Transformers Trading Card Designer Ken Nagle Talks About Espionage Battle Card
Thursday, March 28th, 2019 8:41am CDTCategories: Game News, Collectables
Posted by: ZeroWolf Views: 13,103
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The piece was uploaded onto the Official Transformers Trading Card Game Facebook page
For a reminder, here's the Battle Card Ken talks about below:
Here's the text of the piece for your convenience:
Ken Nagle wrote:I’m Ken Nagle, Design Lead for Transformers TCG.
Today, I have a battle card from Rise of the Combiners I’d like to take a closer look at: Espionage.
Espionage is a disruptive Action that I had designed and playtested in Wave 1. However, it felt like it fit much better in Wave 2 after introducing the green battle icon (After a battle, you can swap a card in your hand with one of your flipped green cards).
1. Since Espionage is a situational card, the green battle icon helps you find it when it’s effective or ignore it when it’s not.
2. Your opponent might have green icons as well, so you’ll often know a card in your opponent’s hand.
3. Adding another color to the game gives choosing a color with Espionage another wrinkle that we like.
4. Multicolor cards in Wave 1 like Matrix of Leadership and Roll Out! are just better because they are both orange and blue. We like that Espionage is better against these multicolor cards.
5. Rise of the Combiners introduces many Combiner teams, but some players will want some way to fight against their friend’s combiner deck. Since a Combiner can’t flip or uncombine (the rules would be just too messy) we know that once a combiner combines there’s no going back. However, since a big combiner needs an Enigma battle card, there is often a chance to use Espionage to scrap your opponent’s Enigma just before they want to combine. It’s not foolproof, but it can do the trick!
6. Finally, playing Espionage has a high skill cap. You’ll have to decide when to play it, what color to name, which card of the opponent’s to take, and when to use the green icon to put it into your hand.
Initially Espionage was just a green icon, but it wasn’t strong enough for a situational card that also requires skill to be effective. Espionage can’t do anything about an opponent’s Bolt of Lightning or other card with no battle icons. For those reasons we added a white icon since we liked the text box as is.
Until next time, may your opponent be holding the right card at the wrong time.
Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the Energon Pub and stay tuned to Seibertron for all the latest news and reviews!
Credit(s): Official Transformers Trading Card Game Facebook page
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Posted by steve2275 on April 1st, 2019 @ 6:02am CDT
WreckerJack wrote:I'm sure you can do that if you have 2 decks. I have done that with MTG and Yugioh back in the day. It's good to find holes in your strategy or weaknesses in your deck.chuckdawg1999 wrote:Does anybody know if there's a one player option, like solitaire?
im with chuck on this
Posted by PerfectVision on April 2nd, 2019 @ 3:22pm CDT
Physical adjusting is very important in this game(do 3 identical cycles).
I ignore Optimus13,Mega13 and Nemesis,because they are too strong,as for the Sludge absorption.
The new workO can make the backupP obsolete.
The old quadrio deck which i can rename white equipement
I still function X 1
One shall fall X 1
Alway put the healing close to armor(triple individual rest)
I wrote leap twice for cosmo,i wanted the inspirationnal.For maximus,the Scheckpoint may be better than the pep.Acidstorm make Flamewar obsolete,the antibold can be a waste but there is two other magician.
Posted by ZeroWolf on April 8th, 2019 @ 6:13pm CDT
As the name suggests, this deck is centered around the powerful Decepticon combiner Devastator and is playable right out of the box. The deck was available at the store for $24.99.
Omega Scoopreme has kindly sent us pictures of the sighting, including the receipt showing where they purchased it. As this was due for release at the end of March, it's more than likely that you may have a Devastator Deck lurking on shelves near you now!
Will you be picking up this deck to add Devesator to your collection? Let us know in the Energon Pub and stay tuned to Seibertron for all the latest news and reviews!
Posted by wolverinetodd on April 8th, 2019 @ 6:26pm CDT
Posted by SGMLordMirage on April 8th, 2019 @ 7:37pm CDT
Posted by Bumblevivisector on April 8th, 2019 @ 9:47pm CDT
I believe those were my first ever bought-online picked-up-in-store purchases (Metroplex at Gamestop), and I got each at nice discount: 15% off coupon at B&N, and Metroplex was only only $13 and change! As usual, just assumed I was the last to know.
Posted by PerfectVision on April 9th, 2019 @ 6:29am CDT
badA X 1
He's completely ruined by the Predaking and his permanent anti heal,menasaur has zero chance to stop him.The extta KO?Just put the damage on low HP dude(brave attack in second).
I rewrite the anti combiner
Cornered X 1
The idea of the sonic is to prevent the use of the enigma without loosing card for Bomb11.
Posted by Nathaniel Prime on April 9th, 2019 @ 11:47am CDT
Here's the source: https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/04/08 ... 517d0019b5
Posted by PerfectVision on April 9th, 2019 @ 12:31pm CDT
Posted by ZeroWolf on April 9th, 2019 @ 12:54pm CDT
Posted by Iron Prime on April 9th, 2019 @ 12:58pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:What's a micro master? Not that card as that's clearly a battle master...
Basically a normal TF but on a normal-sized game card instead of a larger one. The original IGN article has one. Look for "Private Red Heat".
Posted by william-james88 on April 9th, 2019 @ 1:12pm CDT
Here is what Drew Nolosco, Transformers: TCG Brand Manager had to say:
Each War for Cybertron: Siege pack will have two character cards in it: one large character and one small character.
We will see some characters never been shown before in their original Cybertronian incarnations.
Transformers is 35 years old this year. The age of youngsters being raised by the original generation of Transformers fans is such that they're at the point where parents are teaching them games, bringing them up as geeks and gamers.
Each generation can enjoy this game at level that's appropriate for that age.
We also have an image of the Warpath card:
Posted by Dannshinigami on April 9th, 2019 @ 1:21pm CDT
Posted by Rodimus Knight on April 9th, 2019 @ 1:36pm CDT
The bonus's on the bottom look nice, but the text just seems wordy.
Posted by Kyleor on April 9th, 2019 @ 2:11pm CDT
Rodimus Knight wrote:Okay, I'm not a big card gamer, so maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but does the Ultra Magnus Armor card basically translate to "-1 damage from a non weapon attack"
The bonus's on the bottom look nice, but the text just seems wordy.
They have to be wordy because:
-people are dumb/won't read things properly and don't understand unless it's wordy
-people are smart/sneaky and try to misinterpret things in their favor (cheat), unless it's wordy to eliminate any wiggle room or grey area
Posted by vinny1121 on April 9th, 2019 @ 3:23pm CDT
Posted by Survivefan23 on April 9th, 2019 @ 4:28pm CDT
Posted by #Sideways# on April 9th, 2019 @ 8:36pm CDT
Oh, hello there! Fancy meeting you here. What have I been doing since the last set? Oh, you know, the usual. Work, sleep, ritualistic sacrifice of virgins to Sergeant Kup to bring bountiful offense and defense flips.
Yeah. The usual.
But unlike me, the guys over at Wizards of the Coast have been hard at work! This time, they started a new set with plenty of new mechanics including Targetmast-- Erm, Battle Masters and Micromasters! All of this information comes thanks to an exclusive article by IGN and a startlingly adorable Facebook note by the TFTCG page, in which they reveal juicy details about the next set -- from Secret Actions, Wave 4 announcement to several new cards!
Of those cards that they revealed, none could size up to the astounding shock, excitement and anticipation than the announcement that Soundwave will not only be in this set but that he will incorporate the new mechanics held within. My guess -- since we don't have a card of him to show just yet -- is that he is going to incorporate the new Battle Master mechanics with his cassettes. There is good reason for this, and I think the best way to tell you why is to show you.
Targe-- Battle Masters, rather, are fascinating and are seemingly infinite value. You start out in robot mode, and whereas at least Firedrive's stats leave something to be desired, you can at least deal chip damage with him before Firedrive inevitably becomes a powerful weapon to whomever you attach him to. You're more or less confirmed to get that value out of a Battle Master as your opponent can -- in a vacuum -- only KO one character per turn. This more or less confirms that you will have access to their weapon modes, and if Firedrive's weapon mode is anything to go by, they look like they're going to pack one heck of a punch.
An interesting thought to think about is using Firedrive with Thrust and another nine star partner. You can eventually attach Firedrive to Thrust, discard several cards from your hand to give Thrust a boost in damage and then pass that damage on to another threat for potentially massive damage.
Now, my favorite part about Firedrive in particular is that he's a Weapon. There is plenty of Armor scrapping nowadays, but there is virtually zero weapon scrapping cards that are played enough to threaten Firedrive, meaning that if you're careful, you can get several uses out of him once he's a weapon. That's fantastic value, to be perfectly frank with you.
Something else that I would like to touch on is that Firedrive is partnered -- in-universe -- with Hot Rod as his Targetmaster ally. I mean, even Firedrive's name is a sort of wordplay on Hot Rod. It would surprise me greatly if we did not see a Hot Rod card in Siege, just judging from WOTC's track record.
All in all, I love the idea of Battle Masters. More importantly, I love the idea that Soundwave's cassettes also being Battle Masters that turn into Cassettes to synergize with Soundwave once attached. They're really quite impressive, and I can't wait to play with them.
Micromasters! Oh, goodness me, why didn't I see this coming? It seems so obvious in hindsight. So, for those who don't know card measurements, these Micromasters and Battle Masters are both the size of a standard Magic The Gathering card. This means that you pull them not as a replacement of a standard character, but alongside your battle cards. That's a good thing, too, because sometimes the Battle Card unpacking was a bit underwhelming compared to the character reveal.
Now, as for Red Heat, we can see that he has some rather interesting traits that can make him an interesting addition to a team. For one, he's a five star Truck which means he can use Truck-based support like Cargo Trailer, but perhaps more importantly he's a Specialist that is virtually untargetable by your opponent on the first turn of the game thanks to his innate Stealth whilst he's untapped. Even moreso, his utility in robot mode is some of the most fascinating abilities for a five star character I've seen to date. You have a fantastic -- and somewhat disconcerting given recent meta developments -- ability in your robot mode: A pocket Swap Parts.
So, here's a little context as to why I'm a bit disconcerted about this otherwise mediocre ability. Normally, Swap Parts is a slightly "meh" effect where you can perhaps move a weapon or an Armor. But here's the thing. Swap Parts and other "move" effects reactivates the "put" abilities of Upgrades, including things like Rapid Ascent, Cooling Vents, Drill Arms, but chiefly in recent days it was discovered that when you have a team of Specialists, you can move Field Communicators and Multi Mission Gears to play a stunning amount of free Actions and Upgrades from your hand and deck.
This playstyle promotes an infinite combo, where you can play both I STILL FUNCTION! and Peace Through Tyranny in the same turn to essentially gain a free turn, and with potent draw, you eventually begin taking infinite free turns. Using Swap Parts, you can pull this combo off consistently enough, but something that is astonishing to think about is how consistent it makes the combo when you can use Swap Parts more or less whenever you want using Red Heat. His ability to avoid all damage on the first turn of the game is extremely powerful given the deck's fragile disposition, and when you consider that he's also an Autobot Specialist to cap off a team of Autobot Specialists... Well, you can tell where this is going.
The only thing that I would say is a deterrent of playing Red Heat in Infinite is the fact that he is only five stars, not the minimum of six that Peace Through Tyranny requires. If you are certain that your other Autobot Specialist can take a hit, then by all means. In fact, you could try building your list around that concept and you might find that you become even more consistent.
I digress from the main point. As a general whole, Private Red Heat isn't the best card for most lists. You won't be getting the full use of his Swap Parts effect, and in a lot of lists White cards are far fewer than other colors. But, that being said, there is a silver lining -- we know that he is part of the "Rescue Patrol" as per his trait, and that means that his Micromaster partner, Stakeout, will also be printed. We can assume the same about other Micromasters that will be printed, and perhaps more importantly, possible synergy. But until then, I can only see one list to play him in and one alone: Infinite.
Something else worthy of note is that you can only use one "tapping" effect during your turn, like Red Heat's. This means that you can't untap him through Ready For Action and use him a second time in the same turn. Of course, this is neither bad news nor good news -- it's just news. Make of it what you will!
With every move he makes another chance he takes / Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow
Secret agent man / Secret agent man
They've given you a number and taken away your name
Shockwave is a Major in this prequel set, and he is majorly interesting. If you notice something about him, you'll notice that his cost is titanic -- just like his stats. He has the highest stats of any non-Combiner Decepticon, and the highest point cost as well. This high point cost definitely limit the potential partners you can play him with, but interestingly enough, if you play him with Shockwave -- Cybertron Commander, you get 25 points on the nose.
The synergy isn't just skin-deep, either -- Major Shockwave can "dig" farther into your deck to pull out Decepticon cards and/or Secret Actions. Certain of these cards -- Bad Attitude foremost of these -- can be used to facilitate your playstyle. If your playstyle is to deal damage outside of combat, then Bad Attitude will be your best friend with both Shockwave. But here's the thing about that -- other than Bad Attitude, Swindled and Scoundrel's Blaster, there aren't that many uesful cards that Major Shockwave can use.
I mean, sure, you could make the case that Decepticon Crown could be in certain offensive builds, but look at it this way: If Decepticon Crown was on top of your deck, it would end up in your hand anyway thanks to its green pip, and you could say the same about Scoundrel's Blaster. The Decepticon-only side of this guy seems a bit mediocre, to be perfectly frank, especially since they still take up your turn plays.
To be perfectly blunt, he just isn't good enough on his own to warrant too much investment of time into Double Shockwave. But that being said, there is a silver lining.
Secret Actions are something brand new to the set, and whereas I won't go into too much depth on their intricacies here, I will tell you that they breed a very disruptive playstyle that no doubt will eventually have discarding effects. At the time of writing, we have only seen one Secret Action, and it's included in the Battle Card section of this article.
But to close things off, Major Shockwave has a little potential, but his expensive nature is going to be a major turnoff for a lot of people looking to make decks out of him.
Major Magnus is, on the surface, extremely mediocre. His ability damages himself, his stats are lackluster save his monstrous HP and he's expensive to boot. He has Brave, which is cool, but with only one defense, he'll be toast, right?
Well yes, but also no.
His vehicle mode ability sucks in an Ultra Magnus Armor from the deck, and as a little spoiler alert for later on in the article, UMA is an armor card that gives him +2 attack and +2 defense and reduces all non-attack damage dealt to him by one. Sounds insane, right? Well, it would be if it also didn't cost two stars to put in your deck at all and even better if it couldn't be popped by Bashing Shield, but that's a discussion for later.
So, with these innate boosts to his stats, he deals a considerable amount of damage and has a considerable amount of tankiness. I mean, at three defense and eight attack with added effects, he just seems like a better Inferno. Now, say what you will about Inferno and his viability, but his attack of eight is still monstrous, and his survivability is also still extremely high. So, think about that but imagine if Inferno actually did something other than damage. In fact, imagine if your opponent had to attack into him turn one instead of one of your squishier teammates!
That's the power of Ultra Magnus. Your opponent effectively wastes an attack on the first turn of the game while you opt to go second, forcing your opponent to attack him with no response for his powerful armor. I realize he comes at a premium, but I can't help but to like this guy for that reason. Well, that and his spreading effects.
But I fear that if your opponent has Bashing Shield or other removal effects, he'll just fall by the wayside. After all, without his suit, he's just a worse, more expensive Inferno.
Aimless is a Battle Master with a flair for the defensive. Coming from VectorSigma.info (or at least, that's where I got the picture after I couldn't find it online) we get our first look at Aimless! With an innate Tough 3 and a powerful ability in his weapon mode, he makes a strong first impression. Even with his mediocre innate defense, he still puts out a good amount of defense with his Tough 3. The only problem I see with him is his lackluster offensive power in his robot mode. Without Pierce, a Blue deck with attack numbers that low would be better off trying to defeat their opponents by boring them to death. He makes a good meat shield, but the trouble is getting value out of him other than that.
But there is a silver lining.
What he lacks in his offensive power in robot mode, Aimless more than make up for it with his powerful weapon mode. With the frankly silly ability to deal three damage regardless of attack damage or defense before dealing damage for his attack, completely bypassing Force Field, Skrapnel or other similar effects, he can make even the weakest character seem powerful. For instance, consider Demolishor in a balanced list -- he's not going to do anything on his own, but with Aimless attached, he can do a startlingly potent amount of damage given he will almost always trigger Demolishor's effect.
In closing, Aimless is a neat character that is tough to find early value with outside of being a meat shield. But, mid to late game, if you partner him with a character that has innate Bold or flips extra cards, you'll love him to death.
No, really, kill this guy quick to get his weapon!
Running as fast as they can / Iron man lives again
Two stars and this is all you get?
Magnus' armor seems really powerful when placed on Magnus, and its pips are always welcome in any deck, but when you realize that the frankly ridiculous cost of putting it in your deck followed by the fact that you can't even attach it to non-Autobots makes its usefulness extremely limited. Okay, I get it -- having an Armor that adds both offense and defense as well as reducing incoming non-attack damage by one seems really good, and it is, but for those two stars, would you not just rather take a Leap of Faith or similarly priced star cards?
Remember, Bashing Shield is kind of everywhere in offensive decks, so you'll get to use this card on Magnus on the first turn of the game, but without Spare Parts you can kiss this suit goodbye. It's for this reason that you can't use it on non-Magnus characters as easily as you could, say, on Magnus who attaches it to himself at the start of the game. You don't have time to attach a Spare Parts when you have weapons to worry about, as well as your opponents disruption.
Heh. It's almost like the developers only wanted Magnus wearing Magnus' armor! Who'd have thought it?
Anyway, it's way too expensive for what it offers outside of Ultra Magnus builds. Only take it if you happen to have way too many stars to burn.
Ever just want to play a totally harmless card face-down and make your opponent panic as to what horrible machinations you're planning? Ever wish that Incoming Transmission could rig cards defensively? Ever want to do both of those things at once?
No? Just me then? Well, uh... You're missing out, then!
Well, Secret Actions seem to be a weird mix of Trap Cards from Yu-Gi-Oh and Action Cards. Obviously, we can assume that Battlefield Report will be one of many Secret Actions in this set, and with the mechanic of triggering on your opponent's turn, we can assume the disruptive nature of the cards that you can use to mess with your opponent's turn.
But speculation aside, Battlefield Report seems to be a defensive Incoming Transmission that you can use after your opponent devoted resources to attack a character. This is good, too, given that you can opt out of putting more valuable double Blue cards on the top of your deck if your opponent is merely attacking a nearly KO'd character anyway. It helps you avoid wasting resources.
But, that's kind of it. It's not that great, to be perfectly frank. Drawing two then Planning one seems good, but there are just better draw cards out there. The only thing I can say to this is that it's good to see defensive Plan effects to make King Starscream even more viable than it already is.
It most certainly will not see play in many offensive decks, but in extremely defensive ones like Double Shockwave, Tanks or similar lists, I don't really see why you wouldn't play Battlefield Report unless space is an issue. It's not like they won't trigger the Secret Action effect, unlike I'm sure plenty of other cards we haven't seen yet. That said, I cannot wait to find out what other Secret Actions there are, and what they'll do! Imagine if there was a counterspell and how you might play around it! Well, a boy can dream.
You want to know a secret? I've always fancied myself a bit of a detective. I'm not going to lie, when I wrote a detective into a novel of mine, I ended up gleaning a few things from her. The first of which is to read into every detail, which is both a gift and a curse, and the second is to notice everything that's hidden in plain sight. So, when I saw the box that Siege is being carried in, I put those skills learned from a fictional character I created to good use.
From there, I happened to see a few figures on the side of the box. Intrigued and with a bit of a rush of adrenaline, I investigated a bit further. When I opened it up in GIMP, I did my best to scale, stretch and shear my way to answers, leaving me with a few clues on whom else is going to be printed in this set, character-wise:
From this picture it's pretty clear that we are going to be getting not just Hound, but it seems to be Sideswipe standing directly next to him! As it stands, we have no idea what they'll do. But, we at least know what they'll look like and that they're in the set!
Another thing that I noticed is that these characters have a peculiar naming convention. No, I'm not talking about "Major" Shockwave or "Private" Red Heat. I'm talking about, in the past, cards used to be "TITLE -- SUBTITLE" like Shockwave -- Cybertron Commander, or Optimus Prime -- Battlefield Legend. Now? Now they have multiple secondary names with Ultra Magnus -- Infantry + City Commander.
It's odd that there are multiple characters with "Infantry" in their subtitles, as well. It makes me wonder if this is a name at all, or if they're extremely well-hidden secondary traits for cards that state "for every character with Infantry in their name" or something similar. I dunno, I guess my tin foil cap is showing again, but I can't help but to see a pattern.
Boy howdy, do we have some nutty things happening. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this dwarfs the changes that Rise of the Combiners brought forward. Battle Masters and Micromasters both, Secret Actions and even more interesting mechanics from there. Whether or not Battle Masters will shift the meta is yet to be seen, despite their hype. Armor is easily removed, but so too are weapons. The problem was, no one really played cards to remove them because weapons were either discarded or they weren't as pressing of an issue that armor was.
Now that we have incentive to play anti-weapon cards, what will become of the metagame? Do you think that the age of Battle Masters and Micromasters are fast approaching? Will Erector ever get a card? I mean, I'd be happy with a promo card, even! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I'll see you next time!
Posted by Nathaniel Prime on April 10th, 2019 @ 5:30pm CDT
According to the their page, these promo kits are only available for purchase through local WPN stores and those wishing to purchase them must contact their preferred retailers to have one ordered. For more details on the launch day event and the cards announced, check out their Twitter page at https://twitter.com/TransformersTCG?s=09
Posted by PerfectVision on April 10th, 2019 @ 10:58pm CDT