Helloooo everyone! CooMasterCoo here from The Jedi Trials. In this discussion, I want to talk about the non-conformist himself, Emo Vader. Others may know him as Darth Vader, Dark Apprentice. When Zach Bunn from Team Covenant spoiled Vader in their interview with Lukas Lizsinger, I was instantly hooked. After testing him a few times, I started to think how he could be played with as much efficiency as possible. From this question arose two others; How to keep him alive while his ability does the opposite and who to pair him with? I believe these are important aspects when focusing on my original question, how he could be played with as much efficiency as possible?
First up, how do we keep him alive when his ability kills him? To make it interesting, lets add without sacrificing dice meant for damage. That would take away from our his maximum damage output which I think would make him less efficient. One way we can accomplish this is obvious through events, upgrades, and supports. Let’s first look at some specific events; Dug In, Air Superiority, Armor Plating, Force Illusion, Momentum Shift, Rejuvenate, and Rise Again.
Dug In is an excellent addition to a deck needing that extra shield push. The only drawback is that you have to strategically plan to play it. You must control the battlefield, which if not planned correctly can cause you to miss out on resolving helpful dice. You are forced to play Dug In on your first turn the round AFTER you claimed. It could very well be a turn too late especially with an opponent who just got a hand full of new cards. Hope he didn’t get an Intimidate! The fact that you lose “first turn initiative” also bothers me.
The shields version of Backup Muscle. Maybe a little too slow for the character being focused fired on but great for your end game character. In Vader’s case, he will most defiantly be zapped first.
Armor Plating could be a quick solution for a powerful punch from your opponent. Unlike shields, you can choose when to use your Armor Plating. Save it for a hard hit or when you are staring at the death blow from your opponent, just be careful! It only blocks two damage. Someone can make sure they have enough damage sides to finish the job very quickly.
Now this is damage mitigation! An amazing choice for our mission of keeping Vader alive in my opinion. You’ll have to discard few cards to completely block an attack but it can turn the tide of a game in an instant. Most times your opponent pulls one, maybe two, large damage swings a game. This card alone can possibly increase your characters health to 15! The only draw back is you may lose a much needed card. Mill decks aren’t an issue only because they aren’t primarily doing any damage to block.
Not only are you robbing them of a shield, but you are acquiring it for yourself. Awesome. I always think of cards like Intimidate as a zero cost “do three damage”. This card can add to Vader’s damage output by robbing the shield and paving the way for a nice use of his special, preventing the one damage it does to himself! May want to hang on to this one.
A quick “heal one damage” that resembles Take Cover. Too many times I have seen it as a wasted turn. I would probably only play this if it would save Vader last minute or if they claim early and I can play it care free.
If you can pull this off, it can be an absolute game changer. Enrage is key here I believe. You should have at least one Enrage in your deck to help with resource generation to make up for Vader’s lack thereof anyways. It has been involved in paying for Rise Again nearly every time I have played it. Enrage for that one resource needed, Heal 5, play Lightsaber for free, and roll him in. Sweet!
Now that we have looked at all the potential cards that you can include in your deck to keep him alive, let’s think of some other ways that can be done. One way is enticement, if that’s even possible next to Vader! What I mean by enticement is literally enticing your opponent to require a new focus onto the other character or characters on your team. Besides the pair itself, you can load up your other character with dice to the point where they just can’t be ignored anymore. You want Vader at his elite build for our “maximum damage output” (goes hand in hand with the question of efficiency) or I’d normally say make the other team mate elite. In this case you wouldn’t want that.
In an addition to cards that heal or shield, you can remove or change your opponent’s dice to stop the damage altogether. The real skill is finding that perfect harmony of damage mitigation to dice removal/alter and damage enhancing cards. Classic adds such as Isolation, Deflect, and Force Strike all serve the multiple roles. Don’t forget the new additions like Lightsaber Throw and High Ground. Any time you can consolidate those three card types, you leave room for other needed cards to help your mission.
Next on our list of ways to aid Vader in his killing spree is a big question, who best to pair him with? This decision doesn’t come easy because you want someone that assists in our mission. Our mission, keeping Vader alive long enough to melt faces. We will start with the most popular choice it seems as of late, FN-2199 or 9s.
9s is indeed a great choice. You can run him elite with Vader giving you more damage sides overall of the choices. His ability is going to be one of the most coveted, joining the ranks of Jango…maybe. It is end game heaven to be able to resolve a die immediately before your opponent can get rid of it. He gives you access to red cards so that’s you Dug In and possibly Air Superiority for Vader I mentioned, but with great power, comes great responsibility. He is an attention hog. You have to add enough weapon enhancements in your deck to see the full power of his ability. Some would say sure, no problem, more damage sides for me! I believe this can hurt you by having to sacrifice other blue cards to cater to 9s ability. This is assuming you build your deck around it. Most people don’t build towards Veers’ ability, it’s his damage sides they are after and his cheap points at elite. He could be a great deterrent like we mentioned before, some enticement not to focus Vader. I can also see you building your deck around 9s’ amazing ability and using Vader as the enticement but this is about playing Vader to his full potential, not 9s. I’ll leave that article in hands of more…capable men.
GG is a personal favorite of mine. As you can see on our YouTube channel, I play him…a lot. I have tested this version several times and it’s my favorite so far. This gives you access to red cards just as 9s does but you only really need a few with GG. Some Dug Ins and Tactical Masteries, that’s it. The rest is No Mercy fuel. The whole time your opponent is gunning for Vader they forget that GG is lurking, pinging him with 2 and 3 melee sides here and there. After you have extinguished all your shenanigans to keep Vader up, he dies, but hopefully not before you kill an opponent’s character with a weapon upgrade. That’s when you’re face to face with GG end game and he hits like a mac truck. You may be out of fun blue events at that point or stuck without a blue character to spot but at least the odds are in your favor with 3 sides on this character die being damage. Elite 9s may have one more point of combined damage than GG but you would have to pay two resources to do 4 damage at the most. There is also a potential problem with non-matching damage symbols. I’d pay one resource for 3 damage than 2 for four any day. Odds are, I’ll need that resource for something.
Ole’ Uncle P, what can I say? I tested this out a few times in hopes to finding the new damage/resource choke style Jabba/Vader. Unfortunately you spend all your time building Uncle P for end game play. Yes, you have resources for days and can play Rise Again or whatever card for that matter but sometimes it’s all for nothing. I had to rely on Crime Lord way too many times and that doesn’t sit well with me. He did give me access to fun yellow cards like Electroshock and Cheat, which was neat. The big MVP was Personal Shield. This thing does some serious work for Vader, especially if you’re facing a ranged damage deck. I found that a 2 or 3 shield side is removed just as much as a 2 or 3 melee side. Both are very annoying. I’m not done with this deck through. I may be holding onto a hopeless dream but I’ll keep testing away anyways.
There are other pairings like Count Dooku. He is fantastic for end game. You can go elite versions of Jabba and Kylo as well. The point of this article was to locate the basics of what to look for when building a deck around “utilizing Vader with the upmost efficiency”. You can plug in for X anywhere you see fit. I hope this brought some insight to not only our task at hand, but helped with the process of deck building as well. It can be hard with all these new awesome cards to focus on a clear mission and build around it. One thing stands for certain, I will watch Vader’s career with great interest.
A special thanks to swdestiny for all my cards images!
May the dice be with you…