A New Hope: Star Wars TCG
It’s hard to believe that a Star Wars game could launch (and be successful) without any material from the original trilogy…but that’s just how much hype surrounded the release of the prequels at the time. It wasn’t until the third set – A New Hope – that we entered into the original story.
While each set always adds something new and exciting to the game, A New Hope is extra special because it introduces the most iconic Star Wars characters and vehicles into the game for the very first time! Let’s take a look at the new abilities and stand-out cards from this third set. (click on any of the images below to expand)
NEW KEYWORD ABILITIES
For each level of Accuracy, that number is added to the result of each attack die. When a unit rolls attack dice, each die result equal to 4 or more counts as a “hit” while all others are a “miss”. Accuracy 1 will add +1 to each attack die result, meaning a 3 will now meet the requirement to “hit” and deal damage. Accuracy 2 will add +2 to each attack die result, meaning a 2 or 3 will “hit”, and only a 1 result would miss (as 1+2=3 which does not meet the minimum to deal damage). Accuracy is a great ability that helps units deal damage more consistently. Let’s check out some examples of units from A New Hope that feature this new keyword ability.
Elite Stormtrooper Squad is one of the more coveted rares from this set, and features both the Critical Hit keyword ability introduced in Attack of the Clones and Accuracy! (Note that Accuracy does not affect the Critical Hit ability) This unit’s attack rolls are incredibly consistent with these two abilities (unlike their on-screen counterparts), and is certainly a worthy inclusion in many Dark Side decks.
Tusken Sharpshooter is a great new addition to a Tusken-themed deck, as it grants all other Tuskens Accuracy 1! This card really makes Tuskens a viable and competitive strategy. A single Tusken Raider may not be much of a threat, but they certainly gain strength in numbers, particularly when they all get Accuracy! Look out! Aarrgghh Argh Argh!!
Intercept is exactly what it sounds like...it allows a unit with this keyword ability to pay Force points to make your opponent attack it instead of another unit in the same arena. Intercept is a rather handy ability that grants you more control over the matchups during the battle phase and allows you to keep your better units (that would otherwise be the primary target of an attack) alive longer. Let’s look at a couple examples…
X-Wing Red Three is, let’s face it, expendable (sorry Biggs) – it’s cheap at 3 build and pretty quick at 60 speed, but only has 2 Power and 2 Health so he probably won’t do too much damage before he dies. But all of these qualities make it the perfect unit for Intercept! Its speed means he will likely get at least one attack off before he can force his opponent to attack him instead of another, more powerful Light Side Space unit (like Luke’s X-Wing). Committing a mere 3 build points to prevent a key attack from going through on one of your more important space units is definitely worthwhile.
Darth Vader (A) also has Intercept to protect other weaker Dark Side character units (like the Death Star Turbolaser Gunner) that may have an important effect or ability that’s key to your deck’s overall strategy. While it may seem scary to direct attacks at Vader on purpose, with 6 health (more if you stack him) and Pay 2 Force → Evade 2, he can actually be hard to kill.
Piloting is a fun, thematic ability that allows Character units to leap onto certain ground vehicles or spaceships and provide bonuses or special abilities to the piloted unit. Each Pilot has certain vehicles it knows how to fly or drive – such as Speeders, Transports, Starfighters, etc. – which is identified on the Character unit card; Characters may only pilot the vehicle(s) listed.
We all remember Luke jumping into his landspeeder in search of the rogue R2-D2! I actually like that we get Luke Skywalker (D) in this set who drives Speeders – it's thematic, and at worst can be added to your Luke character stack.
One of the most famous Rebel Pilots is Wedge Antilles, and he is well-represented in this set. Wedge Antilles (A) is a Starfighter Pilot (of course) that grants speed and power boosts to his starfighter.
On the Dark Side, TIE Fighter Pilot is a good example of the resources and power available to the Imperial Navy. These cheap and efficient units can swarm in the Character arena or jump into one of the new TIE Fighters from this set (which we’ll discuss below) and provide a power bump in Space.
NEW UNITS, MISSIONS AND BATTLE CARDS!
The Light Side gets its first Luke’s X-Wing card! While Luke’s X-Wing (A) doesn’t really hold up well to later versions, it was a very good card when released and is still a worthwhile inclusion in Light Side decks for stacking purposes. This version of Luke’s X-Wing has 50 speed, a decent attack with 3 power and Accuracy 1, plus Shields 1 for defense.
But as good as this card was at the time, the most impactful additions to the Light Side Space arena were two commons: X-Wing Red Three and X-Wing Attack Formation. X-Wing Red Three, as we discussed earlier, is a fast and cheap starfighter that can protect a more valuable target. X-Wing Attack Formation is a little expensive at 6 build – so it will be a core space unit – with Critical Hit 3 to really pound on damage, plus Pay 2 Force → Evade 1 for a little defense; this is a powerful, staple Space unit for the Light Side.
The Dark Side gets two versions of Vader’s TIE. Vader’s TIE (A) is a bit expensive at 5 build points, but the Pay 2 Force → Evade 2 was pretty good at the time, and the ability to pay 2 force and return it to your hand when it would be discarded (along with any other cards in its stack including a pilot) was cool. Vader’s TIE (B) also has a place in decks with its low cost, Accuracy 1, and the ability to boost its attack power for 1 Force. Plus, it could also be stacked with another Vader’s TIE already in play.
The Dark Side also gets a handful of new TIE Fighter cards at the Common and Uncommon rarity levels that are great additions. TIE Fighter DS-73-3 features the Intercept and Stun keyword abilities, making it truly a versatile fighter. TIE Fighter DS-55-6 is the “bread and butter” TIE in the Empire's arsenal with Critical Hit 2 – add a TIE Fighter Pilot, and you have a good thematic combo! TIE Fighter DS-61-9 doesn’t have the best stats, but it’s cheap and the Intercept ability makes it perfect for protecting your other units. Lastly, TIE Fighter Squad might cost a bit more than your average TIE Fighter, but it’s blazing fast at 60 speed and rolls 5 dice for attack!
Another exciting addition for the Dark Side is the Devastator! Honestly, there aren’t too many ships as iconic as the Capital Ship that famously opens Star Wars with its massive presence as it captures the Tantive IV. The Devastator (A) is quite “beefy” with 8 health and Shields 1, and the power boost when attacking a Rebel Space unit is super thematic.
When we explore the Ground arena, my favorite unit from this set is actually Neutral...the Krayt Dragon! I'm not sure what it is about the mythos of this creature, but I’ve always loved it and in SWTCG they certainly did it justice! While Krayt Dragon is expensive at 9 build, its ability can combo quite nicely with Alien Rage from the upcoming Battle of Yavin set...before you know it, the Krayt has devoured your opponent’s entire ground arena! Now I ask you... What’s better than that?!
There are quite a few other neutral Ground units from A New Hope that are worth considering for inclusion in decks. Tatooine Sandcrawler has the Jawa subtype, which makes it a staple for any Jawa deck for years to come (yes, Jawas are actually competitive at times throughout the course of the game’s history!). Speaking of Jawas...Jawa Squad and Tusken Squad are both nice additions as cheap and effective units for your thematic Jawa or Tusken decks. Tatooine Speeder is often overlooked, but for a low cost it can protect some of your more valuable units (like your Krayt Dragon!).
On the Light Side, the best new Ground unit is probably Yavin 4 Hangar Base. This 7-cost unit can serve to hold down the Ground arena with pretty nice base stats, or it can fuel your Space arena allowing you to search your deck for more Starfighters to add to your hand. Rebel Squad is another good unit that’s cheap and expendable, making it a great Intercept unit that can protect your other more valuable targets.
The Imperials get a variety of new Stormtroopers for the Ground arena. The best one, which we already talked about, is the Elite Stormtrooper Squad – at 6 build, this unit will make up the core of your Ground troops. Unfortunately, it’s a little slow at 40 speed, so combining this unit with a speed boost (like Luxury Airspeeder or Dark Speed from AOTC) can ensure it has a chance to attack before the powerful Walkers in many Light Side decks (AT-TE Walker 23X and AT-TE Walker 71E). Stormtrooper Assault Team is one of my favorite cards to this day because it’s cheap and the first unit I can remember with unpreventable damage, so it’s great for a Stormtrooper swarm strategy. Stormtrooper Patrol cost 1 less build point than Elite Stormtrooper Squad, but the Accuracy and Critical Hit are replaced with Stun 2.
Another Dark Side card worth mentioning is the Death Star Hangar Bay, although this card is much stronger once Luke’s X-Wing (B) is released in the upcoming Battle of Yavin set.
If you’re anything like me, you love Star Wars because of the great characters, and A New Hope is our first real opportunity to get many of the most beloved ones on the table!
There are a handful of good Neutral units added into the mix with A New Hope. Greedo (A) can be useful in a force drain deck. Jawa Leader is one of the best units for Jawa swarm decks ever! Tuskens also get some love with the Tusken Sharpshooter that we talked about previously – this unit pretty much paves the way for Dark Side Tuskens to win the second SWTCG Championship at Gen Con!
On the Light Side, we finally get to play with our favorite original heroes...Luke, Leia, Han and Obi-Wan!! Luke Skywalker (A) allows you to search for one of the other 3 versions of Luke from this set to build up his stack and simulate his growth as a Jedi. Princess Leia (A) or (B) is the feisty Rebel diplomat we all know and love, and she can be pretty annoying for any Dark Side player. Han Solo (A) is the first ever “preview card”, which I’ll talk about later; Han is a great unit with Accuracy 1 that also allows you to draw an extra card during your draw step. Obi-Wan Kenobi (E) is probably one of my favorite versions of the Alec Guinness character – it has good stats for his cost and two nice abilities for survivability. Obi-Wan Kenobi (F) is a great Uncommon version that can protect your other characters and give you a force bonus when he dies, which is pretty thematic I might add!
On the Dark Side, one of the greatest on-screen villains is brought to life with the rest of the Imperials! Every version of Darth Vader in A New Hope is good and has its place in a deck. Darth Vader (A), as we talked about before, can Intercept and protect his Imperial allies while essentially force pushing non-Jedi units out of the arena (pretty cool ability that’s often overlooked). Darth Vader (B) is just a fantastic Uncommon Vader that’s well-costed and a brutal force on offense or defense. Darth Vader (C) is probably the best Vader printed at the Common level with good evade and Intercept to protect your other units.
There are a handful of other great Dark Side Character units in this set. IT-O Interrogator Droid is another one of my favorite cards of all time...it’s so thematic and it really brings an iconic scene to life. Unfortunately, because Locations were not yet a card type in SWTCG, they are missing from the list of cards the Interrogator Droid can discard, which is the only “flavor fail” with this ability...in our house, we basically “errata” the card so that it can also search/discard a Location. Death Star Super Laser Gunner and Death Star Turbolaser Gunner are both cheap Imperial units that can be used in a swarm strategy or a deck focused entirely on bombard and ion cannon. TIE Elite Pilot and TIE Fighter Pilot are the base pilots for any Imperial pilot deck. I also love that Mouse Droid made its way into this set! The ability is fine, and you certainly won't be upset if your opponent essentially wastes an attack to kill it.
A New Hope offers a lot of new Battle cards for both thematic and competitive play. Honestly, there’s too many to cover in this article, so I’d encourage you to do a deep dive because there are some real gems. Here are a couple of the key Battle cards from this set:
Jedi Intervention is the first battle card to grant a unit the Intercept keyword ability and the card couldn’t be more thematic.
Preemptive shot proves Han Shot first!
Leia’s Kiss is a great card for both competitive and thematic play, recreating that iconic scene crossing the drawbridge.
Protection of the Master is the first damage prevention card to cost zero force.
Strike Me Down is a great card to gain force and recreate that pivotal moment with Obi-Wan’s sacrifice.
Unfortunately, the dark side doesn’t get much in the way of good battle cards but Rebel Surrender is a really fun card to build a whole deck around.
There are a bunch of new Mission cards in this set, and a few have some really interesting effects:
Disturbance in the Force is a super thematic card that can find its way into many competitive decks. It completely shuts down any activated abilities for the turn including evade.
Jawa Supply Trip is one of the best Mission cards for a huge pay off in Jawa decks.
Obi-Wan’s Task and Vader’s Interference are a nice design of thematic mirror opposite Missions, either gaining or denying build points.
One of the coolest features of the A New Hope set was the introduction of a preview card – a foil, alternative art card that would be part of the next set (in this case, Battle of Yavin). Preview cards were quite rare. The first preview card was Han Solo (A). In my opinion, this special preview card is the best looking Han Solo Wizards ever printed.
Fun fact...WOTC changed their foiling process in this set, which I think is why all the foil cards really pop. Unfortunately, they never used this process again...so foil cards from A New Hope are extra special!
(Queue the music)
Well, that pretty much covers A New Hope! If you’re looking for some fun, thematic deckbuilding...this set is definitely for you!
Starting August 1, our Beginner League will be expanding its available card pool to include A New Hope. We're also starting our next Online Tournament – registration closes August 2. You can sign up online if you'd like to join either of these Organized Play events.
Next time we’ll begin exploring the original trilogy with A New Hope and discussing the new keywords from this set – Intercept and Accuracy.
This is Gold Leader, signing off…
Links and other good stuff:
Article: How to Play SWTCG Online
Online deckbuilder: www.swtcg.com
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