Siebertron is proud to bring your our latest image gallery: War for Cybertron Siege Leader Class Astrotrain! Of all the incarnations this character has seen, this is his first time back to having his classic steam locomotive (styled) alternate mode. This time around he includes a coal-car to tow behind him which also converts into his Leader class armor boots and backpack. In shuttle mode you will notice his launch pad has Adaptable Interconnection Retrofitter Lock (A.I.R. Lock) connectors which are compatible with Omega Supreme and the upcoming War for Cybertron: Earthrise roadbuilder and basebuilder systems. Astrotrain is expected to start arriving on shelves in his Siege packaging later this year, but will reappear in new Earthrise packaging next year when he lands to back up the Decepticons on the ground. Enjoy the images and make sure to stay tuned for upcoming Frenzy, Ratbat, and Rung galleries!
Another Month, another round of fantastic homemade work from the many Seibertronians who give their time and effort to create some awesome pieces of fiction, art, and tutorials for all of us to enjoy! Check out what all hit our Transtopia Section in September of 2019, and let us know what you think of it all below, or in the threads that each piece comes from!
Fan Fiction Home to the creative authors of Seibertron.com's Transtopia
Annie lifted her head when she heard her favorite rock band blasting from the school parking lot and smirked. That was her signal to get the hell out of there. “Right on time.”
With the skill and stealth a ninja would be envious of, Annie snuck out of the classroom when the teacher was away on a bathroom break and ran for her locker. She quickly threw it open and pulled out Grindor, who was roused from his nap when he was placed on the floor.
At the beginning of the universe, there were two gods. One, who would come to be known as Primus, represented light, standing for creation, growth, progress, and order. The other, Unicron, represented darkness, standing for death, destruction, and decay, and chaos. As the young universe expanded by Primus' hand, Unicron would retaliate by bringing cataclysms to destroy that which was created. This struggle continued until Primus sealed himself and Unicron into barren planets that the latter had all but wiped clean of life.
Primus, being a god of creation, was able to reform his planetary prison into a metallic world that would be a well-spring of mechanical life. Unicron, meanwhile, could not create, and, as a result, drifted helplessly through space, surrounded by an aura of darkness that could corrupt any form of sentient life that Primus created.
“Princess Luna?” Said Apple Bloom surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“I was flying by when I saw you walk into the cavern and decided to investigate. Now what in the name of Equestria is…” Luna was cut off by the machine’s sounds changing. A mechanical voice rang out.
“STASIS RESTITUTION COMPLETE! CHIMERACON SHELL REINSTALLED! BEGINNING BIO-SCAN!” A light shined brighter than ever, filling the cavern ceiling. Then it started to move downward.
“Get behind me!” screamed Luna putting herself in front of Apple Bloom, shielding her from the strange light. The light washed over Luna till it hit the floor.
Briefly pausing before the podium, Primal paused. Hesitated. As if in a last ditch, futile belief that if he didn't take to that stage, didn't say what needed to be said by him alone, what was about to happen wouldn't. With flight of fancy that out of the way, he shook his head, closed his eyes and thought of the many, many lives claimed by the Beast Wars. His eyes opened. His literal and figurative vision focused once more. He took to the podium and faced his troops. With the grim realisation that for many, or all, this would be the final dawn. He began his address...
'How did I stop Megatron from hitting me? How was I able to touch him?' he thought as he stopped and stood there in the middle of the corridor, completely confused by what had transpired. And it was then at that moment Galvatron heard a voice echoing faintly through the corridor, just as his spark began to burn up which made him clutch his chest.
The Predacon recognised the voice as the one he had heard in his dream, but at this moment he was awake. He looked around as the voice echoed around him, while holding his hand to his chest due to the pain that his spark was putting him through.
Photo Blitz This is where you can post your pictures of Transformers in whatever fashion you like.
And that's it for the month folks! Like what you see or read? Be sure to leave a comment and let our creators know! Looking to share your own creations? Please do! We'll be back in a months time for the next round up from our Transtopia forums!
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Prowl Transformers Toys
While Optimus prime may be the most popular Transformer of all time, I always felt Prowl had the archetypal look. He is the quintessential car bot, a car turning into a robot where the car hood ends up as the robot's chest. However, with such a typical design, this list was rather vanilla at first, with similar looking toys all transforming similarly and getting incrementally closer to the character model over time. But that's because I was just thinking of Prowl's G1 design and as soon as I thought outside the box, writing this list became a hoot! Now let's get to it.
The Lamborghini is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) alt mode a Transformer can have. And with prowl being the quintessential carbot, giving him the alt mode of the coolest car is just awesome. RID was a time of going back to the basics of cars transforming into robots but for a new century (literally) and audience, with new designs and transformations. This Prowl toy achieves all of that by giving us something that I don' think any of us will forget.
I find these two toys far too vanilla to separate. I find them both better than the Universe mold, on account of the head sculpt alone, but when it comes to comparing the two they each have their pros and cons and neither really stand out among the other toys either on this list or on the pegs. They both make very good Prowls for a classics collection. I like the overall look of the Combiner Wars toy, especially the head and alt mode, along with the added fun that it combines. At the same time though, I like the use of the real front of the car for the chest of Siege Prowl and while the car mode isn't my favourite, I do like the tech detail on the clear plastic. They both get the job done for a classics display and you get two great looking choices, which is more than other established characters can say.
Many G1 names resurfaced in Beast Wars as totally new characters (ie. Scorponok, Rampage, Silverbolt) with no relation to their G1 namesake. Prowl is an exception to that, with his toy bio referencing "another life" and his skills centering around analysis and reliance on logic. So he's Prowl, but in Beast Wars, awesome! Plus he turns into an owl, has a cybernetic eye and is an excellent toy with an original design, as was customary for all those great Transmetal II toys.
I really love this era of Masterpiece toys where they idea was building off of the original toy/transformation but updating it with all the design advancements acquired since. And turning that into both an accurate portrayal of this beloved character as he appeared in the cartoon while also incorporating real world elements from a realistic alt mode. I personally prefer feet on my Transformers, but it's Prowl's thing not to have any so I can see why the priority here would be to give us the familiar design rather than reinventing his looks.
As great as the MP is, I must say I love this toy even more. I am just a sucker for originality in this brand and in Animated, the designers went all out. We still have Prowl at this core, and we still have the police theme, but it's just taken somewhere else (and, personally, somewhere better). This is one of the best Transformer Toy design out there with a sleek robot mode full of personality that turns into a beautiful bicycle. He also has a Japanese theme going on where on one toy the wheel centers become throwing stars and on another toy the sidecar becomes a samurai armour. Plus he has great articulation to go with his slender physique and, as with many animated toys, the fact that they were able to replicate such an exaggerated style into a physical and transforming toy will forever be one of the brand's greatest achievements.
As I wrote in the intro, this is the toy that started it all. It is the quintessential Transformer toy and a design that lives on to this day. It cannot be ignored in the conversation of the best Prowl toys the brand has given us.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Transformers Sideswipe Toys
Sideswipe has been part of the Transformers brand since the very beginning. He also happens to be one of the main body types for autobot characters so it is interesting to see how designers play with that style over the years and refine it as time goes on. Aside from that, no intro really needed for this one, it's rather cut and dry so let's get to it!
Its a smart mold that accomplishes a lot but it works best when you have both Sideswipe AND his sibling oriented differently, showing you how great it is. But since this result is better than the sum of its parts, that means the parts themselves aren't the best. Plus I find those headsculpts lacking (same with Prowl and those Universe Datsuns) but I won't deny how smart it was to get such a different looking car bot using the same mold.
The car mode is excellent, as it is with many G1 toys. Of course, it is especially cool with Sideswipe since the Countash is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. The robot mode, while having the limitations of any early G1 toy, it fine and the die cast just feels so right for this vintage toy.
3. Studio Series Sideswipe
While I personally find many of the studio series toys are not as pleasant to transform as previous releases of the same characters, often due to these toys being smaller, that is not the case with Sideswipe. He takes what worked in the previous release and makes it better. this is easily the best movie sideswipe toy we have gotten and a good toy to have in a collection. I especially love how the swords come from parts of that stellar alt mode.
While not very complex, it is impressive how he still achieves a great look and stellar articulation. The vehicle mode, while not really cybertronian, is still really nice and sleek. Plus he has 5 mm ports to weaponize him up as much as you wish.
It has almost been a decade since the MP line rejunivated with this being the first carbot and I think it holds up as a masterpiece. I much preffer this attempt in the MP line to give us the best version of the character in all that it encompasses. So rather than simply being accurate to the animation, this MP also has the car have realistic elements and the robot using the parts from his car to make his bot mode, replicating his transformation on the show. I love how the legs are built, especially how the tailgate lights end up above his ankle and how the back transforms to be sleeker. There is a lot to love here and it is easily one of my favourite carbots to Transform.
Honourable Mention: Sideswipe was a main character in the Robots in Disguise show but his toys left a lot to be desired, especially his main warrior class toy which was very badly engineered. if I had to recommend one from the entire line, it would be the Battle Pack Sideswipe.
So, this is going to be something of a doozy of an article. To put things in a nutshell, I've been granted to release a brand new card by the wonderful guys and gals over at Wizards of the Coast! That said, and with the frankly stunning amount of reveals we've had over the past week or so, I'm going to trim down this article to go over a few of the highlights instead.
But those highlights are a bit cherry-picked, you see, as most of the characters have the distinct pleasure of having at least minor synergy with the card that I am about to reveal. See if you can tell which ones! But, how can you if you don't know what the card is? Ready to see it?
I give you... Showing Off!
I revealed this card on my YouTube channel, Nanomachines! If you'd like to hear my opinions on this card, or at least want something to listen to for the next few minutes, please check out the video below!
"Tank?" Ratchet and Ironhide said at once, one out of confusion and envy, and the other the product of Ironhide's poor hearing.
Crosshairs is a guy with a lot of potential on his shoulders.
Sure, Crosshairs doesn't have a whole lot of offensive punch for a guy known for his guns, but when you consider the Battlemasters we've had lately like Sights or Turbo Board, you start to see how his prowess is not defined by the offensive power of his guns, but in the thickness of his Armor.
This might seem obvious given the fact that he has, well, two Armor slots. But when you consider the fact that you could flood his team with characters like Nightstick, Sights, Vanguard or Turbo Board, all of which giving him +1 Defense at the least, you start to realize just how strong his defensive capabilities are.
Let's do some quick math. With Nightstick and Sights on his person, he gets +2 Defense from them alone. This, combined with the fact that he gets +2 Defense from his own ability, total in 4 Defense before your Armor. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: He has two Armor slots, and with his synergy with the ever-powerful Hunker Down, you can spam Armor on the guy like there's no tomorrow. I mean, with the newest Tank-exclusive Upgrade, Composite Armor (see in the Battle Card Section) which gives +3 Defense, combined with a Blast Shield, you have a total of 9 Defense before you flip, which is frankly nausiating.
Now, is that practical to set up? Probably not, to be frank. You're not doing too much damage to pressure your opponent out, which means your opponent is going to be able to take their sweet time while they build up something big to deal more damage to you than you're likely able to handle. Still though, with the use of Vanguard, Nightstick and friends, you can count on your defense being able to withstand most basic attacks.
You spin me right round / baby right round
Like a record baby / Right round, round, round
Spinister is very, very good. How? Well, let me jump into this guy by telling you why Battle Masters have such good value.
You see, when you play Transformers, you're usually not going to want to swing with a character in alternate mode. It's inefffecient, it's low damage and honestly it usually ends up putting one character at risk. Battle Masters turn that on its head. Given the fact that they start in their most efficient mode, and since they are effectively unpunishable when you KO them via an attack, you are free to just swing with them at will.
Since you can swing with them at will, you can transform one of your other characters beforehand, making your life easier in terms of crucial flipping time. That's also where Spinister comes into the picture. Given the fact that your first turn will usually involve flipping another character and swinging with a Battle Master, Spinister turns that advantage into an even greater one given his robot mode effect. I mean, just imagine on the first turn of the game, swinging with Lionizer for more damage than he already does. That's what makes Spinister so strong.
Making matters better, when your Lionizer (or whomever else you're playing him with) dies, you can attach them to Spinister, not only giving him a solid attack boost but also being the secondary weapon to whatever card -- like Grenade Launcher -- you wanted to play. This means that the clapback from KOing your Battle Master is even stronger than ever before, and I honestly cannot wait to see where Spinister will go.
"To punish and enslave..."
Barricade is freaking awesome.
So, simply put, he makes every blank pip in your deck infinitely more consistent. Given the fact that he can not only pull potentially bad cards out of your deck, making your deck more consistent flip-wise, but he can also use them on-demand. I mean, just think about it:
You have Barricade and Prowl alive after Wheeljack died a horrifying, early death. Now, you realize that you've probably lost the game in terms of staying power, but you also realize that your opponent is completely tapped out with Prowl being the only untapped character. Barricade has an I STILL FUNCTION! underneath him, and you realize that you can use the Start Your Engines in-hand to start off an impressive combo.
So, you play the Start Your Engines, untapping Barricade and flipping both he and Prowl to alt mode, activating their effects. You choose Barricade to activate first, bringing an alternate mode Wheeljack back from the dead, and Prowl's effect activates afterwards, giving all of them Bold 2. Then, you flip Wheeljack into robot mode and swing with him, Prowl and Barricade all at once, dealing disgusting damage to your opponent's field and their ego.
Sound like a fantasy? Not so. This is something you can pretty much count on happening with Cars, and was Cars' entire raison d'être, but the biggest problem was doing it all at once. Bumblebee from Wave 2 is oft regarded as the only out to this combo usually, as he plays an Action when you flip him, but now? Now there's a new sheriff in town, and this town isn't big enough for the two of them.
With 'Bee and 'Cade fighting for that same spot, it's easy to see their rivalry coming through even in the card game. But, with Barricade's lower point cost and higher consistency, I think there isn't much mystery on who my money's on.
Lockdown is really, really neat. He channels his inner Nemesis Prime while also having access to every Car card in the book. He might seem a bit difficult to pop off with, but I would put good money on that not being the case. Allow me to explain for a moment.
You see, when you use Lockdown with cards like Coup, Contract Contingency and Dual Wielding, you're going to start amassing cards beneath Lockdown farily quickly. Given the ease of such buildup, you'll find that you're also going to be drawing quite a few cards as well, which can facilitate that growth in much the same way, drawing into your Bounty-triggering cards and highly damaging cards like Dual Wielding.
I aboslutely adore the potential that Lockdown has, and at 10 Stars, we can tell that he's not exactly cheap, but he's not expensive, either. We can play several characters alongside him to promote his growth, and we can play him in several different archetypes. Whether you want him in a blue/black list or an aggressive list, you'll find that his powerful effects can only grow with time.
Lockdown has the potential to raw carry games, and when you consider the fact that he also opens up the use of certain Mercenary cards, you'll find yourself with more potential partners with him than you'll know what to do with.
"What a load of junk!"
Detritus is the first Rare Mercenary that we have in the game and... Well, he's sadly not that great. But he could be!
His stats, his point cost and now his effects just aren't that good. Mercenaries need to be able to do damage to characters in order to actually use their powerful Bounty effects, and unfortunately neither his damage, Star Cost nor his Bounty Effect are good enough to warrant his introduction into many -- if any -- roster.
But hey! He's the first Junkion in the game, and he's not carrying around Wreck-Gar's severed head yet, so let's give him a fair shake and see what bubbles to the surface. Given the fact that Detritus is a healing character with a likely defensive playstyle, one could play him in a defensive list, abusing the black pips that Mercenaries ever so adore to make him able to trigger his Bounty effect multiple times over the course of a few turns. Through the use of Contract Contingency especially, you'll find that Detritus can heal quite a bit.
Plus, when you consider that you could play him with cards like Dazzlestrike, Ratbat and other healing characters, you might be surprised how long he sticks around.
Healing is a tough balance to strike. Either you're like Pokemon and have intense healing cards that can be everywhere and can be oppressive at times, or you're like Transformers, where healing is pretty much the least used mechanic in the game outside of certain niche scenarios. Here, though, I think there might finally be a good balance between solid healing and fair tactics.
But, you have to ask the question whenever a healing card comes out: Is it enough? Personally, I don't think he has enough on his own to warrant it -- but hey! We'll get more healing cards later. Plus, it isn't like you don't have Team Up Tactics to help you out in the meantime.
"Octan Company is the greatest! They make gas, oil, news companies, security cameras, voting machines... Wait."
Octone is the first Mercenary Super Rare there is, and boy do I think he has some potential. Why? Well, for one, his stats are very solid, his abilities are good and his Bounty is good as well! Sounds simple enough? Well, there's actually a few other reasons that I like him.
You see, Octone can start the game in his most effective mode, his Truck mode, given how many Autobot-focused decks are running about these days. This mode gives you a powerful attack stat, powerful HP and moderate defensive capabilities to make him extremely hard to remove -- and hard to withstand -- from the get-go. Even if your opponent is running all Decepticons, you can flip him to his Plane mode to deal even more damage to them given the fact that your opponent has to ping one of their Decepticons for one damage. This can compound itself if you happen to activate his Bounty effect during the course of a game, sending two more damage their way.
Octone, best of all, doesn't really warrant a list one way or another. You could run him aggressively and use busted cards like Dual Wielding, or you could run him defensively to abuse his large health pool. The point being, it doesn't matter how you run him, just that he is strong no matter which one you choose.
That said, in terms of 13 point cards, I think we know someone else who has just as much value if not more value than Octone, do we not? Something, something, Battlefield Legend? Oh, yeah. Still though, he's a quite solid card. But you need to ask yourself if you'd rather run him or Battlefield Legend -- those 13 stars aren't going to choose for you.
"I dunno, Sprocket; I don't think ninjas are as stealthy as we think they are. Sprocket?"
Nightbird is a very strong promo card.
We haven't seen a good promo card yet, as the only one that came close was Omega Supreme and he's only usable in super niche concepts. But with Nightbird, we get not only a powerful vehicle mode effect, but a strong Bounty effect all wrapped up in the cheapest Mercenary on the market at the moment. By the way, did I mention that she's a Car? Because she's a Car.
Nightbird allows you to use a variety of Mercenary-exclusive cards, like Opportune Repairs, and can be splashed in various lists that need a Mercenary that isn't going to eat up most of their points. In fact, Nightbird has so much value in her that I think that, at the moment, she's probably the most useful Mercenary to have on your team.
Plus, if your opponent is playing a ton of Actions during their turn through Barricade, Brainstorm, Multi-Mission Gears and so on, she punishes their greediness by placing quite a few damage counters on your opponent's characters at will. Plus, when you finally soften up your opponents enough, you can play some extra cards with her Bounty effect.
In fact, in a Car setting, you can use her Car nature to untap her until you would attack with all of your characters at once. Then, while you do so, you get to use one of your opponent's Reckless Charge from their Scrap Pile to boost your next attack! Sure, it might not be the most reliable ability, but it's certainly the only one of its kind.
Truly, Nightbird earns her keep in many different ways. But personally? I'm just excited to have a promo that's actually good for once!
So, remember when I said that healing in games are either great or awful? Blackjack is the epitome of the latter.
You see, when you use a team of Micromasters like Blackjack wants (much akin to Powertrain, in fact), you'll find that you're going to be fairly frail, regardless of if you're playing blue or not. I mean, your other Sports Car Patrol characters have either 6 or 7 HP and either 0 or 1 defense, meaning they're not going to defend much even if you try your very hardest, with Flamewar as an ally and a stockpile of armor.
I just can't help but to feel as though Blackjack's ability could have been better, especially considering Powertrain's effect turning his allies into DPS machines. Perhaps one could use Vanguard instead of Flamewar in an attempt to buy their safety through his effect instead of sheer willpower alone?
Looking at his robot mode, however, I could be persuaded to like his minor stat change over Powertrain's. Having more damage while still having 4 defense at maximum isn't exactly awful, and using Roadhugger's damage boosting effect isn't half bad either. But when you consider the fact that not only does Powertrain give his entire team Bold but also has synergy with more -- and better -- Battlemasters does it become apparent that Powertrain's Off-Road Patrol will be far more viable than Blackjack's Sports Car Patrol.
Armored to the Gills
Composite Armor is quite possibly one of the best Armors in the game. Not only does it give a monstrous +3 Defense, but it also gives +1 Attack and deals damage when you defend with it. I mean, sure, it scraps itself after you defend with it, but holy crap man. Hunker Down, obviously, would make this card not just easy to reuse, but also extremely powerful for certain characters. Let's go over some of those combos, shall we?
Lord Megatron is the first of these, as you can mill more cards from your opponent's deck when you use a Hunker Down, but you also have the effect of boosting your Attack when your opponent reshuffles their deck, as well. But, personally, I think one of the most powerful uses for this card is with Demolishor.
Demolishor, with his extra flipping effect, prizes having more defense when you attack. Let's show you this with an example. Let's say that you play a Power Punch on him for turn, and then play a Hunker Down to attach a Composite Armor. Demolishor already flips six cards when he attacks neutrally, but with a Composite Armor on him, you flip three more cards. Then, with that Power Punch, you'll end up flipping three more cards, putting him at a monstrous twelve cards in total, and that's not counting any white pips in your deck.
Did I mention that you already boosted his attack by +1 beforehand thanks to Composite Armor? Because you already boosted his attack by +1 beforehand.
Composite Armor is kinda insane. When you consider the implications of that absolutely disgusting +3 Defense, plus everything else about the card, there is absolutely no reason that you wouldn't want to run this card in every Tank deck you have at your disposal, regardless of the pip color.
Always read the fine print.
Contract Contingency is a downright necessary card for decks that run Mercenaries. You might find that Mercenaries won't be able to use their Bounty abilities all too often -- especially since it requires the death of a character to activate. Lockdown, Detritus and every other one won't pop off as hard if they can't use their Bounty effects, and Contract Contingency makes that possible.
Lockdown especially will find Contract Contingency even more of an auto-include than before. Given the fact that it not only allows you to build his stock of cards beneath him, Contract Contingency also boosts his damage whilst being a double black card, making the base 4 damage that easier to get. You'll be boosting Lockdown, healing Detritus, playing cards with Mudflap, poking with Octone and... Well, doing Mercenary things with your Mercenaries!
Contract Contingency is an auto include in pretty much any list that runs a Merc, and there's no two ways around it.
"Et tu, Brutè?"
Something else that might find its way into a few Mercenary lists is Coup. With Coup, you can use effects like Octone's or Lockdown's as a form of clap-back for one of your characters being KO'd. Certainly interesting when you consider how vital Bounty is to playing Mercenaries, but something a little more interesting is... Well, how it actually works.
See, this is a pretty non-controversial card. If you're playing some cheaper, more malleable Mercenaries like Mudflap or Nightbird, you'll like it because you're able to play more allies to make Coup use your Bounty effects more and more. But, something that I'm wondering about is when it can activate.
You see, the way Coup reads states that it doesn't matter whose character is KO'd -- just so long as a character is KO'd. This could even mean, from what I've seen here, that it could potentially activate on your own turn through your own KOing of a character, either yours or your opponents. Now, I could be misreading this thing (it wouldn't be the first time, amiright?), but my money is on my instincts and my instincts are telling me that I'm right.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, you could use Coup to bolster your own effects, like Octone, Nightbird or Lockdown when you KO one of your opponent's characters during an attack. If you'd like to be even spicier, you could potentially play Coup through Laserbeak's tap effect, allowing you to play Peace Through Tyranny to use one of your own characters to fuel Bounty triggers.
Of course, it might not work that way, but either way it still isn't an awful card to fuel some Bounty triggers on your opponent's turn, especially considering how important it is to certain characters like Lockdown. It might not see too much widespread play, especially if I'm wrong about it, but I'm still interested to see where it might end up in the long run.
"Never do with one gun something that you could do with two."
Shoulder Holster is actually really quite interesting in aggressive decks. Sure, it's a blue pip, but when you consider that certain cards like Jetfire can take full advantage of it, there could be some fascinating combos you can pull off with it. Let's go over some examples.
Like I said before, Jetfire can be something of a monster with both Shoulder Holster as well as Defensive Configuration as options, where you can get free Upgrades on him in either aspect. Now, regardless of optimal pip usage for the moment, we can still abuse Jetfire's ability to play Shoulder Holster in order to play a free weapon. This can open up your hand to play a second weapon on him, potentially stacking a second, heavily damaging weapon on him to deal a potentially disgusting amount of damage through potentially double stacking Grenade Launchers or Power Punch.
But the best deck that will love every moment of Shoulder Holster as well as Defensive Configuration is the always Upgrade-hungry Omnibots. Since you can play either card with Overdrive, you'll find that your first turn will have far more burst than you're used to, potentially exploding more Upgrades on the first turn to facilitate your characters board presence. I mean, there is always the chance that you whiff the extra Upgrade off the top of your deck, of course, but either way you're still getting an extra Weapon or Armor slot, y'know?
I really quite like both Holster and Configuration. They're inconsistent, of course, but when they're used in tandem with interesting cards like the Omnibots, things become more interesting. I mean, just think of how you could use Shoulder Holster to play a Multi-Tool! Sure, you're not exactly gaining anything stat-wise -- pretty much nothing at all, for that matter -- but you're getting Upgrades on the field to fulfill other effects like General Megatron or Equipment Enthusiast.
It might not have immediate gratification, of course, but its combo potential cannot be ignored.
"Cheers love! The cavalry's here!"
Dual Wield is the best Mercenary card. Period.
You like that Grenade Launcher on Lockdown? You do? Sick! Well, how about we give him another one from your Scrap Pile? Yeah, that sounds pretty neat to me. So not only does this open up the possibility to swing with two weapons at once, but it also opens up your Upgrade for turn to be something that's not a Weapon -- in other words, Force Field.
Dual Wield allows you to not only play it hyper-aggressively, but it also allows you to play it defensively as well. Remember, even though your extra weapon slot disappears at the end of your turn, if you only have one Weapon on one of your characters, it won't disappear with the slot if it's a weapon like Energon Axe. This means that you can use a scrapped Weapon from your Scrap Pile while also playing an Armor from your hand to buff a Mercenary to the gills in a single turn without breaking so much as a sweat.
I'm not exaggerating, and even though flexing my hyperbole muscle is one of my favorite pastimes, I'm dead serious when I say that Dual Wield will shape the Mercenary format.
Wow, the reboot of The Puppet Pals Show is really intense.
Crude Club is one of those super hot combo cards that you just know will be the centerpiece of a super neat strategy. When you consider the fact that Shoulder Holster, Extra Padding, Attack Drones and Dual Wielding can all increase Crude Club's effectiveness, you start to realize how strong this card can be in combo decks.
Crude Club does +1 for every Upgrade on that character. So, let's try to do as much as possible with some quick math: Three Extra Padding, one Shoulder Holster, three Attack Drones in one weapon slot, one Crude Club in another slot, and with a Brainstormed double Dual Wielding, we can play both of our other Crude Clubs in both other slots. This runs a quick calculation of the following:
3 + 1 + 3 + 3 = 10 Upgrades in total. Now, let's factor in the damage that those Upgrades can do on their own as well: +3 Damage for the Drones, +10 damage for each instance of the Crude Clubs, all pieced together to create an unholy final score of: +33 Damage!
Imagine getting that in a game. If you pulled this off against me, I'd be hard pressed not to just sign the match slip the moment it happened. I mean, you probably deserve the win at that point. In fact, I think you could probably do more damage thanks to more Brainstorm chaining and Cargo Trailers instead of the Shoulder Holster. Who knows? Maybe someone can come up with more impressive numbers using Predaking or perhaps Dreadwing? All I know is that Crude Club should not be underestimated, and I think, understated.
I don't think that it'll be practical to pull off, but Timmy's and Johnny's rejoice! A brutal combo card your way comes!
We three, we're not a crowd / We're not even company
My echo, my shadow, and me.
Wedge Formation is... Well, it's something all right.
To be perfectly frank with you, the effects of Wedge Formation has some of the least value I've ever seen on a card. On one hand, it's still not the worst card effect out there -- that Raspberry Award probably goes to Rest and Relaxation -- but it certainly does a whole lot of things to get nothing out of it.
I mean, sure, you're drawing a card, you could maybe heal something from one of your characters, and Plan 1 isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when you consider the fact that cards like Diagnosis does effectively the same thing but on a more neutral white pip, you can see how I'd be hard-pressed to find a spot for it on its card effects alone.
However, it should be clear enough at this point that this card's value clearly comes not from playing it from your hand, but using it in more niche strategies. With three pip colors on it, you'll find that cards like Blowpipe and Grapple want to play as many as possible in order to activate their effects. But, perhaps there is another reason to run it?
You see, Overwhelming Advantage requires you not just to have every color combination possible Upgraded on a character, but also flipping the same amount of colors on your attack. When playing at least one Decepticon on your team, you can use Overwhelming Advantage to Plan Wedge Formation on the top of your deck to make your flips that much easier. It would be all too easy to deal massive damage to one of your opponent's charactes.
Perhaps Overwhelming Advantage is simply too niche of a strategy to pull off correctly, but when you consider how easy it is to flip all of the colors in the game when three of them are taken up by Wedge Formation alone, I start to wonder if Overwhelming Advantage might just work after all.
Hot Rod and Octone's normally jovial Skype call suddenly got heated when Octone accidentally called Hot Rod "Hot Shot".
Valuable Contract is... Okay I guess? I mean, it's not going to win any awards, and Star Cards are strictly okay at best, but with cards like Contract Contingency and Coup, could this card actually be the start of an interesting combination? Let's dive in and find out!
So, with Valuable Contract, it might seem odd, but you don't need to use it on a Mercenary. In fact, it might be better not to use it on a Mercenary in order to get the full use out of your Bounty activations. Regardless, what would be the best use of Valueable Contract and how would you make the most of it?
Well, let's say that we can use cards like Coup and Contract Contingency to activate Valuable Contract's Bounty effect. If you do, you can grab far more Star Cards from outside the game than normal. In fact, you'll probably be able to do so almost every turn given proper draw support. What could you possibly grab with Valuable Contract's effect if you did manage to pop it or something similar off every turn? Well, let cut to the chaff and let me toss out a neat idea that I just had.
Okay, so, Hot Rod can be used to build up a slow yet powerful control effect when he gets a card beneath him, right? Plus, when he has full HP, he has Safeguard, making his bulk that much better. So, how do we capitalize on this? For one, we can use cards like Blast Suit to reduce your opponent's damage by an astronomical amount, but I think more importantly, you could also use Heroic Resolve turn after turn if you were able to stream Bounty effects and/or Unleash Potential. Plus, since it goes to the KO pile after using it, you could run an aggressive version of the deck and not have to worry about shuffling a bunch of blue cards back into your deck.
But what might make it viable is through the use of Needlenose. With Needlenose's damaging ability, we are able to ping our opponents for a bit of damage every turn since we are effectively trying to play one of those cards every turn, and to facilitate that end, Needlenose can also return Blast Suit and other Star Cards from your Scrap to your hand to be used again. The end result of this is by being mostly able to stream Heroic Resolve and Blast Suit every turn, increasing your survivability exponentially, especially considering Hot Rod's double Action ability.
I don't know, it's just an idea that I had randomly. But the point being, Valuable Contract is of cardinal importance to that combo, and I honestly wonder whether there are other combos out there with it or not. After all, Wizards keeps making more Star Cards and people still seem reluctant to play them. Perhaps at one point they'll end up making a broken one and cards like Valuable Contract will be the catalyst to another broken combo deck?
Who knows? It's just a thought.
"Oh, well there's your problem!"
Opportune Repairs is exactly the kind of repair card that I have been wanting. Healing one damage isn't great, healing two for the cost of a pip just feels awful, but Opportune Repairs healing three whilst still having a useful pip? Yes, please!
First off, I'd like to say why I love this card. Remember what I spoke about briefly in my last article? Safeguard is a very good effect, and when you play Safeguard Cars, or The Safety Dance as I'm starting to call it, you're going to have a lot Safeguard on the field to play with, and with it, more opportunities to heal off your characters.
See, that's what I love the most about it. Safeguard protects your character by capping the damage they would take from an undamaged state to (usually) three damage. Now, with that said, you can use healing cards like Opportune Repairs to heal off those three damage counters, reactivating Safeguard and giving that character another clean attack. So long as your opponent doesn't play any non-combat damage cards and you draw enough healing, Safeguard will keep coming back.
The Safety Dance can play several different Cars to take advantage of their Safeguard abilities, namely Hot Rod, Smokescreen and Greenlight, all equating to 24 Stars in total. But, since Opportune Repairs requires a Mercenary on the field in order to use it, you might want to play Deadlock, Nightbird or even Lockdown to fill that slot -- all piecing one little bit of their own power or utility to help out in your ultimate goals of outlasting your opponent.
Plus, they're all Cars, so... Yeah, it kinda works out.
Either way, I'm not quite certain that Opportune Repairs will be played in anything else that doesn't at least play instances of Safeguard. Safeguard is such a good ability, though, that Safeguard cards could be splashed into other lists rather easily, and if they are, you can bet that Opportune Repairs will be first on my list to try to work in.
"Are you Sarah Connor?"
Similar to Opportune Repairs, but lending itself to a startlingly great damage boosting Action, Opportune Offensive is a lot of power in a little package. It's like a better version of The Bigger They Are or Heavy Handed -- one that only requires your own team composition to grant Pierce and a damage buff. I mean, just off the bat it's a way better version of Leap Into Battle, and it even has better pips to boot. The question changes from "Should I use this card?" to "Who should I use this card with?"
In fact, the same characters that Opportune Repairs would want to play might be quite fine to play in a blue list alongside Opportune Offense, except perhaps playing Detritus as well since healing is almost always better in a defensive circumstance than an offensive one. Lending to that idea, the fact that Opportune Offense grants a Pierce buff alongside a blue/black pip coloration shows us that the best place for it is in a blue/black list.
So, to that, I simply have to say that it's kinda impossible to say what it's good with because it's such a universal card. I mean, what else do you want from it? It makes you do more damage and Pierce! It's great!
Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me / Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me / What a long, strange trip it's been
Seven damage. Wow. That sounds like a lot, doesn't it? I mean, just think about it! You're doing so much more damage than you would otherwise, right?
Can you feel my sarcasm?
Okay, so this sounds like an amazing card, and for characters like Tote or his other Micromaster friends who start with two or three Attack, then 4-Wheel Drive seems like a strong addition to the deck, and it is. But, when you consider all of the other Trucks who start off at four or five attack, you're not going to get any value out of 4WD that you would otherwise get out of a Leap Into Battle of all things.
4WD may seem incredibly strong, but when you realize that playing a Leap Into Battle gets you effectively the same thing and you get to attack with that character in robot mode, I can't really get too much behind it outside of Powertrain or similarly small decks. Perhaps I'm just being overly critical and a bit of a pedant, but I just can't see this being used as well as Leap Into Battle or some of the other cards like Opportune Offense.
Again, maybe it's just me, but I can't help but to feel that there's less to this card than meets the eye.
As always, it is such an amazing feeling to help release cards to the public. I certainly love making all of this content for everyone, and getting to show off new stuff while I do makes me absolutely swoon. Thanks again to Wizards of the Coast for allowing me the opportunity to show it off, and thank you for reading and watching it!
As for the recent reveals, I'm sorry that I couldn't get to all of them in one article like last time. Honestly, though, it was kind of... Well, bloated. Like me. Oof.
Anyway, in all seriousness, I am absolutely ga-ga over the Mercenaries. I think they're a fantastic addition to the game, and they really spice up the dulled Faction system. I really hope that we get more reasons to play all Decepticons, Mercenaries or Autobots soon, though! With all of these faction-specific cards, though, I think that's closer than we think.
What do you think? Are you flipping out about Showing Off? Hooked on Lockdown? Or maybe you're ready to hit with Blackjack? Let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you next time!
Seibertronian Ironhidensh has managed to secure the recent MPM-9 Jazz figure, and was kind enough to provide us with a pictorial review! Jazz is due out within the next month for mass retail, so for those are eagerly anticipated him, he will be on his way shortly. He is the 9th Movie Masterpiece figure, and the 7th from the newly begun Masterpiece releases, following 2007 Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Barricade, Ironhide, Bee movie Bumblebee, and Megatron.
Check out the review below, and let us know what you think of the latest Movie Masterpiece figure in the comments section below!
Ironhidensh wrote:Well, although MPM-09 Jazz is a couple of months away from general release, he is available on eBay, and at retail price with free shipping to boot! At least the one I picked up was, so I thought I'd do a pictorial that may (or may not) help out those of you thinking of picking this racial stereotype up!
I kid, I kid..... Lets start with a couple of quick package pictures.
As usual, its a pretty straight forward box with nothing very fancy on it, though they do display well in a group.
Not a whole lot of accessories come with this guy. A 'Sam running with allspark figurine I'll never use, his weapon, and his ripped in half spinal cord (we'll talk on later).
The instructions are nice and clear pictures. Not the dark print of past years. Still, they could do with being a bit more detailed.
Now, for the main comparison, I have the MPM Jazz in-between Studio Series Jazz (the little one) and Human Alliance Jazz (the big one). I long ago gave my original movie series Jazz to my kids, and it is no longer in any sort of picture worthy condition. So, here we go with Car mode:
And on this last one, I'd like to note how the MPM does a much better job at hiding away the head, if that is something that matters to you.
So then of course, that leads us straight to robot mode, our most favorite of modes:
While they all have some backpackage going on, the MPM version at least has it detailed up to blend in with the overall aesthetic better.
Now here is my one and only real complaint with the figure: in 'bot mode, his waist does not clip very well onto his car hood. Its a very weak conection that pops loose every time you move the figure.
His feet are a bit on the loose side as well, but it is not as annoying as the waist area.
I mentioned earlier that one of his accessories is a spinal cord for when he gets ripped in half. That is one very neat thing about this figure, you can recreate his death from the movie. You know, if you are in to that sort of thing.
Here he is with his other first movie Autobot buddies.
We really need an MPM Ratchet.
Here he is with the rest of the MPM line, minus Megatron whom I do not own.
And here he is with his G1 Masterpiece self.
So overall, he continues the trend of the smaller MPM figures being pretty good, though he is defiantly behind the two Bumblebees and Barricade. He isn't anywhere near as bad as Prime and Ironhide, so that is a definite plus. As I said, I do not have Megatron, so I can't say how he compares there, but I have heard very good things about the big ugly one.
This figure does feel loose in spots, and his parts can be a bit of a pain to fold into car mode, but over all, its not bad, and he doesn't feel like a chore. His transformation engineering has some very inspired parts to it and it does an extremely good job of capturing the movie feel. Overall, I do recommend this figure if MPMs are your thing.
Space-Busters A Seibertron.com Semi-Spoilerish Review of IDW Transformers x Ghostbusters #5
Round 1: FIGHT!
The finale has arrived, the ghosts are all out on the attack, and the Ghostbusters, old and new, are in hero mode.
Did they succeed in winning over our hearts and minds?
The Waves have a very high opinion of us
The Transformers x Ghostbusters finale lived up to the 4 issues that preceded it, and it gave us exactly what was expected, and it did it very well. It gave us the Ghost Decepticons in all out attack and revenge mode, it gave us a quippy cool-dad styled Optimus Prime, it gave us a young Autobot who finally found his niche, and it gave us a perfect mix of Ghostbusters crew and Transformers. The interactions felt real, it felt earned, and it was enjoyed. The comic crew felt real, and felt like they earned what they all got to do. This was a good finale that earned its good quality.
Round 2: FIGHT!!
The praises I have given the series live on through this issue, and continues to show that Erik Burnham knows his Ghostbusters, his Transformers, and his combination of the 2 very well. All of the characters lived up to how we have all come to remember them acting, and it gave us a very convincing and enjoyable new cast member in Ectotron to properly bridge the franchise gaps.
The Decepticons had their chance to shine this issue as well, and all of them lived up to how we would think they would act and behave. Starscream wants vengeance on a quippy Venkman, Shockwave and Soundwave just want new bodies, and Megatron just wants to vanquish Prime and the Autobots. And the Ghostbusters served as a great continuation of the classic characters while also providing some excellent, clever, and genre-savvy commentary.
In short, the characters were excellent, the plot was fun, enjoyable, and clearly laid out for us, and the book provided us with an excellent crossover ride.
Wrapping up the crossover are Dan Schoening, Luis Antonio Delgado, and Christa Miesner on art, colors, and lettering respectively. While we have seen Dan and Luis on the series from issue 1, Miesner is brand new, but still provided us with some great lettering work. The character designs were on point, the lines were great and clear, the coloring was fantastic, especially with the background setting in response to the various ghostly activities, and the lettering was non-intrusive and well laid out.
Monster Mode: Engaged
It was also cool to look at issue 5 compared to issue 1, and the robot art showed some nice improvement too. The artwork improvement came at the perfect time, as we truly got to experience some great art of some robots throwing down, even if most of them were ghosts!
From the get go, I have been thoroughly enjoying this series. Issue 1 started us out great, and as we have gone along, the journey has proven to be just as enjoyable as Issue 1 promised, with Issue 5 giving us a very satisfying conclusion.
And what's important for this crossover, compared to all the others that we have seen over the past several years, is the fact that this one was FUN. It was super fun! It gave our cast the chance to interact with each other and live up to their personalities and their outlandish job titles and general selves. There was no meaningless fighting, there was a cast that blended in well and proved from the get go that it gelled together. They all worked together! It was fantastic to read, and thoroughly enjoyable.
I hope he heard this review then *Waves and Smiles*
And thanks to that ending, we have hopes of seeing more of this universe with the Transformers in it. And I truly hope we get some more Ectotron and more of the Transformers in the IDW Ghost-verse. I have complete faith in this creative crew, this crossover showed their are amazing.
Another Month, another round of fantastic homemade work from the many Seibertronians who give their time and effort to create some awesome pieces of fiction, art, and tutorials for all of us to enjoy! Check out what all hit our Transtopia Section in August of 2019, and let us know what you think of it all below, or in the threads that each piece comes from!
Fan Fiction Home to the creative authors of Seibertron.com's Transtopia
In the central command center stood a strong, powerful looking red and blue mech who stood taller than most of the Autobots on the station. Bright blue eyes shined behind crystalline optical lens as they stared out into the vast black expanse of outer space, past the gaseous orange hue of the planet Opulus; eyes that have seen friend and foe alike die in the midst of battle over the past 4 million years. His most defining feature was a silver face plate in place of an actual mouth, which was almost as much of his personal symbol as the ancient relic he held within his chest. He displayed a serenity rarely exhibited by seasoned military commanders, though his thoughts were anything but serene, and he emanated a presence that was both regal and strong, a subtle aura that demanded respect from his peers, but also drew them in.
If you like this story, you can find other chapters of the story in our Fan Fiction forum as well!
'The breeze was soft and calm as it brushed the long grass which then gently moved in a unified effect, looking like an ocean at peace as Ser-Ket took in her surroundings. The Predacon found herself standing a valley that seemed to spread out all the way to the mountains in the distance, with two moons overhead that were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of stars. It left the Femme breathless as she enjoyed the peaceful sight, with her spark completely calm and tranquil.
But it was not meant to last as a sudden gust of wind blew through the valley, making all the greenery wither and die immediately. Ser-Ket could not believe it as she took a step back at the horrifying sight of the valley transforming around her while storm clouds gathered overhead, blotting out the night sky and darkening the entire area.
Silence grips the chamber. The Assembly gather in the ruin of a once grand hall. The remnant of a shining pillar, at the centre of the capital city of Quintessa III. That however, was before the War. Before the combined might of the Autobots and Decepticons united the universe against the Quintessons.
Revealing the secret of their near universal manipulation and propagation of endless divisive conflict. The Assembly had fled from one safe haven to the next. The united front had set about the eradication of the clandestine and pervasive threat. The Transformers themselves were not present at this time however. Their own war had reached its endgame on Planet Nebulos. Some individual Cybertronians would assist the newly christened Galactic Alliance, but their numbers did not exceed half a dozen.
Photo Blitz This is where you can post your pictures of Transformers in whatever fashion you like.
And that's it for the month folks! Like what you see or read? Be sure to leave a comment and let our creators know! Looking to share your own creations? Please do! We'll be back in a months time for the next round up from our Transtopia forums!
So, lately, if you hadn't noticed, there were a few cards that were revealed over the past week or so. Not only were there literally dozens of cards that were revealed, but there were also several things that happened over the past week -- including the European Energon Invitational!
At that Invitational, the meta almost completely shifted from the aggro-dominant to a more aggro neutral meta, with a seemingly even balance between aggressive as well as defensive decks. This far more varied meta is a welcome one, especially given the fact that defensive decks usually have to be far more inventive in terms of dealing damage than the more simplistic aggressive ones. It makes for a far more interesting viewing experience in most cases, at least.
That said, the defensive decks that did extremely well were almost entirely comprised of Major Shockwave decks that out-consistency'd their opponents through the use of his intensely defensive compatriots and supporting them with defensive Secret Actions. As it so happens, the deck that eventually won was not aggressive, however.
You see, even though four of the top eight were Major Shockwave decks, the winner of the overall tournament was that of a Blaster/Firedrive combination that used Blaster's knack for playing extra cards and Steeljaw's innate Bold effects to combo together damaging Actions, Upgrades and everything in between to deal a shocking amount of damage. Of course, with Blaster you can also run Ramhorn to add a nicely defensive side to the deck, playing free Force Fields.
As far as the development of the late Siege meta, I've noticed something of a pendulum swing in terms of deck styles. First, it started off with everything being defensive all the time. Second, everyone remembered "Oh hey, Battlefield Legend is pretty strong" and then the whole format went orange. But now, it seems everyone has realized just how strong defense is again -- and how good aggro is as well. In this peaceful harmony, it seems that defensive and aggressive decks can get along with the swing card becoming Press The Advantage.
Press, as I've mentioned in the past, is one of the strongest cards and one of the biggest reasons that the aggressive metagame came to be. The question isn't if an Autobot deck can make headway against a Decepticon deck, it's how much.
Will these reveals change that? Let's find out!
People all over the world / Join hands
Start a love train / love train
Astrotrain is kind of insane in almost every single way. I absolutely adore this guy -- not only can he completely carry a game, but he can also survive far and away longer than most. Let me explain by going through the basics of what the developers no doubt intended for him: Pokemon.
Pokemon involves evolving a Pokemon from Basic, to Stage 1, to Stage 2 over the course of three turns while using Energy Cards to power up a character little by little. The more Energy, usually the stronger the character. When we look at Astrotrain, though, we get the sense that Astrotrain follows that same game curve. On the first turn, you're going to have the ability to attach one Upgrade to him, activating his Spaceship effect. Then, on the next turn, you are supposed to attach a second Upgrade to activate his second effect. Then, when you use a third Upgrade to activate his Robot Mode.
At least, that's what you're supposed to do. See, there happens to be a very, very strong card by the name of Extra Padding. Extra Padding creates a nutty, nutty combination, being that you can place them all at once, or at least come close. When you do hit that magic number -- and you will hit that magic number -- you will be blessed with a four defense, nine attack behemoth in a defensive deck that will make him defend even farther. Mind you, that's pretty much comparable or in some cases better than Nemesis Prime after reshuffling your deck.
The best part about it, though, is that he's also a Decepticon Leader. That means that you can use Callous Leadership to move 5 damage counters from him -- effectively making him live far longer than normal, especially with a base attack of four and whatever Armor you've slapped on him. This isn't even counting whether or not you're playing Flamewar and/or Ravage alongside him, boosting him to heights never before seen.
He swings for a massive amount, and can take even more. Astrotrain is a character with boundless potential, and I don't think that it's a question of if we will see him, but when.
You won't be taking the Brunt of your opponent's attacks! Right? Right?
Brunt is... Interesting. On one hand, he seems to be a fantastically defensive card by all but turning off Bold, but on the other, he seems uniquely suited to being offensive as well. I would say that he would be fantastic in a balanced composition for that reason, but when you consider the state of his stats being as mediocre as they are, you begin to wonder if his cost begins to outweigh his benefits.
But that's not what Brunt is here for, right? How about his gun mode... Gun modes?
If you couldn't tell, this is the first dual-piece Weaponizer. You can choose to spread them around however you wish, with either one or both upgrade forms of Brunt on one of your characters. It is with these pieces that we begin to understand a few things. With once piece, we see that Brunt is not just an effectively permanent Grenade Launcher with his Weapon form, but also literally the best Armor in the entire game with not just a permanent Blast Shield, but also the added benefit of having Tough 1 on top of all of that. When you realize that you can attach both pieces to one character, however, one realizes the power level of Brunt is actually astonishing.
Let me put it this way. Have you played Overwatch at all? If you have, then you know about Ana, the support. She has an Ultimate ability called Nanoboost, where you can power up one of your characters so much that they sweep the entire enemy team. Brunt is the same way. You can use him to power up a character to the point that they become effectively unstoppable, giving them an astronomical attack boost and an almost insurmountable defense at the same time.
The only question at that point is, logically, who would be the best partners for him?
One could say that Battlefield Legend could be interesting, and by putting both Weapons onto him, he could be come effectively unstoppable. But I think that might be a little short-sighted, or at least a little obvious. I just don't think that a Weaponizer could do well in a Tall setting, but be sure to mark down this quote in your notebook because I might end up wrong later.
Nay, I think one of the better way to play this is in an aggressive list with the most oft-forgotten cards in the game at the moment: Demolishor. Demolishor loves having both three attack and Bold 1, but more than anything else, he loves having an Armor that gives him +2 Defense. Since he flips extra cards for each defense that he has, you will flip over Kickback-levels of cards whilst having one of the highest defenses possible in an aggressive deck.
The best part is? He's only 6 stars.
Brunt will only be usable in the kind of list that can support him to his fullest, if it wasn't obvious enough already. Since he's so radically different than everything else, you'll want to use him to his full power level. Admittedly, I don't know for sure if Brunt will ever see play if Cog's lack of usage is anything to go by, but when you consider that Brunt has potentially more value than Cog in the short run, it gets just slightly easier to see him in a team.
But just slightly.
Hell hath no fury as a Weapon removed.
Dazzlestrike is not good.
Not only does Dazzlestrike completely suck at dealing damage in her(?) robot mode, but she also isn't exactly special in her alternate mode in terms of damage, either. Unfortunately, whereas she heals her user, she also damages them back to where they were whenever she's inevitably removed via an Enforcement Baton or something similar. Since it's in your best interest to attach a Battle Master near the start of the game, you'll find that the character that you're attaching her to won't be damaged.
This makes her effectively a negative to attach to anyone who cannot keep her, as whenever your opponent discards her from play they will effectively get to deal three damage for free off the play of an Enforcement Batons.
Now, remember when I said that she's not bad on a character who can hold on to her? Well, for your consideration, I give you Greenlight:
Greenlight is... Interesting. Making use of her Safeguard isn't exactly difficult, but her green pipped ability is deceptively strong. Since it doesn't matter if it's an Action or an Upgrade, you get to play both to boost her attack to a formidable six while also playing two of the most powerful cards in recent memory: Bashing Shield and Press The Advantage.
Given that there are also other cards that can be used with green pips, there are potentially higher damaging combinations through the use of Focus Fire. Since you get to play three of them at once, you'll find that playing a Bashing Shield and your Focus Fire all at once will get you a solid eight attack and Bold 6.
Of course, the hardest thing about that strategy is, y'know, staying alive long enough to actually use it. With her Safeguard, you're almost guaranteed two turns to pull it off, but we both know that's not enough. You see, in her alternate mode, she has the effect that her Upgrades can't be scrapped from her. With this in mind, we know that we can attach a Force Field to her with absolute impunity. But, perhaps moreso than that, we can use Dazzlestrike to heal her just enough to use Safeguard again, and you can't be punished by removal effects until you're ready to pop off with her in her robot mode.
Is this a viable strategy? I don't know. Probably not? It just seems too tech-y to be pulled off, but who knows? I guess we'll never know unless we get the green light from the rest of the set!
"Can we Fixit? Yes we can!"
Fixit is one of, if not the best 4 Star character on the market. Period.
His extremely powerful, effectively universal draw mixed with competent stats (for a Micromaster, that is) make his value off the charts in almost every way. The simple fact of the matter is that, if you're running a deck that needs to dig for something in particular, or perhaps even moreso in a deck that runs more white pips than most, I can think of no better character to play for your money. He's just universally good -- he can scrap your opponent's useful green-pipped card -- like a Bashing Shield, Enforcement Batons, Enigma or all of the above -- on-demand, while also having the ability to net you a new hand of cards to play with.
Oh, yeah, all of this is without using your Action for the turn. Which brings me to the thing I want to touch on:
Since he's universal, there aren't that many decks that wouldn't want to take him along for that added consistency. But, there is a deck that can only work with him on-board, and that's W1 Shockwave. Shockwave needs to chain as many hand-scrapping effects as it can in order to place as many damage counters as possible. When you realize that Fixit can use his ability alongside a System Reboot for your turn, you realize that you can force your opponent to take roughly 8 damage for effectively free, not counting any card effects like Testify to put more cards in their hand.
With proper use of Bravery and similar effects, Fixit will be safe from attacks and Shockwave will be able to spread the love (by which I mean damage) far faster and far more consistently than anyone thought possible.
I'm so ready to see some Anime Transformers fights again. I was born ready.
Is he good or just cool? Because I'm not so sure that he's good.
You see, he's got the look, and he's definitely got a sick power level in terms of raw stats, but when you consider the fact that he's 15 freaking stars, you gotta start to wonder if he's worth it or not. Metroplex, for example, has a lot of attention on him because of his even larger stats, but I've personally played him quite a bit and trust me, 35 HP sounds like a lot, but when your opponents swing for 13 a piece you start to wonder how long you're going to last.
Now, this General Prime -- typically called "Galaxy Prime" by most -- can avoid some of this by attaching Energy Pack (usually for free) and cards like Urban Camo to keep yourself alive more. But it begs the question, and I ask myself this question a bit too much from time to time, but consider this:
Is it enough to survive? Or do you want to live?
That wisdom is something I chew on in my own life, but with cards, it takes on a different meaning. What is "living" in a card game? Isn't remaining on the board enough?
Well, no. Galaxy Prime may stay on the field for a while, but he's so big points-wise that he'll likely be the only competent attacker on your team, making him not just priority #1 for your opponent but when he goes down, you'll lose the game almost instantly. Remember, he's got similar offensive power to Battlefield Legend, and Battlefield Legend only has 13 stars compared to Galaxy Prime's 15.
But, as a whole, I don't think that matters as much as I make it out to. Galaxy Prime has a lot of power in his kit, and I think he'll definitely be a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, but in an innately Balanced deck, can you really count on him to pull through?
Somehow I just don't see an SUV making a high jump.
Highjump confirmed my suspicions! Given the fact that Highjump is a 4 Star character, the pattern of Micromasters holds true! That means that you can play the full team of Off-Road Patrol members, with the total cost of all four of them coming to a solid 18 Stars. That said, we know now that Powertrain can reach those high stats that we so desperately crave, and can also be played with a 7 Star friend.
But what about Highjump? Is there any place for him anywhere else?
Well, I mean, you can play him in a heavily black list to draw some cards, I guess, but why play him when you could play someone like Fixit? Regardless, he's a black-pipped card that can still make some use out of its inclusion if you have the black pips to support him.
But again, I ask you this: Why not Fixit?
"Impactor? I barely know 'er!"
Impactor is probably bad. But, when you consider that he could be used in Aggro Tanks alongside Demolishor, Flak and Starter Megatron, he becomes a little less awful. You see, since you can use the highly underutilized Hunker Down to flip your characters all at once, you get the benefit of Demolishor's draw and Impactor's momentary Bold 1.
Of course, since he also has Bold 1 in his robot mode, he'll be a little bit easier to have deal damage, but beyond that his usefulness comes to an end. In fact, you can't really justify using him as someone to spread a lot of Bold 1 when you realize that Flamewar would be straight better. I mean, she does the same thing but for 5 Stars, after all!
Why are all of these Wreckers so bad, anyway? I mean, Springer was bad in W2, Kup was bad in Wave 1 and now Impactor is bad in W4! The Wreckers are getting wrecked.
Just in case you forgot that the Insecticons are good.
Kickback is insane. On one hand, his vehicle mode is the reciprocal of his Wave 1 iteration, being a busted force for defense on a blue Bugs team, but on the other hand, his robot mode makes standard Bugs even better.
First, the concept of Blue Bugs, the version of Insecticons with, well, blue. With bugs. There have actually been several potential candidates for Blue Bugs over the past few sets, most notably W1 Bombshell, Ransack and Chop Shop to name a few, but to make a long story short they focus mostly on tanking the damage instead of spastically run over your opponent as quickly as possible.
That's where this Kickback will surely find his footing the easiest, using both of his abilities to assist his allies. But what of his other abilities? Well, let me tell you a secret: His robot mode ability is actually super strong in a fully orange Bugs.
Why? Well, let me tell you.
You see, Kickback states that when one of your Insecticons flips at least one blue pip, you get to ping the defender for 1 damage. That doesn't mean that the pip you flip has to be exactly one blue pip. You could, for example, play Roll Out in your Bugs list to facilitate this ability. Having both blue and orange pips on the same card, Roll Out doesn't bog down your flips with any unnecessary blue cards, and you can still deal the free damage that Kickback is looking to pass out with them included.
Even better, Roll Out isn't even a bad card in your deck given the powerful effects of Skrapnel, Chop Shop and Ransack upon flipping to their alternate modes. Given that he's an alternate 6 Star to include, you're likely to drop Ransack in your list for him. But something that I think is worth experimenting with, however, is dropping Barrage for him, instead. This allows you to play a Full Loadout, as well as getting just a little ahead on the Transformation game through attacking with Ransack in his alternate form first, transforming Kickback to take full advantage of him from the get-go.
Of course, that's just a spitball -- but it's still an interesting idea regardless.
Lord Megatron will dominate any sealed event ever. With half decks, Megatron will get to activate somewhere close to every single round, sometimes more than once. He'll get to deal a frankly disgusting amount of damage at a similarly sickening pace. Remember, if you use weapons that boost his Attack stat, he'll get to deal more damage when your opponent reshuffles!
The thing I don't like about this guy, though (aside from the misprint saying that his alternate mode's attack stat is 5) is that his alternate mode is actually a bit useless. Milling your opponent is okay, for sure, but when you're milling your opponent for a maximum of five cards it's just... Underwhelming. That said, he is a Tank, which means in a non-sealed format, you can use Hunker Down to flip Megatron and mill your opponent for free, while attaching the ever-useful Armor.
As it so happens, though, Lord Megatron gets markedly worse in a constructed format. Given the fact that your opponent will have a far larger deck to play with, you'll have a far harder time finding value out of him unless your opponent is playing frankly moronic amounts of Bold and milling themselves regardless of Megatron's abilities.
I guess that's the real reason to run Megatron. Not as a strategy per-se, but perhaps as a deterrent. I mean, if your opponent realizes that they have to effectively KO one of their characters when they reshuffle their deck, don't you think that they might hold off on playing a Bold card or two?
Just a thought.
"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating. And it gets everywhere."
Sandstorm is sadly not as strong as his opposite, Astrotrain. Whereas Astrotrain makes his value known through sheer defensive willpower, Sandstorm seems to be a Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
He's got a little of everything, and a little for anything. His whole game plan is to be exactly what he needs to be for as long as it takes. I am certain that there will be games where you'll just keep him in his Car mode, or his Helicopter mode, or even flashing his robot mode here and there.
Simply put, I love the idea of running a deck that's incredibly versatile, where you can tech your deck or sideboard to counter everything. To that end, I'd like to point out that the Reflex Circuits, Covert and Sturdy Armor can all be attached to Sandstorm through careful planning of his alternate modes, giving you outs to more defense than your opponent will likely be used to, especially in Helicopter mode.
Unfortunately, his robot mode leaves much to be desired (much like the missing attack and defense icons on the bottom of the Helicopter mode) in terms of versatility and usability. Maybe it's just me, but I wish that it did something more than just ping someone for one damage. I realize that it's better than nothing, and that Major Shockwave is slowly becoming a Major meta mainstay, but other than him most Specialists are just supports instead of major threats.
Something I just realized, though, is that he's basically doing Springer's job from Wave 1, except way better -- and on a Common no less! I mean, think about it; Springer was supposed to be a Jack of All Trades as well, but he kind of sucked at his job a bit given the fact that he relied on Bold and Tough. Sandstorm, however, doesn't deal with any such things.
I guess it really is true what they say: Jack of All Trades, Master of None, but still better than a Master of One.
Even here I get sidetracked.
Fixit may be the king of white, but Sidetrack is most certainly the king of orange. But, you might ask, didn't I just say that Fixit was the undisputed king of all Micromasters ever? What makes Sidetrack the best orange-based Micromaster and why doesn't Fixit simply take that cake?
Well, consider for a moment how many white pips you need to play in your deck to make Fixit anything close to consistent, and now consider for a moment just how many orange pips you might play in an aggressive deck. If you realize now how many orange pips are in your deck and how often they are going to be in your hand, you're going to realize how consistent that Sidetrack is going to be.
Plus, Fixit discards your hand, whereas Sidetrack can help build it instead. Sure, you are going to miss out on any Actions on the top of the deck, but honestly, who cares? They're going to be back in the deck after just a little while, anyway, and the short term benefits of putting a bunch of Upgrades into your hand shouldn't be discounted.
The only thing I actually dislike about Sidetrack is his extremely unfortunate HP. If you notice, he's only set up with 3 HP -- making him an ideal candidate for your opponent to play a One Shall Stand to take a free KO. You may think that people might not play it, but consider for a moment the fact that One Shall Stand has become an increasingly prevalent card in the metagame after Battlemasters came out.
This increasingly relevant and prolific card has become something of a mainstay for the metagame, and when your opponent can take a KO for effectively free on their first turn, you aren't exactly favored in that matchup, simply put. So with that said, is Sidetrack good at all?
Yes, still, he is a powerful utility for decks with the points to spare, especially in an aggressive Tank deck that wants to play Demolishor to his fullest potential. But beware -- your opponent might be just as glad that you're playing Sidetrack as you are.
Okay, I'm just gonna say it: Flamewar with rocket-powered angel wings is one of the raddest things I've seen thus far.
Wasn't Sights an Autobot originally?
Anyway, Raider Sights is kinda mediocre. Sure, we basically shouldn't talk about most Batlemasters in terms of their robot modes because of how "blah" they are with few exceptions, like Aimless or Lionizer for example, but Sights just feels uniquely mediocre. I dunno, maybe I've just gotten a bit jaded to this kind of thing. But the real reason you play a Battlemaster (at least, usually) isn't their robot mode, it's their alternate mode.
Which is also kinda mediocre.
Focus 2 isn't really a sought-after effect, even worse given the fact that it takes 6 Stars off your team in order to run it, and the benefits that it provides outside of that aren't exactly amazing, either. I mean, sure, boosting defense on a Utility is pretty neat since you still get to use an Armor to do so, and in Blue/Black lists you wouldn't mind taking advantage of Focus in order to do your Pierce damage, so it's not that Sights is bad per-se, it's just that he's not as great as some other Battle Masters that boosts Attack and Defense for the same cost like Nightstick.
One thing that I should probably touch on, though, is using Sights on Siege Flamewar like the artwork advises us to do. Since she has an innate Focus 2, you can use Sights to boost that to Focus 4, making a balanced deck show you effectively whatever flips you want whenever you want them. It honestly doesn't even seem half bad, and with Pop A Wheelie making Motorcycles have a reason to exist, I don't think it would be a bad idea to use Sights if you had the spare points. But, that's the extent of what I'd expect to use him in, frankly, given the other options.
"Go ahead. Make my day."
Six-Gun is kinda really neat. He's the kind of Weaponizer that I really enjoy -- the ones that force your opponent to deal with them, the ones that get so much value out of their robot modes that your opponents have to focus them -- which in turn activates their Battle Master or Weaponizer effects, and the clap-back from a suped-up character is painful at worst.
Six-Gun epitomizes this by having an extremely powerful character trait of being able to boost his own attack, comboing with other weapons already attached to him and Actions played from your hand. In total, you can create a massive amount of value out of his robot mode, and the best part is, you want your opponent to deal with him as well because his weapons are still powerful.
In fact, Six-Gun isn't likely to focus his Upgrades on the same character given the nature of Pierce and the powerful effects therein. Oh, and did I mention the fact that the Guided Missile Launcher can be placed in a Utility slot, meaning you can pair it with another weapon. This creates powerful combo potential in itself, and the Anti-Gravity Cannon also creates wondrous opportunities for smaller characters to deal damage to larger ones.
All of this being wrapped in a little shell of only 9 Stars makes Six-Gun a wonderful little package. Now, whether or not that will make him see play is still beyond me, but I can't help but to feel that Six-Gun is going to have a lot of potential value from his robot mode alone.
So let's talk about Safeguard Cars for a minute.
Safeguard Cars (Safecars, if you will) kinda fixes the biggest problem I've found with Cars since launch: They lose when they die. Now, I realize that sounds a bit obvious, but let me explain. You see, Cars as a general idea is a simple one: Don't die, untap, attack at once. This strategy dies almost instantly when it faces something more aggressive than it, something like Bugs who can effectively OHKO one of your characters from the get-go. You see, you can't untap or attack with something that's, well, dead as it turns out, and it plunges your damage output through the floor.
That's why I love Safecars so much. You still deal similar amounts of damage through use of Press The Advantage, Grenade Launcher, all that ilk, but you are all but confirmed to survive whatever your opponent throws at you so that you can untap your characters how you wish. Plus, to make matters better, you'll still have enough HP to take full advantage of Force Field, with Greenlight being able to take its advantage to the fullest with her alternate mode ability.
Now, as for Smokescreen, I think he's an obvious addition to this archetype. Having 4 Attack in his alternate mode and potentially 5 Attack in his robot mode for the cost of 7 Stars makes him an easy inclusion for the archetype, despite not too many interesting things happening with his kit. This is not to say that other Safeguard Cars will be revealed, and perhaps they will be better than Smokescreen, but until that time I think Smokescreen is a great character to run for the archetype, even if his use is limited outside of it.
I just can't think of any puns to CRACK, y'know?
Thundercracker is pretty neat.
So, Thundercracker makes something of a splash when you consider how much Pierce Power has been in Siege 2 thus far, his abilities are far more consistent than you might think. But, truly, is scrapping cards from your opponent's hand even that great? And is it worth basing an entire deck around when you're only doing Pierce damage? And who do you even play in such a deck?
Well, take for example the idea of playing Thundercracker, Nova Storm and Nightstick on the same team -- now that we have double black pips and more useful black cards, we can use their abilities far easier than initially thought. See, since Thundercracker chooses a card from your opponent's hand and scraps it, you can choose exactly what you want to scrap -- and Nightstick scraps another one afterwards. Then, afterwards, you can use Nova Storm's ability and Thundercracker's ability to move several damage counters from each of your characters at once. Plus, you'll have plenty of stars left over that you could use on Leap of Faith, or perhaps something like Pincer Maneuver.
Now, with all of that said, does Thundercracker have potential outside of that niche composition? Maybe. You see, since he has only 9 Stars, you can use him alongside a smorgasbord of smaller Planes where you can use Photon Bomb to set up a potentially disgusting amount of damage to be moved to one of your opponents. Let me explain with an example.
Thundercracker is 9 Stars, Storm Cloud is 4 Stars, Visper is 5 Stars, and we can toss in Skydive to flesh out the whole squad. Now, let's say for example that you start by going first and you just transform Thundercracker and swing with him. Then, after your opponent swings at you, you can use a Photon Bomb, spreading two damage to each character. That dealt a lot of damage to your opponent, eh? Well, how about a little more? Because, you can transform Thundercracker and reveal one of many double black pips in your deck to move every single damage counter on your characters (8 in total) to one of your opponent's character for a total number of 10 damage on one of their characters for an easily done combo.
Mind you, that's enough to KO a Bug or a Car for effectively free. What's not to love?
I think this isn't the last we've seen of Thundercracker. He's got a lot of potential in his alternate mode as well as his robot mode, and I think that it's going to be interesting to see whether or not those combos can come to fruition.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It has come to my attention that I appear to have misread this card, skipping over "one of" in terms of his flip ability. My apologies for the confusion, as this does change quite a bit of power in this Thundercracker and rather invalidates many of my points. Now, as it happens, I still stand firm on his potential in terms of damage movement and the new double black pipped cards that you will see at the end of the article; moving two damage from one of your characters shouldn't be taken lightly, and I do think that there is a significant level of potential with running him with Nova Storm given her damage movement abilities. That being combined with Bombing Run, you suddenly have a very deadly combination. Plus, you can't deny the usefulness of Bombing Run combined with Photon Bomb in terms of damage potential, especially in a four-wide setting.
You too can stand up the Vanguard!
Vanguard is busted.
There are no two ways about it -- this guy is on the verge of being broken. Giving not just one, not just two, but all of your characters an effective Force Field that never goes away is just insane. I mean, sure, you need to flip a white pip, yada, yada, who cares? Just play more white pips if you're worried about it. The point being, you can block any useful amount of damage from someone by flipping one of many white pips that you'd play in your deck for a simple five stars.
To make matters better for defensive decks that might want to play him, you get a free +2 defense when your opponent inevitably targets him down. But here's the thing: Do you want to play him in a defensive deck at all? Because I'm actually quite certain that you'd want to play him in an aggressive deck given the circumstances. I mean, effectively turning all of your characters into Skrapnel certainly doesn't seem to be a bad thing, and pinging one of your opponent's characters for a bit more damage doesn't seem half bad, eh?
I mean, even with Decepticons -- the more defensive faction, oddly -- can benefit from this guy because of Callous Leadership. It and Vanguard both have the magic number of 5 damage to make use of their abilities, making Callous Leadership into something of a Max Potion for your Decepticon Leaders. The simple fact of the matter is that Vanguard enables literally everything to be live forever; Autobot or Decepticon.
That means that your opponent will invariably try their hardest to focus him from the get-go. Our little R2-D2 here certainly doesn't like being in the spotlight, and his stats reflect that, but when you consider the use of Stealthiness or Hiding Spot in order to protect him throughout the game, you're looking at a Battle Master that will only die when you want him to.
I think that Vanguard is busted enough to be warranted in any deck that can fit him. Literally any deck that can run him effectively probably should. I mean, who wouldn't want to live longer, right?
Acute Reflexes isn't that great.
You don't see it as a boost to your attack, and Focus 1 isn't a stellar boost to consistency, and the defense side of it could also be just an Urban Camo to serve the same job. I don't see this getting much play outside of maybe some decks that play a crapload of white cards, with Vanguard or Fixit for example.
I dunno. I could be wrong. But until someone proves that to me, I think I'll just binder it and move on.
Back in black / I hit the sack
I've been too long / I'm glad to be back
Double black pips, boyos! Double black pips are not only real, but there are three different ones, meaning you can put a total of nine double black cards in your deck for your flipping pleasure. I think that this is exactly what black needed as a concept, since Pierce 1 here and there simply wasn't enough to warrant playing it overall. But now that we have full double black pips, I'm ecstatic to see where it goes. Will the black or blue pipped Bold cards see play to get to those astronomical numbers of Pierce that only Arcee could dream of? Who knows!
But until we find out, we need to take a look at the cards in their individual rights and see if there are any that you could actually play on your turn and not feel awful about.
Let's start it off with Crowbar, which has the nice effect of being a Grenade Launcher -- if that Grenade Launcher was terrible. I mean, you're going to be playing this for the pips, but really and truly, if you're attacking Crowbar during your turn instead of anything else, you're probably in a bad spot. I mean, Primary Blaster is a better weapon than this and it's, well, Primary Blaster. But, it's still good to know that if you draw it, you're not going to be exactly losing anything, unlike drawing an Improvised Shield in an orange deck, because you can scrap it so easily that it'll be back in your deck before you know it.
As for Minor Medic Kit... I think that it exists, and that's certainly not a bad thing. It's not going to exactly give you the "Wow!" factor that attaching something like Energy Pack or something similar is going to give you, but it's at least something, especially in a defensive deck. Unfortunately, if you attach it, you're not exactly going to have too many chances to scrap it outside of replacing it or letting the upgraded character die, which is kinda the opposite goal of the game in most cases.
As for Designated Target, it's everything I wanted and more. Given the fact that it has Pierce 2 in the deck as well as in your hand means that you're not losing any Pierce power by drawing into it, and you're still playing it from your hand to be reshuffled into your deck afterwards. Designated Target is also excellent in decks that can attack more than once in a turn, like with Cars or perhaps Motorcycles, given the fact that you are giving your entire team Pierce to play with. Of course, it is an Action, and there are certainly better Action-based damaging cards to play on your turn, but as far as double black pips go? I can't think of a better one to have in a deck.
Double black pips are fantastic news for the future of the color. I've been trying to get as many versions of black to work through the use of orange or blue counterparts, but many times I've felt that the black pips were simply a random side-effect that didn't give enough power to warrant its inclusion outside of a few niche character effects. Now, not only can you use those niche character effects easier, but you can also rest easy knowing that you'll have the amount of Pierce that you want, pretty much whenever you want it.
I mean, around a quarter of your deck will be made up of double black pips, y'know?
Triplechangers, for the most part, haven't been stellar. They've either been too goofy to pull off like Blitzwing, or they've been too inconsistent to be powerful, like Springer. But, the worst sin of them all, was that most of them had one useless -- or at least incredibly niche -- mode.
For Springer, it was usually regarded as his robot mode. For Blitzwing? Also his robot mode. For Sandstorm, his robot mode fits that bill perfectly, having a one-and-done effect that will leave you either defenseless to attacks or pillow-fisted for your next attack. At least, that's what it seemed like, until Conversion Engine came along.
You see, that's what Conversion Engine seeks to repair: Mode consistency. Let's take Sandstorm, for example. On one hand, you have a dismal robot mode with a useful alternate mode, each with their own advantages for separate versions of characters. Normally, you'd try to avoid his robot mode like the plague; but with Conversion Engine, you can consistently transform him to Robot Mode and then back to one of his more useful modes afterwards.
But, I think Bliztwing is one of the better ones to take advantage of this. Given the fact that you're not only hoping but praying that your top cards activate his flip effect as not to leave you high and dry in his frail robot mode, Conversion Engine allows just a little bit of leeway to allow you to flip him back to one of his alternate modes. It's just a little bit of consistency, just a bit easier to work with than it was before.
Now, does this card instantly make Blitzwing, Springer or anyone else instantly meta? No, probably not. In fact, Astrotrain could care less about this card, to tell you the honest truth. But does it mean that I won't be thinking just a little more about the Triplechangers of yesteryear? You bet your tailpipe I will.
"Congratulations on your promotion, Admiral."
Involuntary Promotion is absolutely insane. It's basically an "I STILL FUNCTION!", but also... Not an ISF. It's a bit wonky, but it has the same if not more implications that ISF has.
Let me explain: Involuntary Promotion isn't just a one-and-done like ISF is, where it brings someone back, you usually attack with them, and then they go away. In this case, you get to bring someone back in total, while keeping the upgrades from the previous character. This means that, in decks where you have a very specific character that holds the entire deck together (Wheeljack in Cars, for example, where you could swap him with Bumblebee), you can simply swap out a lesser useful character for them and continue on your way.
It's a great card already, but the fact that it keeps your previously attached upgrades after the swap makes it even better for defensive decks. For example, you can, potentially, reuse Flamewar after she's KO'd, or you could bring back a character like Headstrong -- Upgrades already online thanks to your previous character.
Something else that I'd like to mention is the fact that you can use it alongside the Constructicons to boost your Tower. Let me explain this through an example: Your opponent goes first, and they happen to one-hit your Hook. That's when you laugh to yourself, give them a wry grin and tell them that they're a second-rate duelist with a third-rate deck, capping off your bravado by bringing back Hook and swapping him with Bonecrusher. In this scenario, you are not only bringing back Hook, a character with 7 HP, in exchange for a character like Bonecrusher, a character with 4 HP, but also boosting Devastator's HP by 3, potentially. But that's not all -- since you're KOing Bonecrusher, you're also building your tower by one level because it KO's Bonecrusher.
I'm always trying to find ways to make Constructicons meta. Does this fit the bill to push Constructicons ever-closer to being meta? Well, uh, yeah. It kinda does, actually -- but can it alone make Constructicons good? No. But can it make them better? Abso-freakin'-lutely.
"This never happens, I swear!"
Now, I'm not gonna lie -- when I first saw this, I thought it was kinda awful.
I figured, "Oh, hey, look -- it's another card that doesn't realize that aggressive decks don't actually use more than one Upgrade!"
It took me more than a moment to realize that this card is not actually meant to counter offensive decks. You see, when you realize that defensive decks usually stack quite a few Upgrades upon them, you start to realize that this deck is for defensive Decepticons during the mirror match -- especially against decks that happen to be playing cards like Extra Padding, where they stack upon each other.
With Backfire against a fully-loaded character, you're going to be dealing a solid three damage to them. Against a character with Extra Padding upon them, however, you're going to be dealing an extremely powerful five damage to them. Now, your opponent could play into this and simply not attach their Extra Padding, to which I ask you, is that not a win in itself? You are forcing your opponent not to play their most powerful cards simply out of the simple threat of a card that you might not even have in your sideboard!
The simple threat of it is what I love about it. Your opponent will be wary of making the mistake of putting down a card that they cannot remove from themselves, and you will reap the rewards.
H A C K E R M A N
Decipher is a really, really weird card. There are specific sideboard cards like Backfire, there are specific mainboard cards like Bashing Shield, and then there are specific character-hate cards like Decipher. If you hate Major Shockwave with a fierce, burning, immolating passion, then Decipher is the way to go.
See, Major Shockwave can put out his fair share of Secret Actions, and he's incredibly defensive. That's where Decipher can make your opponent's day sour. Not only is Decipher a black pip, "Pierce"ing Shockwave's "major" defenses, but it's also a green pip. Since you can consistently put it into your hand when you need it, you can abuse your opponent's Secret Action play pretty much all game.
It's a mean, green, niche machine that won't do much against pretty much anything other than Major Shockwave. Take that for what you will, but if you're really, really afraid of that one matchup, then by all means, Decipher will have a sweet spot in your sideboard.
Crosshairs officially doing more here than he did in The Rebirth.
Okay, so hear me out: This card could be good in a defensive deck.
Don't let that orange pip fool you into thinking that it doesn't belong! Even though it's the same thing as putting a blank pip in your deck, you gotta realize that being off-color doesn't necessary denote inconsistency. I mean, just look at it from the angle of you putting a blank pip into your deck and you'll be fine. But, all of that being said, when you look at the rest of the card, things start to get a bit spicy.
So, in a defensive deck that plays plenty of Armor, you can play a Defensive Configuration. Before you ask, no, you aren't really expecting to get the free Armor off the top of your deck: In fact, you're more after the second Armor slot -- the free Armor is just extra. I mean, have you seen a Dreadwing with a Reinforced Plating and an Extra Padding on him? How'd you like to have that on any character?
That's my point. But, with that said, I wouldn't be comfortable playing this alongside another blank pipped card. You're just flooding your deck with inconsistent cards at that point, so you'll have to decide between using Defensive Configuration or a truly blank pip in your deck. After all, Tough is the best way to get defensive value at the moment, and putting non-blue cards in your deck mustn't be taken lightly.
All of that said, Defensive Configuration certainly isn't for everyone. I mean, aggro decks won't like it at all, and Galaxy Prime might not find as much value out of it as people might think. But, in defensive decks like Major Shockwave, I think a dark horse might just be riding from the abyss.
As a side note, can you imagine a Dreadwing deck with two of these things on him? Four Armor slots, my guy. Four. Armor. Slots. Nightmare fuel, man. Nightmare fuel.
Putting the "hide" in Ironhide.
So, this is basically the defensive form of Erratic Lightning, and it's kinda missing an important piece of the puzzle that made Erratic Lightning so good: The blue pip.
Okay, yeah, sure. You just read my Defensive Configuration piece and now you're scratching your head, but hear me out. On one hand, Defensive Configuration is an orange pip -- effectively blank in a defensive deck -- but it also has an extremely powerful effect that can bolster your defenses even further than before. But, get this: It doesn't actually make you lose anything for playing it. It's just a boon. Sure, it might take you a turn to get that boon, but you're still getting there.
Guarded Posture kinda feels like the opposite of that. With Guarded Posture, you're actually losing a bit of the ever-important attack stat. If you've played a defensive deck, you'd know this by heart: Your cards don't do any damage whatsoever. Sometimes, dealing damage comes down to one point of damage between defenses and when you decrease it, you're making your job a lot harder -- certainly harder than Erratic Lightning ever did for aggro.
Which brings me to the second problem I have with this card: Aggro doesn't care about its defense. Most characters in an aggro deck have one or two defense, and they most certainly don't care about getting OHKO'd. Guarded Posture cutting your attack makes your only win condition (i.e. KOing your opponent's characters) way, way harder to pull off, and that gives your opponent time to eventually overpower your defenses. Something, mind you, that is easier now that you play non-blue pips in your deck.
That's my biggest problem with it. If it had one of the two stipulations, either an orange pip or an attack decrease, it'd be busted. But since it has both, I can't help but to think that we have a better secondary Armor option that rhymes with Schblast Schield.
Judging from the barrage of weaponsfire, I'd say that "hidden" part isn't going so well.
This card is broken.
I'm not joking. Hidden Fortification just made defensive decks way, way better, and Major Shockwave is chief of these. It'd be good if it was only Tough 2, but at Tough 3 you can combine it with your Armor to drown out any pathetic attempts at damage your opponent throws at you. The best part about it is, though, is that it's also a blue pip. The fact that it gives Tough 3 along with a blue pip makes it just insane. The fact that it's a common, too, makes it incredibly readily available for anything from a constructed deck to a sealed deck, as well.
I can't actually write much here because it's so universally good for blue that there really isn't a defensive deck that wouldn't want to play it. I'm serious; look out for this one.
Pictured: Me telling my unsuspecting coworkers about the conspiracy of Skinwalker Ranch for the third time that day.
Jam Signals is another in a vast sea of defensive cards that have an orange pip. Some believe that this is meant to counter defense, and whereas it's a nice concept, playing effectively counterspells in an aggressive deck is almost never good. Simply put, you're already using all of your space for more aggressive cards, so you won't have the time nor space to play Jam Signals.
So, the question becomes: "Who does?" In a word? Defense. You see, it isn't uncommon to play a line or two of blank pips in your deck for their powerful effects. So, why not play an orange pip in its place if its effects are better than the other blank pips that you could play, especially if it helps you beat mirror matchups?
That's why I don't mind the idea of putting Jam Signals in a defensive deck's sideboard. Since many defensive decks can use cards like Heavy Handed or The Bigger They Are in order to deal damage to you, you can use Jam Signals to effectively remove that potential threat from play. I am a big fan of making my opponents regret existing, and Jam Signals helps with that.
But, I can't help but to wonder if it'll see any play whatsoever. Infiltrate sees some play, but I can't help but to see this card as being the odd, kookie uncle to a solid card. I mean, there will definitely be people willing to try it out, but I think at the end of the day, it'll likely be bindered.
"I just invented perpetual motion!"
Kinetic Converter is a somewhat odd card that made me realize how Apeface is probably going to be the only one to want to use this (or the next) card. But, since we have no idea what Apeface will actually do, I'll go ahead and remark a bit solemnly about what uses that Kinetic Converter has, by which I mean it doesn't have any.
I mean, sure, you're effectively playing less cards in your deck when you look at it from the angle of you're playing a card to draw a card, but when Upgrade attachments are so, so important in this game, simply using Kinetic Converter to draw a single card is going to be firmly in the "inefficient" category.
Now, I'm being a bit harsh, here. That isn't to say that it doesn't have at least a little potential with some more niche concepts. For example, Metroplex is known to flip several times during a turn, meaning Kinetic Converter could draw you a fair amount of cards. Bluestreak and Blitzwing, too, flip themselves over per their attack, and thus you could use Kinetic Converter to facilitate draw; Cosmos could use it to draw cards after using a UFO; Cars, finally, can use it in tandem with Cliffjumper to get even more draw than normal.
So, where do these few limited cases leave us with Kinetic Converter? Isn't Data Bank just straight better despite being a white pipped Utility that draws you consistent cards in roughly the same amount of time for less commitment regarding your flips?
Yes, yes it is.
"Throw me the idol and I'll throw you the whip!"
Kinetic Intensifier Whip is a similar card to Kinetic Converter in that it requires the use of your flips in order to get value out of, and the times where you can flip more than once can actually make this into a formidable card.
Let's put this in the context of Metroplex, for example. With Metroplex, you have the use of Escape Route to give you an extra transformation during your turn. You can use that to, from your robot mode, flip yourself to your alt mode in order to spit out another small guy, but for this example, let's say we spit out Scamper. This single flip has given Metroplex a Bold 2 from the Kinetic Intensifier Whip, but also given him Bold 1 thanks to Scamper. So, what next? Well, we simply transform him back to robot mode, giving him another Bold 2 thanks to the whip, and thus giving him a total of Bold 5 for simply playing an Action with a green pip.
That seems pretty good to me.
Remember, you also get the +1 Attack from the Kinetic Whip as a base, so you're actually going to be swinging really, really hard in the right deck. I mean, just think about Cars. With a Start Your Engines and a flip for turn, Wheeljack can suddenly gain Bold 7 in total -- utterly monstering anyone that turn. The same could also be said for aggressive Tanks through the use of Hunker Down and Impactor.
I think that the little whip that could is a little beast of a card, and I think that there's a pretty good chance that we're going to be seeing a lot of this little Common rather soon.
Pictured: A brave Springer player futilely wades through an ocean of Insecticon players during the height of the Rise of the Combiners Meta.
What an interesting card. I am really not quite sure what to make of it, but Pincer Movement has immense potential in general.
Okay, sure, it has to be in a deck with three extra spaces to be even remotely consistent. But, when you consider the fact that you can pair it with All Out Attack or (depending on the deck) Pop a Wheelie, you're going to realize that you're going to have a lot more in the ways of multiple attack options than you used to. This seems like a generally strong deck concept given the nature of aggressive decks, especially the ones that use Battle Masters, that can't really take early KOs on untapped characters that well.
Now, in terms of specific decks that Pincer Movement would be useful in, I can't say that I have many ideas. On one hand, one could say that playing the new Kickback in place of Barrage in Insecticons could free up a spot for Pincer Movement, but the odds of you drawing that on any consistent basis is low at best, and Barrage already brings a solid amount of power to the list anyway, making his usefulness far greater that any single copy of Pincer Movement is going to give you.
In terms of other decks, there always is the idea of Motorcycles. Motorcycles, through the use of All Out Attack, Pop a Wheelie and now Pincer Movement could use all of these cards to target down opponent's characters early, hopefully removing them before the inevitable retaliation wipes the fragile bikes from the field. Pincer Movement helps with that because you're likely to be playing both Flamewar, and getting an extra attack is almost never a bad thing. Of course, you'd have to change the list to drop Chromia or Arcee for someone cheaper in order to play Pincer Movement effectively, but that's for you to decide on whether it's worth it or not.
In total, I think that Pincer Movement is a solid addition to the Star Card roster. Unfortunately, I do think that it will be inherently limited in its play given the nature of Star Cards in general, but that being said, isn't that exactly what you could say about literally every other Star Card in existence? Food for thought.
It's called Point Position because they are pointing at a position.
This card is utterly nutty for blue/black decks. Given the fact that Point Position is a blue/black pip combination, this should be obvious. But, do you want to know a secret about blue/black decks? Most of them require the use of Bravery in order to function. The fact that you can play two separate versions of Bravery in your deck just makes me swoon.
Of course, it's not a direct reprint of Bravery since Bravery works all the time, and Point Position only works when tapped. But, that's pretty much the same thing, anyway, and you're probably going to draw a Bravery later on enough to replace it anyway. It's a consistency card, a redundant system that makes the plane just slightly safer to fly. It also helps that it's both a blue pip and a black pip, making both sides of the equation slightly more consistent.
It makes me wonder at whether or not we're going to see Omega Jazz come into the meta a little. Its most prevalent problem was getting your opponent to attack where you wanted them to, i.e. Jazz, and it also felt a little pillow-fisted when I played it. Perhaps the black pip and Point Position can make Omega Jazz' dreams come true! Or maybe the fact that black pips exist could also push it out of the meta altogether.
Who knows? But regardless, I think that Point Position is certainly a great card to keep your eye on. It'll surely be played in janky, defensive rogue decks left and right, and it might just make blue/black a bit more consistent than you were expecting.
There are so many good cards that have been revealed, and so many of them can start their own archetype. We haven't even seen the full set yet and I'm already ecstatic for the future. The only thing that I'm currently concerned with at the moment, however, is the health of the Sealed Format. Remember, it was just revealed that players will have to play a full three rounds of Sealed at the Energon Invitational, testing our mettle, creativity and maybe just little of our luck.
What about you, then? Are you looking forward to Lord Megatron potentially making the name "Lord Megatron" a household name? Or are you as smugly happy as I am at the thought of playing an Optimus Prime that happens to look like something very familiar out of the golden age of Transformers, the Unicron Trilogy? You can't fight me on this! It was the best!
But in all seriousness, I think that we're about to see more than a few archetypes rise out of this set, with Astrotrain being the one I'm looking at the most at the moment. He just seems like a wall of value to me, and even if he's half as good as I think he is, I think we'll see him as a meta contender for sure.
Let me know in the comments below what you thought as I slowly dip my hands into a large bucket of ice water so that they may simmer down. I mean, is anyone else's fingers currently burning and numb, or is that just me? I'm sure it's fine, and not the onset of carpal tunnel.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and I'll see you in the next article!
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Optimus Primal Transformers Toys
Optimus Primal was the leader for a new generation, which also happens to be mine. He was as noble as his predecessor and as badass when the time came for it. He also had several toys available and his legacy continues to this day. We will now look back at his best toys.
I really love the presence of this toy. While I always found the Transformation from beast to bot to be a bit lack luster, this is toy is really reminiscent of an era where it was all about playability. It has four modes for you to have fun with plus missiles, exploding forearms and lights, with some lovely chrome making it all pop. Basically, everything a growing kid needs.
Because of how big and bold that original Optimal Optimus was, the Power of the primes version felt quite underwhelming. Sure, it did a lot that the original did and more (due to the evolution gimmick) but it did't have the heft nor presence. It just didn't do enough different to feel worthwhile. Enter throne of the primes which gave us a deco no one expected, but that everyone welcomed. A big disappointment from the first release of this mold was a lack of a gorilla mode for the smaller primal. No black and grey gorilla. Well Throne of the Primes gives us that gorilla but for the bigger bot. This ends up being a super version of Season 1 Primal instead, which is one of those fun things where we are given something we didn't even know we wanted. Plus we get a throne where Primal can be the king of the jungle, resting on the etched faces of contestants that just weren't good enough. Add to that an awesome scepter containing all the remaining primes you need for your Prime Master collection, all in one go. The only thing holding this toy back from the rest is that it's still based on a rather lackluster mold.
This is simply the best version (so far) of that original Optimus primal toy we all know and love. The bot mode is super cool and it's fun to have a synergy between the transformation you see on screen and the way the toy transforms. The best part is most probably the weapon storage with swords, missiles and a skull mace!
This was my number 1 primal for a long time. I just really loved the transformation and how smart it was in terms of recreating the character model from the show. The gauntlets becoming shoulder pads is quite smart and really changes the look of the arms from one mode to the next. Plus you have Gary Chalk voicing the toy and the best electronic gimmicks we have ever gotten with a belly disc blast (I really like just spamming that sound effect) and the backpack that changes sound depending on how you hold the toy.
1. Masterpiece Optimus Primal
For about the same price as the Throne of the Primes mentioned above, you can get a much nicer toy in the form of this Masterpiece Optimus Primal. I remember seeing a non transforming version of his when he was first shown thinking there was no way they could pull this off (and also thinking, "oh right, his defacto stance was on two feet, totally forgot about that"), but they did. While the original toy used a lot of similar parts for both modes, we realize here that a full inversion was necessary to get from a gorilla that is more bottom heavy to a robot which is more top heavy with it's more heroic proportions. And they do exactly that with the transformation. My favourite part is actually the beast hip transformation where the same part acts as a completely different part in robot mode and yet feels like it belongs as much for each mode. It's a genius step. there is a lot of genius at play here inorder to minimize the extraneous kibble to keep both modes as lean as they should be, and aside from a problem with the back of the feet in beast mode, I would call it a success.
This toy gets an F for screen accuracy and for a long time, that put me off on it. But after experiencing the toy I think it has a lot to offer. I always feared the toy would have an ultra lame transformation where there isn't much in terms of transformation aside from a head swap and making the figure stand differently (which was the case for lots of Cheetor toys of the era). But this is not the case here. The robot mode and techno-organic gorilla have two totally different proportions and even different parts. I really love the shape of the gorilla mode where it has a really elegant curve in the back, making this a cool take on a gorilla mode. A gorilla is already more humanoid than any other beast mode so it's cool to see the distinguishable beast proportions at play. In the end it's no different than the Bat Primal toys out there, meaning a cool take on a character in a form we will never see on screen.
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