Mission Briefing: Spark of Rebellion Prerelease

Mission Briefing: Spark of Rebellion Prerelease

This article comes to us from ScottE over at Golden Dice Podcast. Be sure to check Scott and the GDP crew on YouTube and Spotify for more great Star Wars: Unlimited content!

Welcome everyone to the first “Mission Briefing”, a series of articles centered around preparing you for different organized play (“OP”) events for Star Wars Unlimited.

My name is ScottE of the Golden Dice Podcast, and I will be leading this and other briefings. I’ve been playing in OP events for TCGs and miniatures games for nearly 30 years if we reach back to the original Pokemon days, and I have participated in events ranging from 4 player local store events to World Championships with hundreds of players.

For this first Mission Briefing, I thought it would make sense to start off with the first event that most people will be participating in for Star Wars Unlimited, the Spark of Rebellion Prerelease.

The Event

For those of you new to TCGs, prerelease events are typically the first occasion players will have to get their hands on a new set. Star Wars Unlimited will continue this trend with their first prerelease event preceding the Spark of Rebellion release by a week.

Prerelease events will be run by local game stores (“LGS”) so your best bet is to check with your LGS to see about scheduling. Additionally, on the main Star Wars Unlimited website you can find an event locator (Event Locator), though at the time of this publication it’s not entirely updated. Your best bet is to check with your LGS. Each Star Wars Unlimited prerelease will be run as a 4-round Sealed event.

The Basics

A Sealed event is a form of Limited play (the other form being Draft) in which players build a deck based on the cards provided as part of the event. This format differs from bringing a deck made from one's own collection, hence the term Limited play.

For the Prerelease, players that purchase an official Prerelease Box will receive 6 booster packs and a special copy of each of the starter heroes, Luke Skywalker, Faithful Friend (SOR 5) and Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith (SOR 10).

From this card pool, players will construct decks using the following guidelines:

  • Using any leader from the packs OR the promo Luke or Vader leader
  • Using any 30HP base (regardless of whether you pull that specific aspect) OR a 25HP rare base pulled from a pack
  • 30 cards minimum, no maximum deck size
  • Any number of an individual card pulled (for instance if you pull 4 copies of Battlefield Marine (SOR 95) you can run all 4 despite the normal 3-of deck building restrictions).
  • Decks can be changed round to round
  • Normal aspect match rules apply for paying for cards.

Advanced Tips

Now the real fun begins!

Myself and the rest of Golden Dice were lucky enough to attend the recent Community Celebration event held by Fantasy Flight Games. As part of the event we were given a full booster box of product for use in Sealed, Draft, and/or general pack openings.

For the purposes of writing this article I opted to separate my 24 packs into four separate 6-pack Sealed pools to help provide you the reader with a better sense of what you can expect in your packs and provide some tips for deck building for the event.

Once you open your packs and snap back to consciousness from marveling at the Showcase Emperor Palpatine you just opened, it’s now going to be time to organize your cards and start making some choices. (Editor's Note: Congrats to Scott for pulling a Showcase leader variant. Those only show up once in every 12 boxes!)

Deck-building Process

Here is the four step process I used, which I think helps alleviate some of the analysis paralysis that can occur with new shiny cards.

Step 1: Sorting

You’re going to want to divvy up your card into the following piles:

  • Leaders
  • Rare bases
  • Heroism
  • Villainy
  • Unaffiliated
  • For each of the four main Aspects (Vigilance, Cunning, Command, Aggression)
    • Double aspect
    • Single aspect
    • Aspect/Heroism
    • Aspect/Villainy

This will cut down on the amount of cards you are having to look at and consider at any one time.

Step 2: Eliminating Aspects

Start with any of the four main Aspects and separate out cards such as lower impact events and upgrades. Prime examples of these would be something like Smuggling Compartment (SOR 214) and Recruit (SOR 123). That’s not to say these cards can’t make a deck, but they are not the meat and potatoes that you need to build the core of a deck. Do the same with your Heroism and Villainy piles.

From there, count how many “core” cards you have left in that aspect, specifically the number of units. The reality is if you have less than 10 core cards between the combination of the single aspect cards and the aspect/affiliations, it’s going to be difficult fleshing out a deck with that aspect involved.

I found over the four sealed pools that I opened using this process I was able to eliminate 1-2 aspects from consideration. Now you’re only having to consider about half of your card pool.

Step 3: Consider Your Leaders

Let’s say you’ve been able to eliminate two aspects from the conversation just by virtue of not having enough core cards remaining. Now you can circle back and consider your leaders. Immediately, you know you can eliminate any that don’t match your remaining aspects.

If you are left with just Heroes or just Villains remaining you can narrow your card pool even further. But if you aren’t, now is the time to weigh your remaining Heroism and Villainy cards against each other.

If there isn’t a clear winner there or you are still between two heroes of the same affiliation, consider that leaders that deploy earlier and/or have generic abilities are going to be easier to make work than others that require specific cards to get going.

Luke, Vader, Sabine Wren, Galvanized Revolutionary (SOR 12), and Boba Fett, Collecting the Bounty (SOR 15) are all examples of leaders that would fit that mold. Someone like Chirrut Îmwe, One With The Force (SOR 4) or Emperor Palpatine, Galactic Ruler (SOR 6) are going to require more specific card pools to work with because they either want certain cards (Chirrut) or they come out late (Palpatine). This absolutely can be done, though, so don’t feel like you can’t play who you want either.

Step 4: Trim/Add the Fat

You’ve selected a leader, you’re down to two aspects, now it’s time to build your deck.

Take the core cards you sorted out for the aspects and affiliation you’ve selected. Do you have 30 cards? Congrats! You’ve got a deck!

It really can be that easy at this point, but you can do some tweaking if you want. You can go over 30 cards, though I haven’t found decking out to be a concern in Sealed. You can also replace some of the core cards with the more niche cards you previously separated out if you find yourself with a glut of units and not enough tricks.

If you are over 30 cards, it might be time to start trimming out some of the less powerful core cards you identified. Look at your unit costs; if you’re particularly heavy in any 1 area you can likely afford to drop a unit at that cost. Look at your non-unit count. Ultimately, you’re going to need units to carry the day so you likely want to shoot for a near 3:1 unit to non-unit ratio.

If you’re under 30 cards you’re going to have to start adding back in some of the niche cards you separated earlier. Again, look at your unit costs and your unit to non-unit ratio.

I’ll give a special shout out to a specific unaffiliated option you can look at if you’re finding yourself either short on units overall or specifically short on space units; the Corellian Freighter (SOR 250).

Most of the unaffiliated cards are below the stat curve for their cost, but a 4/4 Sentinel in space is something that should be considered. I’ve found it was not uncommon to be a little too thin on the space side of the board and a Sentinel on that side of the table can save you from getting run over.


Q: But what if I pull a really cool card and want to run it?
A: Do it! The above is just a process to help you narrow your focus from your full card pool down to more actionable elements. If you want to force an aspect or a leader, go for it. Stakes are low and I found over the 4 sealed pools that I opened that there was only truly one instance where I just did not get enough cards of a given aspect for it to be workable. Just maybe don’t pick your two thinnest aspects to combine together

Ultimately if you pull a showcase leader you’re going to have to run it, That’s the rule of cool afterall.

Q: Why the focus on units within the core cards?
A: Units are the card type that interacts with the board the most. They can damage your opponents base and they can remove your opponents units. Events can usually only do one of the above, and if they can do both they typically require a unit on your side to accomplish that. Overwhelming Barrage (SOR 92) might be one of the best cards in the game (and one you should think of running if you pull it in any Villain deck) but you need a unit on the board for it. Upgrades are even more restrictive and almost always require a unit on your side worth putting it on.

Q: Are there any staple cards that lose some of their appeal in Sealed?
A: Why yes there are. I'm glad you “asked” that. Cards with trait-based synergies can sometimes be less valuable in Limited formats, because you will often not have as many of the trait partners available to you. Cards like Fleet Lieutenant (SOR 240), which are staple 3-cost units in Constructed decks, aren’t always going to shine in Sealed because you just might not have that many Rebels. Cards like Force Choke (SOR 139) might be auto excludes since your pool might not have enough – or even any – Force units.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far I thank you and hope you learned a thing or two you can carry forward into your prerelease events.

Look for a future “Mission Briefing” on Draft!

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Reminder: Through Thursday, February 29th, I am giving an extra booster pack away for every $50 spent on Sealed Product (including the Prerelease box!) Full details on the offer can be found here

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