by now decreasing its speed. This is also the last chance to play tricks that state: "Play only if no unit is attacking," such as Tactical Leadership and the Snowspeeder Squad ability.
  • b5 Attacker declared. The attacking player now either chooses not to attack with that unit, or selects a target. As soon as a target is declared, the unit with the announced speed is considered attacking. It is locked in, no time to call a friend.
  • b6 POP! Final chance to POP before dice are rolled. Here's where you Intercept and play tricks like Hanging Around.

Sidebar 2: Imperial Misdirection does not prevent damage, it just moves existing damage; as such, it can only be played before the attacking dice are rolled—most effectively in step b6.

  • b7 Go crazy rolling dice! After possible hits have been calculated, Overkill units announce their second target.

Possible hits? Yes, because the tricks that will change this now go off!

  • b8 Lucky POP! Only tricks and abilities that reroll dice can be used here, like Lucky or Second Effort. (Note, as Unconventional Maneuvers only gives a unit Lucky rather than igniting a dice reroll, it must be used by step b6).

But which resolves first: Lucky or other rerolling effects?

Lucky is a static effect, whereas most other abilities and effects that cause dice to reroll are triggered effects; that is, effects that fulfil "when" and "if" criteria. Triggered effects happen before static effects, so use Lucky after those effects has resolved. See the Lucky FAQ for more information.

  • b9 Damage Prevention. This is the realm owned by Pilot's Dodge and those vital Deflect and Evade abilities. If it does not say "prevent damage," it cannot be used here.

Sidebar 3: "...prevent that damage..." Yes, Human Shield can be played in the damage prevention step. Yes, this card puts the total number of rolled hits as damage counters on the attacking unit. Yes, this card covers all of your Characters. No, damage prevention cannot be used to stop the damage counters. WOW!

  • b10 Place remaining hits as damage counters on target(s).

Now, start all over again with the next unit!

Clear as mud?

Hopefully, this article has laid-out when all the great game mechanics you're packing into your latest 60-card machine take effect. Just try to first understand when your tricks can be used, and then think about when they should be used.

At the end of it all, however, HAVE FUN, because that is what this game is all about. That, and Sandcrawlers.

Thoughts or comments? Visit the message board thread for this article here.