Today’s Nagle’s Notes is a guest column from Blaine Bublitz and his innovative undefeated combo deck from the recent Energon Invitational.
This deck is called “Swoop, There It Is” and it is a variant of a Daring Escape deck. The thing that makes this deck unique is that it doesn’t rely on any “Swap Parts”-style effects and instead opts for Swoop to have a more beefy character to survive the first few turns.
Sergeant Springer needs to have 7 cards in hand before his Bot mode ability will trigger, but accumulating cards in hand goes against the Equipment Enthusiast goal of playing upgrades.
To solve both these problems, this deck runs (almost) a playset of the Wave 1 upgrades that draw if they can’t scrap something from your opponent (Drill Arms, Scrapper Gauntlets, and Crushing Size), which allows you to play an upgrade each turn without losing a card in hand. They even perform double-duty by providing upgrade removal to slow your opponent down! Right before submitting my decklist for the Energon Invitational, I chose to swap my third Crushing Size for a single Field Communicator but it mostly felt too random and I only ever played it as a last resort.
Firedrive was originally added as a way to draw an extra card on my first turn, but I found he actually provides a secondary win condition—not something many decks have in Transformers TCG. There were a handful of games where I discarded my entire hand to KO my opponent’s big threat (like, Shockwave or Cliffjumper with the Firedrive weapon).
Private Firedrive - Ground Command * Artillery (7 stars)
Sergeant Springer - Special Ops * Aerial Defense (12 stars)
Dinobot Swoop - Fearsome Flyer (6 stars)
Upgrades – 19
3x Drill Arms
3x Scrapper Gauntlets
2x Defensive Driving
2x Crushing Size
1x Field Communicator
3x Kinetic Converter
2x Conversion Engine
Actions - 21
3x Pep Talk
2x Peace Through Tyranny
2x Daring Escape
3x Showing Off
3x Equipment Enthusiast
Arcee - Skilled Fighter (5 stars)
2x Security Checkpoint
3x Handheld Blaster
3x Extra Padding
This deck is particularly powerful because it can change the game plan on the fly. If I find my opponent is attempting to reduce me to only Springer by using their big character to KO Firedrive and Swoop, I can draw a ton of cards and dump a huge attack into their big character. Or if they sideboard into Private Turbo Board, I can Peace Through Tyranny on the turn we all untap to KO Turbo Board with the Firedrive weapon.
That being said, there are some really interesting interactions that can slow the deck down. In testing, we found that Hijack can slow the deck down because the deck mostly just draws cards with everything it does; however, I didn’t face a single copy during the Energon Invitational. In my first round of Swiss, my opponent was playing an aggressive Insecticon deck and used Peace Through Tyranny to protect his Private Turbo Board for a few extra turns. In a later round, a Shockwave deck emptied my entire hand using Fog of War before flipping Shockwave and playing his weapon. Other types of hand disruption help as well—for example, I played a gunslinger game against Drew on Friday and he used Battlefield Legend to keep playing Disruptive Entrance, Security Checkpoint, and Espionage.
Without Springer this deck wouldn’t exist. He is such a versatile character that we’ve seen him as the focal point in Aggro, Combo, and Control (with EMP Wave) decks. He’s quickly becoming my favorite character in Wave 4.
Reclaim was one of the last cards I added to the deck, but it was pretty integral in picking up a key upgrade at the right moment, especially after removal or hand disruption.
Conversion Engine is a tricky card to play but it can actually lead to wins that you wouldn’t otherwise have because you can play an action and upgrade after you attack.
Confidence essentially must be at three copies. I often chained all three to dig for the last piece of the combo that I needed.
Peace Through Tyranny is an overperformer but also a trap card. If you use it at the wrong time, you can definitely lose the game; however, having two copies in the deck allows you to handle some situations you otherwise couldn’t.
Defensive Driving allowed me to win my match against Shockwave with Caliburst. Even though it was useless in every other match, that round made it worthwhile to run two copies in my main deck.
The Field Communicator was the biggest underperformer in the deck. It is just too random to make it feel like the correct play to make at any time. I would prefer not to have desperation cards in the deck. This will probably be returned to the third Crushing Size in future iterations.
You really only need one Conversion Engine, but sometimes you really need it to be in your hand instead of deck or scrap pile. I will probably keep it at two for those times.
Multi-Tool is about average. It lets you chain upgrades for a bigger Equipment Enthusiast but I’ve not actually found a correlation between having it and performing the combo. I will likely try adjusting the count of this in the future.
The sideboard of this deck was quite special. I found that a fully loaded Springer, with a weapon, three Extra Padding, and a utility, could actually complete the combo alone. With that in mind, I made my sideboard extremely defensive so the deck can transform from a mixed deck to a heavy blue deck, which gives me more time in aggro matches. This came in helpful a few times during the Energon Invitational.
Thanks to Blaine for this great deck tech.
You can watch gameplay video from Blaine tomorrow on the Wreck N’ Rule channel.