Star Wars Virtual Sets

New & Returning Players Article 7- Breaking down a new Virtual Set – by Chris Gogolen

What to do when a new Virtual Set is released?

Two to three times each year the Players Committee releases a new Virtual Card set.  The first release of the year is usually a larger set of 40-50 cards and then the follow up releases are 20-25 cards each.  The initial release often introduces new deck themes, and then the other sets contain support cards that round out those themes, help out existing decks that are struggling(AKA Helpers), or correct an imbalance in the current playing environment(AKA Bullets).  This article will focus on how to digest all of the new information being released.

Step 1 – Get yourself a copy of the PDF of the cards and print it out.  This can be found on the download section of the Players Committee Forums.  Print out one set and then cut them out.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect cutout of high glossy color text(and I don’t recommend you spend the $$ to do that until at least a few weeks after the set is released, as sometimes the cards get minor adjustments post-release due to unforeseen issues with Rulings or card interactions).

Now that you have a copy of each card cutout, you can line them all out in front of you and start to figure out how all these cards work.  The best players in the world can just read the spoiler list and see the interactions in their heads, but for us mere mortals its best to have them in front of you to move around the table and refer back to.

We will be using V set 9.1 as the example for this article, as it’s the most recent set.  As always, you will eventually want to develop a system that works best for you, but this is a good starting point and how several players that I have talked with go about looking through a new set.

Step 2– Start pairing up cards that directly work together.  If a new Objective was released in the set, take the Objective, the locations, and any other cards the Objective requires and put them all together.  Then read through the Objective and those cards and try to understand a few key things:

A)  What is this Objective trying to set up?

B)  What are the conditions that I need to satisfy to flip the Objective and how hard are they to accomplish?

C)  What are the benefits of flipping this objective?

D)  What are the conditions that need to occur to flip the Objective back to the 0 side and how hard are they to accomplish.

separatistuprisingFor example- Separatist Uprising.  You start by Deploying the Separatist Council Room (a 2/0 location that lets you deploy Nute Gunray and lets you use Senators Gametext as if they were in a Senate Majority.  It also prevents the LS from deploying spies there) and War Has Begun (an effect that increases your Force Generation by 1 at each battleground you control with a {Separatist Icon} card.  You can also forfeit non-lightsaber weapons for 3 and place them in your Used Pile).  War has Begun has text similar to Inconsequential Losses-V regarding the weapon forfeiting text, which has been used in multiple decks before, so this does open up some options for both Space and Ground options.

Ok, what’s next on the Objective- For remainder of game, your Republic characters and [Episode 1] vehicles gain [Separatist]. Galen, Imperials, and Imperial Starships are lost. Once per turn, may /\ a [Separatist] Mission.

So from this we now know what character pool we have to work with- We can’t use any Imperials, Imperial Starships, or Galen.  That will leave us with Republic Characters, Aliens, Droids, Dark Jedi Masters and Darth Maul.  The Republic Characters gain the Separatist Icon, which is needed to trigger War Has Begun’s force activation bonus.  There may also be new Separatist Icon characters released in this set, so we should look for those and pull those aside as well:

–          B2 Super Battle Droid

–          Count Dooku

–          DSDS Dwarf Spider Droid

–          Durge

–          Nute Gunray

–          Sate Pestage

These characters will likely all have some useful gametext, but you can look those over yourself and choose any that fit the deck design you are creating.  The next thing the objective allows is to upload a Separatist Icon Mission.  There are 3 in this set, and each has a different reward:

–          Arena Execution-  +1 to Attrition against opponent (this is a global effect)

–          Defense of Muunilinst- Force drain +1 at Muunilinst Locations and you can unconvert your locations

–          Rally to our Cause- Your battle destiny draws are +X(limit +2).

3 Missions- check- each one with a different reward, different condition to satisfy, and a different way for your opponent to send it to your Used Pile.  Feeling overwhelmed yet?  Don’t worry, its not quite as bad as it seems.

Anything left on the front of the Objective? Flip this card if you have one ‘complete’ [Separatist] Mission on table.  Well that doesn’t seem so bad with 3 different Missions to choose from.  So what are the rewards for Flipping:

atwarwithitselfOBJECTIVE – BACK
Text: May immediately retrieve up to 3 Force (Force retrieved in this way may be taken into hand) once per game.

Hey, 3 force retrieval and you can take any of those cards into hand.  That’s always a good thing.  Its only once per game, so hopefully you don’t flip too early or you might not get much use out of this.

While this side up, opponent’s battle destiny draws are -1.

Also always a good thing, helps protect your characters and starships that don’t have full immunity, as well as give you advantage with total power that might create an additional force loss during battles.

Once during your control phase, may use 2 Force to /\ a [Separatist] character, vehicle, or starship. X = the number of ‘complete’ [Separatist] Missions on table. Your total power in battles is +X, and whenever you win a battle, opponent loses X Force.

Also really good- you can use 2 force during Control phase to get a card that hopefully you can deploy and battle with.  Then your total power is increased for the number of mission on table(which is at least 1 otherwise you would not be flipped) and if you win a battle, your opponent loses at least 1 force.  Between your +1 power and their -1 to battle destiny draws, you already have a good shot at winning battles.

So how does it flip back- Flip this card if you have no ‘complete’ [Separatist] Missions on table.

Yeah, I kinda figured that was going to be the condition.  But what this side also tells me is that you can have more than 1 Separatist mission in play at a time.  That would help you stay on the 7 side and increase the power bonus and force loss.

We’ll look over the Missions in more detail shortly, but this Objective already seems like something that is going to be competitive right from the start.  You have a good character pool to work with, straight-forward flip conditions, and pretty good benefits for doing so.  Causing direct force loss is always a good thing.  Your objective will let you deploy Episode 1 battleground locations, which will get your Muunilinst locations out, so you don’t need to use another card to do that.  It also seems like this Objective is a bit open-ended, which should create a few different versions.  I expect to see people playing it as a Mains platform, using some combination of Grievous, Sidious, Dooku, or Maul and their lightsabers.  There are also some interesting new battle droids and a droid tank with a permanent weapon.  I could see people trying to use Baktoid Armor Workshop and this tank with the Theed Palace tanks(which gain a Separatist Icon from the Objective).  People may even try to play lots of the Coruscant set Senators and take advantage of their gametexts.  Also, as they create more Separatist Icon cards in future V-sets, more possibilities may present themselves.

Now, at this point in time we have addressed a couple of the items on our checklist already- how do we flip the objective and what benefits to we get out of it.  If the benefits were weak, then we might not choose to play this deck right now, and if it was too hard to flip the same might be true, or we might just use the deck as a platform to set up our deck and not bother trying to flip it.  Just use the text to deploy the Ep1 battlegrounds and get +1 force Generation and then do something completely unrelated.  But this deck seems pretty viable, so let’s explore it further and see what we need to do with those Missions.

arenaexecutionA)     •Arena Execution [•Well Guarded (V)] 5
[Virtual Set 9.1 – Jabba’s Palace – U]
MISSION
Text: Deploy on War Has Begun. [Virtual Block 2] Special Delivery is canceled. May \/ Arena Pillars. Petranaki Arena is a prison. If there are no captives at Petranaki Arena and opponent about to lose a non-droid character, may imprison it there. If opponent controls Petranaki Arena during their control phase, they may release any number of captives there. If an opponent’s imprisoned character was just ‘executed,’ stack it here face down (Mission ‘complete’).
Reward: Attrition against opponent is +1.
Turn the Tide: If opponent controls Petranaki Arena during their control phase, place Mission in Used Pile
.

 

defenseofmuunilinstB)      •Defense of Muunilinst [•Open Fire! (V)] 5
[Virtual Set 9.1 – Theed Palace – C]
MISSION
Text: Deploy on War Has Begun. Unless a card stacked here, if you control three Muunilinst locations (and opponent controls no Muunilinst locations), opponent loses 1 Force (cannot be reduced) and stacks lost card here face down (Mission ‘complete’).
Reward: Your Force drains at Muunilinst locations are +1 and, once per turn, may raise your converted Muunilinst site to the top.
Turn The Tide: If opponent controls two Muunilinst locations, place Mission in Used Pile.

 

rallytoourcause

C)      •Rally To Our Cause [•Accepting Trade Federation Control] 5

[Virtual Set 9.1 – Coruscant – U]
MISSION
Deploy on War Has Begun. During your control phase, if you occupy a site, may attempt to ‘align’ the related non-’aligned’ system (once per system per turn): draw destiny; if destiny + X + Y > 7, stack top card of Lost Pile under system; it is ‘aligned’ (Mission ‘complete’).
Reward: Your battle destiny draws are +X (limit +2).
Turn the Tide: If opponent just initiated a Force drain at an ‘aligned’ system, place stacked cards there in Used Pile (system no longer ‘aligned’). If there are no ‘aligned’ systems on table, place Mission in Used Pile.
X = number of ‘aligned’ systems on table.
Y = number of unique (•) [Separatist] characters on table.

Mission #1- Arena Execution.  It lets you get out Arena Pillars- so lets go get that V-card too:

arenapillars•Arena Pillars [•Abyssin Ornament (V)] 5
[Virtual Set 9.1 – Jabba’s Palace – U]
Lore: blank
EFFECT
Text: Deploy on Petranaki Arena. During your control phase, may target an imprisoned captive here: each player draws destiny and adds 1 for each of their cards with power present (2 for [Separatist] cards). If your total higher, target ‘executed’ (lost) and opponent loses 2 Force. [Immune to Alter]

This mission involves capturing characters, but includes its own capture mechanic so you don’t need to use any other cards(which is really good and saves on deck space).  So if you don’t have a captive, and your opponent loses a character from any location on the table, you can capture him at the Arena.  Then, during your Control phase you can try to Execute him.  You both draw a destiny, you both add 1 for each card with power present at the Arena (2 if its a Separatist card) and then you compare the totals.  If you win, their character is lost(stacked on the mission so it can’t be easily retrieved), they lose 2 force, and your mission is complete.  It only goes Used if they control the Arena during their Control phase too, which is not the easiest thing to do.

The Arena text:

geonosispetranakiarena•Geonosis: Petranaki Arena [•Tatooine: Podrace Arena (V)] [DARK]
[Virtual Set 9.1 – Tatooine – C]
LOCATION – SITE
DARK (2): Dooku and Jango are power +1 here. Imprisoned captives released here may Escape.
LIGHT (1): Once per turn, if you control, may raise your converted Petranaki Arena to the top.
[Episode 1][Planet][Exterior]

So this site has a 2/1 activation ratio which is nice, and gives Dooku and Jango a small power boost.  Combine that with the power boost on the 7 side of the Objective and now you are even further ahead in battles at that site.  This mission is not card intensive and does not really require any additional cards to be functional.

Mission #2- Defense of Muunilinst:

Very similar to the conditions on Ralltir Operations.  You control 3 Muunilinst locations while making sure they don’t control any and you complete the mission and flip your objective.  You also make them lose a force in the process, which gets stacked on the Mission.  You can choose any 3 locations, so feel free to use a combination of space and ground to make this happen.  There are 5 DS locations currently to choose from.

Mission #3- Rally to our Cause:

Requires you to occupy a site, and have the related system on the table.  Then you draw destiny, add 1 for each system you have already rallied to your cause, and add 1 for each unique Separatist character on the table.  The total must be greater than 7.  So on your first attempt, if you have 3 Separatists on the table you need to draw a 5.  That’s going to definitely influence deck creation.  You are either going to need to make sure you have a fair amount of high destiny cards in your deck, or are going to need additional Separatist characters in play to lower than destiny draw required to 4 or 3.  But keep in mind that characters typically have low destiny numbers, so the more of them you put into your deck, the greater the chances you have of drawing one of them for destiny.  This mission will take a balancing act with deck design to make it reliable.

You can decide for yourself which 1 or 2 you want to attempt to play.  I would not recommend playing all 3 missions in your deck.  I think this will dilute your deck design and your setup strategy and make it less reliable.  Pick one or two and focus your resources and attention on those.
Hopefully at this point, you have not only an understanding about this specific objective, but about the process that is involved with breaking down new cards and determining their usefulness and functionality.

Skimming through the rest of the Dark Side cards, we see a couple cards that fall into the other categories I mentioned at the beginning, Helpers and Bullets.

Helper:

ominousrumors*Ominous Rumors (V) 5
[Virtual Block 9 – Endor – R]
EFFECT
Text: Deploy on Bunker. Your scouts aboard speeder bikes are defense value = 5 and immune to Clash Of Sabers. Once per turn, if you control Bunker, may \/ an [Endor] Imperial here (except Fenson or Grond) or a forest. Canceled if opponent controls three Endor sites. [Immune To Alter].

This card tries to help out a specific decktype that may have been struggling.  It gives you an alternative way to play on Endor, most likely using the Endor Operations objective.  Instead of the existing methods of playing the deck using either Mains/AT-ATs or using Tempest Scout AT-STs, you have an improvement to using Speeder bikes.  The character aboard the bike is harder to hit with weapons and immune to Clash of Sabers.  It also lets you deploy characters from your reserve deck if you control the bunker to help speed your deck up a little.  It does come at the sacrifice of losing the original version of Ominous Rumors which gave a force drain bonus in space, so you will have to adjust your deck design accordingly.  I don’t know that this card will force the other versions of this deck back into the card binder, but it does create an interesting alternative.  The Endor speeder bike pilots have power gametext when you have several of them together, the speeder bike has a weapon, and there are several interrupts that can be used with piloted speeder bikes.  If you are interested in exploring this deck design, repeat the steps I demonstrated above for the new 9.1 objective.

Bullet:

beginlandingyourtroops&thedarkpath•Begin Landing Your Troops & The Dark Path [•Begin Landing Your Troops (V)] 4
[Virtual Set 9.1 – Coruscant – U]
EFFECT
Text: Deploy on table. Your [Separatist] droids are power +1 and may shuttle from battleground systems for free. During battle, may place this Effect out of play to cancel and redraw your just-drawn destiny. Once per turn, each player may ignore any deploy cost on [Virtual Block 4] Watch Your Step and once per game, while that Objective on table, you may /\ a starfighter (or draw two cards from Reserve Deck). Jedi Tests may not modify your battle or weapon destiny draws. Lost if your [Virtual Block 4] objective on table. [Immune to Alter].

This card has multiple parts- the first sections give your Separatist droids a power boost and lets them shuttle for free.  This may be helpful in the new Objective decks or may not, depending on the build.  But the rest of the card has some uses no matter what deck you are playing it in.

-During battle you can place the effect out of play to redraw your destiny.  Very helpful if you are trying to target a character with a weapon and miss, or need to crack their immunity.  Could also be helpful if you are trying to win a battle to cause force loss.

-Once per turn each player can ignore the deploy cost on WYS-v, which requires you to place a card from hand on the bottom of Used pile each time you deploy a non-Corellian card with ability to Corellia.  This is very helpful in that matchup. Against WYS-V it also lets you once per game take a Starfighter into hand or draw 2 cards from Reserve deck.  Also very helpful in speeding your deck up, and works very efficiently with Slave 1 Symbol of Fear(which you can then reveal from hand to deploy simultaneous with a Fett from your reserve deck)

-Prevents Jedi Test #3 from making your battle destiny and weapon destiny draws -1 each.

So this card has one universal use(redrawing a destiny once per game) and 2 uses to help against specific LS decks, both of which are not uncommon to see played in the current environment.

You can also repeat this process for the LS cards.  I won’t make this article any longer than it already is by going through all of those cards as well.  I hope that this article has helped you understand what to do with a new group of Virtual cards and make the process a lot less overwhelming.  As always, I look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

Thanks for reading!

“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years!” ~ LL Cool J

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About categoryonegames

Scott Church is the owner of www.CategoryOneGames.com - the Premiere Star Wars CCG Marketplace on the Internet.
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