I’m Ken Nagle, Design Lead for Transformers TCG.
We held our second Open Qualifier event a Gen Con in Indianapolis. Though I wasn’t there (I attended the first Open Qualifier at Origins in Ohio), I do want to highlight the talented players that did well at this event.
Today’s deck was played by Kye Huynh.
Jetfire - Air Guardian
Private Arcee - Special Ops - Warrior
Raider Aimless - Air Force - Weapons
3 Handheld Blaster
2 Noble's Blaster
1 Energon Axe
3 Reinforced Plating
2 Superior Plating
2 Superior Jetpack
1 Data Bank
1 Spare Parts
3 Security Checkpoint
2 Disruptive Entrance
2 One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
3 The Bigger They Are...
2 Inspiring Leadership
1 Battlefield Report
Major Ultra Magnus - Infantry - City Commander
1 Ultra Magnus Armor
1 Bolt of Lightning
2 Energon Axe
2 Press the Advantage
2 Photon Bomb
Here are some thoughts on this deck:
- This deck highlights the tricks available almost exclusively to Jetfire – Air Guardian. He can return a Superior Plating and Jetpack from your scrap pile onto himself without having to play a Tech Research first. While making the first set, we weren’t entirely sure how to template all the cards to allow or disallow certain combos. Jetfire is the beneficiary of us still figuring that out.
- There’s a handful of other choices for Jetfire. Data Bank helps against another slow deck. Bravery directs your opponent’s attack, and Spare Parts protects the Armor and Weapon slot from enemy scrap effects.
- There’s also Private Arcee and Raider Aimless from War for Cybertron: Siege I. They both have the Tough ability. As a small bonus, Arcee’s Focus 1 can get a Superior Plating or Jetpack into your scrap.
- There’s plenty of blue battle icons for both Tough and Manifold Ion Particle Blaster’s attack color match effect to do 3 damage to the defender.
Internally, I playtested Raider Aimless considerably. I knew that all the blue decks I had built needed something to “turn the corner” from their color match Battle Master. Originally, the Weapon mode matched 2 blues to do 2 damage. That was my starting point, having never played with or against the card, I was just guessing what would be a fun and fair payoff for a blue Battle Master.
However, during playtesting, it was good, but it was guaranteed. Matching just 2 blues is going to happen. It’s 100% of the time for a pure blue battle deck, and dips all the way down to 99.9% if you add 2 or more white cards. That’s not a lot of wiggle room for variance or deckbuilding. In fact, I’d argue it’s the smallest possible amount of variance.
While players will say they want their cards to work 100% of the time, as a game designer, if I can inject some variance for highs and lows, it pays off with more dynamic gameplay. Particularly in our battling bots game! You can build your battle deck to match patterns if you try hard enough. This adds to the longevity of repeated games, attacks, defenses, and once in a while you’ll have a surprise moment. It’s even better if we can get another deckbuilding consideration.
So, without knowing anything about the future, I changed Manifold Ion Particle Blaster to flip 3 blue for 3 damage. Is that better? Worse? Who knows! But it’s definitely swingier.
Case in point, I totaled up Kye’s battle deck. His icons are:
- 6 white
- 21 blue
- 6 blue-blue
- 3 green-blue
- 2 green-white
- 2 blank
- 40 cards
For the purpose of pattern-matching 3 blue, we’ll need to keep these things in mind:
· The first white or green-white flips 2 extra cards.
· A blue card or green-blue card contributes 1 blue to the 3 blue requirement.
· The blue-blue cards fulfill 2 of the 3 blue requirement.
So, imagine you’re playing at Gen Con against Kye. How often when he attacks will his Manifold Ion Particle Blaster do 3 damage to your defender?
So, a little less than half. Sounds like I more than did my job of over-adding variance, right? Going from 99.9% to 46.2% seems like overkill.
Yes, but you forget Kye has another trick. Kye is playing Arcee who can intrinsically gain Bold 1 while upgraded with the Manifold Ion Particle Blaster. (I personally was using Flamewar’s flip ability to give Bold 1.)
That Bold 1 is a big deal:
- 89.7% with Bold 1
So, the value of Bold 1 is 43.5% increase chance to do 3 damage. Note that it’s an all-or-nothing thing – you get 3 damage or 0 damage, not a graduated 0, 1, 2, or 3 damage.
Manifold Ion Particle Blaster is a little over-the-top at these numbers since it also gives +3 attack no matter what, but I felt this aggressive slant on a blue Battle Master was what the game needed at the time.
I want to thank all the players that went to Gen Con to play Transformers TCG, where we had our largest tournament yet and Wave 3–War For Cybertron: Siege Part—I got lots of tournament table time. They demonstrated great prowess and found ways to make the most of their characters as I’ve outlined here today with math to back it up.
That’s all for this week. Soon we’ll get into start full into Wave 4 previews. Stay tuned.
Until next time, may you find ways to turn the odds in your favor.