Quick Game / Training Decks

As someone who is craving gameplay I’ve found “Training Decks” to be surprisingly appealing.  These decks contain only 30 cards per side and include simple, easy to use cards/combos.  While at first glance these simple decks may seem boring, I’ve found them to be a blast.  The best part may be their portability.  Never thought you’d play SWCCG on an airplane?  Read on!

We stumbled across these legacy deck designs by “C Mike Hardy” (if anyone can put us in touch with him please let us know at bobafett@swccgstore.com).

Why would I want to own these 30-card “Training Decks?”

  • Lightning fast gameplay: keep on-hand for when you have less than 30 minutes
    • In between games at a tournament
    • Card shop closing in 25 minutes
    • Have to go to work tomorrow and don’t want to start a 60 minutes match
  • Educational tool: given the simplicity of these decks you can teach someone to play against you in less than an hour
    • Use for family holidays instead of Monopoly
    • Get your kids involved in your hobby
  • Testing ground: refine your gameplay by experimenting with new combos
    • The speed of gameplay allows for a lot of quick attempts and refinement
  • Gift giving: at $10 each these are an awesome way to introduce people to the game
    • Challenge someone playing Magic to a SWCCG game…winner keeps the cards

The best part about having these decks in your bag are the opportunities that you never expected.  All of a sudden you’re playing SWCCG during your lunch break with co-workers or at the mall food court while your significant other shops.  You can literally grab people who have never seen the cards and be up and running for a game in 30 minutes.

My favorite use case is on airplanes.  Not only does the time fly, but in periods of turbulence you’re in the mood to put John Williams’ score on your headphones, close your eyes, and envision piloting a starfighter with concussion missiles exploding all around you…

How To Play SWCCG on an Airplane:

  • Grab any of the trainer decks
  • Use a magazine to bridge two tray tables
  • Sites and systems go on the magazine -> there are only 5 sites/systems in each trainer and some overlap
    • Sites without any presence can be stacked to overlap and save space
  • Each person keeps their reserve deck and force pile on their remaining tray table space
  • Lost cards go into the seat back pocket (there is no retrieval so you don’t need access; also, your cards are protected right?)
  • Used pile is immediately moved into Reserve deck (given the limited number of cards this allows for battle destinies to be drawn late in the game as well)
  • The games are quick so you can finish before the drink cart arrives

How simple are the trainer decks?  Very, very simple.  See below for the decks as designed by C Mike Hardy.

Cloud City Training Deck: preferred deck for teaching someone new as everyone loves Cloud City

Cloud City Training Deck

Space Training Deck: preferred deck for air travel if you don’t mind blowing up flying machines while on a flying machine

Space Training Deck

Tattoine Training Deck: preferred deck for hiking and camping under the Tattoine moons (or in our case, sadly, a single moon…why is earth so boring?)

Tattoine Training Deck

Dueling Mains & Toys Deck

The best part about returning to Star Wars CCG is simply playing the game.  After a 20-year hiatus I am craving game play, particularly in-person games (where I can have numerous mulligans or take the time to look up rules).

A significant hurdle to playing games is crafting fun decks that are actually balanced.  I’m trying to improve my in-game decision making, but it’s difficult to evaluate progress if my decks are simply under matched vs. opponents.  Fortunately Reinhart has done the work for us Newbs with his awesome “Dueling Mains & Toys” deck.  You’ll notice that this deck spares no expense on cards and also enables scenarios across all movies/storylines.  Not only has Reinhart provided us with the deck list and strategy, we also got an interview with him to understand his inspiration and game play tips!

Read on for our interview with Reinhart!

Clone 1: To kick things off, tell us a little about your SWCCG background.  When did you start playing and how competitive did you play?

Reinhart: I started playing with Hoth because I was much more into Magic at the time. I started reading Star Wars novels and getting into the films so the card game seemed like an incredible idea. I mostly played with friends but we had a dedicated group of guys in the Tri-Cities, WA that held tournaments every week so I had a lot of opportunity to start earning tournament points. I was usually 1st or 2nd each tournament and ended up qualifying for an Endor regional event where I made it to the final four with a Mains and Toys deck (not unlike the spirit of this deck here) that kind of took people by surprise.

Clone 1: Rumor has it your “Mains & Toys” deck wreaked havoc at your regional tournament.  How was it so successful?

Reinhart: I stuck to the “Mains & Toys” deck even though others were rolling these complicated combo decks. I beat some of the better players because I put some cards in to foil the decks of the time (I think it was ISB Operations (dark) vs Harvest (light) all day). Plus Sense/Alter counter-spam is always fun when most pro players don’t bother.

Clone 1:  After taking some time off what brought you back to the game?

Reinhart: I got back into collecting as the new movies were about to premiere.  I thought Star Wars might have a renaissance and wanted to have a master set for myself. Got that together over a couple of years and wanted to play again so I made these decks.

Clone 1: The first thing I noticed about this deck is that it has all of the heavy hitting characters, starships, etc.  Tell us a bit about your collection – what did you have from your playing days and where does your collection stand today?

Reinhart: I’m one of those fools that sold their cards before the crash out of frustration with Decipher going away, so I only had a few favorites like Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight and a couple of signed cards from my youth.  I now have a master set in place (minus the Japanese sets) and am now looking to build and test more decks in the future.

Clone 1: Alright, let’s just into the deck itself.  What was the inspiration for this deck?

Reinhart: It was the type of deck I liked to play back in the day.

Clone 1: Makes a lot of sense, particularly given that it was a successful tournament deck at one time as well.  Talk about how you built the deck.  When I try to build decks I seem to run into writer’s block – what are some tips for building decks?

Reinhart: The greatest teacher is experience so you have to play games with cards to see if they work. I like to put cards into decks that are ALWAYS useful, whenever possible. So that you have 7 threats that you’re excited to play in your hand, ya know? So if something says “only play when X” I try to steer clear of putting too many of those in. If I play a couple of games where I had a card and couldn’t play it I consider taking it out.

Clone 1:  I like the idea of constantly iterating on the decks.  You’ve got these decks honed-in now after playing 20 games – tell us about the goals of the decks.

Reinhart: Light side has all of the powerful main characters who use their combining abilities to do incredible things in battle on the ground. They have a distinct advantage there so be aggressive and know that dark doesn’t have as much ground power to throw at you. Use your landing claw and starfighters to block force drains and pick off starships that were left alone at a system.

Clone 1:  Nice – to be honest I never expected to see “Landing Claw” in a legit deck…shows what I know.  What about the dark side?

Reinhart: Dark side has the advantage in space with their huge navy of ships. Establish a force drain in space as early as possible and surprise the light side with Maul, Vader or an AT-AT when they spread out too thin on the ground.

Clone 1: Okay, let’s talk more about the gameplay.  What are some of the decisive moves or tactics that have led to victory for each side?

Reinhart: My favorite games are when there are real battles where you don’t actually know what’s going to happen on both the ground and in space.  These decks are very flexible, but here are a few moves to keep in the back of your mind:

  • Maul with his lightsaber can be REALLY powerful with ‘The Phantom Menace’. ‘The Phantom Menace’ can literally decided a game. Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight with matching lightsaber is a good counter but even then… yeesh.
  • The Executor doesn’t leave the table once it hits. Save up for it! Probably worth it. Fondor lets you deploy it -5!
  • Watch your system parsecs and move the Death Star closer if you have a ton of force to waste. Lost a game once by stranding the fleet at parsec 8 while there were several other systems at parsec 0, 2, and 4. Some ships can’t make the jump.
  • Imperial spies (Mara and 3P0) are super important. Lightside should consider saving Corran Horn and their Sorry About the Mess to nail them. Dark side has to remember to save a force to “follow” them on their turn, if they move away.

Clone 1: In the 20 games you’ve played with the decks what cards/plays have surprised you or your opponent?

Reinhart:  You Are Beaten and Clash of Sabers can be huge. Hang on to your Sense to protect yourself! These cards can really wrack up the battle damage if you exclude a Jedi and just rain damage onto a support character.  Nothing like Maul in a 1×1 battle against Padme without the protection of a Jedi…

Clone 1: What else should we know to play these decks effectively?

Reinhart:  I like to draw for locations. There are a few “force accelerator” locations in there for each side that are mostly there to generate force (not battle). So get those out so that you can play cards, and DRAW EVEN MORE.  In addition, sometimes it’s hard to remember when Battle Plan is out on either side. Keep in mind that battles are free and interrupts cost +1.

Clone 1: Finally, what are some house rules we should consider for those of us playing for fun?

Reinhart: Here are a few I play with for these decks:

  • Opening hands: mulligan until you have a location or consider multiple mulligans so both sides can start quickly
  • Dark side starts first even with Death Star as their starting location because light side is generating 3 force with the Jedi Council starting location; this ignores games text but prevents light side from getting both force generation and starting turn
  • These decks only have one copy of each card which keeps the games fresh.  I’d recommend keeping this rule with any changes
  • I’d say the dark side has a slight edge due to The Phantom Menace and If Bad Feeling Have I.  If you see this consistently take out The Phantom Menace

Clone 1: Awesome.  Well thank you for sharing your deck list, strategy, and tips with us.  If our readers have other questions or deck comments where should they find you?

Reinhart:  You can find the thread for this deck here – feel free to join the discussion and let me know how the deck treats you.  I’m also kleinja on twitter, run a website called ChampionTraveler.com and if you’re in Spokane, WA I’d love to Epic Duel you anytime!

The Circle is Now Complete: Returning to Star Wars CCG


I’m Ryan, aka Clone 1, and I’m just getting back into Star Wars CCG after a 20 year hiatus.

To help myself and others get back into the game I’m going to produce a series of blog posts with increasingly sophisticated decks.  I want to learn (or re-learn) the cards, rules, virtual cards, and everything I’ve missed out on but in a deliberate and fun way.

Fortunately I have the support of my brother (Brandon aka Boba) who participated in Nationals this year.  And of course everyone has the support of the Players Committee Forum.

Follow along on how to get back into the best game in the galaxy.

7 Easy Steps to Restarting Your Star Wars CCG Career

  1. First, we need the cards. I (of course) recommend hard copies from the SWCCG Store.  The exact deck I will discuss can be found here: SWCCG Store: Attack Run & Commence Primary Ignition Deck
    • The deck has been put together to reduce cost while still enabling key events from A New Hope
    • This is not a tournament deck. I created the decks to specifically play against each other and enable Epic Events.
  2. Next, grab some slips to protect the cards. I’d never seen these until I watched Nationals but they are great to have.  The slips protect the cards and make shuffling faster and easier.
  3. Print the basic rules and the Epic Events Rules
  4. Find a friend and schedule a time
  5. Put on Star Wars: A New Hope
    • Tournament gameplay is 60 minutes and A New Hope runs 2 hours and 5 minutes (perfect timing for two games)
  6. Order a pizza
  7. Get playing!

Deck Overview

PDF: Attack Run & Commence Primary Ignition Deck List

Deck List.PNG

If you don’t have the cards handy today (maybe they’re being shipped) check out Players Committee Card Lists to view the cards.  All of the cards are from Premiere, A New Hope, or Premium.  To follow along online you can construct the decks in Gemp and view/play virtually.

I used the Enhanced versions of Darth Vader With Lightsaber and Obi-Wan With Lightsaber to reduce the overall deck cost as well as ensure that each character is equipped for a proper duel.

  • Note: “Enhanced” characters do not have immunity to attrition.  I would recommend playing with a “house rule” that both Darth Vader and Obi-Wan are immune to attrition <5.  
  • Upgrade your deck with Premiere Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Don’t forget their lightsabers (Vader / Obi-Wan)

Deck Themes

In tournaments Epic Events aren’t favored as they are hard to achieve and generally specific to your opponents deck (it’s hard to blow away Hoth generators if your opponent is on Yavin 4).  The decks I’ve created are focused on Epic Events because they’re awesome, easy to understand for a returning player, and create an amazing theatrical experience that made so many of us Star Wars fans fall in love with the game.

Dark Side

  • Primary Theme: Commence Primary Ignition – blow away Yavin 4 to end the rebellion
  • Secondary Theme: Circle is Now Complete – eliminate Obi-Wan from your opponents deck, enabling Vader to carve up the ‘pathetic resistance’

Light Side

  • Primary Theme: Attack Run – blown away the Death Star, dealing a crippling blow to the Imperials
  • Secondary Theme: Circle is Now Complete – beat Vader with Obi-Wan and take over the Death Star from the inside out

Note the rules on Battle Damage from Commence Primary Ignition and Attack Run:

  • “If the system blown away was a Rebel Base, the light side player loses 2 Force for each light side Force icon at the system and all its related locations (regardless of who deployed it).”
  • “If [Death Star] blown away, the dark side player loses 2 Force for each dark side Force icon at all Death Star locations (regardless of who deployed it)”
  • Given the locations in each deck, players will deal 10+ damage if they complete an Epic Event. This should ensure victory (and encourage each player to pursue or defend against the events).

Deck Strategies & Gameplay

The beauty of Star Wars CCG is that the game can unfold in an unlimited number of ways.  Below I’ve listed out a number of potential combinations.

Strategy Image

Which strategy to pursue will depend on what cards are drawn and played initially as well as opponent’s strategy.

For example, if the Imperial player initially draws Star Destroyers and Tie Fighters their strategy may focus on controlling systems and preventing an Attack Run.  The Imperial deck has the firepower to control systems so this should be an effective strategy.

If the Rebel player draws Obi-Wan and other characters they may focus on entering and controlling Death Star sites for Force Drains (check out the Trash Compactor location text for how to enter the Death Star).  This pressure will require Vader to counter which will prevent Vader from resisting an Attack Run or wreaking havoc on Yavin 4.

I’ve tried to make these decks both simple and balanced across many different strategies (sites, systems, Epic Events, etc.).  Each deck can be offensive or defensive across each objective.  This contrasts to current tournament decks which (to my untrained eye) appear to focus on one specific (and devastating) offensive strategy combined with very broad defensive capabilities.  This makes sense in a tournament setting where you don’t know your opponents deck…but it also makes it far more difficult to just jump in and play with those decks.

Tips & Tricks

I’ll end this post with a few tips and tricks I noticed at Nationals that can add depth to your strategies even with these simple decks.

  • Character positions/locations matter
    • Each deck has interrupts that can return key characters to the game (Luke’s Back, Han’s Back, The Empire’s Back, Evader, etc.)
    • Because characters can be retrieved, it is occasionally beneficial to forfeit a character and retrieve/replay them elsewhere to the surprise of your opponent
      • For example, if Darth Vader with Lightsaber is in a battle on Yavin 4 and the Rebels are nearing an Attack Run, losing Vader in a battle could allow the Imperial player to play “The Empire’s Back” and redeploy Vader as a pilot back at the Death Star
    • This should be considered offensively as well
      • For example, the Rebels could deploy a fleet at the Yavin 4 system and draw the Imperials into moving or deploying Vader, Tarkin, and a Star Destroyer at that location
      • The Rebels may lose a battle here, but Vader will now be at a system and away from the Death Star, potentially enabling an Attack Run or the deployment of Obi-Wan to the Death Star
  • Card Destiny numbers matter
    • A balanced deck include numerous cards with high destinies
    • Drawing high battle destinies can swing a game in your favor
  • One Battle Destiny is hardly enough
    • Character combinations and interrupts that add or subtract battle destinies can be extremely powerful
      • Note the Vader/Tarkin combination
  • Use your weapons wisely
    • First, make sure to have force available to fire your weapons in all battles
    • Lightsaber strikes are especially powerful as they reduce the forfeit (and therefore attrition satisfying value) to zero
    • Consider targeting ‘easier to hit’ characters to remove opponent cards
      • For example, if Vader is battling two characters and neither have immunity to attrition, target the lower ability character with Vader’s lightsaber
      • The lower ability character will likely be hit, reducing forfeit to zero
      • As long as your battle destiny is great than zero the other character will be lost to attrition
  • Lose a battle to win a war
    • Don’t leave characters or starships vulnerable to attacks after your turn is over
      • For example, if you deploy a Star Destroyer with a pilot and battle a Rebel fleet you may win the battle and cause damage to your opponent
      • But, you may also have to lose something to attrition
      • If you forfeit just the pilot, you may have a Star Destroyer vulnerable to whatever you opponent can deploy next turn; it may be better to forfeit the Star Destroyer, with the pilot, to ensure you don’t take twice as much damage in the future


I hope you are as excited as I am to jump into these decks and get back into Star Wars CCG.  Now that you’ve read the deck goals, strategies, and tips, purchase your deck and get playing!

Let us know via the comment section or email (bobafett@swccgstore.com) if you have any comments, suggestions, feedback on the deck, etc.