Or, Possibly Obvious Advice for New/Returning Players
This week, we’re not talking about what it takes to go pro. We’re gonna pull back the expectations a bit and hope we can win ONE game against a decent player in the first, I dunno, six months after returning to the game?
I mean actually beating a player that doesn’t do things like forget to retrieve with Luke Skywalker (v) on over 75% of their turns. Which brings me to a piece of advice that, for all I know, is super obvious, but for me it is really important.
Respect Your Phases
Unlike games of mtg where you’ll sometimes see one or two actions taken during the Upkeep phase over an entire game, in Star Wars, important things happen during almost every single
phase of every single turn. Remembering every card that triggers during each phase can be a little tricky, especially when you have big plans for the deploy phase that have been brewing since you drew six cards last turn (more on that soon).
It helps me to name the phases, either to myself or out loud, as I go through the turn. I’m developing little rituals of where to put my hand while I activate so I’m reminded of a control phase trigger. Maybe it’s just me, but I find force drains easy to remember, and “during your control phase” actions easy to forget.
Draw All of the Cards (…sometimes)
Star Wars has an interesting economy system compared to most games. The cards you activate serve not only as your funds for deployment and other actions, but also as potential cards for your hand. While getting guys onto the field seems like the best thing to do, it is important to always keep your hand nice and full, especially in the early and mid game.
Some players run Monnok and his ls equivalent, so the “soft hand limit” is 12 cards, since you can’t be targeted by that card until you have 13 cards in hand. So you definitely want at least 12 cards in hand as often as possible. I feel like this card has been getting a lot more love recently (with the return of decent non-uniques, me thinks), so it is important to remember to “play around it” (or, to play assuming your opponent has it).
I try to follow a simple but effective mantra – do what you need to do. If your hand is not presenting you with the options you need, fill it up. I just listened to Deck’s interview with Baroni wherein he describes one game he won on the 4th turn. He spent his first 3 turns ONLY drawing cards.
Obviously, you can only draw so many cards before your reserve deck is too small to effectively play the game. Such as the late game, where you have to make sure to leave enough cards in your reserve deck to draw any destinies you might need to draw for the turn.
Check That Deck
There are lots and lots of cards that let you look through your reserve deck, and even if you aren’t running the card it searches for, the ability to look through your deck is very valuable. Sometimes you’ll want to use a search for something you know isn’t there just to make a sure something is there to be searched out later. For example, if you have Boss Nass’ Chambers in p
lay (with no Boss Nass in your deck) and a Speak With the Jedi Council in your hand, it would usually be best to first search your deck with the Chamber, make sure the Jedi Council is actually in your deck, then play Speak to grab it, than to just play SWTJC first.
It isn’t always just to check for other cards to search for, either. In the late game, or whenever you have a fairly small reserve deck, it can be useful to search just to get an idea of what kind of destinies you’ve got floating around in there. The decisions you’ll make with a deck full of 1’s is
often different than if your reserve is stacked with 6’s.
Of course, if you do search and do not find what you’re looking for, your opponent gets to “verify” (look through) your reserve deck. While this might seem like a deterrent, it is worth it basically all of the time.
Netdeck (and use proxies)
If you want to get better at the game, one of the best things you can do is let someone who knows what they’re doing design your deck for you. By “netdecking” (or finding a decklist on the internet and building it for yourself) you not only get someone else to do it, but usually they’re really good at the game, too!
A lot of newer players want to come up with their own deck designs but fail to see one fairly important piece of wisdom: you can’t build good decks if you aren’t good at the game. You need experience with all of the ins-and-outs of the game before you can build a competitive deck, plain and simple. This is true for many reasons, a big one being that some cards look more powerful than they are, because of cancelers, defensive shields, or other specific cards that target them. This makes deck building a seriously daunting task for a newcomer.
My suggestion is to find a decklist you like, build it, and play with it as much as you can. Over time, you’ll encounter cards you want to add counters (cards that deal with other specific cards or strategies) for, so you can tweak the deck to your liking and to your local meta (also known as “the decks other people in your area are playing”). You can even throw in some favorite cards of yours just for fun to see how they do; but, having the “base” of your deck be something that is known to be good will help you work on your play skills, rather than constantly being disappointed with your deck builds.
In other words, if you lose a game with a deck you made, you can always chock it up to the deck being bad. If you lose a game with a deck that you know is good, you have to look at what you did with the deck to figure out where you went wrong, and this is hugely (if not the most) important thing you can do to become a better player.
As for the parathesis part of this section header, use proxies. Don’t worry about it at first. A lot of these cards are fairly expensive, and on top of that they can just be plain hard to come by. Most likely your local players will be happy having a new player to bring into the fold, so they won’t mind your paper cards. Proxies are, of course, not endorsed by the Player Committee nor are they allowed in tournaments; but, if you do end up at an event, chances are someone there will let you borrow cards so you can remove the proxies for said event.
This article got pretty long, so I’m going to cut myself off here! Maybe we’ll work on getting from 30 to 50 next time, but first I’ll have to actually get there myself!
Please leave comments here or in the forums, I’d like to know if any of this is useful information to new players or if I’m pointing out things that are obvious. Thanks for reading!!!