A Guest Article on Edge Battles in STAR WARS (TM): The Card Game
One of the most distinctive aspects of Star Wars™: The Card Game is the edge battle – a tense prelude to combat, forcing light side and dark side to vie for the ability to strike first. In addition, the side that wins the edge activates its edge-enabled combat icons, allowing you to neutralize an opponent’s assault or turn a feint into a deadly attack.
Winning edge battles is crucial to winning a game of Star Wars: The Card Game. Today, guest writer Jarrett McBride, a regional champion and Top 16 World Championship finalist in Star Wars: The Card Game, examines the ways that you can gain an advantage over your opponent and start winning edge battles.
Jarrett McBride on Edge Battles
You’ve lost the edge. Those four words can cause a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach if you were unprepared. You thought you had your opponent in the palm of your hand, but now you’re at your opponent’s mercy.
In Star Wars: The Card Game, your edge battles can make or break the game. Losing an edge battle at a key point completely turns a game. You might lose units or have your surviving units covered in focus tokens. Worse yet, you may be giving your opponent the game. But we’re not in an edge battle right now, so we still have time to prepare. Today, I’m writing about getting the edge on your opponent and winning those important edge battles.
The first thing to know about edge battles is if you even need to win the edge. I see a lot of players, both new and experienced, leaping head first into an engagement, throwing down cards. It’s important to think: how is winning this edge battle going to help me overall? Each card in play and in your hand is important, and you never want to waste key units or cards unnecessarily. Do your units in the engagement have edge-enabled icons? Will shields prevent some of your opponent’s unit damage, so that going second won’t affect the impact of the engagement? Do you or your opponent have a combat trick like Swindled (Core Set, 130) or Rebel Assault (Core Set, 108) that makes winning the edge battle frivolous?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine when an edge battle is important, since each game of Star Wars: The Card Game can be different. This is something you learn through trial and error, as you draw on experience to gain the upper hand. You have to examine the board position – what units, enhancements, and objectives are in play and how many cards are in hand.
Victory or Death
So how do you actually win the edge battle, once you’ve entered and committed to it? The most direct way to win edge battles is by having more cards in your hand to play. Since each card can be useful for its Force icon count, it’s important to not just play all of your cards every turn, instead saving some cards for potential edge battles. Finding the right balance between playing cards and holding back depends on where the game is heading. If you need to make a push and destroy an objective, or prevent your opponent from doing the same, sometimes it’s better to hold a card like Yoda (Core Set, 166) for its five Force icons instead of playing it.
However, you can find ways around deciding whether to play cards or save them by playing cards that draw more cards or cards with the Edge keyword. Both methods allow you to get closer to winning edge battles without sacrificing cards from your hand and without losing units in play. Cards like the Intel Operative (Heroes and Legends, 503) allow you to draw cards, ensuring that you have cards in hand for future edge battles.
The Edge keyword is just as important, and provides its own advantages. Mon Mothma (Core Set, 98), the Millennium Falcon (Edge of Darkness, 332), and Shistavanen Wolfman (Balance of the Force, 418) all have Edge 1, meaning that whenever one of these units participates in an edge battle it contributes one Force icon to the edge battle. Attacking or defending units with the Edge keyword not only provide Force icons to the edge battle, but change the edge battle’s dynamics. They allow you to ‘pass’ as your first action in the edge battle, forcing your opponent to play the first edge card and giving you control over the edge battle’s tempo.
A Matter of Fate
Another way to win edge battles is by utilizing fate cards. Heat of Battle (Core Set, 65) deals a damage to an enemy unit, while Protection (Assault on Echo Base, 256) places a shield token. Twist of Fate (Core Set, 171) restarts an edge battle, potentially punishing your opponent for playing valuable cards prematurely. It’s always important to prepare for fate cards, and the best way to do that is to pay attention to the cards in your opponent’s discard pile. The unique deck building rules of Star Wars: The Card Game allow you to easily predict possible cards your opponent will play against you during the course of the game. Improperly guessing when your opponent plays a fate card might not just cost you the edge battle, it might cost you the game.
The last thing you want to remember is that you only need so many Force icons to actually win the edge into your favor. You only need to beat the opponent’s total by one if you’re attacking, or tie if you’re defending. By playing too many cards in the edge stack, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage for future engagements and edge battles. One way to guess the strength of your opponent’s edge stack is to take away some of the guesswork. Cards like Obi-Wan Kenobi (Core Set, 101) and Sensors Are Placed (The Search for Skywalker, 203) allow you to see the first card your opponent plays into the edge battle. By not over-committing to edge battles, you help yourself win later edge battles, making it easier to win the overall game.
Edge battles are a tricky aspect of Star Wars: The Card Game, but they are also one of the most challenging, rewarding, and fun aspects of the game. By winning those key edge battles, you’re putting yourself that much closer to victory!
Jarrett McBride is a regional champion for Star Wars: The Card Game, and he finished in the Top 16 at the 2013 Star Wars: The Card Game World Championships. Jarrett frequently writes strategy articles discussing various aspects of the game, contributing to the Star Wars community. Look for more Star Wars guest articles from Jarrett and others in coming weeks!