The Force (TM) is Strong With Him
The FFG Hall of Heroes Celebrates a New Champion
With the tournaments and competition of Gen Con Indy 2013 behind us, it’s time to induct a new champion into the Hall of Heroes, a man who fought his way to the head of the galactic civil war – Matt Kohls, the first ever North American Champion for Star Wars™: The Card Game!
Matt began playing Star Wars: The Card Game in December 2012, when the Core Set was first released. Since then, he participated in a number of regional tournaments and competitions before he decided to test his mettle and his analytical approach to deck-building at this year’s Gen Con Indy.
Against more the one-hundred participants, Matt Kohls used his keen mind and clever play to fight to the top. Today, he brings you his perspective on the games of the North American Championship tournament.
The Tournament Begins
For the Star Wars: The Card Game North American Championship, I decided to run what our play group calls the “Targeted Sith” deck for the dark side and a Vehicle-heavy deck for the light side. The dark side deck has strong board control with cards like Darth Vader, Force Choke, Force Lightning, Defense Protocol, and TIE Attack Squadron.
The light side deck was built with the goal of hitting my opponent with as many black blast damage icons as possible. I used Renegade Squadron Escort to protect my other ships and allow them to strike regardless of the outcome of the edge battle. Home One, Blockade Runner, and Red Two provided a lot of damage output, while Renegade Squadron (The Search for Skywalker 247) and Echo Caverns(The Search for Skywalker 212) provided me with some other tricks. By running Vehicles I hoped to counter Sith Character control decks. Going into the tournament, I felt better about my dark side deck than my light side deck which is how I also felt in each Regional Championship I played in, but I knew they were both strong decks and should play well. During the five Swiss rounds my decks performed great, with each side winning four individual games. My light side deck was winning faster than anticipated, earning victories while my opponents’ Death Star dials were at four, five, seven, and four. A mono-Imperial Navy deck gave me the most problems but I was able to beat the Sith decks that I had expected to be the majority of the dark side decks at the tournament. The only real surprise for my dark side deck was the mono-Rebel deck, but I was able to beat it in the end. I finished with thirty-three total points which was good enough for third place after the Swiss rounds, ensuring me a place in the Top 16! The Elimination Rounds
In the elimination rounds, Matt faced greater competition, including decks more similar to his own. Of the Top 8 players, seven of them were playing some form of Sith deck mixed with either Imperial Navy or Scum and Villainy. Also like Matt, each of his rivals in the Top 8 featured some form of Smugglers and Spies in their light side decks. Despite the increasing skill of his opponents, Matt advanced quickly through the Top 16, defeating all comers and winning his way to the championship match after a climatic confrontation between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
The championship match of the tournament was very intense and probably my most enjoyable match all day. I need to give major props to Grant Huddleston for having great decks and being an amazing player. I ended up losing the first game by a count of three objectives to two, so the pressure was certainly mounting for our next game.
During the second game, Grant was able to take an early objective, but I took control of the board with Darth Vader and a TIE Attack Squadron(Core Set 147). The turning point came when I shot down his Millennium Falcon with my TIE Attack Squadron. Shortly afterwards, I destroyed all three of his objectives and won the championship, five to four. I was finally able to sit back and relax.
Overall, the 2013 North American Championship tournament at Gen Con Indy was a blast. Seeing over one-hundred participants turn out in the game’s first year is very encouraging for the game’s future. The players at the championship and the game’s community at large are top notch people. I really enjoyed talking to the other players and seeing the various deck types being played. I look forward to competing with everyone again at Worlds this November!
To learn more about Matt Kohls, and to view his full tournament report and decklists, visit his place of honor in the Hall of Heroes.
The Battle Resumes at FFG World Championship Weekend
We’ll see Matt again in November for our World Championship Weekend, and we hope to see you too, right here at Fantasy Flight Games in Roseville, Minnesota!