|Ready for the Future
A Guest Article on Preparing for STAR WARS (TM): The Card Game Tournaments
|Star Wars: The Card Game | Published 30 May 2014|
I don't know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you'll do as I tell you, okay?
–Leia Organa, Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars™: The Card Game casts you and a friend into the midst of the Galactic Civil War, whether you test your resolve as the Jedi, work for the highest bidder as the Scum and Villainy, or play as one of the other affiliations. A key part of the community of Star Wars: The Card Game, however, lies in tournaments, from Store Championships to World Championship Weekend. Tournaments offer you the chance to test your skills among other players who love the game, but many players don’t even know where to begin preparing for tournament season.
Regional Championships have already begun for Star Wars: The Card Game, and today, guest writer Matt Nott explores how to prepare for tournaments and craft a winning deck. Read below for Matt’s insights!
Matt Nott on Tournament Season Prep
Regionals have begun, so in today's article I’ll be discussing preparations for the tournament season. This is an exciting time for Star Wars: The Card Game, especially with the packs from the Echoes of the Force cycle changing the field on a regular basis. Over the years, I’ve played in and run a lot of gaming tournaments, and hopefully, I can provide some advice on what to expect for those of you new to tournaments.
Crafting a Winning Deck
The first step you’ll need to take is to refer to the list of tournaments posted by Fantasy Flight Games so you can decide which tournaments you’re able to attend. Next, you’ll obviously want to contact the stores involved to find out dates, times, and any costs associated with the events.
Once you know the details for the events you’ll be attending, you need to craft a deck and practice with it. The way that I currently test my decks is by process of elimination – creating multiple decks for each side and playing them against each other. I record the results in a tracking spreadsheet, making notes on each game and the decks used. This is useful to see how each deck plays and where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
Part of this kind of testing involves getting to know yourself as a player. If you prefer controlling the way the game is played, you may prefer scheming from the shadows with Emperor Palpatine (Core Set, 51). If your preferred style of play focuses on direct attack, however, you may prefer to command the mighty Star Destroyer Devastator (Core Set, 44). Once you’ve played a number of games with a variety of decks, you should have an idea of which decks suit your preferred play style, and which decks you’ll be using for the tournament.
A critical concern when considering decks is not only selecting a deck that will win games but a deck that you also enjoy playing. A deck might be very high tournament quality, but if you don’t enjoy playing it, none of that will matter. If you love combos, a deck that includes Leia Organa (Core Set, 88) could prove highly enjoyable, but if you prefer outright trickery, Lando Calrissian (Edge of Darkness, 328) may suit you better.
After you’ve selected your decks, you need to continue to play them and get to know the cards in your deck. One thing that I always find useful is starting with bad opening hands. This lets you start the game from a poor position and attempt to win anyway. It’s a great way to help you see what your deck is truly capable of, and it can help you see potential weaknesses or flaws that you might alleviate by swapping out some objective sets.
It's also crucial to do a number of test draws with your decks to see many variants of what your deck can give you in the beginning. You want to see how playable these different hands are, if they provide the resources you need, if they have enough units, etc. This practice is also excellent for helping you recognize cards you do and don't want to see in your opening draw. Some cards are amazing in the late game, but are less than useful early on. If you take enough opening draws in playtesting, it becomes that much easier to recognize if want to keep your hand or take a mulligan during the actual tournament.
When prepping for the tournament it’s also important to consider what decks you could come up against. A tournament-ready deck has ways to answer many, if not all, currently popular deck types. Online forums and deck builders like those at cardgamedb.com are great for checking out other players’ decks and seeing what other players are discussing for their own decks. Every area has a unique meta, of course, but there are often far-reaching similarities and trends that can give you hints and tip you off as to what to expect. For example, if you expect every player at a tournament to use Dash Rendar (Lure of the Dark Side, 525) and Holding All the Cards (Lure of the Dark Side, 527), you should take that into account when building your own decks, as well as making sure you have ways to counter popular deck types.
Another practice that can prove advantageous is to make the fullest use of previews you can find online. Previews for new packs are spread out between various podcasts and websites that support the game. Every pack in the Echoes of the Force cycle has at least one objective set spoiled by now, and many have more, allowing you to test objective sets from as yet unreleased Force Packs. I especially recommend using this method when you know which packs will be released for your local regionals. The more time you give yourself playing with new cards the better you will be able to play and handle those new cards, even when they’re played against you. Giving yourself experience with your deck and the other decks in the meta is essentially the most valuable thing you can do to improve your performance on the day of the event.
I hope some of these tips prove valuable, and may the Force be with you this season!
Matt is heavily involved in the Star Wars: The Card Game community, where he posts as “Toqtamish,” and he has helped create and host Star Wars podcasts in the past. Look for more Star Wars guest articles from Matt and others in coming weeks!
The characters, starships, and situations of the original Star Wars trilogy come to life in Star Wars: The Card Game, a head-to-head Living Card Game® of tactical combat and strategic planning that allows two players to wage cinematic combats between the light and dark sides of the Force.