When you talk to your average player, there's always one Light Side deck that he or she has put together and played recently -- Rebels. Well, it's been a long time since I've taken a good look at modernizing my Rebel deck. In this article, you'll see those modernizations, along with some talk about the diversity you'll also see with Rebels.
To me, the backbone of a Rebel-themed deck is the Rebel Control Officer and his ability to give other Rebels +1 power and +10 speed. Logically, the best way to take advantage of this ability is to utilize units that are cheap, fast, and have added effects like Critical Hit or Accuracy.
For Rebels, the Space arena really shines with a plethora of small, fast units. The first choice is clearly X-wing Escort, but then we more or less need a mostly Starfighter-based arena. However, that's not much of a restriction given the kind of units we're looking for.
The second selected Rebel Starfighter is Luke's X-wing, which also allows us to take advantage of stacking opportunities.
We still need a few more cards to finish the arena, and X-wing Red Ten is an extremely solid unit. While it's inferior to the Return of the Jedi TIE Interceptor, if we give it +10 speed and +1 power, it can more than hold its own.
In an effort to solidify the arena against Space-driving Dark Side decks, the Millennium Falcon (H) from Rogues and Scoundrels is needed, as it provides either a great stalling unit or a devastatingly large unit. I wouldn't be surprised if its Upkeep was rarely played and rarely needed.
The Ground arena has always been a little turbulent in the past for Rebels. There are two basic lines of thinking: cheap units or fast units. I can't see passing up the opportunity at some utility, so I'm going to run a little of each.
Rogues and Scoundrels provides the kind of Rebel we need in this arena, Unmodified Snowspeeder. This unit is a beast, and even without Rebel Control Officer, it's still a great unit. The same can be said about the second selected unit, Luke's Snowspeeder. While it's a little more risky than Unmodified, the benefits generally outweigh the costs. Return of the Jedi brings us Rebel Scouts, a Hidden Cost unit with Accuracy that will benefit greatly from Rebel Control Officer's boosts. It is also one of the few Hidden Cost units I wouldn't mind deploying during the setup phase.
One of my old favorites is the Rebel Squad, a 2-build unit that is slow but offers 2 power and defense. What truly makes this unit shine is its Intercept ability. Dark Side Ground units tend to be on the large side, and the ability to Intercept 12 dice from a Trade Federation Control Core for 2 build just can't be ignored.
The Character arena for Rebels is always a little tricky, particularly because you should be able to win Character in order to have a consistent deck. Because of this, I generally overload this arena with numerous cheap Characters. Remember, you're making your Space and Ground units better then your opponent's, so overloading Character is perfectly acceptable.
We're obviously going to hold places for Rebel Control Officer and Rebel Trooper, but the rest of the spots are largely open. Return of the Jedi offers many potentially powerful options. Mon Mothma (A) could be extremely dangerous, but is she worth a spot? We can clearly evaluate the Accuracy benefit because there is a similar card: Strategy Session costs 4 build and gives all units you control Accuracy 1 until the end of turn. So, effectively, tapping Mon Mothma provides an effect worth at least 4 build. Now, this seems pretty efficient, because it takes just 2 turns to pay for itself. Plus, it gives +1 power and is a unit. This combination, in effect, can provide us with a fifth Rebel Control Officer.
The next unit is going to be another small, cheap one: Toryn Farr (A). This choice is rather obvious, as she's a fairly cost-efficient 3-build unit that provides great utility and allows us to duplicate the speed-enhancing benefit of Rebel Control Officers.
One of the better options available to Rebels is a strong Pilot base, and the idea behind a Character that can double as Space or Ground support fits perfectly with our deck. The two highlight Rebel pilots for our deck are Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. Either of the Wedges can be devastating enough to win an arena with just one other unit in that arena, given enough time. And Luke provides an Evade mechanism for the Character arena, which this deck is sorely lacking.
The last few cards are personal choices of mine, including Rebel Marine. Against certain Dark Side decks, you need fast, cheap units. With 40/2/2 stats (and potentially 50/3/2), Rebel Marine simply fits that role.
Battles, Missions and Locations are designed to provide utility but focus mainly on winning Character. Luke's Warning has been a proven winner in keeping Rebel Control Officer alive. Explore the Swamps provides great utility, and with the new tri-arena Locations, seems an even more solid solution to help one of the Rebels' weaknesses -- drawing cards.
But wait -- there's more. Rebel decks are one of the most diverse deck types possible. The one outlined above is designed as a consistent attack deck, but we could easily turn Rebels into a combo deck. Mon Mothma's ability to reduce Rebels' cost by 1 build would work great in conjunction with Lars Homestead, which offers a similar ability. With just these two cards, we have the ability to deploy 2-build Rebels for free, or 3-build Rebels for just 1 build. Rebel Troop Cart offers a similar function for the Ground arena, and Princess Leia (H) provides it for Character. We could even utilize the numerous unique Rebel Character Pilots and combine this theme with Luke Skywalker (L).
Like Han? We all do. Who can argue with that scoundrel Rebel? Did I say Rebel? That's right, I did. Han Solo (I) provides a lot of potential, and this kind of deck utilizes Rebels like R2-D2 (I) and Tauntaun Mount to increase Han's speed, power, and Accuracy. Ever see a 70 speed, Accuracy 2, 6-dice rolling unit that costs only 3 -- and that can untap multiple times? I have. It's not pretty. Not to mention the possibility of playing Han's Sacrifice and repeating the process. If you feel lucky, or if you're just good at roll-offs, this might be the deck for you. Disclaimer: because I bring it upon myself, I reserve the right to complain to my heart's content if I lose to a Han (I) pump deck in the Star Wars TCG Championships.
Lastly, are you getting tired of pulling that Rebel flagship Home One (A) from Return of the Jedi? I know I was -- until I put together a deck based around it and Cloud City Battleground. Utilizing unit pump cards makes a devastatingly fun deck. Playing multiple augmenting cards, such as A Bigger Fish, Fight on All Fronts, Precise Attack, Close Quarters, Malfunction, Windu's Solution, and even the infamous Log Trap can be rather fun. Krayt Dragon and Han (I) never looked scarier.
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About the Author
James McCoy has a long and storied collectable card gaming career. The major victories include the 1998 Spellfire World Championship, North Carolina M:tG 2002 State Champion, numerous M:tG Pro Tour Qualifier top 8's including a recent qualification for Pro Tour Nagoya, and semifinalist in 2004's Star Wars TCG Champion Series. While James doesn't plan on attending Nagoya, you can see how his ranking goes for all his Wizards of the Coast card games here.