Review – The Search for Skywalker (Star Wars LCG)

                The Search for Skywalker is the second Force Pack in the Hoth Cycle for Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: The Card Game LCG. It follows the standard model for LCG expansions – $15 for 60 cards, including a full playset of everything. So what’s to care about here for the Star Wars LCG payer?

1.            The Most Common Decks Get Literally Nothing

The tournament field has been pretty narrow in the Star Wars LCG so far.  The Dark Side has consisted overwhelmingly of Sith decks, with only a few variations – mostly whether you run a single pair of an Imperial objective set (usually Motti’s) and/or do you run the Hoth objective sets from The Desolation of Hoth? On the Light Side, the most common decks are Jedi + Han, although (unlike for the Dark Side) there is a real secondary choice in the form of vehicle-only Rebel decks designed to play well against the Sith’s array of events that target only characters (the Icetromper, which has been a 4x in most Sith decks, also can’t hit vehicles).

The Search for Skywalker adds nothing to those decks. There’s no Jedi or Sith objective sets, and the Rebel objective set is all characters. This is a good thing, really, as the tournament scene could use some shaking up. It also lets us know for sure how FFG is going to handle trying to keep things even between the factions and sides of the Force – they aren’t, at least not on a Force Pack level, as The Search for Skywalker not only excludes two factions, but also is weighted towards the Light Side.

2.            Smugglers/Spies and Scum and Villainy Show Up Again, But You Won’t Care … Yet

Both the Light Side Smugglers faction and the Dark Side Bounty Hunters pick up their second objective set, and first since the base game. However, these objective sets are unlikely to see play now. There just aren’t enough objective sets from these factions to make a deck out of, Han Solo’s overpowered objective set from the core game isn’t getting displaced anytime soon as a throw-in to be included in Rebel/Jedi decks, and the Jabba’s Orders objective set is too focused on capturing to mesh well with an Imperial or Sith deck (sorry, smushing together the two Bounty Hunter objective sets, the Imperial capture objective, and the Sith capture objective is not going to end well for you).

That doesn’t mean they won’t come in handy in the future, though. The smugglers/spies objective set – Renegade Squadron Mobilization – features the rather beefy Renegade Squadron, with the damage capacity to challenge something like a Star Destroyer, but a nice spread of combat icons (including Tactics!) instead of just piles of unit damage or objective damage. And the objective itself is card draw, which is always desireable. The Scum & Villainy objective set, Jabba’s Orders, should become potent once a full-on bounty hunter deck, loaded with capture cards, becomes available. The 2x Weequay Elite are amazing as long as you’ve got a single captured card at an objective (2 cost for 3 combat icons, including tactics, plus 2 health), and Jabba’s Palace, which increases the damage capacity of all of your objectives and sports 3 force icons, is good right now (just not good enough to justify dragging the rest of the set along right now).

3.            A Full-On Hoth Deck Is Now Possible

That all-vehicle Rebel deck doesn’t gain anything here, but a whole new Rebel deck is possible. Joining the Rebel Speeder objective set from Desolation of Hoth and the Unique neutral LS objective set, Search for Skywalker adds in another Rebel and another neutral objective set (neither Unique), which means the Rebels can now sport 7 Hoth objectives, enough to just flat-out call it a Hoth deck. With 7 Hoth objectives, you’ll almost always have at least two of them out and the “more Hoth objectives than opponent” effects will almost always be turned on. The Desolation of Hoth cards now become all-starts, with Hoth Operations handing out lots of edge to the eight Speeders you can pack (from Hoth Operations and the brand-new Preparation for Battle) – add that to Sensors Are Placed and you might really be able to dominate the edge battle. Echo Base Defense and Subzero Defenses will make for great defense, and Wilderness Fighters will always be a solid buy. You’ll even get to get in on the character resource generators with Tauntaun. Add in your choice of another handful of Rebel objectives (or, as always, Han) and there might just be another tournament-caliber deck taking the field.

4.            No, I Didn’t Mean You, Imperials

The Imperials got a new objective set as well, but it doesn’t enable a new deck, and I don’t see it lifting the Imperials out of their current small tournament showing. Deploy the Fleet is a pretty focused objective set – two expensive capital ships, and four cards that produce resources to pay for them. And those capital ships themselves are pretty focused – they deliver a lot of objective damage and are hard to kill, but don’t contribute at all to shutting down enemy units. But the Imperials just aren’t positioned to be able to successfully execute the sort of rush attack that such focus requires, and those capital ship spearheads are really expensive.

Verdict

The Search for Skywalker might add a new Rebel decktype to the tournament mix, but doesn’t do much elsewhere, at least not yet. The Smugglers & Spies and Scum & Villainy objective sets are just drooling in anticipation of their decks coming into existence in a few months when those factions become fully playable.

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