In trading card games in general, and the Transformers TCG specifically, we have two seemingly contradictory goals. We want to give players a nearly unlimited world of possibilities to build from, and we want there to be strong themes that give direction to both players and decks. How do we do both? By making the game as open-ended as possible at its core and preferring soft incentives towards our themes.
Mercenaries are a perfect example of this. We thought that the best feel for Mercenaries was that they are loners who will jump in to help a team (for the appropriate compensation, of course) rather than being a faction with goals of their own. You certainly can run a team of all Mercenaries, but we wanted to game to nudge you towards a deck that ran exactly one Mercenary.
How did we do that? The obvious example is with the card Opportune Offensive:
Opportune Offensive asks you to have at least one mercenary on your team, but it doesn’t care if you have more than that. It requires at least one Decepticon, but is stronger and has more flexibility the more Decepticons you have. This card nudges you towards a team with one Mercenary and several Decepticons.
The more subtle tool we used was the Bounty ability.
It might not initially seem like it would matter how many characters in your deck have Bounty, but it turns out that multiple instances of Bounty compete with each other, since only one character can KO an opponent’s character. You want to be setting up your turns so that your Mercenary is the one finishing off your opponent’s characters and collecting those sweet, sweet bounties. Having multiple Mercenaries on your team means that their Bounties are diluted, meaning that your team is running at slightly less than maximum efficiency. It’s not a big effect, but we don’t want it to be. It’s just another little nudge that makes our idealized team composition a little bit stronger (though not strong enough to prevent you from doing something creative with non-standard team compositions).
With that in mind, here’s a fun team designed to take maximum advantage of your bounties.
Detritus (11 Stars)
Raider Nova Storm (7 Stars)
Raider Night Stick/Black Beam Blaster (6 Stars)
3 Opportune Offensive
3 Contract Contingency
3 Security Checkpoint
3 Work Overtime
3 Stable Cover
3 Hiding Spot
1 Indestructible Sword (1 star)
3 Minor Medic Kit
3 Soldier’s Blaster
3 Handheld Blaster
3 RR Disruptor Blade
3 Pocket Processor
3 Medic’s Protective Field
This deck runs heavy black and blue to slow the game down and increase the effectiveness of Detritus’s repair, while ensuring consistent damage. Contract Contingency and Coup maximize the opportunities to trigger Bounties.
Stable Cover and Hiding Spot keep your opponent guessing and give you the ability to reduce damage or direct damage, keeping your team alive for longer.
Meanwhile, Medic’s Protective Field has a fantastic synergy with Detritus’s Bounty ability. If you can get it down early, your bounty can keep resetting the Safeguard.
This deck rewards planning and attack sequencing. Your plan will depend a lot on how your opponent decides to attack you, but as much as possible, spread damage around and then use all of your inherent healing to win the long game.