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Spinner Rims: Utility

by Scott Landis

  

Welcome back True Believers for another continuation of the VectorSigma.info preview season! Once again we were lucky enough to be graced with three spoiler cards from the Wizards of the Coast team, and today we bring you our second from the Siege: War for Cybertron set (street date June 28): the Utility Battle Card, Spinner Rims.

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“Break yourself Fool!” ~ Smokey (Chris Tucker), Friday 1995

As soon as the good folks over at Wizards of the Coast gave me a card named “Spinner Rims” I immediately thought of Hector’s car in the classic, Friday. Now, to date myself, I was in my Junior year of college the first time I saw Friday, a few years after it was released, and over the next five years I probably watched the movie no less than 100 times. I mean it still makes me laugh to this day and when you see the massive amount of talent in it years later, you will see why. But anyway, you are not here to hear my review of Friday 25 years later, but to talk the Transformers Trading Card Game, but I promise you they will connect lol (side note: the car pictured above is ACTUALLY Ice Cube’s car)

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Rise of the Combiners Slug on a stick!

Spinner Rims is a very interesting card that can have a lot of varied use depending on the type of deck you are running it in. First things first, the Utility slot is quite crowded with extremely viable options, especially if you are running a heavy Tribal them deck: Cars have Turbo Boosters, Dinobots have Jaws of Steel, Firecons will have Firecon Flame, Sentinels have Combat Commands, Planes have Aerial Recon and Crash Landing (I guess?), Specialists have Field Communicator, Autobot Leaders have the Matrix of Leadership, etc. If you are not fond of these, Spinner Rims has to compete with Data Pad and Security Console for more universal use so you either need to find a niche area for it to shine, or make sure that it can act superior to these current options. I want to go over the first one that seems rather obvious first, and at least provide some arguments for the second afterwards.

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Per Mirage’s TF Wiki Bio: Mirageis what humanscall "old money." Before the war, he was a member of affluent Cybertronian society, with his own large estate and high-priced friends. He enjoyed the finer things in life: vintage energon, swank evening events, and turbofox hunts on the grounds .I just thought it was funny that Mirage is like a spoiled rich kid who “was forced to choose sides and found himself banded with a group of commoners he didn't really understand.” The Sentinel version of Mirage is arguably the most powerful part of that team, but the Wave One version has yet to see very much competitive play. This is not because his untap ability is under powered, or that he does not have a home (finding an easy partner in Generation One sports car Counterpart Jazz), it is simply that you needed to build a deck that was so heavy on White pips that his damage potential in a combat round was so incredibly low. You normally had to rely on things like Piercing Blaster to do guaranteed damage because the rest of your deck could not provide a lot of help in the “attacking” area. You could not rely on playing cards like Data Pad on Mirage, which would all but ensure you hitting his “WWW” each attack, but that issue will be fixed by using Spinner Rims.


Let’s do some math, cause that is my role in this game (Numbers based on VectorSigma.info TF Combat Simulator, 250 Trials, or as I call it “Teletraan I”): 

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Note: I didn’t want to do too much advanced math or do like a Logistic Regression curve to figure out “percentage chance of drawing three whites, increasing per white” because I am sure 90% of the “readers” just looked at the spoiler and did not make it this far..but trust me, I could.. 

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So what does the above small sample tell you? Well, that Mirage is HUNGRY for White Pips (I guess they are akin to vintage energon for him): you need at least 33 whites in the deck to hit at an over 90% rate, which given the lack of survivability or offense punch (since you know, white pips add nothing) you need to make sure you have this type of hit rate or the deck falls apart, quickly. So the problem was the deck had no room to run “effective non-white cards” (mostly combat pumps and/or direct damage)..well Spinner Rims helps solve that dilemma. Rims can open up 5-7 slots in your deck for more impactful cards that will help you actually damage your opponents or stay alive longer allowing the deck’s inevitability or “Prison” aspects to take over a game. You will get better weapons like Energon Axe, combat pumps like Leap into Battle, Bravery for Jazz, etc. 


Since I know you are wondering: I would probably start the deck out as: Mirage, Jazz, Cliffjumper, 2x Leap of Faith.


One card opening up 12-15% of your deck is a lot of real estate added by one Utility, so definitely look for it to see play with the Autobot Illusionist!




But Wait…there’s more! More Math!


I wanted to see what effect Rims has in a “normal” deck, to see if it has a chance of replacing other Utilities. Remember, the standard Utility provides +1 Attack and an ability which normally creates at least one card worth of advantage. So we need Rims to essentially do better: provide over +1 to one combat side, preferably both as the effect works when both attacking and defending. The first question should be “How many Whites do I need to run to hit one”..I am glad you asked: the simple math is: 

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You start to hit diminishing returns on combat math above 7-8 whites, so keep in mind it becomes counterproductive to run too many (outside Mirage/Jazz above). 


In all the below charts, the Blue is the spread of damage/defense on a normal flip (assuming the deck in question is slanted one way or another, just switch the “Oranges” for “Blues” and think of it that way) without Rims (Blue) and with Rims (Orange)


  

Deck 1: Heavy Color Slant (6 Double Color, 21 On Color, 7 White, 6 Blank/Green)

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What you can see here is that Rims has little effect, simply shifting the extreme draws a bit to the right, in other words, your “highs will be higher” with your expected values remaining consistent (you go from an average calculation of flipping 2.244 of the color to 2.348 with Rims)


Deck 2: Current Slight Mix (See VS Sentinels here: https://vectorsigma.info/decklists) (6 Double Orange, 16 Orange, 5 Double Blue, 1 Blue, (now) 9 White, 3 Blank/Green)

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Little value on attack, changing the average from 2.008 to 2.112, likely due to the fact that this deck already relies on White Pips in other ways.



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The larger gain is on defense, since Rims will allow you to draw into your Double Blues more effectively, you do see a decent gain here from .72 to .84 average.


Deck 3: Future Potential Mixed List (6 Double Orange, 9 Orange, 6 Orange/Blue, 5 Double Blue, 3 Blue, 7 White, 4 Blank/Green)


This means we need to build our Battle decks to take advantage of Rims’ ability to work on both sides of combat: maximize the number of double pip (OB) cards if possible. 


This is a build I believe will also shine using the new Focus ability, but that is an article (and more math!) for another time:

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Attack wise we see a “shift right”, with the average going from 1.872 to 2.048.


Defense wise, especially compared to a one sided deck, is where you really see an effect going from a 1.248 to 1.52 (almost a 22% increase) but most importantly you see the low end is decreased and the high end increased, so turning Rims into a “virtual Tough 1” on defense is more probable :

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The bottom line of this analysis (besides the fact that I found it enjoyable in my sick “I love Math and Microsoft Excel way”) is that effects such as Spinner Rims (and Focus, Plan, Bold, Tough, etc.) have a true effect on the way decks need to be built to take advantage of them. They can help make up for “the unfocused nature” of the deck’s pips, or simply move you further in the direction of your already focused strategy.


I believe that Spinner Rims will see play alongside Mirage and Jazz, with an outside shot of seeing play in spread Pip decks that do not have a tribal utility to play on their own. 


Stay tuned for more preview cards for the exciting Siege: War for Cybertron set hitting the street on June 28!

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'Till all are one

 

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