A while ago, we held a Classic Virtual Block 1 Only tournament in Atlanta. It was a lot of fun and we had a lot of people come out and try new decktypes. I suggest for everyone to try out this new type of event. Why? The main reason is that it offers many new possibilities. Other good reasons include that it will be far easier for new or returning players to compete in (only having to navigate through ~2200 cards instead of ~3200) and and its just an escape from the current meta. So I thought it would be fun to try and drum up some interest in this format by writing first about some major differences between this and normal constructed and then about some fun decktype possibilities. Maybe after Worlds is over then people who are really busy preparing for it now will give this type of format a try!
1. The only virtual cards that are legal are listed in Virtual Block 1:http://www.starwarsccg.org/cards/v1.htm
2. “Classic” means that no Episode 1 cards are allowed, along with no maintenance cards. So no Mace Windu and no Blizzard 4.
3. WYS is banned (most of its virtual helpers are in block 1).
One major change in this format is that there is no legal Starting Effect, so Defensive Shields will largely not be played. This makes it far easier for returning players who are not yet used to Defensive Shields or who prefer not to play with them in general. Now, before you DShield lovers get up in arms, remember this – there are also no ep1 cards! So you don’t need to shield against podracing, combat, senate, colo claw fish, etc. Furthermore, the removal of some defensive shields from the meta actually bring back some gameplay possibilities that aren’t cheese and can help your decks. One downside is that you will have to make sure to play some grabbers and counter effects to defend against what your deck might be weakest to.
One positive difference between the current game and this format is that Mobilization Points and Staging Areas can’t be suspended. This makes the meta much closer to what it was after Death Star 2/Reflections 2 was released, except that now you also have many non-ep1 cards from Tatooine, Coruscant, Reflections, and VBlock 1. So some decks, which might not be so good currently, can really benefit in this format from using the old combo of Insurrection + Staging Areas and IAO + Mobilization Points.
Since Starting Effects can’t be played, you might think that defensive shields will not be used at all, but don’t be mistaken – some could still be useful. Remember, you can play defensive shields as normal cards in your deck. One downside to this is that they are destiny zero. If you don’t mind that problem, then you might still find some of the following non-ep1 shields useful: A Useless Gesture – Can help against Watch Your Step.He Can Go About His Business – Can help against Brangus Glee.Planetary Defenses – Can help against Proton Bombs.Your Ship? – Can help against sabacc and A Dangerous Time.
Since this format will be similar to after Death Star 2/Reflections 2 was released, we can expect the top decks of that era to still be good in this format. At the same time though, there are even more possibilities from the virtual cards and later Decipher printed non-ep1 cards to take into account, and, truthfully, I don’t think I understand half of their impact yet. So I am going to just hit on some of the decktypes that could be good in this format before letting you figure out the rest.
1. Bring Him Before Me/Take Your Father’s Place
As I understand, BHBM was one of the top dark decks after it originally was released, and it is definitely helped by some of the above changes, like Mobilization Points. Now this deck can start Imperial Arrest Order & Secret Plans and Mobilization Points (either the combo version or not depending on your taste) and get very strong force generation quickly. You can pull a system with Mob Points, then a docking bay, and then the Emperor to the dbay, all from your reserve, every game. That is excellent! On the other hand, BHBM will no longer get many of dark side’s most powerful cards like Blizzard 4 or Darth Maul that you might be used to playing in BHBM to win battles. You’ll have to deal with Vader and Mara being your beefy characters.
Some interesting possibilities for this deck in VBlock 1 include:
Look Sir, Droids (v) – start 2 effects and either a 1/0 site or Mos Eisley. Then you can pull a droid like U-3P0 or…
IT-O (v) – force drain for +2 when you capture Luke.
And if you want to get a little crazy with your deckbuilding, try to abuse
Imperial Detainment (v) – “Deploy on table. We Have A Prisoner is a Used Interrupt. TIEs are deploy +1 to Launch Bay. During your deploy phase, may / (or retrieve) one Besieged or a Launch Bay. Once per turn, when your Imperial captures a character, opponent loses 1 Force. (Immune to Alter.)”
2. Agents of Black Sun/Vengeance Of The Dark Prince
This Expanded Universe objective gets quite a few helpers in VBlock 1. Furthermore, it was already a strong objective at the time of its release. Similar to BHBM, this can also make good use of Mobilization Points since it can reliably move Xizor to the Coruscant: Docking Bay on the first turn of each game. One problem with this deck though is that you can’t use Vader or Mara. Furthermore, there is no Prince Xizor (v) to help expand the amount of characters who are Black Sun agents.
Lets look at some of the many VBlock 1 helpers for this deck:
Ket Maliss (v) – makes your characters stronger and helps you pull some of them from your deck. Also pulls docking bays.
Molator (v) – can shield you from cards that kill your characters in battle like Blaster Proficiency.
Oota Goota Solo (v) – add a battle destiny where you have a bounty hunter.
3. Tusken Raiders
Huh? Tusken Raiders is a decktype? Well not exactly, but the tusken raider cards in VBlock 1 could go into quite a few decks in order to give it a twist.
Lets check out these virtual cards:
URoRRuR’R’R (v) – Deploys only on Tatooine. While with another Tusken Raider: opponent’s weapon destiny draws here are -2; once per turn, may place a card from hand on Force Pile to draw top card of Reserve Deck; and other Tusken Raiders here are forfeit +4.
Ur’Ru’r (v) – Deploys only on Tatooine. During your deploy phase, if with URoRRuR’R’R, may / a weapon with “Tusken” in lore here; your weapon destiny draws for such weapons are +2. During your deploy phase, may move Ur’Ru’r as a regular move.
Combined with some non-virtual cards that are out there, these guys can be quite a pair. Their main benefit is that they will let you get unneeded cards out of your hand in exchange for others. Their other benefits will vary depending on what deck you use them in and what other fun combinations you figure out!
0. Watch Your Step/This Place Can Be A Little Rough (this part was written before we banned WYS from the format! You can still read it anyway for kicks or in case you are playing this format with WYS not banned)
“BEN: Well, most of the best freighter pilots can be found here. Only watch your step. This place can be a little rough!” Was Obi talking about the SWCCG deck here? I don’t know, but whatever the case, this deck is rough enough that not even Obi will be seen in it regularly. Of course, WYS has been a solid deck ever since it came out, and its no different in this format. It even gets some great virtual helpers that make it a deck to watch out for at your next tournament in this format. One downside to playing this deck though is that the dark side was given a great counter card to it in VBlock 1 – Imperial Justice (v), which says that three times per game (for each copy of it played) you can be limited to only one battle destiny in battle. Another downside of course is not playing with Obi. He really is a great light side character!
Let’s check out some virtual helpers for this decktype:
Luke Skywalker (v) – Generally regarded as the best Luke for WYS, he lets you retrieve one a turn and is a great space pilot.
Melas (v) – Personally I don’t think that you have to actually smoke a pipe to use his gametext, but I could be wrong! I wonder if the gaming store will mind?
K’lor’slug (v) – A mirror of the dark side’s Molator (v), it will help keep your smugglers alive in battles.
And if you want to get a little crazy with your deckbuilding, try this combo:
any Obi-Wan, Merc Sunlet (v), and I Can’t Believe He’s Gone (v) – Most decks will hate to have Obi placed out of play with Merc Sunlet (v) (after you lose him from your hand) in order to get the benefits of ICBHG v, but since WYS don’t rely on him anyways, this could be an interesting way to win!
Any old school players reading this might be scratching their heads at this one! Farming?! Farming is a new decktype made by the PC that has had some moderate success. Its main virtual cards are found in VBlock 1, but it will also have to be somewhat different than normal farming decks because you can’t play ep1 cards like the Slave Quarters in this format.
Lets look at its main cards:
Harvest (v) (starting interrupt): If your starting location was a Tatooine location, / a farm, two devices, and two Effects that are always immune to Alter.
the 2 main devices to use:
Lars’ Hydroponics Station (v) – lets you work your crop!
Lars’ Vaporator (v) – helps you find some other cards in your deck
Other Virtual helpers in VBlock 1 to check out include:
Lars Moisture Farm, Owen, Beru, Tatooine Utility Belt (v), Beru Stew (v), and more.
I don’t want to go through what each of these cards do, but the general idea is that you set up at the Lars Moisture Farm with your devices and the Lars family in order to get some extra retrieval and other benefits from working your farm. There are lots of different card combinations to try out in this deck in order to reach maximum effectiveness!
2. Hidden Base
Good old HB just might be one of the top light decks in this format. It receives solid help from the VBlock 1 cards and is very flexible. You could go with matching starfighters, non-unique swarm, or capitals. One good thing about playing a dedicated space deck is that your opponent could be playing with a lot of ground battle helpers or other random stuff like dueling helpers that don’t hurt you at all. You don’t have to worry about the Watto objective in this format either. On the other hand, you still do need to do something about Hunt Down’s Visage of the Emperor.
Here’s a couple great VBlock 1 cards for this decktype:
Hidden Fortress (v) – You’ll definitely want to play this one. It lets you play an extra system from outside of your deck in order to flip faster!
Special Modifications (v) – This will protect your ships from cards that could kill them during battle (like the SFS 9.3 Lasers) and also give you full immunity to attrition.
Jek Porkins (v) – This new version of Jek can help you retrieve your pilots and xwings.
Make sure to read through all the virtual ships and pilots, since there are many that you might want to include in your Hidden Base deck.
Overall, this looks like a great closed environment. There are some decks that initially look very strong, and others that contain enough creative possibilities that they could stand out too. I would love to hear any feedback on what you think of this format after reading this primer. Is there a specific card or deck that will be too strong and dominate? What kind of deck would you play if you were going to an event in this format? Personally I haven’t decided what decks I will play, because I keep going back and forth everytime I think of a new idea! If you are just looking to get back into SWCCG or want a break from the normal constructed game, definitely try to host or attend one of these events to mix it up! Thanks for reading.