Deck Tech: Planes

Deck Tech: Planes

Many of the early builds for Transformers decks revolve around the various vehicle types available in the game.  Some of these factions are quite strong and have managed to immediately rise to the top of the metagame. Others clearly have support with various type specific cards such as Hunker Down for Tanks and Bombing Run for Planes.  Planes in particular seemed interesting to me with its ability to dish out high amounts of direct damage. The first few lists I played were more defensive in nature with plenty of blue pip cards and tried to KO bots through direct damage cards.  The problem with these lists I found was that your clock was often far too slow and you couldn’t really soak enough damage from the aggressive decks. Bombing Run was also kind of a stinker most of the time, as damage was rarely getting spread around to allow you to get the full value out of the card.  Often you were moving a measly one damage, making the card little more than a glorified Zap. I decided to try out a more aggressive list, especially considering that Starscream, Air Commander had just a static Bold 2 in his bot mode. The deck fared a bit better, able to put out a lot of damage very quickly, however I still think the deck at its current juncture is just weaker than the other bold based decks available.  I have not tried out any Slipstream based decks yet however, and that could significantly change how the deck plays considering her high health and ability to move damage from your planes to your opponent’s characters.


Starscream, Air Commander
Thundercracker, Mach Warrior
Skywarp, Sneaky Prankster


3x Grenade Launcher
3x Armed Hovercraft
3x Flamethrower
3x Force Field
1x Null-Ray of Starscream


3x Peace Through Tyranny
3x Roll Out!
3x Supercharge
3x Incoming Transmission
3x Plasma Burst
3x Photon Bomb
3x Ramming Speed
3x Zap
3x Rapid Conversion

Like most bold based aggressive decks, the bulk of your damage should be coming from your attacks.  Supercharge, Grenade Launcher and Flamethrower all allow your bots to push plenty of damage. You then have plenty of direct damage spells to finish off a low health character if it survived a big attack.  While I’m not a big fan of Roll Out in most decks, I think here it can be actually quite strong. It can deal four damage split up between two targets with a Starscream+Thundercracker flip to alt mode, assuming your opponent has any melee characters.  Fortunately most lists have some number of melee characters, but make sure which ones are melee, and also keep in mind that some characters will be melee in a particular mode but not melee in the other (Optimus Prime, Battlefield Legend and Wheeljack, Weapons Inventor for example).

Budget Alternatives: I think Planes can be a solid budget deck to get into the game since all of its characters are uncommon.  If you want to make the deck even more budget friendly, you can swap the three Peace Through Tyranny for three Improvised Shield and three Roll Out for three Static Laser of Ironhide.  Static Laser is still a rare, but it’s under a dollar at the moment on TCGplayer while Roll Out is right around ten dollars a piece(!). While I ultimately think Planes is just a bit weaker than most of the other decks available, it can still take games against those decks if played correctly, making it a great budget deck to hop into the game with.

Card Highlights

Roll Out/Rapid Conversion: I generally am not a big fan of either of these cards in most decks, but in Planes they are actually quite good.  These allow you to push more direct damage with your bot flips, and unlike Photon Bomb and Plasma Burst, have battle icons to help increase your bold based damage.

Photon Bomb: Cards that appear to be symmetrical can often be used in a completely non-symmetrical way in the right kind of deck.  The key of course is finding the right deck to break these kind of effects. I currently don’t think Planes is the deck that does this for Photon Bomb, but I still think the card’s inclusion is warranted to give the deck a high number of direct damage cards.

Armed Hovercraft:  Out of all the cards for planes and ranged characters, this one impressed me the most.  It always does what you want it to do with no drawback, and the extra attack on the upgrade means it does more damage than Strafing Run.

Card Omissions

Bombing Run:  The first lists I tried out with Planes had three Bombing Runs, but the card was wildly inconsistent.  Oftentimes you would only have one bot with damage on it, making it little more than a Zap. Considering this deck is currently a bold based aggressive strategy and we’re already playing six blank cards and three blue ones, I’d rather have the orange Zap to give more damage on attacks.  


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