Common Strategies, Uncommon Builds

Common Strategies, Uncommon Builds

This article comes to us from Kevin over at Roll On Gaming. Be sure to check out he and his brother, Corwin, on YouTube and Spotify for more great Star Wars: Unlimited content!

It can be an uncommon practice for a TCG to underscore the value of a Common card. In fact, some would say it is even MORE uncommon that the same Common would be commonly seen in the competitive scene. Yet in a year of common wins racked up by the Star Wars: Unlimited team at Fantasy Flight Games, it was an uncommon idea that caught my eye.

During an AMA-style Q&A in mid-November, a question was posed on social media about the challenges of gathering full playsets of Legendary-rarity cards in SWU, given the Legendary pull rates in a booster box that had been advertised (1 Legendary in every 8 packs = roughly 3 per box). The idea, I assume, was to attempt to quell fears of competitively-viable decks being “pay-to-win” by loading up on expensive legendaries, thus pushing out those with a more modest budget. The answer, provided by Senior Game Designer Tyler Parrott, was what intrigued me.

If you’ve been locked into Star Wars: Unlimited since the game was announced in May, Tyler’s comments should come as no surprise. In a FFG livestream detailing the contents of booster packs, Lead Designer Danny Schaefer echoed this sentiment. Additionally, the SWU design team has stressed the importance of the game’s accessibility in its distribution from the outset.

But the idea that the most commonly-found cards in an Unlimited booster pack could be among the most powerful in Spark of Rebellion? What does that make Uncommons?

What if we didn’t need any Rares or Legendaries at all to build a powerful deck in Star Wars: Unlimited?

Come along on a journey with me as we explore that very question.

Surveying the Terrain

As this article is being written, there have been 81 cards revealed with the Common rarity; remove the 5 bases (we can expect 3 more), two token upgrades and 8 leaders, and you’re left with 66 units, upgrades or events that can go into your deck so far. Add to that the 43 Uncommons revealed to this point and we’ve seen 109 cards out of 252 that are either of Common or Uncommon rarity. So with around 70 cards left to be revealed in Spark of Rebellion, what can be surmised about the power level of Commons and Uncommons, compared to their more narrowly-found counterparts?

Let’s start with the obvious: not all Commons or Uncommons will be strong, necessary, or even useful. And no one is suggesting that a Patrolling V-Wing (SOR 111) can compare to the mighty Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight (SOR 51). Even when it comes to Leaders in Spark of Rebellion, you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that IG-88 (SOR 12) is a more desirable Leader to feature than Han Solo (SOR 17). While we’re on the subject of Leaders, though, we can’t have a discussion about powerful Commons without talking about Sabine Wren.

A Common Aggro Hero FTW

Sabine Wren, Galvanized Revolutionary (SOR 14) has quickly gained notoriety for being the fastest gun in town, burning down opponents’ bases with low-cost units that overwhelm the board. When her Aggression aspect is paired with Cunning, Sabine also finds herself in the two aspects that arguably have the highest level of support currently. Moreover, playing with an “aggro” strategy provides an inherent level of flexibility - you don’t need cards to be rare for them to attack your opponent’s base.

That said, it’s true that Sabine is likely in a dominant position because of some key Rares and Legendaries. The Space arena suffers the most without them - Millennium Falcon, Piece of Junk (SOR 193) and Red Three, Unstoppable (SOR 144) will definitely be missed in any “budget” Sabine list. K-2SO, Cassian’s Counterpart (SOR 145) is a newer piece of Rare tech in the Ground arena, and Sabine also loses two strong events in the set’s namesake Spark of Rebellion (SOR 200) and For A Cause I Believe In (SOR 152).

Despite these omissions, a Cunning Sabine deck can still pack a mean punch.

Losing Rare base Jedha City (SOR 28) will sting, as it provides extra protection for Sabine’s units, but adding 5 health for your opponent to chew through while you send wave after wave into their base is nothing to trifle with. Sabine decks can consistently put an opponent on the back foot early by dropping two 1-cost units, and there are 8 of them to choose from here between Cantina Braggart (SOR 157), SpecForce Soldier (SOR 140) and Benthic “Two Tubes”, Partisan Lieutenant (SOR 156). Another option is Greedo, Slow on the Draw (SOR 204), though he doesn’t synergize as well with the other Aggression units in the list.

Between the Raid units and the buffs for Rebel units all falling under the Common/Uncommon banner, even a Sabine deck that doesn’t feature any high-rarity cards could easily flourish in a Set 1 meta. But Sabine is a known quantity. What if you’re like me, and insist on playing Villainy? For that, I want to go to the opposite end of the color palette: instead of Red and Yellow, let’s talk about Green and Blue.

Four of Our Best Options

For my money, four of the best cards in Star Wars: Unlimited right now are Commons and Uncommons in Command and Vigilance: 3 in Green, 1 in Blue. Two of them are specific to Villainy.

Superlaser Technician (SOR 83) has been an auto-include in every Command/Villainy deck since it was revealed by Wampa Radio in July. The ability to provide board presence, damage an opponent’s unit and become a ready resource all in one 3-cost package gives SLT - or DJ Laser, depending on who you talk to - a real shot at surviving throughout the entire life cycle of SWU’s first rotation. And it’s a Common!

Speaking of Common ramp cards, Resupply (SOR 126) has proven to be a key event for all Command decks because of its dual purpose. Not only will Resupply give you a resource advantage on future turns, but it takes you one step closer to deploying your leader early. That prospect will often prove more useful than playing a Unit in Round 2!

Another card you’re likely to see in every Command deck, sometimes regardless of morality aspect, is Overwhelming Barrage (SOR 92). In early gameplay, OB is easily the most feared and played-around card on the map, and rarely is there hesitation to play it for 7 resources in Heroism instead of its printed 5 in Villainy.

Finally, Overwhelming Barrage would easily run away with the title for best Uncommon Event in Spark of Rebellion if not for Takedown (SOR 77). The scourge of any aforementioned Sabine deck, Takedown’s ability to remove a unit without worrying about shields or other obstacles makes it a must for any Vigilance player.

A Villainous Common Leader

So how do we effectively combine these four incredible cards to form the foundation of a solid low-rarity deck? Enter Director Krennic, Aspiring to Authority (SOR 1), a Common Leader that has been steadily climbing the charts after a “wait-and-see” welcome upon first being revealed. Pairing Krennic with Command gives you a ramp-control shell that, without any Rares or Legendaries, could look a little something like this.

Now, it’s worth noting that there are already a lot of built-in options in a budget Krennic list like this. Scout Bike Pursuer (SOR 32) is there because of its natural synergy with both Krennic and Death Trooper (SOR 33), making for a potent 1-2 punch in the opening rounds. However, the Biker can be easily replaced by a Viper Probe Droid (SOR 228) or Snowtrooper Lieutenant (SOR 227), one of our personal favorites at Roll On Gaming as it was a card we previewed in July. If you continue your quest for additional firepower, Rugged Survivors (SOR 67) can be swapped out with AT-ST (SOR 232), and more conservative builds could switch Consortium StarViper (SOR 112) with System Patrol Craft (SOR 66) to protect the Space lanes.

Like Sabine, a low-rarity Command/Vigilance/Villainy deck will be jonesing for a couple of high-value cards - most notably, Energy Conversion Lab (SOR 22), which is probably the best rare base in the game. And not having heavy hitters like Avenger (SOR 40) or Devastator (SOR 90) to ramp to may hurt in the later rounds. But with the amount of unit removal, Sentinel and extra damage this list can hit an opponent with, there’s definitely a world where Command Krennic can hold its own against the best decks in the format - even just by bringing Commons and Uncommons to the party.

Don't Overlook Common and Uncommon Gems

So what have we learned in our travels? You can be sure that nothing in this article will detract from the power level of some of the best Rares and Legendaries in Star Wars: Unlimited. I, personally, have my heart and wallet set on acquiring full playsets of every single one. But in a game where so much attention is paid to limited formats like Sealed and Draft, not all of the shine can be reserved for those 1-2 slots in a 16-card pack.

So before you scoff at the 9 Commons and 3 Uncommons you open in each booster, think fondly of the Battlefield Marine (SOR 95) or the Imperial Interceptor (SOR 132). Take heart at the sight of a Restored ARC-170 (SOR 44) or Bossk, Deadly Stalker (SOR 182). And rejoice, for Ezra Bridger, Resourceful Troublemaker (SOR 192) and Fifth Brother, Fear Hunter (SOR 131) are with you.

You may find these uncommon solutions are more common than you think.

Roll On Gaming
YouTube | Spotify | X/Twitter

Back to blog