Empire at War – My Deck Builds So Far

As I’m sure many of you have been doing as well, I’ve been throwing together all kinds of decks with new cards from Empire at War.  There is so much new stuff to try!

In this article, I’m going to go through most of the creations (abominations?) that I’ve used so far, along with my current verdict on the deck.  

“Listen, I’ve got a new card now, so be scared of me, okay?!

The first deck I’m going to talk about is the one I used at our local tournament last week.  I made one change to the list presented in that article, and it was adding The Best Defense over As I Have Foreseen.

(e)Kylo Ren, Tormented One / General Grievous
Battlefield – Rebel War Room
Upgrades (10) Support (4) Events (16)
2x Ancient Lightsaber 2x Imperial HQ 2x Clash
2x Crossguard Lightsaber 2x Imperial Inspection 2x Doubt
2x Electrostaff 2x Isolation
2x Force Illusion 2x Lightsaber Pull
2x Hate 2x Overconfidence
2x Rend
2x Sound the Alarm
2x The Best Defense

This deck has generally been performing well, but it can lose some momentum if you don’t get at least one or two weapons out early.  This can be mitigated somewhat by Lightsaber Pull, but I’d consider swapping out Hate for something like Z6 Riot Control Baton.

The main weakness of this deck is only having three character dice.  Against Thrawn/Unkar, with cards like Prized Possession and Detention Center, you can really struggle.  It might just be worth giving up on Grievous, and replace him with FN-2199 or the new Captain Phasma.

New Kylo is good, Grievous less so.  I think this is a team I’m going to put on the back-burner for now.

“Hey, Sabine.  According to the holonet, you’re a problem.”

Well, her interaction with two copies of Running Interference and ambush effects are what people are complaining about.  The deck I’ve been using does have Running Interference and at least one ambush weapon in it, but I’ve never had both copies in play at once.  To be honest, in friendly games I don’t think I’d use the ‘lock’, as it’s the opposite of friendly, but for tournaments the gloves would come off.

(e)Sabine Wren / (e)Ezra Bridger
Battlefield – Emperor’s Throne Room
Upgrades (10) Support (3) Events (17)
2x DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol 1x Chopper 2x Electroshock
2x EMP Grenades 2x Running Interference 2x Friends In Low Places
2x Second Chance 1x Impersonate
2x Thermal Detonator 2x Negotiate
2x Thermal Paint 2x Planned Explosion
2x Smuggling
2x Sound the Alarm
2x Truce
2x Unpredictable

This deck has been fun to use, and Sabine’s ability is very good, but she’s a bit of a glass cannon.  She can very easily be killed on the second round, so that means you have to mulligan accordingly.  Second Chance and Impersonate, along with dice mitigation can help keep her alive (moving seven damage over to Ezra with Impersonate is glorious by the way).

A cheeky little first round play is to use Smuggling to drop an upgrade into your discard pile, then use Sabine’s ability to play it (for cheaper as well if it’s Thermal).  Not exactly ground-breaking, but quite nice nonetheless.

Sabine is good, very good, so I’m definitely going to sling her into another team in the near future.  Ezra is really boring in this team, so I’d consider switching to a single-die Admiral Ackbar, and try going the Leadership route.  In its current form, I’m binning this team for now.

“What do you mean, you haven’t tried a vehicle deck yet?”

I was eager to make a vehicle deck once Empire at War was released, so I paired Hera up with Poe, chucked in loads of vehicles, and went from there!

(e)Poe Dameron, Ace Pilot / (e)Hera Syndulla
Battlefield – Imperial Academy
Upgrades (2) Support (12) Events (16)
2x Lead By Example 1x Black One 2x Confidence
1x C-3PO 2x Deploy Squadron
2x Ghost 2x Hit and Run
2x T-47 Airspeeder 2x Partnership
2x U-Wing 2x Pinned Down
2x Y-Wing 2x Rebel Assault
2x Z-95 Headhunter 2x Reckless Reentry
2x Sound the Alarm

This deck is a lot of fun to use, as you can end up with loads of vehicles in play at once (hence my inclusion of Deploy Squadron).  However, even with an excellent removal card in the form of Pinned Down, mono-red heroes struggle a bit with dice mitigation.

One thing this deck did teach me was how good the special on Y-Wing is.  In some games I used Poe’s special to trigger the Y-Wing special, then paid the three resources to play the Y-Wing, and then rolled a special after activating it.  I’d seriously consider putting Y-Wing into a deck that wasn’t even based around vehicle shenanigans.

As fun as this deck was, I think the five character dice version with Maz and Ezra or Rookie Pilot is probably better, especially since you can use Quadjumper and Millenium Falcon.  Another team heads to the bin!

“General Veers?  Never heard of him.”

I was pleased to see Cad Bane introduced to Star Wars Destiny, and even more pleased to see that he’s actually pretty good.

(e)Cad Bane / (e)Captain Phasma, Ruthless Tactician
Battlefield – Rebel War Room
Upgrades (12) Support (4) Events (14)
2x Armor Plating 2x Backup Muscle 2x Bait and Switch
1x Captain Phasma’s Blaster 2x Imperial HQ 2x Doubt
2x DH-17 Blaster Pistol 2x He Doesn’t Like You
2x Holdout Blaster 2x Sound the Alarm
2x Hunker Down 2x The Best Defense
2x LL-30 Blaster Pistol 2x Threaten
1x Relby-V10 Mortar Gun 2x Unpredictable

This is a fairly straighforward gun deck.  If you use Cad’s ability to play Holdout Blaster or LL-30 Blaster Pistol (an excellent new weapon) you can roll out his dice and resolve some before your opponent has the opportunity to mitigate them.  You can also play defensive upgrades on him like Armor Plating or Hunker Down, without slowing down your turn.

Imperial HQ is one of my favourite cards from Empire at War.  It’s not exciting, but it really helps resolve your dice.  The Relby-V10 Mortar Gun also deserves a shoutout, as it’s particularly brutal (especially against three-character teams).

I think Cad/Phasma will be quite popular going forward (but obviously not this iteration; it still needs work).  If you like easy-to-use aggressive teams, I’d definitely give them a look.  This is definitely a decklist that I’m going to continue tweaking.

“Yes, I will have the Millenium Falcon in play round one.”

Lando’s ability is to break one of the fundamental game rules; he lets you start with three resources.  He is also able to generate loads more as well, so obviously I had to throw him into a deck with some expensive supports!

(e)Lando Calrissian / (e)Admiral Ackbar
Battlefield – Mos Eisley Spaceport
Upgrades (4) Support (8) Events (18)
2x Chance Cube 2x C-3PO 2x Negotiate
2x Lead By Example 2x Launch Bay 2x Partnership
2x LR1K Sonic Cannon 2x Persuade
2x Millenium Falcon 2x Planned Explosion
2x Roll On
2x Scramble
2x Sound the Alarm
2x Truce
2x Unpredictable

This deck is something of a trainwreck.  Yes, you can get a five-cost support into play round one most of the time (particularly with Truce).  However, you still have to weather the incoming damage.

I’ve included a lot of zero-cost dice mitigation, mostly to test them out (Persuade was quite good in this deck actually), but also because I was being miserly.

I think that a better direction to take Lando is one that a friend of mine went with.  They used Lando to bankroll expensive yellow events like Never Tell Me The Odds and Reversal, and that’s most likely the way to go.  Verdict on this team, trash!

“Strike a pose.”

I’ll be honest, the idea for this team was based mostly on the artwork (Servant of the Dark Side looks ace).  However, after playing a few games with it, I was mildly impressed.

(e)Kylo Ren, Vader’s Disciple / Servant of the Dark Side x2
Battlefield – Rebel War Room
Upgrades (10) Support (0) Events (20)
2x Ancient Lightsaber 2x Anger
2x Crossguard Lightsaber 2x As I Have Foreseen
2x Dark Counsel 2x Doubt
2x Force Speed 2x Enrage
2x Hate 2x Flank
2x Isolation
2x Lightsaber Pull
2x Manipulate
2x No Mercy
2x The Power of the Force

When playing this deck, I’ve been piling the upgrades on Kylo (particularly Crossguard Lightsaber for the point of damage).  If your opponent focuses on him, great, he’s got eleven health, so he can take a right beating.  When he gets defeated, the Servants pick his corpse clean of upgrades (well, one each anyway), and you carry on like nothing happened.  If they don’t go after Kylo, he smashes with impunity.

In the two-player decks we got a card that can help you decide if you want to resolve Kylo’s special or not; As I Have Foreseen.  In my opinion, this is a very nice boost for the character.

No Mercy and The Power of the Force help justify the mono-blue team, and can be some tasty sucker-punches.

Is this team good?  Not sure, but it was fun to use.  Kylo could probably be swapped out for Seventh Sister, and the Crossguard Sabers for the Seeker Droids, and it would probably be better.  The core of this team (Servant of the Dark Side, The Power of the Force, and No Mercy) is worth building around, so it’s definitely something I’m going to work on.

“Lightsabers.  I hear they’re good.”

Last but not least, this is the team I’ve had the most wins with recently.  It’s not sophisticated; get lots of lightsabers into play quickly, while mitigating your opponent’s dice where possible.

(e)Kanan Jarrus / Padawan x2
Battlefield – Obi-Wan’s Hut
Upgrades (10) Support (4) Events (16)
2x Ancient Lightsaber 2x Funeral Pyre 2x Concentrate
2x Force Illusion 2x It Binds All Things 2x Deflect
2x Lightsaber 2x Flank
2x Rey’s Lightsaber 2x Force Misdirection
2x Shoto Lightsaber 2x Guard
2x Lightsaber Pull
2x Reaping the Crystal
2x Sound the Alarm

I really like Kanan, and he does well in this deck.  I think that Force Misdirection has to be played if you’re using him, because if you’ve rolled a focus result, you can use that result to turn one of your dice to a side that you want to use Force Misdirection with.  Brutal!

There were two, two-cost lightsabers released in Empire at War; Ancient Lightsaber and Shoto Lightsaber.  These can be played on Padawans for a single resource (or for free with It Binds All Things), making it very easy to get good upgrades into play quickly.

Reaping the Crystal is another card that isn’t very exciting, but is pretty good.  Rey’s Lightsaber is a good choice to go with this card (and it has redeploy), along with the humble Lightsaber.

If you like aggressive decks, I’d recommend you give this a try.  Or if you like Lightsabers, and who doesn’t?  I honestly think this team has a lot of potential, so I’m going to keep it constructed and keep working on it.

Summary

As you can see, I’ve tried out a decent amount of teams already, but there’s a lot more to try!

Do I think heroes, or villains, are the best faction after Empire at War?  No idea yet, sorry!  I would agree with anyone that said FN-2199 is the best character in the game at the moment, but with all the talk of a nerf/errata incoming, he probably won’t have that distinction for much longer.

Anyway, I encourage all of you to keep trying out new combinations, even if they end up being total rubbish (like my Lando/Ackbar deck did!).

Cheers,

Tim

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