As usual, I want to thank Wizards of the Coast for the opportunity to reveal cards from the sure to be exciting and powerful upcoming Transformers TCG set, Titan Masters Attack! We will be revealing multiple cards over the next couple of weeks, along with continuing our strategy first takes on other revealed cards, so make sure you stop back early and often.
Let’s start with today’s reveal: Windcharger, Autobot Warrior and his Stratagem All-Out!
I was fortunate to grow up in the 1980s, from a toy perspective. When the Transformers first hit the US toy shelves in 1984, I was a scant seven years old. At that point in my life, my family was used to my constant pleadings to go to the Toys R’ Us or Kiddie City on weekends. The usual cadence was I would receive some token smaller toy, which fit well in my earlier life (things seemed much more drawn out then) of receiving one action figure from a popular movie franchise, and eventually a single action figure from Transformers early competitors in Gobots.
Then Transformers hit shelves, a few months before the cartoon and man was this production value way higher! The problem for my family was, the price points on the larger cars or planes did not sit well with my weekly toy requests, but luckily Hasbro imported some additional options: The mini-bots.
Later that holiday season, after the release of “More than Meets the Eye” and eventually Season One, I would expand my collection greatly, but in those first few months, the likes of Brawn, Bubblebee, and Windcharger were my only Cybertronian companions. Brawn was the first Transformer I ever owned (spoiler alert, this was ironically tragic given the 1986 movie deaths in sequence) and Windcharger was the second.
Enough of “Scott’s memory lane for plastic that is long thrown out” and dive into this exciting character! It is finally time for Windcharger to enter the TCG world!
First, Windcharger is an SRT, which fits the other revealed SRT motif of this set: the SRTs are going to be mid to low range support options instead of deck defining larger characters we are used to. Oh, by the way, there are now six of them instead of four (or two from Wave One) and their rarity is now one in thirty packs instead of one in sixty like old. This means you should receive one SRT per box, or four per case, instead of the old two to three per case. The distribution is still random (though you should not get duplicates in a case) though. Which means you should be able to secure all six of them if you buy two cases (eight boxes) , whereas in the past you normally needed three to four cases to “ensure” you would get all four of them (yes, technically you may still never get all four specifically due to duplication, but generally it worked out given a high enough volume).
I think this is a really positive change for the game, to get one SRT per box, because that means they will be more plentiful and more easily obtainable for all players. I am curious to see what rarity the “flagship” characters will be. I assume Rare from looking at Sky Shadow. Overall this is a positive change and now gives players TWO incentives to buy full boxes/cases, along with Perceptor (see here: https://vectorsigma.info/perceptionisreality-1 )
With those logistics settled let’s look at my mini-bot friend and his practical use. I love that he has seven attack on turn one. It is important to note that it is YOUR turn one, so even going second you get to attack your target for seven to start. This ability is powerful for numerous reasons. Seven is a large starting number and if you are going first in an orange deck it should be looked at as nine minimum. This is the largest single attack amount you can get from a seven star character right now without the benefit of an upgrade or action and should have an extensive impact.
One of the hardest decisions you can make going first is where to attack: attack the character they are likely to attack back with (since normally a non-buffed attack on turn one is not enough to KO the opposition) or just put “free damage” on the best opposing target. Most of the time you want to take the latter play in an aggressive deck, since the benefit of the later played action and upgrade will help you KO anyway without wasting an attack. The exception to that was often against Skrapnel, since being able to damage him in the three defense mode for any amount higher than three was a “win” due to his damage reducing ability in bot mode.
I think Windcharger makes that turn one decision even easier. Again, unless you are facing off against the Insecticon horde, attacking the main target on your opponent’s side with the benefit of a “free Leap into Battle” will be the way to go. Being able to get some free damage on opposing Galaxy Primes, Jetfires, General Primes, Octones, etc. before they can set up defensively is higher damage than you will land later on. Starting out the game with five or more damage on your preferred target is a potential early hit unparalleled in the game thus far. Not to mention if your opponent is a heavy blue deck, the 11 health / 1 defense body may survive the crack back anyway (with their one card play).
Against opposing aggressive decks, Windcharger fills a role that you really need: the ability to make a swing that “matters” on turn one going first. Opposing aggro decks unable to do this was a big reason why Insecticons reigned supreme for so long against other aggressive strategies: they were able to make every attack matter, even if it was just Skrapnel absorbing more attacks in bot mode. Windcharger gives aggro decks options to make impactful attacks right away, so if you supplement his attack with even minor direct damage later on, you are more likely to score an out of combat KO (through One Shall Stand, Marksmanship, a thrown Javelin, heck even a Zap possibly!).
If you have the option in aggro mirrors, look to use him going second, however, since you are gaining a “free action” through the ability. The aggro mirror mostly comes down to characters surviving one combat (or avoiding a KO outside of combat) and Windcharger all but eliminates that from non-Skrapnel targets. Even against control decks, if you send in a sturdy support character (like a Skydive from Galaxy Prime for example), Windcharger can crack back with a typical “plus four” action/upgrade and punch back for 11 or more damage! That’s enough to KO most targets, which no other aggro character can boast on turn two!
There are even ways to bolster that number if you use Windcharger as the seven star bot to supplement a Blaster team..
Being a car, Windcharger has the obvious synergy with perennial staples Start your Engines (SYE) and Turbo Boosters. Given his above average survival stats, surviving the opponents early game should not be that hard and this is where his flip to bot ability comes into play.
Most powerful flip abilities are positioned to take two flips, since they are normally attached to alt modes. Windcharger is different, with his built in Secret Dealings ability. This means he will support one of your other attackers (normally the one attacking second) and help you maintain card quality in hand. He can dig for those SYE and Turbo Boosters very early on in case you do not have one in hand, and over the course of the game will continue to improve your plays if you have flips to spare. That is another hidden benefit of Windcharger’s “turn one” ability: since he will be attacking on turn one without flipping, he sets up options for a more flip intensive character to start flipping on turn one. That way on turn two you have options, do you flip that character back to alt for that ability, or flip Windcharger to help that or another character in combat prowess? With great options, comes great playability, or something like that..
In aggressive decks, three wide or four wide, Windcharger is looking to make an immediate impact. While he may not be long for the world, he is arguably the sturdiest seven drop aggressive character in the game. One more hit point than Sentinel Prowl and equal “effective health” to Sentinel Ironhide. These are the typical characters you do not flip to attack with in aggressive decks nowadays (along with Patrols), but Windcharger comes with a much higher attack stat. Let’s be honest, those guys rarely survive a combat round or are overkilling on a second swing anyway, so making a better "first impression" is the goal here anyway right? I believe Windcharger will replace their use in non-Sentinel builds.
That brings us to All-Out.
This Stratagem falls into the category of changing the entire focus of the character. All-out resembles the Bumblebee: Legendary Warrior ability of wanting to be the last character left standing. Play All-Out means you need to be able to attack with Windcharger on turn one (you simply cannot waste the insane attack buff on turn one) and then have him around in the late game. Which means you should be looking to play him in a Blue based deck (likely rife with Leap into Battles, The Bigger they Are.., etc.) to get this late game on-board Leap into Battle to proc late game.
I think to use this Stratagem you need to completely change the deck you want to run Windcharger in, and that makes for really interesting ways of slanting the focus of a character. That is what is so unique about Stratagems: they allow you to completely refocus your strategy and lineups while using the same exact character. Again, options are power.
I am not sure how much this powerful fast attacker needs to try and stick around for the late game, because your opponent is going to know this is coming, but he will be able to give you one final giant attack with the benefit of essentially an extra Action card play for that turn. I can see a final turn of an aggro-control deck going “flip to bot mode, Draw a +3 or better weapon, Plan a Master of Metallikato, use All-out, play Master of Metallikato, attack for 12-13 minimum” (remember, Windcharger is Melee, so you get the Blue you need from that shell) out of a mostly Blue shell..not a bad final turn..
Windcharger wants to dive onto the battlefield, punch you in the mouth, and then help his comrades after that.
A lot of hurt from a little package..I just remember the last time he jumped into battle quickly..
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“Till All Are One!”
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