Deck Tech: Insecticons

Deck Tech: Insecticons

Generally speaking, with new card games and formats, the most aggressive decks are the most obvious to build and win with.  Control decks take time to determine what exactly they need to be doing in order to combat the various different strategies that will arise.  Control strategies are also much more sensitive to the specific cards they play than aggressive decks. If you play the wrong cards in your control deck for any given metagame, you will likely be severely punished, while aggressive decks will not be punished as harshly for playing the wrong card for a tournament.

For the Transformers TCG, the clear front runner for the top tier aggressive strategy is Insecticons.  At the moment, Insecticons offers you the best options for a four character lineup, and some of their most powerful cards heavily incentivize you to play four Insecticons.  Not only are you incentivized to play four Insecticons, the team offers four extremely efficient characters that add up to 25 stars: Insecticon Skrapnel, Barrage, Kickback and Ransack.  Chop Shop is another option for the lineup, but overall is weaker than the default characters that show up in most lists.

Fortunately, Insecticons is fairly straightforward to build.  While the very earliest iterations of the deck were quite unrefined messing around with cards like Brainstorm, I quickly identified just how important consistency in flipping battle icons was.  This eventually led to an Insecticon list of 38 cards with orange battle icons (pips) and 2 white pips. This list was surprisingly elegant. What you sacrificed in terms of the quality of cards played you made up for in terms of sheer damage on your attacks and from Swarm!  You could very easily map out how much damage you would do with any given attack from one of your characters, allowing you to figure out if you would K.O. a defender with your attack. Ultimately I think that this list sacrifices a bit too much in its card quality, and you really don’t give up too much in terms of combat effectiveness from playing a few blank cards in any given decklist.

TRANSFORMERS:

Insecticon Skrapnel, Insecticon Leader
Kickback, Cunning Insecticon
Barrage, Merciless Insecticon
Ransack, Insecticon Commando

UPGRADES:

3x Grenade Launcher
3x Static Laser of Ironhide
3x Flamethrower
3x Force Field
3x Improvised Shield
1x Agility of Bumblebee

ACTIONS:

3x Peace Through Tyranny
3x One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
3x Supercharge
3x Incoming Transmission
3x Treasure Hunt
3x Swarm!
3x Ramming Speed
3x Zap

This deck is essentially our baseline for any other decks we try out.  If a list can’t win consistently against Insecticons, it is quickly shelved.  While Insecticons is extremely straightforward and easy to understand strategically, it is incredibly unrelenting.  It comes at you from turn one onwards, immediately putting pressure on you to either start quickly killing multiple Insecticons or mount a robust defense.  There is very little stumbling from this deck, as having 34 orange icon cards and 3 white pips means your characters are very consistently hitting for 7+ damage on each attack without any upgrades or actions.

The biggest problem with Insecticons is that your options are overall more limited than other decks.  A deck like Cars can manipulate which characters your opponent has to attack with well timed untaps as well as looting away virtually dead cards like Improvised Shield to improve your hand.  Optimus Prime decks often have an entire scrap pile of options available to them, allowing the pilot to sculpt very powerful turns. A deck like Insecticons is generally locked into whatever cards they have in their hand, meaning that the most meaningful choices you make are which bots to flip on which turn and which ones to attack with.  This doesn’t make it a bad deck, it just doesn’t have the kind of play that some TCG players enjoy having available to them from their decks.

Card Highlights

One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall: Let’s get the big one out of the way first.  I think you want to play either One Shall Stand or I Still Function! In Insecticons.  Both of these are powerful cards, but I don’t think you want to play  both.  Six blank cards in the deck will reduce your overall damage every time you attack, especially with Kickback.  The reason I chose One Shall Stand is that having the ability to finish off an enemy bot with 3 or less health can be quite powerful.  One Shall Stand also will be useful in almost every stage of the game from the first turn onwards. It has good synergy with Ransack and Barrage, and this deck cares the least out of any deck about putting damage on its characters.

Treasure Hunt: This is more of a concession to the necessity of jamming as many orange pips into the deck as we can more than anything else.  I think you want to play Hunt over Disruption particularly because two of your best cards are Grenade Launcher and Force Field, and this card digs deep for them.  It will wiff occasionally and hit zero upgrades, but I think this is a fine trade off to find more Grenade Launchers in every game.

Static Laser of Ironhide: + 3 attack on a weapon with an orange pip is everything this deck wants.  The damage put on your bot is generally irrelevant, and even synergizes nicely with Ransack.

Agility of Bumblebee:  We need orange pips.  I also don’t own any SDCC cards like Tandem Targeting System.  Not too much more to say about a single copy of a pretty mediocre card.

Card Omissions

Blue Pips: As I said before, one of the strengths of Insecticons is your ability to determine how much damage you will do with any attacker.  The more non orange pips you have in the deck, the harder it will be for you to make the right attacks at the right time since your damage per attack will be much more variable.           

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