Strategy Articles

Bespin and Beyond
Article 1:  What to expect in a Bespin and Beyond Tournament...
By: Carl 'Mike' Hardy, Red 32
     Bespin and Beyond... You either hate it or you love it.
     B&B is a new type of tournament format designed to include only those cards introduced within the last few expansions.  Cards unvieled with Cloud City, Jabba's Palace, Special Edition, the Official Tournament Sealed Deck, and the Enhanced Premier Packs are all that's allowed in these types of tournaments.  This is roughly half of the available cards in all of Star Wars CCG.
     What does this mean?  Well for one, you won't be seeing a great many familiar cards in these types of tournaments.  Many of the popular "tournament" centerpieces go away.  To name a few:  Monnock, Grimtaash, Ghhhk, Houjix, Chewbacca, Millenium Falcon, R2-D2, C-3PO, Grand Moff Tarkin, plus others...  Other's that we've come to know and trust.  Without these popular cards, the decks that we play in these tournaments will change considerably.
     The tournaments themselves, administratively speaking, change relatively little.  They're still sanctioned Decipher Swiss Tournaments, they still count towards your ELO Ranking,  they still require that you have 2 60 card decks (one Light Side and one Dark Side).  The changes will be in how we play in the tournament.
     The largest possibly most pronounced change that's happened is the amount of one card you will see.  Without restrictors like Grimtaash and Monnock, you'll most likely tons and tons of one card...  Non-unique characters and starships come to mind, Sabbac cards as well.  If this is good or bad still remains to be seen.  However, it does open up another pronounced change...  The potential Beat Down.
     What is a Beat Down?  Well, it's essentially decending upon your opponent with a large number of characters, vehicles and/ or starships and simply overwhelming them with lots of power.  Even if your opponent were to forfiet all of the cards he has at that battle location he'd still have to lose a heafty amount of Force to cover the subsiquent battle damage.  Thus, your opponent has been "Beaten Down".
     The Grimtaash and Monnock were to add risk to the concept of having large numbers of one card in a players hand.  Ghhhk and Houjix covers you if you get caught with substantial battle damage.  None of these cards are available with Bespin and Beyond.  Be aware of that.
     In most regular tournaments, the playing field is divided into those who play Space Deck (decks that concentrate partially or wholey with Systems and Sectors) and those who play Gorund Decks (decks that focus mainly at Sites).  These basic themes still exist with B&B...  But the balance of power has changed.
     In Space, the Millenium Falcon with it's dashing scoundrel Captain Han Solo at the helm was a force that even the Imperial Star Fleet couldn't contain.  With the help of other cards (Chewbacca and R2-D2 for example), and juicy Force draining systems (Kessel, Coruscant, Kiffex) and the quitencential systems for Haven (Yavin 4, Hoth, Alderaan), Light Side space superiority was assured.  The Hidden Base objective only served to highten the Light Sides dominance of the space lanes.
     Unfortunately, many of these necessary cards vanish with Bespin and Beyond.  No more Yavin 4, Hoth, Alderaan for Haven (sure you could still put at at the Redezvous Point, but, that kind of redundant).  Light also loses Kessel and a Force Draining site.  What hurts the Light Side the most is the lose of it's powerful starships...  No generic X-wing for the popular X-wing swarms,  No Rebel Leader cards with their convenient ability to draw battle destiny,  No Tantive IV with it's spy capacity...  Worst of all, No Chewie and Falcon...
     The Dark Side also takes a hit, but, not nearly as bad.  Losing most of it's Star Destroyers, the Imperial Fleet still maintains a strong advantage with the Death Squadron Star Destroyer and Dreadnaught.  Many of it's formidable TIE fighters are no more...  Only to be replaced by the daunting TIE Defender.  However, what hurts the Dark Side most is it's lack of choice systems.  Without Kashyyyk, Kessel and Kiffex, the Dark must rely on the Light side to provide decent Force Draining systems.
     On the Ground, Dark has maintained a stiff and unyeilding dominance.  The Blizzard Force (Blizzard 1, 2 and the non-unique Blizzard Walker), the Vader/ Tarkin combo, The Circle Is Now Complete and Presence Of The Force all have added to the Dark's strength at sites...
     With the exception of the laughable Dune Walker, the Dark loses all of it's formidable combat vehicles.  Vader remains (as his EPP or Dark Lord Of The Sith persona), but, the Dark misses Tarkin baddly.  Jabba still has Boba Fett and Bane Molar are out hunting bounties...  Without Zuckuss and Djas Phur.  Myo leaves Abyssin's out in the cold.  No cards allow Vader to Duel (despite the available Epic Duel).  What still remains potent is Skrillings and Cloud City Troopers with Trooper Assault.
     The Light, however, gets several key Mains with the EPP's.  Luke, Leia, Han and Obi.  All are exceptional, easy to get, main characters that really do work well together.  Also, Manuever Flaps makes Sand Speeders and Cloud Cars extremely powerful.  Woth lots of choice Force draining location on Cloud City, expect to see a lot of action there.
     It takes a little thinking.  A new way of learning.  But, it's always fun to try something new.  Whether this style is good or bad is entirely up to you.  But, before you make your decision, I encourage you to try it out for yourself.
     Stay tuned to this page for more articles and strategy help with the Upcoming Bespin and Beyond Tournaments in your area.
-Carl 'Mike' Hardy, Red 32-

Bespin and Beyond
Article 2:  How to beat the "Beat Down"...
By: Carl 'Mike' Hardy, Red 32
     The Beat Down!
     In Star Wars CCG it's described as swarming your opponent with a vast amount of characters, starships and/ or vehicles to cause exsessive, potentially game-breaking amounts of battle damage.  This has always been a danger with Star Wars CCG.  The potential to lose a game because of a disasterous battle has cause many players to hold back before deploying early in the game.  The mere "threat" of the beat down, causes players to hesitate.
     That has never been more true with Bespin and Beyond.  Under normal circumstances, Ghhhk and Houjix has been available to save players caught on the losing end of a beat down.  Other cards like Monnock and Grimtaash, prevent mass amount of one type of character to do the beat down, thus, watering down the effect.  However, Bespin and Beyond doesn't have the luxury of using the life saving cards.  So, the beat down is an ever present, ever dangerous, obsticle that faces many players in a B&B tournament.
     Well, Mike, if you're so smart...  Then, how can I save myself from the "Beat Down"?  You ask.  My answer:  "Very Carefully!"  All joking beside, in order to defend yourself against the "Beat Down", in important to know what to look for.  Learn to identify the signals of an impending beat down, before it happens.
     Beat down warning signs include:
     A large Force Pile, it takes a lot of Force to bring down a sizable attack force.  Keep an eye on your opponent's Force Pile...  If it looks rather large (15 or more cards in it), it's a safe bet that a beat down situation is on its way.
     Cards that make other cards deploy for less or for free  Watch for cards that make other cards deploy for less.  For example: Scum And Villiany allows Non-unique Aliens to deploy -1, so does Arleil Shous and Chall Bekan, Lyn Me allows Boba Fett to deploy for free, ASP-707 makes all vehicles deploy -1, ect...  By using these cards, your opponent can bring out an otherwise expensive mob for a whole lot less Force.
     Baiting you with alone cards or juicy Force drain locations.  You know the saying, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is...", same here.  You opponent may bait you into deploying prematurely by sending out a few units (enough to avoid a beat down himself), or giving you a location that you could really use.  Once you've deployed there, he'll follow en-masse and obliterate you.
     OK, now you know what to looks for.  So, what do you do when you see it coming.  Ordinarily, it was easy, just have a Ghhhk or a Houjix handy.  Now it's not so simple.  However, there's still hope, a few cards you can play that will help you defend yourself against a beat down.
     Things that can save your butt during a beat down are:
     Deploying high power/ high forfiet cards to your lesser defended locations.  This seems elementary, but, I often see situtations where a player is being "Sassy" and trying to control a location with one TIE fighter or something.  One of the basic fundamentals of Star Wars CCG is deploying so that you provide enough ability to draw battle destiny.  The magic number is normally 4 ability, but there are some cases were that migic number can be higher (ie Vader's Personal Shuttle).  By deploy an ability of 4 or greater you not only give yourself a card draw adding to your total power and attrition, but, you also send additional forfiet to the location.
     Example:  Let's do the math...  I deploy 4 Cloud City Troopers to a location.  This gives me a power of 8 and an ability of 4.  In a battle this ability of 4 allows me to draw a destiny to add to my total power and attrition.  On an average card draw of 3, I've just made my total power 11 instead of 8.  Not only that each of these troopers has a forfiet of 3.  This makes my total forfiet 12 at the location.  So, if a beat down force were to decend apon me, I would be able to soak up 23 points of his total power, before I start taking battle damage (this is my power of 8 plus a average card draw of 3 plus my total forfiet of 12...  In essence, I have 23 point of damage resistance at that location).  So, a guy could attack me doing 23 point of damage, and, after forfieting all of those troopers from the location, I take no further battle damage.
     Sacrifice and First Aid can reduce your battle damage by five if you lose a character, starship or vehicle from your hand.  It's a nice Used Interrupt with an above average destiny of 4.  So, If I get caught at a location and take up 5 points of battle damage, instead of losing those cards, I can play this, lose a character, starship or vehicle from my hand and breathe freely, also recycling a good destiny back into my deck for later use.
     Projective Telepathy gives you a chance by forceing your opponent to pay extra to battle you.  In essence he must pay an additional 2 Force or the battle he initiated is canceled.  Often times, in a beat down, the player will spend as much Force as possible to get as many cards on the table to clobber you.  By playing this neat little Used Interrupt, you can cancel the battle and escape.
     It's A Trap also has a few good uses normally.  The Lost function allows you to cancel a battle at a site entirely!  With this card in your hand, you can deploy and play normally, without fear of a retaliatory beat down.  Just make sure you have the required 3 Force in order to play this expensive interrupt.
     These are just some ideas on what to expect and how to play against the beat down...  By keeping your eyes open and having an escape clause or two, you'll be able to come out ahead.  Try it out! 
-Carl 'Mike' Hardy, Red 32-