Written by Tyler Liston
As soon as Palpatine – Darth Sidious was spoiled, I was eager to abuse his power action! The possibility of reducing an event cost by [potentially] three resources sounds insane! Like many others, my first thought was of Rise Again, the powerhouse healing event that trims 5 damage and lets you attach any upgrade from your discard pile. The idea of playing such a powerful event for as little as 2 resources motivated an entire deck-build centered around avoiding resource costs. Here is that build…
Characters (30 points, 3 dice):
ePalpatine – Darth Sidious
First, let’s take a closer look at the not-yet emperor himself, Palpatine – Darth Sidious. He is a blue villain from the Legacies set with a modest 12 health. His Power Action allows you to play an event from your hand, decreasing its cost by the number of different damage symbols showing on your dice. Note that it refers to different damage symbols. Currently SWD only has three different damage symbols: melee, ranged, and indirect. That means the maximum reduction from the Power Action will be three. To best abuse this ability, I wanted a deck capable of producing each of these symbols with some consistency. While his ability is great, his die are also pretty impressive: two ranged damage, two melee damage, and two indirect damage! No modifiers! If you roll it, you can resolve it, with the exception of the lone blank. On the remaining sides, you may expect to find a disrupt or discard, but no! The remaining two sides will each fetch you one resource, no questions asked. These dice are truly powerful. With a 3/6 chance of rolling damage, I think it only makes sense to run elite Palpatine. However, that will cost you a whopping 20 character points (four more points than the non-elite option).
The next step in building the right deck for Darth Sidious was finding his partner. While there may be some chance that a mono-blue option could exist with Kylo Ren – Vader’s Disciple or some other low-point character, I wanted access to a greater pool of cards for deck-building. Early testing pointed me towards Captain Phasma – Ruthless Tactician, Death Trooper, and Gamorrean Guard. Captain Phasma is great as she stands the greatest chance of victory in the event that Palpatine dies early. Her die has two base range damage sides and a special that is capable of heavy damage output. The Death Trooper has four sides showing ranged damage, one of them is a modifier and the remaining two are not really helpful in a deck like this. Ultimately, I chose Gamorrean Guard. The Guard was a better choice for multiple reasons:
- 11 health – that is one more than either the Death Trooper or Captain Phasma.
- Guardian – the essential keyword that makes it really difficult for an opponent to target Palpatine first.
- Melee damage – with the upgrades and events that ultimately make it into this deck, it is a big advantage to have the additional melee die sides.
- The color yellow allows access to Bait and Switch… which seems to be an unbelievably strong card in this deck.
However, for all of its grandeur, the Gamorrean Guard is not without drawbacks:
- Two blanks and a disrupt – an unfortunately high number of die sides that do not advance the strategy at all.
- A modifier – one of the damage sides is a modifier. With only 1/6 base melee on the Palpatine dice, the modifier goes unresolved every so often.
- It’s not red – there were definitely some red events that I was hoping to use with the Power Action, but ultimately, the Gamorrean Guard seemed like the better choice.
At first, I thought I might use Rise Again to return weapons from the discard pile to Palpatine. However, they proved to be inconsistent as many of their dice have modifiers (Ancient Lightsaber, Shoto Lightsaber, Holdout Blaster, etc.). In this deck, rolling a certain type of damage is not a consistent occurrence and many modified dice remain in the pool at the end of the round. So I abandoned the use of weapons almost entirely for the chance to play a true “oldie but goodie,” the Sith Holocron. Many of the Force Ability upgrades have significant damage sides without a modifier! Here is what I went with:
- Force Push – two sides showing ranged damage and two special sides that provide a little mitigation when needed.
- Force Wave – two sides showing indirect damage and two special sides with a powerful damage output. The extra resource side does not hurt either.
- Force Lightning – three sides showing ranged damage and two special sides allowing for a little damage alongside potential blank removal.
A few other upgrades made it into the list:
- Personal Shield – a solid defensive upgrade. High shield output, extra protection against ranged damage, and an additional resource side make for a good option. I am playing around with the idea of using Hunker Down.
- Lure of Power – This card played better in testing than expected. The ability to modify any side that shows up is powerful in a deck that produces such diverse damage. Two blanks is a bit high, but have proven worth the risk.
- BD-1 Cutter Vibro-Ax – This is the shield hate necessary for this deck to survive the current meta. With three sides showing base melee damage, this card is an awesome addition to the deck. The force abilities do not have melee side and creates a bit of a hole in the strategy. However, the ability to return this card from the discard pile with Rise Again makes the loss of the Gamorrean Guard less devastating.
It is the events that truly set this deck apart. Thanks to the Power Action on Darth Sidious, you can expect at least a one-resource discount each turn on an event. The deck has eight 1-cost events, and the ability to play three of them each turn is very strong. The events in this deck can be sorted into two classes: additional damage and removal. Counter Strike, Lightsaber Throw, Force Strike, and Double Strike all provide ways of doing more damage than just what is showing on the dice. The removal package includes Isolation, He Doesn’t Like You, Sound the Alarm, and Mind Trick. There are also two copies of Bait and Switch. Everything about this card is great, and it has a place in most yellow villain decks. Here, however, it really shines. With 10/14 dice in this deck having a resource side, the ability to switch that to any side and then take another action leads to many awesome scenarios:
- Switch Sith Holocron’s modified resource side to a special and resolve that special before the opponent interferes.
- Switch a dice to a side showing damage and then resolve all dice with matching symbols for a large amount of surprise damage.
- And last, but certainly not least, Rise Again! This card is the main reason to play Palpatine and speaks for itself…
The battlefield for this deck is a little hard to nail down. Currently, I am running Secret Facility. Against all but the fastest decks, this battlefield allows me to resolve all of my different symbols (including indirect damage) and claim the battlefield with one action. In the past I have played Imperial Armory to help get my force abilities out in the event that I can’t find a Sith Holocron. I’m not sure which is best, or if there is a better option out there.
The deck is a great way to break from mainstream decks and dust off some of your cards that haven’t seen much play lately. I think it is possible to take out the Force Abilities and the Sith Holocron and replace them with a weapon package. That could potentially improve the deck, but my Shoto and Ancient Lightsabers are currently committed elsewhere and using cards like Force Lightning and Force Wave are just so much fun! If you have any suggestions for the deck or end up giving it a try, let me know what you think in the comments!