Welcome back, everyone. It’s been super exciting here in the office seeing all of the results from the Energon Invitational. First of all, congratulations to Dan Arnold and his Galactic Optimus deck for being our first Champion. Secondly, thank you and congratulations to all players and their teams for coming together from near and far to make the event such a success.
I’m going to talk today about one of the top 8 decks that I personally enjoyed, William Gomez’s Nemesis Prime Air-Strike Patrol deck.
Mainboard – Character Cards
Raider Storm Cloud - Infantry - Electronic Warfare
Raider Nightflight - Air Strike Patrol - Spy
Raider Tailwind - Air Strike Patrol - Strategist
Nemesis Prime - Dark Clone
Mainboard – Battle Cards
3 Backup Beam
3 Extra Padding
3 Laser Cutlass
3 Smoke Cloak
3 Sturdy Javelin
2 Decepticon Crown
2 Personal Targeting Drone
2 Scoundrel's Blaster
1 Pocket Processor
3 The Bigger They Are...
3 War of Attrition
3 Wedge Formation
2 Steady Shot
1 Escape Route
Sideboard – Character Card
Sergeant Springer - Special Ops - Aerial Defense
Sideboard – Battle Cards
1 Enforcement Batons
3 Conversion Engine
3 Terrifying Resilience
3 Overwhelming Advantage
I’m quite impressed with the synergy and subtlety of this deck. With 21 Green cards in the maindeck, the air-strike patrols will pretty reliably be effectively 5/2s and 5/1, which are quite excellent stats for such low-star characters, and the 27 Blue and 9 White give the deck a great deal of longevity to build up to ridiculous Nemesis Prime Stats.
The singleton Pocket Processor works out of proportion with the single deck slot it takes up to give you the card flow this deck really wants, and I’m glad to see that the player base is recognizing the power that War of Attrition gives you in long and grindy matchups.
There are many nuances to this deck that might not be initially apparent that I really appreciate, so I’m going to call several of them out here.
- Damage balance – In almost every matchup, this deck has the advantage in the long game once Nemesis gets huge, but William recognized that you need to have early reliable damage to keep your opponent from getting too far ahead of you. With this team formation and the Green pips to boost your Air Strike Patrol, all of your characters are swinging hard enough to reliably get damage in against heavy orange decks, and the 8 Black Pips, pierce cards, and direct damage ensure that you will be making a similar rate of progress against Blue decks.
- Repair Plan – The stealth-while-untapped ability of all of the Air Strike Patrols ensure that your opponent’s characters will be directed into Nemesis Prime at least at the beginning of the game and after each untap (being four-wide, your opponent will usually be attacking first after the untap). Thanks to their Green pips, the Wedge Formation and War of Attrition will be in your hand reliably, so you can spread your opponent’s damage early and keep repairing Nemesis.
- Bold on Time – Storm Cloud’s ability to grant Bold on demand isn’t worth the cards you’re discarding for what will ordinarily be about a one or two point bump in expected damage, but if you can get three matching Green cards in hand to get Bold 6, that’s 15% of your deck in one shot, so this can often be timed to get a shuffle a turn early and bump Nemesis Prime’s power at exactly the right moment. There is great flexibility in always having this ability available, and occasionally you can catch your opponent by surprise if they don’t see it coming.
Finally, I’m a fan of the singleton Espionage in the Main Deck, which can give you a surprising amount of game against your opponent if they’re playing something unfair and always keeps them honest. I hope to see more players opting in to this as a general-purpose safety net.
This will be my last article of 2019. I wish everyone Happy Holidays, and I look forward to Rolling Out! In the new year.