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Tank This!

I am so glad that so many readers logged on last week for the long awaited update. The Dark Side appears to have my interest now and as such I have written yet another deck for the Dark Side. The Light Side appears so easy to make decks for so I find it much more challenging when I can sit down and make a very strong deck for such a weak side.

Over the last year I have seen several strong decks all focusing on a particular unit. It would appear that that unit allows the player to make a deck that turns the unit more into a theme than anything else. The best example of this is Mace Windu A. In decks that are based around using this unit to its full potential, a lot of typical cards are seen. Some of these cards are Moment of Truth, Seeks the Council's Wisdom, and Windu's Solution. I've taken the idea behind those cards and have made a deck solely based around a Dark Side unit that tries to function the same way.

Character: 16
Darth Vader (K) x3
Darth Vader (I) x2
Darth Vader (A) x2
Darth Vader (G)
Kouhun x4
San Hill (A) x2
General Maximilian Veers (A) x2

Ground: 12
AT-AT Assault Group x4
Death Star Turbolaser Tower x4
Blizzard Force AT-ST x4

Space: 14
Devastator (A) x2
Slave I (A)
Vader's Tie Fighter (B)
Tie Fighter DS-61-9 x4
Tie Fighter Squad x2
Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR x4

Battle: 8
Vader's Vengeance x4
Imperial Misdirection x4

Missions: 6
Search for the Rebels x2
Well Earned Meal x4

Locations: 4
Hoth Battle Plains x4

Darth Vader (K) may not have all the options that Mace Windu (A) has, but, for the same build he is a very strong card. Mace Windu (A) has a very good pay 2 Evade 3 ability. Mace Windu (A) also allows the player to pay 5 Force Deflect 2. By only spending 7 Force, he is allowed to successfully ignore 5 damage per attack. While Darth Vader (K) doesn't have Deflect, he does have pay X Evade X, which allows him to pay 7 Force to evade 7 damage, etc. And with Armor he already becomes a hard to damage unit. While he may not be able to deflect and kill other units, he can easily evade as much as Mace Windu (A) can, and even more if needed. Mace Windu (A) is also a power 8 whereas Darth Vader (K) needs to pay an additional two Force to be a power 8. There are many reasons to play a Darth Vader deck that stacks Darth Vader. Unlike Mace Windu, each version of Darth Vader is actually useful. Darth Vader (I) can spend two Force a turn to take into hand Dark Side Battle cards from your deck. Darth Vader (A) helps to protect your Kouhuns from being attacked by 60 speed Light Side units or the new Millennium Falcon. If your opponent is playing with Disrupt Battle cards, Darth Vader G can be used to help counter the effects if the opponent does not have enough Force to pay. While the Light Side can still play Yoda (C) against this deck, I have included four copies of Kouhun. The Kouhun will apply more damage per attack that Yoda C can't evade on his own.

I have found that the ATAT Assault Group, with Hoth Battle Plains in play, is a perfect way to lock the Ground arena. Hoth Battle Plains doubles all damage done by Ground units. This means that if the Light Side player has a Luxury Airspeeder in play and it rolls two hits, it does four damage, instead of two. But, with the ATAT Assault Group, you can prevent all damage done to it by placing two damage counters on it. This means that regardless of how much damage is dealt by a Light Side unit, the most this unit will ever take is two per attack. But, the Hoth Battle Plains works on your ATAT Assault Group as well. If the ATAT Assault Group rolls ten dice and hits only four times, that is still eight damage coming at the defending Light Side unit. This strategy works perfect on this unit because the Light Side player has nothing like it. The ATAT Assault Group is one of a kind and is almost indestructible if Hoth Battle Plains are in play. The Battle Plains applies to all of the Ground units which means that the Death Star Turbolaser Towers also do double damage when attacking units with their Ion Cannons. This is perfect for guaranteeing to kill starfighters and even the Millennium Falcon. Blizzard Force ATST allows you to pull out the locations in this deck when it attacks a Light Side player.

Vader's Vengeance is a very strong card. One reason that I like it a lot is the fact that it is very good for something we call "card economy". If you make a deck that is playing with Strength of Hate and you want to be a power +6, you would need to spend four Force and play two copies of Strength of Hate. If you have Vader's Vengeance you pay two more Force but you are only out one card. This means that in decks where you were running Preemptive Shot and Strength of Hates, you could now replace all of them with four copies of Vader's Vengeance. If you had two Strength of Hates in your hand you could make one unit power +6 or two units power +3. With Vader's Vengeance, you may make both units power +X. That is an advantage that can't be passed up. It is also very strong with cards like Hoth Battle Plains where the damage you do is doubled. If they have a very hard to kill Millennium Falcon you can always save Force for a couple of turns and then play Vader's Vengeance on a Death Star Turbolaser Tower. If you spent just twelve Force you would be a power seventeen. The average damage of that attack is 8.5 which means you would send 17 damage to the Millennium Falcon. Imperial Misdirection is this decks version of Moment of Truth. Moment of Truth allows the player to pay only one Force but prevent two damage to any unit with Mace Windu in the Character arena. Imperial Misdirection allows a player to pay two Force and remove any amount of damage from their damaged unit. This card will quickly heal ATAT Assault Groups and Darth Vader (K). Its double benefit is that you can actually do damage to Light Side units by moving damage counters from one of their units to another one of their units. This card is the best prevention that the Dark Side has right now.

Well Earned Meal helps to gain Force. I like this card better than Jedi Master Mediation in this deck since I am only playing one Jedi and I can't afford to tap him sometimes. Well Earned Meal can also be a double edged sword. Many decks now are playing with cards like Strike Me Down and Lando (C). Well Earned Meal allows me to gain Force whenever my opponents units are discarded. Now discarding cards to give them an advantage can give me one as well. I also like Well Earned Meal because it can gain me Force during the Battle step which can allow me to play a Vader's Vengeance for even more Force than I started the turn with. I like running two copies of Search for the Rebels as it lets me lock my Ground arena location by getting rid of all of their Ground locations.

Once Darth Vader is fully built and working at full speed it is very easy to win the Character arena. With just one ATAT Assault Group down and Hoth Battle Plains in effect there really isn't much the Light Side can do. Swarm does give the deck a run for its money but it is certainly still able to beat most swarm decks. An Unfriendly Fire or two may help if swarm is very strong in your area. If your opponent is running Han's Promise and very heavy tank units like Yoda (D) and Mace Windu (A), build your Turbolaser Towers quickly. They will help you to win Space while your ATAT Assault Group wins the Ground arena. All I can say is give it a try; it's a lot of fun!