Greetings! I’m Ken Nagle, design lead for Transformers TCG. Today I want to talk about an interesting deck I built and playtested during design for War for Cybertron: Siege II, which is Wave 4 of our releases.
Part of designing Wave 4 was to create more deck possibilities. Since each of the smaller Patrol characters would have 4 members thanks to 2 of them in Siege I and the other 2 in Siege II, we could make them into a team. While playtesting a few potential designs, we came up with a “lord” paradigm that played the best. Let’s look at Raider Tailwind:
Raider Tailwind follow the Lord paradigm as such:
- The Lord is a 5-star
- With Stealth while untapped in Alt mode
- Giving a team-wide bonus to all of their Patrol characters (including themselves).
- You just keep the Lord in Alt mode until your team dwindles low. Then you can use the Lord’s bot mode to get +1 attack and +1 defense for each KO’d of their Patrol.
Basically, we want to reward you for playing the full team with a loud scaling Lord for rewards.
We made the team-wide bonuses different. I ran with was the Air Strike Patrol. Behold:
Air Strike Patrol
Raider Storm Cloud
Raider Chop Shop
3 Focus Fire
3 Sonic Scramble
3 War of Attrition
3 Extra Padding
3 Attack Drone
3 Scoundrel’s Blaster
3 Enforcement Batons
3 Bashing Shield
3 Reflex Circuits
3 Pocket Processor
3 Equipment Enthusiast
3 Work Overtime
1 System Reboot
There’s plenty to talk about with this decklist that I can relate having played it plenty and before you even try it.
- Raider Chop Shop is a 7-star ‘flex’ slot. I’ve also tried Insecticon Skrapnel, Insecticon Leader here. You could try an offensive-slanted Decepticon here.
- That singleton System Reboot is because the Air Strike Patrol character greatly want green cards in triplicate so the deck naturally is 13 different 3-ofs and one singleton.
I’ve playtested a lot of Transformers TCG decks, including a fair number that never get to exist.
As game designers, we like battle cards like this. In the system design, each battle card we design is somewhere along a spectrum, roughly described as this (with Wave 1 battle cards to describe them):
- Situational 4 damage once – Grenade Launcher
- Reliable 3 damage once – Leap into Battle
- Repeated 2 damage – Primary Laser
- Prevent 1 damage repeatedly – Armored Plating
- Prevent 2 damage once – Medic!
- Unreliable prevent 3 damage once – Force Field
It doesn’t exactly line up like this, but it’s a close enough approximation.
We arrived here for a few reasons:
- The human brain finds it easiest to add and subtract small positive integers. Since we’re an analog game, players have to do the math themselves. In particular, going above then below the number 10 repeatedly is big step in harder arithmetic, so one of my game design philosophies for Transformers TCG is that attacking for 10 or more is a momentous occasion and not every turn.
- The offensive damage numbers are about 1 point greater than the defensive numbers to help ensure the game moves along to a conclusion. After all, players can play any battle cards they want so we bias the system towards offense being the default.
With the “collect 3” mechanic on War of Attrition, the card gets to break this scale and be on both the top end of both the offense and defense spectrum at the same time by both doing 3 damage and repairing 3 damage. Since we know the player must go through most or all of the battle deck to get there, we can reward this patient gameplay pattern with a much swingier effect.
War of Attrition also showcases that we default to the offensive option – its base effect is to do 1 damage (instead of a base effect to repair 1 damage).
Today we saw the new preview of War of Attrition and how it mechanically gets to potently play both offense and defense because of its methodical nature. Truly, if you play this card like I do, it will feel like an actual War of Attrition with your opponent’s health slowly but surely melting away as you keep your characters healthy, much to their frustration.
Thanks for reading this preview.
I hope you enjoy War for Cybertron: Siege Part II on sale November 8th.
Until next time, may you bide your time to strike when opportunity knocks.