I love spoiler season. Who doesn’t? As Destiny players we haven’t really had a chance to fully appreciate spoilers before, at least not in any real sort of context. As Spirit of the Rebellion cards began to appear on social media, it was exciting to see the direction the set was taking the game. It was equally enjoyable to see people lose their mind over how certain cards would destroy the entire fabric of Destiny itself, only to be forgotten when a new card appeared that seemed equally strong.
Hopefully, by now, the majority of players have had chance to get comfortable with the new set and realize that the sky isn’t falling. If anything, apprehension about over powered cards seems to have given way to fears regarding product availability and distribution on the run up to launch (we always seem to have something to worry about), but I’m aware that many of you out there have managed to get to prereleases and get hold of at least a few new toys to try out ahead of May 4th.
I was lucky enough to attend my local prerelease and had a great time. No Legendary cards in my three packs, and while people around me opened IG-88, Palpatine, Krennic, they looked on puzzled as I expressed my excitement at opening Temmin Wexley. Who? What does he even do? Good question.
One of the great things about spoiler season is finding the cards that slip through the gaps. I’ve been playing Magic for a number of years and new sets always follow a set pattern: There are cards that people overestimate and cards that people underestimate and it happens every single time a new set appears. I’ve always loved looking for those cards that people disregard or feel will be weak, and tried to work out how to abuse them to the best of my advantage. Not only does it give you an immensely smug sense of self satisfaction but it also catches your opponent off guard every time and that is a strong position to be in.
With more cards to choose from, decks are going to be more focused and more susceptible to defeat from certain other decks in the meta. But what if you can produce something different, something unexpected that causes every other deck problems. That’s where you want to be early on in the format.
So what’s so great about Temmin Wexley then? Well, I have to admit that I was a little surprised by this card first of all. I’m one book into Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy in which Wexley appears. At the stage I am at, Wexley is a 15 year old tearaway, quite a distance from the bearded pilot you see on the card so I’m intrigued to see how he becomes the guy with a firm grip on the battlefield. But because of this, I already had a soft spot for the kid and wanted to see him do some work.
He was also already getting a pretty bad press. Although the masses weren’t coming out and saying that he was terrible (although a few people had him pegged right down there with Smuggling Freighter) nobody was trying to convince me how great he could be. I decided to adopt that mantle myself, the second I opened him. Clearly it was a sign.
The first thing I love about this card is how cheap it is. 9 for a single die or 12 for two is good value. Look at how much play Rey gets because of her ability to run as an elite in several lists at the same cost. Obviously, this makes him versatile which is always useful and lets you really tweak the lists he appears in to adapt to your local meta. That’s a huge bonus.
But a cheap character doesn’t equal brilliance. And people looking at both Snap’s die and ability may well come away feeling underwhelmed. Let’s look at the ability first.
‘While at least one of this die is in your pool, your opponent must spend 1 resource in order to claim the battlefield’.
OK, I can see why people might not be excited. Lots of new cards have abilities that just require the die to be in your pool and aren’t negated by your opponent paying a measly resource. Vibroknife and Tie Pilot being just two and it’s thought that these two cards will be solid playables. (Vibroknife definitely is as I opened one of these too. Wow.) So is Wexley’s ability so much worse?
Let’s rethink it. What if it were to say ‘While at least one of this die is in your pool, your opponent cannot claim the battlefield’? That would be significantly better, right? In fact, would that not make the character exceptionally strong? For a 9/12 cost, your opponent can’t claim? What would that mean? Well, you could really take your time and do whatever you like in a turn without being rushed. Although an opponent running Fast Hands and Force Speed and Rey and Maz might have action after action, it would only really matter if they could kill something on that turn, otherwise they can burn through as many actions as they want, you’re still going to be the one to claim.
But so what? You get to claim. Is that a big deal? Well it depends what you do with it. If you go first every round then that is a significant advantage. If your battlefield has real power to damage your opponent then it’s going to pay off turn after turn. And if you choose to run two Planetary Uprising’s then you could be looking at four additional damage at the end of each round.
Although, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The card doesn’t stop them from claiming. As long as they have a resource.
So what can the die do then?
1 ranged, 1 disrupt, 1 discard, 1 resource and, most importantly, 2 disrupt. Again, nobody is really getting excited about this die. And I can’t blame them. But it is incredibly functional in making sure you get rid of those resources. Anyone running Han/Rey knows the sheer pleasure of rolling out Han and resolving a 2 disrupt side turn one and your opponent saying ‘but what am I supposed to do now?’ 2 disrupt is a real pain. But you can’t resolve it turn one and you can’t remove the die because then your opponent can just claim anyway. Which is why Wexley really needs to be run as an elite character. With two dice in your pool you stand a solid chance of rolling at least one disrupt side. Even if it’s a 1, you are still forcing your opponent to make a very difficult decision about where that last resource goes. Upgrades are available later in the game to make this work more consistently and Con Artist is a strong addition from the new set that can cause your opponent some serious problems.
Can we resolve this turn one? We know we’re going first. Fast Hands would be devastating here, as would Hit and Run. Can we get rid of their resources before they get chance to play anything? If so, that’s going to be very strong indeed.
We’ve already established that Snap is pretty versatile and this is where you can run with the whole idea. If you want to fully shut out your opponent, you could look at discard options to remove both resources and then cards from hand. I tried this with Snap alongside Hired Gun and Ackbar, hitting for two each time they lost their hand. Outer Rim Smuggler also has some useful support sides on his die for this approach. You could take it another way and run with a more damage oriented team to make sure you can kill characters off. Wexley is less likely to be a target in this scenario, although even in my Ackbar build, people ignored him until they realized what a problem his ability was and by then it was too late.
The other way that he can be versatile is in your choice of battlefield. You can pick things that will hugely affect your meta if you know you will confidently claim it every turn. Facing off against a lot of Palps? Try claiming Carbon Freezing Chamber every single turn and then disrupting their resources so they can’t get an upgrade on him.
Besides fast hands, it’s worth mentioning that upgrades like Scout and Maz’s Goggles are both cheap and very effective here. Scout will get rid of their low cost cards which might be all they can actually play and hopefully Goggles can keep your dice safe from nasty, die removing events that cost little to nothing.
In my testing, I’ve found that the plan runs pretty consistently and that resources stack up over time. For this reason, I’ve often looked to supports to deliver damage where necessary. You’ve probably also noticed that the cards I’ve referred to are all red and yellow and these are the colors I’ve stuck to whilst trying to make him work. Feel free to tweak it with blue but I’ve not found it useful overall.
One last mention for the deck has to go to C3PO. I realize he will be an auto include for any given Red Hero deck but here he is a true all star. Your opponent still has resources? You can disrupt them. Still have cards? Discard. Your character’s close to death? Shields please. One resource short of playing a Falcon? This droid has you covered. I think a lot of people see 3PO as a route to damage when you roll something else. Here, he feels like he can turn damage into something more useful.
I bet your opponent wasn’t expecting that.
So give him a go. I think Wexley is currently underrated but he’s my tip for the big time over the next few months. If you open him on May 4th, give him a go. Nobody will see it coming.