Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, ‘bots and ‘cons, it’s that time again! We have a new set on our doorstep and the creative juices are flowing. This time around we have official big time tournaments to prepare for as well, and less than a month away! There are more reasons than ever to be giddy with excitement going into the release of the third wave of the Transformers TCG, War for Cybertron: Siege.
We must conduct ourselves with restraint however. We are after all in the presence of the mightiest of Decepticons, Lord Megatron himself.
Wait, not that Megatron. The other one…
No not that one either….
OK, now we are talking.
The leader of the Decepticons has not been stellar in the history of the game. While there have been multiple previous versions, as well as supplementary cards that greatly assist the infamous warlord, he hasn’t quite broken into the big time. Personally I had high hopes for Steamroll back at the release of Rise of the Combiners assisting in the viability of his Living Weapon incarnation, but despite significant effort I couldn’t quite get a version working that could consistently go toe-to-toe with the big ‘bots. Just like in the cartoon, Optimus and friends seem to always get the upper hand. This time though. Megatron may have the opening he needs to crack the competitive field. Allow me to explain.
There were several issues with older iterations. The common Megatron from Wave 1 quite simply could never pressure well enough. At ten stars he consumed a large portion of your initial setup and didn’t really offer enough in return of that investment. Conversely, the Living Weapon version in Wave One packed significantly more punch, but even prior to the introduction of Bashing Shield was just too vulnerable to Armor removal. Additionally, while you could get cute with recurring Grenade Launchers or other weapons, that’s a lot of effort to do relatively mediocre damage, unless the upgrade in question landed on Megatron himself. To add insult to injury, Optimus was blessed by Primus with Eight attack in bot mode and three defense in alt mode. Somehow Megatron got the short end of the stick and came away with only seven attack in bot and two defense in tank mode.
I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand that one...
On top of all that you still are just a “big dumb attacker”, as there’s not much nuance to getting a bazillion attack and getting in there. While Grimlock allows you to get around the overkill factor, without access to Steamroll (it all comes around) you may be stuck demolishing a single target and wasted a bunch of resources in doing so.
Regardless of what caused it to happen, that’s where Megatron landed in Wave One. Then we moved on to RotC, and a new Megatron was again provided to us. Again we faced the issue of low attack for the stars required. Granted there is the option to dig deeper, draw cards, and play additional upgrades, but again compared to the Autobot counterpart, this time Bumblebee, you still come away with weaker offensive stats. It’s a heavy burden to carry when your “main villain character” is running around with a water pistol instead of a fusion cannon. There was also a starter version relatively recently but I don’t have much to say on that front. I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination.
What’s different Megatron this time around? Well he seemingly closes a bunch of the aforementioned gaps. He may come with a steep star cost, again at a stunning thirteen, but he features the large attack of the Wave One version. That means that we aren't quite as embarrassed to field him as the centerpiece of the team. He still comes up short of Battlefield Legend’s natural attack value, but seven is still respectable and should punch hard enough to matter. Speaking of statistics, Megatron, like the tactical general he is, must have picked up on the fact that it isn’t all about offense. He picked up an additional defense in alt mode, and is sturdier overall with fifteen hit points.
So far so good, but raw stats aren’t the only attractive feature here. To me the biggest draw is the flip. Scott and several other VectorSigma.info team members mentioned on many occasions Optimus: BL isn’t great because he can get gigantic by flipping Leap into Battle or similar effects, but that the crucial part of the bot ability is that he can potentially split damage by flipping direct damage action cards and using them on secondary targets. Sure if you need to aim Plasma Bursts, Marksmanship, or One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall at your attack target by all means go ahead. However you have the option to instead strategically aim the burn at another target setting up other targets for a KO. This version of Megatron allows you to do something similar but instead you don’t need to rely on battle flips, instead you can just put in some work ahead of time and get extra burn effects.
Now, before everyone gets too excited there is a cost. You are investing minimum two cards, as psueuo-Zaps aren’t going to cut it for use of your flip for the turn. A handcrafted Plasma Burst is the least we can settle for, and with that baseline we need to assume two turns. Then you additionally need two flips, one to get out of tank mode and another to get back into it, so again two turns. While it immediately becomes less appetizing we can work around it. For starters let’s take a look at Swindled.
This card feels like an auto-include. I was pretty excited by both this and Confidence back when they were first spoiled. They didn’t quite reach the heights I was hoping for back then, but our new Megatron seems to be begging for this effect. Well, assuming Megatron would ever beg for anything.
The title here is All Hail Megatron, not just a reference to the comics, but also to the original Three Wide Optimus lists from the tail end of Wave One (Editor’s Note: but the name of that deck was a take on the All Hail Megatron comic..more full circle..). We are assuming a 13-7-5 shell which gives us access to reasonable Decepticons to be fodde...er loyal soldiers for Megatron to ensure we can get the New Designs portion of Swindled off. Blue decks traditionally need weapons to ensure that they are pushing reasonable damage, that’s no difference here and everything just continually stacks benefits. Our team hits harder and Megatron can pop everyone flipping as often as possible.
Speaking of flips since we have a tank alt-mode we can utilize one of my favorite cards which also sat on the sidelines for a long time (anyone else see a theme here?)
I’m anticipating that we are going to need to focus on the alt mode flip rather than the static bot mode ability for a number of reasons. Notably is the limitation “at the start of your turn,” leaving your opponent their entire turn to react to a full loaded Megatron. Even though Hunker Down does not get us the preferred Weapons, and we cannot play 26 stars to include Living Weapon, the power level of a Blue based flip that also gets us a free armor is hard to ignore. If we assume that getting two weapons into play isn’t too taxing, Hunker Down is now a Blue Plasma Burst with upside!
Except this time around we can hit bot or alt mode enemies. If you really want to get wild Escape Route is a Rapid Conversion but retrievable. We generally don’t care about transforming to bot mode (except for more attack if the math is on the side of the seven versus five), only into alt mode, so it will serve its purpose. This allows us to at least somewhat mitigate the complication of needing to flip back and forth so many times. The deck can turn Flip effects into direct damage, which I think is worth exploring.
As to the weapons themselves, I don’t think it should be too difficult to get to the amount you want since a Blue shell appears obvious. At your disposal you have: Armed Hovercraft, Scondrel’s Blaster, Laser Cutlass (for the smaller teammates), and Energon Axe. You can also go really nutty and try for the “Megatron/Attack Drone” combo, but that will put a tremendous amount of pressure on your hand size and action phases to keep cards in hand for when they appear. Since his ability is so weapon dependent, there simply may be no choice BUT to include the Attack Drone combo..just know you will need to prioritize card draw to keep your hand full to utilize it.
There are a bunch of ideas I am still working through for initial Siege test lists, but the Super Rare Megatron is currently towards the top. It’s been a long time coming, but maybe we can get to sit down and instead hear the Decepticon battle cry as opposed to the iconic phrase from Optimus:
Decepticons, transform and rise up!
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“Till All Are One!”
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