Hey, Thaaaats Krayt
But Can the Dragon be Stopped?
Let's talk Krayt Dragons. If you're not familiar with them, here's a quick rundown of its stats: 9 build gets you a 30 speed, 8 power, 7 health independent ground unit. If it kills something, it untaps and attacks something else. Rinse and repeat until it stops killing things.
If you've read any of the discussions regarding the A New Hope expansion you know that this card is easily the most hyped and desired card in the entire set. With that kind of popularity, trading for four (or more… remember, it's independent!) will be no easy task. Is the Krayt as good as people think? When Sith Rising came out people thought Aurra Sing (A) would be the most influential card in the set due to her ability to attack multiple times per turn. As things turn out, she wound up being a mere footnote in a set with many more high-impact cards. Will the Krayt suffer the same fate?
I don't think so. The Krayt has a lot of advantages that Aurra did not have. First off, it's in an arena where its ability will actually matter. The fact that most of the popular characters have built-in evade makes it a rare occasion that Aurra's untap ability ever gets played. Krayt, on the other hand, will more than likely get several opportunities to send one unit to the discard pile, and take a sizable bite out of another. Another big advantage the Krayt has is that it is a threat right out of the gates. On turn one, a Krayt left to its own devices is more than capable of handing out enough damage to swing a disadvantaged board position heavily to your favor. It also makes you think twice when constructing your deck. If most of your opponents will be running Krayts, is it worth it to play those Luxury Airspeeders, and Elite Jedi Squads? Sure, they're efficient, but is it worth it to only use them once before they're gulped down, without even forcing the opponent to expend an attack on them? Swarm strategies in ground become risky propositions altogether. Any card powerful enough to make people stop and think about whether they should play with such staples as Luxury Airspeeder and Elite Jedi Squad is probably worth putting in your deck.
"So, I just put four of these beaters in every deck I build, right?"
Not so fast. Krayt is good. Krayt will win you games. Krayt is not, however, capable of doing this all unassisted. When the Krayt Dragon comes down, it has a huge target painted on it. Your opponent will likely focus all fire on it until only the familiar skeleton remains. Remember, you spent 9 build on this 30/8/7 reptile. For the same amount Dark Side can get a 10/10/12 behemoth. For only 7 Light Side can get a 40/7/7. Krayt is definitely capable of outperforming either of those units, but not if it never gets to attack. You really need to build your deck with a solid plan to keep the Krayt alive, should you choose to play with it.
The most obvious way to do this is with damage prevention. Light Side has plenty of that available, and Dark Side's selection isn't shabby either. Intercept also gets to shine here. Rebel Squad, Tatooine Speeder, or any unit juiced up with a Jedi Intervention can jump in the way of your Krayt, leaving it in fine condition to demolish your opponent's ground forces. The least obvious option for keeping your Krayt healthy is to follow the old belief that "the best defense is a good offense". Just blow up their guys before they get the chance to hurt your lizard. The cards Leia's Kiss and Windu's Solution both have the ability to turn the Krayt into a 60 speed unit that should be dealing out around 5 damage per attack. Be careful though, while both of these cards grant the enhancements "until end of turn," other cards like Strength of Hate do not. A Windu's Solution enhanced Krayt will throw 10 dice at every unit it gets to attack that turn. A Strength of Hate enhanced Krayt will throw 11 dice at the first unit, and 8 at all subsequent units.
The fact that those cards allow the Krayt to do an average of around 5 damage is very important too, since 5 seems to be a significant threshold for the ground arena. The list of commonly used ground units with health 5 or less is longer than the list of commonly used ground units with health 6 or more. This means your Krayt goes first, and has the ability to make sure your opponent won't be attacking you back.
"Wow, Krayt Dragon is broken."
I've heard that a lot lately. I don't think it's broken so much as it's a card that forces people to consider it when building their decks. Much in the same way people have had to shift the way they built their decks to handle the threat of Unfriendly Fire, people will have to build their decks in such a way that an opposing Krayt Dragon will not be an auto-loss. That's really not a difficult task; especially since some of the cards that just happen to be good against Krayt Dragons are cards you'd like to have anyway. Damage prevention is just as good for opposing Krayts as it is in supporting them. If they don't kill your unit, then the Krayt is just an overcosted 8/7. Things that can reduce the Krayt's power are also quality answers to the Krayt threat. Just like before, it's important to know which effects are good "until end of turn" and which only work for one attack. Tyranus's Gift is a very good power-reducing card, but it's a one-shot deal. If you Gift a Krayt, it only gets to throw 3 dice. If it still manages to kill something, though, it untaps and is back to throwing 8. Stun, on the other hand, is "until end of battle" so even if the Krayt gets lucky and gets in a kill, it's still stunned for all subsequent attacks. I'm not saying Gift is the wrong choice, I'm just saying that perhaps it's time to give Out of His Misery a second look.
Whether or not you choose to play with Krayt Dragon is up to you. I've given you a small glimpse of what it takes to make it good, and how to effectively deal with it should it show up on the other side of the table. Only you know what your local metagame is like. If you know people in your area are going to be packing lots of answers to the Krayt, it's probably better off in your trade binder. If they're not prepared, enjoy feeding it lots of opposing units. Until next time, thanks for reading!
Questions and or comments? Email me at Krypt0s@yahoo.com.