Or, how to not let getting ahead of yourself end up leaving you behind…
Welcome back to Data Tapes, your number one source for inconsistently released Star Wars CCG content. I’ve had the idea for this article kicking around for a little while and I think now is the time to finally get it down on internet-paper. Today we’re going to be talking about when to strike, and what to expect from your opponent when you do.
A mistake I see fairly often, both from myself when I first got back into the game, and from other NARPs, is leaving yourself open to a massive counter-beat. What do I mean by counter-beat? Well, first, we have the beatdown. You lay down your offensive force against their most vulnerable units, manage to knock a few of them down, and maybe even cause a few points of damage. Wow! I am a legend of SWCCG! Those n00bs didn’t even see it coming!… oh… wait…
Here comes to the counter-beat. While you hopefully left yourself with enough guys to draw battle destiny, you may not have left yourself with enough power, or options, to handle an entire force pile worth of characters coming down upon you. Even more commonly, you leave a decent squad, thinking you can handle what they might throw at you, and then you get a few red cards thrown in your face, leaving you open to a mighty counter attack. So, let’s look at some ways we can avoid this.
Who’s Around, Who Isn’t?
With any luck, you have an idea of what deck you are playing against by the time you decide to go for a beatdown. Having a good understanding of popular decks, or at very least deck archetypes, is probably your greatest asset at this point. For this reason, I don’t recommend beatdown decks to new players, even though they seem more easy to operate at face value.
If you do have a decent idea of what you’re playing against, take a look at the board and try to discern what ISN’T there. Let’s say you’re facing off against Throne Room Mains, a deck that basically says “I have lots of a force and even more powerful characters to deploy with it,” with a Court of the Vile Gangster deck that has no intention of flipping (quick primer – Court decks that don’t flip basically use the objective to pull starships and docking bays, and go for big beatdowns with mean aliens).
Before you throw down a pile of aliens against Jedi Luke, take a look around and take a quick tally of the other characters they have in play. Unless they’re packing a Nabrun Leids, you can fairly safely bet that they won’t be able to play any of those characters to Luke’s location on their next turn. So, the more guys they have in play that are not at the location you are targeting, the better.
The more you know your opponent’s deck, the more effective your planning can be. To a certain degree, I think it is more important to know what is in your opponent’s deck than your own. If you don’t know your opponent’s deck very well, make sure to take a good minute to look through it if you are given the chance to verify their reserve deck.
Also known as interrupts, these cards can greatly upset your ability to pull off a beatdown, greatly enhance your opponent’s counter-beat, and help you prepare for said counter. I’ll quickly go over a few that are most important to plan for, in my opinion.
Barrier, of the Rebel or Imperial variety, are really your best friend and worst enemy at the same time. Ideally, you want to be holding on to one (don’t forget the force to use it) when you make your attack, because it is a great way to prevent huge counter attacks, and maybe even set you up for the counter-counter-beat. You’d also prefer to make attacks against a player with no force in their force pile, but this is often easier said than done. Often players will leave a force in their force pile just to bluff a barrier. If you’re playing a beatdown deck, it isn’t a bad idea to use your “grabber” (a defensive shield that stacks opponent’s interrupts and adds to their force cost, such as Allegations of Corruption) to snag the barrier. This will at least require them to leave more force in their force pile to bluff, or actually play, a barrier.
Clash of Sabers/You are Beaten/Stunning Leader are all interrupts that have similar uses, they exclude characters from combat (okay, so does Barrier, but these do it to already deployed characters). Excluded characters sit there watching their buddies get their butts handed to them, twiddling their thumbs and wishing they could do anything about it. It is often a good idea to leave enough characters around that if one is excluded, the others are still a decent squad. If you leave two characters that need each other for battle destiny draws (such as two characters with ability of 2) and one gets excluded, you’re going to be a in a really bad place.
Lastly, a pair of gems from A New Hope, Ghhhk and Houijx. These cards essentially negate your beatdown by canceling all overflow damage once a player has forfeited all their characters/starships from the location of the battle (though to be fair, sometimes just clearing the site is reward enough for the battle). It is important to try not to overextend yourself if they haven’t played one of these cards earlier in the match (though beware – many decks pack 2 copies). Similar to Barrier, these interrupts can be used very effectively to render their counter beatdown ineffective.
Another hugely important thing to keep in mind is how many resources your opponent has access to. This includes, but is not limited to, the number of cards in their hand and force pile. It is usually a better idea to lay the beatdown on an opponent with fewer cards in hand, because that means they have less options for ways to counter attack. Also be aware of cards like Control & Tunnel Vision and Force Push (v), which both allow players to search their force pile for a card and take it into hand. If you leave yourself vulnerable, you can be sure they’re going to grab the perfect card to exploit that vulnerability, like a proton torpedo into an exhaust port.
Never hesitate to ask your opponent how many cards are in their hand or force pile, or to read any of their cards in play.
Hopefully this will help you in your quest to deplete life forces! Thanks for reading, and the may the force be with you!