A New Hope Theme Deck - Dark Side
Matt Hyra gives a complete analysis of the theme deck
This Dark Side Theme Deck is just the thing you'll need to crush this upstart rebellion before it achieves any popular support. From the word go, you'll have the Light Side under pressure, reconsidering all those demands for freedom from tyranny and lower taxes. Or whatever it is they're rebelling against this week.
In the Character arena, Darth Vader is your best unit. Even alone, the Darth Vader (B) version can hold out for turn after turn. When you need to protect the rest of the characters, the Darth Vader (C) version's Intercept is your best bet. The Stormtrooper DV-692, for instance, is well worth protecting. Its Stun 3 can shut down non-unique characters like nobody's business. The Pilots in this deck are quite versatile as you can use them to help take over the Space arena and then recall them to the Character arena to give Vader a bit of help.
During setup, don't deploy any Stormtroopers until you see some non-unique Light Side characters enter the arena. That way you won't incur their -2 Power penalty for attacking unique characters. If you don't draw any good characters, go ahead and deploy some Pilots as they can just head off to Space and avoid hand-to-hand fighting.
The Ground units in this deck are efficient and deadly. For very few build points, you should be able to put together an effective fighting force. The workhorse of your Ground force is the Stormtrooper Patrol with its Stun 2 ability and great stats. Since this unit is so good, the Light Side will often attack it instead of slower, utility units like the Death Star Cannon Tower or the Imperial Control Station. These utility units are great once you control the arena, but they won't help much in clearing the arena of rebels. The Mounted Stormtrooper and Death Star Guard Squad are good low-cost units that can aid the Patrol in case a large battle ensues.
During setup, if you deploy the Mounted Stormtrooper, hang onto a Character arena Stormtrooper so you can get some use out of its special ability. You are better off hanging onto the Cannon Tower and Control Station until later turns, as they won't be so useful for taking over the arena.
The Dark Side always gets the impressive Space units. This deck is no exception. There are so many good units for you to choose from you can't go wrong. To gain early Space supremacy, your best bet is the TIE Fighter DS-55-6 with its Critical Hit 2. Vader's TIE Fighter (B) is the best place to put a TIE Fighter Pilot. For long-term survivability and long term hurt on the rebels, the Devastator and Imperial Star Destroyer can't be beat. They will last so long in Space that you may not need to give them any Starfighter support. Once you scare the Light Side out of Space, your Imperial Star Destroyer's Bombard 3 will force the Light Side to come after the big capital ship or lose.
During setup, you'll need to deploy more units in Space than the Light Side in order to get use out of the powerful Battle card Air Cover. If you are holding a couple of Space units in your opening hand, it's a good idea to deploy the Imperial Star Destroyer first as it will force the Light Side to come after it or stay out of the Ground arena for fear of the Bombard.
The Battle and Mission cards in this deck are geared towards offensive action; just how Dark Side prefers it. Into Hiding, Capture the Falcon and Vader's Grip are great cards for when you want to make a comeback into an arena late in the game. Insignificant Power is a great play for the first turn of the game as it could lead to a quick victory, especially if the Light Side is relying on Evade abilities or Battle cards to stay alive. In later turns, wait until you can knock their Force down to zero before utilizing this Mission. The Battle cards are biased towards the Ground arena, so you may be able to make a stand there even with slightly inferior units. Even Stay Sharp can make the difference in a close battle.
Strategy Advice Against the A New Hope Light Side Theme Deck
Your best strategy will be to spend most of your build points in Space and Character. Then, after your Bombard units have softened up the Ground arena, you can make a triumphant return there with several Battle cards waiting to send the Light Side reeling.
In the Character arena, Darth Vader will be able to put the hurt on any Light Side character. A great tactic would be to build Vader and a few Pilots, then send the Pilots into Space ASAP. Once Space is cleared, recall the Pilots to the Character arena and have Vader Intercept for them. If you see that the Light Side has deployed Obi-Wan, don't bother deploying your Stormtrooper characters. They just won't do well enough damage to justify themselves. Attack Obi-Wan relentlessly. You may need to utilize the Insignificant Power Mission to take him out. Once he is gone, none of the other characters will stand a chance.
The Ground arena is where the Light Side Theme Deck is most dangerous. It packs some huge units that will be a challenge for your smaller units to take out. However, you have several Battle cards usable only by your Ground units, so you may be able to surprise the Light Side with a huge attack of your own. The Speeders the Light Side is likely to deploy should be your priority targets as they are fast and accurate. It's better to take out a unit (and reduced the opposition's total attack dice) than to just damage a larger one, usually.
The Space arena should not be a problem for you. Deploy your Imperial Star Destroyers even if you already control the arena. The Bombard dice are worth it. Be on the lookout for multiple partially built units in the Light Side build zone, as they are most likely headed into Space. Be on the lookout for the X-wing Attack Formation. This unit has the ability to deal fatal damage to one of your capital ships in a single blow. When you see that the Light Side is prepping for a return to Space, save up some Force so you can throw a hydrospanner into their plan with a well-timed Vader's Grip.
This deck has all you need to crush the hopes and dreams of many a rebel deck. You have a great chance for a quick victory, so don't be afraid to take some chances and show those goody-goody types that their silly rebellion won't last the week.