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In the Roll Out series, we'll be covering the Transformers TCG produced by Wizards of the Coast. For the first article in the series, I'll give a brief description/introduction to the game, touch on a significant change to the game that came about recently, as well as talk about a decklist that I've been enjoying lately.
Where it all began...
This incredibly fun and aesthetically pleasing Trading Card Game has really been a knockout since its release in the second half of 2018. It has a simplistic design, which initially lead WotC to market the game as something that would be found in the toy aisle of Walmart and Target. However the strategy behind team building and deck construction, as well as the nostalgia found in Transformers itself, caused many gaming enthusiasts to venture down the road of collecting and battling their favorite bots.
This growing player base has lead to a more competitive scene for the game, resulting in the game being marketed more toward local game stores, and organized play events becoming available to be hosted in these stores. A secondary outcome of the growing competitive scene is the fact that inevitably cards have to be removed from the active card pool to help keep the game fresh, which leads us to the next topic of the article.
Press the Advantage
When it comes to removing cards from a card pool in a Trading Card Game, there are a few options at the game developers' disposal. If the game has been in production for quite some time and has had many expansions released, the most common method for removing cards is a "set rotation" or the creation of a "rotating format". When using this type of structure for a Trading Card Game, there will be a "format" that only allows the newest series of expansion sets to be used in Organized Play. This prevents gameplay at tournaments from becoming too stale, and ensures that when participating in a multi-round event you do not play against the same deck each round.
With the Transformers TCG only being a year old at this point, however, the game developers do not have the rotation option available to them. Eliminating an entire set from Organized Play would remove one third of the entire game from the usable card pool rather than only taking away a select few cards (or one card in this case) that are causing problems. When it comes to this situation, game designers are forced to go to other, often less popular, options. In this case it was decided that the card Press the Advantage would be banned, thus eliminating it from being used in any Organized Play event.
A common strategy played in the Transformers TCG is using large amounts of attack damage to overcome your opponent's defenses. Autobots are extremely well suited for this strategy, thanks in part to the characters from that faction (here's looking at you, Grimlock) having high damage characteristics before being modified by action or equipment cards. Outside of naturally high damage output, when paired with cards like the one seen above, aggressive Autobot decks begin to rule the field at major tournaments, and are soon played more than any other deck archetype. Press the Advantage has the double effect of not only making Autobots stronger, but also making opposing Decepticons weaker. All of these attributes combined caused the card to be overplayed, thus resulting in the card being banned and removed from Organized Play.
The in depth look, thought process, and official post about the banning can be found here: https://transformerstcg-support.wizards.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034885772-Banning-Press-the-Advantage
Where do we go from here?
After the banning of Press the Advantage I was able to play a couple games of Transformers TCG at the store. This had been my first chance to play the game in several weeks, so I wanted to try a new deck. With a major tool being banned from the Autobots decks, it would make sense to move toward a Decepticon build, right?
I decided to build using the promo cards from SDCC 2019, the omnibots. The omnibots are a three Autobot team designed around using and abusing upgrade cards. Each bot allows you to break the rules of the game by putting one upgrade card in play on your first turn for each omnibot you have on the field. In later turns of the game, as your team starts to flip to the bot side of their cards, each one gives your attacking omnibots a bit of a bonus depending on what types of upgrades you have equipped to your team.
Here are the bots and the decklist I chose to use:
Scavenge the Battlefield x1
Treasure Hunt x3
Turbo Boosters x3
Security Console x3
Matrix of Leadership x3
Combat Training x3
Bashing Shield x3
Reinforcement Plating x3
Force Field x3
Extra Padding x3
Power Punch x3
Noble's Blaster x3
Enforcement Batons x3
As expected, I tried to use as many upgrades in my deck as possible. I also tried to balance these upgrades between the three different upgrade types.
If you would like to read a brief Battle Report of my first time using the Omnibots in action, be sure to check out my decklist article here.
Thank you for joining us for the first submission of Roll Out, I hope you've enjoyed the content. If you have any Transformers TCG battle reports, info, or decklists you would like to share with us, please post them in the comments. We look forward to many more Roll Out articles and plenty of more Transformers Trading Card Game content in the future!