Greetings! I’m Ken Nagle, Design Lead for Transformers TCG. We held our second Open Qualifier event at 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 Joseph Baiocchi (of Wreck N’ Rule).
He recently posted a deck tech here if you prefer video format straight from the source.
Raider Triggerhappy - Air Force - Gunner
Flamewar - Veteran Decepticon
Alpha Bravo - Airborne Special Ops
Autobot Mirage - Counterintelligence
3 Equipment Enthusiast
3 Inferno Breath
3 Pep Talk
3 Steady Shot
3 The Bigger They Are...
3 Security Checkpoint
3 Extra Padding
3 Smoke Cloak
3 Field Communicator
2 Armed Hovercraft
2 Energon Axe
3 Handheld Blaster
3 Laser Cutlass
2 Noble's Blaster
2 Scoundrel's Blaster
Starscream - Scheming Second-in-Command
2 Enforcement Batons
2 Force Field
2 Grenade Launcher
As we’re doing with some of the top decks from the tournament, I’d like to dig into this one and give some commentary from a designer’s perspective. Here are some things to note right off the bat.
- This is heavy Pierce deck. Raider Triggerhappy has innate Pierce 4, Alpha Bravo has Pierce 3, and Autobot Mirage has Pierce 2.
- Raider Triggerhappy can also return Weapons from your scrap pile to your hand, such as Laser Cutlass and Energon Axe. The rest of the team Alpha Bravo, Flamewar, and Autobot Mirage can be upgraded with these weapons for extra pierce damage despite their low attack.
- Flamewar is busy giving the team Tough 1, aided by all the blue icons in the deck.
- This deck also has the full suite of 3 Smoke Cloaks and 3 Steady Shots. These have blue-black icons which adds Pierce 1 on attack and +1 on defense. This is directly helping the pierce offense along with the Tough defense. We also played many “black blue” decks during War for Cybertron: Siege I design so I’m happy to see there’s some traction here – it’s always tricky with new mechanics and colors to aim them correctly.
- As Matt Smith highlighted in his commentary during the semifinals, we’ve tried to design the defensive parts of the game where stopping your opponent completely is not possible, probable, or realistic. You can however slow them down enough to give your offense time to shine.
Also, since the team has both Autobots and Decepticons, Joe can’t make use of the faction-specific bonus cards that we put in every set. Since Autobots and Decepticons are always at odds, any cards we’ve designed in early testing to specifically to reward playing both factions side-by-side have just felt wrong and off-brand. Having played many mixed decks like this one, I feel there’s a subtle bonus.
I’ve been asked why Noble’s Blaster and Scoundrel’s Blaster aren’t just a single card. Well, here it is. Since Noble’s Blaster and Scoundrel’s Blaster work on a single character, you can play both in the same deck. You can get above 3 copies of the same effect that way (Joe has 2 and 2 = 4), and you will always be able to Pierce the enemy, no matter their faction. This is small, but I’ve had it come up in enough games where it mattered. We don’t want to force players to mix factions, but we think the game is malleable and nuanced enough to find reasons to.
Finally, wide Pierce decks focused on guaranteed damage like this one is why we created Point-Defense System:
Originally, Point-Defense System stopped ALL pierce damage. It was also in contention to get a green icon since it probably shines best in the sideboard. While black icons and Pierce could end up being oppressive, we didn’t want black icons to have a huge uphill battle at their debut. If (or when?) pierce becomes the villain instead of the hero, we’ll revisit the discussion.
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 I got lots of tournament table time. Thanks to heavy Pierce characters like Raider Triggerhappy and all the black battle icons in Wave 3, I was hoping for some Pierce battles and Joe Baiocchi’s performance did not disappoint.
That’s all for this week. I will try to get some more highlights from Gen Con just before we start full into Wave 4 previews.
Wow, does time fly.
Until next time, may you display both excellent offense AND defense at the same time.