- General Description
- General Strategy
- Activation platforms
- Key Cards
- Characters a/k/a Which Vader(s)?
- Help! Visage got cancelled!
- Other Important Objective Game Text
- Cards to Watch Out For
- Match-Ups (post 2)
- Decklists (post 3)
- Game Library
It can play reactively like TRM in that it does not need to deploy any battlegrounds and can attack whatever Light side deploys, or it can put down a battleground site to set up drains of two or three plus Visage pings. It is often described as a deck that keeps other Light side decks in check.
HD also can start Epic Duel, although it is not recommended here given the rise of decks that do not/cannot deploy Luke (Old Allies being the primary adversary and culprit in that arena). Epic Duel is not discussed here.
HD got stronger as of late by the creation of Vanee, Mustafar: Vader’s Castle, and Darth Vader, Emperor’s Enforcer - perhaps the best all-around Vader persona, but it also has some seriously difficult matches vs. OA, QMC, EBO, and No Idea.
Your primary early game goal is to set up your activation and prepare your hand to drop Vader with backup to establish control of a battleground to get Visage pinging only your opponent, or at least keep the pressure on Light side to keep Luke or a Jedi on the table.
This early pressure can force Light side to make bad decisions, such as attacking Vader before it is ready, as it watches its life force diminish and risk losing crucial cards.
Don’t be afraid to draw up a huge hand if you whiff on activation pullers or characters, or save Force if your generation is good to build up for a huge attack.
Once you drop Vader, you make Light side react to you lest it take two Force loss per turn cycle from Visage. Back him up, build your hand to protect him, and use your other characters to try and kill off Light side’s other Jedi. EPP Characters, battle tricks, and battle destiny adders are key here. Also look for your opportunity to set up a space presence if Light side is weak or exposed. HD often wins on big blowouts, and many a game has been lost due to a combined assault from EPP Maul and Dr. E combo, or Emperor’s Shuttle with Grand Moff Tarkin (V) and Emp. Palpatine aboard.
By now you should have a solid hold on a battleground site or two (and Battle Order/Plan satisfied if possible). Use your large character base to spread to unoccupied battlegrounds (or send a spy down late to twix), and consider dropping your 2/2 (Cloud City: Downtown Plaza, generally) if you haven’t set set up a late drain.
Prepared Defenses gets you an eight card hand plus three effects that deploy on table and are always immune to Alter. Common effects to deploy with this is I Am Your Father (V), Crush the Rebellion, Imperial Arrest Order & Secret Plans, Something Special Planned for Them (V), or Establish Control (V).
If you favor consistency in your start and a variety of starting effects, or the ability have alternate starts, this is your Starting Interrupt.
You Know What I’ve Come For
You Know What I’ve Come For is traditionally used in the Map objective to deploy the Jakku: Landing Site (from which Map players can deploy a First Order character and pull the Jakku system) and start Bow to the First Order and one other effect.
Outside of Map decks, the Map SI is used primarily for the additional +1 activation from a 1/0 site and secondarily for the used pile pulls that Kylo (usually EPP in HD) and Snoke can get you. YKWICF guarantees you 5 activation first turn, meaning you can do a first turn Vader against any LS deck that gives you an icon and a battleground site - which is a lot of them, such as HITCO.
By running the Map SI, you are limiting yourself to a single additional started effect (generally I Am Your Father (V)) in addition to Bow to the First Order. Bow can also be used as a once-per-game deck search (via its Finalizer pull).
Running the other FO characters that get used pile pulls or the Finalizer dilutes a deck like HD, so it not recommended. If you want to do that, I encourage you to look at Bring Him Before Me (BHBM) Skulls or First Order Dark Deal.
Surface Defense (V) (12-card start)
Surface Defense (V) gives you a 12 card hand (or rather, the choice to draw a 12 card hand…) in exchange for starting no effects on the table. This tends to give the Dark side player a huge upside when the twix pullers hit and a huge downside when they don’t, much like how TRM can go big or bust depending on whether it hits their activation in its opening hand.
Starting Surface Defense (V) also means you do not start with I Am Your Father (V) on the table, and that you’ll likely need to make other deck choices to accommodate that. This likely means running 2x of IAYF(V), We Must Accelerate Our Plans (WMAOP) as a location and effect puller, perhaps a Point Man (V) to search your Force pile, and You Are Beaten which can take IAYF(V) into hand. Surface Defense (V) itself can also \/ effects you could otherwise start with Prepared Defenses or the Map SI. It also likely means you are likely not going to run Lord Vader (or more than 1 copy of him) due his 8 Force deploy cost if it hasn’t been reset to 6 by IAYF(V).
Again, this is play-style dependent. If you favor consistency in your start, then go Prepared Defenses or Map SI. If you favor explosiveness and a higher ceiling, go with Surface Defense (V). All have their pluses and minuses.
The Executor: Holotheatre site, which you start, also boosts your activation by +1 if Vader or Emperor are on the table, +2 if both - not including the +1 generation from Palpatine himself. Without putting its own battleground on the table, HD can get to an astounding 15/0 activation ratio (13/0 with the Map SI since it likely won't run the Blockade Flagship: Bridge) before additional Dark Jedi are added. (started locations (3) + Vanee (1) + Bridge/Security Tower/Castle (6) + Vader and Palpatine (3) + Wipe Them Out, All Of Them (1) + self (1).
From there, HD runs several cards to boost its activation:
Sonic Bombardment (V) (3-4x), Cloud City: Security Tower (Prison), and Cloud City: Downtown Plaza
Sonics should belong in every HD deck for several reasons. First, it pulls from your Reserve deck two locations including a 2/2 exterior site in the Plaza. This is /\ text, meaning it can be done at any time and is thus more reliable than Accelerates for getting your locations out of your Reserve deck - regardless of whether you want to deploy the Plaza, for example. Second, it can pull Tarkin’s Bounty (V), which can be used as a Tunnel Vision and when on Tarkin can look at the top of card of a reserve deck. Third, it can reduce forfeits and power of unique aliens by 1, and 3 if Chewie - which is good to help get more than one character off the table. It also prevents Leia, Rebel Princess from cancelling Force drains where you have an Imperial. Fourth, it is a used interrupt and can be cycled. It also tends not to get grabbed despite its cyclability, whereas Accelerates do tend to get grabbed - especially when you’re trying to cycle them late if Light side has an open grabber.
The CC: Downtown Plaza has a couple of other benefits. If you lose the Security Tower, you can retrieve it during your control phase. As a mobile site, it works with Crush the Rebellion to limit your opponent to 2 battle destiny draws. As an exterior site, you can drop Blizzard 4 on it to pull Vader. Watch out for Rescue in the Clouds, which allows Light side to cancel a destiny draw targeting the defense or ability of your character at a mobile site (weapon swings; Choke Vader; Force Lightning being the big ones). Also watch out for Vergence in the Force if you drain for 3 there.
Vanee (2-3x) and Mustafar: Vader’s Castle
Vanee is an excellent character in all three starting interrupts because he can go to the Holotheater for one Force, can then activate a Force, and one per game pull a card with “Vader” in the title into hand. Just remember to do the pull before you activate to prevent the (however small) risk of activating the card you want.
This pull could mean a Vader persona, his lightsaber, or most importantly, Mustafar: Vader’s Castle (which then gets you Vader). He protects Visage and draws on his own, meaning Light side has to deploy at least two characters to the Holotheater if they want to cancel Visage (because Light side will forfeit first in a battle they initiate).
We Must Accelerate Our Plans (2-3x) (WMAOP) and Blockade Flagship: Bridge
Accelerates allow you to \/ the Bridge, take effects from your Reserve deck for three Force, and cycle themselves by pulling a card with “Podracer” in its game text - which Accelerates conveniently have. The \/ text can only be done in your deploy phase, meaning you can on occasion activate the Bridge and miss the site pull.
I don’t recommend running Accelerates with the Map SI - you’re already getting +1 activation and don’t need the extra two. Plus it makes you tighter on deck slots. Definitely put this in in 12 Card as it can pull IAYF(V). If you start Wipe Them Out, All of Them, also consider dropping these, too.
Imperial Arrest Order & Secret Plans and one to two 1/0 docking bays (Coruscant; Death Star II; Executor)
IAO allows you to \/ docking bays from reserve, allows you to search your during your turn for said docking bays, and gets you protection from Nabrun Leids. You have to start it, so you’re only playing it in a Prepared Defenses start. The consistency the docking bay pulls is nice, but I’d rather have something else to start and save those two deck slots that would be docking bays for something else.
Wipe Them Out, All Of Them
Most commonly seen in Court of the Vile Gangster and Agents Of The Black Sun, Wipe is underrated in Hunt Down where your general goal is to Vader down turn 1 - thus hitting triggering Wipe for your opponent's turn in addition to having additional activation from the Holotheatre. This extra Force on your opponent's turn should not be underestimated. It all-but ensures you have Force available T1 for your grabber, or on your opponent's turn to pay for an interrupt due to Draw Their Fire or swing vs. Luke Skywalker, Rebel Scout (V). Particularly good late game when you may need more Force per turn cycle than you can activate. Credit for this goes to gogolen.
Conduct Your Search
Conduct Your Search pulls the 2/2 Endor: Back Door from your Reserve Deck, as well as Blast Door Controls (which cancels some pesky protective interrupts from Light side such as Rebel Barrier, Blast the Door Kid, and Narrow Escape). Since the text on Conduct your Search is a \/, you must deploy whatever targeted card is there (or fail and give up a verify). This means that unlike Sonic Bombardment (V) \/ the Cloud City: Downtown Plaza into hand to be held on to until needed (or not), you could leave yourself exposed. Use at your own risk.
Kuat Drive Yards (V)
Useful for \/ Mustafar (for two Force), which then pulls (for one Force) Mustafar: Vader’s Castle. That’s three of the four Force you activate on your first turn, and guarantees you will get pinged by Visage on each side’s first turn. Useful if you want to save card slots on Vanee and can expend a starting effect slot, but likely not worth it. HD generally does not run enough space to play its own system and would rather fight on the ground, but you can play matching ships if you want, generally Saber 1 and Slave I, SOF and their matching pilots. Tacobill is the proponent of this set-up.
Establish Control (V)
Useful for \/ Fondor (or if you run Blockade Support Ship as part of your space package, Corulag), which helps reduce the forfeit of corvettes (Tantive IV (V), Corellian Corvette, or Lightmaker). Establish Control (V) also has the added benefit of not having a cost, but in exchange this \/ text is a once-per-game action.
- Heavy hitters (lightsaber users)
- Other Dark Jedi
- Support/utility characters
- Other Weapon Users
- Destiny Adders
- Undercover Spy Protection
- Persona Variants
Darth Vader has at least four solid personas you could see play in HD. You can run anywhere between 3 and 6 Vaders in a deck depending on how many personas you run, although 3-4 total total over one or two personas is more common.
Darth Vader, Emperor’s Enforcer
Set 9 gave Dark side perhaps the best all-around Vader. Others are better at specific things, but Enforcer is solid at all times. Every bit of his text is excellent.
He can once per turn cancel the game text of Light side characters of ability <4 until end of turn - essentially every Light side utility character (Chewie with Bowcaster; Solo; Hera; Lando, Scoundrel; Rose; Threepio with Parts Missing; Jerus Jannick; etc.). His is immune to attrition <6, more than any other Vader except Lord Vader. He can initiate battles for free, which will save you Force throughout the game - particularly early and late when Force management can be at a premium. He is immune to Clash of Sabers and Sorry About The Mess (and its combo with Blaster Proficiency, although he is not immune to a blaster firing at him whose destiny draw has been boosted by SATM & BP’s used function), two of Light side’s strongest battle interrupts. He is deploy 6, meaning you don’t need IAYF(V) to reset his deploy cost to 6. He is forfeit 8, which is solid. Lastly, he’s a good pilot in a pinch. His biggest weakness is likely that he isn’t immune to Uncontrollable Fury.
Lord Vader is perhaps your best option if you are anticipating Light side mains since he is defense 8 and adds 1 to each of his weapon swings when armed with a lightsaber. With Mace and Qui-Gon rising in popularity due to Jedi Business, this text helps greatly. He’s also immune to attrition less than 6 and Uncontrollable Fury.
He is deploy 8 naturally (reset to 6 with IAYF(V)), so while you can play him as your only Vader if you start that effect, it is riskier to run more than about one (or two at most) copy(ies) of him in 12-card.
Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith (Choke Vader)
Choke Vader is a solid anti-scrubs Vader because he can remove Light side characters from battle - anything other than a Jedi Master, depending on the draw as HD decks run a couple of 7 destiny cards). He requires good tracking, though, or Sneak Attack (V).
He has a couple of drawbacks. He’s only immune to attrition <5 and is not a leader and thus won’t work with Stormtrooper Garrison, Tarkins’s Bounty (V), or Overseeing It Personally (V). Watch out fo K’Lor’Slug (V), which protects Light side’s characters from premature removal from battle.
Darth Vader with Lightsaber (EPP Vader)
EPP Vader is an efficient choice if you don’t run IAYF(V) or his lightsaber. He is probably more splashable and better against decks that don’t swing weapons to reduce the forfeit of our surrounding characters. The lack of a DS equivalent to A Jedi’s Resilience makes him less attractive, too. He is also not a leader, similarly to Choke Vader. Deploy 6, only forfeit 7 (in contrast, EPP Obi is deploy 5, forfeit 8 but power 5 to EPP Vader's 6).
Darth Maul with Lightsaber (EPP Maul)
The strongest character in the game, swinging twice, and pairs well with other Dark side cards: Dr. E & Ponda Boba, Maul Strikes, I Have You Now, Sniper & Dark Strike, You Are Beaten, etc. He is often used reactively and paired with Ghhhk to suicide him into a stack of Light side characters to hit two and clear another (or two) from attrition. Cards to watch out for when he hits the table: Keep Your Eyes Open (V); A Jedi’s Concentration; Mindful of the Future (V); Antillies Maneuver (V); Bren Derlin (V). Two to three copies is standard.
Lord Maul With Lightsaber (EPP Lord Maul)
Part of the so-called tweak set/vset 12 release, this persona of Maul provides two interesting benefits: In exchange for deploying for 6 and only swinging once, you get two interesting benefits as long as he isn't Disarmed: your battle destiny draws here are +1, and if present may add 1 to Force drains. This has obvious benefits if you're going to draw multiple battle destinies (such as I Have You Now) or need to crack a big immunity (<6 on Luke Skywalker, Rebel Scout (V), e.g.). The drain bonus means you may play him as a 1x and deploy him late to boost drains when he can't be easily contested. And swinging only once may open up Lightsaber Parry as a defensive option. How he is used may wait to be seen.
Kylo Ren with Lightsaber (EPP Kylo)
Set 9 gave us EPP Kylo. His text is very standard for an EPP, except he thematically causes one Force loss if he hits (you lose one if you miss, so pick your targets carefully). Excellent 1x character, perhaps 2x if you use the Map SI (or Spectre Of The Supreme Leader) to better guarantee a used pile pull during the game. He is excellent for clearing out a small stack of characters who are sitting at your Meditation Chamber. Nice power 6, too - same as EPP Vader.
The creation of this persona also enabled Dark side to use Mara Jade in VT-49 Decimator over Mara Jade with Lightsaber, if they so choose.
Mara Jade with Lightsaber (EPP Mara)
Standard EPP text and she should be power 5 most of the time. She moves for free (by herself) with Elis Helrot if Luke or Emperor on the table. She is an excellent 1x, and her usage is likely dependent on your space package.
She is also a split alien/Imperial, so you can start her (often with Dr. E combo) at the Audience Chamber vs. Profit.
Not a weapon user per se, but he is most often used reactively to steal Luke’s Lightsaber after it goes lost. An interesting choice now that vset 11 has given us Dark Jedi Lightsaber (V).
A defensive specialist, one part of one of the best compact space packages (Emperor’s Shuttle and Grand Moff Tarkin (V) being the remainder of the trio), and undercover spy protection. Destiny 6. Force Lightning is extremely useful to kill an undercover spy, reduce defense values of opponent’s Jedi, or to kill a utility character (or a Jedi with good tracking). Usually 1-3x.
High immunity, deploys for 6, and may be targeted by Force Lightning. A defensive specialist, too, with his /\ text. With Palpatine also on the table, you cycle Force Lightning used for him during battles. He’s also useful for this Dark Jedi Master Force icon. Not always used, but never more than 1x.
Supreme Leader Snoke.
High immunity, deploys for five, but low power (3). Useful at 1x with the Map SI for the used pile pull or as forfeit fodder (8), but likely not worth running outside of that. His ping damage will likely go unused in HD, and you could potentially strategically lose him in a battle to strategically increase Kylo’s power elsewhere, including on your next turn.
Another reactive specialist, who can make ‘hit’ characters immediately lost. Often paired with Darth Maul with Lightsaber to blow out a site.
A few additional cards to watch out for in addition to the usual EPP Maul counters: Odin Nesloor & First Aid combo (making a character immune to Dr. Evazan for remainder of turn), Impressive, Most Impressive (V) (which will allow Light side to take the first weapons phase action, and potentially remove him from battle), plus any card that protects against weapons (A Jedi’s Concentration and Keep Your Eyes Open (V) being the big two) or keep him out of battle (Rebel Barrier). Often 1x, sometimes 2x, but maybe a card to drop if you are anticipating vehicles (OA) or lots of weapons hate. In a pinch, also a pilot who draws battle destiny if unable to otherwise (per game text) with solid forfeit (6).
Note: these guys are smugglers, so Quite a Mercenary (V) cancels their game text. This can lead to a blow-out if this leaves you without the ability to draw battle destiny, such as when they are alone. (h/t Apollyon)
Grand Moff Tarkin (V) (GMT (V))
Perhaps the best utility character HD could ask for. He’s a solid pilot, adds a battle destiny with Vader or an Imperial leader, and allows you to re-draw a bad destiny if it less than the number of Imperials here. Destiny 3 unless modifying is prevented. He works with Code Clearance to boost his forfeit to a Jedi-level 9. Should be 2x. Almost always better than non-V, whose primary usage appears to be in Epic Duel HD to initiate a duel during battle, and then use Tarkin to cancel one of Light side’s duel destinies. Watch out for Uncontrollable Fury, which will prevent him from cancelling a bad destiny draw.
Royal Guard twins: Kir Kanos (V) and Myn Kyneugh (V)
These two often go in decks together. Both have useful defensive functions in addition to being ability 3 (for Code Clearance). Although they are not pilots, they often go as passengers on ships as forfeit fodder. If you can only slot in one, Kir Kanos (V) is generally better, and sometimes he appears as a 2x.
Kir Kanos (V)’s best function is the once-per-game cancellation of an interrupt during battle if he is with another Imperial. This includes interrupts that are just actions, such as A Jedi’s Concentration or Blast The Door, Kid! He uploads a royal guard when deployed (so he pulls Myn Kyneugh (V)).
Myn Kyneugh (V) allows you to pull a shield when deployed, and once per game can place an interrupt out of play. This functions as a second grabber for pesky one-off interrupts, and it can be used against interrupts that are immune to Sense. He’s a leader, too.
Mitth’raw’nuruodo (New Thrawn)
Useful for protecting Emperor’s Shuttle from X-Wing Cannons. Works with Code Clearance and Stormtrooper Garrison, too. Meta specific call, but he’s a leader so also works with GMT (V). Pullable by Jabba’s Space Cruiser (V).
The Grand Inquisitor
A solid mini-main with balanced stats. His following and Force loss text is interesting. He’s also a pilot and a leader.
Vanee is discussed above in the Starting Interrupt section. 2-3x is a good choice. He’s a destiny 3, too.
The newest EPP who thematically is better at hitting Jedi than their lesser-ability brethren. Another Bounty Hunter to pair with Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter and efficient stats, particularly her deploy (4 Force), for an EPP. Alien decks love her, and so should the Hunt Down player.
Dengar with Blaster Carbine (V)
Your best character for shooting at vehicles. He shoots twice per battle. Only one destiny draw, at +1 al beit, so he’s great for clearing scrubs, too. Solid 1x. Works with Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter to add a destiny.
Be careful with him, as he doesn’t draw on his own and it can be devastating if the character with him who would draw destiny gets hit with Clash of Sabers, Sorry About the Mess combo, or otherwise removed from battle.
Another of your characters who can shoot vehicles or cause Force loss from hitting, two in this case. He draws on his own and has immunity to attrition <4. He shoots at +1, so you can track around a six or a seven to hit Jedi. He does not reduce forfeits, so pay attention to who you shoot with him (and perhaps swing at that character with a lightsaber, too). Solid 1x.
A third character to shoot at vehicles, this time at +2 (at characters, too). He is far weaker than P-59 in that he doesn’t draw on his own and his Force loss is one (balanced by him shooting at +2), but he does add a destiny if you can pair him with P-59 and another character who can draw. If OA is rampant, put him in. Otherwise, leave him out. Like P-59, he doesn’t reduce forfeits. Note that when with P-59 (and only that droid), you don’t get two battle destiny - just one. But add something with 4 or more ability, and yes, you get two.
Asajj Ventress with Lightsabers
Less useful than EPP Mara or EPP Kylo because she does not reset forfeits to zero (and swinging and hitting one target and making it forfeit -2 is underwhelming at best). But if you can pair her with Dr. E. and drop the duo in front of a pair of scrubs, Dr. E. can make both immediately lost.
Probably better as a 1x in Map where you have First Order Stormtroopers to reduce defense values. It’s not like HD is hurting for effective EPP options, either.
4-LOM (virtual and non-V)
Both are useful. The virtual 4-LOM will help you cycle through your deck, track cards, etc. Non-virtual is great for cancelling gametext of EPP characters or LSJK’s immunity. His puller, Double Back (V), is only a destiny 3 through, despite its generall usefulness.
GMT (V) is discussed above.
Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter (BFBH)
There is almost no non-permanent weapon character better a piling on damage than BFBH, and he synergizes wonderfully in a deck whose characters are almost entirely made up of a) Vader; b); Imperials; or c) bounty hunters. He’s solid in space, too, when on Palpatine’s shuttle with the Emperor aboard. He’s expensive and so he generally doesn’t stay on the table long. Watch out for Perimeter Scan (V), Mace Windu (V), and anything which could eliminate his support characters as he doesn’t draw on his own.
If you run Slave I, Symbol of Fear, Boba Fett (V) is useful instead.
Used primarily for weapons protection for your Imperials and for adding a destiny when with an Imperial leader. Expensive, and again, watch out for Perimeter Scan (V). It’s also vulnerable to Obi-Wan Kenobi (non-V) (rare), Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi (V) (rarer still), or Move Along and Obi-Wan’s Cape (virtually non-existent).
Direct Orson Krennic
Krennic has two primary purposes. First, he pings (for free!) for two Force loss during your control phase when present with an undercover spy. This leaves Light side with a choice - break the cover of their spy and risk a beatdown, or take the Force loss. Second, he is useful versus primarily WHAP and OA because when at a site, he prevents your battle destinies from being modified or canceled by your opponent. He is also a leader, ability 3 (for Code Clearance), and a pilot.
The Dark side's version to Corran Horn. Useful for breaking the cover of a spy, primarily. She is also a leader, draws on her own, and has token attrition immunity (<3). She often goes late to an opponent’s 2/0 site to threaten a big drain if you have satisfied Simple Tricks and Nonsense (or Light side can’t play it). Her only drawback is that she is not a pilot.
Similar to to Ysanne Isard, but has slightly more power (1), gets a small power boost (+2) if with a smuggler or wookiee, and draws battle destiny on its own. Ysanne is likely better.
Useful only if you run Slave I, Symbol of Fear as part of your space package. Pullable by Double Back (V).
Darth Maul, Lone Hunter
Part of the so-called tweak set/vset 12, why is this monster of a character here and not above? Because it is incredibly card intensive to run another Dark Jedi with a matching lightsaber, and not advisable to run They Will Be No Match For You (V) only since it is Vader you want to keep on the table - and a matching lightsaber on him makes coming at him more menacing for LS. But if you're expecting No Idea or heavy LS mains and their 2x Padme Naberrie (V), this may be an option. The ability to cancel Blaster Deflection, Amidala's gametext, and prevent his weapon destinies from being cancelled (No Idea's 7 side; I Can Handle Myself; etc.) or modified (They're Tracking Us (V); Wesa Gotta Grand Army; Dodge) is huge.
Grand Moff Tarkin
The virtual version of GMT is generally more useful, as discussed above. Non-V is more of a niche character for HD dueling to cancel a duel destiny during a duel you initiate during battle (sneaky, eh?).
Useful for suspending Honor of the Jedi when he is at a battleground. Also useful for Force-loss text for winning a battle. He’s not a pilot, though.
Useful to set up tracking (and the cheaper option for those playing with physical cards), cycle through your deck, but his place is generally more useful in BHBM Skulls. The self-pinging in a deck that already does it via Visage is a little much.
- Battle destiny limiters: Evacuation Control (V), Rebel Leadership (V), Yoda, Keeper of the Peace, and Tatooine (EP1).
- Light side’s space weapons, primarily X-Wing Cannons to shoot them lost.
- Cards that cancel immunity, such as Lightmaker or Corellian Slip (V) (which cancels game text).
- Simply being overpowered.
Emperor’s Personal Shuttle
Combined with Emperor Palpatine and Grand Moff Tarkin (V) (or Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter), this ship is fully immune and draws three battle destinies. In a deck like HD, that usually means something in the low-to-middle double digits for attrition, enough to break the immunity of any Light side ship. When this hits the table, Light will pull the Goldenrod defensive if they haven’t already so be mindful of that - HD is a deck where Goldenrod can get multiple uses. 1-2x (with 2-3x Palpatine and 2x GMT(V) is common).
Extremely vulnerable to X-Wing Cannons since it is only maneuver 3 and battle-destiny limiters by Light side due to its low power of 2.
Maul’s Sith Infiltrator
Fully immune with Maul aboard and can cloak, meaning it does not participate in battles until your next turn. Cloaking is useful to occupy a battleground system and satisfy Battle Order/Battle Plan. Against OA, it is helpful to prevent LS from controlling two Jakku battleground locations during your control phase. Nice destiny 6 and maneuver 5. Just remember that Maul, while a pilot, doesn’t add anything to a ship’s power.
Again, it is vulnerable to X-Wing Cannons. Watch out for Melas (V), Obi-Wan in Radiant VII, and Theron Nett (V), each of which will prevent the ship from cloaking.
Mara Jade in VT-49 Decimator
Adds a battle destiny when alone and piloted by an Imperial. Nominal immunity of <4, so throw some forfeit fodder (the royal guard twins with Code Clearance out, e.g.) on it as it will get broken. A solid choice if you run EPP Kylo over EPP Mara.
Zuckuss in Mist Hunter
Useful offensively to catch Light side off guard if they leave a ship without 7 ability piloting (usually two characters), as it resets Light side's battle destiny to zero. This can also temporarily hold space while Light side builds a combination of cards to set-up space. Expensive (6) and a destiny 1, and pairs well with non-v 4-LOM with Concussion Rifle. Watch out for a Rebel Barrier, Corellian Slip (V), or cards which create attrition, such as Luke Skywalker, Rebellion's Hope or Acclamator-Class Assault Ship, as the reset of Light side's battle destiny means they still have battle destiny, and thus can have attrition. Vulnerable to also simply being overpowered, even if it resets battle destiny. More of an offensive choice vs. a defensive option, and better in Scum and Villainy decks such as MKOS or Court. Often useful late game when your opponent can't put together the required piloting ability.
Slave I, Symbol of Fear
Useful only if you run Boba Fett (V) and Short Range Fighters & Watch Your Back to pull the ship. But stack another pilot on there and you have a solid space foundation. Passenger capacity for forfeit fodder, too. Destiny 3 is nice.
Elis in Hinthra
Another independent ship, and useful for adding an icon at LS’s system to increase the drain by 1 and for pulling a smuggler, usually Wooof (V), to protect the ship from Light side’s destiny draws. Usually limited to Court. An interesting choice for token space if you run Jabba’s Space Cruiser (V), New Thrawn, and have a way to check your Reserve deck.
Recommended in every deck
I Am Your Father(V)
Vader’s effect reset his forfeit (good for Lord Vader), \/ his lightsaber, deploy his ‘saber from lost, and ping your opponent when his lightsaber hits. Either started or 2-3x in 12-card. Destiny 6, so you don’t mind if a copy or two float. Skip it if you are running EPP Vader. Pullable by You Are Beaten, too.
Gets back a key card if well-timed. Also shuts down Honor of the Jedi, which can ruin your day if Light side can get a Jedi down. Pullable by WMAOP and Surface Defense (V).
Visage of the Emperor
Always good to have at least one back-up copy of this, as most Light side decks outside of No Idea run a couple of spies or characters able to deploy directly to the Holotheatre. (Corran Horn; Jyn Erso; Jar Jar Binks; and/or Captain Cassian Andor being the most common). A floating 7, pullable by Master Move (regular and combo) and WMAOP, too. Cancellable by Out of Commission & Transmission Terminated. Excellent to put back with Drop (V), Point Man (V), or 4-LOM (V).
Blast Door Controls
A pesky effect that shuts down defensive Light side interrupts like Rebel Barrier, Blast The Door, Kid!, and Narrow Escape, all of which are a pain for HD. Vulnerable to Alter (V).
Blaster Rack (V)
Likely obsolete, even post-errata, in HD with the creation of They Will Be No Match For You (V). Mara Jade, The Emperor’s Hand can \/ her lightsaber and that leaves only Count Dooku with a matching lightsaber for using this.
Crush The Rebellion
Extremely useful for cancelling Clash of Sabers, for /\ I Have You Now or Evader & Monnok combo (which you can then put back via 4-LOM (V)). If you run (or specifically, rely on) Presence Of The Force, start this to protect Presence from being cancelled by Clash.of Sabers, which is a 1-2x in LS mains decks. Also protects you from more than two battle destiny draws at mobile locations, such as Cloud City: Downtown Plaza. Startable.
Do They Have A Code Clearance
Startable effect that boosts the forfeit of unique Imperials of ability = 3 by +3 allows you to grab and stack an opponent’s interrupt or utinni effect they just used to retrieve Force. (The timing of this is to grab it after they do the retrieval.) For each card stacked, it reduces each of their future retrieval by one. Most useful for protecting against Jedi Levitation (V) lost and Walker Sighting (V), but other usages include Knights of the Old Republic (lost function), Starship Levitation & Effective Repairs (lost function) or Harvest.
The forfeit boost gives your ability 3 Imperials (Tarkin, Krennic, the royal guard twins Myn Kyuengh and Kir Kanos, among others) Dark Jedi-level forfeit values. This forfeit is often used (particularly the Guards) as passengers on a ship, in a walker, or on the ground against a deck that isn’t going to reduce character forfeits. This benefit was so strong in ROPS (V) that the deck received an errata related to it.
There is also a shield version of Code Clearance to protect against the retrieval, but lacks the forfeit boost and needs to be out when Light side plays the retrieving interrupt. Make sure to play it as your next top-level action if you see Owen & Beru Lars go to Tatooine: Lar’s Moisture Farm (v or non-v), e.g. The effect is recommended to not play if you don't start it because you will have a dead card if you get into a situation where you need to play the shield and the effect isn't on the table.
Battles are often decided by interrupts, and requiring Light side to save Force to play those interrupts can cause them to deploy less and/or draw less. The damage (and less so the) retrieval (the latter of which if you can satisfy Simple Tricks & Nonsense) it does are just gravy. If you start Establish Control (V) or Kuat Drive Yards (V), consider starting the combo with Battle Order, too. Startable, but not recommended to do so.
Image of the Dark Lord (V)
A destiny 6 effect that reduces drains at a planet site by 1, 2 if Vader controls an adjacent site. Pullable by Masterful Move (plain and combo). Very useful if Light side doesn’t want to come at your stack of Jedi and runs adjacent sites. Vulnerable to Out of Commission & Transmission Terminated combo. Watch out for Saw Gerrara, Leia of Alderaan (V), or Underworld Contacts, each of which can prevent drains from being modified.
Imperial Justice (V)
Useful for protecting your characters and ships from multiple battle destiny draws and cards which add to draws (Anakin Skywaker or Like My Father Before Me). Watch out for Smoke Screen and All Wings Report In & Darklighter Spin, which will substitute battle destinies and get around the limits.
Much Anger In Him
When paired with Maul aboard his Sith Infiltrator, you can ping Light side by cloaking and maintaining presence at the target’s location for either four Force per turn or require that character to move away and into a worse situation.
Presence of the Force
Useful for deploying to opponent’s non-battleground, such as JCC, BNC, or Yavin 4: War Room (V). Also useful for setting up Search and Destroy versus a Light side space deck that doesn’t play battleground sites. 1-2x if at all; its low destiny (2) hurts it here. If you play/rely on this, also start Crush the Rebellion to protect it against Clash of Sabers.
Search and Destroy
Useful versus space deck who don’t maintain a ground presence, such as Hidden Base or Y4Ops. It can be hard to satisfy when you only run one battleground site, but that’s where Presence of the Force comes in.
Something Special Planned For Them (V)
A second grabber you can start. Useful for pesky interrupts Light side may use turn 1, such as Rebel Leadership (V) or Rescue In The Clouds. Very commonly started in a Prepared Defenses start.
Spectre Of The Supreme Leader
Useful destiny 7 that allows you to get back Kylo (EPP version most likely here) and protects you from Force loss from his lightsaber. Beware: it cancels The Phantom Menace.
A destiny 5 Tunnel Vision, pullable by WMAOP and also Sonic Bombardment (V) (lost function). On Tarkin you can check the top of any reserve deck, which is useful in itself to know what you’re going to deal with for a Force Lightning, weapon swing, etc. 1x.
The Phantom Menace
Like Visage, a floating 7, pullable by Master Move (regular and combo) and WMAOP, and boosts Maul’s defense and gives him immunity to attrition when he’s with a Jedi. If Maul is on table, you can also use it to search your reserve for a Neimodian (who isn’t there).
Whether you use this simply for the tracking or its on-table effects, it’s a useful. Remember to pay attention to its position in your deck if both it and Maul are on the table and Maul is lost, as this effect then goes used. 1-2x.
They Will Be No Match For You (V)
Set 9 gave us a startable effect for Maul to easily get access to his (double bladed) lightsaber from Reserve or put this effect out-of-play to deploy it from lost. Also opens up the non-permanent weapon Maul personas. Thematic in that you can move him in front of a Jedi. When combined with Mustafar: Vader’s Castle, it could make an (un)welcome party for a Jedi.
Not much is better than an enclosed vehicle that with deploy 5, power 8, draws on its own, and the ability to \/ an Imperial warrior into its passenger capacity for free (or two if Goldenrod is out, which it usually us). Must-play for another way to get Vader (or a specific utility character, such as GMT(V), primarily) out. Watch out for Chewie with Bowcaster or Leia’s Blaster Rifle (on Leia), as both can shoot at vehicles and the defense value here (4) is poor. Enclosed so it protects your characters aboard from weapons and Ice Storm on Hoth, Sandwhirl on Tatooine, etc. Nice destiny 4, too. 1-2x here.
A Dark Time For The Rebellion (V)
An excellent utility card that allows you to activate a Force, add/subtract one from opponent’s destiny draw, or prevent opponent from modifying or cancelling battle destiny draws (unless being redrawn) until end of turn. Extra bonus for pinging TRM. 1x, 2x if you expect WHAP, OA, TRM, or HITCO (to ping TRM and prevent LMFBM from adding a to DS2 Luke’s battle destiny draws). Excellent against Wedge, Red Squadron Leader or Commander Wedge (V), too. Some decks have gone up to 3x when heavy TRM was expected.
Cold Feet (V)
A cycleable shield puller and prevents Light side from removing just-lost characters from their lost pile using A Jedi’s Resilience or Old Ben. Doesn’t work versus Ben Kenobi, Useful for cancelling Mantellian Savrip, which sees play in Diplo.
Evader & Monnok
Keep your opponent’s hand size in check, or play it lost to see what you’re up against in opponent’s hand. Useful only if you run Crush The Rebellion, which you can then use to cycle the card via 4-LOM (V).
Permits you to transport your characters from one location to another at any time outside of battle. This can be used offensively to setup a beatdown, or defensively to protect against one. Be sure to have or save the Force for it, since HD decks are known for high destiny draws. Flows in and out of the meta given Light side’s use of Insurrection (plain or combo), which limits this to exterior sites and your move phase. Vulnerable to Quite A Mercenary, original and virtual, the former of which can lead to blow out.
Force Field (V)
Protects your big hitters from weapons, and can protect the utility characters against permanent weapons (for a cost, and as a lost interrupt). 0-2x is common. A good target for Light side mains to grab.
Useful to cycle a used 5 to target a character present with Emperor, reduce the defense value of Jedi, or make a scrub character (or a Jedi with a tracked 6 or 7) or undercover spy lost. 1-2x, with a second copy usually feeling like a 61st card.
Force Push (V)
Two important functions here, and both are subject to the card’s once-per-game text: place two cards in your hand to take any card in your Force pile into hand or use two Force and exclude your Dark Jedi and one character of equal or lesser ability from battle. The first ability acts like a Tunnel Vision that adds you one more Force in your Force pile, and can allow a T1 Vader if opponent gives you a battleground site to start.
I often find myself looking for a key card either for a battle or to put together a combination, such as Emperor/Shuttle/Tarkin. The second ability is best used either as a mini-Ghhhk to get your lone Dark Jedi out of a battle. Particularly useful with Maul if you can hit a character or two and keep him from be hit; excluding him from battle will immediately end the battle and any ‘hit’ characters will go lost. Be wary of the exclusion text and the Weapons Display shield, but Imperial Decree (V) can help with that. A definite 1x. Consider it as a 2x is there if something really important to. your deck which you can't start or pull.
Allows you to cancel all remaining battle damage if you have forfeited everything you have in a battle. Used defensively to prevent taking overflow from a beatdown or defensively to throw Maul into a pack of Light side characters and take out as many as he can.
Use the combo Ghhhk & Those Rebels Won't Escape Us (1-2x, but it’s not pullable by Masterful Move) if you are worried about Nabrun Leids and don’t run another of its counters, (you don’t run a capital starship to worry about Landing Claw, but see Jabba’s Space Cruiser (V).). It's also nice to cancel a 'react,' such as from Finn.
Leave a Ghhhk out at your peril.
I Have You Now
Allows your Dark Jedi to add a battle destiny if in battle with a Rebel of ability >2, two if that Rebel is Luke. Cancelled by Hear Me Baby, Hold Together (V), which almost every Light side deck runs. Does not work against EP7 Luke, who is not a Rebel. Pullable by Crush The Rebellion, which can be started.
Imbalance & Kintan Strider
Three uses for this used interrupt that is a 0-1x.
First, it cancels Blaster Proficiency and thus Sorry About The Mess & Blaster Proficiency, protecting your characters from being removed during opponent’s control phase or during battle.
Second, it protects against retrieval, requiring your opponent to lose one-half of the Force retrieved (minimum of one). You can play this after each Force is retrieved, so wait to play it against an opponent retrieving multiple Force until they have completed all retrieval to maximize your damage or use it to bury a card mid-retrieval action if you see something on top of Light side’s lost pile you don’t want them to get back. Most of the time you will be pinging Light side for only one Force loss, but against Profit (5 Force retrieved), a Celebration, or MBO (3 Force retrieved from Great Shot, Kid!) the Force loss could be slightly larger.
Third, if opponent just lost a character, it allows you to lose a Force to retrieve into hand the topmost non-character of ability <6 (so non-Dark Jedi) that isn’t a maintenance character or has a permanent weapon. Think utility characters like Tarkin or Krennic. Be careful to lose a non-character card to pay the cost for this card, otherwise you may end up retrieving into hand the character you just inadvertently lost.
Lana Dobreed & Sacrifice
A set 9 text-heavy combo used interrupt with four functions that deserves a spot.
First, it is a mini-Ghhhk in that it protects a just-hit character from having its forfeit reduced for remainder of turn. This is free if the hitting weapon is a permanent weapon, otherwise it costs 1 Force. Pairs nicely with Code Clearance and keeping your Dark Jedi on the table when your opponent swings at GMT (V).
Second, it cancels Disarmed (either immediately or when deployed). Your characters are vulnerable to Rebel Barrier + Disarmed (pulled by Wokling (V)), and this messes with Light side’s plans.
Third, it cancels a ‘react.’ Common Light side reacts include Rebel Reinforcements, Finn, Dodge, Red 8 (V), Spiral, and Run Luke, Run! In a deck whose ability to play Sense is limited by the zero side of the objective (when face up), the ability to cancel a ‘react’ is a welcome addition, particularly in current meta.
Fourth, it is a limited Elis Helrot that can during your move phase transport any or all of your characters to an exterior or battleground site. Unlike with Elis Helrot when Insurrection/Imperial Arrest Order is out, you can use this text to transport to an interior battleground site. It isn't also affected by Quite A Mercenary (original or virtual).
Dark side's near-mirror of A Jedi's Concentration, only a destiny 4 instead of 5. Not used as much because of the usage of EPP Maul, but this probably an underused interrupt to protect Vader, especially if you can draw multiple destinies.
Masterful Move & Endor Occupation
Useful for taking Image of the Dark Lord(V), Visage of the Emperor, The Phantom Menace, Spectre of the Supreme Leader, or your Ghhhk into hand. Also cancels the Celebrations, and will often get grabbed by QMC or Diplo if they have a way to get the Celebration back (i.e. via Effective Repairs & Starship Levitation or Obi-Wan Kenobi(V)). If you’re going to cancel a Celebration, be sure to do it right before you can bury it with a drain or other Force loss (from Visage even). 1x.
Maul’s version of I Have You Now, but limited only to Jedi instead of Rebels and one of its cancellers Strike Blocked is rarely if ever played; Mindful of the Future (V) does see play in Hyperdrive (V) or WHAP. The dueling text can’t effectively be used in HD unless you run the non-virtual They Will Be No Match For You, as it will otherwise cause your objective to be placed out of play. Its usefulness will likely rise in frequency with the creation of Jedi Business.
Point Man (V)
Two major and one lesser-used functions here. First, it allows you during any draw phase to look through your Force pile and take any card. Useful if you miss a location puller early. You need to put a card down on the bottom of your Used Pile to do so, so it allows you to track through a high destiny card, like a location puller or extra Visage. This is also good for ends of games to reduce hand size if differential matters, or if you run multiple copies of a non-cycleable card. Second, it cancels Keep Your Eyes Open(V), one of Light side (mainly scrub) decks' primary defenses against weapons. Third, move your trooper as a ‘react,’ to a site where you have a leader. In this case, your trooper is likely Stormtrooper Garrison, and you need to have adjacent (battleground) sites (which you don’t run) to make it work. 0-1x.
Sith Fury (V)
Hunt Down runs a lot of characters, and even though only a smaller number of them are destiny 1 (Vader and Maul, usually), this is useful for taking that poor destiny into hand and putting a used destiny 4 back. Part of the tweak set, so you can exchange that extra copy of Vader for an EPP Maul in your lost pile, e.g. 1-2x.
Sniper & Dark Strike
Useful for removing a character during your control phase, such an undercover spy or utility character, or removing a just hit character from battle. Dark Side’s version of Sorry About the Mess & Blaster Proficiency. Its low destiny may cause some people to play it, but its usefulness cannot be denied. Cancelled by It’s A Trap, Swing-And-A-Miss, and Strike Blocked. 0-2x. Consider using non-combo Dark Strike if you're concerned about It's A Trap! cancelling it.
Sonic Bombardment (V)
This is discussed above in the Activation Platforms section. No reason to use the non-v version.
Surface Defense (V)
A starting interrupt and discussed above. A used interrupt that \/ an effect that deploys on table and is always immune to Alter at a cost of 1 Force. If you play a lot of effects or have a key one that you need to get on the table, consider running this as a 1x.
They’re Still Coming Through!
Primarily used to cancel Rebel Barrier, It’s a Trap, and Smoke Screen, all of which are seeing play more. In a deck that wants to initiate battles, opponent’s cards that keep your characters out of battle or prevent battles need some sort of canceller. You can also use it to cycle your Force pile. It can also re-target Fallen Portal, which some Light side decks are tech'ing in for ROPS (V) or IE, or which can be played effectively in TIGIH or Profit. 0-1x.
Vader’s Anger (V)
The tweak set changed up this card a lot, effectively blanking it and giving us a completely new version. Mostly an anti-No Idea tech since it applies to all of your lightsaber swings (anywhere) (plus choke draws), protect a solo Vader from a large swarm, or cancel It's a Trap! Perhaps a good 1x right now since it's a cycleable 5 and No Idea is still a top LS deck.
We Must Accelerate Our Plans
This is discussed above in the Activation Platforms section. 2-3x.
Very NPE to steal a weapon and shielded (Only Jedi Carry That Weapon) for good reason, but useful in mains matchups where stealing a lightsaber can be game-ending. Normally when one player pulls their Weapon Levitation shield, the opponent is wise to do so on their next action. We’ll likely see more of this post-vset 11 with Dark Jedi Lightsaber (V). 0-1x.
You Are Beaten
Dark side’s version of Clash of Sabers, which sees less play because the character exclusion text is shielded by Weapons Display, which causes 2 Force loss whenever Dark side excludes a Light side character from battle. YAB causes Dark side up to five Force loss for this reason if it is played on Dark side’s turn and Light side initiated a battle at the same site next turn, and the targeted character gets excluded a second time (one for the interrupt being Lost, and two each turn for Weapons Display). For this reason it is often most effectively played during battle as Dark side’s first battle action (to exclude a key character) or to exclude a ‘hit’ character, which will send that character to the lost pile. Also /\ I Am Your Father (V), which makes it more important in 12 Card. 0-1x.
A 1/0 where Visage goes that is started with your objective. Force generation is +1 if Vader or Emperor (+2 if both) are on the table. Vanee goes here. It’s +1 drain for LS, so they will be incentivized to go here. An interesting location to drop Expand the Empire on.
Executor: Meditation Chamber
A 2/0 that is started with your objective. Its Dark side gametext is never used.
Cloud City: Security Tower (Prison)
A 2/0 interior mobile site. Neither side’s game text is relevant in HD. /\ with Sonic Bombardment (V).
Cloud City: Downtown Plaza
A 2/2 exterior mobile site. Useful to retrieve the Security Tower if you peel it early. Most games this will not hit the table, or if it does so, you will go there late to threaten a drain of 2 when LS lacks characters to defend it. /\ with Sonic Bombardment (V).
Blockade Flagship: Bridge
A 2/0 interior mobile site that is a drain -1 for LS if unless their Jedi there. LS should never put a Jedi here because when HD is on the seven side, it cannot drain or initiate battles where it has a Jedi. \/ with WMAOP.
Blockade Flagship: Hallway
A 1/1 interior mobile site that if you occupy, your Force generation is +1 and opponent’s characters may not move away from here. Opponent’s Jedi are deploy +2 (remember LMFBM’s deploy = 6 for DS2 Luke is a reset and cannot be modified). Perhaps the best 1/1 site which doesn't see play/sees little play. \/ with WMAOP. Run instead of Cloud City: Downtown Plaza. Plaza is better because you can use it to get Vader via Blizzard 4 and can pull it into hand via Sonic (V) vs. just \/'ing it.
A 2/1 system that is a drain +1 for you, makes Wookies forfeit -3 if you control, and if LS occupies, starships with any Wookies aboard are power and forfeit +2. \/ by Kuat Drive Yard (V). Play it if your HD has heavier space and runs Mustafar, otherwise expend your activation slots elsewhere.
Mustafar: Vader’s Castle
A 2/0 exterior site that once per game you can \/ Vader here. Can also move Vader between here and a battleground for 1 Force. This movement text is best used to move a just deployed here Vader to a battleground, less commonly to move Vader around from one planet to the next. Most common target for Vanee to /\ or \/ by Mustafar (for one Force). Watch out for a Rebel Barrier on the Vader you deploy with its text.
A 2/1 system, \/ by Kuat Drive Yards (V) for 2 Force that is a drain -1 for LS if Vader on the table and Amidala is not at a Mustafar location and can also \/ a Mustafar location once per turn for 1 Force. Using Kuat Drive Yards (V) is discussed above in the Activation Platforms section.
Endor: Back Door
A 2/2 exterior planet site that is \/ by Conduct Your Search, usage of which is discussed above. Watch out for Fallen Portal.
1/0 Docking Bays of Death Star II and Coruscant
Coruscant’s DB can give you access to the JCC, but watch out for Simple Tricks And Nonsense shield.
Mainly used for shutting down Threepio with Parts Showing. Nice destiny 6.
Use the original. Neither of the DS2 versions (non-virtual or virtual) are better and you’d prefer the drain bonus. The tweak set virtual version trades the drain bonus for the ability to get a destiny to attrition (swing, then place in lost pile) but it costs you a force next turn to get it back and if done on your opponent's turn, you lose the tempo of having that saber on your opponent's next turn.
Maul’s Double Bladed Lightsaber
Useful only if you are starting They Will Be No Match For You (V) to \/ it from reserve. EPP Maul is generally more efficient, but an interesting option if you run EPP Vader instead.
Mara Jade’s Lightsaber
Useful only if you play the non-EPP version of her.
Dark Jedi Lightsaber (V)
Probably a skip in HD since you don’t have a good way to pull it and there are few characters that you run who can use it that don’t already have built-in sabers (EPP’s Kylo, Maul, Mara). As noted above, an interesting reason to run Weapon Levitation.
First, occupy a battleground site (preferably with Vader to flip) and play your Come Here You Big Coward defensive shield. This will prevent any drains at the Executor sites until your opponent occupies two battlegrounds.
Second, build up a hand to blow Light side out there. EPP Mara or EPP Kylo are probably your best options here because they reset forfeits, are a 1x in your deck, and this is an opportune time to make them use their Houjix. If your goal is to redeploy Visage, you need enough characters to deploy to the Holotheatre so that Light side does not control the site after the inevitable battle.
This works best if you have a Vanee and Visage in hand, because you can deploy Vanee (as forfeit fodder), then Visage (you lose no Force for its deployment when you’re flipped), then your main character. Initiate a battle, hit one of their characters, make the other forfeited via attrition if they deployed two there. You lose your main character (Light side may opt not to draw battle destiny here in an attempt strand your EPP, and another reason to not use Maul for this), they lose their characters, and Visage lives. If they do strand someone, find your Lana Dobreed combo or Elis Helrot and move them off as soon as you can.
Third, if they do go there, be thankful because they are devoting resources - likely at least two characters to a non-battleground site that could otherwise be spent fighting you at a battleground. Light side will also be trying to satisfy Ultimatum if you get Vader and his ‘saber to your 2/2 site, so this spreads them out even more.
Adapted from my HD v. No Idea mini-primer, which was written in/for a vset 9 and 10 meta.
Messing with Skywalkers and Jedi (flip side)
Most importantly, when you are flipped your opponent may not initiate a Force drain or battle where they have a Jedi or a Skywalker. This forces interaction between the sides by punishing your opponent for going to a non-battleground with these two groups of characters - every once in a while someone while drop a spy plus an EPP Jedi to the Holotheatre against a lone Vanee while HD is flipped and realize their effort has been wasted.
It also punishes decks that do not play Luke but do play Skywalkers. OA is the prime example of this. Often HD will be flipped most if not all of the game since it flips if Vader is at a battleground site, and OA has no way to flip HD back unless Vader leaves the table. OA also generally runs 1-2 copies of its Leia persona, usually General Leia Organa, and Anakin is a 1x. Again, every once in a while the OA player will put down their Leia and/or Anakin while HD is flipped and wonder why they can’t initiate a battle or Force drain.
Note: this does not affect an opponent’s Skywalkers’ game text, so General Leia Organa is still able to retrieve Force if you meet her game text’s retrieval conditions, e.g.
Messing with Sense/Alter (both sides)
The zero side of the objective adds 4 to the destinies drawn for Sense or Alter. Doing the basic math, it means you need to draw a 1 for destiny to succeed when drawing against a Jedi, or a 1 or a 2 when drawing against a Jedi Master. This effectively takes Sense and Alter out of your decklist. Your opponent may run Alter (V) to get around this, but there is no similar equivalent for Sense. Don’t be surprised if your opponent pitches their Sense to a drain or Visage damage.
But when flipped, it prevents your opponent from playing Sense or Alter (again, Alter (V) is unaffected by this) and does not limit your ability to play either. So if you’re expecting decks that you anticipate being flipped against most or all of the game (OA or Y4Ops that don’t run Jedi come to mind), perhaps consider slotting in a single Sense to throw your opponent off guard. Unless they get a verify, they may not pull either of the Sense/Alter shields.
Ability to pick up Vader (zero side)
Of the above, the least important is the lesser used game text that allows you during your move phase to take Vader back into hand when you’re on the zero side. It’s expensive and limited as it costs four Force, guarantees you’re going to take at least two Visage pings if that’s out, and can only be done from a location you control. But if you need to move him, go for it. I’ve done it perhaps once (and only had an opponent use this text again perhaps once), when I dropped Vader down to the Holotheatre to try and do some overflow on an opponent’s lone character there (ending up drawing out their Houjix, IIRC). Moving him via Lana Dobreed and Sacrifice or Elis Helrot is the better option.
Meditating Vader (seven side)
Lastly, if your objective is flipped and Vader is at the Executor: Meditation Chamber, your opponent's battle destiny draws are -2 everywhere. This sounds great in theory, but consider what it takes to satisfy these conditions. First, you need to flip - get Vader to a battleground and not get flipped back (so no Luke or Jedi can be at a battleground). Second, you need to get Vader to the Meditation Chamber - which is not a battleground. This can be accomplished by putting Presence Of The Force on the Meditation Chamber or moving him there via Elis Helrot or Lana Dobreed & Sacrifice combo, but then you have put Vader, a character you likely run at least 3x of, at a site where you can't drain. And even if you get all of this accomplished, it can be nullified by your own cards, A Dark Time For The Rebellion (V), Imperial Justice (V), or opponent's Evacuation Control (V). It takes a special type of deck and special type of opponent (e.g. OA, which can't flip you back without killing Vader) to make this effective in any way. Don't bother with it.
Love of my life!
Padme Naberrie (V) blanks Vader’s game text. Many LS decks run at least one with many mains decks going 2x to capitalize on her synergy with their Luke and Leia personas, plus Anakin. The new Maul, Lone Hunter can help here.
HD runs numerous forfeit reducing weapons, and if they don’t fire or don’t/can’t connect, HD can have a harder time clearing out multiple characters. These primarily include: A Jedi’s Concentration; Blaster Deflection; Keep Your Eyes Open (V); I Can Take Care of Myself; of the seven-side of the They Have No Idea We're Coming/Until We Win, Or the Chances Are Spent objective (but see Vader's Anger (V)). This also includes enclosed vehicles (Dash in Rogue 12; Rogue 1; and Rogue 3 being the most popular, and Blue 11 is also in there) since you can’t swing a lightsaber at these characters.
HD also can depend on blowing out LS at a location, and these cards limit these battle destinies (which can get to five with Vader plus maintenance Boba Fett with I Have You Now vs. Luke). These limiters include: Evacuation Control (V); Yoda, Keeper Of The Peace; WHAP flip side; OA flip side; Tatooine EP1 system; Rebel Leadership (V).
Like weapons protection, if HD can’t battle away LS’s characters, it can make things difficult. This category includes: Dodge; It’s A Trap; Path of Least Resistance; Fire Extinguisher (on R2-D2); and Rebel Barrier. Thankfully, much of this movement is shielded by Firepower and First Strike can help you do some damage even if a battle is cancelled.
Out of Commission & Transmission Terminated
Out of Commission & Transmission Terminated (OOC/TT) affects Hunt Down in two ways: first, it is one of the two cards (non-combo Transmission Terminated being the other) which cancels Visage of the Emperor. This is its lost function, and generally unless a deck is specifically tech'ing agains Hunt Down, they're not going to run more than one of this. Second, as its used function, your opponent can use 1 Force to randomly put a card in your lost pile out of play. If this hits one of your characters that you run in multiples - Vader, at worst - you can't deploy other copies of that character for the remainder of the game. A good card to grab with your second grabber, particularly if your opponent opts for the Used function - repeated cycling of OOC/TT can be game-ending. If you're particularly concerned about OOC/TT, you can run one of its cancellers, This is Some Rescue, Unsalvagable (latter is used function only), or HoloNet Transmission. Holonet Transmission also has the added benefit of allowing you to take a copy of Visage of the Emperor or an Imperial from your Used Pile.