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Michael Mikaelian, Editor, Undefeated Magazine

Winning Combinations

Card Combos Made Possible by the Battle of Yavin Expansion Set

It's here, and it's chocked full of good stuff for the Star Wars Trading Card Game. Enough has been written about the cool new cards and awesome new ability Retaliate, so this time around I'm here to give you some ideas instead. Maybe the title “Winning Combinations” is a bit presumptuous—no card combo alone is going to win the game, but they sure make it interesting. Still, it was the best I could do on such short notice.

Chewbacca & Coruscant Freighter AA-9

Chewbacca (B) is a handy Wookiee to have around. Whenever you draw a card, you also get to remove one damage counter from one of your Space or Ground units. In case you didn't know, Coruscant Freighter AA-9 (A) lets you draw cards, 3 to be exact. Never mind that you have to discard two cards afterwards. Who cares? You get to remove 3 damage counters a turn with these two units together!

If there's a weak link in this combo, it could be Chewbacca's relatively low health of 6. It's far easier to eliminate the Wookiee than it will be to dispose of the freighter with Chewie removing up to 3 damage counters from it each turn. His Retaliate 2 ability will make him a less attractive target if he's not your only Character, but eventually he will succumb to the damage, especially if you're opponent is using Dark Jedi, Tuskens, or Bounty Hunters. Stacking can also make him heartier, but the maximum boost is to 9 health, and that costs an extra 3 build points and three cards for very little payoff. Hero's Dodge, Luke's Warning, or Obi-Wan's Prowess are Battle cards that, for little Force, focus on keeping Characters alive. Normally this kind of concentrated damage prevention is less useful, but with Chewie erasing damage in the Ground and Space arenas every turn, it's a more viable option.

If the freighter's 7 build cost is too much for you to swallow, you can try this combo with the much cheaper and nearly as effective Jawa Sandcrawler. Or, if you want to go all-out, you can play both and add in Corellian Star Shuttles, Jocasta Nu (A), and Wedding of Destiny as well. You might want to consider a 90-card deck while you're at it, since you can't activate his ability if you run out of cards.

Grand Moff Tarkin & Darth Vader

This combo shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but it's still worth mentioning. Grand Moff Tarkin (A) gives all of your Jedi Retaliate 4 for the low, low cost of 1 Force. Not only is the Dark Lord of the Sith a Jedi, but Darth Vader (A) and Darth Vader (C) also have “Pay 1 Force Arrow Intercept.” Without generating any extra Force each turn, you can Intercept and Retaliate against one attack and Evade 2 of the damage, or let Vader soak it up and Retaliate twice.

Light side Jedi will find this combo particularly irritating, since Vader, Tarkin, and Vader's Retaliate 4 rolls will generate three or four sources of damage that must each be prevented separately. If you really want to put some pressure on your opponent, try playing Capture Obi-Wan. Not only does it allow you to power another Intercept/Retaliate salvo, it also strains your opponent's Force supply.

An interesting wrinkle in Grand Moff Tarkin (A)'s ability allows him to affect not only the Character arena, but Space too. Sith Infiltrator, Vader's TIE Fighter (A), and Vader's TIE Fighter (B) are all Jedi Space units. What a nice coincidence that Sith Infiltrator and Vader's TIE Fighter (A) can be returned to your hand if discarded from the Space arena; it's like a gift that keeps on giving.

Obi-Wan's Guidance & Millennium Falcon

There are a number of ways to dice up this combo, depending on which version of the Falcon you're using. Obi-Wan's Guidance requires a Character too, but which one is best also depends on which Falcon you're using. Millennium Falcon (C) has Accuracy 1 already, so any Transport Pilot can fly it for this combo. Since you can add two pilots, Chewbacca (C) and Luke Skywalker (G) are best. Chewie gives the Falcon +2 power—which in this combo means it deals 2 more damage—and Luke gives it a chance of doing 2 more damage with Critical Hit 2. Without stacking or any other bonuses to the Falcon's power, that's 6 damage guaranteed, but more often than not it'll be 8.

Millennium Falcon (A) or Millennium Falcon (B) don't have Accuracy built in. If you prefer to use either of these versions, the recommended pilots are Han Solo (B) and Chewbacca (C). They give you the same guaranteed 6 damage as above, but trade the potential bonus 2 damage for better defenses. Or, you can opt to put Chewie and Luke in charge of one of these more defensible versions in exchange for a chance of missing on rolls of 1. You decide.

If you want to spice up this combo a little bit you can add some power boosting Battle cards. Even though the maximum damage possible is 10 without Battle cards (4 power + 2 stacked Falcon cards + Chewbacca's 2 power bonus + Luke's Critical Hit 2), the Dark side has plenty of ways of reducing that damage. Surge of Power and Windu's Solution provide a nice little boost, while Brutal Assault gives the Falcon some real kick. Or, if you're looking for more Force, try Trust Your Feelings—with Accuracy 3 you'll usually know how many hits you're going to roll.

Deflectors Activated & Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR

These two cards are good all on their own, but work surprisingly well together. Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR usually draws enemy fire, and most Light side players will jump at the opportunity to knock out this unit before it has a chance to attack. Normally, allowing your opponent a 6-power attack from a 2-build-cost unit even if it destroys itself is too much. With Deflectors Activated, the droid starfighter can use its “overload” ability without blowing itself up. More so, it becomes harder to kill with 1 point of damage prevented from every source until the end of the turn. You might be able to keep this up for several turns in a row.

Second Wave & Departure Time

Second Wave is an incredibly powerful Mission card. For 6 build points, you get to take three Starfighter cards from your discard pile and put them into the Space arena. Ah, but there's a catch—you can't have any Space units in play, or in your build zone. That last limping Space unit is all that stands between you and your three best Starfighters—how about Luke's X-wing (B), Obi-Wan's Starfighter (A), and Jedi Starfighter Scout?

Departure Time tackles two problems at once. Second Wave is expensive as a 6-build-cost Mission card and unplayable if you have any Space units built. Departure Time gives you 4 build points by discarding one of your units, the perfect solution to both of these problems. No longer can the Dark side feel secure when you're down to one Space unit and only have 4 or 5 build points.

R2-D2 & R2-D2

All four Star Wars TCG sets have a few things in common. R2-D2 is one of them. You could say the same about his counterpart. Unlike C-3PO, the little guy sees a lot more play. Maybe it has something to do with having four awesome abilities. With the exception of R2-D2 (C), all versions of Artoo cost 3 build points. This allows R2-D2 (A), R2-D2 (B), and R2-D2 (D) to be interchanged as often as you like when stacked. Besides making Artoo bigger and faster, it makes him one of the most adaptable unique unit stacks.

The key to this combo is R2-D2 (D). If you have a Starfighter in the Space arena, Artoo can hop onboard and give it +10 speed, Critical Hit 2, and remove 1 damage counter at the end of battle. Even if he's tapped. So tap away. Give all of your Space units Critical Hit 1 (making Artoo's chosen Starfighter a total of Critical Hit 3) or remove 2 damage counters from one of them. He's safest on a 3-health Starfighter (to avoid being wiped out by Unfriendly Fire); Obi-Wan's Starfighter (A) is a good choice, but not as good as Luke's X-wing (B) with its Critical Hit 4 and Evade 2 abilities. Don't forget that you can also have another pilot onboard. Luke Skywalker (E) is attractive thanks to his Evade 2 ability, or Wedge Antilles (A)'s +20 speed, +2 power, and his nifty bail out ability.

This combo is ideal for a Character-free deck that goes heavy on the Starfighters. Don't forget about the ground arena, and think about ways of preventing damage to Artoo's Starfighter (Intercept, A Moment's Rest, and Artoo's Repairs come to mind).

Death Star Combos

Death Star (A), Death Star (B), and Death Star (C) are such a central part of the Star Wars TCG that it would be unfair to not offer up several combos for these truly awesome cards.

The Death Star is so hard to get into play without taking the edge off of the rest of your deck. If you hope to rule the galaxy through fear of this battle station, you'd better have some way of generating extra build points. Departure Time comes to mind, as well as Grand Moff Tarkin (A), Colonel Wullf Yularen (A), San Hill (A), Nute Gunray (B), and R2-Q5 (A).

Granting your opponent’s Starfighters Critical Hit 3 makes Death Star survival difficult when faced with a Starfighter swarm. Blast It! can provide a nasty surprise, giving your Death Star “Pay 1 Force Arrow Retaliate 3” until the end of the turn. Instead of taking out one of the pesky fighters, you could destroy a bunch in one turn. Two Blast It! gives the Death Star the equivalent of “Pay 2 Force Arrow Retaliate 6,” which is sure to give Light side Starfighters pause. If you’re not strapped for Force, you might want to use Unfriendly Fire instead. This devastating card will just wipe out nearly every Light side Starfighter, but only when you have 7 Force. If you’re looking for a cheaper solution, Battle Fatigue might provide you with the edge you need: For only 2 Force, every unit in the arena gets a –1 power until the end of the turn. Deflectors Activated provides a more potent effect for 4 Force, leaves your units’ Power alone, and does nothing for your opponent. If you’ve got 10 Force lying around, you could always play Interference in the Senate.

Whether your opponent is using Starfighters or other Space units to attack the Death Star, they’re probably going to generate a lot of damage (especially those Starfighters that score Critical Hits). Strike back at your attacker with Countermeasures. Sure, 4 Force is a hefty price when you don’t know how much damage the attack is going to do, but you’ll know your opponent’s odds before you play Countermeasures, making it likely—especially against Starfighters—they’ll be destroyed with some extra hits to spare. Speaking of extra hits to spare, the Death Star is a prime candidate for generating far more damage than necessary to destroy most of its targets. Blaster Barrage lets you capitalize on that extra damage with a great amount of control. Instead of dealing several times the amount of damage necessary to destroy one unit, your Death Star can do a few times the amount of damage necessary to destroy two.

If you’re launching a Starfighter assault of your own, Tyranus's Edict might be the Mission card you’re looking for. For 3 build points, the Light side must attack the unit of your choice as long as it’s in the arena—in this case, the Death Star—before he can attack any of your other units. Couple Tyranus's Edict with Blast It! and your opponent just might not know what to do with himself.

These are just some of my favorite combos that are now possible with all of the Star Wars TCG expansion sets released up until now. They’re, by no means, the best or only ones, but they should give you something to think about next time you build a deck.