I’m Ken Nagle, design lead for Transformers TCG. Today I have a character reveal for War for Cyberton: Siege II, which is Wave 4 of our releases.
My character is one of a few Battle Masters in the set. Introducing... Private Vanguard!
Thought it’s not obvious from the image, a Battle Master is a small character printed at Battle Card size. A Battle Master starts in Bot mode and can’t flip. However, upon KO, you can play its Upgrade mode.
There are a number of design rules we set up for Battle Masters that Private Vanguard follows.
1. Siege-Specific – We wanted all the characters in the set to be part of the War for Cybertron look and feel, so where we had deficits in the character roster, we updated older characters with new artwork befitting the setting. For the Armor and Utility characters, we got to make some brand new characters for the purpose of fitting into the TCG.
- 5-7 stars – These are small characters physically in the Siege toy line. In the game we represent that as both smaller in stars and also small in card size.
- Armor mode – The next obvious thing about a Battle Master is that it’s another card type – in this case an Armor – when it should have an Alt mode. This mixing of card types has many design challenges. We also pushed the Upgrade mode to be stronger than “normal” battle card upgrades. The fact that all Battle Masters become stronger than Battle Cards gives them all an intrinsic power level boost and a consideration for any team.
Case in point, Anti-Ballistic Turret Helmet is more impactful than other armors you might put on a character with its intrinsic +2 defense (because it’s a helmet) and one-time damage ability (because it has blasters attached to it!).
The gives Battle Masters kind of a quest. They start the game as any other character. However, you are on a quest to KO your Battle Master before they’re all alone with no slot to go in. You get a considerable burst of power in the mid-game if you can accomplish this.
Private Vanguard is toward the low end of stars with just 5 stars. We must be increasingly more careful the lower the star cost gets, as it’s increasingly more likely the character fit on more (or every) team.
In Bot mode, Private Vanguard has a specific matching ability that caps damage at 5 if you can flip a white icon on defense. This seems like a wonky ability, and it is, but we got specific here for a reason.
I asked my design team, “If we make a 5-star Battle Master that’s on every single team, what would it do that makes the game more fun instead of less fun?” (I asked this same question about other 5-star Battle Masters like Raider Blowpipe, seen here.
- On the first turn of the game, going second, it feels bad to get your best character knocked out before having any action at all.
- In general, Battle Masters are avoided by the opponent until at least having a plan to get rid of the upgrade in a timely fashion.
- Very aggressive orange decks currently don’t have enough hard counters.
- Currently, white decks don’t have enough reasons to go heavier white except for their best card Force Field.
If you combine all these together, you end up with Private Vanguard protecting your other characters on turn 1 from hits bigger than 5, provided you can flip a white icon. It’s not guaranteed, and it’s not important against smaller hits, but I’ve found the uncertainty of my opponent’s Vanguard has gotten me to crash into it on turn 1 just to get it off the table. Currently, players use the 5 star Brave characters like Fireflight and Headstrong for this purpose, so it’s certainly in demand.
In either mode, Private Vanguard is going to slow your opponent’s incoming damage. Based on feedback from the players that play the most, this should be a welcome direction.
Private Vanguard is an exciting new Battle Master for your decks. If you’re looking for defense, especially on turn 1, reserve just 5 stars and add him to your team!
Thanks for reading this preview. I hope you’re gearing up for Wave 4 – we worked hard on it and hope you enjoy War for Cybertron: Siege Part II.
Until next time, may you keep your guard up from the very start.