Starter Set Deck Tech: The Mandalorian

Starter Set Deck Tech: The Mandalorian

This is the first of two articles built around the upcoming Shadows of the Galaxy Two-Player Starter Set, releasing July 12th. Up first we have JustJack of the GDP going over the Mandalorian deck, describing how it plays out of the box and making suggestions on how you can improve it.  
By the way, I'm giving away a Two-Player Starter Set just ahead of the set's release! Click here for full details on how to be entered.

What is going on everyone! This is JustJack from Golden Dice Podcast!

As I write this article I am 5 days away from my first pre-release! We are about to double our card pool and number of leaders! It can definitely be overwhelming, so today I want to to take a look at the Mandalorian starter deck and see how we can slow down crafting a deck and talk about some ideas on building off of the provided deck.

If you didn’t get Spark of Rebellion’s Luke and Vader Starter Set, you should know how well that was made! The games felt balanced and both leaders were featured in the Set 1 meta. I am really hoping FFG gets close to that success again with Mando and Gideon. If you are hoping to build off of Moff Gideon, Formidable Commander (SHD 7)  you should check back next week when Kevin from Roll On Gaming does his own deck tech article!

This is the Way

So let's kick it off! Here is the Starter deck lead by The Mandalorian, Sworn to the Creed (SHD 18):

Click here to view this deck on

So right off the bat we can see it has a lot of upgrades! This starter deck boasts 16 upgrades, 23 ground units, 7 space units and 4 events.

What are the standout cards?

  • Grogu, Irresistible (SHD 196) - This annoying little guy can really stall out games and is a great carrier for upgrades! At 5 health he is never in immediate danger of dying and can exhaust your opponents units until you can get a big threat of your own!
  • Snapshot Reflexes (SHD 223) - Another small but mighty card! For 1 you can attack with a unit and exhaust another with Mando’s leader ability! This card is amazing to play on almost every unit, and can even be used on your space units!
  • The Mandalorian's Rifle (SHD 251) - Another starter card but this thing swings games. If you can get off a good leader flip turn with this bad puppy, you are going to be able to take control of the game! The timing works perfect of playing this, using your leader’s ability to exhaust a unit and using the weapon’s when played to capture it!
  • Fennec Shand, Loyal Sharpshooter (SHD 220) - Fennec is awesome at helping close the game and clearing out threats for your leader to hit the base! We know the opponent’s deck has several Sentinels in Phase-III Dark Trooper (SHD 84), Cell Block Guards (SHD 238) and the new Pirate Battle Tank (SHD 89)! Fennec’s On Attack ability and Ambush is really going to come in key!

While those are some highlights, there are definitely some more good cards in the deck, such as Mandalorian Armor (SHD 73), Survivor’s Gauntlet (SHD 64), Fell the Dragon (SHD 78) and Spare the Target (SHD 206)!

Tips for playing against the Gideon Deck

  • Do not walk into a big Calculated Lethality (SHD 39) play. Sometimes it can be tempting to buff up a small unit, but if they hit you with this card it can change the game completely.
  • Be aware of Overwhelm once he deploys! Sometimes you can lose track of the extra attack and overwhelm that all his units can get. This can lead into you walking into some bad trades, or him trading up. A Superlaser Tech (SOR 83) hitting for 3 can definitely be annoying when it snipes a good unit!
  • Be sure to have a way to deal with Gideon's Light Cruiser, Dark Troopers' Station (SHD 242). This is a big space unit that you almost need to keep Fell the Dragon ready for! Unlucky for us, he has three of them though!
  • Lastly, just know they have Timely Intervention (SHD 129), so he can give a unit Ambush when he most needs it. It can even be Smuggled so you will definitely get hit with it, it is just a matter of when!

So now that you played a few games and have a feel for the deck, let's upgrade to some rares!

Bringing in the Rares

I am trying to keep most upgrades to Shadows of the Galaxy cards, as that is what you will we drafting with, opening at pre releases, and buying at stores in the foreseeable future. There are a few Set 1 cards in here, however, but mostly Cs/UCs. Here's the new list:

Click here to view this deck on

So my biggest thing was upgrading our upgrades! I am not overly impressed with how some of the starter upgrades played out, so I made some changes.

Upgrade Improvements:

  • The biggest add for me is getting to 3x of the Hotshot DL-44 Blaster (SHD 174). This card is insane! Playing it with Smuggle lets you attack with a unit and exhaust one of theirs with your leader!
  • Going to 3x Snapshot Reflexes feels big for me, and I love this card for a similar reason I love DL-44. Attack, exhaust and gets +1/+1!
  • Jetpack (SHD 225) - This is one I am still trying out, there is a good chance this could just be Mandalorian Armor but I like that I can smuggle an upgrade and the shield on a leader feels nice!

Cunning Heroism Improvements:

Cunning Improvements:

  • Cloud-Rider (SHD 210) - Sometimes you just need to kill a small sentinel and a 3/1 ambush for 2 is perfect! He might feel weird at times, though, due to wanting to play upgrades on your units and him always dying.
  • Bumping Fennec up to 3x! She can be great and is worth trying out at 3x before we try other 7-drops! You certainly could just swap to Han Solo, Reluctant Hero (SOR 198) from set 1 to a similar effect, but she is only an Uncommon and from the current set!
  • Go to 3x of Surprise Strike (SHD 231)  - This card is awesome. Imagine pumping and smashing a shielded L3 into bigger units to kill them. Great card all around!

Vigilance Heroism Improvements:

Vigilance Improvements:

  • Removal! I brought in 3x Takedown (SOR 77) and 2x Rival's Fall (SHD 128). I felt at times it was hard for me to deal with what my opponent dropped, and bringing in these cards will help you deal with anything. Rival’s Fall takes care of those scary leaders or big Sentinels, and Takedown can keep the early game clear before you get to your leader flip.
  • Fenn Rau, Protector of Concord Dawn (SHD 67) - He is very interesting in that his On Play ability should synergize with the deck, but at times it can be weird. In reality he can only have Snapshot or Jetpack played on him from hand, as DL and Rifle would still cost him 1. He might need help in a rework of the upgrade slot or he just could get too clunky!

How About Some Legendaries?

So now we get the chance to bring in some big hitters!

Click here to view this deck on

Here's what I would add, if your collection allows for it:

  • The Darksaber (SHD 126) - I mean a 4-cost 4/3 that can easily go on your leader is going to be great! Honestly, this can be an argument to bring in more Mandalorian units to help the Darksaber's On Attack ability. But even if you just play this on your leader, you will be happy.
  • Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight (SOR 51) - Honestly, this is one of the best cards in the game. Overlooked a bit due to Vigilance/Heroism not being in the top decks, but Luke is insane. An amazing When Played ability followed up by solid stats at 6/7 and Restore 3. You want this guy!
  • Millennium Falcon, Piece of Junk (SOR 193) - I am actually torn on this. It is an amazing card, but with wanting to play so many upgrades, your curve might be important. Definitely be careful of keeping this around too long and forcing yourself to be -1 resource on an important round.

I am still getting games in with Mando and learning his deck. There are a lot of leader and card choices now with two sets, so I encourage you to try him out!

Change up some of the cards I am starting with – these are by no means perfect lists but can certainly starting points for you as you build up your collection!

Best of luck at your pre-releases, and may you pull those Showcases!

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