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Dark Side Engines

Droids on 'Roids, TIEs and Guys

En·gine (njn) NOUN: A machine that converts energy into mechanical force or motion. Such a machine is distinguished from an electric, spring-driven, or hydraulic motor by its use of a fuel. A mechanical appliance, instrument, or tool. An agent, instrument, or means of accomplishment.

In trading card games, many strategies are labeled as "engines." You're probably already familiar with a few of the common engine-type strategies offered by the Star Wars Trading Card Game, including the Kessel System/Orray deck and the Holoprojection Chamber/Falcon's Needs deck. Usually, engine decks are based on playing a particular set of cards and using those cards to do something dynamic.

The decks mentioned above are based solely on their engines. But not all engines are built this way. For example, Han/Leia decks rely on the synergy of the two, and both can interact with the Millennium Falcon. This deck isn't based on getting Han or Leia out, but the way those characters fuel the deck make them an "engine."

So, how can you find dynamic engines? First, look for cards that give you a build advantage or card advantage over your opponent. Second, look for cards or abilities that break the conventional rules or that are just flat-out good. Third, look for card synergies.

Of course, once you find a suitable engine, you need to make it work. After losing Holoprojection Chamber and Kessel System to the banned/restricted list, what dynamic options are still available to the Dark Side?

Droids on 'Roids
Battle Protocol Droid (A)
Nute Gunray (A)
Nute Gunray (B)
Nute Gunray (C)
San Hill (A)
IT-0 Interrogator Droid
Darth Vader (K)
Trade Federation STAP
Trade Federation MTT
Battle Droid Assault Squad
Walking Droid Starfighter
YV-664 Light Freighter
Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
Droid Starfighter DFS-4CT
Blockade Battleship
Dark Sacrifice
Slumming on Coruscant
Departure Time
Trade Federation Hangar
Hoth System
16 Character
14 Ground
14 Space
4 Battle
7 Mission
0 Equipment
5 Location

In this deck, the engine is Trade Federation Hangar, Nute Gunray (C), and Trade Federation MTT.

With Nute Gunray (C) and Trade Federation Hangar in play, droids and Trade Federation units are reduced by 1 build point. Since the units in this deck that cost 2 build have both traits, they essentially free to deploy. Plus, every Trade Federation MTT you play will be only 4 build, and the units the MTT draws can be deployed for free.

Departure Time, San Hill (A), and YV-664 Light Freighter help give you the build points needed to deploy all four Trade Federation MTTs. The Trade Federation MTTs can then search for additional copies of Battle Protocol Droid (A), which provide another card-drawing engine for this deck. With one Battle Protocol Droid (A) in play, every one deployed after it will be discarded due to its unique status; however, you will still be able to use it to draw two cards.

TIEs and Guys
TIE Fighter Pilot
TIE Pursuit Pilot
TIE Bomber Pilot
Darth Vader (C)
Darth Vader (H)
Darth Vader (D)
Darth Vader (K)
Darth Vader (I)
Captain Lorth Needa (A)
Tatooine Hangar
Snowtrooper Elite Squad
Stormtrooper Squad
Executor (A)
TIE Fighter
TIE Fighter EX-4-9
TIE Fighter OS-72-8
TIE Bomber EX-1-2
Dark Sacrifice
Imperial Misdirection
Emperor's Prize
Alter the Deal
Lando System?
Executor Bridge
Hoth System
16 Character
12 Ground
16 Space
6 Battle
5 Mission
0 Equipment
5 Location

In this deck, the engine is Tatooine Hangar, Hoth System, and Executor Bridge. Another option for the engine is Tatooine Hanger x2 and Executor Bridge.

Tatooine Hangar and Hoth System reduces Space units by 1 build point, and Executor Bridge reduces Pilots by 2. The trick is to deploy Tatooine Hangar, Hoth System, and Executor Bridge, or Tatooine Hangar x2 and Executor Bridge. Once the combo is deployed, drop all Pilots and Space units in your hand. Down build any key units, and then play Alter the Deal. Rinse & repeat. The Battle cards add a few tricks to the deck.

Now It's Your Turn

The two new decks described above – "Droids on 'Roids" and "TIEs and Guys" – aren't as abusive as the Kessel and Holoprojection Chamber decks, but it's still a lot of fun when they go off. Try them for yourself and see!

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