The Best Decks You Never Saw

Article by Throdo

(Disclaimer: This article is very long. It is basically 3 articles in 1. It references old virtual cards that  no longer exist.

If you want to see all the old virtual cards, you can see them here (first 2 posts in this thread))
If you want to see a timeline of all releases including virtual sets, you can see that here. The three decks discussed here were all from 2007-2011.

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Since ’96, there’s been a lot of top decks. Numerous debates have happened about what deck was most broken, dominant, or ridiculous. Many decks were so preposterous that they hit a big tournament, made their mark, and were quickly errata’d. Consider Brian Herold’s CPI deck for example. Got a problem? Blow it up! Or what about Seth Acree’s Death March? Just ignore your opponent all game, don’t do anything threatening, and then out of nowhere beat down the CCT captive to end the game. Other sleeper decks were decks like WYS Panic, or more recently, Tom Haid’s decks that broke multiple Decipher era cards. Some decks were sleepers so long though that they lost their opportunity and never made the mark they could have on the game. Those are the decks I want to discuss – the best decks you never saw.

I only know first hand of 3 of these decks. I hope that when you read about them you are reminded of decks like these and contribute your own stories. Your own best decks the rest of us never saw. I believe these examples are important to remember because they show how there are always sleeper decks in SWCCG. Even now, there is probably an unknown, broken idea just waiting to be found. Are you the person to find it? Maybe reading my 3 stories will inspire you to.

[wc_toggle title=”Build a Vader Madness”]

Build-A-Vader Madness

The coolest Vader of all time was Darth Vader, More Machine Than Man. This dude let you customize his skills during the game by allowing you to thematically use different parts of Vader’s cybernetic suit. There was his cape, helmet, limbs, mask, and cybernetic enhancements and they all did different things in and out of battle. To balance it, you could only use one of these Vader effects every turn. That’s a really cool idea, wouldn’t you agree?

Machine1.jpg

Unfortunately, it never caught on. The problem was that it took up a lot of card slots. Instead of having one helper effect like I Am Your Father (v) nowadays, you had Rise of the Dark Lord that stored each of the individual Vader effects. Since you could only use 1 Vader effect a turn, people thought you didn’t get enough value out of having deployed so many cards to start the game, and they weren’t wrong. Most decks were better off using a standard Vader. But there was one broken idea that needed those Vader effects to work.

The Vader effects did some very powerful things like character removal in battle (ala choke Vader), drawing an extra battle destiny, or giving full immunity to attrition. Most of them had some movement text as well like landspeed = 2, move as a react, or move before battle. All together, they would have been unstoppable, but since you could only play one on your turn, your couldn’t adjust for what your opponent did on theirs.

Machine2.jpg

If Build-A-Vader had ever caught on, it probably would have been used primarily in Hunt Down and Destroy the Jedi (v), the strongest DS mains objective during those years. HD (v) was a great objective because it was very flexible. It had good activation, damage when you hit with a lightsaber, and very strong 7-side text if you managed to keep LS off the ground. The downside was you couldn’t use episode 1 Dark Jedi but that didn’t matter much since Galen was a strong substitute. You could also get an additional destiny to power in battle by putting a general at your starting 1/0 site, Imperial City.

The last, most important piece to this deck is that years before Build-A-Vader was released, the PC had released an odd card: Weapon Levitation & The Empire’s Back. Normally these combo cards take two prior cards and combine their functions. Weapon Lev combo did that, but it didn’t take any text from the original Weapon Levitation! Instead it took text from Levitation Attack and combined it with The Empire’s Back. Levitation Attack says “If a battle was just initiated where you have a character of ability > 3 present, search your Used Pile for one device which deploys on a character. Add device’s destiny number to your total power, then place device on top of Used Pile.” Weapon Lev combo’s take on this was slightly different: “Once per battle involving Vader, reveal a device or character weapon from Used Pile and add its printed destiny number to your total power.” Why wasn’t it called Levitation Attack & The Empire’s Back? I have no idea. That’s why I say it was an odd card. And this odd card was soon forgotten, as it wasn’t found useful.

Machine3.jpg

Years went by and the PC decided to help The Empire’s Back by allowing “Vader” on it to be treated as “Galen.” Low and behold, this was an unexpected buff to the old Weapon Lev combo! Now, you had 2 characters that you could use to get extra power in battle from Weapon Lev combo. Imagine having a destiny 6 device in your Used pile and getting an unexpected power +6 from a used interrupt. That could possibly lead to a beatdown your opponent didn’t see coming! Now consider how Weapon Lev combo doesn’t actually have the “right” name Levitation Attack, so you could actually play BOTH of these interrupts and end up with power +12 in battle! Power +6 could have possibly given you a beatdown, so power +12 certainly has to, right? Add into that how HD(v) can get you an extra destiny to power every battle and we’ve got a brew.

Here’s how this all worked out. In a battle, I could have Vader, power 6 + destiny to power + battle destiny. If I don’t think a destiny 6 device is in my Used pile, I can put one there from hand with EPP 4-Lom (v). The I play Levitation Attack and Weapon Lev combo for +12 power. All in all, Vader will be around 25 power alone after destinies. Galen got an additional destiny to power, so he could be up over 30 power. Now, the best LS main at the time was Luke, Strong in the Force. Luke was power 5 + destiny to power + battle destiny + forfeit 8. So Luke alone would only cover roughly 21 power (these examples assume destiny 4 for all destinies which is fair). So, we see how being able to play a 2nd power +6 interrupt made all the difference by letting Vader alone overcome Luke’s forfeit to cause ~4 overflow. And if Vader hit Luke with his lightsaber, or if it were Galen drawing an extra destiny to power, the battle damage would be even higher.

So how does Build-A-Vader fit into all this? Well basically, Vader and Galen could only cover 2 battleground sites, and that just wasn’t enough. But Build-A-Vader allowed you to use Vader’s Mask (v), which said, “During your battle phase, may cancel this effect to allow Vader to make a regular move.” (You could replay the cancelled Vader effect the following turn). So Vader went from being able to cover one site to being able to cover 3 adjacent sites, which was extremely strong against some LS decks like WYS and WYS (v). That left Galen to cover anywhere else needed, not to mention all your other characters who were strong in their own right.

All things considered, no LS deck at the time could afford to fight this deck on the ground. If they wanted to, they would have to stack multiple characters at a site, who would all have to be forfeited to prevent battle damage, while DS would have minimal losses. And DS could repeat these huge beatdowns on the ground very easily.

So why didn’t this deck ever catch on? Well, it was only played once at a tournament, in one game. For whatever reason, I never considered this a legitimate deck and it wasn’t until after some time did I realize how good this deck had been and how I should have played it a lot more. The tournament I played the deck in was North American Continentals. I played it against Cole Lepine’s WYS (v) in round 1 of matchplay on the last day. I made the smallest mistake early on, and it did me in. All I did was I left one force active at the end of my turn. That was my mistake. I should have drawn that last card. A key resource for HD(v) was to play dark side Endor + Endor Shield (v). I needed to play my ship, Victory, there with Grand Admiral Thrawn. I had them both in my hand early on and I wanted to play them on my 3rd turn. The turn prior, I had activated Endor as one of the 11-12 cards I activated. For whatever reason, I decided I needed to save 1 Force to possibly grab an interrupt, and that one Force was Endor. <10% chance that happens. And then the next turn, I had to waste a bunch of Force doing stuff I didn’t want to do so that I could draw down to Endor without drawing 15 cards. Still, I pulled off over 4 beatdowns on the ground, totalling almost 20 Force lost in overflow damage. I managed to lose the game by 2-3 Force, because multiple times I couldn’t afford to pay to drain. That game would have been a win by 20+ had I been draining at Endor and on ground throughout the game.

I wonder now what Cole thought of the deck. Did he just think it was a gimmick? Did he realize how unlucky I had been? Maybe he didn’t think about it at all, because he crushed me the next game. Better players win, and Cole was the better player. But I know for sure which deck was best that day, and it was Build-A-Vader Madness.

Build-A-Vader Madness Decklist dated 08/08/2011
Starting: 12
K&D v
HDADTJ (v)
Coruscant
Coruscant: Imperial City
A Sith’s Plans
Prep Defenses (v)
Rise of the Dark Lord
-Vader’s Mask (v)
-Vader’s Helmet (v)
-Vader’s Bionic Limbs (v)
Endor Shield (v)
Gift of the Master (v)

Locations: 4
Tatooine: Jabba’s Palace
JP: Audience Chamber
JP: Lower Passages
Endor

Characters: 18
4-Lom With Concussion Rifle (v) x2
Vader, More Machine Than Man x3
Galen, Secret Apprentice x3
Cyborg Commander, Hunter of Jedi x3
Black Leader
IG-88 With Riot Gun
The Mandalorian, Father of Fett
Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter
General Nevar
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Reegesk (v)

Green: 9
Vader’s Lightsaber
Galen’s Gift Saber
Dark Jedi Lightsaber (v)
Restraining Bolt x2
Trophy of a Kill x4

Blue: 2
Galen’s Fighter
Victory

Effects: 1
Blaster Rack (v)

Interrupts: 14
Force Push (v)
Sniper & Dark Strike
Weapon Lev & Empire’s Back (v) x4
Levitation Attack x3
Lightsaber Deficiency (v)
Ghhhk
Masterful Move & Endor Occupation
Force Field (v)
Elis Helrot

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[wc_toggle title=”Obi Start Profit“]

Obi Start Profit

The first virtual starting interrupt was a sweet one: Krayt Dragon Howl (v). It said, “USED: If Obi-Wan on table, activate up to 3 Force. STARTING: If a Tatooine site on table, deploy Obi-Wan (regardless of Objective restrictions) and his matching weapon there. When you draw your starting hand, draw three cards instead of eight. Place Interrupt in hand.” It was unique because it let you start a very strong Jedi in decks that weren’t normally able to. It had a significant downside though – your early game activation was neutered. You couldn’t start any effects like Wokling or Insurrection to help your activation, and with a reduced handsize, the odds of drawing locations to help your activation was bad.

Still, KDH(v) made it’s mark on the game when Nate Meeker used it to win worlds 2006. He was playing a deck commonly referred to as dickhat created by Reid Smith. It solved KDHv’s activation problems by pulling the Tosche Station and moving Obi there. No other deck could guarantee the extra activation to make KDHv worth it, and, over time, better LS mains decks emerged that sent the Obi-start back into peoples’ binders.

Through the years, a couple mass errata happened (the Redux and Reedit) and more sets were released. No deck ever brought the Obi start back. Then, in set 16, a card similar to KDH(v) was released: A Jedi’s Patience (v). It said, “USED: If a captive on table, activate 3 Force.”

Profit1.jpg

So wait! Now there are two used interrupts that say activate 3 Force? What happens if we try to abuse both of them in the same deck? One requires a Tatooine site to put Obi-Wan at. The other requires a captive. There was only one deck that could pull off both those requirements – Profit!

So, I wanted to build a Profit deck unlike any other. Instead of playing normal activation cards, it would just play mass amounts of KDH(v) and AJP(v). This was an interesting idea for a few reasons. First, every other Profit deck has always tried to rescue Han fairly quickly. With AJP(v) though, you benefited from keeping Han captive. Second, Profit couldn’t afford to not release Han because the objective prevents LS Force drains until he’s released. But KDH (v) solved that problem since it let you start Obi-Wan Kenobi (v) who said, “Unless another Jedi present, may Force drain here regardless of Objective restrictions.” Lastly, what about the activation problem that KDH(v) always had? Well, it turns out that if your deck is playing 8 used interrupts allowing you to activate 3 Force, you have no activation problems at all. Actually, the deck’s activation was so much better than I could have ever imagined, and that is why I consider Obi-start Profit to belong in this list.

Let me try to explain how good those activation interrupts were. You are guaranteed KDH(v) in your starting hand, so you get 3 Force on your opponent’s first turn. 1/3rd of the time, you would draw into at least 1 more activation interrupt. Then you activate 5 more on your turn (plus whatever your opponent gives you). Lets say you didn’t drawn any other activation interrupts in your starting hand. You have 49 cards in your deck and 7 of those are activation interrupts. You’ve activated 8. Well, 75% of the time, you will draw into another activation interrupt that first turn, letting you activate and draw even more (with more chances of activation interrupts). It wasn’t uncommon with this deck to activate 6 on your opponents first turn and then 11 on your first turn. 17 total activation on your first turn!! You would often end your first turn with more activation interrupts in hand ready to play during your opponent’s 2nd turn. When this deck went off, it went off BIG.

What about if your opponent grabbed one of those interrupts? That normally ended up very well, because extra copies of whatever they grabbed could be cycled with 3p0whps and there were many other interrupts in your deck your opponent would have wanted to grab instead.

After getting so much activation quickly, you had many choices of what you could do. There were some various builds of the deck that I tried including Jedi Presence beats, extra battle destinies, small space package, and more. I found the aggressive battling versions to be best in the limited time I had to test them.

So how come this deck never made an impact in the tournament meta? Well, it had one public outing, in the old premium section of the PC fourms. The premium section was only usable by members who paid for a premium membership. When I first had this Obi-start Profit idea, I didn’t realize how good it was, so i decided to use it to promote people buying into the premium membership forums. To do so, I asked premium members to take this idea and build me a deck to use at Atlanta’s next local tournament with it. I remember starting the deck with just the basics for Profit and a couple of the activation interrupts and then premium members would post one card at a time to add to the deck. When it hit 60 cards, I had to play it in the next tournament, and I did. I wrote a TR about it as well.

The community build of the deck was surprisingly good. It looked like a pile of trash and even had other Atlanta premium members picking subpar cards purposefully to make it easier to beat me at the tournament! I hadn’t taken the Obi-start idea seriously until after I played it at that tournament, because, remember, KDH(v) hadn’t been good in many years and no one gave it credit. But after the tournament, my eyes had been opened, and I started seriously testing the deck, building a much better, aggressive build.

Unfortunately for Obi-start profit, its lifespan came to an abrupt end. Out of nowhere, the PC announced the Revolution, which was a mass errata to numerous virtual cards. Two unplayed cards that were hit were Krayt Dragon Howl (v) and A Jedi’s Patience (v). If I remember correctly, after the errata, they activated only 1 Force instead of 3. Obi-start Profit was dead before it ever had a chance to shine. I’m not sure why the PC decided to errata KDHv and AJPv. Did posting the deck idea in the premium section spoil the idea? In retrospect, I should have probably kept it to myself, but even I didn’t give the idea credit. Whatever reason the PC decided to errata it, the deck just goes to show how there are sometimes unknown, potentially broken decks out there just waiting for someone to find them. Anyone could have put those 2 activation interrupts together anytime during the year before the Revolution. It was just a matter of finding it.

To conclude, here is my personal build of Obi-start Profit, the community built version, and excerpts from the TR I wrote about playing the community’s deck in an Atlanta local. These were all originally posted on decktech June 08, 2009.

my build –

Starting: 8
AFA (v)–>Obi’s Journal, Mercenary Armor, TUB v
You Can Either Profit By This/Or Be Destroyed
Tat: JP
JP: AC
Han (v)
Krayt Dragon Howl (v)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (v)
Obi-Wan’s Premiere Lightsaber

Locations: 1
Home One: War Room

Characters: 12
Obi-Wan Kenobi (v)
Luke With Lightsaber x3
Qui-Gon Jinn with Lightsaber x3
Corran Horn
Leia, Rebel Princess
Lando Calrissian, Scoundrel x2
Threepio With His Parts Showing

Effects: 3
A Gift
Seeking An Audience (v)
Lightsaber Proficiency

Interrupts: 36
A Jedi’s Resilience x3
NOOOOOOO! (v) x3
Harvest (v) x2
Were You Looking For Me? x2
It Could Be Worse
Jedi Presence x3
Courage of a Skywalker x2
Nabrun Leids x2
Krayt Dragon Howl (v) x3
A Jedi’s Patience (v) x4
Dodge x2
Narrow Escape x2
Rebel Leadership (v) x3
Rebel Barrier x2
Sense x2

community build –

Starting: 8
Anger, Fear, Aggression (v)
You Can Either Profit By This/Or Be Destroyed
Tatooine: Jabba’s Palace
Jabba’s Palace: Audience Chamber
Han (v)
Krayt Dragon Howl (v)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (v)
Obi-Wan’s Premiere Lightsaber

Locations: 1
Tatooine: Lars Moisture Farm (v)

Characters: 17
Threepio With His Parts Showing
Corran Horn
Master Luke x3
Leia, Rebel Princess
Princess Leia (v)
Padme Naberrie (v)
Chewie, Enraged
IL-19 (v)
Lando With Vibro-Ax
Lando Calrissian, Scoundrel
Obi-Wan Kenobi (v)
Owen Lars and Beru Lars
Yoda, Master of the Force (v) x3

Green: 3
Leia’s Blaster Rifle
Luke’s Blaster Pistol (v)
A Jedi’s Lightsaber (v)

Blue: 1
Bravo Fighter (v)

Effects: 4
A Gift
Your Insight Serves You Well
Seeking An Audience (v)
I Must Be Allowed to Speak (v)

Interrupts: 26
Were You Looking For Me? x2
A Jedi’s Patience (v) x4
Krayt Dragon Howl (v) x2 (+1 more in starting cards)
Sorry About the Mess & Blaster Proficiency x2
Narrow Escape x2
Jedi Levitation (v)
Jedi Presence
Armed and Dangerous
The Signal (v)
Clash of Sabers
Harvest (v)
Houjix
Gift of the Mentor
This Is More Like It
Fallen Portal
Weapon Levitation
Out of Somewhere
Harvest
On the Edge

Under the SE:
Landing Claw
Tatooine Utility Belt (v)
Bionic Hand (v)

TR games –

Round 1: Community Profit vrs Nick’s EOPS space + back door/at-ats + random mains for ground
So this game I start Obi in the AC as he chooses to not play aliens. I get an AJP v and 3p0whps in hand so I pull A Gift with DDTA shield and play my 2 interrupts to activate 6 on his turn. He plays fondor + endor shield v first turn. My first turn I just drain + draw cards. I couldn’t find any more activation interrupts which really sucked! I think I only played 1 more all game after the 2 on the first turn. Each turn I was using 3p0 and everything, but just had no luck. My 2nd or third turn I drop il-19 v + yoda motf v to the bunker to suspend endor shield v (more activation, yeah!) and to stop him from flipping with Establish Secret Base v (he has to control the bunker to play this). Afterwards on his turn he drops the back door w/ veers + blizz 2 v, ominous rumors (actually this was played earlier), and stalker v to fondor to threaten a drain of 5. After he drains me once for 5 I free Han to retrieve 5 then pull the farm w/ i must be allowed to speak v and put owen/beru + lando with vibroax there to ultimatum his drain of 3. He responds with Vader epp and sidious to the AC to try to kill Han (success for him!) and then moves the remaining emperor away from obi after the battle. At this point he says, “nobody gave you a 2nd han did they??!” and he was right, but I already had non-v harvest in hand that I could retrieve han with! So my turn I play master luke + princess leia v + luke’s blaster pistol v in front of Lord Sidious and kill him (no overflow cause I miss w/ my shot), but luke lives and reinforces obi at the AC. When I played luke + leia I was able to search my used pile with the farm puller and I got a harvest v to setup landing claw on the bravo fighter I had in hand. So the next turn that came out to shut him down to 2 damage while I was tracking around the Han I retrieved with Harvest. I am activating ~16-17 so it doesn’t take long for me to get Han back out, this time with his TUB v from a Harvest v play and so I’ve got this game pretty much on lockdown. I pull off an On the Edge for 4 retireval and throw Padme v + leia rp onto endor to screw his endor drains and call it a day. FW +23
good: everything came together with the community deck! I got to pull off all the little card combo’s people added in that I needed this game like the landing claw, harvest non-v, etc etc. I was very surprised.
bad: I wish I’d drawn into some more activation interrupts!

By the way, Nick’s Out of Somewhere did come into play this first game because I needed a 3+ draw to hit vader with my 2nd destiny draw, and it was his out of somewhere (a 4)! So after the game I had him sign my Out of Somewhere. Moving on…

Round 2: Community Profit vrs Graham’s Cor CR v trooper garrison beats Reid Smith style
If Graham wins this game by 19 then he wins the tournament, and I am thinking he can definitely win cause I am just playing a joke deck! He starts no aliens (has none in deck), but drops epp maul first turn against obi and kills him. That sucks! Badly!! And my hand just looks terrible at this point, the only good in it being a starting hand 3p0whps again. So I do a first turn a gift + 3p0 and keep using 3p0 each turn to try to get something going. And I draw a lot, and after a couple turns basically I’ve got nothing in hand which sucked. Oh and 2nd turn or so he plays PotF + sidious + saber to the chancellor’s office, to which I respond (maybe after 1 turn of him draining?) with master luke + luke’s blaster pistol v to kill him (no immunity for you sidious!!). hahaha Smile After that I guess he’s having a hard time getting things going, which is great cause I’ve got absolutely nothing to do at all. He gets some folks to the farm to drain, but I just block it with 3p0 and shut him down. So we’re both doing like zero damage and activating about the same amount. After a seemingly long time, I get out yoda motf v + master luke + jedi saber v to the chancellor’s hut for a drain of 4. I’ve also got clash (forgot about crush the rebellion), satm/bp, gift of the mentor, and yoda’s interrupt canceling ability for protection of the drain. So he tries to elis over his troopers on tatooine who weren’t draining cause of 3p0 and I cancel with yoda. So he plays another elis from under his SE, but I grabbed the first one so it takes lots of force, after which he really doesn’t have enough to afford his vader. So he is kind of screwed. He battles anyway after playing Janus Greejatus, and I satm the garrison. So he’s got power 10 + destiny to my 12 + destiny (I don’t play gift here since it likely wouldn’t cause overflow). He draws a 3 for bd which I’m immune to, and I clear him off with a 5 or something. So it looks like I have somehow won this crazy game that he probably had a huge advantage in early on. On a following turn I play premiere obi v to the AC, release Han, play harvest v for TUB v, drop princess leia v + padme v to the chancellor’s site. So my damage goes from 4 a turn to 10 a turn (ouch!). I also track around a 5 destiny for on the edge and play it, so I get 9 retrieval that turn too. I’ve got Houjix in hand (thanks for whoever added that to the deck!) so it wouldn’t hurt me if he beat me down somewhere. And he does come down in front of Han with 2 garrisons + epp vader. I hit vader with obi (why wasn’t I playing non-v obi?? I could move a garrison away!) and he ends up with something like 40 power. I had also played lando w/ vibro ax, so I drew 2 bd and ended up with 25 power or so. So I lose il19v (oh yeah he was there too!), lando, and obi to cover all the damage and han stays around like a balla! He lost everything to my 10 battle destiny, and that was game. FW +33
good: pulling out a crazy win.
bad: losing obi first turn. Graham was visibly upset at losing this game afterwards cause he really should have probably won but made some key mistakes. He almost got his first tournament win here and definitely will soon if he keeps improving and playing well like he has been!

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[wc_toggle title=”The Strongest EPP You Never Saw“]

The Strongest EPP You Never Saw

What if I told you there was once a dark side EPP that wielded a lightsaber, added a battle destiny, cancelled a destiny in battle, retrieved force upon initiating battle, deployed for only 4 Force, and could automatically duel Luke OOP during battle? Would you believe me? Well, it’s true. And somehow, that EPP was never played in a tournament. Nobody realized how good she was.

Back in August 2009, a mass errata happened over the v-card landscape that was termed The Revolution. It had all the same mixed reactions we more recently saw with the reset. There were hundreds of v-cards pre-revolution, and a whole lot of them received errata. The graphics department had to redo all the v-slip pdfs, because so many cards were changed. I’m sure that proofing checked the new pdfs carefully. They probably found and fixed many typographical errors. But 2 errors were missed. 2 cards received unintended changes that hadn’t been announced. Well, soon after the Revolution, I found those errors.

Now, lets say you were copying a paragraph and you made an error. Chances are, what you were writing no longer makes sense. One of the two unintended changes was that way, clearly wrong, but the other changed a card from being binder fodder to being totally broken. The first unintended change was to Civil Disorder (v), which had previously said “Whenever you initiate a battle, may retrieve your topmost non-[permanent weapon icon], non-[maintenance icon] character.” Post-Revolution, it mistakenly said, “Whenever you initiate a battle, may retrieve your topmost non-[independent starship icon], non-[maintenance icon] character.” So technically, someone could have said that it now retrieved EPPs, which were prevalent mains at the time, but it’s pretty clear that wouldn’t fly in a tournament.

The second change, the one that really could have been a problem at a tournament, was to Deep Hatred (v). Deep Hatred (v) had been released years earlier and it had never caught on. I’m not sure anyone ever played it at all. It was just forgettable binder fodder. And when people saw it post-Revolution, I guess they didn’t even bother reading it, because nobody realized it had been changed. There wasn’t a stray [independent starship icon] or a missing word. No. There was an entire line missing. The graphics team must have either thought that line didn’t matter to how the card played or they just plain missed it. This is what Deep Hatred (v) was supposed to say:

Deploy on table. You can play Vader’s Obsession to initiate an epic duel if Mara is present with Luke: each player draws… If Luke loses, place him out of play and you may retrieve 5 Force. If Mara loses, cross her to the Light Side. Unless duel canceled or tied, for remainder of game any Mara is ability = 6, adds one battle destiny, and once per battle involving her, may cancel one just drawn destiny.

Mara1.jpg

But the key line was skipped: “Unless duel canceled or tied, for remainder of game any”. The new text of Deep Hatred read very similarly to Seeking An Audience (v), which said “Deploy on table. If Profit on table, do this stuff. Oh by the way, once per game take a character from lost pile into hand.” For a long time, people never realized with Seeking that the “Oh by the way” part at the end didn’t require Profit to be on table. And years after it’s release, around the time of the Revolution, it was seeing play in every deck. In the same vein, Deep Hatred (v) no longer required Mara to win the duel in order to get the “ability = 6, adds one battle destiny, and once per battle involving her, may cancel one just drawn destiny.”

Some might say that I just misunderstood the card and that missing that line didn’t actually matter. But according to Seeking An Audience, there was precedence. Furthermore, when the PC eventually found out their mistake, they changed the card back to how it had been, confirming that my interpretation of the rules was correct.

Let’s take a moment and look at what this new Deep Hatred (v) did. When you deployed it, Mara became a machine. She could cancel ANY destiny once per battle. So if Mara isn’t hit by a weapon (with her new increased defense value), she can cancel your battle destiny. She gets a 2nd battle destiny all on her own as well. Finally, the most broken thing, is that she could battle Luke and, during the battle, play Vader’s Obsession to epic duel Luke and then use Deep Hatred (v) to cancel Luke’s duel destiny, culminating in Mara retrieving 5 and having Luke placed out of play. She would use what used to be the bonus from winning the duel to win the duel!

So, months after the Revolution, these unintended changes remained and I realized I was the only player who knew about them. And the MPC was coming up. More than anything, I wanted to show up at the MPC with the broken Mara deck. But what was the broken Mara deck? I needed a deck that was extremely good at hit and run tactics because I didn’t want Mara to get stuck at some site and ignored by the LS player. I wanted Mara to battle, die, rinse, and repeat. I tried sticking her in a lot of decks. The combo was obviously strong, but it required a lot of card slots and so it didn’t work in a lot of decks One problem was Deep Hatred wasn’t a card you wanted multiples of. So you had to play multiples of its destiny 5 puller, Dark Rage. In the end I realized that there was no known deck good enough to fit this combo in.

Instead, I had to build a deck from scratch. I felt like the best hit and run card to go along with Mara was Scum and Villainy. The only Scum deck that had seen play in years had been Tatooine CR (v). But Tat CR(v) just didn’t work well since it had to dedicate so many cards to space to defend the Tatooine system. So instead I picked Court of the Vile Gangster. Court had never been good. In fact, it was generally regarded as one of the worst objectives, right alongside RTP and just above the operative objectives. But I realized that Court gave me everything I needed for a solid, ground based Scum deck that had room to fit Deep Hatreds, Maras, and some Mara helper cards. The objective let me pull ships (I could put Mara on a ship if necessary), so I didn’t need to dedicate too much to space. It let me get all my activation, Jabba, Scum, etc. And I got to play Elis to prevent Mara from getting stranded. It had it all. And it won it all. I played it a lot, and it was sometimes clunky, but it was always powerful. Mara would just crush. And if LS wanted to play Luke, he was going OOP. Mara just made games easy. By combining Mara with Scum, it took her to the next level stat wise and gave me a retrieval engine to get her back after she died.

Then, real life happened. Due to job issues, I couldn’t go to the MPC. And I just knew, if this deck didn’t get played soon, somebody was going to realize how a line had been left off, and it would be fixed. And then my broken Mara Court deck would be gone. So I reached out to a player I knew could help – Reid Smith. Reid was a former MPC champ. No matter what, he would be at the top tables. Furthermore, he was a friend I had met multiple times and competed with. He had passed down a v-card to me that became Spaceport Scoundrels’ Guild and for that I owed him. So one day I messaged him “Hey Reid. I’ve got your MPC winning deck.” And we went back and forth about it for a while. Everything was set. But Reid did the right thing. He told the PC, thanked me, and tried to get me to join proofing. I guess in the end he felt like if the TD ruled against him (although they shouldn’t have), he is out of the tournament, whereas on the other hand he is a top player and he makes a deep run even without a broken deck. And I am sure that whoever ended up being the TD of that MPC dodged a real bullet, because how would you like to have to deal with that situation on the fly as the TD?

So the Broken Mara deck never saw tournament play. But for 4-5 months after the Revolution, there had been an unknown, totally broken deck that did unspeakable things.

What came of all this? Well, in a way, it changed the SWCCG meta for years to come. Here I was, with a ruined Mara Court deck. I thought to myself, “you know, if this deck was broken with Mara, maybe its alright without her.” So with the help of team Atlanta, we dropped the Mara cards, went full alien scum, and at the following worlds we premiered the Court scum deck that set the standard that is still followed today. So now, when you sit down at a tournament and your opponent reveals Court of the Vile Gangster, breath a sigh of relief that you don’t have to deal with Deep Hatred (v) too!

Here is the only COTVG list I have from my computer records that includes multiple Maras + Deep Hatred (v), late 2009

Starting: 9
K&D v
COTVG/don’t flip
Tatooine: Great Pit of Carkoon
JP: AC
JP: Dungeon
Abyssin Ornament & Wounded Wookiee (v)
Sarlacc
Power of the Hutt
Ni Chuba Na?? (v)

Locations: 4
Nal Hutta
Executor: Docking Bay
Death Star II: Docking Bay
JSB: Passenger Deck

Characters: 17
EPP Mara x3
Jabba the Hutt (v)
Boelo
Ephant Mon
Bib Fortuna
Thok & Thug (v)
4-Lom with Concussion Rifle (v)
P-59
Ponda Baba (v)
Ghana Gleemort
Prince Xizor
Shada (v)
Probot
IG-88 with Riot Gun
Bane Malar (v)

Blue: 7
Jabba’s Sail Barge (v)
Jabba’s Space Cruiser (v)
Boba Fett in Slave 1 (v) x2
Zuckuss in Mist Hunter
Bossk in Hound’s Tooth (v)
Dengar in Punishing One

Effects: 7
Deep Hatred (v)
Hutt Bounty (v)
Scum and Villainy x2
First Strike
Protocol Failure (v)
No Escape

Interrupts: 16
Dark Rage x2
Elis Helrot x2
Ghhhk & Those RWEU x2
Lightsaber Deficiency (v) x2
They’re Still Coming Through x2
You Are Beaten x2
We Must Accelerate Our Plans
Cold Feet (v) x2
Force Push (v)

And here is the COTVG deck Team Atlanta played at worlds 2010 (post Deep Hatred correction)

Starting: 11
Knowledge & Defense (v)
COTVG
Tatooine: Great Pit of Carkoon
Jabba’s Palace: Dungeon
Jabba’s Palace: Audience Chamber
Abyssin Ornament & Wounded Wookiee
Sarlacc
Power of the Hutt
(pick one of these 3 effects depending on matchup:)
Ni Chubba Na?? (v)
Desilijic Tattoo (v)
First Strike

Locations: 4
Nal Hutta
Jabba’s Sail Barge: Passenger Deck
Death Star II: Docking Bay
Executor: Docking Bay

Characters: 20
EPP Mara
Jabba the Hutt (v)
Boelo
Ephant Mon
Bib Fortuna
Thok & Thug (v)
Aurra Sing
Prince Xizor
Grotto Werribee (v)
Ponda Baba (v)
Snoova
J’Quille (v)
Jodo Kast (v)
Bane Malar (v)
Gela Yeens (v)
4-Lom EPP
Probot
IG-88 Renegade Droid
P-59
R2-A5 (v)

Green: 1
Vibro-Ax

Blue: 7
Boba Fett in Slave 1 (v) x2
Bossk in Hound’s Tooth (v)
Dengar in Punishing One
Zuckuss in Mist Hunter
Jabba’s Space Cruiser (v)
Jabba’s Sail Barge (v)

Effects: 3
Scum and Villainy
Hutt Bounty (v)
Protocol Failure

Interrupts: 14
Look Sir, Droids
Cold Feet (v)
Lightsaber Deficiency (v) x2
Operational As Planned (v)
Cease Fire x3
Elis Helrot x2
Ghhhk combo x2
Stunning Leader
Masterful Move combo

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I hope that you all enjoyed this stroll down memory lane for me. It was fun to write and reflect back on these decks. I hope that someone is willing to join in and write about their own “best decks” that never ended up making it! I know there must be many more that I missed through the years.