War for Cybertron: Siege II introduced a new alternate win condition card (Daring Escape) as well as a number of new sideboard tools for players to bring in against combo and other archetypes (most notably here, Raider Caliburst and Private Turbo Board). As the player base has been building and evolving versions of the Daring Escape deck and also ways to fight against this combo deck, we have been closely monitoring this evolution as well as conducting our own ongoing testing.
We believe that combo decks are an important part of a healthy metagame, but implicit in that belief is that the combo decks are slow enough to race and provide windows for interaction. We originally believed that the hate cards that came out in Siege II gave players multiple avenues to fight the combo. The most cutting-edge versions of the fast Daring Escape combo deck (including a variant that could go off on your opponent’s turn) meets neither of those requirements, while also being frustrating to play against. We believe it is important for Transformers TCG game play to never deviate too far from the fast, fun, and interactive basis of our core system design. In particular, we want our first Energon Invitational to be a celebration of everything that we love about the game and Transformers as a whole. Therefore, we are taking action against the fast and non-interactive Daring Escape combo deck closer to a major event than we normally might.
Effective immediately, Multi-Mission Gear is banned in competitive play.
We explored a number of options when deciding how best to address this issue, and we will go into more detail on those unchosen options in an upcoming article. For example, we could have banned Daring Escape, but we decided that the slow Daring Escape deck is perfectly reasonable and defeatable.
The real culprit was the same type of interactions that caused us to ban Swap Parts. When we were designing the Transformers TCG, we chose to avoid a resource system that other games have used (like mana) in order to let the game start with action immediately and to keep the game simple and accessible. That made our fundamental resource unit the card play (action or upgrade). Effects that circumvent this limit (like Multi-Mission Gear) are therefore both exciting and very dangerous. Exciting because they allow big and surprising moments, dangerous because they are unbound and have no inherent limitation to how far they can chain (unlike mana).
Our testing has shown that the real problem in the combo deck is not the final win condition, but rather the engine that allows you to build up action and upgrade plays in a single turn with a combination of specialist equipment and cards like Private Red Heat or Heavy Force Defensebreaker Cannon and Quartermaster. We have Actions that chain into other Actions, Upgrades that chain into other Upgrades, and Actions that chain into Upgrades, but Multi-Mission Gear is the linchpin, the only card that can reliably chain an Upgrade play into another Action play (Field Communicator technically can, too, but unreliably and not in a way that gives you the control necessary to continue these chains). By removing Multi-Mission Gear, we allow these chains to still exist, but safely, in a way that can’t loop continuously. Further, this preserves the original intent of Daring Escape.
We design our game to be more complex than we can completely understand so that you the players have unexplored ground to discover. Because of that approach, we now understand the system better than we did while we were designing Wave 1. We will avoid designing unbounded upgrade to action conversion enablers; this will keep the game focused on what’s most important: giant robots smashing each other. But, it will make it safer to explore non-degenerate combo space, and it will allow us to consider the possibility of unbanning Swap Parts in the future so that you can enjoy the fun honest shenanigans it enables without the dangerously broken ones.
Thank you, and goodnight Multi-Mission Gear. You served your time well, but we won’t let any more cards take the fall for your crimes.