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“It’s a necessary war to return us to glory” – Megatron
We are fresh off our first Open Series weekend at Origins Game Faire in Columbus Ohio where the metagame was wide open, and possibly still unfinished due to the late addition of sideboards. Now with the release of Siege: War for Cyberton (I) we must move on and start exploring new options for a new meta. I wouldn’t call my self a deck creator per se, (that’s mostly Scott and Mark) however I love tuning decks at the end of the process: finding the last few synergistic cards. I love testing and figuring out what works and what does not after the mad scientists leave the creation in my hands. This set introduces plenty of new cards to explore, but after Origins ended, I started really diving into what cards I expect to see in the coming weeks at Store Qualifiers for the Energon Invitational and Gen Con. So, let’s start with what finished well at the end of RotC because truthfully that’s where many start when building “new” decks: they start with what worked previously and update with new toys!
At Origins there were five total events, four of which had 32 or more players. The most common decks that did “well” were: Cars, Insecticons, and Three-Wide Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend variants. There were other decks all weekend that were “dark horses” or “surprises,” but those four decks captured the most top eight slots between all the events.
The addition of the Sideboard seemed to effect other “top meta” decks harshly. Sentinels, although it helped two different players top eight, seemed to mostly get beat around all weekend (Editor’s Note: also due to the end of match procedures in the Open Final, Sentinels was poorly positioned for “Control matchups” since the other three Sentinels that begin in the KO Pile count towards damage dealt by your opponent) as none made the top 16. Other non Aerialbot combiners also (mostly) seemed to struggle. So, if we decide to approach Siege knowing what the “top” decks were in RotC meta, then we can see there are two solidified orange decks and two solidified blue decks. For the purpose of this article I would like to focus on the two blue decks: Aerialbots and Three Wide Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend.
Above is the list that I went 5-0-1 with on Friday at the Origins Qualifier, finishing in first place on the day. This main deck has been kept 99% the same for the better half of the ROTC meta, so to start picking it apart and adding new cards is no easy feat. However, there are a few cards I think are 100% worth starting with. Pep Talk has been a 3-of in this deck for as long as I can remember, reason being is you simply always wanted cards in your hand to be able to pitch for your Green battle cards when needed. I think this card was quite serviceable in this deck, doing its job when called upon, however I think it’s time to move on from Pep Talk and go with the new Secret Action Battlefield Report. I believe this card has the potential to become a staple in many blue shells, but for this deck specifically being able to draw cards on defense is more powerful then on your turn. It adds an additional way to get an Enigma on defense when it’s the most strongest, since it is immune to hand disruption, and drawing it off of the Battlefield Report itself, means you will still gain the benefit of other Blue pips actually being used to defend. It is the best of both worlds for this shift from Pep Talk to Battlefield Report, honestly potentially enough to free up one of the Enigma slots.
Another Card that has been in and out of the deck in various numbers, with lengthy debates around how many you should play, is Energon Axe. Now I’m not prepared to tell you this card will no longer be in the deck at all, but there is a new card in town that at first glance looks like a staple for this combiner team: Laser Cutlass. “Put only on characters that have 7* or fewer” Pierce 3 + 1 Attack, this card does a ton for this deck in the grand scheme of it all. First, it gives a you a weapon for Air Raid to have guaranteed Pierce so he ability to “Vaporize” is turned on. It also can be played on any character, not names Fireflight,to guarantee 3 damage. However with Alpha Bravo it puts him up to three attack Pierce 6. Taking it a step further, if you set up a The Bigger They Are.. with Alpha Bravo, upgraded with a Laser Cutlass you would be looking at Five attack, Pierce 9! In all honestly, there is zero chance you can get to Six or let alone Nine attack probably, but it gives more play to the attack bonuses on Field Communicator and Press the Advantage to enable the larger Pierceamounts. Now the downfall of Laser Cutlass is if your combined already then you won’t be able to put it on Surperion,so you will have to be weary of that and play it before you combine, even the same turn. I certainly believe the addition of a playset of Laser Cutlass means you can afford a reduction in Noble’s Blaster to a singleton.
Aerialbots are also one of the decks that can take the most advantage from Black Pips, as their characters deal extremely small incremental damage in combat. A shift from Reinforced Plating to Smoke Cloak for example is not likely to hurt much on defense, but would help the non-Alpha Bravo team members have somewhat relevant attack phases. Steady Shot may also find a place in the list for another combat adder. Take Cover is a new Secret Action that can prevent non-combat damage, so against cards like Plasma Burst, Marksmanship, One Shall Stand One Shall Fall, and PHOTON BOMB, this card could really flip the table. If you can “counter” an OSSOSF or Photon Bomb, your opponent now just dealt damage to his character(s) and ZERO to yours. A card like Take Cover can truly be a difference maker in the game and when the player puts a Secret Action on the table opposing players better be ready for it.
“In any war, there are calms between storms. There will be days when we lose faith. Days when our allies turn against us...but the day will never come that we forsake
this planet and its people.” ― Optimus Prime
For Team VectorSigma.info, Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend was our weapon of choice to bring to Origins Game Faire on the Open day after we qualified. Optimus Prime: BL is likely even with Siege 1 still the strongest single Character in the game, as both his Alt mode and Bot mode give incredibly powerful options. Although Optimus remained mostly silent during most of the RotC meta, he 100% came to play at the Open and was crowned Champion. Naturally Three-Wide Optimus would be a deck I would immediately look at to see how Siege 1 effects the deck, so let’s take a look at some of those cards that may impact it.
So, Battlefield Report needed another shout out, as I imagine it will be a staple here as well, Laser Cutlass on the other hand may act quite different in this deck. Hotrod can give you a guaranteed Pierce 7 with a The Bigger They Are… swinging up, or Heavy Handed swinging downward, which is nothing to shy away about. The idea you can do 7 guaranteed damage with that combination of cards in the correct situation is very strong, especially in a mirror match situation (that’s two swings on their OP: BL for lethal!).
Although both of those cards seem like auto-includes, there are some other interesting Siege options as well. You can look to Reflex Circuits, Sturdy Armor, and Covert Armor depending on the mode you wish to attach them and the enemy you wish to answer. I could see them starting as sideboard options and then once you get a feel for the Siege 1 meta you may even start seeing them in the Main. Speaking of sideboards, I think Infiltratewill see some heavy sideboard play, once again its about knowing your meta-game, but seeing as your likely going to be main-decking Battlefield Report it will be very easy to bring in a card like Infiltrate against orange decks to attempt to shut off “half” their turn.
Secret Actions are very powerful with Optimus: BL, because their niche nature (outside of Battlefield Report which should see universal play) combines so well with the recursion on his flip to alt mode ability. Hiding Spot could be another awesome inclusion, especially when you go first. You will hold back OP: BL to attack “last” in the cycle and they will do the same with their best attacker, who you then suddenly shift to attacking into Hotrod (as you likely want to leave Flamewar on the field as long as possible). (Editor’s Note: Hotrod actually efficiently helping Optimus stay alive, what a role reversal!)
Time will tell if another Character is as option for the list. At first glance, I do not see any strong replacements for the hit point/defense/tough that Hotrod brings to the table or the versatility that Flamewar offers the team, but we will see. Ultra Magnus may be something to test out of the Sideboard as a replacement for Nemesis Prime, because his in-born Brave solves a lot of the issues the deck can have in its “two tall” mode: keeping Optimus: BL alive past one to two attacks.
Siege is presenting us with a ton of new options for our Battle-Decks/ Sideboards in current Blue focused decks. I personally can’t wait to get into testing and to see if any of the cards I mention can be as good as I think they are! I didn’t even have time to get into some of the new possible Character lineups, which quite frankly is more then likely an entire series of articles in its own right. For now, lets just enjoy the dawning of a new Meta and quietly wait to see what may unfold in the weeks leading into Gen Con!
Until next time “Auto-Bots Roll-Out!”
Dan Arnold – Youtube content Creator for VectorSigma.info, one of 16 Qualified for the Energon Invitational, Runner-Up of the First Transformers TCG Open Championship.
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“Till All Are One!”
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