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SWTCG Deckbuilding 101

I love building decks. I really enjoy the process of coming up with an idea, and trying to build a strategy and synergy around it. But I've found that when I sit down to build a new deck, I need to approach it methodically so I hit all the key components that I believe make a deck at least fun and playable and not just a random pile of cards.


Gold Leader's 10-Step SWTCG Deckbuilding Guide

#1 What is your deck trying to accomplish?

It's essential to narrow your focus and figure out what you want your deck to specifically do before you start choosing any cards. Do you want your deck to simply be the best 60 cards possible? Do you want your deck to be very thematic but still as competitive as it can be while sticking to your theme? Do you want your deck to be casual and fun with your favorite cards or characters? Once you can articulate to yourself what you're trying to build, then you can start selecting units for your deck.


#2 Select units

The minimum number of units for each of the 3 arenas (Space, Ground, Character) is 12, so make sure you have at least that. But many times 12 isn't enough – I usually recommend including 13-14 units for each arena, depending on the strategy. The cheaper your units, the more you'll likely want to include in your deck; the opposite is true of more expensive units. More on factors to consider when choosing units in the next few steps.


#3 Check your cost curve

Pay attention to the cost of your units because if they all cost too much, you can have trouble building enough units during setup and each build step. I like to sort my units by build cost so that I can see how many units cost 1, 2, 3, etc. I'd consider units that cost 6 or more build points as your core units that are essential to winning the arena. Cheaper units (5 build points and under) I'd consider support units meant to help with your core units' strategies. Having a few low-cost units in each arena is essential to any good deck. Low-cost units allow you to be flexible when deploying in setup and are much easier to complete during the build step.


#4 Stack it up!

Many unit cards in Star Wars TCG are unique, which is identified with a letter in the bottom right of the card. Different versions of unique units can be stacked together to create a stronger unit. I like running multiple versions of unique units as a core strategy for a few reasons. Unique units can be stacked during setup for only 1 build point, which allows you to see more cards during setup and thus have more options to deploy units. Stacking a unit is the most cost-effective way to improve a unit's speed, power, and health (it only costs 1 build to stack a unit underneath). Running multiple versions of an expensive unit lowers the cost curve of your deck because when you're stacking, you aren't paying the full build cost.


#5 Unit stats and abilities matter

Choose units with either high speed (50+), damage increasing abilities, defensive abilities, an ability that works with your overall strategy, or a combination; avoid units with no abilities. Ultimately, you want your units to either kill your opponent's or survive to claim the arena – running a cheap, basic "vanilla" unit with 30-40 speed, 3-5 health and no abilities probably isn't going to do much for you unless the arena is effectively uncontested because it's likely going to die before doing anything relevant. If you are running a few slow units (10-30 speed), make sure they have high health (7+) so they can survive long enough to attack or do whatever else you need them to do for more than 1 turn.


#6 Mission cards

Mission cards cost build points, so you don't want too many. I think between 4-8 Mission cards is the "sweet spot", and the best ones to include should support the unit/deck strategy you have chosen. Typically "good" Mission cards will do one of the following:

  • Draw extra cards

  • Search for specific cards

  • Remove cards from your opponent's hand or deck

  • Gain or Drain force points

  • Deal or Remove damage

  • Gain or Remove build points

#7 Battle cards

Battle cards require force points rather than build points, and they can often turn the tide of an arena battle in your favor. You probably want between 8-12 Battle cards that can do a combination of the following things:

  • Prevent or Deal damage

  • Disrupt cards and/or abilities

  • Increase or decrease speed

  • Increase or decrease attack power

  • Some kind of specialized effect that aligns with your strategy

Similar to your unit cost curve, you'll want to be sure all of your Battle cards aren't too expensive. You only accrue 4 force points per turn, and you may need to use some of them to activate abilities on your units; so, it's important to ensure some of your Battle cards only require 0-2 force points.


#8 Location cards

Locations are incredibly powerful as they provide a positive effect for you as long as they remain in play. You probably want 4-6 Locations in your deck, depending on if you're playing Light Side or Dark Side. The trick to Locations is understanding that because the Light Side player builds last, he/she will always be able to react and replace a Dark Side Location when it's played. As such, if you are playing the Dark Side and relying on a Location effect for a core strategy, you will need multiple copies of that Location in your deck since there's a good chance the Light Side will build and replace it before you can use or benefit from the effect. If you are the Light Side player, you can afford to include fewer Locations in your deck as they are less likely to be replaced before they can grant you an effect.


#9 Equipment cards

Equipment cards are strong, but usually have a high cost and narrow effectiveness. As such, they don't need to be included in every deck, and I wouldn't play more than 4 of them. If you are going to play any Equipment, make sure there's a good reason you need it in your deck.


#10 Keep it to 60

Lastly, and probably most importantly, your deck should always be 60 cards. While you could play more than that, I wouldn't recommend it. You want to draw your best cards as often as possible. Playing more than 60 cards will always increase the chances you do not draw your best cards.



> Online Deckbuilder (The Cantina): www.swtcg.com


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