"Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis

Transformers News: "Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 6:57PM CDT

Categories: Toy News, Reviews, Site Articles, Game News
Posted by: #Sideways#   Views: 11,875

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INSTRUMENTS OF DESTRUCTION

Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread
Warped Expectations


GenCon came and went, and with it, a ton new decks to make a massive splash in the metagame! My predictions were completely perpendicular to what actually happened, it seems, with a ton new aggressive decks to dominate the tournament standings instead of what I had figured, which was an amplified defensive presence. From Lionizer/Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend, to General Optimus/Barrage to even Quad Cars, the entire format seemed to be catered to the offensive push.

With GenCon behind us, and a new aggressive meta unfolding before us, what are the causes of this paradigm shift? What changed from Origins to GenCon and what made people suddenly stop playing defense, and start playing offense? How will the format change in the future, deeper into the Siege meta? Let's dive in and find out!


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Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread
"Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh my!"


Lionizer is far and away the most obvious addition to the pantheon of aggro support in the Transformers TCG, with an astonishing Bold 4 and a weapon that not only gives Bold 4 as well but also trims the fat in your hand with Plan 1. It's a frankly disgustingly powerful card that is cheap enough to play in effectively anything you want, and powerful enough to never make you think twice about it.

The turn one play is incredibly powerful as well given that you, as Lionizer starts in robot mode, have an effectively free transformation on one of your other characters to set up for combos. You see, since he starts in his most powerful mode, you simply attack with him on the first turn of the game. That means you can devote your transformation per-turn to someone more pressing.

But that's not all that he does. You see, since he's a Battle Master, you can also equip him on an already high Bold character like Wheeljack to swing for even more damage, and since he's an Upgrade, he can also trigger Wheeljack's alternate mode effect, drawing you into better resources. It's a frankly ridiculous amount of value in Lionizer that makes him one of the most prevalent sources of aggression out of the Siege metagame.


Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread
Pressure / Pushing down on me
Pressing down on you / No man ask for
Under pressure


A less obvious cause of the more aggressive format is none other than Press The Advantage, a somewhat conspicuous card that deals quite a bit of damage to things that is consistent enough to happen when and where you want it to. But how does this little old card make its presence known so well? That has something to do with factions, and their prowess in certain categories.

If you look at the decks that are played, you can see a few things: First off, Cars are immensely prevalent due to their consistency and offensive prowess, but second off, when you have a defensive deck, it usually either features or is entirely made up of Decepticons. I mean, sure, there are exceptions in Aerialbots of course, but the vast majority of defensive decks either are comprised of or feature Decepticons. For example, Major Shockwave is usually entirely made up of Decepticons, the eponymous Double Primes from back in the day had Nemesis Prime, Tanks had an incredibly defensive (and Decepticon) setup and now Three Wide has both Flamewar and Aimless in it.

What does that tell us? Well, for one, Decepticons are probably depressed because they're blue all the time. But perhaps more importantly, it tells us that the most potent circumstances for Press The Advantage is also the most common, meaning Press The Advantage will deal far more damage to the most common defensive decks than against the most aggressive ones. And the best part? Well, it's a green pip, which means you get it pretty much whenever you need it given the fact that you have a monstrous amount of Bold, usually.

Press The Advantage might not seem it, but it's a huge reason why the meta's growing more orange than blue. But wait, if you notice, Press The Advantage only works for Autobots -- aren't we forgetting something? Huh. This is gonna bug me!


Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread
An oldie but a goodie.


Insecticons are and have always been a fantastic deck that refuses to die. Ever since the deck was printed, Insecticons have always been a powerful deck that has only gotten stronger as the days go by, but oddly enough, it uses absolutely zero of those other cards. What keeps these bugs going? Is it that they hold their breath when someone whips out the Raid? Are they juicing on steroids?

Personally, I think it has something to do with this:


Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread
"Cowabunga it is, then."


Reckless Charge is, I think, the source of this extremely aggressive metagame. If you combine this incredibly powerful card with a Grenade Launcher (or any weapon for that matter) you'll be getting around +8 damage on one of your characters, around 2/3 of a character's HP before flips and before factoring in your base stats, not counting what Battlefield Legend can do when playing a free Action.

Doing +4 damage on an orange pip creates an immensely powerful card that doesn't really have too much of a downside when you consider that most aggressive decks are usually pretty fine with getting either one-hit or have enough HP that the 3 damage recoil doesn't affect them too much. Put it this way: If you're using Reckless Charge, you don't care about the recoil effects.

When you consider that Lionizer and Firedrive are Battle Masters and thus don't care about being attacked, or dying for that matter, Reckless Charge creates a practically unparalleled amount of damage with a frankly irrelevant recoil effect. Isn't this familiar, though?

If you think about it, One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall could be regarded as the same card but a little worse in some regards. Okay, yeah, sure, one is direct damage and the other is a stat boost and they're used mostly for different reasons, but consider this: When you're not using One Shall to target a different character, you're using it to target a character that you're about to attack. You could essentially say that you're increasing your attack damage to that character by +3 and taking 3 damage in recoil. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? With that in mind, wouldn't you rather do one more damage and have an orange pip while also taking the recoil damage after the attack instead of before?

That's my point. Reckless Charge is an immensely powerful card; so immense that it is actually better in some circumstances than a blank pipped card. I think that, as a whole, there is no other card in the game that could attest to growing the offensive power of the game more than Reckless Charge. Nothing else comes close, not even Bashing Shield. Sure, Bashing Shield is a fantastic supplement to that power, but not everyone has a Force Field on them or even in their decks, so it's a strong card, but not as strong as Reckless Charge is.

So, what are we gonna do about it? Just have more oranges until we make Minute Maid jealous? Or perhaps we should wait until the next set and hope that things cool off?

Not if I can help it!

This is a little something I've been working on for quite a while, and I've found that it's one of the most powerful decks that I have created thus far. Ladies, gentlemen, all of my discerning fleshbags, feast your eye-holes on SkyStick!


SkyStick wrote:Skywarp -- Sneaky Prankster (6)
Raider Nightstick -- Ground Force, Weapons (6)
Flamewar -- Veteran Decepticon (5)
Raider Detour -- Infantry, Demolition (4)
Private Tote -- Special Ops, Infiltration (4)

(25/25)

3 Battlefield Report (B)
3 Hiding Spot (Blk)
3 Steady Shot (B)(Blk)
3 Dampening Field (W)
3 Security Checkpoint (B)(B)
2 The Bigger They Are... (B)
1 Calculated Strike (Blk)
3 Handheld Blaster (B)(B)
2 Laser Cutlass (B)
2 Piercing Blaster (W)
3 Bravery (B)
3 Security Console (W)
3 Field Communicator (W)
3 Smoke Cloak (B)(Blk)
3 Reinforced Plating (B)
40


Sideboard

Acid Storm -- Toxic Terror (6)

3 Infiltrate (B)
3 Point Defense System (Blk)
3 Take Cover (B)
1 Laser Cutlass (B)


Skywarp from Wave 1 is probably one of the most forgotten characters in the entire game. Sure, he was printed to be the six star, third member of the Seeker trio, but when you consider that he did practically nothing for that entire list, you start to wonder just what kind of list he should be played in.

Here's a refresher on what he does:

Transformers News: Re: Wizards of the Coast Transformers Trading Card Game Thread


His vehicle mode is one of the most useless things in the game, and he'd probably be better off blank. But, when you consider his robot mode, you start to see where I'm going with this. You see, Skywarp defends attacks and stacks his defensive power using Flamewar and Reinforced Plating, but just when he's about to take the far reduced damage, you can instead choose to move it off him and onto one of your patsies -- erm, teammates if you flip a white pip. You play plenty of white pips, so you'll get it effectively every time.

You see, that's what is so amazing about this deck. You reduce your opponent's damage by an incredible margin, and you force them to attack into Skywarp using Hiding Spot, Bravery and psychology in general. You start the game attacking with Nightstick and transforming Flamewar to robot mode, forcing your opponent to attack into Nightstick. They will almost definitely not one-hit him thanks to his effects as a Battle Master (of which can boost Skywarp's defensive prowess even more than it already is) and your defensive list in general. This leaves you to transform and attack with Skywarp, ideally with an Armor, effectively giving your opponent the choice of either attacking into a defensive tank or into a Battle Master a second time.

But how do you win the game? You can't just sit in one spot and do nothing forever. Well, that, my friend, is why you play Blue/Black. Dealing Pierce damage through black pips, Cutlass and Piercing Blaster can whittle your opponent down to nothing, one bite at a time. Your patsies aren't just an effectively extended health pool for Skywarp -- they can pack a punch.

And how will you do all of this? Well, that's where Detour comes in. Being a Micromaster, he has a tap effect. This tap effect, however, involves drawing two cards, which can be extremely useful into drawing into Bravery, which can force your opponent into attacking Skywarp for as long as it remains in play. Of course, you won't always need that Bravery when Skywarp has Nightstick eventually attached to him; your opponent may very well just attack him outright given that he's the largest threat on the battlefield.

Speaking of making him a threat, did I mention that Tote can untap him and allow you to attack with him a second time, scrapping Smoke Cloaks and Hiding Spots from your hand that you don't need anymore? Because Tote can do that thing.

SkyStick is one of my favorite decks at the moment. It's practically invincible, you play enough disruption to care little about what your opponents do on their turn, but if you eventually find that your opponent is simply too Bold for your own good, simply side out Nightstick for Acid Storm and watch them squirm. As it turns out, Lionizer isn't really a threat when he does zero damage. Of course, if it's Aerialbots you're afraid of, simply side in a Take Cover and Point Defense System and watch as they combine for no reason at all, reducing practically all of their damage to nothing.

SkyStick can still be beaten, of course, and it usually happens if you go second against an aggressive deck that can can do upwards of 12-14 damage on their first turn, potentially KOing Skywarp (or coming close enough for him to be KO'd outside of combat through direct damage). In fact, direct damage as a whole is entirely annoying for SkyStick, which is why I play Take Cover. If it ever becomes too much of an issue, however, it is definitely worth swapping out Acid Storm for Motormaster in your Sideboard since he effectively stops that from happening for the rest of the game.


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CONCLUSION


The format has never looked more aggressive, with an influx of powerful decks like Quad Cars, Lionizer Cars, General Optimus/Barrage and Lionizer/Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend making strong things even stronger. In fact, Aerialbots did make a showing at GenCon, and all of them did rather poorly compared to the aggressive decks around them. Now, what does that say about this format, then? Is it some congealed mass of the same three decks? Is it some monotone, horridly homogeneous metagame?

No, it's not. In fact, this is one of the most diverse character metagames we've ever had, with oodles of combinations to work with. But does that mean that it's also diverse in deck creation? That's where things get a little dicey, with only a little variation in terms of pips, Weapons, Actions and everything in between. This is where the game could use some improvement, and I look forward to seeing what will come in the next set to aid the diversity of deck creation.

What say you? Will you be using orange, aggressive decks for the remainder of this season to try and get your invite to the Energon Invitational? Or will you go against the grain and go blue? Will you take SkyStick out for a spin or does a death from a thousand cuts seem too slow for your taste? Whatever you pick, let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you in the next one!
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Re: "Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis (2033530)
Posted by #Sideways# on August 6th, 2019 @ 7:13pm CDT
Bumblevivisector wrote:Thanks Latebrus-K, yours might just influence my decision to modify the head...and looking back at the card, I'm considering overhauling his chest now. As soon as my new digital camera's in order, I'll post some pics of my vintage Wipe Out, probably in another thread.

Also, is "Revenge" a new mechanic to this wave, or am I already forgetting everything #Sideways# wrote?


Nope! Revenge is totally new. I'm putting together an article going over everything we know about the next wave, but I'm going to wait to put some things together until we see a wider card pool. I can't say if Trypticon is good or bad without all the cards that come with him, now can I? :-?
Re: "Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis (2034197)
Posted by Stargrave on August 12th, 2019 @ 9:57am CDT
Always been a trading card fan going back to the Marvel sets back in the 90’s. Never played Magic or any other turn based combat card games but couldn’t help myself I broke down and bought a couple packs over the weekend. I think I may be hooked :shock: I just love the art the foil it’s just all so cool. I’ve got to learn how to play.
Re: "Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis (2034736)
Posted by Sparky on August 16th, 2019 @ 6:07am CDT
I used to play Magic: the Gathering, but dropped out when even casual play became too costly to play at my local game stores. Yu-Gi-Oh! was great because it had a great casual scene, though once certain decks became popular from tournaments showed up, among a few other things, it just wasn't fun anymore. Never mind the player-base for that game.

But a few weeks ago, best friends came back from out of state, and they surprised me with a Metroplex box set, while they had a Devestator set. And I have been excited and playing like crazy ever since.
Re: "Instruments of Destruction" -- A Transformers TCG Meta Analysis (2035170)
Posted by PerfectVision on August 21st, 2019 @ 6:11am CDT
Some deck i didn't wrote earlier

Alpha-Firedrive-Topshot
Peace X1
Rascent-Pep-TwoP-laser-Matrix-Diagnosis-Energy-Universal-Ancient-Unleashed-Heroism-Rollout-Quarter

The twoP and the peace can be researched if necessary,quarter instead of spare.

Mega3-Trigerhappy-Detour
Schechpoint-Master-Teamup-AttackD-Handeld-ExtraP-Pep-Callous-Energy-NewD-TwoP-Mining-Eenthusiast

Shock14-Nightstick-roadhugger
Steady-Dismantle-Hiding-Spare-Cdagger-Device-Repurpose-Callous-Underhanded-Sturdy-TakeC-LV-Fog

Surprisingly,he's always agressive in this game.

Runabout and muck-Visper
SparringG-Focus-Enforcement-SecretD-Reactive-Bashing-Scrounge-Spare-Smelt-Bbeam-Scoundrel-Rest-Espionnage

Reactive for them,PTD for Springer only the dismantling is useless.

The omnibots...Optimus11-mudslinger-iron9 is already better.

Blaster and Soundwave are sckizophrenik and uninteresting at the same time.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #228 - Afterthoughts
Twincast / Podcast #228:
"Afterthoughts"
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Posted: Monday, August 12th, 2019

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