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In Defence of Last Hero Standing

Page history last edited by The Tusken Raider 11 years, 2 months ago Saved with comment

In Defence of Last Hero Standing (aka Personalities Can Win It)

By The Tusken Raider and Jacko Fett


“Going somewhere, Solo?” asks Greedo to Han Solo as Boba Fett lies dead at his feet. “Yes, Greedo, I was just going home now, actually, the duel’s over even though you’re clearly still alive,” replies Solo. “What am I, chopped Bantha?” asks the Rodian. “Yes, I’ve won, go home.”


The above scenario is essentially what is suggested by the original Hasbro rules for SWED and it doesn’t seem entirely sensible. More than that, there are two Hasbro cards which demonstrate that the game was at one point (probably in testing) a Last Hero Standing game – Leia’s LUKE’S IN TROUBLE card (“…. If Luke has been destroyed, Leia recovers 3 damage”) and Padmé’s PROTECTION card (“… If Anakin has been destroyed, Padmé recovers 2 damage). In both cases, the main character is dead and the game should have ended, yet these cards indicate that play has continued.


It has long been claimed that the Last Hero Standing rule significantly favours two character decks. In the original game by Hasbro, if you kill your opponent’s primary character then they lose. In Last Hero Standing, if they still have another hero – Padmé, Greedo, Chewbacca, Zam or Leia – then they can keep playing. It is often said that this significantly favours those decks with two characters. The Tusken Raider and Jacko Fett decided to put this to the test by playing every Hasbro deck against every other Hasbro deck and recording the results.


Boards were determined at random at the beginning of the game. The player who started was also determined at random. Major characters were placed at immediately opposite ends of the board with minor characters anywhere adjacent. A simple table was created in which every character played every other character. From a 12 deck game, this means that every character played 22 games (each player played each deck against 11 other decks).


The results need to be compared against the traditionally recognised tiers for SWED, as shown below:


            Traditional Tiers                                            Last Hero Standing Tiers


               T1 > 60%                                                                 T1 > 60%

Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Palpatine, Yoda                        Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Yoda


               T2 50% - 60%                                                           T2 50% - 60%

Anakin, Count Dooku, Mace Windu, (Yoda)        Anakin, Count Dooku, Mace Windu


                                                                                              T3 40% - 50%

                                                                         Boba Fett, Emperor Palpatine, Han Solo


                T3 < 40%                                                                 T4 < 40%

Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Han Solo,                  Darth Vader, Jango Fett, Luke Skywalker

Jango Fett, Luke Skywalker



T1:     Darth Maul 72.73%                  Obi-Wan Kenobi 72.73%        Yoda 68.18%


T2:     Mace Windu 59.09%               Anakin 50%                             Count Dooku 50%


T3:     Emperor Palpatine 45.45%       Han Solo 45.45%                     Boba Fett 40.91%


T4:     Darth Vader 36.36%                Luke Skywalker 31.82%          Jango Fett 27.27%



We learn a number of things from this. We learn, for example, that it’s never wise to upset a Wookie. We also learn that playing Last Hero Standing divides the 12 decks very nicely into 4 tiers with exactly three decks per tier where the original game has exceptionally strong characters (T1 and T2 and then extremely weak character in T3).


In terms of gameplay, we learn that none of the decks with two characters make it into the top tier – the top three decks remain single character decks. Both Darth Maul and Obi-Wan fairly scythed their way through all the other decks, with Yoda not far behind.


The strongest dual-hero deck was Anakin/ Padmé but this still failed to move up from T2 to T1. Indeed, it only just remained in T2. Luke/Leia and Jango/Zam similarly were not lifted from their bottom tier by virtue of having an extra hero. Han/Chewie and Boba/Greedo received a boost to the formerly unoccupied statistical area of 40%-50%, which we have here called T3, with <40% now being called T4. The most noticeable change in success rate is that of Emperor Palpatine who drops from T1 to T3.


The Tusken Raider and Jacko Fett spent a while considering why the decks were affected in this way and are suggesting the following.


Darth Maul is a monster in attack. It doesn’t really matter what defence you have – so long as he can get to your character with a fairly full hand of cards, he will inflict so much damage that if he can retreat and build up cards again, he will just do it again. Therefore, having two heroes makes little difference against him other than making the game longer while he chops each one to pieces in turn.


Obi-Wan, Mace Windu and Yoda are very defence-heavy and it seems that this is what ensures that Last Hero Standing does not affect their standing. A minor Hero is likely to have a fairly weak attacking deck except for one or two high scoring cards. If those can be defended against, then the Minor Hero is unlikely to have strong enough defence for these single Heroes’ larger attacks. Thus, Jango/Zam remain bottom because they have poor defence even if they are able of using a few strong attack cards. Han/Chewie and Boba/Greedo suffer from the same problem – their defence is not strong enough to hold out for long against more concentrated attacks from single character decks. Count Dooku is saved more by the strength of his Super Battle Droids and his ability to create distance between himself and potential attackers through FORCE PUSH or GIVE ORDERS. Nonetheless, he only just made it into T1 and his lack of strong defence is clearly evident here.


Anakin’s 3 WRATH cards are extremely helpful against 2-character decks but a waste of 7 automatic damage against single character decks which have 2 weak minors. Specifically, with single character decks one of Anakin’s WRATH cards is automatically wasted. His COUNTERATTACK acts in his favour in terms of defence but does not last long and he is thus whittled down fairly quickly.


The conclusion of this test is that it is not the number of heroes on the board which determines success but how much defence the Hero or Heroes have, with the exception of Darth Maul who, as well as having some strong defence cards (e.g. BLINDING SURGE), can cause significantly more damage per turn than any other deck. The received wisdom that having two Heroes in a Last Hero Standing game is better is therefore strongly refuted by these results in which only 1 of the top 6 decks has two Heroes.


There are limitations to this exercise. It became clear during this test that board selection and who starts sets a very strong determinant on the game, particularly with some decks. Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader absolutely have to be able to hide behind their minor characters while inflicting automatic damage from afar. Neither deck has enough defence to withstand much in the way of direct attack. The Carbon Freezing Chamber is a particularly bad board for these decks.


Some of the characters only just made it into specific tiers, e.g. Anakin and Count Dooku on exactly 50%, Boba Fett on 40.91%. Running the test again would therefore possibly reveal differing results (which could then be combined with these results to form a more comprehensive picture).


The point is likely to remain clear, though – that Han Solo and perhaps Boba Fett are the only decks positively affected (albeit only marginally) by the Last Hero Standing rule in terms of tier progression, Emperor Palpatine is the only deck negatively affected and all the other decks are essentially unaffected.


Last Hero Standing is therefore an extremely sensible way to play Star Wars Epic Duels for four main reasons:

1)      It avoids any suggestion of characters walking off half-way through a fight

2)      It also allows proper usage of all the cards in the deck

3)      It evenly divides the 12 characters into 4 tiers of 3 characters of approximately equal strength

4)      It does not significantly impact on game play as compared with the original game for the overwhelming majority of decks, other than making games longer and thus more epic.



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