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How To Play Draft and Sealed Games In Star Wars Unlimited

How to play draft and sealed games in Star Wars unlimited

The launch of pioneering CCG (collectable card game) Magic: The Gathering (MTG) in 1993 absolutely changed the world of tabletop games forever.

Countless CCGs, or TCGs (Trading Card Games) as they’re sometimes known, followed in the wake of MTG, with games such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh still having active casual and competitive player bases to this day.

Though building decks, by buying booster packs or specific cards, and then using your own decks against other players, tends to be the ‘standard’ way to play CCGs/TCGs, other ways to play do exist, including drafting.

Star Wars Unlimited’s very first set, Spark of Rebellion, is built from the ground up with standard format deck building and drafting in mind, either in tournaments, organised events or casual play.

Which means you can play the game using just booster packs and no other sets at all (though some counters and other accessories would be useful!).

During this article, we’ll explain how to play draft and sealed games in Star Wars Unlimited and give you all the information you need to get started!

How To Play Draft In Star Wars Unlimited

Star Wars Unlimited Booster Packs

No matter how many players are taking part, each player must have three Star Wars Unlimited booster packs.

Once you have those, drafting is a very simple process; let’s go through it, step by step.

To begin, open each pack and remove the Leader cards, which you keep separate. These are easy to spot, as they’re double sided (they do also state ‘Leader Unit’ at the top left of their vertical side, and ‘Leader’ on their horizontal side).

Star Wars Unlimited Leader Card - Luke Skywalker

At this stage, it’s important to note that you mustn’t look at the other cards you have from your packs!

Each booster pack’s cards must also be placed in a different stack, face down.

Then the process of drafting can begin.

Once everyone has done this, players simultaneously choose one of the three Leader cards, before passing the other two cards to their right.

Using the two Leader cards they’ve just been passed, each player then chooses another Leader and passes the remaining card to their right, keeping the third card they receive.Then, each player chooses one of the two leaders that were just passed to them and passes the other to the right.

This gives each player a selection of three Leader cards; one they began with, as well as two more that had been passed to them.

Next, each player chooses one of the booster pack piles they have in front of them (without looking at the rest of the cards bin the piles before choosing!).

Star Wars Unlimited Common Bases

The Common Base/Token card (see examples of Common Base cards above) from that pack is placed in a pile, which is created at the centre of the table. 

Then everyone taking part chooses (or ‘drafts’, hence the name of the format) one card to keep from their booster pack pile, before passing the rest of the pile to their left.

Players then simultaneously draft their next card from the cards that were passed to them.

So this process continues until all cards from the first pack have been drafted, then players repeat the process again with one difference: the second pack’s cards are passed to the right, not the left. 

When it’s time to draft from the third pack, the cards are passed to the left again.

Once all three packs from each player have been drafted in this way, the deck building process can begin.

Providing players have drafted correctly, everyone should have 45 cards, comprised of 42 ‘standard’ cards (Units, Events and Upgrades), along with the three Leaders from the beginning.

How To Deck Build In A Star Wars Unlimited Draft Game

The normal deck building rules for Star Wars Unlimited require that players create a deck comprised of 50 cards minimum, plus a Leader and Base. Additionally, there must be no more than three copies of any unique card (that is, if a card has the same name, mechanics and abilities).

As players will be using a limited number of cards and from a pool of cards where duplicates may appear in greater numbers, these rules are different when playing draft.

For example, decks have a minimum of 30 cards, not 50. 

As for the duplicate card rule, it’s waived completely.

That’s right; if you have 5 or even 10 Fleet Lieutenant cards, you can add all of them into your deck if you choose to!

Regarding the Leader cards a player may use, it can be any one of the three they drafted at the start.

Interestingly, the Common Base card doesn’t have to be one they opened; this can be chosen from the communal pile that was formed when drafting began, or even one that wasn’t drafted at all.

Star Wars Unlimited Rare Base Card

It can even be a Rare Base card, if they chose one during the drafting process; see the example of a Rare Base card in the image above.

It’s also worth noting that the deck a player builds during a draft can be altered between rounds, as long as the cards used are ones that they drafted.

What Is ‘Sealed’ Play?

Draft isn’t the only format in which players get to build a deck straight from booster packs!

Though similar in many ways to drafting, sealed play is a way of giving players a slightly broader card pool to choose from, without any insight as to what other players may have in their decks.

Star Wars Unlimited Pre-Release Box

Sealed play is commonly played at pre-release events; at these organised events, usually in a game store, players will purchase a pre-release box that contains six booster packs, 2 promo cards and accessories, as pictured above.

Players build a deck from the six booster packs they open, with a minimum of 30 cards and no limit on duplicates, just like the draft format deck building rules.

They are free to use one of the promo Leader cards as their Leader, rather than one from any of their six packs.

The Base rule also applies: players can use any Common Base, even if it’s one they had prior to opening the pre-release packs, but if they want to use a Rare Base, it must be one that they found in one of their sealed event booster packs.

Why Is Drafting Popular?

With CCGs, players had a way of completely customising the deck of cards they used to play a game, limited only by the cards they actually owned or physically had access to.

In the days before the internet was so widely adopted and accessible, MTG players with the deepest pockets often had an advantage over players who couldn’t afford to buy booster packs of new cards in large quantities.

As the usage of the internet grew throughout the 90s, players were able to resort to ‘netdecking’, which means that successful, tournament winning or just plain powerful lists of decks could be found and used to give themselves an advantage in their games without any creativity or insight of their own.

Couple that with the rise of online stores and marketplaces such as eBay and other retailers, access to specific cards that players needed to build these decks became easier than ever, even if it wasn’t and still isn’t necessarily cheap to do so.

With these issues plaguing just about every CCG/TCG, a way to level the playing field somewhat for all players during a game was soon devised.

Booster drafting, or rather a simplified version of it, was tried out even during playtesting for MTG’s original set, prior to its release. Official support for Sealed play began all the way back in 1997’s Mirage set!

Rather than a player’s chance of success being determined by their wealth or access to information on powerful decks, drafting sees players building a deck from a limited selection of cards, all from the same set.

MTG Draft Boosters

Up until the recent Murders at Karlov Manor set, Wizards of the Coast even released booster packs specifically for drafting.

So the appeal of taking part in these game formats is that the playing field, in both draft and sealed play events, is just about as levelled as it can be, with player skill in capitalising on specific card combos or abilities being the key to success.

With booster packs being designed with draft and sealed play in mind from the beginning, as well as being fun to just open and add to an expanding collection of cards for more ‘traditional’ deck building, Star Wars Unlimited should be a fantastic experience regardless of how you prefer to play.

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