by Bill Yankosky (aka Yodaman)
Looking back, in retrospect, one of the odd things about the Star Wars LCG Core Set was that it introduced all 6 of the affiliations, but 2 of those (1 on each side) only got 1 objective set at the start. While the Core Set did introduce classic characters tied to those affiliations, like Han Solo and Boba Fett, to the game. Others classic characters like Chewbacca, Lando, Jabba, other named bounty hunters and classic ships like the Millennium Falcon had to wait. The first expansion cycle for the game, the Hoth Cycle, slowly added sets for both Smugglers and Scum, but other than getting Dengar in the very last pack of the Hoth cycle. Star Wars fans were still waiting for appearances from characters and ships that were obviously going to have to show up at some point. Finally, Smugglers and Scum got their day in the sun when FFG released its first full Deluxe Box expansion for the game, Edge of Darkness.
To say Edge of Darkness had an impact on the game would be an understatement. The Smugglers and Spies affiliation got two specific sets that forced the dominant dark side of the time, Sith Control, to completely reevaluate how to face off against LS (Light Side) decks because it could completely counter the typical DS (Dark Side) strategy. A number of Smugglers sets for Edge of Darkness were widely played for years, including one that was still a staple of LS decks when FFG ended the game. Scum and Villainy got tools to help make the capture mechanic more viable although when looking back it seems Smugglers got the best part of the deal. The yellow cards were good!
This entire set, with the Millennium Falcon as the main, is filled with great cards and it was still seeing play when the game ended. Card for card, it may have been one of the best 3 LS sets ever released. The objective itself lets you draw a card every time you win an edge battle. The original Falcon found in this set 5 cost with 3 health and 5 combat icons and has an ability that lets you return it to your hand as an action to put a Character or Droid into play for free. It helped form the backbone of the Superfriends deck where you could play main characters such as Luke, Han and Chewie with the Falcon and have a solid LS deck. The set also included a great 2 drop unit in Cloud City Operative that moves a focus token from any unit to any other unit which costs 2 or less when it enters play along with Bamboozle, an event that lets you move focus tokens from a character to another character. Being able to move tokens from your own LS characters to DS units could free up your board and even let characters double strike in the same turn or engagement. On top of that, the set included a resource in Cloud City Guest Quarters and the great fate card, Twist of Fate. It’s notable that the Twist of Fate found in Asteroid Sanctuary is the only Smugglers objective set the card ever was printed in.
This set gave Wookiee fans something to roar about and they were focused on damage. The objective gives all your Wookiees “Protect Character” so they could be used to help keep your other main characters alive. The mighty Chewbacca made his first appearance in this set and certainly impacted game play. Whenever Chewie takes damage during an engagement, he deals twice that amount of damage back to a participating enemy unit. Coupled with the objective, Chewie could use the Protect ability to avoid being in direct harm’s way and deal damage back. The set included 2 Wookiee Warriors who only cost 2 but have 3 health and gain a black gun and black blast if they are damaged. In order to help turn on the abilities of Chewie and his Wookiee buddies, the set included the free event, Let the Wookie Win, which could be used to deal 1 damage to any friendly unit in order to deal 1 damage to a target enemy non-Vehicle unit. Keeping with the damage theme, Wookiee Life Debt included the Heat of Battle fate card.
This objective set introduced Lando to the game with some great abilities for the LS. The objective gave LS another way to cancel DS events which could be done simply by dealing 2 damage to the Trust Me objective itself. While it’s always risky to deal damage to your own objective, cancelling some powerful DS event like Force Lightning in order to keep one of your main units alive was usually worth it. True to his character, Lando can spend a resource to remove an enemy unit from an engagement.
But despite the introduction of the Falcon, Chewie and Lando to the game in this box set release, it was two other sets that really shaped the Edge of Darkness meta more than might have been expected. After seeing the early game dominated by variations of Sith Control decks built around powerful mains like Palaptine and Vader, the LS was given a way to directly counter those power units with the rise of Unblockable decks thanks to two impactful sets.
Raise the Stakes featured the Blockade Runner, a 4 cost, 3 health unit with a decent spread of combat icons of 1 black gun and 2 black blast. Across the Anoat Sector featured 2 copies of Sleuth Scout, an innocuous looking 2 cost, 2 health ship with a black gun and white blast. What made these units so powerful at the time was their game text.
Whenever either of those ships attacked alone, the DS player couldn’t defend with any units that cost 3 or more. That meant expensive mains like Vader, Palpatine, Devastator, had to sit the engagement out and hope they had some chud friends around to block the attack. On top of that, the objectives also gave bonus to units during engagements. Raise the Stakes increase the LS unopposed bonus to 2 while it’s undamaged and Across the Anoat Sector gives a Smuggler’s unit that’s attacking alone a black blast. Raise the Stakes, like Asteroid Sanctuary, also included a copy of Cloud City Operative which could be used to move a focus token to an enemy unit that cost 2 or less to prevent blockers. Along with the Core Set Rebel objective Defense of Yavin 4, the Unblockables sets formed the backbone of the LS decks of both finalists in the first Star Wars LCG Worlds. The presence of the Unblockables decks completely changed how the DS had to approach building their own decks and approaching the game.
While Scum was finally able to get their fair of sets, they didn’t have quite the same impact as the Smugglers sets LS received. However, they did get some tools to help deck archetypes.
This was a set that saw play for a decent amount of time. It gave DS some tools for capturing. After the DS player refreshes, the objective triggers to capture the top card of the LS player’s deck. Just taking away potential options is always a good thing. The set also included two copies of the pesky Jawa Scavenger, a free unit with a white tactic which bounced back to hand after losing an edge battle. The 2 cost event Utinni! captures an enemy enhancement without any restrictions. DS also got another copy of Twist of Fate in this set which immediately made it a set that got included in decks.
This set included the game’s first version of the mighty Jabba the Hutt. Coupled with other sets focused on capture, the objective increases your reserve value for each captured card under it. Jabba is a solid 5 cost, 3 health unit with 2 black tactics that can’t be targeted by enemy events, but the lack of elite hurt him a bit.
This set both helped the capture archetype and gave DS some tools for dealing with Unblockable decks. The main in the set is Bossk who can capture an exhausted enemy unit when he enters play as long as you put 2 focus tokens on him. The downside of not being able to use Bossk as a unit was sometimes worth the tradeoff if you could get a big threat off the board. The set also included two copies of Trandoshan Hunter. These 2 cost, 2 health units provided decent blockers against attacks by Sleuth Scouts and Blockade Runners with their combat icons of 1 black gun and 1 white gun. The set also included Heat of Battle to help get in more damage and a situational 0-cost enhancement, Bounty, that you played on an opponent’s unit and, if you could avoid losing an edge battle by 3 or more before you got back to your own refresh phase, you would capture the unit with the Bounty on it and collect your prize.
This set was a powerful limit 1 copy Navy objective that saw play fairly regularly through the later heyday of Navy dominance. The cards in the set are fine, but it was the objective itself that could have tremendous impact on the LS if it wasn’t dealt with quickly. While the objective is undamaged, it increases the cost of the first unit played by the LS player by 1. The objective was almost always guaranteed to be active at the start of the game and could slow down the LS player enough that the DS player could really set up a strong board in defense.
While the other affiliations on each side got 1 new objective set in Edge of Darkness, and there were some neutral sets included as well, for the most part these sets had limited impact on the meta game overall. The one exception was the Navy set. Overall, Edge of Darkness definitely had an influence on the game that lasted for quite some time.
As mentioned in the my previous article, there is a player-led committee, the Star Wars LCG Council, that has worked to keep the game alive for its small, but loyal community. There is a spring online tourney taking place right now that about to end. If you’re interested in learning more about the game and what’s going on with it, you can check out these resources.
- Previous Enties into this series
- Star Wars LCG Council Facebook page – the official page of the Star Wars LCG Council.
- Star Wars (LCG) Facebook page – this community-led Facebook page has been around since the start.
- Cardgamedb SW LCG General Discussion Forum – This is where the community really started and the Star Wars LCG boards are still active, especially when things such as the online tourney are going on
- Yoda’s Hut Youtube Channel – As mentioned before, you can find literally hundreds of Star Wars LCG gameplay videos with recorded commentary on my Youtube Channel.
- Frozen In Carbonite – Another member of the Star Wars LCG Council, Darthbs, has had his Youtube channel around in various forms throughout the years.
- CoDameron, a long-time Star Wars LCG player, has been recording his matches in the top cut of the current online tourney and posting those games on his Youtube Channel.
- Former 2015 Star Wars LCG World Champion Tom Melucci aka Ozrix, also has recorded some of the top cut matches from the current online tourney. Those are on his Twitch Channel and include commentary from him and other members of the community.
- Many years ago Team Covenant did an introductory gameplay video and they have many older recorded games with commentary on their Youtube channel as well. They also recently revisited the game on one of their daily streams during the pandemic isolation period and it was great to see that.
Thanks to I Rebel for allowing me to contribute this third entry in a series of articles about one of my favorite games of all time, the Star Wars LCG. Thanks to everyone for reading.
Until the next issue, May the Force Be With You!