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Lightsaber Tournament Results

SWTCG at Gen Con SoCal

This year at Gen Con So Cal, Wizards of the Coast held a Star Wars TCG Lightsaber Tournament. As first place winner, Greg Zuvich, received a Master Replica Darth Vader Force FX Edition Lightsaber. Greg also took the time to share his winning deck lists and comments on the tournament. Our congratulations to Greg, and our thanks to all those who participated!

I don’t care what you smell.
4 Chewbacca (G)
2 Princess Leia (G)
3 Guri (A)
1 IG-88 (A)
1 EG-6 Power Droid
1 FX-7 Medical Assistance Droid (A)
1 C-3PO (G)
1 R2-D2 (G)
4 Jawa Sandcrawler
4 Unmodified Snowspeeder
2 Snowspeeder Rogue Two
1 Wedge's Snowspeeder (A)
2 Snowspeeder Squad
2 Millennium Falcon (E)
2 Millennium Falcon (F)
2 Millennium Falcon (G)
1 Millennium Falcon (B)
1 Luke's X-Wing (A)
1 Luke's X-Wing (B)
1 Luke's X-Wing (C)
1 Obi-Wan's Starfighter (A)
1 Obi-Wan's Starfighter (B)
2 Redemption (A)
3 Gallofree Medium Transport
2 Jedi Knight’s Survival
2 Discuss It In Committee
4 Strange Lodgings
4 A Moment's Rest
1 Lando System?
3 Luke's Garage
2 Cloud City Battleground
14 Character
13 Ground
17 Space
8 Battle
5 Mission
0 Equipment
5 Location

He will find your lost ship.
2 IT-0 Interrogator Droid
2 R2-Q5 (A)
3 Kouhun
1 Lando Calrissian (D)
1 Mara Jade (A)
2 Darth Maul (A)
1 Darth Maul (B)
2 Darth Maul (C)
1 Darth Maul (D)
2 Darth Maul (E)
4 Cloud City Wing Guard
4 Bespin Twin-Pod Cloud Car
4 Bespin Cloud Car Squad
3 Millennium Falcon (C)
4 Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
1 Slave I (B)
1 IG-2000 (A)
2 Modified YV-330 (A)
1 Sith Infiltrator (B)
1 Endor Imperial Fleet
2 Vader's Vengeance
3 Brutal Assault
3 Tyranus's Gift
4 Disrupting Strike
4 Maul's Strategy
4 Capture Obi-Wan
17 Character
12 Ground
13 Space
12 Battle
8 Mission
0 Equipment
0 Location

What thoughts went into your deck construction?

My Dark Side Force Drain deck is my favorite deck because of the inclusion of Darth Maul. I find myself humming the theme of Duel of the Fates to myself when I play the deck. The principle behind it is pretty straightforward. Use the Missions to take your opponent's Force; without any Force, many Light Side decks are hamstrung when it comes to Battle cards and abilities on their Characters. Make them commit a lot of resources to any given arena in order to win it, especially in Space where the Light Side is strong, and make them pay for every piece of turf (like flopping out Endor Imperial Fleet in Space when your opponent has overcommitted to that arena). Then pound on them mercilessly with the Battle cards you have in your own deck.

My Light Side deck is a classic Chewie Reanimator deck, albeit one that could be better in a few areas. It relies on bringing back Guri (A) and IG-88 (A) over and over and over again in order to win the Character arena. It has never won the Ground arena that I can recall (something I will look to change in the future) and that means it must win Space. However, with the Dark Side getting better and better Space units, that has become less of a guarantee, even while relying on the Millennium Falcon and Luke's X-Wing to do the job.

Against most decks, the Reanimator deck can win the attrition war, but the Dark Side is getting better at putting a stop to this, so I think I will be retuning my Chewie Reanimator deck here soon. Of course, I will be retooling all of my decks soon anyway, so many of the weaknesses I can see in my decks now will be patched up soon enough.

Did the release of Return of the Jedi expansion just before the tournament fit into your strategy?

On the Dark Side, the only inclusion from ROTJ was one copy of Endor Imperial Fleet. The ability to contest and fight in the Space arena with my Dark Side deck was already very solid. My Dark Side deck could at least force my opponents to commit serious resources to Space if they wanted to win that arena. Now with Endor Imperial Fleet and its Hidden Cost of 3, waiting to be finished with the application of 7 Force, well that turns the tables very much in my favor. Your opponent commits enough resources to win Space, and wham!, you instantly turn the tables on them. Flopping over the Endor Imperial Fleet in this manner will usually elicit a groan from your opponent, and if it doesn't that is something you should be wary of, because it probably means they were prepared for this move.

Other Dark Side cards from ROTJ that I considered were Lightsaber Throw and Force Lightning, but my deck was already running strong without them when it comes to Battle cards, so the need was not pressing and they didn't make the cut. For the Light Side, the only ROTJ card I considered was High Speed Dodge. The deck was already running pretty well without it, so it didn't make the cut.

What decks did you playtest against? And what did you come across during the tournament?

I playtested my Dark Side deck against Jedi, Chewie Reanimator, Duel of Fates, Leia/Han Beatdown, and a Finis Valorum deck that concentrated on Ground and Space. I playtested my Light Side deck against Force Drain, Jawa Droids, Trade Federation Droids, Executor Pilot Swarm, and a Darth Vader Beatdown deck. My Dark Side deck of "He Will Find Your Lost Ship" did very well in testing and other tournament competitions, and is a very tightly tuned deck; so, I was confident I could do well with it since I had played against most, if not all, the popular Light Side decks of the moment.

The only one I had any trouble with was Duel of the Fates -- if it managed to "go off" on turn one, otherwise I had a 50/50 shot at beating a Duel of the Fates deck.

My Light Side deck of "I Don't Care What You Smell" is pretty much classic Chewie Reanimator. I had trouble with two decks I had tested against and played against in tournaments: Force Drain and Trade Federation Droids. Force Drain made it difficult to play Battle cards and do some other tricks, plus Force Drain decks tend to hit you earlier, often, and very hard. Reanimator decks can take a few turns to set up, and when a Force Drain deck starts pounding away at you early, it can be hard to get the upper hand later on.

Trade Federation Droid decks present a three-fold problem: Trade Federation Hangar, Nute Gunray (B), and Blockade {TPM}. If the person playing the Trade Federation Droid deck gets those three cards out on the first turn, you lose, period. The biggest problem of those three cards however is Blockade {TPM}, a ridiculously overpowered card for 2 build that shuts down your opponent. Remove Blockade {TPM} from the game and I think more Light Side decks can hang with the uber-powerful Trade Federation Droid deck.

Playtesting and playing in tournaments of course helps a lot. I did not see any Duel of the Fates decks at the tournament, so my Dark Side deck was doing very well. I saw one Trade Federation Droid deck, and it didn't go off like it should have the first three turns, and by then I was able to keep a stranglehold on the game with my Reanimator deck and pulled to a win in that one match.

How about the tournament itself?

Overall, the tournament was fun and the people were nice. I play the game for fun, and I don't really emphasize winning on the first turn, or winning all the time, with my decks. There are two players who are listed among the Top 10 players in the world that play in Portland, OR down at Rainy Day Games where I play, so I'm used to finishing anywhere from 3rd to last place in a Star Wars TCG tournament in Portland, i.e., behind those two Top 10 players. I guess that prepared me for the Lightsaber Tournament, and I was surprised to not see some of the more "brutal" decks out there being played.

It also helped that I was rolling dice really, really, really well that day, better than I ever have in any other tournament. Sure, I'd like to think that my decks were solid, but I also know that I rolled better than I have at any other time I have ever played this game. It was as if Lord Vader's Lightsaber was calling me over to the Dark Side…

And of course, what do you plan to do with the prize?

Besides taunting the two Top 10 players in the world that I play with down at Rainy Day Games in Portland, OR that they are weak in the Dark Side? No, not much really. Actually, I let Rainy Day Games put the replica lightsaber on display in one of their cases for the month during the holidays. Perhaps it will help them draw more people into the game we love so much, merely as a conversation piece. It's really quite cool when the light extends up the blade when you turn it on, and down the blade into the hilt when you turn it off. It's also rather cool looking with the lights off.

While I was at SoCal Gen Con two other good things occurred: One, I got four copies of Darth Maul for my Dark Side deck signed by the actor Ray Park, and two, I popped over to Disneyland and got a mock-up Star Wars picture taken with me as Darth Tyranus in a collage with Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine that came out really, really, really well…. I guess now I have lightsaber to go along with the picture… that and the knowledge that I have won a Gen Con championship for Star Wars TCG.

Thoughts or comments? Visit the message board thread for this article here.