Trust your Team

by Dan Arnold

‘Twas the night before Gen Con, not a creature was stirring... wait.. that’s not true at all.. Scott was building, Cameron was asking just first of many questions, Mark was yelling (as per usual) and of course Palmer was snoring so loud you could nearly hear him in the basement of the Airbnb. Yup that’s our Wednesday night preparing for the first Qualifier at Gen Con…haha.

I knew what was I was playing. I knew what I wanted to play. I knew what would give me the best shot at the Top Eight on day one. The choice was Aerialbots. Superion was my friend at Origins, it was a deck that I believe was still a force in the Siege meta (still do), however at Origins our Sideboard choices were awful. So Wednesday I spent about 30-40 mins debating the 10 card sideboard with Mark, and we finally landed on a one I felt comfortable with. It was simply time for bed. 


Yes I chose to play Aerialbots in the 11:00 AM Thursday Qualifier. I was taking my own advice that wrote in my last article: play what you’re comfortable with. I was only able to play the Transformers TCG a total of four days since my finals appearance at Origins. Three in one weekend / week with my team, and then one lucky day down in Dallas with my friend Adam Eichberger (and his crew Calvin, Kyle, and Donny). It was a blast to get to come out to one of their stores an play some games just days before Gen Con, but because of the lack of physical testing back home, I didn’t want to try and go too far out of my comfort zone. I was worried I’d be rusty as is for Gen Con so I figured grabbing a deck I knew very well to play was my best option….

I was 2-1-1 going into the fifth round I had an unlikely loss to Insecticons, and a highly unlikey draw to the pesky bugs as-well. 2-1-1 is an incredibly awkward record going into the last three rounds of a seven round event: If stay in, I have to win all three rounds no questions asked, no additional draws let alone losses. The option of playing in the 4:00 pm qualifier became very real, so I did all my due diligence to register for it and fill out a deck sheet. I figure my best option is to see what I get paired again in the fifth round and if it felt favorable I would stay and try and win out. If it was not favorable then I would scoop to my opponent and head to the 4:00 pm. Well, I got paired against a teammate... so now I knew my options were worse because if we play and I win it knocks him out and then he can’t even play in the next one, same goes for me. So rather than give him the choice I simply scooped and ran for the 4:00 pm.

So in the 4:00 pm, I didn’t feel that again playing Aerialbots was a bad call, but I knew I didn’t want to play them until midnight (slow games) had I gone the distance in this event. So, I took the second deck I Top Eighted with at Origins and played that instead. 


Wasn't his night...

Upgrade RotC Cars was my deck of choice and I started out well with a round one win. Then in round two, game three, I flipped four blues and a blank on my Wheeljack attack, missing killing an opposing Optimus Prime: BL (in a favorable matchup) .... and proceeded to lose the game (this was easily the worst flip of all the weekend). Round three I was paired against Vince we were both 1-1 and right there in round three, one of us will be eliminated from the event (an intentional draw here leaves us both having to win out, highly unlikely given the day so far..). I felt defeated already, but we played three close games, and he took it home. Thankfully he went in to top eight the event to get Q’d for the Open.

So that night at dinner it wasn’t the same as Origins (Editor’s Note: yeah the food was much better..) where I simply felt like I made a bad call for my deck choice on the day, the cards just didn’t flip my way. I felt good about both decks I played on day one: they were two decks I spent a ton of time playing and honing, but it was time to get out of the comfort zone and simply use the resources I have from being on a team. 



It was time to trust my teammates and the information they had found when I wasn’t around the last month. We got back from dinner that night and I sleeved up Scott’s Ranged General Optimus Prime. Scott and I had both played with Bixler’s version a week before Gen Con, and although we felt the deck was good, it just wasn’t for us play style wise. We had a minor conversation about ways to change it after a playtesting session at like 11:00 PM one Thursday night, but I would be unavailable to attend the last testing day before we had left for Gen Con. Scott, Vince, and Palmer were able to play games and discover that the new “Mixed Pip” version could be a contender, and on Day One of Gen Con, both Scott and Palmer took it to Top Eight finishes. 

In my last article I said in the early events play to comfort zone. Well when you have a team and members of it find success with something, sometimes its best to trust your team. Scott and Palmer both dominating with it on day one, was enough proof that the deck had merit. I was sure I could play the deck up to it’s strengths and be able to win with it as well, but I also had the ability to pick Scott’s brain about his matchups etc to gain even more knowledge. I was way better prepared for Friday than they could be the day before, helping me make the best choices in the moment. 


(I just wanted to include a pic from one of my favorite movies..)

To keep a long story short (Editor’s Note: too late, how many reading this say this EVERY TIME someone says “to keep a long story short”..if you’re get it..), I went 4-1-1 and finished in eigth place. I was Q’d for the Open and couldn’t have felt better about it. The deck performed exceptionally: it got four members of Q’d for the Open through two events. It was the “Team” deck of the weekend.

Trusting your team is a crucial part of being on a team. It is hard when you don’t actively see all the results from not being apart of certain testing days for example, but I think it’s important to not try and judge a book by its cover. For example, on the surface the mixed pip deck looked too “all over the place,” but with General Optimus having Focus 1it really cleared the way for his attacks and his static  Bold 1, Tough 1 that he gave to the team when in alt mode also very much tipped the scales back to even on both sides of attack and defense. 


I ended up also playing the deck in the Open and finished in the Top 16. This was not nearly as good as my second place finish at Origins, but you simply can’t win them all, and I’m happy with my finish. Most importantly, I was happy about how VectorSigma performed on the weekend: nine members of the Team/ Patrons were in the Open, a Top 4, a Top 8, three Top 16s. Seeing everyone do so well on the weekend was great, and to see the relief of certain players to get their Q for the  Energon Invitational was also incredible. 

It was a pleasure once again to share the battlefield with everyone, and continue to do so in the upcoming Energon Invitational Qualifiers over the next month or so, which I'm hoping to attend at least three or four of locally.

Good luck to all players still trying to qualify for The Energon Invitational, and congrats to all of the Top 32 from Gen Con..I hope to see all of you in Philly in December! 


'Till all are one


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“Till All Are One!”