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Who needs the Death Star?

The Droid Control Ship makes a return.

When the Star Wars Trading Card Game debuted, one of the best Dark Side decks was the trusty ol' Droid deck, with a horde of Droids and the huge Droid Control Ship commanding the Space arena. Since that time we've seen other Capital ships just as big and then the Death Star came out and showed us just how big a unit can get. But there are a bunch of new cards that help the old strategy, so I dusted off my old Droid deck and updated it with a bunch of new cards to give you the great new deck below.

The best Droid in the Character arena is the Super Battle Droid 8EX. Since there are so many Droids in the deck, there's no chance that it won't get the extra 10 Speed and +1 Power. Five build for a 50/6/5 is a good deal and it will often rise to 60 Speed when the Control Ship is present. Backing up the Super is WED Treadwell. It's cost-effective and can heal up other Droids fairly well. It's rough to lose the 4 attack dice (since it must tap to use its heal), but sometimes another arena needs the help more. For a bit of quick reinforcement, the Infantry Battle Droid, B1 Series is a good deal, especially for the card draw. This unit is also great Price of Failure fodder. The Droid Control Ship's 9 attack dice is good, but the A New Hope expansion gives it a nice boost in the form of Star Destroyer Commander. Luke's X-wing (B), most Capital ships, and even the Millennium Falcon can't stand up to 9 dice with Crit 2. Finally, for a bit of combo action, Dannik Jerriko (A) makes an appearance. More on that combo later…

The best Ground arena Droids are the mid-sized ones. The Destroyer Droid Squad is a very efficient unit with a decent speed. The Hailfire Droid's Stun ability is made much better by the Control Ship's Speed boost. A bit of extra Speed boost from Luxury Airspeeder also works wonders with it. Finally, when you need a very quick attack, the Commerce Guild Spider Droid is your unit of choice.

Space must be taken for this deck to work properly, so there's plenty of stuff to build here. Obviously the deck hopes to deploy a Droid Control Ship, so 4 are included to make sure you get one during setup. I've even deployed 2 of ‘em at once before. Sure helps the Droids in the other arenas. The early Control Ship decks suffered as there was no Intercept at the time, but now the deck is enhanced greatly with the inclusion of TIE Fighter DS-61-9. While they aren't Droids, their purpose in life isn't to fight, but to protect the Control Ships. The Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR is a great unit, but with 1 Health, it has a problem surviving long enough to make its powerful overload attack. The extra Speed helps this Droid more than any other. Also needing a touch of help is the venerable Droid Starfighter Wing. At 40 Speed, this former staple hasn't been played much lately, but it lasts longer than most TIE Fighters and has a decent attack. Most Light Side players are so distracted by the Control Ship that this unit ends up making a good showing.

While there are several new Battle cards that could help the Control Ship like Blast It! and Han's Evasion, I wanted to use cards that were a bit more versatile. This deck doesn't have any units that use Force, so it can build up over time. One of the best defensive cards for the Dark Side is Tyranus's Gift. Since so many people play with the Light Side's Critical Hit units, this cards just keeps getting better and better. For actual damage prevention, Pilot's Dodge can't be beat. For offensive purposes, Brutal Assault is brutally effective. There are two reasons why this card is in the deck. The first is to combo with Dannik Jerriko (A). When he uses Brutal Assault, he damages himself like any other Character does. Dannik's special ability says: "When Dannik damages a Character, remove 1 damage counter from Dannik." That means he will end up taking only one point of damage from the Brutal. The other reason for the Brutals is because the deck also runs Deflectors Activated. This card is the ace in the hole for the deck for a variety of reasons. It reduces the self-inflicted damage of the Brutal Assault. It allows the Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR to overload without killing itself in the process. Should a Control Ship be destroyed it can protect the Droids in one arena (if you time it right). Finally, it can just be used "straight up" to keep your units alive and kicking in a hotly contested arena. That is, if the opposition doesn't retreat from the arena where you play it. Oh, yeah. Deflectors Activated also allows you to play an Unfriendly Fire without worrying too much about your units in the arena.

Rounding out the Missions are Price of Failure for card draw and a single Starship Refit, which can keep a Control Ship in fighting shape.

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

Droid Control
1 Star Destroyer Commander
1 Dannik Jerriko (A)
4 Infantry Battle Droid, B1 Series
4 Super Battle Droid 8EX
2 WED Treadwell
4 Destroyer Droid Squad
4 Hailfire Droid
4 Commerce Guild Spider Droid
2 Luxury Airspeeder
4 Droid Control Ship
4 Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
4 TIE Fighter DS-61-9
3 Droid Starfighter Wing
3 Brutal Assault
4 Pilot's Dodge
3 Tyranus's Gift
1 Unfriendly Fire
4 Deflectors Activated
1 Starship Refit
3 Price of Failure
12 Character
14 Ground
15 Space
11 Battle
8 Mission
0 Equipment
0 Location

Strategy Advice

After seeing your initial hand, feel free to mulligan everything except a lone Price of Failure. None of the other Mission cards are necessary in the first few turns and you'll draw more Battle cards during setup anyway. A good opening setup (subject to Light Side plays) would be: Droid Control Ship, Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR, TIE Fighter DS-61-9, Destroyer Droid Squad, Hailfire Droid, Infantry Battle Droid, B1 Series, and WED Treadwell.

In order to get the most use out of the Deflectors Activated, don't bother fully building it until you've narrowed the game down a bit. Since it only works in the arena you specify, you don't want to play it when your opponent can retreat and avoid it. So the best time to play it is when your opponent can't afford to vacate an arena. Then you've got him!

While the deck is very defensive in nature, it makes good use of solid mid-sized units to overpower the enemy and ends up being quite the offensive powerhouse. Sure, it might not stand up to a typical Jedi deck, but it's whole lotta fun to surprise your opponent with an effective Droid Control Ship deck.