New Player’s Guide: Wave 1 Characters (Super Rare)

Well, hello there, Transformers TCG-land. It has been a while. Today, I’d like to embark on a little project that’s meant to serve two purposes.

First, for new players just getting into the game, it’s meant to serve as an overview of which cards to prioritize if they’re buying singles in order to build their collection.

Beyond that, for myself and hopefully some of you reading this, it’s also meant to be a bit of a nostalgic walk down memory lane.

In this installment, we’ll be taking a look at the Super Rare (SRT) character cards from Wave 1. If you’re looking to get your hands on them, I’d recommend checking the Transformers TCG Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group, TCGPlayer, and eBay, in that order.

For Wave 1 in particular, the Energon Edition is a great buy if you know you’re going to take a decent sized ($150) plunge into the game, since you’ll get the four Super Rare characters discussed below, along with the Wave 1 Rare versions of Optimus and Megatron, plus 30 packs of Wave 1, with the possibility of getting a good overall selection of characters (probably 3 additional Rare characters) and battle cards. You can then fill in the gaps by buying singles from the above sites.

Three important caveats to get out of the way:

  1. I never considered myself a competitive player. I may mention the value (or lack of value) for certain cards in competitive play, but my primary focus will be buying cards to play casual games at the kitchen table with your friends (or the equivalent if you’re playing over webcam).
  2. Since the game’s cancellation, various groups have decided to continue the game. Part of that process has included the use of stratagems (and other ways) to buff older cards. Evaluations and suggestions related to these cards are being made without any custom cards in mind.
  3. If I mention certain cards being more or less expensive than others, please keep in mind that this article is being written in March 2022. As time goes on, prices for these cards may very well fluctuate.

Let’s begin with the Super Rare character cards from the first wave.

Wave 1 Super Rare Characters

Bumblebee (Legendary Warrior) – SRT T09

This version of Bumblebee was a centerpiece of one of my favorite decks early in the game’s lifespan (Hot Wheels, which consisted of Bumblebee, Prowl, and Wheeljack). Once Wave 2 was released, this version of Bee would be replaced with Bumblebee (Trusted Lieutenant). Still, it’s a lot of fun to be able to flip back into alt mode and attack your opponent’s untapped characters, who are usually otherwise safe from being attacked. With the Energon Edition saturating the market with Wave 1 SRTs, Bumblebee (Legendary Warrior) is one of the cheaper Super Rares out there, so he’s at least worth considering.

Must Buy, Worth Buying, Conditional Buy, or Avoid?: Conditional Buy (if you really like Cars and want to explore all options or just like Bee in particular).

First deck ideas: Pair him with Wave 1 Wheeljack and Prowl for the classic Hot Wheels lineup.

Fun Factor (out of 5 Kups):

Nemesis Prime (Dark Clone) – SRT T28

Nemesis came out swinging like the big, angry Frankenstein’s monster that he looks like back in the Wave 1 and 2 days (and saw a little bit of a resurgence when Lionizer came out in Wave 3). In particular, he was one half of the dreaded Double Primes deck that ran rampant for much of the first Wave meta. He also either made someone’s day, or absolutely wrecked it, when he showed up in the old 2-pack Turbo days. Nemesis is absolutely a blast to play, especially when you focus heavily into either orange/bold or blue/tough. He’s typically the highest price Wave 1 SRT, but if you don’t mind the $25-$35 price tag, he’s a great addition to your character rotation.

Must Buy, Worth Buying, Conditional Buy, or Avoid?: Worth buying. Nemesis is a big, scary beatstick with fun abilities in both modes.

First deck ideas: Pair him with Optimus Prime (Battlefield Legend) from Wave 1 if you want to go blue/defensive. Alternatively, go with Demolisher and Barrage from Wave 1 if you want to go orange/offensive.

Fun Factor (out of 5 Kups):

Cliffjumper (Renegade Warrior) – SRT T01

Cliffjumper (and Slipstream) were both released during San Diego Comic-Con as part of promo pack, prior to Wave 1 even being released. Cliff has long been a staple of many Car decks, with his latent alt mode ability allowing you to keep fishing to find your untapping cards. Interest in him also spiked after Kevin Allen took a Cliffjumper/Arcee/Prowl/Red Alert deck to first place at the one and only GenCon with official TFTCG organized play. As such, he was pretty hard to get until the Energon Edition was released and Cliffjumper/Slipstream were included with alternate art versions.

Must Buy, Worth Buying, Conditional Buy, or Avoid?: Conditional Buy. If you want to explore various Car deck archetypes, Cliffjumper is frequently (but not always) used.

First deck ideas: Give the Kevin Allen lineup (Cliffjumper/Arcee/Prowl/Red Alert) a shot. It’s a lot of fun, and you’re almost guaranteed to see your most important battle cards.

Fun Factor (out of 5 Kups):

Slipstream (Strategic Seeker) – SRT T02

Bundled with Cliffjumper, Sliptream was always overlooked in comparison. Unfortunately, Planes as an overall tribal deck archetype typically underperformed (even though a number of individual Plane characters were quite powerful on their own). With that said, you can do some neat things with Blackwing and Dreadwind in Wave 2 when you pair them with Slipstream. She also pairs really well with Windsweeper from Wave 5, but it should be noted that Windsweeper sells for $100+, since the SRTs from that Wave are rarer due to a smaller print run just prior to the game’s cancellation.

Must Buy, Worth Buying, Conditional Buy, or Avoid?: Conditional Buy, only if you’re REALLY interested in an all-Planes deck archetype.

First deck ideas: Team her up with Dreadwind and Blackwing from Wave 2. If you’re lucky enough to also have Windsweeper, some jerk wrote an entire manifesto about using them together.

Fun Factor (out of 5 Kups):

If you’re new to the game, make sure to go through our old articles (especially this one about building your first decks) and check out our library of videos. The next article in this series will run through the Rare character cards from Wave 1. See you then!

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