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Looking to the past for inspiration

by Scott Landis

We are in a unique time for the Transformers TCG. A new set just dropped and new “fixed-box set and some promos” will drop in around a week, all of which are legal for the second largest Organized Play event of the year in less than a month. Whenever you are faced with a mountain of new cards and strategies it is important to understand their impact on the older cards/metagame.


Aside: If it seems like there is some “radio silence” from us, it is not entirely due to the nature of the upcoming Gen Con Energon Open, but simply because there has not been enough TIME to digest the new cards fast enough to report on any hard facts. Also since it is the middle of the summer and other outside factors, we simply do not have the typical avalanche of events in our area to compete in for the month. I just wanted to preface this deeper look at Siege changes by setting some ground rules first: this article remains theorycraft because there simply is not enough hard data otherwise…even internally gained!


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Me..blindly entering a new dark world, searching for truth..deep..

In order to orient myself to this new Upside Down, I've tried to look at the first two sets and their impact on this new metagame.  An attempt to update known strategies and synergies that I KNOW work before trying to find new ones..


So what cards from the first two sets and their accompanying fixed-box sets are going to see an uptick in usage? Well, quite a lot of cards seem to be finding their ways into our playtesting decks, some expected and some not. So I wanted to shed some light on the older cards you should be experienced with, but may need to be ready to see them in greater numbers shortly. 


In no particular order other than “the order they came to my mind”:

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Sometimes the good become Great

Peace Through Tyranny: It may seem odd to start with the third most played card from the Origins preliminary qualifier events (see Ken Nagle’s great breakdown here: ) since it is squarely in the metagame. What is important to understand that the secondary use of the card (in a non-NPE/break the game intent needed a rules change kinda way) will increase in playability due to the advent of Battle Masters. PTT remains the most effective way of your Battle Master committing Seppuku to get into a mode that assists the rest of the team. Bottom line is the card may not see more play from a deck building perspective, just from a usability within the deck/line of play perspective.


Ready for Action: Another way of keeping your Battle Masters in the line of fire is making sure none of your other characters can be attacked. One way to do this while maintaining value is untapping them to attack again a second time, preferably on your second turn to take two incoming hits. Ready for Action is the most efficient way to do this and gain a second attack from the Battle Master (as opposed to playing something like Bravery or having a bunch of Stealth characters)


One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall: If you are new to this website, welcome..otherwise there is no need in an article written by me for restate my love of this card in enabling so much interplay between cards. Now beyond turning on Energon Axe, we also have another out of hand way of dealing with our own Battle Masters, especially for blue based decks that want to avoid playing the efficient PTT.


Enforcement Batons: Up front, this card is NOT a catch all solution to deal with Battle Masters. The main issue is the timing of when they are typically KO’d and thus your window of being able to handle them before they can used to attack with the other characters. Most of the time they will either die in combat you initiate, or through an effect on your opponents turn (some options above), so you cannot actually use Enforcement Batons to stop your opponent from attacking at least once with the Battle Master. Now, if you combine the Batons with your own out of hand direct damage, you will now have the ability to deal with it before it becomes an issue. Not to mention, when the Battle Master is KO’d and becomes the weapon, the attachment of that mode is NOT optional, which means that your opponent may be replacing existing weapons to play it. So now your combination of cards to deal with the Battle Master doubles up on the Weapon removal!

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Is it time to see more Battle Cards with Stars?

Drill Arms: This card has been relegated to “ugly step-sister” role since the printing of Bashing Shield but it may be time for it to make a serious return to competitive play. The main synergies Drill Arms has are with Captain Ironhide and Buzzsaw. Each of them have abilities that key off of specifically Blue Weapons, as opposed to Orange-Green Armors, so Drill Arms with its “when attached” effect gains extra value when it is not the only Upgrade you can play in a turn. These may be niche scenarios that only exist in a few decks/sideboards, but the ability to play efficient on-color Armor removal and another Upgrade in the same turn through these abilities should not be ignored.


Mounted Missiles: A lot of the characters in Siege have lower star costs, allowing you to build efficient wider teams and leave some room on the back end for battle cards with star costs on them. As the power level of cards increases, simply due to more efficient options constantly being printed, not power creep per se, gaining slightly better attack stats may not be as efficient as gaining a “Primary Laser that comes with a double orange pip.” Combined with the fact that this “Weapon” can fit into other slots, leaving the weapon open for other more efficient options, you have an efficient upgrade on all levels. Mounted Missiles remains the best one star cost card you can play in aggressive decks, and Siege gives us more tools to enable its usage.


Matrix of Leadership/Roll Out: assuming you can get double use from these cards, which means having an Autobot Leader for Matrix and active “when you flip to alt mode” abilities for Roll Out, Siege offers some additional synergy for these two cards. Abilities like Focus or helping both sides of combat like General Optimus Prime (who also has Focus on his Bot side, conveniently), open up the door for these dual pip mainstays to return to glory. Focus allows you to build your decks as “good stuff” decks, taking the best of both worlds, since efficient in-combat sifting can assist you in smoothing out otherwise mathematically poor combat draws. While this keyword only shows up on a few characters in-born, (Optimus, the new Flamewar, the new Arcee) they will be powerful options in decks featuring them. Not to mention they have synergy with Smashdown, Blowpipe, and most of the Micromasters you are likely to see in competitive play.

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As we continue to test the effect of Siege on the existing metagame, I am sure that other cards will gravitate to the surface, once more character lineups are explored and understood. These are only my thoughts after a week, and it is refreshing to see new life being breathed into some of these older cards that may have seen play in decks, but now have increased life and synergies in this new meta!

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Till All Are One!

 

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“Till All Are One!”