The Starting Effects article ended up being longer than I expected, so I am creating a separate article to discuss Starting Interrupts. These cards were first introduced in the Jabba’s Palace expansion and there are a handful out there to choose from. I will cover both the Decipher cards and the Virtual ones printed by the Players Committee in this article, starting with the ones that are most commonly used.
Starting Interrupts are played after you have resolved your starting location or the deployment instructions on your Objective. At that point in time, both players reveal their Starting Interrupt and the players who goes first resolves what it says to do. Then the player who is going second does the same, and then you both shuffle your decks and begin the game.
Below are descriptions of each starting interrupt, starting with the most popular ones, along with what set you can find the card in.
Heading for the Medical Frigate/Prepared Defenses(Death Star 2): this is the most commonly used Starting Interrupt by far, and completely changed the game when it was released. This card allows you to start with 3 effects in play, all of which must deploy for free on the table and be immune to alter. There are dozens of effects that meet this criteria so it gives you plenty of versatility, and getting 3 effects at the beginning of the game helps tremendously to set up your deck and make it run consistently. You can use effects that let you: deploy locations, deploy weapons, deploy certain characters cheaper or directly from reserve deck, activate extra force- the list goes on. The stability and variety that this starting interrupt gives you will probably keep it on top of the list for years to come(its been there for 12 years as it is)
Heading-v/Prepared-V: The virtual versions of these cards work very similar to their original versions, but with one minor exception. They allow you to start with an effect that has the Setup Icon(that’s that funny black square with a blue squiggly line. There are only a few cards that have that icon, but those cards usually set up very specific deck themes or Missions(which is another new card type recently introduced by the players committee). Missions are almost a hybrid of an Objective and an Admiral’s Order. There are only a few that have been produced thus far, but the PC will likely continue to produce others in future releases.
Careful Planning-v/Combat Readiness-v (Endor card, Virtual Block 4): This one would be tied for #2 currently in terms of popularity. This one says that if your Starting Location was a system(meaning you didn’t use an Objective, you just deployed a system, say like Hoth), then you can deploy a related site that has less than 3 force icons(so basically anything other than the Jedi Council Chamber or the Naboo Theed Palace Generator) and up to 3 effects that are always immune to alter. Notice that this card does not require those effects to deploy on the table or be free, just be immune to alter. This opens up some very interesting options, perhaps by using cards like A New Secret Base to set up Echo Base Operations on Hoth very quickly, or setting up Kessel to use the Spice Mine Operations Mission effectively.
Don’t Tread on Me-v/Surface Defense-v (Special Edition, Virtual Block 1): The 12-card hand Starting Interrupt, which is about the only way these cards get played anymore. The original versions are incredibly obsolete at this point in time. You get 4 extra cards in your hand, but no effects. You do get to shuffle this card back into your deck before you draw your hand, and it’s other use is to deploy an effect from your reserve deck, so it will help you get effects into play later. The advantage is the extra 4 cards- those could be locations or location pullers, or just a better chance at getting a key card you need for your deck early that you can’t pull by any other means. The risk here though is that those extra 4 cards could be things that don’t help you right away, so now you are stuck with no effects and very little to work with. This has been used in a variety of decks to differing levels of success, but the decks that have been more popular have been There is Good in Him(TIGIH), Throne Room Mains(TRM) and My Lord is that Legal (Dark Senate).
Podrace Prep/Start your Engines (Tatooine): The Podracing starting interrupts- As we covered in Article 2, Podracing is not quite as powerful of a mechanic as it once was. It does still however provide a strong benefit, particularly on the Light Side because of the bonus provided from I Did It! Most people will play the Podracing Shields, so you are either going to make them lose 6 cards, or you will get to retrieve 6 cards. You have also made them use 1 of their 4 shield pulls, which is another strategy that people try from time to time, called Shield Busting. They play a bunch of things that usually make the opponent play a defensive shield to stop, and then once they used all 4, will play something else even stronger that is easily countered by Defensive Shields. This strategy is not nearly as effective as it once was as new cards have been created that allow you extra shield pulls. But the force retrieval from the Podrace, and the ability to start any effect as long as it deploys for free (like Expand the Empire or Goo Nee Tay) will keep this mechanic around. Its most popular applications have been in the Reflections 3 Objectives (We’ll Handle This & Let them Make the First Move, also known as the Combat Objectives), but has also been played in TRM, TIGIH, and Huntdown.
According to My Design- V (Insignificant Rebellion from Death Star 2): A newer starting interrupt that was released in Virtual Block 7, this one allows the Dark Side player to start with the Emperor already on the table, at the cost of letting the Light Side player go first. You still get your standard 3 effects to start with, but there are number of restrictions that limit which decks you can use this with. It has been used successfully with Huntdown-V, Agents of the Black Sun, Endor Operations and Spice Mining. This card is growing in popularity and I expect to see more decks looking for ways to utilize it.
Any Methods Necessary-(Enhanced Cloud City): Another alternative to the conventional starts, this card allows you to take a Bounty Hunter, his weapon, his ship, and a Prison into your hand before you draw your starting hand, and now you only draw 6 cards instead of 8. It mostly sees play along with the Virtual IG-88 and the Carbon Chamber Testing Objective. This start allows you to have a prisoner right away and IG in your hand to then take advantage of his gametext (which lets you look through your force pile and take a card into hand once per turn- even your opponent’s turn!). The deck has other issues though which keep it from being higher on the list.
Twi’lek Advisor-V/The Signal-V (originally from Jabba’s Palace): These cards updated the first starting interrupts which are never used anymore, but only work with very specific decks. They allow you the ability to take specific effects into your hand and/or deploy them on the table at the start of the game. The Dark Side version gets effects with Jabba in the lore or game text, the Light Side version gets Effects with Jedi. The DS version is most commonly used in Scum & Villiany themed Alien decks like Agents of the Black Sun and My Kind of Scum. The LS version would most likely see play in the Virtual version of We’ll Handle This.
Let the Wookiee Win-V(A new Hope): This works similar to the Careful Planning non-v card, which allows you to deploy related locations to your starting location, and then place it into your hand. The used portion of this card make it one of the most popular cards in the current environment, and it rarely sees use as a Starting Interrupt.
Look Sir Droids-v/Scomp Link Access-V(premiere): A situation starting interrupt that is not played too often. It lets you deploy 2 effects and goes into your hand, where you can then play it to take droids into hand from your reserve deck (some restrictions do apply.) If you only started with 1 location, you can also deploy a 2nd location at the start of the game.
You Overestimate their chances-V(premiere): This only works with Ralltir Operations, and even then not every Ral Ops build chooses to use it. It requires you to deploy the Supply Route(location) that some players don’t feel works well in the deck.
Wookiee Subjugation (Frustration-Dagobah): This is another deck specific starting interrupt designed around Slavers. This card was just released in Virtual Block 8 as was the Slaver Objective and has not seen much play yet, but its still very early to say how effective both it and the Slaver theme decks will be.
Protector-v(Cloud City): A starting interrupt based around a Kashyyyk themed deck. Ideally you would use this with the virtualized Kashyyyk(which says if it was your starting location, once during your turn you can deploy a Kashyyyk site from your reserve deck). It also gives you a ground site, the card Grrrghrrrgh and two other effects. This card is essentially the setup for the Wookiee Deck, which will be mentioned in a future article.
Lone Pilot-V (Premiere): A very unusual starting interrupt that is similar to Any Methods necessary. You get to choose 1 of 5 pilots to take into your hand(Bossk, Dengar, Guri, DS-61-2 or Juno Eclipse), and then get their matching starship, a system with only 1 dark icon, and 1 effect that is immune to alter. Then you only draw 4 cards into your opening hand instead of 8. I have yet to see someone build a successful deck using this card. There are only a few systems that have 1 dark icon to use, so this would have to be used in a very specific deck theme.
Don’t Underestimate our Chances-V(Premiere): Similar to the Ralltir Ops one, this one only works with Dantooine Base Operations, which is currently not a highly competitive deck. Dantooine Operations may get some help in future virtual expansions, but for now its unlikely to be played at tournaments.
Krayt Dragon Howl-v(Premiere): An alternate way to start The Hyperdrive Generator is Gone Objective from the Coruscant set. You get to start with an extra site and Obi-wan + lightsaber + his cape already on the table. But like Any Methods Necessary, you only get 5 cards in your opening hand instead of 8, and you don’t get any effects at the start.
Harvest-V (Special Edition): This one sets up Farming on Tatooine, which was a nice gimmick for a short period of time. The deck gets good activation and involves some interesting mechanics around the Lars Moisture Farm, but the deck does not do well against Dark Side decks that contain AT-ATs/AT-STs and Trample, which are very prevalent in the current environment.
I’m Here to Rescue You-V(A New Hope): A setup card for the Rescue the Princess Objective, a very difficult deck to be successful with currently. As the card’s concept designer, I would recommend against using it even if you decided to try and play Rescue the Princess. Let’s just say it didn’t come out exactly as I wanted it to.
Advanced Preparation-V(A new Hope): currently unplayable as one of the cards it requires you to deploy hasn’t been created yet. They have been trying to design a balanced way to update the Massassi Base Operations deck for about two years now and it hasn’t been going well.
Epic Events- There are also two Epic Events that are played instead of using a Starting Interrupt, and both have some very powerful mechanics.
Communing (Virtualized from Wise Advice): A very powerful card released in Virtual Block 7. This card requires you to only start 1 location with exactly 2 Light icons, and then you get 2 effects that are always immune to alter(notice that free is missing, so they can have a cost). Then you start with a Jedi out of play stacked on it, for which you get an extra 1 force activation. This has developed into one of the most popular Light side decks at the present in combination with the virtual Master Kenobi, which allows you to deploy Tatooine locations from your reserve deck while he is Communing. We’ll discuss this entire deck type in a future article in much more detail.
It is the Future you see-V(Dagobah, Jedi Test #5): Another viable way to start your deck, this card can actually work with a few specific objectives. It can be deployed if you only have 1 location on the table, so objectives like Mind What you Have Learned can take advantage of this card. The card restricts you from playing a number of other cards, like maintenance characters and permanent weapon characters (Enhanced Pack (EPPs) guys like Luke with Lightsaber), but does allow you to go first instead of the Dark Side. There are then two options, though most people choose the first option to allow for the extra force activation. Very few people have been successful using the second option. You must start with Battle Plan and Do or Do not, and then you get 1 additional effect of your choice. Most people elect to use the Combo versions- Battle Plan & Draw their fire and Do or Do Not & Wise Advice. The only reason not to use the combo versions would be if you were playing the normal versions of Draw their Fire and Wise Advice for the additional benefit that is left out of the combo version. All of the text from Battle Plan and Do or Do Not is on the Combo version as well.
That will wrap things up for this installment. My next article will focus on force activation and location pullers.
“You keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them”- Stan Lee