The NARP Fortnightly #12: Mark Your Calendars

Hi everyone,

This fortnight, I’d like to briefly discuss an upcoming event on the SWCCG calendar that is near and dear to my heart. It’s not a major tournament like Worlds or the MPC, and it’s not an upcoming virtual set release—but it might be the most important annual event we do as a community: Local Tournament Weekend.

This event will take place the weekend of November 12th and 13th, 2016. It isn’t one single gathering or tournament; rather, it’s a weekend where we all head to our friendly local gaming stores and play Star Wars. It’s the only event that is solely dedicated to bringing new players into the fold, patronizing our local stores, and showing other gamers how much fun we’re having.

Two years ago, when I was thinking of getting back into SWCCG after a 14-year hiatus, I saw the announcement for Local Tournament Weekend and put it on my calendar. It surpassed all of my expectations. The environment was friendly and welcoming, the games were even more fun than I remembered, and the players were great people with whom I still play SWCCG today. It was a thoroughly positive experience, and is a big reason why I’m still playing the game two years later.

If you’re reading this, your experience might be similar to mine; now is the time when we pay it forward and grow our player base. So, let’s all get out to our local stores, take road trips to other people’s stores, and have fun! For information on tournaments on the schedule, or to schedule your own, check out the Local Tournament Weekend subforum. (It will be continually updated as more events are scheduled.)

Going to Your First Local Tournament

If you’re brand-new (or newly returning) to SWCCG, here are a few tips for going to your first local:

  1. Find a pair of decks that you’re comfortable with. You can find plenty of ideas here or on the forums. Don’t worry so much about the metagame or specific matchups; these events are just for fun, after all!
  1. Let the tournament director know ahead of time that you’re coming. It’s always helpful to have a head count and some advance notice. If the tournament starts at 1:00 but the TD knows you’re on your way, they’ll wait for you to get there. (But try not to be late!)
  1. Borrowing cards is encouraged! There’s no reason you can’t play Hunt Down just because you don’t own 4 Vaders and 3 Emperors, and there’s no reason you should build your deck with suboptimal cards just because you don’t have all the ultra-rares. Let the TD know what you need to borrow (as far in advance as you can), and the community will help you out. This goes for card sleeves too—If you don’t have them, let people know in advance that you need to borrow, or plan on buying some at the store.
  1. Introduce yourself! Don’t be shy.
  1. Write a tournament report. Consider doing a brief write-up of your games and posting it to the Local Tournament Weekend forum. People love to read them, and you’re sure to get a hearty welcome from the online community as well. (And then you can match up the names with faces when you go to a major event later on.)
  1. Have fun! Admittedly, I kind of hate it when people put “have fun” at the end of a list of instructions. Like, the entire purpose of this is to have fun, did I need to be instructed to do so? But I’ve been guilty of it more than once; it just feels cold and heartless if you don’t have it there. Anyway, have fun.

Have a great Local Tournament Weekend, everybody!

Card of the Fortnight 

Usually, our Card of the Fortnight is a really good card that you often see in tournament decks, but it might not be immediately apparent why it’s so good. This week, we’re going to switch things up and talk about a card that initially seems good but isn’t quite as good as it seems:

According To My Design

New players often ask about this card, and it is a common starting interrupt in the hands of less experienced players. It lets you deploy three effects (the same as Prepared Defenses), but also lets you deploy the Emperor (in decks other than Hunt Down and Set Your Course For Alderaan). A free Emperor to start the game? What’s the catch?

The catch, which is often glossed over by new players, is that Light Side goes first. What’s the big deal about that? So they go first… So what? To illustrate this, we’re going to get into the weeds a bit.

First of all, don’t think of it as “Light Side goes first.” Think of it as “Light Side takes an extra turn.” Instead of the game going…

DS turn 1
LS turn 1
DS turn 2
LS turn 2
(etc.)

…it goes:

LS turn 0
DS turn 1
LS turn 1
DS turn 2
LS turn 2
(etc.)

This is the entire reason why the Yavin 4: Massassi Throne Room is a good starting location. For example, let’s say a I’m a Light Side player and I’m building a deck around Home One, and my goal is to deploy it as soon as possible. I’m going to start A New Secret Base (V) to find a system and Wokling (V) to find Launching The Assault to get Home One. For my starting location, I’m debating between the Massassi Throne Room and the Home One: War Room. Which one will let me deploy Home One sooner?

The War Room, right? It gives me an extra Force icon and gives me that extra deploy -5 if I put a Rebel there (like free Ackbar). But let’s look at the Force generation numbers when we account for the free “turn 0” of the Throne Room:

(For this example, we’ll assume that you get a Wesa Gotta Grand Army into your starting hand to find Boss Nass’ Chamber right away, and then draw into the Jedi Council Chamber or a puller on your first turn. That’s certainly not guaranteed, but it’s good for illustration. We’ll also assume that you use A New Secret Base (V) to find Nar Shaddaa on your first turn. Finally, we’ll assume that the Dark Side player is giving you 2 Force icons throughout.)

Throne Room War Room
Turn 0 5
Turn 1 9 (with BNC and Nar Shaddaa) 6
Turn 2 12 (with JCC) 10 (with BNC and Nar Shaddaa)
Turn 3 12 13 (with JCC)
Turn 4 12 13
Total Force Activated 50 42

So, even though the War Room saves you 5 Force on deploying Home One, you generate 8 extra Force by starting the Throne Room (in this limited example). That leaves you 3 Force ahead. This is because the Throne Room gives you an extra turn. With that extra turn, you not only generate a few Force, but you also deploy locations during that “turn 0” and can draw into more, a turn earlier than another deck would be able to. This gives you a huge jump in activation, especially early in the game.

As the Dark Side player, what happens when you start According To My Design? You give any Light deck the activation advantages of the Throne Room start. In our War Room example, that would be 55 Force through turn 4—a full 13 more than the deck would otherwise have generated by that point.

Already you can see this is bad, but there’s more than just Force generation to consider. That free turn can mean a lot to the Light Side. Essentially, you’re letting WHAP flip a turn sooner, letting Old Allies deploy Rey a turn sooner, letting QMC deploy Harc Seff (V) a turn sooner… The list goes on and on.

Is this worth it to deploy the Emperor? Most experienced players say no. It’s much better to play multiple Emperors (which are destiny 6) and try to deploy one early. With the extra jump Light gains from going first, they could very well kill your Emperor anyway.

However, the card is still seen in a few competitive decks, as an alternative starting interrupt versus Throne Room decks. You get to see your opponent’s starting location (or objective) before you choose a starting interrupt, so if they start the Throne Room, you play According To My Design to get your free Emperor. You don’t have to worry about letting them go first because they’re already going first.

There’s a lot more analysis that can be done, but hopefully that gives you a few things to think about and will help you properly assess the costs and benefits of going first.

That’s it for this fortnight. Until next time…

Peace, Love, and High Destinies,
-Lenny (lsrubin)