Last Sunday saw 11 people come together to vie for the title of Australian National Champion of the Star Wars Living Card Game. This was a disappointing turnout when you consider the fact that last years nationals event in Sydney was pushing upwards of 20. This is another bleak example of how attendance numbers at LCG events have been on the gradual decline nationwide. Many people point their fingers squarely at Fantasy Flight Games due to their lack of organisation when it comes to getting stock out to our neck of the woods. It seems that quite often regions outside of the US tend to be overlooked when shipping the first wave of stock when a new product is released, leaving massive gaps between receiving new cards and causing a stagnant meta. This leaves many people out here wondering why FFG can’t arrange global street dates to ensure their global community is looked after as a whole. But that’s a discussion for another time.
This event was an all-Queensland affair with Queensland’s Regional Champion and New South Wales’ Regional champion (also a Queenslander) in attendance, whereas Victoria’s Regional Champion was a no-show. This meant round one had two super-bye’s and a bye while the rest of the rounds just had a bye. Toby at GUF certainly put on a spread for their loyal Star Wars fans with Star Wars music playing in the background, Chewy (get it, Chewie!) Brownies to munch on and an Xbox 360 with Lego Star Wars for the bye to enjoy. The generosity didn’t stop there either as an additional game night kit was added to the Nationals prize support kit to be drafted out to the players who did not make the final cut.
Speaking of Nationals Prize support, it was a bit lacklustre compared to previous years, likely a reaction to Australia’s less than stellar attendance records for previous events and an attempt to make the event more affordable. The kit contained:
128 copies of the new Alt Art Rebel Luke Skywalker (pod 157)
8 acrylic Death Star Dials
5 playmats featuring Luke Skywalker
2 Backpacks featuring Luke Skywalker
1 Trophy and a First Round Bye to Nationals
Despite the first round bye on offer, no remuneration for half a plane ticket was on offer for the trip to the US to attend the World Championship in Minneapolis. This is a disappointing trend for FFG as this is another example of how us Aussies are receiving less and less love from the company we support. Also 128 copies of an alternate art card seems a little excessive when you’re already downsizing the rest of the prize pool.
Official rules dictated that since we had 11 players, there were to be 4 rounds of swiss and no top cut. The players all agreed that a top cut is fun and they were going to have one anyway. When you consider that this event is really the end of the organised play road for us, now that flights to Worlds aren’t supported, less emphasis can be placed on this event being strictly by-the-book.
So lets look at what each player brought to the table:
It should come as no surprise that Sith with Thrawn (or Grand Admiral Sith as I like to call it) and Navy fighters were the two dominant strategies. The fact that both were represented equally reflects the coin toss that it was when choosing which option to use as both are equally viable. Notable exceptions were a 12 pod straight Sith strategy from Rodney, an Imperial Navy strike deck featuring bounty hunters from Kuso and a capital ships deck from Brett, all of which kept things interesting.
If you sort all the deck types into their dominant factions it seems that there were only two viable choices; Jedi and Rebels. Smugglers and Spies haven’t had a look in since the Freebooters fiasco. The most dominant strategy of the night was what I like to call the Jedi Delivery Deck. It’s basically Jedi characters with the Millennium Falcon sprinkled in. Next most dominant were rebel fighters followed by fighters and Hoth speeders. After that, we had a difficult to categorise rebel strategy from Rodney and a Straight Jedi Deck from Glenn.
Now we’ll move on to round results.
Marcus v Simon 3-3
Glenn v Rodney 1-4
Brett v Diego 1-4
Dutch v Kuso 6-0
Superbyes: David and Tristin
Round 1 in Action
Champions David and Tristin got some down time to mentally prepare for the comp ahead with their superbyes in hand and Tyson got a round off too. Simon and Marcus butted heads and came away with a split after both of their light sides failed to fire. In both Glenn and Rodney’s and Brett and Diego’s games, the 65 minute round time made it challenging to complete their matches. In Diego v Brett’s case the second half had only just started when time was called. Dutch opened his tournament account with a first round routing of Kuso.
1. David – 6
1. Tristin – 6
1. Tyson – 6
1. Dutch – 6
5. Rodney – 4
5. Diego – 4
7. Simon – 3
7. Marcus – 3
9. Glenn – 1
9. Brett – 1
11. Kuso – 0
Tyson v Dutch 0-6
David v Tristin 1-4
Diego v Rodney 3-3
Simon v Brett 4-1
Marcus v Glenn 6-0
Dutch continued his conquest dispatching an unlucky Tyson who hit this brick wall after coming off of a bye. Tristin and Dave were injected into the tournament and struggled to keep their game to time due to their epic first half. Diego and Rodney came, saw and conquered each other. Simon and Brett also struggled to keep to the 65 minute schedule. Marcus destroyed Glenn’s decks when, unfortunately for him, they failed to fire.
1. Dutch – 12
2. Tristin – 10
3. Marcus – 9
4. David – 7
4. Rodney – 7
4. Diego – 7
4. Simon – 7
8. Kuso – 6
8. Tyson – 6
10. Brett – 2
11. Glenn – 1
Dutch v Tristin 4-1
Marcus v David 6-0
Simon v Diego 3-3
Rodney v Kuso 3-3
Tyson v Brett 1-4
Dutch was on the warpath and nothing was going to stop him. Except going to time. That stopped him. Marcus gained momentum taking down David in a full win. Simon and Diego butted heads as did Rodney and Kuso. Time constraints continued to be a problem when Tyson and Brett’s match went to time.
1. Dutch – 16
2. Marcus – 15
3. Tristin – 11
4. Rodney – 10
4. Diego – 10
4. Simon – 10
7. Kuso – 9
8. David – 7
8. Tyson – 7
8. Glenn – 7
11. Brett – 6
Dutch v Marcus 6-0
Tristin v Simon 6-0
Diego v Kuso 3-3
Rodney v Tyson 6-0
David v Glenn 3-3
Dutch’s dominance continued to destroy decks. In the end after a hard fought slog there was little Marcus could do to stop him. Tristin also asserted his dominance over Simon while Rodney trounced Tyson. Diego and Kuso “Thelma and Louised” each other out of a top 4 berth and David and Glenn were well matched.
1. Dutch – 22
2. Tristin – 17
3. Rodney – 16
4. Marcus – 15
5. Diego – 13
6. Kuso – 12 (51)
7. Brett – 12 (30)
8. David – 10 (59)
9. Simon – 10 (57)
10. Glenn – 10 (41)
11. Tyson – 7
Results were recorded using an electronic reporting system that unfortunately didn’t record light side and dark side results. So that means I am unable to analyse win rates per faction or per side. So we’ll just move on to the double-elim round (DER) results.
Dutch (L) def Marcus (D)
Tristin (L) def Rodney (D)
This was a very quick round. Dutch happened upon a “god draw” for an opening hand and blasted Marcus out of the park. Similarly blasted was Rodney when Tristin dispatched him in rather short order.
Tristin (L) def Dutch (D)
Marcus* (L) def Rodney* (D)
Dutch was on the warpath but Tristin was equipped with the remedy. Tristin handed Dutch a demoralising defeat and sent him reeling to the lower bracket. For Marcus, all bets were off. So too was the pressure. So Marcus suddenly became the night’s comic relief. The puns, Dad jokes and witty remarks started flying. Rodney had the upper hand early but Marcus pulled a sneaky win out of nowhere in order to retire Rodney from the tournament.
Marcus* (L) def Dutch* (D)
Tristin got the round off to rest his noggin while Dutch and Marcus duked it out for a 3rd time. By all indications this should have been a gimme for Dutch. Since they both had played light and dark once each, they had to roll for who played which side. Marcus won the roll and elected to go light remembering how frightening his dark side was. Before the game started Marcus quipped, “the fate of your tournament could hinge on a dice roll!” Marcus opened up that sledging tab along with a can of whoop-ass after a game that could only be described as a comedy of errors. The laughs continued throughout the game but in the end it was Dutch’s time to bow out.
Tristin (L) def Marcus* (D)
This was an unexpected match up but here these two found themselves. In the end Tristin’s decks proved too strong but both were incredibly happy to simply be in the final. After coming runner up in the 2014 Nationals in Sydney, Tristin was able to claim the title for 2015!
Runner-Up Marcus (Left) and Winner Tristin (Right)
Unfortunately the camera set to record the final match was running too low on battery to get the full thing so we’ll just move on to the finalist’s deck lists:
Tristin’s Light Side:
2x May the Force Be With You (Yoda with Nudj)
1x Heroes and Legends (Kyle Katarn)
1x Along the Gamor Run (Hyperspace Marauder)
1x Watchers in the Wasteland (Obi Wan with Shistavanen Wolfmen)
2x A Hero’s Beginning (Owen Lars)
2x Asteroid Sanctuary (Millennium Falcon)
2x A Hero’s Journey (Core Luke Skywalker)
1x The Survivors (Qu Rahn)
Smugglers & Spies Affiliation.
Marcus’ Light Side:
2x The Survivors (Qu Rahn)
2x The Secret of Yavin 4 (C-3PO)
2x Asteroid Sanctuary (Millennium Falcon)
2x May the Force Be With You (Yoda with Nudj)
2x A Hero’s Journey (Core Luke Skywalker)
2x Questionable Contacts (Core Han Solo)
Smugglers & Spies Affiliation
Marcus and Tristin both went with the same deck type but both of them operate very differently. Both of them run MtFBWY in order to slow the game down and buy the Jedi time to win. However, Tristin’s strategy revolves around getting to the Jedi mains as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Cards like Rahn’s Guidance and Yoda, You Seek Yoda attempt to get Jedi out early while Owen Lars gets a Jedi on the table for 3 less cost and the Falcon Delivers a Jedi for free.
Marcus’ strategy relies on the unexpected inclusion of Han Solo. Han’s abilities combined with swindled make short work of fighter swarms and the combined targeted strike of Luke and Han make short work of almost everything else, leaving the board clear for unopposed damage. Both players opted for 12 pod decks, proving that you can still have an effective deck with that many pods.
Tristin’s Dark Side:
2x Counsel of the Sith (Royal Guards)
1x Agent of the Emperor (Mara Jade)
1x The Imperial Bureaucracy (Sate Pestage)
2x The Emperor’s Sword (Delta One)
2x Fall of the Jedi (Core Darth Vader)
2x The Last Grand Admiral (Grand Admiral Thrawn)
2x The Emperor’s Web (Emperor Palpatine)
Imperial Navy Affiliation
Marcus’ Dark Side:
2x Defense Protocol (TIE Attack Squadron)
2x The Empire’s Elite (181st TIE Interceptor)
2x Death and Despayre (Devastator)
2x Defending the Trench (Darth Vader with Vader’s TIE Advanced)
2x Guarding the Wing (DS-61-3)
2x Kuat Reinforcements (“Backstabber”)
The fact that these two decks made it to a final is testament to how well balanced the meta is for the dark side. Both of these strategies proved to be equally viable. Tristin’s strategy revolved around disruption and recursion. All the usual suspects were there like Force Choke and Force Lightning. But with Sate on table bringing used events or lost characters back into hand the cycle of destruction seems endless. Just when you thought you were done facing Force Chokes after the fourth one is played, Sate leaves play and gets one back. An interesting inclusion is that of Delta One. Sith are less effective against vehicle decks so no doubt having him there can help offset that weakness by focusing a vehicle unit. When you combine that with Thrawn’s ability to lock down units you can disrupt vehicle decks just long enough to get Mara or Vader’s targeted strike to happen and gain the upper hand.
Marcus’ strategy is like most navy fighter decks and that is to swarm with overwhelming force. Marcus’ deck came with an added twist with the inclusion of The Devastator. Big D proved handy to have with his ability to one shot objectives but that was not the only reason for it’s inclusion. Defense upgrade can prove invaluable as a meta tech for both light side strategies. Against the unopposed bonuses of the Jedi a well placed Defense Upgrade on an objective can nullify the advantage given to them by their Nudjes. Defense upgrade can also be a bane to fighter decks. When Marcus had two Defending the Trenches on table with their 10 hit points each, he would place a Defense Upgrade on the other objective forcing the rebels to face two 10-point objectives and an 8-pointer. Either way this buys enough time for Big D and his Buddies to smash face.
This marks the end of the competitive season in Australia for 2015. Keep a close eye on us as we carefully cover the hectic schedule for the 2016 Store Championship season starting in January.