Strategies and Descriptions for latest Cards from Transformers TGC with Arcee, Ironhide, Soundwave and More
Thursday, May 9th, 2019 7:11PM CDTCategories: Site News, Game News
Posted by: #Sideways# Views: 13,447
And I'm wanted / Dead or alive
So many reveals so little time. But before we get into them, I think we should probably address the elephant in the room -- or to be more specific, the cassette player in the room!
If you couldn't tell from the teaser up top, we're going to be getting Soundwave as well as his cassettes this wave! Now, it is currently unknown what they're going to look like given the line "drastically altered their appearance", but we can guess that they're going to look something like their Siege incarnations. We also have literally no idea how they're going to work given that the guys at Wizards have stated that they had a specific playstyle that was unlike anything we've seen before.
My mind is reeling this early in an article? Criminey Christmas! Someone, start the spoilers, quick, before I start speculating... And hey, what's with this cassette deck on the table? I thought those were out of style since... Bah. Let's get to the reveals!
Arcee is an interesting, and a surprisingly competent, character. This is the second Arcee card we've gotten, with this form being in the form of her G1 design. With her comes Focus, a new type of keyword-based ability. Let's dig into that, shall we?
Focus, when used, is a pre-attack ability similar to Plan where you look at the top card of your deck and decide whether or not to keep it. Basically, just think of Aerial Recon where you can Surveil the top card of your deck to hopefully make your next attack better. But here's the thing. I've said this time and time again, even with Recon System: Focus and other attack-based effects like it, if you really think about it, are just worse versions of Bold.
Put it this way; which of the two would you rather do?
Focus: Look at the top of your deck, decide you don't like it and scrap it. Then, you flip the next two cards, with the end result being you seeing the top three cards of your deck with the standard two flips.
Bold: Flip three cards. The top card of your deck wasn't what you wanted, but the other two were. The end result is that you see three cards off the top of your deck with Bold 1 and and the standard two flips.
If you think those things are anything other than exactly the same, then you're fascinatingly wrong.
But here's the thing: If they're the same, then what makes Focus worse? I must have been exaggerating, right? Well, let's take a look at that same scenario again but let's change the top of the deck to something we want to keep instead of something we want to scrap. Let's see what happens:
Focus: You look at the top card of your deck and you decide to keep it. This means you won't be seeing another card off the top card of your deck, and this means you're only seeing two in total and you're doing the damage that would entail.
Bold: You flip three cards, including the card you wanted to keep, dealing more damage than Focus would allow.
Empirically speaking, Focus is worse than Bold. Now, this is not to say that Focus in itself is bad per se, in fact, I'd much prefer Arcee to have Focus instead of being vanilla, but you have to understand that unless it's in extremely high numbers, Focus won't do much for you outside the first turn or two.
Now, where does that leave Arcee? Well, since we know that having Focus is better than nothing, we can safely say that her vehicle mode lands solidly in the "somewhat mediocre" slot. Hey, it's better than "bad" or "unplayable", right? I may be harsh but I'm not heartless!
But what of her robot mode? Well, my friends, that's where I'm actually slightly excited. Now, I am an excitable person, but in balanced builds Arcee might actually see value. You see, we're in an anti-Armor meta with Bashing Shield making aggro decks extremely powerful against their more defensive opponents. It's why Force Field isn't as powerful as it could be.
So, when I saw that Arcee could retain Tough with only a weapon, I was intrigued. There is no anti-Weapon cards that are played to any notable degree with the innate lack of permanence that many of the most powerful weapons have. So, you could make whatever armor you have on you far more potent, or you could play her in an all-blue list to make her mediocre defensive stats higher.
But here's another reason to be excited for Arcee in aggro lists, as well: She makes every weapon attached to her provide Bold 1. You could use a Power Punch to give her Bold 3, stacking with her innate ability to give her a thick total Bold 4. Which reminds me, if you manage to put a Superior Blaster or Lionizer's weapon mode, you can give her a monstrous Bold 5 not even counting any Actions you've played.
Of course, one could make the argument that one could just play Wave 1 Wheeljack. He has Bold 3 innately, after all. Naturally, I agree. If it's one or the other, Wheeljack is definitely the better option. However, I wonder if she won't have a claim to a spot alongside him instead of Wave 2 Prowl thanks to her Tough and higher HP adding to her survivability?
Who knows? I just write here.
All in all, she's interesting. I can definitely see her getting played in certain balanced lists for her Bold/Tough split, but I can also see a case for her use in Cars. I wouldn't count on it, of course, but she certainly has potential.
Flamewar has as many cards as her toys. I really don't have that much to follow that up with, but I just thought it was an interesting point at how we have a hilarious lack of Flamewar representation in the toyline. But, is her card just as dismal as her representation?
Well, not really. Somewhat. Kinda. That'll take some explaining.
Firstly, I've spoken at length about low numbers of Focus and how it's basically just Bold but with more steps and less payoff. Now, with Flamewar's Focus 2, you can still look at the top of your deck to arrange them however you want or scrap them. Something about Focus that I didn't exactly touch on is that the high number of Focus (say, for instance an Upgrade gives you Focus 3 plus the innate Focus 2) you can potentially arrange not just the next attack but potentially the defense afterward. I'm not saying that this is confirmed to happen, but it would be fascinating if it did.
I mean, you could pair it with Plan 2 to put two cards for Flamewar's attack on the top of your deck after arranging the next two cards for defensive purposes. I don't know if that's viable given Flamewar's... Rather dismal defense to say the least. Arcee could get away with it with her Tough 1, but Flamewar isn't so lucky. Of course, you could always try out the Plan combo I was talking about to hopefully rig the topdeck to your defensive purposes, but that only goes so far.
But enough about Focus! Let's talk about the stats of everyone's Decepticon waifu: Flamewar! If you couldn't tell, Flamewar is a cheap-ish Motorcycle, which means she can finish out a full team of Motorcycles worth 25 Points with Chromia at 8, Wave 1 Arcee at 5, Wave 1 Flamewar at 5 and using those 7 points, Specialist Flamewar to round out the whole list.
Now, is there any point to a full Motorcycle list other than the novelty of saying that you, in fact, have four Motorcyles on the field?
Not anymore. You remember Swap Parts, right? The banned card? Yeah, that card was kind of important for the Motorcycle's explosive playstyle given the Specialist support that the archetype relied upon. It kinda stinks because Motorcycles were seemingly about to get their hayday with a fourth Motorcycle Specialist to join their ranks and more cards to use in their combo. Now that Swap Parts is banned, who knows if they have the power to be viable anymore?
Who knows? Either way, I just know that Specialist Flamewar will be played in the list. Will she be played anywhere else? Probably not. She doesn't have the amount of power that other seven starred characters have, and despite her Stealth in vehicle mode, not that much bulk to back up the opposite end of the spectrum.
Something about Infinite Combo being uncounterable?
Let's be honest, here, this is the epitome of a hard counter to the Infinite Combo. Ironhide can't take non-attack damage, which is kinda the entire win condition of the Combo deck, and his stats are high enough that we can pretty well say that Combo can't pull off the KO on him pretty much no matter what. Remember, Combo is not dead -- it's just more complicated. Red Heat makes it a competent composition, albeit a more counterable one.
But Ironhide? Ironhide counters it in the same vein that Acid Storm counters Dinobots. His very existence means that, in all likelihood, you will be able to punish their flimsy composition. This is not to say that it's an autowin, but you're guaranteed to at least have Ironhide alive and likely at nigh full HP when their combo inevitably ends. When it does, Red Heat is going to be tapped, and as such, you can more or less annihilate him and his flimsy stats, likely ending the combo for good.
Ironhide can also do a good bit of work against Aerialbots and similarly geared direct damage decks. These aren't played as much as other decks, but it's nice to know that Ironhide is roughly impervious to their entire deck in the same vein that Motormaster makes the rest of his team effectively invincible to direct damage.
Of course, there is more to Ironhide than his vehicle mode. His robot mode is something of an interesting novelty. With the weapon trading effect, you can retrigger weapon effects like Armed Hovercraft, or swap an Armed Hovercraft for a more potent weapon like Energon Axe. Sadly, this happens before flips, meaning you can't swap a Bold weapon with a damaging weapon after the Bold triggers.
Regardless, the Armed Hovercraft combo is something that I'm fascinated by. I've always loved Armed Hovercraft and cards like it such as Photon Bomb, and his synergy with them is titillating. I just wish that it could be with any weapon, not just blue weapons. That way you could put a Superior Blaster on him, bypassing the Tech Research stipulation.
Either way, Ironhide is an interesting little Rare card. I'm not quite sure if we'll see him out in the field thanks to his middling stats and above average cost, but in his own deck or maybe partnered with Ultra Magnus? Now you're cookin' with gas.
Roadhugger is basically baby Thrust and I love him.
I know, I know, I said the same thing about Storm Cloud, but let's be fair here. What you lose in a single point for playing Roadhugger, you could say that you're gaining consistency. Instead of requiring you to discard three green pips (in some cases three of the same green pip), you need only to discard a single blue pip to get roughly the same value. If you consider that most of the time Bold is just +1 damage (not counting extra white pips, blanks or double orange cards), you're effectively getting the same value for a much more manageable cost.
Roadhugger, however, does require you to play blue cards in an orange deck and I am not super in love with that. However, there is a silver lining. There are cards like Matrix of Leadership or Roll Out which have one of each, as well as playing Backup Beam or Scoundrel's Blaster to have a green pipped green that doesn't really make you lose out on damage with their being weapons.
Plus, he's a Car, which means that you can untap him in a car deck rather easily to be used again (if he survives)! All in all, I think Roadhugger might replace Storm Cloud in most lists that don't care about alternate modes. In decks that want to field a lot of planes, Storm Cloud's your guy, but if you don't care about that single point and you don't mind having a car... Well, look no further.
Hey, wait a minute! Laserbeak? Where's your...? Ah, nevermind.
Laserbeak is both amazingly good and amazingly worrying at the same time. On one hand, you have Laserbeak's horrible stats in both modes. On the other, however, you get to play a "free" Secret Action during your turn as well as a little extra draw support with his neat little draw ability in alternate mode. Now, this would be even better if we knew what kind of things we could look forward to in terms of Secret Actions. But, as it stands, we have no idea other than a simple Draw + Plan card as to what we're going to have access to.
But, to be perfectly frank with you, Laserbeak was probably not meant to be played alone. Even though he actually could be competent in terms of his Secret Action engine, he's basically just a slightly worse Micromaster at that point. Why do I say this, you ask? Well, look closely: He's a Micromaster in all areas except the most important: Stealth.
On the first turn of the game, Laserbeak has a great many chances to get annihilated by any and every aggro deck you ever have the displeasure of facing. I gripe, of course; with proper blue support, you have just as many chances at survival, as well, but I can't help but to be worried about the little guy.
In closing, Laserbeak may be frail, but he brings unquestionable utility with his Secret Action ability. We don't know all of those Secret Actions, or any beyond the first to be exact, but playing free Actions never hurt anybody.
Ravage is surprisingly good, and he makes up for Laserbeak's less-than-stellar offensive power and bulk by being... Well, both of those things. In terms of five star cassettes, he's going to be able to take quite the beating in his alternate mode. But that's not all that this little bugger can do: In his robot mode, he can do a bit of chip damage here and there, and start pounding on some more dense targets.
I do realize that his chip damage makes him a bit lackluster in many (most) compositions, but do keep in mind that his chip damage actually turns out to be a bit useful in certain scenarios. For instance, he can turn Skrapnel into a 2HKO, and he can pop Six-Gun for one damage to negate the Force Field. Sometimes one damage is all you need, and whereas I still stand by Zap being one of the worst Actions in the game, I can still find justification for Ravage's abilities seeing as he's always there and not a constant threat of cluttering your hand.
Now, the down side. His stats are nothing to write home about other than his high defense in cassette mode, and his survivability in robot mode is actually markedly worse than Laserbeak's. In fact, Laserbeak is actually better at attacking than Ravage could ever hope to be with his innate Pierce 2, but with any luck Ravage won't need to be doing any head-on attack damage, anyway.
All in all, I think that Ravage will probably be passed up on in most compositions outside of cassettes. Laserbeak is just better value for his point cost, including the ability to deal two damage to a high-armored target through Pierce. Plus, there are just better Micromasters, including Roadhugger, in defensive lists for the same cost.
Okay but real talk: We can now have just an entire team of cats. Lionizer, Rampage, Razorclaw and now Ravage. There is literally no actual reason to have that team other than the fact that they are all cats, but like... You have an entire team of cats.
Soundwave? Wait... Soundwave? Hey, wait a minute... Where'd that cassette player go?
Oh. Well, my own blindness aside, let's peel apart the mystery and see just what Soundwave can really do!
Looking over his stats to start off, we see that he is 11 Stars -- not bad, but still not that great for having three five starred characters paired with him. But there's more to him than meets the eye. You see, he also has two abilities directly tied to another team keyword: "Spy Patrol". These are undoubtedly his cassettes (see below) and both of his abilities are equally as powerful.
First, I think I can safely state that giving passively +1 Defense to your cassettes is absolutely insane. Now, sure, your opponent is probably not going to use much effort in KOing them and instead focus on Soundwave given their high defense (especially Ravage), but it's a very interesting idea to transform Laserbeak to robot mode on the first turn and attack with Ravage, forcing them to attack into his monstrous defense. After all, Soundwave can use his robot mode the next turn to completely refund that entire transaction.
How? Well, when he attacks, he untaps your cassettes. Thus, after you've tried to punch your opponent with a literal cassette tape turn one, you can prevent Ravage or Laserbeak from being double targeted and reuse their tap abilities to boot. You probably don't need me to tell you this, but this effect is extremely powerful.
Something else that is worthy of note is that Soundwave doesn't have any innate effects to force you into playing orange or blue. Thus, I would probably say that the best way to play Soundwave is defensively so that Ravage or Laserbeak can survive their first hit, and Soundwave can get more value. This lower attack in the blue version is mitigated by Ravage being able to put out some surprising amounts of damage on heavily armored targets. Now, I realize that he's not going to be winning any awards or dominating any games, but adding on a little bit of damage on a turn where you can't or don't want to play a Secret Action with Laserbeak can't be understated.
But finally, something that I want to touch on slightly is this: Soundwave and his cassettes are entirely 21 stars. This means that, unless you wanted to play four Star Cards, you could play Storm Cloud or perhaps -- and no, the irony is not lost on me -- a Constructicon. Now, again, we don't have all the facts. Buzzsaw could be revealed tomorrow, Ratbat the next day, or perhaps Frenzy, Rumble or even Overkill. There are so many options to fill that fourth spot, but the big question I want to ask is... Just who could it be, and just what could they do?
I think I'll leave that question unanswered for now. But I for one welcome Soundwave. He might be janky, but you can't deny that his monstrous 15 HP and his cassettes' utility is not to be understated. I worry about his low damage output, but perhaps there could be Secret Actions to save him from that fate? Or perhaps a third cassette? Until we know, there's no way to tell. But that being said... I can't wait to see how Soundwave does in the meta. I think we're going to see a lot of him, jank or otherwise.
So, I might have forgotten to show off the starter set when it came out, but I figured I might drop them here and share my opinions on them anyway just to get the news out there! Remember, you can buy the starter set in stores now, and it's a good start to teach people how to play the game!
Just as a disclaimer, my opinions below only reflect the constructed competitive mentality, not from a new player, casual mentality. The set is still a good start to get people into the game, but I fear that may be the only use for it.
Just say no.
There are just so many better options, like W2 Prowl, Hot Rod, Sunstreaker... Well, you get the picture. He might make a good proxy back, though!
One day we'll get a good Windblade. One day.
So, I suppose one could make the argument that she is an Autobot Plane who also happens to cost a solid 5 Stars. Now, that's actually quite something, isn't it? Of course, we could try putting her in a five-wide Autobot Plane list, essentially cutting Alpha Bravo from the Aerialbots and making a passing attempt at pulling off the fabled Photon Bomb + Bombing Run combo with five Planes in play. Of course, it's hard enough to pull that off with the Aerialbots on the regular that I daresay that it wouldn't be any easier taking out one of the Aerialbots -- a Specialist at that -- and replacing him with someone who is essentially a vanilla.
To make matters worse, Aerialbots get a lot of power out of Superion, especially on the turn of combination.
I just can't imagine her in anything else, and it sucks because I do love Windblade as a character. Hopefully, one day, she'll have her moment in the sun; but for now, it looks like she'll just have to keep having her moment in the tsun tsun.
Remind me to never make that pun ever again.
Megatron might actually have some potential. Think about this: Demolishor has 6 points. Flak has 5. Warpath has 6. Those tanks total 17 points, and you know what that means? You can fit a fourth Tank in that list.
Now, quad tanks might be lacking in quite a bit of defensive power, but consider for a moment the idea of running offensive tanks, with Demolishor being the mainstay. You can Hunker Down your whole field with Force Field as well as Bashing Shields to make your life easier, and your spare Armor could be Scrapper Gauntlets to draw even more cards than you already will with Demolishor. You can even play a Full Loadout with your spare Star to make Demolishor hit even harder.
And, backing him up, is Megatron. Megatron can be used in tandem with Full Loadout, Attack Drones or Flak to boost his damage to similar levels that Thundercracker has. Megatron can boost his damage to startlingly high levels for his point cost when you crank out several Upgrades at once.
The Bold in his vehicle mode won't do you much good, sadly, given his measly 2 Attack. But, at least he is a tank. Demolishor couldn't be happier for it.
But, that being said, I could also see playing him alongside Megatron -- Living Weapon. You can use Living Weapon's alternate mode to boost Baby Megatron's damage, with the two Upgrades from that alone boosting his attack to a very respectable 5, not counting the weapons. Plus, you can use Flak to put a third Upgrade on him, boosting his damage to 6, still not counting the Weapons. Fully stocking him with Upgrades certainly sounds nice, though I do worry for his staying power given his mediocre stats otherwise -- I mean, it always sucks to put all of your eggs in one basket; sucks even more to do it twice. But, he might just have the power necessary to have the payoff.
In total, Megatron alone might make this set purchaseable. He can be used as a nice backup attacker, something similar to Baby Buzzwole in the Pokemon TCG in many fighting decks. Good as a one-and-done, but has diminishing returns. Whether he's in as a fourth member to a Tank list or as a backup to someone double his size, Megatron has a lot of value in a little package.
Starscream might have potential. Stop laughing, I'm serious.
Okay, so, remember when I talked about how Megatron could fit into a quad list? Or Windblade in a five-wide? You could say the same thing about Starscream, here, except he has something extremely powerful going for him that Windblade doesn't have, and that Megatron can't take advantage of in the same way:
His name is Starscream.
So if you remember, way, way, way in the past -- around September -- you might remember a Starscream being released that had Bold 2 innately, but more importantly had a very special vehicle mode ability tied to how many Planes you had on the field. Now, back then, the Planes list was something of a misfire. Starscream loved having Planes, but he couldn't get the right planes.
Thundercracker just didn't belong in the list despite his vehicle ability, and Skywarp was... Well, W1 Skywarp was W1 Skywarp. Thus, Starscream rather fell into the wayside for other lists. I still tried to keep the dream alive with more and more variations, but all fell rather flat on their faces.
So, then, how does Baby Starscream help with that?
Well, for one, he has five stars. This means you can play Starscream -- Air Commander at 11 stars, Starscream -- Decepticon Lieutenant at 5, Storm Cloud at 4 and Fireflight at 5 to round off the list with a solid Brave effect to keep both Starscream safe. This means you have four Planes on the field, which means you can use Starscream -- Air Commander's vehicle mode effect to its fullest potential of a good three damage. I don't think you'll be progressing too hard in the direct damage route for this build, though, and that's for good reason.
Reason being, you now have two Starscream in the list. Meaning, you can make full use of Null Ray of Starscream to add a whole mess of damage to Air Commander as well as making Baby Starscream's competent four attack an astonishing 5 base with Bold 2 stacked on. Just imagine Storm Cloud getting involved in that mess with his Bold effect, too!
Now, I realize Baby Starscream is about as frail as one can be, likely being in an all orange list to make your Bold deal the most it can, and his Tough 1 can't make his 7 HP last through a soul-shattering 0 Defense. But that being said, you will likely get a lot of value out of him before he falls, potentially one-hitting many threats out there.
Don't mark this guy up to binder bait just yet. I think he might just have a bright future ahead of him.
Full Loadout is kind of nutty. Not only is it a double orange pip -- a blessing in aggro decks with one star to spare -- but it has an effect that is quite ridiculous in many decks.
So, I want you to imagine something. You're sitting there across from a Megatron -- Cybertronian Tyrant and you just went first. You think that your Battlefield Legend is safe, and you decide to swing into their Warpath with just enough to KO them. Not a bad start, and Megatron is too slow to possibly get up enough Upgrades to threaten you on the first turn of th-- Surprise! He is completely powered up with three Upgrades, boosting his damage to 6 base plus a Grenade Launcher and his level of damage and survivability go through the roof with his Force Field and Data Pad.
Battlefield Legend is nearly one-hit out of nowhere.
Now, the effects of Full Loadout are a bit amplified on my cherrypicked Baby Megatron scenario, but playing three Upgrades for essentially free should not be understated in its usefulness, especially if it's on a double orange pip. Now, again, you need to have the Weapon, Utility and Armor in your hand in order to get the full effect of its power and that means you're highly unlikely to get it off on the first turn of the game. But, later on, you can get some shocking comebacks by exploding upgrades on a character out of nowhere.
As for which is better between Mounted Missiles or Full Loadout, I think that should be fairly obvious. Mounted Missiles is neat, but they've never had that powerful burst that you really need to justify playing them on your turn. Sure, you can play it in a Utility or Armor slot, but really, wouldn't you rather just play a regular weapon? Or rather, wouldn't you rather play a Weapon, a Utility and an Armor?
This card is lying to you.
EMP Wave taps all characters, both yours and your opponents. So, what happens when all characters are tapped? Everyone untaps. This means that you are untapping all characters on the field going into your opponent's next turn, effectively giving them their choice of whomever they want to attack on their turn. You don't get to attack with one of your characters -- instead, you're forfeiting that last attack to tap everyone.
Now, there is actually merit to doing so if you happen to be behind in the character trade or the untap game. If, say, you face cars and they're -- per usual -- more or less completely untapped during the turn where you would be completely tapped out, you could potentially play an EMP Wave to negate your opponent's trademark Car Dogpile where they get to attack you with all of their characters.
But, to be perfectly frank, is that worth the star? Maybe. I don't really like Energized Field that much, especially given that it flat out begs you to play orange cards in a blue deck, and EMP Wave's limited use is probably better than Energized Field's practical disuse. Regardless, it's an interesting card. Whether or not it'll see play for its effect or just its pip still remains to be seen, but I think we'll probably see it over Energized Field regardless.
Battering Ram is not the best at everything, but it does its job very, very well. Now, you might be asking, "Hey, what is that job, exactly?" and that is a good question, and I'm afraid it has a simple answer.
Combiners hate Battering Ram because they really, really like being able to combine during a game. Battering Ram not only slows Combiners down to a crawl, but in some cases outright denies combination in general. I mean, think about it. Every time you attack with your truck, you keep undoing their hard-earned flips and it stalls their combiner for another turn.
Wasting turns combining is the kiss of death for many Combiners, and I can definitely see running Battering Ram for the combiner mirror in many decks. Take Stunticons, for instance, who have two Trucks that can use Battering Ram, with Motormaster being effectively unpunishable in his robot mode. You could also say the same for a control-based Sentinel list, though that is played to a lesser degree.
Battering Ram, however, can also be something of a double-edged sword. Take, for example, Metroplex. People love giving Metroplex a seizure and flipping him multiple times in a turn. With Battering Ram, you effectively give them a free transformation into Base mode, spitting out another one of his smaller characters.
This isn't the only case, either. Like, for instance, Megatron -- Arrogant Ruler can play a free Upgrade when Battering Ram swings into him, or returning a non-pipped card from your Scrap to your hand in terms of Skywarp. A double-edged sword, it is.
But, honestly? I think Battering Ram's usefulness against Combiners more than makes up for its peculiarity against other lists to include it in any Truck-based deck. I could even see a case for it in non-traditional "Truck" decks, like Nemesis Prime. After all, slowing your opponent down is something that Nemesis will always enjoy.
Device Virus is coming from fellow content creator "TCG Roll Out!" on Twitter, and I have to say, Device Virus is probably the best black-pipped Action we have by a large margin. Everything else is either split colors with a black pip with a lackluster card effect when you play it, but Device Virus is different.
It's basically Super Energy Removal, something you'll remember if you played Pokemon during the fledgling years. Of course, there's a big difference between Energy and Upgrades, but it's pretty much the same effect. But, when you realize that you can combo Device Virus with other Upgrades, things start getting a little interesting.
You see, Device Virus has the potential to remove three Armor cards in one turn when used in tandem with Bashing Shield. You can play a Bashing Shield, scrap an Armor, then Device Virus the Bashing Shield to scrap two more Armor. You could say the same about Weapons with Enforcement Batons or Utilities with Crushing Size.
Of course, such an effect necessitates playing all of those things, so it really depends on what your deck looks like and what matchups you want to beat with it. But, if you're afraid of decks like Predacons which bust out the Upgrades -- usually weapons -- quickly, especially when combined, Device Virus might be for you.
At the end of the day, though, it's a black pip and we still have yet to see how good it is in a blue/black or mono black deck. But, if the black pips we have yet to see are anything like Device Virus, I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of them in lists.
Repurpose is the only black draw card we've seen thus far, and I can't mention too much about it because it's nothing too much to write home about. It's a very basic cycling card that replaces itself and one other card in your hand with the top two cards of your deck, essentially.
It's a black pipped card that also happens to draw cards. I mean, in a black deck, do you really want too much else out of it? Let's be fair here. You won't play it in any other deck that doesn't play black pips, but if you play black, then you'll be needing this.
Can I just say this?
That is all.
But in all seriousness, I can't wait to see how Soundwave will be playing out in this meta. Perhaps more than that, I can't wait to see how his cassettes will fare under stress. The whole composition just seems a bit frail from my perspective, but I haven't really touched it in physical form (yet) and I suppose we won't find out for sure how good he is until we see him in action.
The other characters aren't too much to write home about save the Ironhide. Being able to dance Armed Hovercraft makes me happy, and having an effective autowin against Red Heat Infinite is a brilliant thing to have just as an alternate mode.
As for his female compatriots, Focus is an interesting new mechanic, as well. I think, if we get effects for high Focus, we may very well see balanced decks other than Metroplex make a comeback in the game. Until then, however, just give me Bold and call it a day, hm?
As for the Battle Cards, there were a ton of reveals. I can't say that some of them were overtly good or overtly bad, but I can definitely say that many of them had a ton of potential like Device Virus.
What did you like the most? Roadhugger? Soundwave? W2 Starter Bumblebee? Maybe not that last one. Let me know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading! If you want to check out more of my content, go to my YouTube Channel, Nanomachines, where I do deck profiles and other competitive content.
You never know... Something interesting might happen there in the next few days. Who knows?
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Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 20th, 2019 @ 1:28pm CDT
Transformers G1 1988 Flamefeather (Sizzle) Gallery
That’s right Cindersaur, Sparkstalker, and Flamefeather are all set to make their debut later this June. This is noted as being the first time the creative team for the cards were authorized by Hasbro to spearhead their redesign as there is no previously existing or planned molds for these characters. If you are a fan of the card art so far you will be pleased to know artist Marcelo Matere drew up the actual redesigns. The original characters originally sold for about $3.00 US per figure, and were primarily based around the ‘cold spark’ gimmick where a button could be pressed down causing an internal wheel to grind against a magical substance, probably Unobtainium, which would cause an awesome storm of sparks to fly from the characters mouths! Fans of G1 will remember this same gimmick being used for the Autobot Monsterbots. Anyone who loved the cheesier aspects of G1 gimmickry or those who found new substance in these characters towards the latter half of the IDW run will no doubt smile when seeing this set is on its way. Let us know your thoughts in the forum!
Posted by Rodimus Knight on May 20th, 2019 @ 4:13pm CDT
Posted by o.supreme on May 20th, 2019 @ 4:23pm CDT
00Stargrave00 wrote:The original characters originally sold for about $3.00 US per figure, and were primarily based around the ‘cold spark’ gimmick where a button could be pressed down causing an internal wheel to grind against a magical substance, probably Unobtainium, which would cause an awesome storm of sparks to fly from the characters mouths! Fans of G1 will remember this same gimmick being used for the Autobot Monsterbots.
While I never smoked myself, Plenty of my family have, thank goodness for young minds that don't recognize a flint
Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 20th, 2019 @ 4:38pm CDT
Posted by steve2275 on May 20th, 2019 @ 8:01pm CDT
Posted by Skritz on May 20th, 2019 @ 8:34pm CDT
Posted by #Sideways# on May 20th, 2019 @ 10:43pm CDT
I have a wide array of new reveals for this article! Including one revealed by some guy's YouTube channel by the name of Nanomachines... Wait, that's me! You read that right! Wizards saw fit to send me a character card to show off and dive into on my channel, with a link I'll put below if you'd like to literally hear my thoughts on it. But, until then, let's dive into the reveals!
Sergeant Skywarp is another rare coming out of Siege 1, and he certainly has the power to back up that title. Simply put, he has a ton of synergy with Secret Actions, with both of his abilities refunding their use. Of course, the Secret Actions we've seen aren't the greatest, nor are they the most impactful, but Skywarp is just one of those cards that will forever get better in a constant climb of power so long as they keep printing Secret Actions.
Okay, so, why do I feel that way? I mean, sure, his stats aren't that great by any stretch of the imagination, and his cost isn't something that makes him entirely splashable into just any list. But, if you consider his utility abilities creating a fantastic Secret Action engine, you realize that he has fantastic potential. Now, it is currently unknown whether or not you'll be getting much use of him currently given the fact that the Secret Actions we know of are limited in use, especially with how Actions work in this card game, but I can definitely see him being a huge mainstay in certain future archetypes if the Secret Actions we get will allow.
I mean, consider: What if we got, essentially, a Counterspell or a Power Spray? A Secret Action that says, "Negate your opponent's next Action" or "Scrap the Upgrade your opponent attaches" or even "Negate the next character ability your opponent activates"? Skywarp would not only be able to refund your playing of that card, but also return them to your hand at any time. Plus, you can play him in a Tall list alongside Shockwave to extend your hand even further to play even more Secret Actions.
Now, again, this is all speculation. If you couldn't tell, I am wearing a tin-foil cap. But, it isn't too far-fetched that any of those could be printed. I'm just saying, but Skywarp might just be the engine that makes a lock deck go around.
Da bo dee da bo die / Da bo dee da bo die"
I was about to say that Chromia is like the weird, estranged daughter of her Wave 1 iteration, but that wouldn't be entirely correct, now would it? This Chromia is entirely unique, especially with her robot mode. In fact, she's the only character who draws you cards when you are attacked so that you may use them on your next turn like a Security Console.
Of course, her stats are not the best, and she relies upon the armor that you will no doubt be playing through her vehicle mode effect, but sadly her stats are not good otherwise. In fact, a simple Bashing Shield will open her up for massive damage. This is somewhat amplified by he rather awful offensive stats, and even worse defense. Her HP is good, and she is a Specialist, but that's pretty much the end of her usefulness.
That being said, her armor ability is pretty alright, but I can't see her being played that much. Although, every ounce of me wants to build a full "fembot" team. How would I do that, you ask? Well...
There are so many things to unpack with Elita, much like my previous girlfriends.
First off, let's look at the obvious: Her stats. Her offensive stats are somewhat middling, and her defense stats are about as bad as you can get, but her HP is one of the highest in the game outside of Combiners. In fact, outside of larger characters, I believe she is tied with Magnus as having the highest HP in general. She's also a 12 Star Specialist, which means she can do Specialist things as well as use Car-based effects including Start Your Engines. But that is not her strongest suit.
Well, let's look at her vehicle mode. She has a "Sludge" effect, where you can move as much damage from one of your characters to her as you want as long as it doesn't KO her, making her a fantastic partner to smaller characters. But, even that is not her final form, her strongest ability.
What is her strongest suit, you ask?
Well, let's take a look at her robot mode for a clue. You see, her robot mode has the effect of whenever she's KO'd, you essentially activate a "free" Leap of Faith, playing the top two cards of your deck. So, if you look closely, it also turns "I STILL FUNCTION!" and Peace Through Tyranny into Leap of Faith added on to their already powerful effects. So, in a Car list based around Elita, you can use her as a sort of "sacrificial lamb" where you can let her soak up a ton of damage through her vehicle mode, and once you're done doing that, you can use her to play more cards out of your deck.
I think you can guess where I'm going with this. Elita is a Specialist Autobot who is over 6 Stars who also plays a bunch of free cards when she's KO'd. Infinite can go infinite very easily with this effect, and with the right partners, you can force your opponent to attack into her massive HP. Now, with Red Heat, infinite has a practically confirmed comeback into the metagame, albeit with quite a bit of clunk given the current partners. With Elita, there is 100% another infinite archetype with her as the centerpiece.
Now, whether or not Red Heat is nerfed by the existence of another anti-Micromaster character or upgrade remains to be seen, but regardless, Elita will definitely be a mainstay in that archetype. Regardless of that, I still think that Elita can definitely see a lot of play in a Car list that wants to build around her. Something else you can pair her with is -- unsurprisingly -- Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend, or in a twist of fate, Megatron: Living Weapon, essentially acting as a battery to her larger friends, essentially increasing their HP to a staggering level.
There's a whole lot to love about Elita, and I don't think this is the last we've seen of her.
This reveal is brought to you by... Wait, it's brought to you by me!
That's right, Wizards sent me an exclusive reveal so I can show it to you on my YouTube channel! I'll drop the link below so you can hear my rather long-winded thoughts on him:
Tote is surprisingly interesting in decks that play a lot of cheap attackers, being a "free" untap effect for one of your other characters. I mean, sure, he's effectively useless on the stat front, but you're never going to play a Micromaster for their stats.
Now, when I say, "you'd use him in a cheap attacker list", I really mean lists that play cards like Demolishor or Ransack. A cheap, five or six star attacker who swings for way more than they should. You deal a whole lot of damage with certain characters, and you have characters like Tote as support to keep them swinging. The fact that Tote is only four stars makes this idea even better, making it possible to cram as much value in your list as possible.
Now, you do need to play black pips in order to make use of him, but there are several good black pips that I could see you playing to use for both their effects and for his, like RR Disruptor Blade or Device Virus.
The thing is, he's a one and done -- your opponent is likely to KO him or his target, and then you're left with nothing. You really need to ask yourself one question: Is he worth the point investment?
Detour is a very good card.
For starters, he is a four star Specialist Car, meaning that he can use all the Car cards that can untap him. This means that you can use something like Start Your Engines to transform him, untap him and reuse his tap effect next turn. Played in Cliffjumper, you can draw a card for transforming him, tap him to draw two more cards, then use a Field Communicator to potentially draw even more cards.
Speaking of Cliffjumper, you can pretty much guess that Detour is going to be targeted by your opponent for a cheap KO. Cliff especially makes playing the tiny Micromaster well worth it, that when Detour is KO'd, he can fuel Cliffjumper's offensive stats. This makes Detour one of the best car Micromasters not only for Cliffjumper lists, but also one of the best for regular Car lists. Roadhugger may still be on the top of that proverbial ladder in terms of power, but it's good to know that there's a lot of value to be found elsewhere, too.
Detour has a lot of value in a tiny package, and whereas you can at least use him as a nice point filler in other lists, Cliffjumper is the one who will find Detour the most appealing because of his point cost and Specialist nature. Detour is definitely not going to survive any damage whatsoever, but you can pretty well see the value -- like Roadhugger -- that he's going to give you until that happens.
The...? The Firecons? Jinkies, that's a deep dig. Revealed in a recent article by Kotaku, the Firecons, i.e. Sparkstalker, Flamefeather and Cindersaur, have each been modernized by the guys over at Wizards who even got to spearhead their modern redesign! The article is an interesting tidbit into that development, and you should definitely read it if you'd like a peek behind the curtains.
But, let's go through them one by one and see what they're made of!
First off, Sparkstalker is a moderately costed character with moderate stats, but there are two fantastic things about him that make him a very interesting partner in aggressive decks. The first of these is his impressive draw effect in his robot mode, effectively refunding whatever cards you played on that turn with a Draw 2 when you flip three orange pips. Now, if you haven't played much aggro, you should know how easy it is to flip three orange pips between Bold effects, white pips and double orange pips. In fact, I'd be shocked if you didn't hit the Draw 2.
Sparkstalker's second form of value comes from his great vehicle mode transformation effect, scrapping an Armor so that his teammates can continue to pop off. He isn't the best outside of Firecons, but he's certainly playable in aggro lists that needs just a bit of draw power. Plus, his vehicle mode effect is quite a bit useful in other aggro lists that don't already play a few Bashing Shields. You can't really go too wrong with him, especially with his powerful draw. That being said, of course, the Firecons love him the most, but it's good to know that he has a home elsewhere.
You'll find that all three of them have a great alternate mode effect that fits well with the archetype, with the potential for a nutty amount of power with the playing of a Roll Out. But don't just take my word for it! Let's dive in to the next two:
Flamefeather is an extremely thick boy and I love him.
So, let me explain what he does real quick so there's no confusion. Basically, when defending, he turns all orange pips into blue pips to a cap of five of the converted pips. This does not include any blue pips you flip (from a Roll Out, for example), making his potential defensive capabilities astronomical. I mean, consider: You fill your deck with orange, double orange and half n' half cards, you could potentially deny a massive amount of damage through Flamefeather.
But that's not to say that he lacks offensive power. Even though he has a mediocre offensive stat, you are playing aggro, and that means that you're going to be able to do a massive amount of extra damage with your weapons and your heavy orange deck. You're not going to be doing the most damage with him, but it isn't like he's an invalid target for some of your resources. Plus, when you have Sparkstalker refunding that expenditure with his draw during the next turn, you're free to use him how you please.
And, when you're done with that, you can flip Flamefeather to his vehicle mode, using his ability to add just that much more Bold than you're already going to be adding with your Supercharge and Power Punch. Unfortunately, this bird-brain doesn't have too much potential outside of Firecons even with his damage denial effects and his Bold, something that's amplified by the stipulation in his vehicle mode that his Bold is only applied to Firecons.
To be frank, I don't think he'd be played all that much outside of Firecons anyway unless one wanted to pair him with Flamewar or something similar to that composition. Although, there is nothing stopping you from doing that, anyway, it's just that he won't be as effective as he could be in a pure Firecon list.
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo / Go, go, Godzilla!"
Cindersaur gives you free damage and Actions and I literally can't think of many things better than that.
So, if you couldn't tell, Cindersaur really likes orange pips and high Bold. When you attack with him with a Bold card having been played, you have a chance to deal a massive amount of damage between the flood of orange pips you'll be flipping and the free damage you'll be getting when you do. In fact, if you only flip the base four orange needed to activate his ability, you'll be dealing a total of nine damage when you count the two direct damage you'll be dealing. Since you can flip that without a weapon through a lucky white pip, you can imagine what kind of damage you'll be dealing when combined with a weapon or an Action.
Cindersaur's value doesn't end there, however -- in fact, his best value comes from his vehicle mode! Playing a free orange-pipped Action is impressively powerful given that cards like Supercharge or Reckless Charge both have their respective pips. But, I'd like to point something out: When you flip to Cindersaur's alternate mode through the use of Roll Out, it effectively refunds your Action for the turn with the ability to use a damage-boosting Action to boost your damage more than Flamefeather already will be boosting you.
With all of this in mind, Cindersaur is a lot of value for the Firecons in one package. In fact, you might even play him in other aggressive lists to make use of that free Action that he provides in the late game and the offensive power when properly equipped. But that being said, wouldn't you rather just play the whole of the Firecons to work with their synergy? I mean, just consider: Flamefeather is very good for Firecons, and you may as well take him along because you're playing one already. After that, you could always play two smaller characters to take up Sparkstalker's slot, but why? Wouldn't you rather keep that draw power and Armor-scrapping in your aggressive deck?
I think we might be seeing the rise of a standard-sized Insecticons in the Firecon strategy. They're thick enough to take a hit or two in order to take them down (especially in the case of Flamefeather), and they're powerful enough offensively to make their opponents... Ah, feel the burn if you will. Now, their stats across the board could be just a little higher to make me comfortable saying that they'll be a meta mainstay, but that being said, they are a full team of themed characters with interesting and potentially powerful abilities; I'd be surprised if we didn't see them at a tournament or two!
Remember when I said that playing all Motorcycles had no real point to it? I've never been more glad to be wrong.
So, in case you needed an explanation on what Pop A Wheelie really does, basically think of it like a baby All Out Attack. You can attack twice that turn, but only if the extra one was a Motorcycle, put simply, in their vehicle mode. This is both very good and very mediocre, and I'll tell you why.
First off, it's fantastic because there are going to be many points where you have to attack twice in order to get a KO on a very important character, or on a character that has a Force Field or a similar effect. Further, in matchups like Insecticons or Combiners where the characters are notoriously fragile, you can potentially score two KOs in one turn, sometimes being able to KO an untapped character after KOing the only tapped character. To make things even better, you can play a Bravery and attack with that character to potentially save a damaged teammate, forcing your opponent to attack the newly tapped character. Furthermore, in the Motorcycle list, W1 Flamewar has the ability to give all of your characters Bold 1 until end of turn, and when you get to attack multiple times in a turn, you're going to start seeing that effect pile up.
Now to the down side. Remember how you have to be in your Motorcycle mode to get that spare attack? Well, if you remember, many vehicle modes have a middling to mediocre attack stat with few exceptions. Meaning, the attack you're going to get is not likely to do much without weapons and high orange counts in your deck. This is not to say that playing an all orange is a necessarily bad thing, it's just that it limits your options. Plus, Pop A Wheelie somewhat necessitates the extra character to be upgraded, and that can be a difficult balance to strike.
But that being said, I think it should go without saying that getting another attack during your turn is a very good thing that can swing entire games. Even more than that, imagine when all characters are untapped and you're able to KO one of your opponent's fresh characters out of nowhere before they can use it to attack you. Or perhaps just eke by a KO on a character that will certainly demolish whomever they're about to attack, like a Cosmos or a Nemesis at the end of their deck.
All in all, I love Pop A Wheelie. It's a great boost of power to the Motorcycle archetype and it adds a nice layer of synergy between the 'cycles. Even Chromia can get in on the action by returning Pop A Wheelie from your Scrap to your hand to be used on that turn or the next. Whether or not Motorcycles will be next in line to try and dethrone Insecticons as the premiere aggro deck remains to be seen, if aggro is even the best way to play Motorcycles (though if I recall correctly it was mentioned offhandedly by the developers that it is), but I know one thing: More attacks = More damage, and that's always a good thing in my book.
Heroic Team-Up is the best Autobot Action. There; I said it.
It may be a Star Card, and that innately limits how many decks you can play it in, but its effects are so good that it makes me want to play it in almost every deck. First off, half-n-half pips are always welcome no matter what, and it being an Action in an Autobot list makes it easy enough to pull off in a turn through Confidence and other Autobot Action love. There are plenty of decks that love the extra damage that Heroic Team-Up can give them, but I think the one that can make the most of it is Cars.
For your consideration, Cars. You have access to high draw, meaning you'll be able to draw into your Heroic Team-Up, and the Car character pool is deep enough for you to shave off enough points to play a good portion of them. But perhaps the greatest reason of them all is that you have access to Turbo Boosters, an untapping effect in an Upgrade instead of the normally Action-based untapping effects. This allows you to use a Heroic Team-Up to tap a character, then Turbo Booster them to untap them, then use an extra Action effect like Mirage's alternate mode ability to use a second one and tap that same character a second time, adding even more damage to one of your characters.
Now, this is not going to happen all the time, of course. But it is nice knowing that a crazy combo like that can happen, and the mere presence of Turbo Boosters will save you a lot of heartache by refunding the tap effect and preventing your opponent from punishing your overextension.
Cars, of course, is just one of several different archetypes that would love to have Heroic Team-Up, including decks that play Battlefield Legend, Alpha Trion or other characters that would like an extra boost in damage. To be perfectly frank, the only bad thing I have to say about Heroic Team-Up is that you can't play it in everything. Will it trump Leap of Faith as the best Star Card? Not likely, but that's like asking "Will any movie series ever come close to the success that Marvel has?" -- some hurdles are just too high to leap.
Be that as it may, Heroic Team-Up might just give Leap of Faith a run for its money in Autobot lists, especially with ones with fewer stars to spare. You can't beat half-n'-half pips and their value, after all.
Finally, Decepticon Leaders get their day!
Callous Leadership is a shockingly powerful "healing" card that can be used to help your larger, more important characters online. For instance, Shockwave, Soundwave or Megatron -- Living Weapon; all necessitate a list being built around them, and all would very much like to stay alive. Living Weapon takes up a lot of investment to swing with effectively, and Soundwave kinda makes the entire Cassette archetype go around. Using Callous Leadership, you can move that damage to a squishier character to make the damage meaningless or to transfer it to a character that you managed to I STILL FUNCTION! to wipe away the damage entirely.
This massive amount of healing can be compounded with cards like Cooling Vents that heal one when you attach them or characters like Red Alert or Arcee who heal your characters when you Transform them. As I spoke about in my Red Alert video, healing can stack in the same way that damage can. It's usually not as powerful as simply damaging your opponent because there is so much burst damage in the metagame that it becomes a bit irrelevant to heal anything.
But, Callous Leadership allows you to heal off your more important characters with a huge burst of healing, much better than the healing over time effects that we've been accustomed to. I realize that it's technically not healing per se, but when you move damage from an important character to an unimportant one, you can effectively call it "healing" from there. I can't wait to find out how much this will be played, especially when you consider the power that large Decepticon Leaders like Starscream or Megatron hold -- and how frustratingly unkillable they're going to feel when you heal off over half the damage that your opponent dealt to them.
And I'm floating in the most peculiar way / And the stars look very different today"
Unconventional Flying Object -- UFO for short -- has probably the most hilarious artwork of anything in the game. Just the mental image of Alpha Trion just supermanning it through the atmosphere gives me a good chuckle.
But, anyway, UFO itself is a pretty neat little Action that literally every Spaceship will love to see. Whereas Rapid Conversion was a good little card that most Spaceship lists like Cosmos played, it always felt lacking because you still needed more Transformations in a turn than you were given. Further, you can use UFO in Cosmos to burn through your deck even faster, then to use his robot mode's ability in the same turn. With Alpha Trion, you can use it as a sort of "junk hunt" effect where you can simply replace it with a card from your Scrap Pile. With Shockwave -- Cybertron Commander? You can essentially use it as a Testify, then still having the transformation to flip him to robot mode in order to punish your opponent's large hand.
Now, does this make Cosmos or Shockwave suddenly good? No, I don't think so. But, does it make them better now that you can use their flip effects more effectively? Oh, absolutely. I think Cosmos in particular has to get a second look after Siege comes out -- his value it simply too high to ignore, and I think UFO will make that obvious for all to see.
And just like that, the Firecons were captured and hauled away. No one saw them again!
Anyway, just in case you wanted another card other than Acid Storm to utterly demolish Dinobots or Firecons, look no further than Dampening Field. Dampening field, Secret Action 2 of apparently 8, is a doozy for Bold decks or other aggressive archetypes because it effectively turns off their Bold or other flipping effects like Kickback or Demolishor.
Even better, it's a white pip -- meaning, you don't need to force yourself to play blue pips in an orange deck or orange pips in a blue deck to tech in Dampening Field. In fact, I can see playing this in Insecticons for the mirror matchup just to effectively confirm one of my character's survival without taking up an Upgrade attachment for the turn in Force Field, their Bold notwithstanding. Of course, Grenade Launcher and Reckless Charge can both be used regardless of Dampening Field, but it's an interesting thought regardless.
I can see a lot of decks playing Dampening Field to slow down the meta, forcing their opponents into moments of weakness, potentially forcing them to whiff KOs that they normally would have been confirmed. I am extremely excited for it, in fact, and even moreso when you consider all of the Secret Action support we have in this set in Laserbeak, Shockwave and Skywarp to name a few.
Could Dampening Field slow down the meta through its presence alone? Maybe, maybe not. I think aggro decks are still going to be the best kind of deck out there at the moment, purely because they chase the win condition the fastest. Plus, it's always fun to flip half of your deck and look at all the pretty colors as you blatantly murder your opponent's characters. However, I have a feeling that Dampening Field might just have something to say about that.
Ever get one of your Battle Masters scrapped by some scrub and their Enforcement Batons? Ever sit down and wonder, just why was your opponent playing Scrapper Gauntlets of all things to scrap your hard-earned Battle Master? Have you ever been attacked by an Air Raid, like, at all? Then Quartermaster is for you!
Quartermaster allows you to reuse Battle Masters from the grave, drastically improving their overall viability and usefulness, but also allows you to move upgrades, reactivating Put effects and allowing you to move a Battle Master from one location to another. If you're like me and you're constantly on the lookout for things that can be broken, you're getting some alarms right about now.
If you remember Swap Parts and how oppressive that card was in the infinite combo deck, you see the words "move an upgrade" and you start to sweat. No worries here, though -- it's only one Upgrade, and unless the upgrade is the most broken upgrade on the planet (Hello, Cog) you won't be winning any games off the back of this card in that way at least.
That being said, cards like Lionizer or Aimless will get much better now that they have the power to come back from the scrap heap and reequip themselves. Now, every one of your characters have the potential to use Lionizer multiple times, and with his effects of Bold 4 and Plan 1 being as they are, I can't wait to find out how much he'll be played. Aimless, too.
Battle Masters in general were a bit inconsistent in the amount of value they give, but now? Now there's room for their power to spread to other characters, and that's about as good as you can imagine it to be and I, for one, am extremely excited about it. Plus, if your area is flooded with them, you can even tech in anti-weapon cards to potentially make your opponent whiff attacks with their Battle Master. You never know!
For blue/black, Steady Aim could not be better. Trading out one of the extra damage for a black pip, Steady Aim has nearly all the power of Leap Into Battle and maybe even a bit more power given the Pierce. Blue decks usually need Pierce in order to do much damage unless they have a high base attack like Optimus Prime -- Battlefield Legend or Nemesis Prime, making the Pierce that one would get from playing blue/black extremely effective at keeping damage from falling too low.
The damage boost isn't going to be as high as Leap Into Battle, but it's definitely going to be just as useful. Put simply, there's really no reason not to play Steady Aim in a blue deck -- it's just one of those cards that will nearly always be good.
This is just Steady Aim but with more words and less colors. I think, between the two, Steady Aim is slightly better because of the blue pip. You're far more likely to flip a card than draw it, and for that reason you're going to want the pips instead of the slightly more Pierce.
There's really not much else to say since the two cards are so similar. However, if you have room for both, I don't see why you wouldn't want to play both.
Similar to Combat Dagger, Smoke Cloak is a slightly less effective Reinforced Plating with a black pip. There really isn't too much to note on about it, other than the fact that it makes blue/black just slightly better. Pretty much, so long as there are blue and black combo cards, the better the deck archetype becomes and the more playable it will be.
I'm extremely excited at the notion of slower decks that would play cards like this because it diversifies the meta. It makes plenty of the more niche rogue decks better (especially because they aren't being one-hit every attack) and more combiners can be played. I'm ecstatic about the prospects of that notion, and thus, I am ecstatic about this card; not because of what it does per-se, but because of what it represents.
Emergency Defense Field is a funky, funky card. On one hand, it's a worse Force Field. On the other, it's completely busted and makes certain archetypes way better.
Let me explain. You see, Force Field is usually better in most circumstances. The higher HP you have, the better Force Field is. If your opponent has to wade through fifty Force Fields to finally get the killing blow on your Nemesis Prime, you're probably winning that game. That being said, the lower HP you have, the better Emergency Defense Field is. For instance, you could attach it on a character that has less than 4 HP remaining to potentially defend them, or you could attach it to a character who has 8 or less HP in an attempt to force a two or more hit KO.
Now, the big problem is that EDF is not surefire. You see, if your opponent just so happens to hit an odd number at the wrong time, they totally dunk on you. You always run the risk of your opponent playing a Bashing Shield or something similar, but here, you run the risk of your opponent just attacking you through your shield just anyway.
For instance, if your opponent can easily hit 13 and up damage, and you have 12 HP characters, wouldn't you rather just attach a Force Field and avoid that high damage altogether, take your 4 and move on? Kinda thought so. I find the small damage that Force Field affords you is way better than essentially flipping a coin and seeing how well or how poorly your opponent flips cards. In fact, Force Field even has a white pip, and EDF doesn't have any pips whatsoever.
Either way, it isn't like you can't play both in lists that either really don't value their opponent's sanity or just like looking at pictures of Trailbreaker. It's a funky thing, but I'm really quite middling on Emergency Defense Field. You could probably play it in lists with small characters like Combiners (Devastator especially), but outside of that, I doubt it will be played all that much.
"You idiot, we all have swords!"
This card is an over(under?)glorified Fusion Cannon of Megatron for small characters. There are good things about it, of course, but I just find it hilarious that a sword has the same destructive power as Megatron's Fusion Cannon.
Anyway, as to the playability of Laser Cutlass, you may find that certain Combiners really adore this card. For example, Aerialbots deal their damage through two means: Direct Damage and Pierce. They are a very defensive list that loves their blue pips, and I can see them absolutely adoring this card.
However, we have two very interesting cards for low damage Combiner teams that were printed in Rise of the Combiners that are way more consistent than Laser Cutlass: Noble's Blaster and Scoundrel's Blaster, both of which are Blue, deal more damage and have similar levels of Pierce. Oh, and they have green pips, too.
It really depends on what you're planning on doing. Sometimes you need redundant Upgrades or Actions to make things just that much easier to draw into them, but other times they can just end up making your deck inconsistent. I would say that Laser Cutlass as a whole is in the same niche as Scoundrel's/Noble's Blaster, with the only noticeable differences being that the Cutlass can be attached to anyone, not just a specific faction, and that the Blaster has a green pip.
Which one you play really depends on the deck you're playing and what you want to do with it, but until then my money is on Scoundrel's/Noble's for their consistency alone.
Energy Pack is kind of nutty when you think about it in certain cases. I mean, think about it. Nemesis Prime has 16 HP; slap one of these bad boys on him, and he has a frankly disgusting 20 HP. Metroplex? Oh, he just has a tiny, teensy weensy 39 HP. Dreadwing? You can attach two of these things, giving him 32 HP in total. Jetfire can attach Energy Pack from the Scrap Pile and grow his HP whether your opponent likes it or not, and he has 15 base. Big characters get bigger, and smaller characters weep in jealousy.
I've oft thought about HP and defense as one in the same in most circumstances. If you're going to one-hit Kickback, you'll need to hit 10 damage, even though his HP is only 9. That's because his defense is only 1, and if you're going to OHKO him, you'll need to factor that number in. However, when your HP is higher -- for instance, Nemesis or Metroplex -- that defense is going to reduce a lot of damage over time because nobody is going to be able to one-hit you unless they're Predaking or Volcanicus.
So, when you add to your already titanic HP, you're also effectively adding on to your defense as well. The longer it takes your opponent to KO you, the more your defense is going to defend you. You're not going to always want it, of course; sometimes a Data Bank, a Field Communicator or something similar is going to give you more value in certain scenarios. But, that being said, you can't tell me it's ever bad to have more HP.
First off, sorry this article took so long to put out. It seemed like whenever I was just about done with it, more cards were revealed. I guess that's a good thing -- it helps keep me up-to-date and it keeps me honest!
As for the cards themselves, I am convinced that the Firecons are going to be a meta deck. I'm not quite sure what tier they are particularly, but I am convinced that they belong on the list. Motorcycles, too, have quite a bit of potential with Pop A Wheelie -- a "boost" they've been needing for quite some time now. I also can't wait to see where Elita goes from here; whether she's only playable in Infinite or if she's going to be a bodyguard for her partners is beyond me, but I just can't wait to see what people do with her.
Revealing a card for Wizards, as well, was definitely a highlight of my run in this community. I've been ecstatic to work with Wizards on it, and I've been super thankful that they allowed a tiny channel like mine to show off a reveal, a character reveal at that. I am constantly impressed by the transparency and openness that Wizards has been gracing the community with, and I am proud to help with that. I even got to flex on my Red Alert figures! Even the one that wasn't named Red Alert!
Of course, the grown video player shows my shoddy thumbnail work, but you can't win 'em all, right?
What about you? Are you fired up for the Firecons? Elated for Elita? Pumped up for Pop A Wheelie? Let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you next time!