The lightsaber ignites with a sharp snap-hiss. Raw energy springs forth from the curved hilt, bathing the entire chamber in an eerie crimson glow. The blade snaps up once, glowing bloodily before the owner's face, before the liver-spotted hand brings the blade down in the crisp completion of the Makashi salute. Then, with deliberate accuracy, the owner hurls himself at his opponent, crimson meeting azure in a ferocious crackle of energy.
Count Dooku - known in select circles as Darth Tyranus - smiles sinisterly as the blades cross. "Surely you can do better!" he taunts, pressing his advantage further. Dooku's superior swordsmanship easily breaks past his opponent's meager defenses. His blade dances red fire with every slash. Leverage, position, advantage. These come as natural to the aged Sith Lord as breathing. His Jedi opponent quickly realizes he has been outmatched by one of the finest fencers ever produced by the Jedi Order. A sheen of sweat gathers on the young Jedi's brow. Surely this silvery Yet, despite the Sith's advanced age, Dooku remains cool, calm, and collected - a perfectly ruthless gentleman.
Prepare yourself for yet another whirlwind set release! The Independent Development Committee's release of the Sith subset of the Legacy of the Force expansion looms just on the horizon! This new set will definitely shake up the current gaming environment. To whet your appetite, I want to examine a few cards related to my favorite character from the Star Wars universe: Darth Tyranus.
Those who know me find no surprise that more than a few cards from the Sith set are devoted the character played so superbly by veteran British actor Sir Christopher Lee. The gentleman villain may not be as popular as the other Sith in the Star Wars universe, but he nonetheless occupies an important part in the storyline. Likewise, Darth Tyranus proves more than capable of handling his own in the Star Wars: Trading Card Game. The Sith Lord will now have even more tools at his disposal for overwhelming the Light Side player.
Darth Tyranus's most popular versions - Darth Tyranus (J) and Darth Tyranus (K) - represent the ultimate "tank" and the ultimate "utility" versions of the Dark Lord. When designing the Sith set, I didn't want to supplant the spot either of these cards occupied in the current Sith deck. Additionally, Wizards of the Coast produced some great versions of Darth Tyranus - my personal favorite being Darth Tyranus (D) - that should not be cycled either. I thus developed a card that falls somewhere between all these selections without overtaking any. Darth Tyranus (L), the new version featured in the Sith subset, reflects the Dark Lord's dark political strategy rather than his fighting prowess or his diplomatic manipulation. First, I developed the standard abilities on the card - Evade and Retaliate (an ability I always felt the Dark Lord should sport). Players should not that Darth Tyranus (L) does not use up Force for his Retaliate; rather, he merely requires you to discard 2 cards from your hand. Dark Side players strapped for Force will find this very handy.
With these abilities developed, I next focused on capturing Dooku's constant machinations throughout the Clone Wars. A brilliant thought entered my mind; Darth Tyranus (L) should greatly reward the usage of Mission cards! From that point, an idea was born. Since the current Sith deck focuses so much on dealing heavy, direct damage, I tied this strategy in with the Mission card bonus. Thus, Darth Tyranus (L) rewards your Mission card usage with dealing extra damage in an arena! Once per turn, playing a Mission card allows you to select an arena. Each Sith that would do damage in that arena does 1 extra damage until end of turn. Those of you who, like me, have trouble dealing the coup de grace will find this ability extraordinarily helpful. Combine this with Painful Reckoning to completely clean out an arena!
Merriam-Webster defines a club as a "heavy staff...usually used as a weapon." With the gentleman already designed, now I merely needed to arm Darth Tyranus with more clubs to bludgeon the opponent to death. I made a few tools that perfectly combine with the Count's latest card. Naturally, the first card that I needed was a Mission card that would trigger the Count's ability and provide an effect that played right into the ability's hands. My current Sith damage deck loves Homing Missile from the Jedi Guardians expansion. However, the deck needed something a little more potent to circumvent the excessive damage prevention that the Light Side player typically utilizes. With this necessity in mind, I developed Tyranus's Wisdom. This new Mission card puts damage counters on units as opposed to just dealing direct damage (a great way to circumvent the cumbersome damage prevention mentioned earlier). In addition, should you not deliver the killing blow to that unit this turn, Tyranus's Wisdom returns from your discard pile to your hand for more damage packed fun!
During playtesting, Tyranus's Wisdom proved a wonderful trigger for Darth Tyranus (L). With these two staples established, I now branched into other areas for decimating the Light Side using the Count. Since Sith decks rely heavily on non-unit cards, I next worked on developing a suitable Battle card that would add more fun to this already deadly combination. One thing that I intentionally avoided in the Sith set was damage prevention and damage counter removal. Factions shouldn't have everything, after all. The Sith should rely mainly on passive-aggressive or aggressive strategy rather than excessive defenses. However, I did bend this rule slightly with Tyranus's Training. I threw the Sith a bone and allowed some damage counter removal. I did keep the card in the aggressive vain by adding the damage ability. You get a wonderful trade-off with this card, basically moving two damage counters from your unit onto the unsuspecting Light Side unit. This becomes even more lethal with the aforementioned combination of Darth Tyranus (L) and Tyranus's Wisdom. Since Tyranus's Training states that the damage comes from the Sith, you can potentially do 3 damage when combined with Darth Tyranus (L)'s ability!
Finally, I designed the Dark Lord's own weapon. Republic at War produced Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (A), but I felt that this card didn't really reflect the Count's superb dueling abilities. Nor did the card really fit in with the damage theme I have carefully established around Dooku. Thus, I designed Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B). While somewhat on the expensive side, Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B) doesn't fail to deliver for the cost. First off, the equipped Jedi or Sith gains an additional +2 power and Accuracy 1. No matter what Sith wields this card, that bonus can greatly increase the damage output. Darth Tyranus (J) - the "tank," if you will remember - will roll around 7 hits per swing with this attached! As if that wasn't enough, however, the Darth Tyranus exclusive ability really reflects the Count's unmatched swordsmanship. Whenever Darth Tyranus attacks a unit without a Lightsaber attached, he automatically deals 2 damage to the defending unit unless the player pays 1 Force! Players that don't ration their Force wisely will find themselves slapped hard by Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B).
Players should take note of something new introduced on Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B). This new Equipment card sports a subtype! Many expansions ago, the Independent Development Committee tinkered with the idea of adding subtypes to Equipment cards. Ultimately, the idea was rejected because some members felt that this would overcomplicate the game. However, as the Independent Development Committee continues to develop sets, the opposite proves true. Adding subtypes to Equipment would greatly reduce the text on cards (consider what Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B) would have looked like before this change!). On top of that, Equipment subtypes give the Card Development team numerous opportunities for new material in the future.
Imagine now this deadly combination in full swing. During the Dark Side player's build point, the player plays Tyranus's Wisdom, thus triggering Darth Tyranus (L)'s ability and putting 2 damage counters on one of the Light Side player's vital Characters. The Dark Side player then selects the Character arena for the Count's ability. Then, with a frightening fury, the Sith Lord attacks. The Light Side player, out of Force, takes an automatic 3 damage from the attached Darth Tyranus's Lightsaber (B)! Then that player's heart stops as the Dark Side player slaps Tyranus's Training on the table, removing 2 damage counters from the damaged Darth Tyranus (L) and doing 3 more damage to the defending unit! If that unit somehow survives, Darth Tyranus (L) will then be attacking with a minimum 7 power and Accuracy 1!
Darth Tyranus, the elegent Sith gentleman, certainly benefits from his new clubs in the Sith expansion. Many more tools remain at his disposal. How will you wield them?
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About the Author Cody Barnett has been a collector of the game since its beginning in 2002. Due to lack of interest in his community, however, he did not begin playing until he joined the Rebelbasers online community in 2003. He is an avid Star Wars fan and thoroughly enjoys playing the Trading Card Game; likewise, Barnett takes pleasure in helping the continuation of the game he loves. Currently, Cody is the Card Development Chairman and a moderator on the Rebelbase community (under the alias of Grand Moff Nicodemus Fett).
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