Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

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Chris Tomlin
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Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Hello everyone,

I’m looking for a bit of help and this place seems to be the best place for it!

Presumably like many here, back in the mid to late nineties I was in my teens and was an eager Star Wars CCG player. I played up until Death Star II and Reflections II.

Unfortunately at some stage after that I sold my collection. Around a couple of years ago I decided to start recollecting (but not playing) and since then have completed Premiere-Death Star II as well as all premium cards including Reflections I-III. I’m currently working on my Unlimited white border sets and my three Reflections foil sets. After that I’ll move onto the Episode I sets. I suspect this trajectory is not uncommon for returning collectors.

Along the way I have amassed a decent side collection of duplicates and decided that it would be fun to build some decks to play with one of my friends (we play several other TCG/CCG together) once we are able to do so post pandemic.

I have looked into the fantastic work that the Committee has done here, continuing and improving the game with the virtualisation of cards. However for this particular project I plan to just use cards as printed. I do not wish to cause offence by this or have it seen that I am passing over this great work as that is not the case. I would just like to create some classic decks from cards I already own in the first instance - if this project is successful then I intend for us to get into the game as it stands today.

So whilst you guys are used to discussing virtual cards on a day to day basis, I hope you will be able to make an exception and help me to create a pair of classic decks that work well against one another.

My idea is to base the two decks around Endor, with the Dark Side deck including all the Tempest walkers (and maybe some Blizzards?). I would also like it to contain Darth Vader.

The Light Side deck would have to play counterpart to this and could maybe focus on a Rebel Strike force with plenty of mains.

Having some ships and maybe the Death Star II itself alongside all this might be fun if it doesn’t dilute the theme too much.

I do have a good selection of these cards, but crucially do not have additional copies of LSJK or the Emperor for these decks.

I found some deck lists that seem to fit my criteria on another site, but wanted to check if they would work - am I allowed to post external links?

Please bear in mind I’m not looking for cutting edge meta decks or anything. Just two decks of decent power that would play well with each other.

As an aside I’d be very keen to see a Prince Xizor Black Sun / Bounty Hunter deck and a suitable Light Side deck to pair with it.

I wish I had more time to research and do this all myself, but as a new Father, time is not something I have a lot of! As a result I know I’m not providing much information and am asking for a lot in return, so huge thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to give, it is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,
Chris
Last edited by Chris Tomlin on February 22nd, 2021, 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.



arebelspy
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Re: Help needed with Legacy decks please

Post by arebelspy »

Quick point of clarification--we use the word Legacy to refer to virtual cards made between 2002 and 2014 (at which point we had a reset, wiping most of them and creating the current open era).

You're looking for a decipher only format (I think it's called classic? Though that might be non ep1 cards too--someone will come along and correct/confirm).

But if you look for "legacy" you'll be getting virtual non decipher stuff. :)

Good luck in your quest!

Chris Tomlin
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Re: Help needed with Legacy decks please

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Hey,

Thanks a lot for the guidance. I’ll amend my post title if I’m able to.

Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please

Post by DS-61-4 »

Chris, welcome back to the game!

Many of us here, for reasons of nostalgia or otherwise, enjoy playing formats that restrict the use certain sets of cards (with several of us ONLY playing Decipher and or Original Trilogy cards). Premier-DSII is the most popular (especially with an online retro tournament coming up!) but if you look on GEMP (https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/ - where games are played virtually), a whole host of non-virtual formats exist, from Premier through to nearly each major expansion.

If you poke around, there are several threads in this forum discussing decklists for non-virtual decks, with a few related to the upcoming P-DSII tournament, and many of them will point to this site: https://www.stephenskilton.com/decktech_archives/ where a forum member has very generously archived the historic decklists from the now defunct Decktech website. It might be a lot to sift through, with a whole lot of garbage and a whole lot of very specific competitive decks that are not relevant to what you are doing. Most decks are built to do well when facing a wide variety of opposing decks, which means that games with two of those types of decks will play very similarly from game to game. For your situation, variety and balance between games for the same two decks is more important, so I would suggest not using decks with objectives, and instead taking the DSII preconstructed starter decks (or their decklists), which were built for that kind of repetition and replayability, and carefully modifying them to include more mains, lightsabers, better ships, etc. I have done this exact thing in the past to teach my kids the game, and it seemed to work pretty well.

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Hi,

Thanks so much for that reply. Sounds like you know exactly what I’m after. P-DSII sounds perfect for me right now.

I must admit that I had thought to build the decks around objectives but your argument and reasoning against them makes total sense to me. I will take your advice and go the route you suggest.

I have the DSII starter decks sealed, but don’t think I want to crack them for this. I suspect I have copies of most the cards from them spare though, so I will dig up the decklists and work out what I have. I’ll post a further reply later once I’ve gone through this.

Can you advise further with any suggestions of swaps you may have made please?

Also if I’m not cracking the sealed decks, am I missing anything unique from the rulebook that is included inside?

Thanks again,
Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Ok so I’ve managed to spend a couple of hours sorting through stuff today and was pleased to find I can mostly assemble the DSII Starter Decks from my spare cards.

These are the cards I am missing;

Light Side
Endor: Great Forest. . . . . . . . . Endor/C

Dark Side
Admiral Piett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XR
Lieutenant Grond . . . . . . . . . . Endor/ U
Sergeant Tarl . . . . . . . . . . . . . Endor/ U
Dark Maneuvers . . . . . . Premiere/C
Imperial Reinforcements . . Premiere/C
Endor: Ancient Forest . . . . . . . Endor/ U
Endor: Landing Platform (Docking Bay). . . . . . . . . . Endor/C
Saber 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U
TIE Defender Mark I x3. . . . . . . Special Edition/F
Victory-class Star Destroyer x2. . . . . . . A New Hope/U
Tempest Scout x2. . . . . . . . . . Endor/ U
Blaster Rifle . . . . . . . . . Premiere/ C
Intruder Missile x2 . . Special Edition/F

My spares collection is a little strange, as there are loads of commons/uncommons I do not have duplicate copies of, but then I have 6+ copies of some rares.

Anyway, I’m not adverse to buying any of the above cards if they are good cards to keep in these decks. I was thinking that many of the generic starships could be upgraded to unique rare ones, of which I have lots. If I do that, I then need to make suitable mirror changes in the Light Side deck to keep symmetry.

Any help on how to proceed from here would be greatly appreciated. Presuming these DSII starter decks are complete, which cards are safe to cut and what are nice replacements?

I would love to get more of the unique AT-STs in there and then some mains / weapons etc.

Thanks in advance,
Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please

Post by DS-61-4 »

Thinking back, I now remember the Endor decks I made were not based on the DSII decks - they were on Endor only - and since it was for my kids, I don't think any red cards were included for simplicity. It was all the biker scouts, tons of speeder bikes, all the Tempest walkers, Vader, and weapons for each of those, versus all the Ewoks, all the Endor mains, and weapons for all of them, plus a few speeder bikes, charges, and the epic event to blow up the generator. It was super fun, but we didn't play the decks enough to tell if they were balanced.

I might have the majority of what you are missing that I can just send you. Send me a PM and I can check tonight.

But I think you're on the right path with substituting mains and other rares. Put in some rare star destroyers and star cruisers, replace the crappy pilots with better ones (Wedge vs Baron would be fun), add the DSII, and Luke and Vader with light sabers. The only way to really know if they play well and are balanced is with lots of testing.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by Chris Tomlin »

I think I’ll do just that. I’ll have a look what I’ve got and make some substitutions. I’ll post up a list here of what I do and you can let me know if you think they sound ok.

I know I have Baron and also a Special Edition Wedge spare so I can definitely fit them in.

The starter decks themselves seem to equate Light Side mains (Han & Chewie) to Dark Side walkers (Tempest 1 & Scout 3). Is this purely due to rarity or is it something I can stick to? Ie adding more Light mains and Dark walkers in equal measure?

Thanks for bearing with me. I’m very excited by this project. Will share an update tomorrow as I think I’ll have a little time then to look for some replacements.

I’ll PM you now as well.

Thanks,
Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Ok so I just got a little bit of time and started making some tweaks as follows;

Luke With Lightsaber > Dresselian Commando
Leia With Blaster Rifle > Dresselian Commando
Lando in Millennium Falcon > A-wing

Darth Vader Dark Lord Of The Sith > Corporal Drazin
Darth Vader’s Lightsaber > Blaster Rifle
Tempest Scout 1 > Tempest Scout
Tempest Scout 3 > Tempest Scout
Death Star II > Sullust*

*Arbitrary pick of location to replace. If the card is in the deck for some synergistic reason please advise. This actually applies to any of my swaps really but this was the least considered change I made so far.

Is it worth including multiple versions of the mains? I have various versions for many of them.

What about Admirals orders? Is it worth including some of these? If I remember correctly only one can be on the board and they apply to both players?

I have an Obi-Wan with Lightsaber but was hesitant to add this based on canon...being thematic is all well and good but is it just going to hold me back to this degree?

I intend to add the other three numbered Tempest Scouts 4-6 and then some pilots for them but that represents a pretty big change.

I also found a Flagship Executor that would be cool to use. All the named Star Destroyers I have are Imperial class. Swapping out the 3 Victory class for Flagship Executor & 2 named Imperial class would mean I’d really have to pump up the Light Side as well. Are there any Light Side starships I’d particularly want to look out for? Presumably Home One and the other named Mon Cal Cruisers might go some way?

Once I’ve fiddled about a bit more I’ll post some update decklists so it’s easier to visualise where I am at currently. I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

Thanks in advance,

Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by DS-61-4 »

I think you're kind of heading into uncharted territory here. One issue with a lot of mains and big expensive capital ships is getting enough activation to deploy them. That's the reason for the Victory class ships - they are quite a bit cheaper. You can get around this by putting in more locations, or some characters or cards that will pull extra locations, or do a house rule similar to the sealed deck tournaments that allow you to deploy a second location a the start of the game. There are also cards that make deployment of ships a lot cheaper. Check out the GEMP deckbuilder https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg/ or Scomp Link Access https://scomp.starwarsccg.org/ to search for cards that would help you out. Keep in mind that the more cards you have that let you pull other cards, the more similar the decks will play against each other from game to game. To maintain playability, you want to avoid having a deck with an obvious strong strategy to defeat the other deck or having the game result dependent on controlling a certain location or playing a certain card before the other player.

I think at this point you'll have to just do some testing, even rudimentary games where you play both sides can give you an idea how the game plays out as far as cards you draw, how much activation you typically get, and whether or not you can afford to deploy some of the cards in question.

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Ok that’s helpful, thanks. Probably the kind of grounding I needed as I was obviously getting a bit carried away there!

I’ll start with fewer changes as to not disrupt the decks too much and play some test games vs myself to see how it all plays out.

Cheers,
Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by Chris Tomlin »

Hi again,

I’ve thought about this and I was considering keeping it a bit simpler to start off with and maybe just adding the EPP Luke & Vader cards to each deck.

Is there an obvious card to lose out of either deck for this switch?

Just want to make the decks a little more exciting for someone new to the game and I think these cards are pretty good for that, both visually and in terms of gameplay.

Long term plan is definitely to build towards the full Tempest Deck vs Rebel Strike Team so if anyone has decklists for those I’d still be really interested to see them, as well as a Xizor Black Sun/Bounty Hunter deck (with a suitable LS deck to pair off against).

Cheers,
Chris

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Re: Help needed with Decipher only decks please (Upgrading DSII Starters)

Post by DS-61-4 »

It can't hurt to try it. If you are only playing the two decks against each other, just running 61 card decks can't hurt, or dropping any weak low destiny warrior would work as well. I don't think those EPP characters are quite game changingly powerful in that setting, to where whoever gets their EPP first is guaranteed a win, or whoever doesn't draw theirs is guaranteed to lose. The lack of immunity to attrition ensures they are beatable and won't stay on the table too long. But it might not work out that way in practice. Testing is the only way to know for sure.

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