“Target The Main Generator”


[Update (April 2019): deck has been slightly adjusted based on feedback we’ve received from people playing the decks]

Everyone loves the Empire Strikes Back.  But when trying to explain to others why it’s the best Star Wars movie you inevitably sound like you love soap operas.  Luke learns who his father is, but he doesn’t know who his sister is, and the man his sister loves is frozen in carbonite.  Basically every Telemundo story line.

My favorite Star Wars scene, and potentially favorite scene from any movie, is the opening battle on Hoth.  Replaying this battle via SWCCG is basically a dream come true and highlights both the incredible gameplay of SWCCG and the drama of Empire’s introductory sequence.

Hoth is a planet where I would like to live.  I love the winter – on Hoth no one questions why you’ve been playing SWCCG for six hours straight on a Tuesday.  You’re playing because if you go outside you’ll die of frostbite and exhaustion.  What an amazing life.

As a quick recap, the Imperials find the secret Hoth base, AT-AT walkers arrive (what a vehicle!), an epic battle ensures with the full might of the Imperial navy trying to eradicate a secret rebel base, and the rebels are lucky to escape at all.  This battle is a true representation of the rebellion – outgunned, outmanned, under supplied, relying on courage and ingenuity to persevere.  [Don’t get me started on any recent films where the Dark Side appears to be the underdog and sustains incredible amounts of damage from lone star fighters or untrained peasants]

“Target the Main Generator” – a terrifying order from a supremely confident General preparing to complete his mission.  As he should, given his supreme firepower, Veers succeeds in destroying the generators.  The rebel cause is lost, aside from the hasty escape of a few Medium Transport vessels.

At SWCCGStore.com We’ve put together a deck to specifically recreate this battle.  The primary difference between the deck and the movie is that the rebels have no Medium Transports.  There is no escape, which only adds drama to the battle!

Here is the decklist in PDF form: Target The Main Generator Hoth Deck List (April 2019)

The deck can be purchased here: Hoth “Target The Main Generator” Deck

And an image:

Hoth Image (April 2019)

Unlike the “Attack Run / Commence Primary Ignition” deck, the rebels don’t have an Epic Event to pursue.  The Imperials bring the battle to the Rebels, and the Rebel strategy is to survive.  I’d recommend playing both sides with your opponent, and if both people lose as the Rebels the true winner is the person who lost the least amount of life force.

Make sure to review the “Blown Away” rules.  Specifically, the Light Side loses 8 force if the Imperials succeeds in destroying the Main Generators.

Blown Away Rules (PDF): Blown Away Rules – Hoth

Blown Away Rules - Hoth Image

Given the significant impact of losing 8 life force, the Rebel strategy should be to attempt to engage the Imperials, knock out as many AT-ATs as possible (specifically Blizzard 1), and just limit battle damage sustained.  With 6 AT-AT Walkers in the deck the Imperials will keep coming, but the Rebels have a bit of an advantage with Commander Luke.  He’s the most powerful character in both decks and can be used to wreak havoc on the AT-ATs.  Luke with a Lightsaber can use Under Attack to target AT-ATs during the Control phase.  In addition, Luke in Rogue 1 with a power harpoon (as well as Lucky Shot) is generally good for an AT-AT per battle as well.

On the Imperial side, focusing on Target the Main Generators is the most fun way to go.  Veers in Blizzard 1 is the obvious choice for taking the shot.  The tricky part about the deck is that the Imperials will also want to control a couple Hoth sites to add to the destiny.  This creates a problem of spreading out the AT-ATs at risk of Luke eliminating Blizzard 1 or picking off AT-ATs one at a time (particularly with Under Attack as losing an AT-AT in the Control phase can then lead to an ugly battle).  A plethora of Snowtroopers helps to control different sites though, and the sheer number of AT-ATs and Snowtroopers can also be enough to overwhelm the Rebels even if “Target” isn’t successful.  Oh, and don’t forget to unlease your Wampa if the Rebels start force draining at the outer perimeter.

We’re early on in testing this deck so let us know if you have any suggestions or different strategies!

Last Place Finisher Interview: Dagobah Regionals

Clone1: Dagobah Regionals were on Saturday, September 26th, and Georgia States were on Sunday, September 27th.  Today we’re catching up with the organizer of the events.  Not only did he organize the tournament…he also finished in last place!  Brandon – welcome to the blog!

Brandon: I guess…thanks for that introduction.  Yes, I helped organize the Dagobah Regionals and Georgia State tournament this year, with help from Phillip Gladney and Jonathon Murray.  And yes, I finished in last place in Regionals – thanks for reminding me.

Clone1: Both the Dagobah Regionals and Georgia State tournaments consisted of 8 players. So how competitive are these tournaments?

Brandon: The tournament was competitive yet laid back at the same time.  Everyone wanted to win, but all players were patient and helped explain rules or consequences of actions (or non-actions) that weren’t optimal.

Clone1: That’s great to hear.  In general, how do people sign up for these tournaments?  Now that I know I don’t have to be super competitive this sounds more interesting.

Brandon: We have a regional Star Wars CCG Facebook Group that messages each other about upcoming events and tournaments.  I would urge any new or ex-player considering jumping into the game again to search for a regional Star Wars CCG group as there are a lot of them out there.

In fact, our regional Facebook group is the reason why I actually got back into the game 6 months ago after being out of it for 15+ years.  Big shout out to Phillip Gladney, he’s the key organizer for our group, and if it wasn’t for his work, and the encouragement of some folks in our group, I wouldn’t be playing Star Wars CCG right now and would be missing out on some amazing people and events.

Clone1: That’s great to hear.  I’ve seen the general SWCCG Facebook group but didn’t know about all the regional sub-groups.  Back to the tournament, what do the prizes consist of for a Regional/State level tournament?

Brandon: For Dagobah Regionals, 1st and 2nd place received tournament foils as well as travel vouchers to Worlds.  We all also each opened one pack of Dagobah Limited packs and received a few random rares and foils!  For States, 1st place received a travel voucher to World’s and we each opened up a pack of Jabba’s Palace.

Clone1: Anybody pull a good rare from the packs?

Brandon: Haha, unfortunately not.  Still, it feels great opening packs of Star Wars cards again!

Clone1: Okay, and last thing about the tournament – what’s the scoring system?  Is it just whoever has the most game wins that wins the tournament?

Brandon: These two tournaments were set up were based on differentials between you and your opponent’s life force at the end of the game or end of the time limit. So not only do you need to win, you want to win big.  Jonathon Murray and Mike Kessling took the 1st and 2nd spot in the Regionals, Brad Kippel won Georgia States (for the 6th year in a row!!!).  Congrats to them!

Clone1:  Six years in a row, what a streak!  So what deck did you bring when you lost every game at Regionals?

Brandon: I’m a sucker for main characters and lightsabers, so I tried to customize Hunt Down and Throne Room decks but learned how difficult it is for a new player to build a deck that stands up to a wide range of tournament decks.

Clone 1: What sort of customizing did you do?  Was this a complete rework of the decks or were you just tweaking cards here and there?

Brandon: I started with a pretty standard decklist for both, and playtested (or playfailed?) them on GEMP over the past few weeks.  It started with a few minor tweaks here or there, but before long those minor tweaks ended up changing a good portion of the deck strategy… which in retrospect wasn’t a great idea.  When you make big changes to decks you need a lot of time to test them to see if you’ve thrown off some of the balance accidentally.  This caught up with me on Saturday at Regionals.

Clone1: Even though you didn’t fare well it’s still fun to know that you can still get creative on deck construction, even at these tournaments.  Give us an example from Regionals about a game that didn’t go so well – you have all of them to choose from.

Brandon: Yeah, lots to choose from, that’s for sure.  I didn’t have any particularly large loss, but I was constantly wishing that I hadn’t made so many customizations.  For example, while Maul with Stick is customary in a Hunt Down deck, my deck design ended up being almost an equal split of cards dedicated to empowering Maul versus cards dedicated to beefing up Vader.  This was a great learning lesson

Clone1: Well, lessons, since you lost 4 straight…

Brandon: Haha.  For me, I came away with a new appreciation for sticking with a single goal or focus for the deck and working to truly dominate that goal.  Playing against competitive decks combined with great players (which there are many of in Georgia and the surrounding area) made me come away with a newfound appreciation of the current meta, and made me realize how arrogant (or ignorant) I was to think that I could build my own decks after being away from the game for the past 15 years.

Clone1: It’s probably a great exercise to change the decks up and then see how they perform – you now have better insight into the original deck construction.  In terms of the current meta, what decks did you see the most of at the tournament?  Any that stand out as good tournament decks to start analyzing for a beginner? Any advice for beginners in general?

Brandon:  I saw a lot of YBO (Yavin 4 Base Operations) which seemed to be quite effective.  The Dark side decks were a little bit of everything.  After getting crushed at Regionals I changed away from my custom decks to a standard AOBS (Agents of the Black Sun) and YBO deck for States on Day 2.  I ended up performing much better on the second day.  My advice to beginners would be to utilize standard meta decks first, get an understanding of the strategy as well as what to look out for from your opponent, and make small tweaks that match your play style.

Clone1: Was there a pivotal moment in any of the games that stands out to you?

Brandon: Yeah.  So, on Sunday at States I had a particularly devastating battle.  I had Green Leader in Green 1 on his own at a system.  I knew this was a risk but thought I had myself protected.  I was holding both Hyper Escape and Houjix, so I was double covered, and I had one force in my force pile at the end of my turn.

My opponent dropped the Finalizer with essentially every character that adds a destiny on board.  Again, I thought I was okay…until my opponent played First Strike and initiated battle. First Strike makes you pay 1 force to play an interrupt during battle – so Hyper Escape cost me my force, but I had planned for this.  Then, he Sensed my Hyper Escape.  I still had my Houjix though, but it turns out Houjix is also an interrupt and my opponent politely reminded me that I didn’t have any force to pay for it.

Clone1: Brutal.  These are the types of plays I would expect at a tournament level – you thought you were twice protected, but you opponent still managed to negotiate around your Hyper Escape and Houjix to destroy you.  Out of curiosity, what was the damage differential?

Brandon: 27….

Clone1: Wow.  Half of your life force in one battle.  That is a tough game.  So how did you end up on Sunday even with that devastating loss?

Brandon: I finished 4th out of 8 on the second day.  I was much happier with my results!

Clone1: Happy with 4th place? I guess compared to Regionals this was a much better finish for you.  If you hadn’t lost 27 life force on a single battle you may have even done better!

Brandon: Thanks…I’ve noted that.

Clone1: Excellent.  Well, if you can, try to put us in touch with one of the winners.  You gave us plenty of stories on losses, so maybe we can get the other side next time!

The Voice of the Force: Interview with SWCCG Documentary Directors

“This is about players who have dedicated a large portion of their lives to a community and showing what it means to them.”

This is the purpose of the upcoming documentary “One With The Force: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Star Wars CCG”.  The documentary will unpack the rich history of the game across a number of different dimensions including interviews with former players, Decipher employees, Players Committee representatives, etc.

We’re super excited to be able to chat with the producers/directors/writers and everything else behind “One With the Force.”  Continue on for our interview with Brandon Baity and Brian “Twigg” Terwilliger!

Resources for the post:

Clone 1: Guys, thanks to you the Circle is Now Complete.  The game, based on a movie, will now have a movie based on the game.  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us about the documentary.  We have a million questions, but we know you guys are super busy right now.  Tell us where in the world you’re at and what you’re currently working on the doc.

Brandon: Thank you for the interest in this film and the opportunity to discuss it. This is a passion project and we are happy to answer whatever questions we can. Currently, I’m at home in Portland, Oregon. I just got back from Atlanta, GA where the US Nationals tournament took place. In a couple weeks I will be heading to Bochum, Germany to attend the European Championships and then it is off to the World Championships in Morristown, NJ. Multiple interviews will be conducted at both events.

Brian: Thanks for having us! I am based in Fairfield, CT and will be joining up with Brandon in New Jersey for the World Championships this October. Currently, and always, working on the overall (and expanding) narrative of the doc. Every time Brandon sits down with a player/luminary from the SWCCG community it unlocks an ocean of thoughts and emotions from others just like them…we are seeing quite the domino effect.

Clone 1: Excellent to hear and no surprise that the SWCCG community is being supportive!  Just to get this out up front, tell us when we can hope to see the documentary and how we should gain access.

Brandon: I would love to tell you when it will be done, but we are in the heart of doing interviews so it would be difficult to set some sort of date. In my mind, the best case scenario is May 2019, but that is probably unrealistic considering the way films go. The goal is to have an actual premiere at a theater in Portland and eventually have it released on Netflix or other streaming services. Other than that the best way to get a copy is to donate at least $15 to the GoFundMe campaign.

Brian: Brandon is in charge… so I would listen to him. And YES, everyone reading this should donate to the campaign to allow us to keep on working on this passion project!!

Clone 1: Calendar marked – either a Portland trip or SWCCG watch party will be on the docket for 2019! As of today you’re 70% towards your fundraising goal; hopefully this post will be helpful to achieving the last 30%!  Let’s shift gears to you guys.  How did you first get into the game and why did the game resonate with you?

Brandon: I grew up in Florida as a huge Star Wars (and Star Trek) fan in the 80s/90s. Like many other SWCCG players, I watched the movies a countless number of times. I remember my friend, Tyler, showing me the cards in 6th or 7th Grade. I was so excited that Decipher had created cool looking cards for both Star Wars and Star Trek and immediately had to start buying them. After the initial purchases, it sunk in that this “kids” Star Wars game was really complicated, and as someone who loves Chess, it all just felt made for me.

Brian: My dad bought my brother (Chris) and I our first packs of card in 1997. We kinda liked the movies but really fell in love with the mechanics of the game and then, like all of you, couldn’t get enough. Things shifted into overdrive once we found a solid competitive scene. We were in the midst of moving to the Albany NY region. We randomly stumbled upon a shop in a dingy mall and met a guy name Johnny Chu (he traded me an IG-2000 for my Avenger; lol). He told us about a group of players who had events weekly. A few months later we moved to the Capital Region and joined the likes of Matt Sokol, Aaron Kingery and Mike D’amboise… “Team Albany” was born.

Clone 1: And Brian, you had a lot of early success in competitive play.  World Team Champion in 2000, 2x New York State Champion, Boston Grand Slam Champion.  Tell us about those days – what decks were you running, how did you come up with them, and what drove you competitive success?

Brian: Even though 2014 Worlds runner up is my “best” solo achievement, the 2000 team title will always be my favorite.  Long before there were regular “factions” of players in the game, the 2000 DecipherCon was a changing of the guard. A shift in player power to a much younger group (as proof by the subsequent world championships that followed).

I am quite fond of those days. As a 16/17 year old, my room was never not scattered with thousands of cards.  Every night was spent play testing until 4am with my brother Chris. In addition, we had weekly “local” tournaments with national level competition against Johnny Chu, my brother Chris, Matt Sokol, Aaron Kingery…at one time we had 5 of the top 20 world ranked players in our local store.

As far as decks, “Albany” Yavin 4 mains and Hunt Down were staples that Albany/Coruscant really helped solidify and popularize within the meta. I usually liked turning the decks on their sides so to speak and throw in surprises. For example my Boston Grand Slam light deco was Y4 mains…with a handful of high Destiny droids and inserts. Definitely caught players off guard. And I would be remiss to not mention Scum And Villainy/alien combo decks. Anything off the beaten path…that was my personal bread and butter.

Clone 1: Wow that is nuts.  Playing weekly against 5 of the top 20 world ranked players is obviously a great way to keep your skills sharp.  So obviously you’re both lifelong fans of the game.  Was there a time that you left the game (like almost everyone did) and what brought you back?

Brandon: With SWCCG, you can never really leave because the Force is always with you. Haha, is that too corny?

Clone 1: Haha right on.  The game is always around us.

Brandon: In all seriousness, after Decipher lost the license, I slowly stopped playing the game by 2003. This was also around the time I went to film school.  I would occasionally keep an eye on what the PC was doing over the years as a lurker, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I came back to truly wanting to play.  When I moved to Portland, I had to clean out my storage unit and I found a bunch of my SWCCG cards.  That got me wondering what the status of the game was. I checked the forums at starwarsccg.org and saw that this major reset had taken place. It was a perfect time to reconnect with a lost love.

Brian: Like Brandon 2002 was rough for me.  I remember waking up in my college dorm to see the headline the game was dead. After throwing my cards across the room as there was much anger in me, I slowly faded away, only to come back a year or two later thanks to the never ending connection with my brother and the rest of Team Albany.

Clone 1: Okay and now the obvious question, what was the inspiration for the documentary.  So you get back into the game, see all these passionate fans and realize that the game never left…but what caused the light bulb to go off that ‘this is a documentary that should be made?’

Brandon:  I suppose if I break it down to a light bulb moment, it probably came in May of 2016. I had decided to play in my first SWCCG tournament in many, many years.  I went to Seattle and participated in the Endor Grand Prix that year.  While I was there I had a game against Matt Sokol (2000 SWCCG World Champion) and I remarked to him about how I had met him 16 years ago at the 2000 World Championships in Florida when I was just 17.  This second meeting felt very cyclical and after thinking about it I wanted to dive deeper into the community, stories, and history of the game.  Having a film background, it was only natural for me to decide to combine these concepts into a sort of love letter to the SWCCG.

Brian:  I tried making this documentary roughly 11 years ago. For a number of reasons my efforts kept getting snagged (resources, participation from others). Ultimately I decided it was more than any 1 person could do and it fell on my mental back burner for years… that is until Brandon posted his footage from the Endor Grand Prix and we connected on the message boards. Brandon was kind enough to let me support him on the project.

Clone 1: So the documentary is over a decade in the making!  It’s great timing now as the game and community appears to be seeing a resurgence.  Tell us some more about the documentary.  I know you can’t disclose too much as we need the suspense to build, but what should we expect to learn about?

Brandon:  As was mentioned, the primary story is about the people who have been involved with this game, whether that is players, Decipher employees, or volunteers of the Players Committee. We think people will be excited to learn about what went on behind the scenes during the Decipher era and the struggles to keep the game going during the PC (Players Committee) era.

Brian: The great thing about this documentary, as Brandon mentioned, is it will cover everything! From your favorite players, unearthed moments from DecipherCon, to hearing about the decisions made behind closed doors in Virginia.

Clone 1: So how has the story evolved as you’ve gotten deeper into the history, players, etc.?

Brandon: As each new interview has been conducted it feels like another puzzle piece has fallen into place. While one person might have a unique recollection of a specific event, another person has a different perspective to add context to that same event. This shapes the way I approach the next interview because then I am able to ask a new set of questions.

Brian: Everyone has a story. And our focus on the SWCCG community is no different. The reason it has been going strong for so long is the fact that the community is far greater (and powerful) than the sum of its parts.

Clone 1: So the story has evolved far beyond your initial expectations.  I’m sure this project hasn’t been a cakewalk though – have you had any setbacks?  Any issues that you didn’t expect?

Brandon:  No, it hasn’t been a cakewalk.  Having the right equipment for a portable travel setup has been difficult at times, but I think I’ve got the proper gear checklist down now.  Other than that, it has been fairly easy to accomplish most of the early goals in terms of interviews.  The incredible donations we’ve received so far have been a key to that success. The biggest issue going forward will be editing.  I love editing, but I’m kind of dreading next year’s post-production phase knowing we have over 30 hours of footage so far, haha.

Brian:  Brandon is right… the editing/post-production of this film is going to be a monumental burden all onto itself. However, that is also my favorite part of the process. Brandon has already been leaking some teaser clips to the internet and we can pretty much guarantee we will have no shortage of footage.

Clone 1 [Follow on Facebook for some of this leaked footage]:  Wow, 30 hours of footage…the community has been supportive!  Enough about setbacks.  What has been the highlight of film?  I know you’re just halfway through, but what has surprised you in a great way?

Brandon:  One of the major highlights of this whole project was when we received a whole box of old tapes from Derek “Gold 46” Brooks. It was shocking that someone had saved all of this old footage from the Decipher days and was willing to share it with us for the film.  It is a real treasure trove for sure.  Another thing that has been a big surprise is how willing everyone has been to cooperate and be a part of the film.  I guess I should have expected that with how this community is, but it is still a great feeling to see that desire to help.

Brian: Derek is the MAN! That footage is crazy. It even contains tournament footage of Brandon and I competing in the World Championships sitting just a few seats from one another!

Clone 1:  This footage will be excellent for the newbs like me who weren’t competing at the national level back in the day.  I’ll be looking to see if I can recognize you guys as teenagers when the doc comes out!  What about something you didn’t expect that changed your view on the game?  Any enlightening discussions?

Brandon: I think the discussion with Scott Gaeta (former Senior VP of Decipher and founder of Renegade Game Studios) was quite eye opening.  Honestly, I did not know Scott’s name or role at Decipher until about a few days prior to interviewing him.  The opportunity to sit down with him came out of the blue and coincided perfectly with other interviews that were already planned.  I don’t think we knew too much about the inner workings of Decipher going into this project, but to hear someone give details about the people, logistics, projects, and goals that made up who Decipher was proved very informative.  Many revelations came out during that meeting and I left with a new perspective on Decipher and the SWCCG.

Brian: Hearing about the secret sauce back at Decipher, especially how the game was initially created and how it evolved. You won’t believe how such basic things like battles and force drain started out…

Clone 1: This kind of behind the scenes access is fascinating.  Alright, the suspense is building for sure.  I know you guys are crazy busy with World’s approaching.  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us and we’re looking forward to the release!  I encourage everyone to get to the Go Fund Me site to donate and make sure they secure a copy.  Let’s make sure to catch up again when you guys are back from World’s!

Brandon: For sure! We’d be happy to update you as the film comes along. Thanks again for the chance to talk about this project. We hope the final product lives up to everyone’s expectations and is a great representation of this incredible community.

Brian: May The Force Be With you!