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Now that the Energon Invitational Qualifier season is over, we are winding down the Siege I metagame and anxiously looking forward to the Seige II one. Close to the end of the Rise of the Combiners metagame we took a look back at things we missed early on that would have helped us succeed throughout that time frame. We feel it is vital to look at all past mistakes and grow from them.
There are various types of mistakes. At times they are Process mistakes, in other words something was done incorrectly in the approach to things like preparation, game day activities, or writing off of entire strategies at first glance. There are Evaluation mistakes, normally incorrectly evaluating the power level of a card(s) initially to its current status, whether over-stating its effect or under-stating it. There are Interaction mistakes, which is a fancy way of saying “misplayed the cards in certain situations.” There are others as well, but for the Siege I metagame we are going to focus on these types.
Admittedly this was a harder article to write compared to the RotC one since the success at Gen Con the kicking off of the metagame, therefore a lot of initial impressions DID carry forward to the end (“shout out to me” to borrow a phrase from a popular DFS podcast I listen to). That does not mean everything was sunshine and rainbows, however, and there is always room to improve.
Let’s start with our Process Mistakes:
A big mistake for me was trying to do too much with too little time. The month of July was a whirlwind of activity at VectorSigma.info, especially off of our strong performances at Origins and preparing for Gen Con. There simply was not enough time to do everything, and as such I just feel that certain aspects of content suffered. We took on a new segment of deep content necessity by launching a Patreon the week before Origins, with a majority of the offerings happening leading into Gen Con. It was simply too much for me to take on myself and I either need to learn to better employ a separation of duties or simply publicly acknowledge a lack of daily public content in the month/month and a half leading up to major events (spoiler alert: daily content will not occur throughout the end of October/November).
The other major Process mistake for me was spending too much time on developing strategies based solely around NEW characters instead of spending enough time revisiting how older strategies were influenced by new options. The biggest opportunity here was the three wide aggro decks that simply substituted a Battlemaster for another character. Seeing this effect would also open up other avenues, such as testing updated Cliffjumper variants. We had some updated Dinobot lists, but they were simply not as good as the missed Cars lists that were very popular at Gen Con.
A corollary to that is seeing one great interaction, but not having the time or discipline to go back and apply it to similar situations. For example, it became obvious with about two weeks left in Gen Con testing that the most powerful thing you can do with Battlemasters was to use a Peace Through Tyranny on them to gain the additional turn with an insane weapon on your characters after they have attacked and are tapped for the first round. This led to playing Firedrive over Lionizer, as his extra card draw helped facilitate that interaction. We did not apply this same theory across the board, failing to port both Battlemasters and easy card draw into various existing or new strategies.
For my first mistake I want to talk out of the game context. Preparing for a “major” event like Origins or Gen Con takes dedication. For Origins, from the moment it was announced, it was about the prep that we had to do, to take the theory put it on the table and test it to ends meet. We knew our Top 32 deck weeks before getting to Columbus. For Gen Con I didn’t have the time to commit to the game and it showed.
Yes I made Top 16, which is a fine finish for the extent of that event, but it wasn’t about my finish as much as it was about how I felt playing the game. I knew I made mistakes that weekend and it all stemmed from the lack of testing and understanding the deck I was playing fully. And for what it’s worth I think going into any major event it’s important to know your deck and it’s limits. Yes I know that Origins and Gen Con present multiple events with being able to change decks, but sometimes knowing one deck and tuning it on the fly is just the better option then bringing 4 decks and starting all over again with every event.
It’s that time again folks! To be honest I feel I have been airing a number of my mistakes via the articles I have been writing. Notably my own personal attachment to specific characters and cards negatively impacting my deck construction and play. Prior to that I explored a different set of my own mental roadblocks regarding investment in the game. While each of those are valuable learning experiences, I think the most glaring mistakes I made appeared in two flavors: lack of focus in games and lack of focus in preparation.
A majority of the other mistakes made fall into the Evaluation bucket. Let’s start
The biggest Evaluation error for me was in Secret Actions. There were some I over evaluated (Battlefield Report, Infiltrate) and some I vastly under evaluated (Bolster). The mistake comes down to power vs. consistency. I felt that Secret Actions were only truly playable out of Shockwave or Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend builds, since you had more access to get the Secret Action, but sometimes you can just play one for its powerful effect on the turn you need it, or assume it is just in the deck for the pips otherwise.
Bolster is a bit more complicated. I knew that it forced a larger hand size, and my testing emphasis on Shockwave in July indicated that was a rough possibility. If I thought about ways to address that problem through characters with Draw effect (cough:Cliffjumper:cough) or considered running it WITH Shockwave, things might have been different early on. It was not until we tested the Ramhorn/Forcefield interaction that this was truly understood, but I am going to blame this one on time..
Evaluations for Battlemasters and where they belonged. From the first announcement I was excited that the Battlemasters brought a new mechanic that I believed was very good for the game (and has proven to be meta warping), however I looked at them all as the “same” with different context and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Basically I had blinders on from one side to the other. For example, Raider Aimless direct damage ability in weapon mode was a big one for me. It looked so game warping at first glance, but to this day I haven’t been able to consistently find anything for it to work well enough for competitive play, you simply have to adjust your Battle deck too much to make the card work as intended, and even then it’s simply not good enough.
Secret Actions. I think these cards have done more then meets the eye (haha) when they were first announced. I looked at them as the perfect sideboard cards, and mostly that remains, however the more I played then throughout the EIQ Season, the more I realized that the cards situationally had huge impacts in games and certain decks could truly exploit that fact.
6th Avenue Heartache. This set really put into stark relief how bad the 6 star slot is. Outside of decks that were able to use Prowl with multiple cars, almost all of the 6-star cards are subpar and often a 5-star card was a better play in that slot. I understand the worries about powerful 6-star cards and more decks going 4-wide, but these have just underwhelmed.
Certain Battlemasters, specifically Private Firedrive. Definitely underrated him as compared to Lionizer/Aimless coming out of the box. The fact he'll draw you 1-2 cards a game is very nice and once attached, his flat +3 isn't vulnerable to Gyro Blasters and Dampening Fields like Lionizer is. Absolutely my favorite Battlemaster this set, although I'm looking forward to the new armor ones. (Note: still ran him successfully at Gen Con, this was in the weeks prior).
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s part II where we talk about some specific card miss-evaluations from Siege I.
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“Till All Are One!”
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