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It’s Time For a Trench Run

Last week’s Death Star deck gets its comeuppance.

This week's deck is designed as the perfect counter to a Death Star deck, but at its heart, it's really just a fun and effective combo deck. I considered the card Blow This Thing as an answer to the Death Star, but it's a bit too narrow and reliant on luck for my tastes. Death Star Plans relies on a large Space fleet, but I prefer the idea of Luke taking down the Death Star all by his lonesome.

I decided it would be better to attack twice with one unit than to build a huge Space fleet that could get wiped out with the ever-present Unfriendly Fire. Cards like Power Dive and Clever Escape are how this will be accomplished. Since Power Dive can untap Speeders of any size, I immediately took notice of the new Rebel Armored Freerunner. Sometimes I like to roll and hope to get lucky, but doing a guaranteed three damage is usually just fine. Power Diving to attack again for a guarantee of six damage is a good combo. The fact that it can spread that damage around a bit makes it an incredible combo.

The Character arena has room for a good mix of fighting and support units. Obi-Wan is the anchor with his very protective (A), (F), and (G) versions. He'll Intercept a lot of attacks and when he finally goes, a load of valuable Force will be his final gift to the Light Side. Needing said protection are a host of valuable support units: Watto (A), General Dodonna (A) and Commander Willard (A). If you face the Death Star, a screen of TIEs will likely be protecting it, so the Shields 1 granted by Willard to all your Starfighters will negate that threat quickly. Your Starfighters will need that protection as the deck also employs some valuable Pilots. Luke Skywalker (E) is now the best Light Side Pilot out there, but there's still need for the old top Pilot, Wedge Antilles (A). While not in the same league as Luke and Wedge, Garven Dries (A) is great as a cheap way to get some extra Power on a Starfighter. Everyone's favorite little Astromech Droid is finally able to move into Space now that R2-D2 (D) from Battle of Yavin has arrived. This version can co-pilot any Starfighter out there and add a smorgasbord of useful abilities to the ship.

The Light Side now has a great selection of Speeders to choose from for the Ground arena. The ones that fit for this deck are the Rebel Armored Freerunner, Speeder Bike Squadron, and Luke's Skyhopper (A). Since these units are already so fast, I didn't bother with the ever-popular Luxury Airspeeder. The Freerunner spells doom for any wimpy Dark Side Ground units, while the Bikes are great for softening up larger targets and staying alive a long time. Luke's Skyhopper (A) may seem out of place, but that's only because I haven't mentioned that Luke Skywalker (D) is also in the deck. He's very cheap and can Pilot any Speeder (though he's best aboard the Freerunner) to put a big hurt on a creature. Once the arena is secure, Luke can Pilot his Skyhopper to gain some extra Force. Unfortunately, he can't be in two places at once. For some staying power and drawing power, the Jawa Sandcrawler is a good unit and can hold the arena while reinforcements are being built. Finally, should the Death Star show up and make the Space arena the decisive battle, a couple of Naboo Spaceports with Ion Cannon 4 can clear away the TIE Fighter screen.

Leading the Space fleet into battle are the unique Starfighters: Luke's X-wing (B) and (A) and Obi-Wan's Starfighter (A). These are the primo units for Pilots to hop aboard as they're heavy hitters and tend to last a while longer than your average Starfighter. However, few Starfighters last longer than the reliable Naboo Starfighter Squadron with its 4 Health. It's a great place for Wedge as he gives the ship the extra Speed it needs. When Pilots are in Space, there's no better protection than an speedy Interceptor like X-wing Red Three as it can take out any of the 1 Health TIEs then keep the better ships alive. If all else fails and a piloted Starfighter gets blown away, Yavin's new Escape Pod is an incredibly cheap (1 Build) way to save a Pilot to fight another day.

The two key Battle cards for this deck are Power Dive and Clever Escape. I've gone with more Dives than Escapes, as the Escape cannot untap the Freerunner. When you go for the big double strike, consider Windu's Solution, as it will give a Speed and Power bonus for both attacks, unlike most Power boosters. On the defensive front is the old standby Pilot's Dodge, but with the Death Star out there, any Starfighter attempting a trench run should be equipped with a Han's Evasion. When the Death Star or any of the Dark Side's other huge Space units make an attack, reducing damage by a few points just won't cut it. Han's Evasion is the only way to survive as it prevents all of the damage.

There's just one Mission card in this deck, but it will be a big help if things don't go your way in Space. Second Wave can get you back into Space in a hurry and you can even put the expensive unique Starfighters back into play. This is the kind of card you throw an extra build point onto when nothing else desperately needs it.

Here's what the deck looks like all put together…

Trench Runner
1 Watto (A)
2 Luke Skywalker (E)
1 Luke Skywalker (D)
1 Obi-Wan Kenobi (A)
1 Obi-Wan Kenobi (F)
1 Obi-Wan Kenobi (G)
2 Commander Willard (A)
1 General Dodonna (A)
2 R2-D2 (D)
2 Wedge Antilles (A)
1 Garven Dreis (A)
4 Rebel Armored Freerunner
4 Speeder Bike Squadron
2 Luke's Skyhopper (A)
2 Jawa Sandcrawler
2 Naboo Spaceport
1 Luke's X-Wing (A)
2 Luke's X-wing (B)
1 Obi-Wan's Starfighter (A)
4 Naboo Starfighter Squadron
4 X-wing Red Three
3 Escape Pod
4 Power Dive
2 Clever Escape
3 Windu's Solution
4 Pilot's Dodge
2 Han's Evasion
1 Second Wave
15 Character
14 Ground
15 Space
15 Battle
1 Mission
0 Equipment
0 Location

Strategy Advice

As long as you have at least four units in your initial hand, you shouldn't need to mulligan unless you have duplicates of unique characters. You should, however, mulligan the Second Wave if you happen to draw it. When you start building, be sure to hide the fact that you're going to use Pilots. Otherwise the Dark Side can place a couple of mediocre units there and have a good chance of controlling the Character arena. Pilots and the Escape Pods are best saved for those last few build points.

If you have a whole bunch of Force saved up, Luke Skywalker (E) is The Man as the Evasion he grants the Starfighter is hard to overcome. However, when you're low on Force and want to send a single Starfighter up against the Death Star and a screen of TIEs, the combination of Wedge and Artoo onboard Luke's X-wing (B) is your best bet. As soon as the X-wing gets a point of damage on it, use Wedge's ability to retreat it before the Death Star makes its attack. Just be sure there's another Space unit left behind or the Death Star (C) might blow up the Ground arena.

Be sure to keep track of the Power of the piloted Starfighters, as the Clever Escape can't untap anything with more than 5 Power. The above Wedge combo is great as it ends up with 90 Speed, 5 Power and Critical Hit 6 (Crit 9 against the Death Star) that's perfect for the Escape. Remember that only the Power Dive can untap the Freerunner or a Starfighter with more than 5 Power.

One last note: Be sure to clear Space of all the Intercepting TIEs before you make your trench run on the Death Star, otherwise your totally optimized plan for a Critical Hit 14 attack on the Battle Station will be dashed by a little 2 Build TIE Fighter DS-61-9.