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Player Interviews: Wave one close into wave 2

Player Interviews: Turn the page

by Dan Arnold


Hello Everyone! During the last Wave One Case Tournament at Top Deck Games, we did a series of interviews on site. Due to the nature of “game volume” present at the store, the audio quality of the interviews was simply not up to our normal standards (you can hear some of it in yesterday’s “Hot Shot Podcast Vol.2 for example”, but the interviews contained solid content and we still wanted to bring it to our faithful readers/listeners/viewers in anticipation of Rise of the Combiners. Have no fear, we have improved our audio setup, and we will correct this issue going forward.

I had the pleasure to sit down for One0 or so minutes with some great community figures in our area and talk everything Wave One with them and also get some Initial thought on RotC from them as well. I truly enjoyed sitting down with everyone and have a pleasurable conversation. Given the audio difficulties, I didn’t want the time and effort from all those involved to go to waste but I wanted to do them justice and fill all of you in on what their thoughts were. So we transcribed the answers (with their approvals of course) so you could still see their insights.

Here was our cast for the day! 

Jon Palmer of VectorSigma.Iinfo (Pax Unplugged uncut sheet winner)

Scott Landis Creator/Editor of (Pax Unplugged uncut sheet winner)

Steffon PIinckney of ( )

Joe BaiocchIi from Wreck N' Rule! ( ) (Pax Unplugged uncut sheet winner)

Once again gentlemen thank you for sitting down with me, I had great conversations with all of you and I look forward to doing It again soon!

Note: this was recorded on February 16, 2019 so not all RotC information was available at the time of recording


Question One: What were the things you liked most about Wave One?


Jon - The game never seems out of hand; every game I play always seems to come down to one attack. I also liked how the Meta has evolved since the beginning of the game where basically everyone was playing Aggro decks (DIinobots, Bugs, Cars), but by the time Pax Unplugged had come around the meta had changed to heavy blue decks with the Power of the Primes list running rampant, and even most recently moving to the 3 Wide primes. (With each and every event that passed by a new deck seem to arise to top the “meta”)

Scott - I just love the game in general. I think what I love most Is that there are Individually used characters and cards that have a lot of synergy with each other, but that doesn't mean you have to use them all in the same deck, but you can use the entire “tribe” have those things as well naturally. For example, at the highest level of competition you don't see a lot of pure Tank decks, but you still may see individual Tank characters with their signature tribal cards. 

I just think there Is a lot of depth to the set, and there may still even be a lot of undiscovered things. I played 4 decks in different events over the course of Wave One from Cars, to The Touch, to a Megatron deck, and now All Hail OptIimus and I mostly changed the deck I was playing just to play the battle cards I wanted to as best as possible. For example, I’m on record saying that Pierce Isn’t a good ability but in the 3 wide deck you end up stacking so much that It becomes very powerful.

Steffon - My favorite card from Wave One was Brainstorm and that's mainly because it lets you play more actions and do more things which Is where my Yu-gi-ioh play time kicks in. I played a lot of OptIimus Prime BL mainly 2 wide, I read the Touch Article 5 times (!) and It just drew me to that deck. I Liked Dinobots, and also Cars: I like how complex the deck is and how far ahead you have to play because It also reminded me of my Yu-gi-oh days. 

Joe – Right off the bat Metroplex! I liked how it was everyone thought it was going to be a gimmick deck, but you start playing it and think “this is kind of dumb but I’m winning with it? Ok this is awesome!”


Question 2: What were some of the things you disliked about Wave One?

Jon - I felt some of the tribe designs fell flat. For example, you could see the core of what they were going for with Tanks, the problem Is they may have overlooked how strong direct damage was (low hit points). For Planes I’m not sure what they really wanted them to be other than to play DreadWing in RotC. Their star cost is awkward, and their actions kind of work but still do not feel very competitive. I also felt the OptIimus Prime Battlefield Legend may be too good for his star cost. I’m Ok with and iconic characters being powerful, but Ii felt they could have made him slightly weaker by giving him 6 attack in bot mode, or maybe even cost one more star. However, if they did either of those things, maybe instead of complaining about him I would be complaining about Kickback at 5 stars.. 

Scott - There isn’t much I don't like about Wave One, but if I had to say something then maybe Optimus Prime Battlefield Legend may cost too little. I think what the games does really well Is that there is a ratio of star cost to stats, but that doesn’t always hold true. For example Barrage is so good at 7 stars that you may always want to play him, even potentially over any 8 or most 9s. The same could be said for Wheeljack or Flamewar; they just stand out so much that it’s going to be hard to replace those characters at that star cost. 

Steffon – Insecticons: Kickback and Skrapnel because they are ridiculous, and I’m mostly hating because they just hit so hard and my girlfriend always beats me with them. 

Joe – One card I didn’t like was Sludge. With the “I Still Function” play he can over heal and I just never liked that at all. I also didn’t like the way Shockwave was handled and even in RotC with Green Pips he still doesn’t interact with them and I just wish he was more playable. Optimus Prime BL, I’m just worried that he’s going to be just going to make the Combiners unplayable, I just don’t know how they (WOTC) are going to handle him if and when OP comes around.


Question 3: What did you play at are our last Wave One Event?

Jon - So today Ii played Power of the Primes and went 3-1-1 and lost in the top 8 cut to Scott. I hadn't had the chance to play with Nemesis Prime yet, because I didn’t actually own one until recently. My only losses were to [Dan] playing 3 Wide Primes and to Scott playing 3 Wide Primes. I beat 2 Dinobots and a 3 Wide Primes as well. Unfortunately, I spent 4 rounds playing against teammates today.

Scott - I played All Hail OptIimus, and the changes I made from our last event were to remove Forcefield for an Energon Axe and Team-up Tactics for a second Treasure Hunt.  Ii went 4-1-1 my only lost to [Dan] in swiss (by one hit point), and we all split in the top 4. (2 wins for Dan against VectorSIigma today) I wanted to have an additional armor for the mirror which is why I added the second Treasure Hunt. The Forcefield didn’t really do anything and Team-up Tactics wasn't good enough, I was considering playing a Multi Mission Gear too, instead of the Axe so I could play a Treasure Hunt and another action in the same turn if I needed to, but decided to go with the Energon Axe to make my attacks better with the smaller characters.

Steffon - I played 3 wide OptIimus today, I wanted to get here today cause I haven't had much time to actually play in events. I went 4-1, won my top eight match, and we all split in the Top Four, for two boxes each. So It was a good day! I cut Forcefield and Team-Up Tactics for a second Treasure Hunt and a Brainstorm, because the Forcefield wasn't very good and I really wanted to play at least one Brainstorm.

Joe – I ran my Pierce Cars list based on Wheeljack getting Thermal Weaponry to try and combat the blue meta in the area, I went 2-2 and in round five went to time and just rolled off for who win and I lost the roll. I did have a game where I got nine attack with pierce nine and my opponent looked at me like I was crazy and I said “yeah you heard that right, nine attack with pierce nine” and he was just like “wow ok” I was also super confident about my Metroplex matchup and still somehow found a way to kill Plex, and then lose to his weenies! 


Question 4: What are you excited about for RotC?


Jon - I’m really excited for all the star cost cards, there's a lot of times in Wave One I would build a deck and It would end at 23/24 stars and It felt like I was leaving something on the table because of it. Just to give an example, If you wanted to play Wheeljack, ClIiffjumper, Prowl you were leaving two stars on the table in Wave One, but now you could do that and add 2 One-Star Battle Cards.  So I think they did a great job addressing that. I really like the new Starscream and I believe he will be a core deck In RotC. I also like Blurr, but I’m not sure he will be good enough to competitive. Green Pips Is a good Idea but It’s something they have to be careful with because If the put them everywhere It means you will always have them and that will weaken deck building as a whole, but something like Enigmas are perfect for It because you actively need the card to “win” the game. 

Scott - In general I pretty much like everything so far (note this was recorded Feb. 16). I like that there are certain decks that are going to be helped a lot, but I especially like the “resource” cost of only playing one actions and one upgrade a turn is virtually nonexistent because of this set (cards like Confidence/Swindled, Field Communicator, Leap Of Faith, etc.). Certain decks will be able to always play what cards they want, when the want to, virtually every turn. I also like that the sheer number of lost cost characters is matched by the sheer number of high cost characters will give more options for deck building. I think that using the “factions” as true tribes with Autobot only cards is really good as well, and gives people a real reason to not combine both Bots and Cons. 

Some of my favorite Battle Cards so far are Confidence and Swindled, and as for Characters, SR Starscream, BlitzwIing, Certain Combiner pieces, common Bee, and common Megatron.  I think the Upgrades with Brave and Stealth will see play because the hardest thing to do is this game is correctly sequencing your attacks, so If you can mess your opponent’s plans up by forcing them to attack another way It can really go a long way. I still hope there are Combiner only cards to help them [note, there aren’t..], but having talked to certain people who have tested them, I may be under valuing you them a bit in general, because while you do not get individually powerful attacks, you do get to use your weakest link to turn into a very powerful character in the end. I still worry that your guys will all die to fast and when you combine you are too weak to stand a chance, but we will see. I think Dreading is strong and not because it is only two characters to combine, but because you can combine so fast and get 7 attack and 2 Upgrade slots, and that you get the upgrades from the characters you already had in play, I think this is extremely powerful. I think the Sentinel deck gives you a powerful resource advantage throughout the game, and I think they might just be a good deck in general, and may only need one Enigma to finally combine. You are not in a rush to combine them either which isn’t a bad thing. Also, though they’re not technically RotC, the Constructicons are also very interesting and I think the Tower mechanic will be strong. It will just be interesting to see how these decks will come together because I haven't really thought about how Ii would build them all yet.

Steffon - RotC Is going to be ridiculous! Specialists are going to be fun. You can do so much stuff now because of Field Communicator and Leap of Faith, however I’m not sure If that's good or not? Mainly because you can cheat all these actions and upgrades, but you may not actually get enough value in the end. I hate what they did to DIinobots. I’m not a fan that OptIimus starts with all the Sentinels in the KO zone or in play and Grimlock has to attack twice! If you’re playing Bold I don't like their Enigma because It only gives Bold two. Sure you going to kill something that turn, but you probably have zero defense since Bold wants more oranges than blues. Not sure Volcanicus will have enough health to be able to win the game. I truly feel that WOTC wouldn't create something like this and it wouldn't be good enough to play, so I’m sure that the Combiners will be fine. In practice, I like Green Pips; way more tool-boxing now and a great way to pitch your Improvised Shields!

Joe – I want to see how the Green Pips will affect play. It’s like a whole new way to play the game: before you would flip a card over and that was it, now you flip a Green Pip and you can always have it in hand. I feel that’s going to truly be meta-changing. Maybe cards like Disruptive Entrance will start to see more play now and other cards that let you pick apart your opponents’ hands also to combat the Green I just don’t know. I’m curious how well Combiners will do, I want to take the side angle just like with Metroplex and I don’t want to over judge them before I actually get to play them myself. I really want to see Optimus Maximus in play and I like how you can choose your team and you get actions in your KO Zone, I think that’s really interesting.


Question 5: What decks are you planning to build first?


Jon - Definitely something with Blurr. I also think the Combiners are pretty neat but I need to see more cards because I feel they need some type of heal effect to make them work, I will likely regardless build Mensor because he was the Combiner character I had as a kid. I also will likely try something with the new Megatron.

Scott – I’ll likely start with Sr Starscream in an All Deception deck to see how he is, and how good Mining Pick is, testing how consistently you can get the Decepticon Crown thing going on. I’m not sure If It will be three wide or two wide, yet but I have been enjoying three wide a little more lately, having seen the perks of playing three characters versus two. 

Steffon - I want to try double Megatron with 23 stars and then two Leap of Faith. Or OptIimus and new Megatron just so you can get back Hunker Down and really cheat out extra upgrades and whatever other value you can get from that combination. As for wider decks, maybe the Aerialbots for Confidence, and I will collect all the DIinobots in hopes of the deck being good enough competitively. 

Joe – I really want to start with all Combiners. You have to build every one of them with blue and with orange and then throw them up against the “best” decks to see how they do against everything. I’m the most curious about them. Also, everyone wants to do something with Thrust, Thrust/Arcee, Thrust/Blurr, Thrust/Thrust! We will see how that turns out. Bombshell and Venin?  Maybe we can make some type of Blue bugs deck?? Wave One Bugs got some big upgrades as well. Mining Pick just seems so dangerous… and my mission will be to make a Starscream deck and not fall on my face!


Joe taks over the interview briefly:



(Now after all of this Joe took over the show! He demanded to interview me personally and had a special Question for Scott and Jon also):

Joe asked Scott and Jon – What has become of the other two uncut sheets? (Scott and Jon won Rare Wave one sheets at Pax Unplugged)

Scott – Mine is in my office, not framed yet, even though you send me the link to buy the frame and everything I just haven’t had time to hang it yet.

Jon – Mine is in storage because I need to sell it! 

Joe – I am demanding immediately that VectorSigma post a pic of the uncut sheet framed and hanging ASAP!

Scott – As soon as I frame it, I will do so.

Jon – I’ll send ya a copy of my Paypal statement after I’ve sold mine. 

Now Joe looked at me and asked me a few questions as well

Joe’s Question One:

In your opinion who is the most underrated character of Wave One?

Dan – That’s a tough question, for me..I would have to say Shockwave. Shockwave was one of my first rares and I worked on a deck with him, Wheeljack, and Flamewar but the deck just never felt good enough. He has this super unique ability but I just always felt he was missing something to really put him over the top. 

Joe’s Question Two:

Of the Combiners revealed which is our favorite and which do you think will be competitive?

Dan – For me Volcannicus is truly interesting and if and I mean if you can get to the point to combine him quick enough I think he will be very deadly And god forid you can get the Sludge effect off in the game for him, I can’t see you could possibly lose…The Sentinels I believe could be completive because you may not even need to combine them. Combining as a strategy is more as a “plan B” and I think having the available flips in the KO Zone is very powerful. 


So that was the end of my interviews as I said before I had such great conversations with all those included and I’m honestly very upset that I had to type this up instead of just posting those videos but the audios simply weren’t good enough and I didn’t want everyone to have to struggle to hear what everyone was saying. 

In summary of everything, TLDR from our chats: 

OP BL may very well be too good

Combiners are big question mark

Green Pips are game changers

Everyone is very excited for RotC! 

GET A MICROPHONE! (already have..)

Happy openings to everyone! I can’t wait to bring everyone live coverage on March 2nd! Be on the look out on our YouTube page and Facebook page for more announcements of exactly when we will be going live!


'Till all are one


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“Till All Are One!”