Cars Reimagined: Holiday Tournament REport

by Vince DeGulis

“That's one of the remarkable things about life. It's never so bad that it can't get worse.” - Calvin & Hobbes


The quote above is basically how I build decks, no terrible deck can’t be made worse in my hands! Hello all! You may be wondering what random managed to convince Vector Sigma to tolerate their nonsense and post up a decklist. Well that random is me! You may have heard my voice before over on Tech Talk the weekly Transformers TCG podcast which I co-host with two 4 legged friends Brody and Bentley!


Oh and some guy named Scott shows up too.


Recently Vector Sigma hosted a charity tournament to benefit Toys for Tots! The initial plan was to write about the deck that I played, however the build in question: “Paint the City Blue” is a really strange version of Metroplex. Unfortunately I think it needs more time in the oven and isn’t quite ready for prime time. Instead I want to talk instead about a different tournament that also was very recent, this time a local event which had a decent turnout and a wide variety of builds present.

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Look for more VectorSigma.info sponsored events soon!

The More the Merrier!

Our area is blessed with a number of played within reasonable distance, so we can reliably pull double-digit players at a number of different stores. This time was no different and the group did not disappoint as we had (in)famous favorites such as “The Touch” (https://vectorsigma.info/article-the-touch-1 ) and Dinobots (https://vectorsigma.info/article%3A-bold1-1 ) but also some unexpected Shockwave lists, Metroplex, variants on cars, some planes, kind of the entire gamut.


We even had The Hive AKA triple Bumblebee in attendance!


Here’s the thing, because everyone is in relatively close proximity we do end up drawing a lot of strong players and iron sharpens iron, so the level of play raises every time these tournaments happen. It might sound scary especially if you are just starting out but it is actually awesome. It is nearly impossible to improve entirely on your own. It is really important to play with and against other people to further your own knowledge and enhance your ability to adapt. If you haven’t tried going to a local store to play definitely give it a try! The community in my experience has been more than welcoming and events such as this are a great way to spend an afternoon. 

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The Research and the Planning

I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but I have a really bad habit for this game. Part of it is born out of my love of Transformers, but it is something that needs to be fixed. That habit is never deciding a deck ahead of time. Every other game I’ve played I try to identify what I want to do within a metagame and then practice and practice and practice and practice…


And practice.


Whatever deck I settle on, I need to really know inside and out. I’m not a super strong player. I’m not a fantastic deckbuilder. But I can research and I can test and I can drill into my own head lines of play. For the Transformers TCG though, I am constantly in a state of flux constantly bouncing from deck idea to deck idea. I’m blaming it on the fact that I love Transformers and so like a glutton I am stuffing every second I can full of Cybertronian cards. Unfortunately that has led to an awkward jack-of-all-trades scenario where I can pilot some stuff kinda-sorta decently but I by no means can claim to be an expert.


I’m not a fan of the feeling let me tell you.


The upside is that I do get to experience a number of different things the game has to offer. Over time I’ve been rotating between different decks to try and see what additional information can be gleaned, the subject for today’s experiment is cars. As with the last few events I was testing and building and desconstructing and facepalming until the wee hours of the morning the night before the tournament. That’s rule #1 broken for tournaments, be prepared and get rest. I managed to fail on both fronts. 


Initially I went in thinking I was going to play “Reset Metroplex”. Reboot, reset, or some other more catchy moniker this deck is the one you think of when you picture the deck. 6xOO, 6xBB, 6xOB and a slew of white pips. Not unlike my recent indecisiveness for decks, I decided Thursday I was probably going to play it. Did some last minute testing Friday, decided to scrap the entire concept because it went like 0 and forever against everything. That isn’t to say the deck is bad (more on that later), but I couldn’t get it to perform as it had previously and call it superstitious but I didn’t want to walk into the event with the idea “well my deck just can’t win”. That’s not a mindset that is going to help you win so as mentioned it went back in the box.


So at around 7pm the night before I got to work trying to make either random jank I have in my spreadsheet work as well as tweaking my own versions of Dinobots. Most of the random stuff fell off quickly, but don’t worry as the series title implies I’ll definitely have more jank to blabber about later! Dinobots was really close but I am struggling finding a way to get it to address bugs in a satisfactory fashion. Who knew that insects would give giant robot dinosaurs so much trouble? Now we are at roughly 10:30pm and I wanted to get to sleep and I still have a negative clue as to what to run. At this stage I went through the dozens of decklists I had written up and decided to pull Autobot Cars out of the file. It worked a few games so I took it as a good sign.


I trusted the list that Scott had provided me (we talk about it here: https://soundcloud.com/randomsthoughts/tech-talk-8/s-YOOS4) so of course the first thing I did was change it. That’s rule #2 broken, don’t be making changes the night before an event! 


Let’s drop the lists side-by-side so you can see the madness at work:

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Initial Pre-Primes Meta List

Scott's Initial Cars List

That’s the initial list. With about 20 - 30 games under my belt with it (and some additional after the changes below) I can safely say that I am a qualified expert on the deck.


Might be a slight exaggeration.


The general idea is probably obvious. You abuse the fact that cars can break combat cycles with untap effects (Start your Engines/Turbo Boosters) to cause your opponent to both make inefficient attacks and also to allow for really powerful “wheel turns”. Pun aside, those are the turns where one player is tapped out and the other player gets to swing in with the remainder of their team. Untapping a character allows you to get extra uses out of them and mess with your opponent’s math. Suddenly you are getting more swings than your were supposed to! It sounds great but the deck does falter in some match-ups and further it can get complicated really fast. Between Wheeljack triggers, ensuring you don’t trigger a reshuffle and cripple your own Wheeljack, dancing in and out of modes to allow for different effects, setting up Bumblebee to be able to tackle untapped characters, etc. there’s a lot to keep track of and rewards you for mapping out multiple turns in advance. 

That level of sophistication is exactly what I wanted to take it out for a spin. I’ve watched the deck played, ran some test games, and talked about it with a lot of people but in the end it is tough to replace first-hand experience. Spoiler: the deck didn’t disappoint. I ended up going 4-0 and winning the event (no cut after swiss rounds, we played best of three game matches). In order I played:


  1. Dinobots                                   (2-0) on the play
  2. The Hive  (3 xBumblebee)    (2-0) on the play
  3. Metroplex                                  (2-1) on the draw
  4. Optimus/Arcee/Skrapnel      (2-0) on the play


I won a surprising number of die rolls and actually “won” the one that I lost in round 3. Forcing Metroplex to expose himself by attacking turn 1 and not getting to play a card is actually a disadvantage for that deck in my opinion. 


Without going much further I want to take a moment to give a shout-out to all my opponents, and everyone that was there that day (here is the event, hope to see more in the future: https://www.facebook.com/events/371528770248768/ ) As mentioned earlier the community as a whole is awesome and it was a pleasure to meet some new people and sling cards with all that were there!


Now I mentioned that I modified the deck earlier. Here is the list that I sleeved up:

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Current Iteration Ran at Tournament

Vin's updated post meta Cars List

There are some noticeable changes. It isn’t necessarily accurate to say they are improvements, but they are changes. After having played the primes deck and then having my Optimus get 1 shot by a Wheeljack I wanted to include supercharge. In that anecdote he also had a Flamethrower for a Dinobot level BOLD count of 8 (2+3+3) flipping 10 cards and down went Prime. I think having that kind of burst is important because whether you are playing against blue pip focused decks or there just happens to be a key player on the other team, sometimes it boils down to that guy has GOT to go! 


Speaking of Primes, armor is an issue. I have been mulling over cutting a few different things in order to include a second Ramming Speed and a singleton Debilitating Crystal. Both are there for the same purpose but fit into different action slots and the latter can be found with Treasure Hunt. Unlike many decks cars does make use of its utility slot on the regular so it is something to consider if you are going to make a similar change. The other major change is increasing the number of I Still Function from 1 to 3. I found in the few games I played ahead of time that I always won if I was able to play ISF. That proved true as well on the day. That card allows you to shift gears to a different game-plan. Plan A is generally ensure that Wheeljack hits hard and fast. Oh and often if the untaps allow. ISF let’s you run him out a little earlier since you can always pull him back. Naturally the idea isn’t to just get him squished, but it enables you to possibly be more aggressive with him. 


The remainder of the deck is pretty standard for the archetype. Going forward there are still tweaks here and here as well the obvious issue of just getting used to it in general. Overall it is super fun, but I’m not entirely sure it fits me. That could be down to unfamiliarity, it could be a result of the specific composition, or it is just in-congruent with my play style. However, I do suggest if you have the chance at the very least proxy the deck up and take it for a drive. After running it you’re going to have a new appreciation for certain mechanics and hopefully teach you a few things that you can utilize even with other decks. Your mileage may vary. 



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'Till all are one

That basically wraps it up for this time folks. Check back in next time for more jank and more Random(‘s) Thoughts! 


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!”