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abUse the Force - Go Hoth or Go Home

Star Wars abUse the Force divinityofnumber

Just as the new Force Pack The Search for Skywalker hits stores, let's take a look at how The Killing Cold has affected the Sith cardpool and Deckbuilding strategies. Because of the synergy between the objectives The Killing Cold and Shadows on the Ice, it seems as though the Sith player must simply Go Hoth or Go Home (i.e., run all of the above or none of the above).

The first question that comes to mind when examining The Killing Cold objective for the Sith player is, “Is this good enough to warrant removing one or two of the core set Sith objectives that are in my current build?” Unfortunately, I cannot answer that for you. But, I will give you some of my impressions of this objective after extensive play testing.
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The objective itself offers both positives and negatives to the current Sith archetype deck (i.e., running two copies of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader). On the plus side, The Killing Cold allows you to sacrifice a unit as a player action in order to remove one damage from a friendly Hoth objective. So, if you happen to lose an edge battle, and know that your character is about to die, you can sacrifice it to remove one damage from a Hoth objective, if you control one and it has damage on it. But, there is not an abundance of Hoth objectives at the moment; the most likely scenario is that you would use the ability if your one copy of The Killing Cold that is revealed happens to have damage on it, and you just lost an edge battle. There are other applications, obviously, but I point to the most probable. The downside of the objective itself is that it only provides one resource, and has a damage capacity of five. This is relatively standard. But, in a deck that needs to have its heavy hitters on the board as soon as possible, it makes it more likely that you will draw four objectives at the beginning of the game that all offer only one resource, and we all know how painful it is to have to add a major character into an edge stack.

Fear (40-4)
I have tended to view this as either an edge stack card, or something that I discard for additional draw. Its ability is not a game-changer, more of a minor annoyance, it seems. Plus, it has limited application, since it must enhance a Character unit, making it, in many instances, useless when playing against a vehicle-heavy Rebel Alliance deck. In most Jedi builds, which units get committed to the force most often? Luke or perhaps Han will not be committed to the force too often, and so are unlikely good targets for this. Also, if you add it to Yoda, you augment him significantly. Additionally, you increase the ability of your Jedi opponent to play Calm or Weapon Mastery. But, there are some solid arguments for it being a decent card. With the coming deluxe expansion, there will be Smugglers and Spies decks that, like the Jedi, run a significant amount of characters, which will likely increase the playability of The Killing Cold.

Icetromper
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This card can go from amazing to completely mediocre, depending on your opponent’s character to vehicle ratio. In its best use, Icetromper is involved in an engagement in which you win the edge battle, allowing you to strike for one damage, subsequently sacrificing it to remove an attacking non-vehicle unit from the engagement, and dealing an additional damage to it. If you defend with an Icetromper against Luke, for instance, and win the edge battle, you are a simple Force Choke away from killing him. If you win an edge battle against an attacking Han Solo, Icetromper destroys him, barring any saves, etc. Icetromper is less conditional than Fear, since it applies to non-Vehicle units (e.g., droids, etc.), but it becomes considerably less relevant when facing a vehicle-heavy deck. And, if you run two copies of The Killing Cold, you will be drawing Icetrompers consistently. That is something to keep in mind when considering whether to add The Killing Cold to your Sith build. It can make certain match-ups pretty painful.

The Desolation of Hoth (40-5)
This is a great edge battle card. It has two big downsides, 1) it can only be played during your turn, and 2) it can only move damage from a Hoth objective. So, you cannot use it to reactively save an objective from being destroyed; the objective has to live through an attack or two, and then you can move damage from it, and it has to be a Hoth objective. So, if you have no revealed Hoth objectives, this is a de facto edge stack card. In the relatively rare instance that it could be useful, it is potentially devastating. But, most of the time this card is edge fodder.

Twist of Fate (40-6)
Can you ever have too many of these? Yes. I think that some veteran players would agree that having a few around is nice, but their power is slightly overstated. If you have too many in a deck, I guarantee that you will find yourself discarding them on occasion, hoping to draw things that more directly impact the board.

At this point in the Sith cardpool, it seems as though one must either go Hoth or go home; that is to say, run Shadows on the Ice and two copies of The Killing Cold, or simply stick with the core Sith objective sets. But, loading up a Sith deck with the current Hoth cycle objective sets does leave them heavily skewed toward dealing with characters, and vulnerable to vehicle-heavy light side builds. Sith builds made of only core set objectives seem a bit more well rounded, with the Hoth-heavy builds significantly stronger, but only against certain light side builds. So, if you know your meta, you can build for that. But, running the Sith Hoth objectives at this point seems to be a bit of a gamble, if you go in not knowing the field. But, it is a gamble that has paid off for some, as the decklists from various regional competitions have shown. I have left detailed discussion of the Shadows on the Ice objective for another time. But, Sith builds love objectives that offer more than one resource, and, given that you have a Hoth objective revealed, who doesn't love cheap (or free) Wampas and dealing out focus tokens for free? Running two copies of The Killing Cold makes Shadows on the Ice playable in Sith builds.

Thank you for reading. Please post some comments about your experiences adding The Killing Cold to your Sith builds!


2 Comments


Ironswimsuit
Apr 27 2013 04:53 PM
I haven't had a chance to play my sith critters yet, but Icetrompers and Rancors together just seem fun.
So far it's been doing alright. DS getting a cheap wampa is really helpful because of the survivability of the unit and the fact it can actually do character damage.

Generally I do find myself pitching cards though if no hoth objective is out, though edge being what it is I can't always say I feel annoyed when I have to do so.