Friday, February 1st 2019 11:46pm CST
Posted by: Wolfman Jake
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Seibertronians, we have some exciting news for you for the second wave of the Transformers Trading Card Game! This news comes to us courtesy of The Roarbots
. Optimus Maximus now joins the fun as the latest Autobot Combiner in the game!
Optimus Maximus made his debut during the Combiner Wars toy line and the IDW comics tie-ins. This is a SIX member team, consisting of a special "Gleaming Commander" Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Mirage, Prowl, Sunstreaker, and Hot Rod. Use the "Sentinel Enigma" card to combine them into the heroic Optimus Maximus and turn the tide! These sentinel cards are augmented by the new upgrade card "Combat Commands."
We've also got some more support cards incoming, including Scrounge (There is no other like it?), Secret Dealings, and Smelt. The Dinobots get the new "Electrified Spikes" card and the Predacons likewise get the new "Tooth and Claw" card.
Our own Seibertron.com member Sideways has provided us with an extensive review of these new cards to help you plan your deck. Check out his musings along with some nice pictures of the cards in Sideways' review below! Are you hyped for the Transformers Trading Card Game? What strategies are you favoring so far? Let us know in the comments, and as always, stay tuned to Seibertron.com for the latest news on all things Transformers. With that, please, take it away, Sideways!
Big Chungus! Biiiiiig Chungus! There has never been a Chungus this big before!
With great reveals come great article-bility, and that's where I come in! There were a few publications that got to reveal some cards, and one of those reveals was an entire new six-man combiner team! We also get to find out what the heck a "Sentinel" is! Let's dive in!
Wow, the new Ultra Magnus card looks great!
This card is coming out of the exclusive reveal by The Roarbots
, where they showed off the entire team of Transformers to make up the Sentinels, the essential "Team Prime" to make up Optimus Maximus.
Let's do a quick breakdown of his stats. First off, his health is monstrous for a Combiner piece, and I should hope so given how integral he is to the success of this deck, and his surprisingly competent attack stat can make a good first impression upon attacking with him. He's melee in both modes, which is (at least in my opinion) a good thing, as he can use both Power Sword to pull off his combo and use Body Armor to supplement a middling defensive stat.
So, before I get into what he does specifically, I would like to point out that he has 11 points, and is rather sizable for being a Combiner piece. This, you might notice, is roughly half of your point pool, and that doesn't leave too much room for wiggling in five other friends to make up Optimus Maximus. That's where his vehicle mode ability comes in.
You place three "Sentinels" into your KO pile at the start of the game, which sounds counterproductive, but when you consider that Combiners combine from the KO pile as well as the field, and that you can choose to transform a KO'd ally for turn, things start making sense. Things make even more sense given the Sentinel's knack for being useful, even when dead, but that's something to be explained later.
The real juice that comes out of this Optimus Prime is the robot mode ability, which can put you even further ahead on the Transformation Arms Race that happens when Combiners face off. You see, when you flip one of each pip -- save Green of course -- you get to Transform one of your KO'd characters to its other mode, which not only puts you ahead, but also triggers several other effects on the character cards themselves.
More on that below.
But as a final word on Prime, here, you can't live without him in an Optimus Maximus -- OpMax for short -- deck for more than one reason, his vehicle mode ability being the only way you can combine and his extra transformation effects being fantastic to get you to a faster combination. But as for his obviously limited play outside of his own archetype, something fascinating you could play him in is a Volcanicus hybrid list, where you use Optimus' effect to give those Dinobots in the KO pile an extra transformation. Naturally, it'd be a tight list, but I would love to see if it could work.
But what about his other Sentinel brethren?
I'm surprised Optimus Prime isn't the one in the KO pile to give a boost to him.
He's finally here, and he's just as tiny as he was in Megatron's arms when he blew away Prime! He's basically Star-Lord punching Thanos, but thirty years ago. But it's not like I'm upset about something that happened before I was born or anything. Ahem.
Anyway, talking about the card itself, I love this guy. I'm not gonna lie, Hot Rod is one of my favorites of the entire group. Having a pocket indirect damage ability is great, especially when you consider he has solid stats that make him great at dealing damage until his inevitable demise. The biggest issue he has is the question of "who do I want dead at the start of a match?" Your whole team is pretty interchangeable in that regard, and really only changes it up depending on certain matchups.
The fact that he can help you 2HKO Skrapnel or KO a Force Fielded Six-Gun should definitely not be underestimated as both will likely prove problematic for OpMax, but dealing one damage elsewhere is kind of "meh" in certain regards. Combat Commands makes him really interesting, though, because it turns him into a continuous damage output mechanism from the KO pile no less. He's fascinating, and doing some interesting plays with I STILL FUNCTION! can never be ruled out.
Combat Commands is something I'm going to get into later since we now have the composite parts that make up the card's whole, and I admittedly misread it slightly when it was first revealed, but more on that later.
As for Hot Rod, he's really interesting for OpMax, but at seven points, there are definitely better Cars to take in other Car lists. Whereas he can still abuse the Car support and untap into infinity, you're still pretty underwhelming when it comes to other, non-Sentinel Cars. He's cool to think about in Cliffjumper, though, but outside of those two ideas I struggle to reconcile him in other lists.
"... And my AXE!"
Is it me or is Ironhide not the kind of person I would peg as running around with a melee weapon? Regardless, this old coot has the same stats that Hot Rod has and even the same point cost. The only real differences are that he's a Truck, and he has slightly different abilities.
The first of which is, instead of Hot Rod's Tough 1, Ironhide has Bold 1 which, in my humble opinion, is better than Tough 1 given the abundance of Bold stacking you can do as opposed to the sparse Tough effects. That being said, there is something to be said for Tough with the advent of Acid Storm's anti-Bold abilities, but his prevalence in the meta remains to be seen.
Acid Storm's presence notwithstanding, Ironhide is also, well, an Ironhide, which means he can use Static Laser of Ironhide to its fullest potential. It's an interesting concept that shouldn't be overlooked when considering active partners in a OpMax list. The simple fact that he is a Truck also allows you to play Cargo Trailer and Team Up Tactics, but it is still unknown whether or not the Cargo Trailer stay on the combined form when you do inevitably combine.
As for the final ability that Ironhide has, he gives his allies all Pierce 2 when used from the KO pile. I've already made several mentions of my detestation of low Pierce, but in this case, Ironhide combos pretty darn well with the Matrix of Leadership, giving each of your characters Pierce 3 in total. This can combine with The Bigger They Are to put yourself at Pierce 7, and then you're off to the races. Stacking Pierce is pretty okay -- not as good as Bold, of course, but high Pierce can definitely put a hurt on several different archetypes.
Again, I am not sure how useful he is outside of OpMax, but it is worth noting that in a Truck based archetype you can use him instead of Starter Prime or perhaps Kup. Trucks -- oddly enough -- have some good potential through use of high Tough and stacking Cargo Trailer, and I can't say it's any worse with the use of Ironhide. Either way, Ironhide is pretty useful in OpMax at least, and I think taking him alive instead of starting off with him dead is probably for the best depending on how you want to build your list, but the interchangeability of the characters in this archetype should never be understated.
You can't kill what's already dead.
Simply put, Mirage isn't the greatest in terms of offensive or defensive power. In fact, he has very few things about him that stand out. If it weren't for his Specialist ability, I wouldn't like him at all. But let's be fair here -- being a Specialist in a Combiner List, he allows you to use Field Communicator and Multi-Mission Gear to speed up your Combination, which is always a good thing in a format with Cornered! putting a hamper on Combiner hopes and dreams.
But simply put, Mirage is pretty dismal when it comes to usefulness as an active character. His robot mode, however, is very useful when KO'd. You can use him to dumpster Insecticons by removing their I STILL FUNCTION!, discard Cornered! so that it can't be used against you, and abuse Dinobots that want to play Dino-Chomp! pretty much ever in their lives. But perhaps the most important thing to note is, against other combiners, you can completely deny them a Combination likely for the rest of the game (depending on the list) by simply discarding their Combination Enigma at the right time.
That's why I actually really like this guy in OpMax and a potentially control-based deck, and why I actually kind of like the idea of running him in Cliffjumper-based Car Control lists. The simple fact of the matter is that a pocket Action scrapping effect is really neat. When he's alive, he's mediocre at best, but when he's dead, he can swing entire games in your favor. A funky card to be sure, but a welcome one.
He's also a Specialist, which might make you wonder if you should make him an active part to your list -- and it wouldn't be an overly bad idea, but it would be a somewhat redundant one given the next character we have on our plate...
"Hey, can you pass me another Capri-Sun?"
Sunstreaker is the better cousin of Mirage in almost every sense. He has better base stats, survivability and a generally more useful role as the team's Specialist. Generally, you have access to all the utility that a Specialist can bring to the team, and keeping him in Car mode for the majority of the game is a good idea given his robot mode's utility when he is KO'd. Like it or not, being able to draw a free card is almost never a bad thing.
Of course, there really isn't too much else to write home about for Sunstreaker unfortunately. Unlike Mirage, he probably isn't worth putting in the KO pile at the start of a game if for no other reason than to abuse his being a Specialist and his higher stats than Mirage.
As with all Cars, he can use Turbo Boosters and Start Your Engines to keep untapped and fighting fit. You can use him in combination with Hot Rod to both keep ahead in the attacking game and to use Swap Missions to keep attacking with Optimus Prime. Of course, Ironhide also should probably be active, but it really is down to your discretion and your list. These guys -- again -- are pretty interchangeable, somewhat mirroring Scramble City combiners of old.
But either way, you have access to a lot of things that make his Specialist utility definitely worthwhile to keep in your active list. He also can be used with Cliffjumper to have an extra draw while KO'd, but you don't really want to Transform any KO'd Cars unless you're doing something massive (like using Mirage to discard important Actions).
All in all, he's the Specialist you'd have active, but that's more by default than by design.
All suspects are guilty until proven innocent.
Prowl is another fighting for the title of "currently living", with the highest attack of his peers and Bold 1, he hits the hardest and the fastest out of all of his teammates. The only downside to that is that his robot mode is a bit lackluster considering he's just a Weapon scrapping effect. Weapon scrapping might seem good, but when you consider that Grenade Launcher already discards itself after use, your targets are far more limited than you might think.
If you're going to discard an Upgrade at all, make it an Armor. Armor can be overly oppressive between stacking Tough and Force Field, and when you can discard them before you get to attack your opponent's characters, it's pretty great. However, that's not what's happening here. It's a defensive weapon-scrapping effect that unfortunately happens on your turn. The reason that's bad is that when the turn passes over to your opponent, they can simply attach a second weapon to that character and completely negate your effect.
Sure, you can use it in tandem with Security Checkpoint, but I would just rather pour my Action resources into something far more useful, like a Rapid Conversion, a Confidence or a Swap Missions.
Regardless, at least he does something. He doles out a lot of damage, and having an effect when he does eventually go down is a good thing. Again, if it isn't evident now that these characters are pretty interchangeable, I don't know what to tell you.
Outside of OpMax, though, I can't see this guy being played all that much. Maybe in Cliffjumper to make use of his powerful offensive power, but there are a lot of great effects that Cliffjumper can make use of and I'm just not quite sure if you need an offensive car taking up that much of your point pool.
Rollin' in the streets, swingin' on the beats.
Optimus Maximus is a huge Combiner. 65 HP is a lot to burn through, considering, but when you realize that you're inevitably going to start the game with half that already taken, that number grows smaller by the minute. You see, when you place three characters into the KO pile, all of your characters have 10 HP (save Prime, of course) and that damage carries over to the combined form, leaving him with -- at most -- 35 HP. That's pretty much the same as Metroplex, but there's another caveat: There's no way to immediately combine, so you're going to end up taking at least 15-20 damage spread around your characters just as the game goes on.
The simple fact of the matter is this: You're going to have roughly 15-20 HP to play with once you combine, and that's around as much as a solo Nemesis Prime. That's fine, of course, because you're incredibly hard to take down once you do combine.
Why? Well, your defensive stats are "meh", but the real juice comes in when you realize you have a Plan effect when you are both attacking and defending. So, not only can you supplement your absolutely monstrous 9 attack to ludicrous numbers, you can also supplement your defensive capabilities to have some tremendous staying power. Whenever you attack there's a good possibility to completely OHKO an opposing character (especially with Mining Pick, which I'll talk about later), and when you defend there's a good chance you can block a good bit of damage.
You're also a Leader, but the Matrix of Leadership doesn't really do that much for you other than give you +1 as your team has merged together into a tall character. But nevertheless, there is a good chance we're about to see different Leader support as well.
This is all made easier given your honestly extremely speedy rollout. Optimus Prime allows you to transform quickly and get ahead in the ticking time bomb that is a Combiner. OpMax is a simply wonderful combiner that I can definitely see taking a spot in the metagame.
My only concern is Menasor. Menasor has a lot of power in his disruptive abilities, moreso than you, and it will really come down to the ol' "who can disrupt the other harder" game. I haven't playtested it, of course, but the two share a similar disruptive playstyle.
I ran out of Enigma puns a long time ago.
This Enigma is definitely not an Enigma. Most Enigma have a secondary effect that make having multiple in your hand not the worst thing in the world, for instance Predacon Enigma draws a card and plays an Upgrade, but most are somewhat underwhelming like this one.
Whereas it does scrap an Armor, it can't scrap any
Utilities and that's somewhat disappointing when you consider that Ramming Speed, a card that is barely played in the first place, can do all that the Enigma can do and more. But then again, Sentinel Enigma is
an Enigma and you can't really ask it to do anything more than that.
No painted rocks here, Indy.
"Taking a leap of faith" is the exact opposite of what this card does. This card plays free cards, simply put, and if you happen to flip a card that has an effect you don't like, you can choose not to use it. There is no "oops, that Security Checkpoint just made me discard my hand" or "I didn't actually want to use Peace Through Tyranny" here -- just pure, unadulterated free cards. Of course, drawing into this Star Card isn't going to be easy, but if you have a list with Optimus Prime -- Battlefield Legend, you can use this card extremely easily to play free cards out of your ears.
Leap of Faith is just plain nutty, and I love it.
I'm gonna be honest, that's a very red card.
Field Repair is kinda awful. Its effect of healing a single damage counter is terrible, and whereas Plan 1 is good, it isn't like that's an unheard of effect. There are a ton of good cards that Plan, for instance Incoming Transmission. There really isn't too much to even say about it, let alone combos.
Something that is worthy of note though is that its design is discordant with the other designs of Autobot Actions, having the entire text box be red like an Upgrade. Even more than that, it was revealed by my favorite source of spoilers, "some dude on Facebook". Whereas I wouldn't believe that this card was real, the moderators have been very good at taking down spoiled cards that have come out before the cards have been officially revealed and Wizards has been very upfront on communications with the community. Something else that I checked was the Cybertronian script at the top right, and verily, it says Field Repair without a typo in sight.
That's right, I legitimately thought it was a fake for the longest time. I was even debated not covering it at all until we had an official statement on the matter. The reveal was very unceremonious, so much so that it bumped my suspicion to the nth degree. I guess you're only paranoid if you're wrong, right?
Secret aaaagent man / Secret aaaaagent man
Secret Dealings is a card revealed alongside Scrounge and Smelt by The Roarbots
, and it is strictly okay.
Think of it like an Action version of Data Pad, which is okay, but when you consider that Incoming Transmission does the same thing but you draw an extra card, it makes me struggle to reconcile this card's existence in a list. You see, the best thing it has going for it is that it's a green/white pip. Incoming Transmission is an Orange, which means that some lists can't -- or don't want to -- play it, but then again most defensive lists don't want to Plan offensively like this card does anyway.
But having a green pip is a good thing, and it allows you to have a nice Planning effect. But that's not a good enough reason to take it in a list, methinks. There are just better cards to play during your turn.
I hear he has a special arm, that there's no other arm like it.
The second reveal by The Roarbots is kind of interesting when you think about it. On the surface, Scrounge seems like a worse New Designs, but when you consider that there are a lot of Plan effects, it becomes a somewhat better New Designs.
Put it this way: There are several new characters that Plan upon Transformation, and when you plan an Upgrade, you can use Scrounge to immediately play it, and you can pull off this combo fairly efficiently given the fact that Scrounge sports a green pip as well as an orange one. New Designs also technically
takes a card out of your hand when you play it, given that it attaches from your hand, and sometimes you can just roll the dice with Scrounge and see if you get another Upgrade.
You also have to have the Upgrade in your hand in the first place with New Designs, and often times you'll find yourself only having one to attach, making New Designs an effectively dead card in your hand. At least with Scrounge, you have the potential to get ahead on the Upgrade Arms Race.
Speaking of Scrounge... Too soon?
Smelt is actually not bad at all. Being a blue pip, you can use it in the heavily disruptive blue decks like Menasor or Double Prime, and sometimes simply scrapping one Upgrade is enough depending on your opponent's board state. Sometimes, your opponent only has one Upgrade on the field, and other times you just want to hold back their power before they get to set up. They get to choose their Upgrade to scrap, of course, but when their options are limited, it will almost always go in your favor.
It's not that bad, to be frank, and the green pip makes it even more solid than it would be otherwise. I would definitely play this card in Double Prime, Tanks or Menasor to be perfectly honest -- I think it's well worth the spot.
Megatron plays Fortnite confirmed. Think he did the Default Dance when he shot Prime that time?
Mining Pick is one of the most powerful Weapons I have ever seen. I am not lying when I say that this card adds an unbelievable power to a lot of decks, Optimus Maximus included. Think about it. You have Plan 2 on Mining Pick, which you can use to put two orange pips on the top of the deck which gives you +2 just from Mining Pick's effect alone, and when you use Incoming Transmission to place another on the top of your deck, that's another +1. Oh, what's that? You have a Data Pad? Cool, have another +1! And you say that Optimus Maximus adds another to the top of the deck? Nice, have another +1!
You add that collective +5 on top of the three orange pips you're going to see (assuming one of the cards you place is white) and you have an astounding +9 attack. Sure, you've dumped a lot of hand resources into that play, but if you're not killing something outright with that something is very wrong.
I love this card so much. The amount of power that you get with it is astronomical compared to most other weapons. Grenade Launcher still might be the now and forever king, but Mining Pick might just be the Mordred to this Arthurian tale.
"!yad etisoppo s'ti tuB"
This incredibly niche card is revealed by Scott over at VectorSigma.info
where he does an in-depth breakdown of this reveal card. Give him a read if you want to his thoughts on this card, but as for my own thoughts, I think this card is extremely niche but honestly incredibly powerful.
You might think, "Hey, Sideways, why are you showing me this bad card for balanced lists?" and you would be right -- this card is really bad for balanced lists -- but in solo color lists, this card is the absolute nuts. When you have an all blue list with a character that is about to go down regardless, you can pop Inverted! on them and suddenly swing for absolutely massive damage.
Here's an example. You are playing an all-blue Tank list, and Demolisher has 5 damage on him. You're probably going to go down the next turn, even though you have a Blast Shield on him, so you plop down an Inverted and suddenly his mediocre literally zero attack can now flip a potential 8 cards off the top of your deck to do staggering amount of damage out of nowhere. Sure, he's probably going to go down the next turn, but it's a great last-ditch effort card.
You can also use it to keep a character alive in an all-orange list, as every orange pip will suddenly be a blue pip. Sure, you're not going to be dealing as much damage (at all) but you almost certainly won't be getting knocked out that next turn. It's just more longevity and that makes me very happy.
I love Inverted! and you should to. It won't be in every list -- in fact, it probably won't be in most lists -- but those decks that play it will make definite use of it.
"Rip and tear... Rip and tear until it is done."
This Upgrade is sorely underwhelming. I have always had a problem, with an Upgrade that plays other Upgrades -- especially singular ones -- because at a point, why not just play the second Upgrade from your hand instead of having to go through Multi-Tool or something similar? This card is even worse than that because it doesn't even add an Upgrade. It simply opens up the possibility of playing another Upgrade if you ever happen to.
Predacons are notoriously thin on survivability, so when you attach this, you're not attaching another Weapon to attack with one of your teammates. Sure, you're getting +1 damage, but there are so many better options than that.
Perhaps, then, they want you to power up Razorclaw or Rampage with multiple Weapons and leave his teammates by the wayside while you wait for a massive attack. Again, I would simply attach another weapon and attack with another Predacon, but that's beside the point.
I don't really know what to think about this card, but I know whatever I rest on, it sadly won't be good. I just can't get behind this card in such a fast metagame.
I can actually think of no better Armor other than Force Field to play in Dinobots. This Armor not only has an orange pip, lending itself to Dinobots' Bold playstyle, and it has an effect that wants to flip orange pips which also plays off the all orange playstyle. Sure, the extra one damage isn't that much in the long run, it does help defend against Insecticons as Skrapnel will never attack anyone with one of these equipped.
It's not the best card in Dinobots, but I can't see a reason not to play it. It's a really cool card that makes itself right at home in any Dinobot list.
There are a great many a playable card in this next wave, and Optimus Maximus is forefront in my mind when it comes to a premier Combiner. His sheer speed and utility make me extremely excited to see where he goes.
Speaking of the Sentinels, I admittedly misread Battle Commands to where I saw it ending the combo in your vehicle mode, I see now that it ends the Transformation combo in robot mode
and only does so if you were already in robot mode to start with, making the effects of Mirage and Hot Rod even better than they already were. I am ecstatic to see such an interesting combo in this card game and I can't wait to see if OpMax is as good as I think he is.
But it's not just all aggro all the time, it seems, as there are plenty of disruptive cards being printed to give disruption-based decks a good boost. Whereas Double Prime is the most obvious of these, I'm sure that Shockwave will enjoy getting a disruption boost as well. Menasor can also use and abuse several of these new Battle Cards, and that makes me even more excited for the prospects of a combiner being meta.
As always, check out MY YOUTUBE
where I upload Transformers Trading Card Game content as often as I can. I've been under the weather lately so uploading has been slightly sparse, but as I can finally breathe again I can continue my uploading schedule.
All in all, with each reveal my anticipation for Rise of the Combiners grows larger and larger. Thank you very much for reading this titanic article, and let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to the most!