As we approached December’s VectorSigma.info charity tournament at Top Deck, I needed to come up with a new deck. Our team had decided that none of us would run any of the three “top” decks (Primes, Bugs, Cars) in an effort to have some fun, test out new stuff, and hopefully not win our own charity event. In the end Dan played a mixed-theme deck, Scott and Mark played decks based around Megatron, Living Weapon, and Vin and I decided to go with Metroplex.
There are a few avenues you can take when deckbuilding with Metroplex. The obvious one is to try to trigger his ability. This requires a very specific take on deck construction. You could also play him defensively, daring people to try to get through your 35 health while you continually flip blue pips against them. However, his 1 defense in bot mode makes this a more difficult proposition than doing a similar build with Optimus and/or Nemesis Prime. The third would be an aggressive build, attempting to leverage the 4 star Transformers’ bot modes and many orange pips to throw additional damage while using Metroplex to soak up your opponent’s incoming.
I rejected the orange idea as against another aggro deck, Metroplex would often die before being able to deploy all three bots. Bugs has such a damage output that you just don’t have enough flips unless you draw multiple transform actions, and you also end up attacking with Metroplex in alt mode too often. The blue deck has more promise and can be successful against many match-ups. However, it also can have trouble outputting enough damage to win against another defensive deck (you can run direct damage to help with this, but it proved not to be quite enough).
At this point, the question became “how can we trigger Metroplex’s ability as often as possible”? Enrico Borriello in the main Facebook Group ran the math simulations and it became clear that the overall key was twofold. First, run every single card that has two pips.
Second, Every other card you play should either be white, or should give you Bold. At lower Bold levels (0-2) it’s most advantageous to simply have nothing but double pips and whites. However, your success rates at these levels is still too low to be tenable. Instead, you want to push the Bold up into the 4-6 range where possible. In these ranges you’re actually best off having 3-5 single pips of each color, which at bold 4 puts you at around a 75% chance of activating the ability.
Luckily, playing the best cards that give us Bold fits right into these numbers.
For the charity event, I ran 3x Flamethrower, 2x Supercharge, and 3x Height Advantage. I figured this would give me the best opportunity for hitting at both the lower and upper reaches. The rest of the deck was comprised of the best available 14 white options – 3 Force Field, 3 Data Pad, 3 Rapid Conversion, 2 Backup Plan, 2 Debilitating Crystal, and 1 Combat Training (extra Bold!)
I went 3-2 (6-4) at the event, taking second in Swiss and then losing in the top 4. My wins were against the more defensive style of Metroplex and both Scott and Mark’s Megatron, Living Weapon decks; both of my losses came to Primes.
The Prime matchup is a difficult one; they output such high damage and your ability isn’t very worthwhile against them. In later matches where I did beat it, often the key was to get a high-bold Metroplex turn where you simply flipped a lot of Orange. Bold 7 leading to you doing 14 or so damage is pretty good whether or not you see the ability go off.
One thing I did find to be problematic was the second round of the game. Obviously on round 2 you want to deploy your first bot. Unfortunately, you want those bots to survive, and they are low on survivability (it takes six attack to kill any of them, and Slammer is also vulnerable to One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall). There are really only two good ways around this, and one bad way. The bad way is to attack with Metroplex in alt mode. You sacrifice 2 attack and the ability, with the minor bonus of having 1 additional armor when they attack back at you. The good ways are either to play Rapid Conversion/Roll Out to allow you to deploy the bot and attack with Metroplex in bot mode, or to deploy Six-Gun and play a Force Field on him, as he has 5 health.
This is a spot where it seems my play has diverged from other players I’ve seen running Metroplex. Other players tend to deploy Slammer first, and also tend to attack with Slammer or whoever else they have deployed immediately. I prefer to attack with Metroplex after deployment, using his health to continue soaking attacks and hopefully allowing me to build up additional bots to buff Metroplex and/or destroy Upgrades in the future.
We discussed the weakness to Primes and the desire to have a flip action on round 2 and I tweaked the deck a bit before the second events. Out came the worst white pips (Crystal, Training) and in went a 3rd Supercharge and 2 Drill Arms. The Drill Arms give me redundancy against Reinforced Plating/Body Armor when necessary, and in the early game usually give an extra card as I try to dig for the Rapid Conversion/Roll Out. In playing the deck more, I also discovered that in the late game, having their +1 attack on the smaller bots was nice in order to get them to actually get damage. I even won a couple of games where Metroplex had been eliminated, because I was able to do that extra damage.
Since I didn’t own a Nemesis and didn’t feel like playing Bugs again, I took Metroplex to two more tournaments this past weekend. In the first, I took third going 3-1 (7-3). I got two somewhat easy wins against Shockwave/Thundercracker/Flamewar, and two more difficult wins against Wheeljack/Cliffjumper/Prowl. SR Bee/Wheeljack/Prowl proved to be my toughest matchup, as Bee surviving an attack with 1 health remaining cost me game three. I then got matched against Primes, split the first two games, and despite going first and getting Mind Twisted via Security Checkpoint on his second round, I was able to draw what I needed along with the aforementioned 14 damage (10 getting through) to kill Optimus and win.
In the second event, I went 3-0 (6-0) playing against a pair of Dinobots decks and a Metroplex mirror. One of the Dinobots actually had a shot to win, but he played Zap against Metroplex to “guarantee” the kill and then died to a Six-Gun that only had one health remaining. Overall the Dinobots matchup seems to be a good one, but in this case he had a Grimlock swing for 19, making the game incredibly close.
What makes Metroplex weird is that he plays differently than any other. It is the only deck that makes more Transformers as the game goes along, rather than having their numbers reduced. Overwhelming someone with 3-4 bots in the endgame is satisfying; so is that moment where they manage to kill your Metroplex while being near death themselves, and your small bots finish them off.
Flips are divergent and you need to be prepared for such. The deck has a good number of whites so you will often see four cards minimum; this can lead to turns of easy 3 defense (saving the small bots) but occasionally will lead to the frustration of, say, a W-BB-W-W flip on offense. That’s what happened in my loss to Cars – I had four flips with Scamper and did not hit the one orange pip I needed.
I can’t say for certain that this is the best way to play Metroplex, and he definitely still has some issues with Primes. The Bugs matchup is very reliant upon your ability triggering on round 3 and probably on round 4 as well. Outside of that, though, the Autobot Titan has a solid matchup against most of the field. As is befitting a Transformer the size of a city!
Keep your eyes on the fan Facebook groups and/or our Facebook Page and Reddit when our next content goes live, and please hit me up with any comments on Facebook, email, Discord (AUStarwars#1576), or Line (austarwars).
Reach out with any questions on the event or anything to do with VectorSigma..and look for more exciting content this week and beyond!
“Till All Are One!”
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