"Sideboarded" -- Latest Reveals And Strategies From The Transformers Trading Card Game
Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 9:16am CDTCategory: Game News
Posted by: #Sideways# Views: 20,901
Competitive is here! Let me say it again, louder, for the people in the back who can't hear it:
COMPETITIVE IS HERE!
The simple fact is, the lack of a competitive play is the sole reason that a whole lot of people didn't want to get into it. In fact, a personal friend of mine who regularly plays at a worlds level in Pokemon spoke to me about it, stating that he liked the game and where it was going, but he hated the fact that he couldn't put his knowledge to the test.
The announcement of competitive play is by far the best announcement that I've ever seen for the Transformers Trading Card Game. It means that people will be able to put their skills to the test, it means that people won't be afraid that the game will no longer be supported in the long run. But perhaps the biggest realization of this is the advent of the competitive rule set.
For a long time now, members of the community have been speculating at a competitive rule set. For instance, time limits, judging staff, tournament locations and most important of all, the presence of a sideboard.
Sideboarding in a Trading Card Game, if you didn't know, is the act of having an "extra deck" that you can swap or add cards to your deck in between games. This allows you to put cards into your deck for specific matchups, including cards like Dampening Field or Infiltrate against certain offensive matchups, or Pierce cards against defensive matchups. Of course, it's not set in stone what cards are the best to sideboard as there is a bit of overlap, and certain matchups almost require you to mainboard certain counter cards from sheer deck popularity alone, but that's neither here nor there.
The real juicy bit to the sideboarding is that you can include a character that is 20 stars or less to swap into your lists. For instance, you can put an Acid Storm into your sideboard and swap him out for a similarly priced character in your active list just in case you're afraid of things like Insecticons, Dinobots or Firecons. Moreover, if you happen to be afraid of facing infinite combo decks, you can sideboard in Torox.
But that isn't the only thing that competitive entails. In fact, you might have read about the Energon Invitational in the competitive announcement! Aside from the monetary prizes that I'm sure all of us would greatly appreciate, the juiciest prize of them all is the coveted chance to design your own card to be featured in the card game. Qualifying for the Energon Invitational is pretty easy, considering you just need to win a qualifying local tournament to do so, but if you want some more bang for your buck, there's the GenCon Open as well as the Origins Open -- both of which having large prize pools in their own right.
But that's not all of the info we need to chew through today -- we've got more! This time, we have new character cards to go over as well as quite a few Battle Cards. Let's dig in!
The Battlechargers are here, and boy are they really, really weird. I have thoughts on them as a whole because they're somewhat inseparable considering their innate synergy with each other, so check out Runamuck's profile below where I go into both of them. This will just go over Runabout's stats so that you have context when I do talk about the whole of them.
Runabout has moderate offensive and defensive stats in both modes, but the big problem with him is that he, like Runamuck, has 10 Stars as their cost. This makes playing him as a single unit add-in to other lists nigh impossible, not even counting his synergy with Runamuck. The good part about him, in particular, though, is that his most offensive mode is in his alternate mode. That means that cards like Turbo Boosters, Start Your Engines and other things like them will be far easier to use and take full advantage of.
You really don't want to be put in a scenario by Start Your Engines where you have to transform, untap then transform again. You'd much prefer to use that transformation on someone else, like Stakeout who is a good possible partner for the Battlechargers. Now, that one extra offense in his car mode doesn't make him much more appealing as a standalone unit in one of your teams, but let's be fair here, you won't want to play him outside of the Battlecharger composition anyway.
To find out why, let's take a look at Runamuck as we finish our thoughts about Runabout as well as the entire Battlecharger composition in general.
Runamuck is definitely the better between the two Battlechargers. Being a Specialist, you can take good advantage of things like Multi-Mission Gear to use Start Your Engines as well as Rapid Conversion to make the most of their transformation effects. If you haven't guessed by now, both Battlechargers have similar -- yet opposite triggering -- abilities that flip each other to the other's modes.
This allows you to activate the other's abilities roughly every turn. For instance, if you start the game, you can transform Runamuck and draw a card, simultaneously flipping Runabout to robot mode as well. That way, when the next turn comes around, you can flip Runabout back to alternate mode, heal off a little bit of damage that Runamuck took and swing with Runabout's corresponding mode.
Now, with that rhythm in mind, you have a few options to supplement that. For instance, you have access to Rapid Conversion, Start Your Engines as well as teching in Stakeout, who has a Rapid Conversion on command. You can also use cards like Brainstorm and Multi-Mission Gear to play multiple of them during your turn in order to flip your characters even more than you already are. That way, when you flip your Battlechargers, you can flip them again and again, reactivating their abilities multiple times in a turn.
But the big question is this: Is that worth it?
Well, in full Standard play? No. I don't think their cost justifies their damage, and Runabout's healing effect doesn't heal enough to swing any matchups. However, since they are common characters, you can definitely run them in limited draft or Turbo play to positive effects -- after all, they are consistent characters that can draw you a solid amount of cards that can heal off most of certain limited decks and their damage.
After all, it is the set of blue/black, and trust me, things are going to be pretty slow going in certain "Turbo" games if you choose to run these guys.
Well Sideswipe said it himself, didn't he? I think that Sideswipe has a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of potential. Let me show you how by going into a bit deck theorycrafting with a brainchild I had earlier that dealt with Cliffjumper: Matchbox.
You can use Sideswipe with a Stealthiness on him or a Bravery on a Micromaster, attacking with him and tapping a Micromaster each turn to supplement his expenditure and his damage. That way, when you do get attacked, your opponent will be forced to attack into a Micromaster and when they're OHKO'd (you may be blue/black but you're not invincible), Sideswipe gets to untap and attack again next turn. Then, when all or most of your little Micromaster friends are KO'd, you can flip Sideswipe to alternate mode and gain a massive amount of attack and swing for -- in all likelihood -- the OHKO on something.
Of course, I've not tested this deck yet so I cannot say for certain whether or not it will be good, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be, especially with Stakeout potentially granting Sideswipe multiple flips into his alternate mode, stacking the damage boost that you'll be receiving. You can also sideboard Cliffjumper, potentially changing gears into a disruption-based list with heavy draw thanks to Cliff.
Now, all that being said, I think this is one of the only uses for him. Sideswipe in other car lists just doesn't appeal to me at all, even with his untapping effect. The biggest issues are his low car mode attack before your opponent KOs your other characters, the fact that your limited characters have to be KO'd in order for you to use him effectively and that his untapping effect only triggers on your opponent's turn. If it weren't for those things, I would say that he has moderate potential as a finisher.
Lastly, his relative frailty is doing no one any favors, least of all him. He's a bit of a glass cannon, which is why the Stealthiness and Bravery is so important in the Matchbox list. If he gets targeted down too early, you most certainly will not be able to beat most decks given your team being entirely made up of Micromasters. But other than those things, I for one look forward to seeing where Sideswipe will go in the metagame.
That's why you never see two of any animal in one place unless it's a zoo! Or a farm!"
Hound is basically a slightly more expensive, way better version of Starter Megatron.
Don't let his vanilla vehicle mode or his average stats make you think that he's someone to overlook -- his robot mode can pack some serious power in it through some sneaky shenanigans. The thing is, you have a lot of power potential alongside a moderate starting offensive power, making the +2 you get when you upgrade him way more impactful than Megatron's +1 boost from a base of 3. Of course, Hound is two stars more than Megatron, and since he's an Autobot he can't make use of Swindled, but that's more than fine since you have access to other options.
For instance, you can play Inferno alongside him, whose alternate mode ability (aside from his monstrous attack) can allow you to return all Upgrades attached to Hound to your hand to be reattached perhaps in the same turn. Plus, when you consider that Attack Drone can attach three times in one turn, you can get a massive offensive boost from that play alone. Aside from Inferno, you have other Upgrade-shenanigans options, which include Disarm, Red Heat, Flak and Cog who can each upgrade Hound multiple times in a turn to get your power higher than it has any right to be. You can even play Cargo Trailer if you really want to, although I wouldn't recommend it given its inconsistent nature.
All that aside, Hound has a plethora of options on the table for him to be a pretty solid rogue deck. I wouldn't say that he's going to be meta, but I do think that he has a lot of potential with the correct partners. Again, I don't think he'll be beating Insecticons any time soon, but I do think that he is a neat little "haymaker" option to think about.
Stakeout is pretty much exactly what Infinite needed to have everything they ever wanted. He's a 4 Star Specialist Autobot who is effectively the same as Detour in almost every way, stat-wise. No, Infinite is still not dead -- Red Heat is a character, and Peace Through Tyranny is still a card. Although it is to a diminished degree thanks to the sideboarding of Torox, it still loves anything and everything Autobot Specialist to make every other matchup way better. Although, that being said, Stakeout is marginally less offensive than Detour and he doesn't have the ability to draw, so perhaps there could be a case to simply add Detour instead of Stakeout and simply forgo the Confidence.
I suppose that's what sideboards are for, though, hm?
That being said, you really don't need me to say more about Infinite -- it's very good, and you've already heard me say it plenty of times before with several other characters. Who's really glad that Stakeout exists are the Battle Chargers and Sideswipe: Decks that love Rapid Conversion and other constant transformation. With Stakeout's pocket Rapid Conversion effect, he allows you to pull off some crazy flip combos. For instance, he can transform during your turn, tap him to transform a second time, Multi-Mission Gear a third transformation effect, then for your turn, play a fourth transformation effect and wind up back in your alternate mode for the second time that turn.
This effect is very strong on cards like Sideswipe, who gains an offensive advantage every time you flip. You could say the same about W1 Shockwave, where you can flip him a frankly ridiculous amount of times to put more cards in your opponent's hand in order to System Reboot them. Speaking of drawing cards, you can also use him alongside Cliffjumper to transform a partner character several times in order to draw cards with Cliffjumper's alternate mode effect.
I honestly adore Stakeout. I think he has a lot of really cool things you can do with him, and whereas it takes a turn for you to get the value out of him (I mean, if you are going to transform and use his tap effect, why not just transform the character you're going to target with him on your own?), he still has a lot of combo potential in certain lists.
Sequels are really, really hard to make well. At least, that's what Hollywood would have you believe. New writers, new story, more expanded drama, yadda, yadda, yadda. I mean, unless, your name is Deadpool or Nolan Batman in which case the sequel is very much better than the first. Sadly, Skrapnel is neither of those names and he ended up paying the price for it.
At first, I was astonished that the guys over at Wizards were deciding to make Insecticons even better with a character that has innate Brave able to fit into the list. Defending Kickback or Barrage while they fight with relative impunity through Brave, then potentially healing off that damage through the use of your own Upgrade spam? Yeah, I was interested.
Then I saw the point cost.
Nine points? That's a very, very high cost for the Insecticons (Venin notwithstanding) and it more or less makes it impossible to run with the four wide Insecticon list that we're used to. That means that there is another way to run him, like with Venin. You can run Skrapnel, Venin and Ransack to potentially have a bulky, grindy Insecticon deck that heals itself over time while putting out Pierce damage. I'm not the biggest fan of that concept, but Bug Bomb is something that I have always liked since it was printed -- only problem was, it was kind of the antithesis of the trademark Insecticon playstyle.
Perhaps, then, we have a deck to play it in? Bulky Insecticons is... Difficult to think about given their aggressive Wave 1 counterpart, but hey, you never know, right?
Captain Starscream is not good in his own list, but he is pretty fascinating as a supplementary character to someone bigger. I think we all know who that "someone bigger" is.
Before that, let's take a look at his stats. Starscream is expensive at 12 Stars, but he makes up for that with his other stats. First off, he has a monstrous HP stat at 16 with a middling to low defense split between his alternate modes. The good news is that you're likely to run him in a blue "burn" deck, relying on his direct damage abilities to do most of his work for him. Of course, his six attack can actually do a bit of damage to lesser armored targets, but with any luck your opponent won't be upgraded that much anyway. Although, that being said, you can make use of Null Ray of Starscream given that he is a Starscream just in case you wanted to use him in a more Plane-centric list, but I really think that job should be left to his Wave 1 incarnation.
But now on to the meat of his kit. His anti-upgrade abilities make him an excellent auxiliary character to direct damage "burn" lists that deal low attack damage but supplement their offensive power through damaging cards like Armed Hovercraft, Strafing Run and Plasma Burst among others. In fact, in a Burn list, Starscream has the unique effect of turning all of your Upgrade scrapping cards like Vaporize, Bashing Shield, Drill Arms and Device Virus into damaging Actions as well. Furthermore, he acts as a deterrent -- a small one, yes, but still a deterrent -- to playing cards that scrap themselves like Grenade Launcher and Force Field. In fact, Force Field scrapping itself will make your opponent take one more damage than they normally would. If you're facing something that adores Upgrades like Living Weapon Megatron or Predacons to name a few, Starscream is your guy.
It's for that reason why Captain Starscream has a bit of potential alongside -- thematically -- General Megatron. Megatron spreads damage around to your opponent's characters, and Starscream can be used as both an auxiliary damage sponge for the General (especially through the use of Callous Leadership), as well as acting as a secondary damage source through Starscream's abilities. The thing is, you're exposing yourself to potentially more damage concentrated on your characters thanks to the fact that you are playing tall instead of standard or wide with Megatron.
But there's a secondary reason why Starscream works well alongside Megatron. Why? To find out, let's take a look at the Battle Cards...
As I was saying, in Tall General Megatron/Captain Starscream, you can use Two-Pronged Attack to either discard your opponent's hand to remove their options or to deal a moderate amount of direct damage, feeding into your "burn" playstyle.
Two Pronged Attack, much like Team-Up Tactics before it, can do a lot of powerful things with the right deck. In fact, I would say that it's probably better than Team-Up Tactics given the state of healing in the current meta and Pep Talk not requiring you to be in your alternate mode to give you the same effect. Two Pronged Attack, however, does much more useful things, like softening opponent's characters, or potentially dominating your opponent's hand before they really get a chance to use it.
I mean, how better for Starscream to prevent your opponent from using Upgrades on the field than by preventing them from being played in the first place, right?
So, with all of that in mind, does Two Pronged Attack make Megatron/Starscream Burn a mainstay in the meta? I don't think it's consistent enough to say that, but does it make it better to the point that we might end up seeing it in the tournament scene? Honestly? I really do think so.
As a final note, I'd like to give kudos to the Twincast Podcast for doing a great interview with Drew Nolosco, brand manager of the TFTCG and getting to reveal this and two other cards. If you haven't had time to listen to that, you should! It's HERE!
So, you're sitting down and your opponent is playing Insecticons. You have a lot of power in your characters, yes, but characters like Skrapnel, Force Fields and other damage blocking effects have you feeling like you're in an uphill battle. Plus, they've been swinging very hard.
Well worry slightly less because we have Squish Them Like Bugs! When you swing at a character who has fewer stars than you do, then you spread 1 damage to everyone on your opponent's field that has less stars than your attacker. I pops Skrapnel's 3HKO ability, it pops an angry Six-Gun with a Force Field on him, and it overall softens everyone on the field just enough to be relevant in most cases. In fact, against combiners this card is especially effective because they have so many small characters.
Now you could make the case that Strafing Run is actually the same card but less complicated. I would disagree! Since it has an orange pip, it is actually more valuable -- in my opinion -- than Strafing Run given its in-combat usefulness to flip. That being said, Strafing Run cannot be countered by Infiltrate, and perhaps that alone would be enough for some people to play Squish Them Like Bugs instead of Strafing Run. Of course, in Burn decks, why not both?
I really do look forward to seeing how much this card will get played as a counterpick to wide, aggressive decks like Bugs, Motorcycles or combiners in general.
Scavenge The Battlefield -- aside from having some of the raddest art of all Secret Actions -- has a very interesting effect that will more than likely be in many different aggro decks. Why? Well, that's easy.
Have you ever played Insecticons (or any other aggro deck), like, ever? Well, let me refresh your memory. You start your turn, flip Kickback, attach an Erratic Lightning to him and swing for a billion damage. Then, your opponent gets to attack Kickback and in a blink of an eye Kickback disappears, replaced with a vaguely Kickback-shaped grease-spot on the ground. Now, under normal circumstances, you'd have to find another weapon to use during your next turn's attack, forgoing the more interesting cards in your hand that might be able to net you more cards like Data Bank, save a life like Heroism or, perhaps chiefly, scrap Armor with cards like Bashing Shield.
With Scavenge The Battlefield, you can save the weapon you just used from one of your now grease spots of a character and then use it on your next soon-to-be grease spot! Not only that, but if your opponent happens to focus down one of your Upgrades through effects like Razorclaw's attacking of an untapped character, you get to keep those Upgrades -- all of those Upgrades -- as well.
I really, really like this card. I think it alleviates a lot of aggro's woes in terms of their consistency, it fixes Battle Masters even more than Quartermaster has in the past and I think it also makes certain defensive decks better as well. I mean, who doesn't like keeping their Upgrades on the field, right?
Literally just play Armored Plating if you want an Armor that gives you +1 defense. I mean, I get it, you need black pips sometimes and it's better than not having black pips at all, but... At what cost? Besides, there are better black pips out there, and one of them is even an armor.
My point is this: Smoke Cloak is way better; it has black/blue and it also gives you Tough 1 which is essentially the same thing as +1 defense anyway, plus you can attach it to all of your characters, not just Autobots like Compact Shield. The biggest argument I can see for playing this is that it's redundant, and that it is at worst a black pip, but I don't think that's reason enough to play it in your list.
Cool artwork, but avoid this one.
Aside from having the best detailed -- and I mean the best -- artwork in the entire TCG, Heat of Battle storms the beaches to give Cars, Combiners, Metroplex and Motorcycles the best Action they could have ever hoped for. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Hey, now, what about that Tough 3 that your opponent is going to be getting?"
My answer to you is simple: Against aggro, who cares? They don't play blue pips anyway, and when you swing with all of your characters (in terms of Cars) with each at the very least Bold 3, your opponent is going to very much feel the pain. You can also play Warpath to prevent your opponent from reaping the rewards of Heat of Battle from his anti-Tough effect, though thanks to his limited usefulness you would most likely have to sideboard him.
That said, it's a very good thing to force Tough on your opponent's aggro deck. Their amount of double orange cards are finite in their deck until they become reshuffled -- when your opponent mills more cards than they need to, they will burn double orange pips more often than not. Although it does potentially net them green pips that they'd been digging for like Bashing Shield or their Enigmas, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
I cannot wait to see how people will use Heat of Battle -- it's obviously not a staple in every deck given that its power is mostly wasted on decks that can't attack more than once in a turn, but it is at least very valuable to those that do.
With the advent of Scavenge the Battlefield, Upgrades have a lot more permanence. That goes for all kinds of Upgrades, except for perhaps armor given the prolific use of Bashing Shield. But, nevertheless, Device Virus is a good counter to that permanence and it makes for a powerful removal ability to "even the odds" if you will.
But what about making that effect even stronger? Well, that's where Dismantling Claw comes in! When you scrap it from a character, you scrap one of your opponent's weapons, and if you recall, Device Virus scraps one of your Upgrades from one of your characters. This way, you get to scrap potentially three weapons from your opponent's field if you so choose.
Now, let me ask you this: Remember Enforcement Batons and how it had this same effect except immediate, including the green pip?
No? Me neither.
In all seriousness, there really isn't a reason to play Dismantling Claw when Enforcement Batons exist. If you're playing Device Virus, you should be playing Enforcement Batons because its effect was immediate and didn't rely on using any other card to get value out of it. I get it, it has a blue pip, but at a point you can just bite the bullet and say that three orange pips in your deck never hurt anybody.
This is just a slow Bashing Shield. My opinion is really quite unchanged from the card above, except this one is worse given that Bashing Shield is so prolific in the metagame. I mean, sure, the big reason you would want to play Dismantling Claw is the blue pip, but Bashing Shield and Reactive Armor are literally the same card except one is a lot slower than the other.
I just can't justify playing Reactive Armor... Well, at all really. I mean, unless you really, really hate Armor and want as many copies of Bashing Shield in your deck as possible -- even if it does require some fancy footwork to get value out of. But the odds of you needing that many copies of Bashing Shield (or like cards) in a game is astronomic to say the least.
I'd avoid this one unless I pulled it in a draft.
I was ready to rail on this thing for insulting me with its existence.
I was so, so ready.
But then I remembered the time I put Combat Training in Metroplex just to add a slight prayer to hit all the cards I needed off my flips. I remembered on Jazz how I desperately hoped that I would flip a second white pip. I remembered how hard it was to flip another pip and then... And then I remembered!
I remembered that Bold and Tough exist.
Spinner Rims is just conditional Bold 1 or Tough 1. Now, that being said, I do think that there is a place for this card in Metroplex or Jazz decks, but other than that it's just worse Bold or Tough that you might not even make use of in the next combat depending on how many white pips are in your deck. In fact, I've found that more than six white cards in many lists can be too many because you're constantly flipping more than you need and it negates its benefits.
At that point, then, why are you using a Spinner Rim? If you're just going to flip more white pips, then I can't see much purpose outside of Jazz, Chromia or perhaps Cosmos in playing this. It's just the way it is.
There are a lot of really powerful cards that are coming out in this next set, and even more powerful changes in terms of the state of the game. Sideboards change everything, and tournaments change even more than that. I'm so glad that I can finally say that there is competitive play for one of my favorite games out there. For a long time now, I felt a slight tinge of worry when I say things like "yeah, I do competitive content for that game" when people ask me what my channel does and what articles I write; there has always been an underlying concern that it would never happen.
What about you? Are you as excited for competitive play as I am, or are you dreading it? Some people just don't like competitive! What side are you on? Let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you next time!
Credit(s): The Twincast Podcast, The Transformers TCG Facebook Page, VectorSigma.info
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Posted by Flashwave on June 2nd, 2019 @ 12:55pm CDT
Ooh! Photo contest idea: reproducing card art with toys!
Posted by #Sideways# on June 2nd, 2019 @ 1:19pm CDT
Flashwave wrote:It may be a useless card, but I like the Dismantleing Claw art for its randumbness. i really want to dig out my CR Grimlock and stick his excavator bucket on Siege Ironhide.
Ooh! Photo contest idea: reproducing card art with toys!
Oh god I can just imagine the huge claws on super unfitting figures. Can you imagine that thing on a Micromaster?
That idea is actually brilliant. I think Heat of Battle'd probably be the hardest to figure out, though
Posted by Flashwave on June 2nd, 2019 @ 1:27pm CDT
one of my favorite one off frames froM Idw1 0 is from the -ation series, if Roller with a BIG AFT CANNON strapped on smoking.#Sideways# wrote:Flashwave wrote:It may be a useless card, but I like the Dismantleing Claw art for its randumbness. i really want to dig out my CR Grimlock and stick his excavator bucket on Siege Ironhide.
Ooh! Photo contest idea: reproducing card art with toys!
Oh god I can just imagine the huge claws on super unfitting figures. Can you imagine that thing on a Micromaster?
That idea is actually brilliant. I think Heat of Battle'd probably be the hardest to figure out, though
All I can say is some of the Minicons have some wonderful screwholes on them...
Posted by #Sideways# on June 26th, 2019 @ 3:54pm CDT
So the time has come! Well, almost.
With these reveals, the last cards of Siege 1 have come along with them! Oh god, why are there so many!? Now, this isn't going to be the last article I'll be doing -- not by a long shot! -- because I have a lot more to talk about including tournament reports from the larger events. Of course, you can find all of that content and more on my YouTube channel, Nanomachines!
Anyway, enough with this sordid affair! Let us get to the meat of the article!
Origins Game Fair was just last week, and there was a solid turnout of over 150 unique players over the course of the week, ending with an invitational where the top 32 players over the course of the week play in single elimination rounds to play for a prize pool of $10,000.
On the first day, we had roughly 30 players. I was in a frankly in an unknown metagame, with little idea outside of my own observations, my locals and a few articles to base any meta call on. To that end, I decided to play Insecticons because it is one of the most consistent decks out there with some of the best ability to beat random riffraff outside of the meta. When you play in an event, especially large ones, this is imperative. The first round or two when playing rogue can pit you against another rogue deck that just so happens to utterly dumpster your deck, potentially ruining your tournament.
With my deck chosen and my fate sealed, I ended up placing 3rd with a final record of 3-0-2 after tying against Planes and IDing against mirror into cut! I managed to face off against and meet several fellow content creators like Wreck 'N Rule and a couple of guys from VectorSigma.info, and it was really awesome to put some faces to the names and names to the faces!
With my Top 8 finish on the first day, I ended up more or less a spectator for the remainder of the tournament. To warm myself up to the idea of playing against a frankly absurd amount of hate for my chosen deck after literally half of the first day's Top 8 was made up of Insecticons, and to get a few more tickets for the prize wall, I played a bit on Saturday. This was mostly to test the meta after it evolved over the week, but I then dropped after deciding to stop grinching people like a huge jerk.
The next day, I played in the big finals. After I decided on playing Insecticons again, I was fully expecting to hit a horrible matchup on the first game and then dying instantly. Instead, I faced Cars which is even at its worst and great at its best thanks to their relatively low defense and average HP. I ended up winning and moving on to Top 16, securing my place in the Energon Invitational at Pax Unplugged!
The Top 16 matchup was definitely not as good of a matchup as Top 32, but Aerialbots was something that I expected to face. In fact, I knew that it was such a poor matchup in a vacuum that I decided to devote most of my sideboard to beating it with the most unlikely of cards: Repair Bay and Bad Attitude. Aerialbots deal chip damage to eventually KO multiple characters at once to win, and low chip damage over time gets stopped by Repair Bay and gets dumpstered by Bad Attitude. To make things even better, I ended up sideboarding Chop Shop for his reuse of Bashing Shield, Weapons, his unique draw ability and, yes, his potent healing.
Saying the words "Repair Bay" and "Bad Attitude" in a tournament setting brought tears to my eyes.
But, as I moved on to Top 8, I noticed something: Five out of the eight were all playing the same deck, and it was possibly my worst matchup. You see, Sentinels is a good matchup despite Sentinel's controlly, hand-destruction playstyle. However, their rather awful defensive capabilities and their orange list make them easy pickens for Insecticons to simply play their topdeck and attack.
Three Wide Prime, shorthand for Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend, Flamewar and (usually) Hot Rod, is an awful matchup because they can both remove your hand as well as reduce your damage.
Reduce it by a lot.
But Insecticons, my list especially, have a habit of topdecking Weapons and Actions that increase your damage by quite a bit. The most important things about the matchup is target priority and saving your resources when you can and blowing them all at once when you need to.
Optimus Prime is a big guy, but so is Kickback with a Grenade Launcher and a Reckless Charge flipping the top ten cards of your deck.
The long and short about it is that Three Wide is your worst possible matchup, but it is by no means an autoloss. For Three Wide, it's an easy matchup to win. But, it's just as easy to lose as well. This is a lesson my Top 8 opponent, Kent Summerour, unfortunately learned the hard way, as I took the match after a hard-fought victory.
As I did, however, I looked to my right in bewilderment. Nearly all of my opponents were Three Wide, and it wss nearly impossible based on bracket position for me to face the winner of the game to my left. This, of course, came to fruition when my next round opponent, Steffon Pinckney, played me with his Hot Rod-based Three Wide. Kent had opted to use Motormaster, and with my Insecticon list not opting to play direct damage outside of Swarm, Motormaster struggled to find value. Hot Rod, however, is frankly disgusting when paired with Flamewar and was even worse to take out because he could ping Skrapnel with his KO Pile Ability to make math worse when it counted.
We ended up going 1-1 after I Swarmed him for the KO. Then, at the final turns of the final game, I misplayed. I ended up playing an Upgrade before using Backup Plan, where I would have drawn into an I Still Function and a Force Field to secure the game against his lone Prime. Without the Force Field, Chop Shop was KO'd and my Top Cut run came to a close.
But the story does not end there. You see, Steffon is a super cool guy (He also runs a YouTube channel, too! Check it out HERE!) and he ended up going into Top 2 with Dan from VectorSigma.info, where the two ended up splitting the prize pool and playing for the title. The mirror match was hard-fought, but Steffon eventually came out on top and claimed the title as the first ever Origins Open winner!
He made out with $1,250 after splitting the prize pool, an invitation to the Energon Invitational, a box of Siege, a fully paid Pax Unplugged badge and a signed crystal cube with Transformers etchings. He humbly accepted these gifts and our champion was crowned.
Me? Oh, I made off with a few things, myself. The Pax badge, the invite, $750 and a full box of Siege all came my way, with the latter being something I opened on my channel in a recent video. But honestly? The experience and the validation is really what matters the most to me; I started playing the TFTCG by myself in my room with proxies before the game even came out, and to come all this way in the first ever tournament? Well, I can't think of a better prize.
Well, that and the money.
If you're interested in the list I used, have no fear! I've included it below, including a deck profile that Steffon did himself on his channel, SDotAkuma:
Brower Bugs wrote:Barrage - Merciless Insecticon
Insecticon Skrapnel - Insecticon Leader
Kickback - Cunning Insecticon
Ransack - Insecticon Commando
2 Backup Plan
2 Bashing Shield
3 Erratic Lightning
2 Flame Thrower
3 Force Field
3 Grenade Launcher
3 I Still Function!
3 Improvised Shield
2 Mining Pick
3 Peace Through Tyranny
3 Power Punch
3 Reckless Charge
2 Static Laser of Iron Hide
Chop Shop - Sneaky Insecticon
3 Bad Attitude
2 Emergency Maintenance
1 Mounted Missiles
2 Repair Bay
1 Static Laser of Ironhide
Speaking of Siege, I daresay that I haven't broken down the rest of the cards yet! Let's jump right in on that!
Top Shot is the little Micromaster that could. He has a surprising amount of value for a 4 Star character, and he has a solid amount of value to be seen out of his innate traits. He's a bit of a wonky type of Micromaster, where he gets more use out of his innate abilities than his tap effect. This is a good thing, given that -- by not using a tap effect to get value out of him -- you're essentially opening up more options in terms of other Micromasters on your team. In fact, one could even say that you could perhaps play Top Shot as the main support of a Micromaster/Small Guys team!
Allow me to explain. Top Shot is the leader of the Battle Patrol, and that carries over into his innate effects where he is a Leader. This, plus his Autobot nature, opens up the option to use him along with the Matrix of Leadership. The Matrix of Leadership gives all of your characters +1 and Pierce 1 so long as it's attached to an Autobot Leader; in other words, Top Shot. That way, you can give your team of smaller characters a way to deal more damage instead of, well, none at all. Being able to boost the damage of your team with a Matrix can be surprisingly potent given the fact that Top Shot is only 4 Stars, and a Tank no less!
Speaking of which, you can also run him alongside Flak, Demolishor, Starter Megatron and have plenty of room for three star cards, like Full Loadout. You can do a ton of damage with Demolishor and Megatron, and Top Shot adds his layer of power to that to create a formidable combination. Since they're all Tanks, Demolishor can draw three cards for his transformation effect, and perhaps more importantly, Hunker Down allows you to play a frankly disgusting amount of Armor on the field.
You can even use a Force Field on Top Shot, thanks to the fact that he has 5 HP, not 4. Meaning, he can take a solid amount of punishment as a "meat shield" if that's what it comes down to. Why a sacrificial lamb and not an offensive character? Unfortunately, even with his good utility, his offensive stats are not the best and thus if you're going to do anything with him, tapping him is the better option.
Besides, his draw + plan effect is still not bad no matter how you look at it, and that utility still translates well to a solid damage boost to your next attacker when you have a double orange in your hand. That being said, there are better draw options, but not at that cost and not for that pip color -- pretty much, if you're looking for a "universal" orange Micromaster, look no further!
Triggerhappy is interesting. On one hand, I would say that he'd make a defensive plane list happy being a Pierce attacker. On the other, I would say that he would make an aggro deck happy given that he can recycle the used Grenade Launchers for later use. The question is, which one suits him best? To answer this question, we need to take a look into his stats.
With Triggerhappy's high Pierce, he seems to be quite formidable, yes? No, that's not quite the case, now is it? You see, when you have a high Pierce, you can assume that you're able to deal all of that damage. Usually, that assumption would be true. This is not a usual case. With Pierce 4 and only two attack, you need an offensive boost to make use of him offensively, and his defense is not high enough to warrant too much investment on that front, either. So in defense, it's a rather awkward thing to put him in there because he necessitates the weapon in order to be effective.
So, if not the defense, then perhaps the offense? Well, let's decipher that for a moment. On one hand, his weapon recycling effect is always welcome in any list. But, his offensive stats are abysmal, and whereas you'll be more or less confirmed to swing for your Pierce 4, there are just better offensive options to run on that end. At that point, you're just a weapon reanimator -- which is fine -- but you need to balance the rest of your team to support him just as much as he's supporting you. The question is, can you really afford to devote that many stars to occasionally getting a weapon back?
I don't think so.
Triggerhappy is just too expensive for what he offers, and I think that there are just better options to run. Even using Reclaim and a small character with draw like Dead End seems to be the same value with more flexibility. I mean, sure, using Bombing Run in a defensive list seems good to keep him and his friends alive, but I just don't see Triggerhappy being that solid in defensive or offensive comps. I just can't justify him compared to the other options.
Pteraxadon is kind of great, not gonna lie. His cheap points only add to this, and he really fits well in a sideboard to fight against highly defensive decks.
Now, being a Battle Master, his stats are going to -- I'm just gonna say it -- suck. It's just the way the cookie crumbles in terms of Battle Masters, of course, with his awful defense and just "meh" offensive capabilities, but the general shtick of Battle Masters is that they don't have their value in their robot modes anyway, so this should not be a deal breaker.
As for his alternate mode, it is honestly one of if not the most powerful Battle Master effects I have seen. Reducing your opponents Base Defense (the defense printed on the card, for those who needed clarification) to 0 is a very, very powerful effect that crushes a lot of characters. For instance, Demolishor, who has his 4 Defense that he normally uses to keep himself alive suddenly becomes an easy target. Headstrong, Darkmount, Inferno, the list goes on with who Pteraxadon can counter. Now, that being said, it does not reduce whatever blue pips your opponent flips -- but really, who cares? It's more damage!
He's splashable, his effect is solid, and on top of that he still gives you a +3 attack boost! To be frank, I can't think of many Battle Masters I would rather put in a list. He's got a lot of value in an aggro list -- especially with Quartermaster allowing you to reuse him -- and you don't really lose much for tossing him in.
They say "you have to save the best for last". With Pteraxadon, I can't think of a better phrase to describe him.
W5 Gyro Blaster, despite not having any pips whatsoever, is honestly one of the nuttiest cards I have ever seen. Remember, it doesn't just stop Bold -- it stops Tough, Kickback, Demolishor, white pips and everything in between.
Gyro Blaster allows you to play both offensively and defensively with it, dealing higher damage to characters with Tough and taking less damage against characters with Bold. Take Devastator for instance. You, for example, might play him in a blue list with a really slow, grindy playstyle and eventually you build up enough Tower to combine and have a really massive amount of HP. That's when you attach a Gyro Blaster to him and sit promptly on your 2 Defense and 10 Attack (or 11, rather, with the Gyro Blaster) not even counting any Armor you've attached prior.
Your opponent can't deal with that without using high base attack, and even then they have to deal with your defensive flips. Their Bold won't work, and when you swing at them, their Tough won't work either. The power of the W5 Gyro Blaster is just too massive to ignore, and when used in conjunction with Secret Actions like Infiltrate and Blue pips... Well, let's just say that any aggro deck in your area is going to have a bad time.
Like, a really bad time.
Point Defense System is a neat little Armor that deals with a very, very specific problem.
So let me give you a quick recap, yeah? Siege 1 introduces black pips, including blue/black cards that can create a surprising amount of damage potential in blue decks, all without sacrificing that defensive power. In fact, black pips actually make Bold not horrible. Remember, certain characters have Bold innately, like Superion, and it would initially mill your deck and your resources. Black pips make that Bold actually worthwhile.
That's where Point Defense System comes in.
In the mirror blue/black matchup, your opponent is going to have roughly two to four Pierce at any given point in time through their Upgrades and through their black pips. This means that, even with your powerful defensive capabilities, you won't be able to block them when they have their Pierce. With Point Defense System, you're able to reduce that potential damage by a surprising amount given the nature of Pierce Upgrades, potentially tipping matchups like Aerialbots in your favor.
That being said, it really does depend on whether or not your local meta is more defensive or aggro-focused to whether or not you mainboard this card. If you want my personal opinion, I would probably just sideboard it in most cases -- three cards from your sideboard aren't too likely to be drawn when you need them, and I can only assume that most decks won't be as reliant on Pierce as Blue Black is.
Be that as it may, you should definitely sideboard Point Defense System if you're afraid of Pierce-heavy matchups. You'll find no stronger counter than this!
Going invisible seems pretty fun, but it's all fun and games until a Specialist loses an optic.
There are three of these kinds of armors, and nearly all of them are honestly pretty fantastic. I can tell where they were going with all of these with each of the innate triangle (Specialist, Melee, and Ranged respectively) defending against a different member of the triangle. In this case, it's Melee against Specialists and unfortunately we have to start off with the weakest link.
Covert Armor is a Melee armor that defends against Specialists, which, so I can preface, is not that great because Specialists seldom have enough offensive power to threaten other characters and if you're playing armor in a list, you more than likely playing it with a primary and secondary Armor cards already. This means that Covert Armor is so niche that it will only really counter Motorcycles, the only real Specialist-focused deck, which might not even be that popular given their low stats.
The point I'm making is this: It's kinda useless to have an Armor that only protects against a very niche thing, and it probably won't be able to make it into your Sideboard given the plethora of other options and probably worse matchups to fix.
That being said, though, it is a very consistent card being a green pip, and it blends very well in a blue list given that it is, well, a blue pip. There are a lot of benefits to these cards, and getting +2 defense is frankly stupid good on many different levels, which is why the others have such good power in them.
Go on and jump! (Jump!) / Go ahead and jump!"
As I said, there are definitely good cards in this trio. Reflex Circuits are definitely one of these, having the ability to get a freakishly good +2 defense against the rather prolific Melee class. The fact of the matter is, this has every bit the power of Covert Armor but in a more meaningful way.
I mean, when you consider how powerful this could be attached to someone like Superion (or just the Aerialbots in general, to be fair), things get a little gross especially with how players afraid of the Aerialbots can sideboard in Warpath to stop you from using your Tough abilities. Reflex Circuits allow you to defend through Warpath, Stunticon Swagger or whatever else they throw at you, like Gyro Blaster. The simple fact that you can get +2 defense on an Upgrade should not be ignored, especially for the normally defensive Ranged character roster.
To be perfectly frank with you, this is another miss for me, but at least not as much as Covert Armor.
Let me explain. When you have a Specialist, you expect to put one of two things on it: Field Communicator and Multi-Mission Gear. Multi-Mission Gear is still as powerful as it was in Wave 1, and it's still just as dependent on Specialists to... Well, work. The best part about that card is that it still gives you +1 Armor, and when you put it on a character like Skydive or someone similarly as defensive like Flamewar, your opponent is going to have a tough time clearing them from the board.
Whereas Sturdy Armor seems like a great inclusion on these characters, I wouldn't put Sturdy Armor anywhere near my mainboard and instead hold it on the side as a big maybe. Why? Well, let's dig in to that.
You see, Ranged Characters normally have quite low attack, save some outliers like Optimus or Megatron. The simple fact is, the Tank or the Plane is the best "average" Ranged character baseline: Defensive, middling attack stats and relying on Pierce and direct damage to do their dirty work for them. When you have a card like Sturdy Armor, you're trying to defend against something that doesn't even do high base damage that instead deals its damage through Pierce -- it's not possible.
Pierce is getting another big buff in Siege 1 thanks to the introduction of black pips, and Ranged characters are the big winners of that thanks to their already high reliance on Pierce to do their damage. Again, there are outliers that don't, but the "base" Ranged character normally does, and adding defense just doesn't matter when, well, it doesn't matter.
That being said, it is a nice counter to Optimus Prime -- Battlefield Legend amongst other things, but I would only include this if you're really, really afraid of him.
Metal Detector is a great little engine that will definitely benefit lists like Blurr, Cars, Motorcycles and pretty much anything else that really likes playing extra Upgrades and can attack multiple times. When you have a Metal Detector on a character that attacks, you get to look at and play any Upgrade on your topdeck, and when you build your list accordingly it effectively makes that a done deal.
Blurr especially gets a load of value out of Metal Detector, as he untaps and attacks twice in one turn, effectively turning Metal Detector into a Brainstorm or Leap of Faith but for Upgrades! Of course, this doesn't confirm just what you'll get on the top of your deck (though you can try rigging that with Plan effects), but I often find that playing pretty much any Upgrade is generally a positive with few exceptions, like playing an Improvised Shield instead of just scrapping it.
Either way, Metal Detector doesn't give any stat boost, just a utility boost, making playing it somewhat of a "feels bad moment" like playing a Data Bank or your first Cargo Trailer. But, I think it'll offer much more value than one might expect, much like Scrounge. Anything that extends your hand can powerful, but it necessitates a list to support it.
The question is, is it worth the effort?
I think so.
Similarly to Metal Detector, Anticipation Engine is like a Multi-Mission Gear but for everyone and I love it to bits. I truly and honestly think that it's one of the most powerful Upgrades out there for Cars, Motorcycles and honestly just about anything else that plays a billion Actions in their decks and wants to play more of them. You can imagine someone like Blurr being able to play a tremendous amount of Actions during your turn including cards like Marksmanship, Leap Into Battle, Leap of Faith and loads more.
The fact that Actions have and always will be more powerful than Upgrades makes Anticipation Engine thus more powerful than Metal Detector. I could go into just why Actions are better than Upgrades, but to be perfectly honest I think I go over that in every article to be perfectly frank with you, so I don't think I'll go over it again this time just to save my sanity.
Unfortunately, with that power there must also be something to rein it in and Anticipation Engine has its fair share. Whilst you have a powerful effect, it's still a Weapon that takes up any other spot for weapons. That means that whatever you're attacking with, you won't be able to deal too much -- or any -- damage at all when you use it on a lesser powered character. That, and it's a white pip, not a green pip like Metal Detector. Unfortunately, this makes Anticipation Engine far less consistent than its Upgrade sister card and thus less powerful.
It's an odd balance with Anticipation Engine. On one hand, the effect of playing multiple Actions in one turn while not needing a Specialist in order to do so seems extremely powerful. On the other, though, you'll effectively be crippling yourself in terms of damage output. In that case, I don't think it'll see much play given that it doesn't give any stat boosts. The Weapon slot is so imperative to winning the game, that I struggle to justify taking it up with something that doesn't really give you anything in terms of power. That being said, perhaps you could fill your deck with damaging Actions to make Anticipation Engine essentially do more damage than none at all.
I dunno. It's a bit tin-foil-cappy, to be sure, but I'm confident that the list made to support this card would be so niche and oddly built that I'm not quite sure that it could function normally.
Extra Padding is simply not that great at being an armor, but it is great at getting more of itself in play which can be quite the boon to certain cards. So, let me explain.
You see, since Extra Padding is a stacked Upgrade, Equipment Enthusiast can draw a net more cards than normal. Three upgrades in one slot can give you essentially more potential value for Equipment Enthusiast. But, that's not all. You see, Armor is a potent yet fragile slot thanks to Bashing Shield. Being that Extra Padding is a stacked Upgrade, Bashing Shield can only remove one layer of Armor.
This makes Extra Paddimg an effectively invincible Armor, since playing Bashing Shield to simply remove one layer of Extra Padding would be a frankly abysmal expendiature for extremely little value. That said, Extra Padding is also a lot of effort to play during your turn, and it also has little payoff for the required resources.
I mean, think about it. You're almost never going to get all three, and if you do, you'll find that it's simply just as potent as a Reinforced Plating or Body Armor with double or triple the effort to play. That said, having an invincible armor isn't a bad thing, even if your opponent can play a Security Checkpoint and prevent you from playing it to begin with.
Either way, I think there are just better cards to play during your turn, but it's a cool little card regardless.
Basic Combat Protocols is a worse Flamethrower. I realize that, as a Utility, you're essentially adding on more Bold than you would normally, but you're losing that Utility value while also potentially losing weapon value.
Consider my Insecticon list. Did you see any Utilities? It's because aggro decks don't have the time to attach something that only gives them Bold 1. In fact, Tandem Targeting System is straight better because it attaches multiple Upgrades at once for effectively the same amount of damage.
Further, if you're playing Aggro, you'll find that when everyone untaps, they'll be unlikely to have any Upgrades whatsoever. Many aggressive decks use Upgrades like Grenade Launcher and Power Punch to deal damage, and this is no different. The simple fact is that Basic Combat Protocols is just a worse Flamethfower, making it a "feels bad" card that simply gives no value in the short run.
Problem is, Aggro is the only kind of deck that'd really benefit from this outside of Metroplex and Aggro decks live in the short run.
You know, I've learned to consider all the options. I learned that certain cards are way better than they might seem. I learned that certain things just take the right matchup. I mean, this even replaces itself!
Under normal circumstances, I would tell you to move on. I would tell you, "A single damage counter isn't worth it" and just go on to the next card.
These are normal circumstances. A single damage counter isn't worth it. Just go on to the next card.
Frag Toss is... Actually really solid. It reminds me of Swarm to many degrees since your opponent chooses where the damage goes, which is not necessarily a bad thing per se. Because of this consistent damage output, you can assume it will almost never go where you want it. That said, it is actually a very solid Decepticon card to play in Shockwave because that's kind of his whole playstyle.
Something else I'd like to point out is that this card is actually kind of amazing in Insecticons. Not only is it essentially "baby Swarm", but it is also a white pip instead of One Shall Stand's zero pips. It's honestly a very good card to look into when it comes to Insecticons and Shockwave, and I think this isn't the last time we've seen Frag Toss.
This card is very bad.
However, since it is a Decepticon card, you will be able to use it in Shockwave, especially since it has a black pip for the undoubtedly blue/black list.
That said, those are really the extent of the rewards you'll find with it. I think this one is niche at best. Move along!
Shockwave kinda needs a hand.
But truly, any Shockwave composition seems a little lackluster when compared to others, especially when you consider how hand destruction is usually a secondary effect rather than a full game plan. Shockwave usually deals a lot of damage at once through a burst of hand destruction, at least according to his Wave 1 iteration and the theme of LV Gamma Disruptor Launcher. With that in mind, we can pretty well assume that Major Shockwave and W1 Shockwave are going to be played in the same list because Gamma Disruptor is both a Decepticon card as well as a defensive hand destruction card.
But there's a problem.
When you consider the fact that hand control is a kind of "all or nothing" burst effect with often not a lot of payoff, this card gets a little worse. Consider Sentinels, for example. Sentinels really enjoy discarding your entire hand on the first turn of the game, and it works very well. However, when you consider that now that your opponent has no hand, you realize that you won't be able to discard any more cards to get any more value out of W1 Shockwave. That makes LV Gamma Disrupter Launcher just a tad bit worse, as well.
But is it bad?
Oh heavens no. Discarding a card from your opponent's hand while giving Shockwave a much-needed damage boost to the point that it reaches a permanent Grenade Launcher after two are attached? That's amazing. Especially when you consider the fact that, usually, after a Security Checkpoint your opponent is going to have only one card in their hand, an Action. When you use LV Gamma Disruptor, you can discard that last card and still boost your damage by quite a noticeable margin. Since it's also a Decepticon card, Major Shockwave can also effectively dig further into your deck to pull it out and use it against your opponent, making it a far more consistent card than most especially if you happen to use Reclaim to rig your topdeck to use any accidentally flipped ones.
Will this make Shockwave suddenly a nutty composition? I don't think it will, at least not particularly, but I do think that LV Gamma Disruptor is a necessary and welcome step in the right direction for Shockwave. I think it'll be a fantastic boost to Shockwave compositions, and I can't imagine a future without more to come.
Micro Capacitor is a kind of, well, very good.
You see, in a team with Micromasters (or in certain cases a team full of Micromasters) you will have a lot of options when it comes to tapping effects. Sadly, you'll find that your opponent will often target down the most useful of these effects. With that in mind, we either simply had to bite the bullet and let it happen, or use Stealthiness or Bravery to attempt to redirect that damage. Micro Capacitor effectively forces your opponent to attack where you want them to, while also giving you the added bonus of untapping your Micromaster for later use.
I think that any deck that values its Micromaster will love this card more than life itself. I mean, imagine getting to use Red Heat twice before he's KO'd, or even Detour or Flak! You can get a lot of value out of your Micromasters when you use them at the right time; you can get even more value out of them if you get to use them twice.
Mark my words, Bolster will be of one of the best cards in the set.
Allow me to explain. In a defensive list, you have one big enemy that you will fear until the end of time, and that card is named Bashing Shield. Bashing Shield can remove your armor and make your characters take way more damage than they initially would (or should) and effectively deny your Armor upgrade for the turn. In fact, most defensive lists play cards like Espionage just to remove Bashing Shield when they see an opponent pick one up using its green pip.
That's where Bolster comes in.
You see, when Bolster activates, your opponent will not have the chance to remove any Force Field, Reinforced Plating or any other powerful Armors that you might have. But perhaps more than that, you can get ahead on the Upgrade arms race or use to disrupt your opponent, including using cards like Scrapper Gauntlets to remove potentially awful weapons before they have an effect.
In fact, I actually quite think that will be a very good use for Bolster. But just imagine all of the potential you can use with it! If your opponent overinvests into an attack, simply Force Field and deny them that play. If they underinvest, then you can use cards like Multi-Mission Gear to play more Actions or Scrapper Gauntlets to punish their board state.
Bolster is honestly one of the best cards I have seen in Siege, and I am ecstatic to see where it goes from here.
Defensive Formation is a less hand-based version of Bolster, at least in the defensive respects. Think of this like playing an Armored Plating on one of your characters with a Bolster -- it's just not that strong as a defensive card when compared to Bolster. But, when you consider that it is markedly better against hand destruction-based lists like Sentinels... Well, I guess you could find a place for it in a sideboard.
But in a mainboard? I mean, sure, it makes all of your characters have +1 defense, but why? This isn't like Battle Ready where it makes all of your characters have +1 attack for each Upgrade on them -- this is just straight +1 defense on an orange pip no less.
I'm confused, disappointed and I'm ready for the next card!
It's basically Vaporize that can't target Utilities. It's at least good for decks that want to play a lot of black pips, but more than that I can't say I'd see using it over Ramming Speed, Vaporize or any of the other anti-Upgrade cards -- even Device Virus is better.
Either way, it's a middling card that will likely see play in black lists. More than that I cannot say.
However, it is worth noting that Reflector is actually featured on this card artwork! Plus, with a coy response from game designer Ken Nagle when I asked him at Origins about possible character inclusions, I'd wager that we'll be seeing a card or two based on everyone's favorite camera-based trio coming out next set. After all, why make new artwork to feature a character that will never come to be?
Hiding Place is a very, very good card for Tall decks.
So, lemme explain. You see, when you have a Tall deck, you're only sitting there with two characters. It's easy -- especially for aggressive decks like Insecticons -- to focus down one of your characters with mass attack. So, with Hiding Place, you can effectively force your opponent not to do that by giving the character they wish to focus down Stealth. This is an incredibly good effect for a powerful composition like Double Primes or even Three Wide Prime, as redirecting your opponent's attacks in a defensive build is never not good.
Now, in most other lists, this won't help much. But, in lists like Sideswipe, Tall decks and various defensive compositions, you'll find that Hiding Place is invaluable.
Being a +3 attack weapon, one could say that EM24 IR Laser Launcher is a good weapon -- one could even say that it has no downside like Erratic Lightning!
One would also be super, super wrong.
You see, being a blank pip effectively cuts back on that value by quite a large margin. You're effectively losing consistency in your list in terms of pip strength, something I am not a fan of. In fact, I cut One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall from my Insecticon list simply because it had no pips to flip during Kickback and other, equally as Bold characters' attacks.
The same could be said here. Laser Launcher still has a bit of power in it, sure, but I would never put more than one in a list that already had cards without pips like I Still Function. Even if I were to put this in a list, I would be far more likely to play One Shall Stands simply because of the out of combat damage that it could provide instead of the in combat damage that Laser Launcher provides.
One thing that Laser Launcher has over One Shall Stand, of course, is the lack of recoil. But is that truly a reason to play a subpar weapon over your other options?
This card is a not great card, much like its two sister cards. Aside from Device Virus, Chop Shop and, well, dying, there really isn't many ways to scrap this card from one of your characters to scrap an already usually unimportant Utility from your opponent. Plus, you're not getting any healthier as the game goes by -- there just isn't time to play and scrap this card.
Of course, Personal Targeting Drone does have a green and white pip, so at least you can put a white pip into your hand if you desperately need one for Red Heat, Stakeout or other, similar effects. There's not too much reason to play this, otherwise, though.
Think about Flamethrower, and then put a black pip on it, and then you have Smokethrower.
In orange/black decks, you're effectively able to play six copies of Flamethrower while still not losing any of your orange or black cards. In fact, in white/black lists like Omega Supreme/Jazz, you're going to be needing something like Smokethrower in order to actually deal a relevant amount of damage. It's not exceptional, no, but it does it's job and I think that's pretty much as much as you could ask for.
Urban Camo is actually much better than Basic Combat Protocol.
So, Tough 1 is super small, yes, but when you consider that you can use it in tandem with Flamewar, General Optimus and an Armor, that Tough 1 can stack very quickly. Keep in mind, Urban Camo is a Utility -- not an Armor -- so you can play it alongside other cards like Reinforced Plating or Body Armor. Plus, being a Blue pip, you can still flip it and not feel awful about yourself.
It's kind of a feel bad card to play on your turn, but if you're playing defensively you're able to have enough time to take full advantage of Urban Camo, unlike Basic Combat Protocol in aggro lists. Either way, I think it's a great card for defensive lists in the highly underutilized Utility slot -- and I couldn't be happier.
Origins was a dream for me. I drove down with a friend of mine and ended up staying in an Air BNB with a great group of friends, having one of the first vacations I've had in a matter of years. Escape Rooms, literal knights in shining armor, film festivals and interesting eats all made the tournament at Origins not just any tournament, but an experience. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my time at Origins -- and I think the best way to explain it is simply to tell you to go to the next tournament at GenCon, yourself, and see. If you'd like to hear more things about my thoughts on my placement and my run, you can check out an interview with me that Cameron Ehteshami did on his channel, Arbitrary Hero!
I had an utterly awesome time at Origins, and it was even better to meet all the people that I have spoken to online about this card game we all love to play, and meeting new friends was even better. Plus, winning third was a nice bonus -- it was far greater than I had even hoped to place! I had hoped to get this article out beforehand, which is why it's so long, but I ended up running out of time and had to put it out after I got back from Columbus a week after. Sorry about that!
Speaking of those reveals, what do you think? I think that Bolster is one of my favorite cards in the set, and I think that the abilities that Bolster is bringing will be far and away one of the most impactful cards to be added to the game.
Or maybe I'm wrong. Who knows? Lemme know in the comments below what you think!
Posted by ZeldaTheSwordsman on June 26th, 2019 @ 4:07pm CDT
Posted by #Sideways# on June 26th, 2019 @ 5:03pm CDT
ZeldaTheSwordsman wrote:I think that Pteraxodon needs to be recalled or have a correctional sticker issued. That is an axe, not a scythe! How the smeg did they screw that up WHEN HE HAS "AX" IN HIS FREAKING NAME?!
You know, that's... That's actually a really good point. What were they thinking?
Posted by Stargrave on June 28th, 2019 @ 10:43am CDT
The article goes in depth to the limitations and benefits of this version of the game.
"Once you’re playing, Turbo mode captures the core of what the game is about. You have fast action, robots bashing each other to bits, and the abstracted tactical feel of our tapping-based combat system. This is one of the game’s core strengths, even though it’s so simple. The back and forth maneuver of attacking, tapping, and then being vulnerable to counter attack is at the heart of Transformers TCG. A large part of why we settled on two packs to start is because it’s the minimum number you need to experience this jockeying for position."
It further goes on to touch on some things expected on the horizon.
"As I mentioned, we’ve been watching the world play Turbo Mode. Often this is on people’s streams, but we also got to see a ton of Turbo play at Origins 2019 before and during the Transformers TCG Open. We’ve had several cool ideas that we’re investigating for future sets, and we’re excited to talk about them when we get closer to those sets’ release dates.
For now though, we’re tweaking the rules for turbo for Wave 3 – War for Cybertron: Siege I. Starting in this wave, you get two characters per booster pack (one large and one small), so for Wave 3, before starting a game of Turbo Mode (and without seeing your opponent’s cards) you’ll select a team of one large and one small character from among your four character cards."
Time to rev up your decks ands bend some fenders Seibertronians! Let us know if you're going to be giving Turbo Mode a go in the forums or if you're more of a fan of the standard play format.
Posted by PerfectVision on June 28th, 2019 @ 12:45pm CDT
This wave gave me headache,i won't come back.
Plasma X 1
What i mean is that he is not buffed bythe LV but by the UFO,if you begin in the blue section,flip him very fast and end withe a system.What do you want to do with a single discard?
A better version of the Jazz quadrio
The special flip is doable with a focus level 2
Mega3-Triggerhappy-Detour,mining+Master obviously,3B/1W and a minority of O,don't forget the Eenthusiast
They can draw very fast and convert it into damage
Old optimus13-Wheel3 +fullL
I don't care
Runabout and muck-Visper
Discard and heal,the takeC is mostly anti EEG or the flip of mega3,unless you have the Cdagger+Device
They combine bold and pierce
EDF X 1
Scream12-skrapnel-Stormcloud/skywarp8-Aimless-Flamewar7,i don't see what level card they want with them
The battering turn Skrapnel into a wimp.
Posted by PerfectVision on June 28th, 2019 @ 1:07pm CDT
Optimus12-Springer/Scream13-Blitzwing/Dreadwing is bad
Ramming-Reflex-Ancient-Unleahed-Noble/nullray-PTD or CrushingS/Sconsole-Disrupt-drill-Scrapper-disruptive-Scheckpoint-Rollout-Espionnage/Dcrown
Posted by #Sideways# on June 28th, 2019 @ 1:09pm CDT
PerfectVision wrote:This wave gave me headache,i won't come back.
That's disappointing to hear! What about it gave you a headache?
Posted by Stargrave on June 28th, 2019 @ 1:59pm CDT
Thanks so much for all the hard work!
Posted by Stargrave on June 28th, 2019 @ 2:20pm CDT
From the press release:
"Blaster VS Soundwave 35th Anniversary Edition
Limit of 2 per customer.
To help celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Transformers, the Transformers TCG presents the fan-favorite match-up of Blaster VS Soundwave with throwback art and packaging.
Contains 2 Large and 6 Small foil TRANSFORMERS TCG character cards, and two 40-card decks of battle cards.
BLASTER // Communications
SOUNDWAVE // Communications
STEELJAW // Tracker
RAMHORN // Warrior
EJECT // Electronic Surveillance
RAVAGE // Saboteur
BUZZSAW // Spy
FRENZY // Warrior
Don't be late or you all are going to be looking like burnt out toaster ovens as these are bound to move fast! Are these the sets that are going to finally going to convince you to pick up the new game? Are you players ready for tournaments looking forward to these sets to amp up your decks?
Share your favorite load outs in the forums and let us know!
Posted by #Sideways# on June 28th, 2019 @ 4:53pm CDT
Stargrave wrote:The amount of work you put into these articles is freaking ridiculous Sideways. I don't even play the game but you put up the best pics of the cards too whether you play or not it's awesome art work to check out.
Thanks so much for all the hard work!
Hey, no problem, man. I love the game, Transformers and writing so I guess it just kinda falls into place together sometimes!
(Plus, I have a nasty habit of having an opinion about everything. )
Posted by leokearon on June 29th, 2019 @ 11:28am CDT
Posted by chuckdawg1999 on June 30th, 2019 @ 11:26pm CDT
Posted by Stargrave on July 1st, 2019 @ 1:31am CDT
"This official, extra large playable card for the Transformers Trading Card Game features OG Autobot Omega Supreme, who transforms into a rocket, tank, and base. Play this exclusive, double sided card next time want to transform the outcome of your next game.
Pre-Order Today! Estimated Shipping: Late June. Will ship separate from other items in your order. US Only."
Those looking to bolster their decks with the king of the Sentinels for a fraction of the price the time to act is now because there's no word on how long this amazing sale is going to last. Click the images for the jump to Lootvault and let us know your thoughts in the forums. As always stay tuned to the Seibertron news feeds for the latest in Transformer news!
Posted by Stargrave on July 2nd, 2019 @ 10:27pm CDT
Check them out below and as always share your thoughts with the Seibertron crew in the forums and stay tuned for the latest in Transformer news!
From the article:
"NOTE: The 35th Anniversary Blaster vs. Soundwave set will be available at SDCC, Gen Con, PAX Unplugged, and then online at Hasbro Pulse after SDCC concludes. The Convention Pack 2019 will be available for in-person purchases at SDCC only, followed online at Hasbro Pulse. The post has been updated for clarification.
A special Transformers: TCG boxed set and 2019 convention pack are coming to San Diego Comic Con this year, and you can get a first look at the cards stats, as well as the (always) excellent Transformers art, right here.
The boxed set celebrates 35 years of transforming tape-decks waging Cybertronian warfare, featuring Autobot communicator Blaster and Decepticon communicator Soundwave, as well as their cassette robot underlings. Check out each card in both their alt and bot modes, as well as their stats, in the slideshow below"
Here's the images from the slideshow:
"The boxed set will be available for purchase at "San Diego Comic Con, Gen Con, and PAX Unplugged," while the Convention Pack is only available at SDCC and Pulse following the show.
However, the good news is if you miss your chance at one of the cons or online, Hasbro is releasing a retail version of the boxed set with the exact same stats, but different art. Have a look at the retail version of the Blaster vs. Soundwave 35th Anniversary boxed set below:
Transformers: TCG Blaster vs. Soundwave Retail Edition"
"In addition to the boxed set, there's also a Convention Pack 2019 featuring the Omnibots: Sergeant Overdrive, Private Downshift, and Private Camshaft. The packs are "non-randomized" and can be picked up for $15 at the convention or on Hasbro Pulse."
Posted by Wireless_Phantom on July 2nd, 2019 @ 10:50pm CDT
Posted by Seibertron on July 2nd, 2019 @ 11:57pm CDT
Posted by Emerje on July 3rd, 2019 @ 6:31am CDT
Damn! Someone's been working out.
And yeah, I would love to see some updated Omnibot figures. Maybe later in the WFC trilogy if we're lucky. (Along with some Refraktor repaints.)