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Blockaded Occupied Tatooine

Return of the Jedi introduced several powerful cards to the Star Wars Trading Card Game. In this article, we look at Occupied Tatooine, a cheap tri-arena Location that lets you put a card from your discard pile onto the bottom of your deck once per turn. This seems minor, but by combining it with a few other cards, we can create exponentially good benefits.

Search Mechanisms

One way to utilize Occupied Tatooine is in a Search Mechanism deck. These kinds of decks are based around Darth Vader (I), Tyranus's Geonosian Speeder (A), Dreadnaught Heavy Cruiser, or similar cards. The idea behind them is to continually put cards back into your deck and, over a long period of time, gain a large advantage. Imagine your opponent's face when your Tyranus's Geonosian Speeder (A) searches for Peace on Naboo every turn, while a Stormtrooper Assault Team slowly eats away at the Ground arena.

The fact is, there are many powerful Search Mechanism decks -- but Battle cards can be disrupted, and units can only be built if you have the build.

There is another option, though. If you burn through your cards and have none left in the deck, you can essentially put any card in your discard pile on the top of the deck. Now you have the opportunity to draw any card in your discard pile every turn. But what card should you draw? After much debate, it seems that Blockade {TPM} is the best choice. This card has been highlighted twice on this website, once in a card spotlight and again it its own deck. The major benefit of Blockade {TPM} is that it stops the Light Side from deploying Locations and moving units into the build zone. Done once, this is a good effect. Done multiple turns in a row, it becomes much more powerful. In addition, Blockade stops retreating and Battle cards, so we'll have to adjust the deck construction to reflect this.

Mos Eisley's ability to guarantee consecutive Blockades and reduce the deck size to zero is mandatory. And Reactor Core offers a chance to draw two cards per turn while guaranteeing that we'll have enough build to play Blockade every turn. So far, the deck consists of four Occupied Tatooines, four Mos Eisleys, four Blockade {TPM}'s, and one Reactor Core. Obviously, to have this deck work well, we won't be able to have any other Missions or, most likely, Battles in the deck. So, we have 13 cards down and 47 units to go.

Units to Go

At this point, it was time to test some decks. At first, I made a generic good-unit deck that had such cards as Lando Calrissian (B) and Blizzard Force AT-ST. The idea behind these units was to help set up the combo. I'll admit they worked well at establishing it; unfortunately, they aren't worth a darn in winning an arena.

The next concept was to utilize AT-AT and Avenger (A). Both of these units are cheaper than you'd typically expect for their abilities, but have the huge side effect of allowing the defending unit to retreat and effectively stopping the damage they would deal. The concept behind using them is that this penalty isn't really a penalty. Blockade {TPM} stipulates that units can't retreat, and according to the rulebook "can't" overrides "can." Even if you fail to play Blockade and your opponent chooses to retreat his unit, he might not be able to redeploy it because you'll play a Blockade on the following turn. Unfortunately, this concept also failed to be as powerful as I'd hoped.

It was time to go back to the drawing board and approach the deck from a different angle. I needed units that were better than my opponent's; after all, it was unlikely that I'd be able to reinforce the arenas, since I'm already dedicating 2 build to Blockade {TPM} every turn. The Tusken deck theme and the Jawa deck theme immediately came to mind. Unfortunately, both of these deck types revolve around slow units, and being faster than your opponent is very powerful in this kind of deck. While Tusken and Jawa decks can gain speed through RIC-920, it still leaves them too susceptible for my liking.

Hidden Alternatives

Don't worry -- there's light at the end of this tunnel. Clearly, the Dark Side is at a disadvantage in straight combat under Blockade {TPM}, primarily due to the Light Side's access to Pay-Evading units in all three arenas. But after reading a recent article about Hidden Cost on this website, I found the answer. Utilizing a few Hidden Cost units would effectively give me 4 additional build points per turn, every turn, even under Blockade {TPM}.

Now we're rolling! Unfortunately, the Ground arena still wasn't doing so well. The solution? Add Gungans. The Dark Side actually has an advantage over the Light Side in a Gungan-on-Gungan match. This is because Dark Side wins all ties, which is especially important for speed. Also, utilizing a full Gungan arena allows for the possibility of the extremely broken deploys of two to three Fambaa Shield Beasts, which can completely nullify common Light Side Ground units. It also features highly efficient units, such as Kaadu Scout, which just so happened to win a recent poll on this website.

The only thing left to do was add some personal touches. I've been trying to fit a General Maximilian Veers (B)/Probot combo into a deck for a while, and with Jabba the Hutt (C), it seemed the perfect opportunity. Even without Probot, it's still possible to use Occupied Tatooine with General Max, and it just seems to fit the deck's theme.

3 Boba Fett (H)
2 Boss Nass (A)
2 Captain Tarpels (A)
3 Jabba the Hutt (C)
2 General Maximilian Veers (B)
4 Probot
1 San Hill (A)
1 R2-Q5 (A)
4 Fambaa Shield Beast
4 Kaadu Scout
4 Gungan Battle Wagon
2 Gungan Grand Army
4 Droid Starfighter DFS-1VR
4 TIE Interceptor
4 TIE Fighter
3 Endor Imperial Fleet
4 Blockade {TPM}
4 Mos Eisley
4 Occupied Tatooine
1 Reactor Core
18 Character
14 Ground
15 Space
0 Battle
4 Mission
0 Equipment
9 Location

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About the Author
James McCoy has a long and storied collectable card gaming career. The major victories include the 1998 Spellfire World Championship, North Carolina M:tG 2002 State Champion, numerous M:tG Pro Tour Qualifier top 8's including a recent qualification for Pro Tour Nagoya, and semifinalist in 2004's Star Wars TCG Champion Series. While James doesn't plan on attending Nagoya, you can see how his ranking goes for all his Wizards of the Coast card games here.