Spoiler Speculations: Major Shockwave

Spoiler Speculations: Major Shockwave

Spoiler season’s here, and we’ve already been shown two big heavy hitters in War for Cybertron: Siege 1: Major Ultra Magnus and Major Shockwave.  Ultra Magnus is beefy, but today I wanted to take a look at Shockwave, as he’s definitely got two very interesting abilities that may open up new deckbuilding possibilities.

The first ability is present on both his alt and bot mode, meaning you’ll always have access to it throughout the game as long as Shockwave isn’t K.O.ed.  And with a healthy 17 hp and 3 defense in alt mode, Shockwave is going to be difficult for your opponents to K.O. quickly. Shockwave lets you look at the top card of your deck at any time.  On the face of it, this isn’t too particularly exciting, but what you gain from this ability is additional information. One key aspect of trading card games is that a lot of information is hidden: cards in your opponent’s hand, cards in your opponent’s deck, and the order of cards in your deck.  Shockwave helps give us a little bit of that information back to us. So what exactly can we do with that information? We can adjust our plans on our turn if we see a particular card with a green battle icon on top of our deck, since we know we will have access to that card on our next turn. If you see an Espionage on top of your deck, then you may be more incentivized to play the Security Checkpoint in your hand to get full information about your opponent’s hand and allow you to take the best card left in their hand on your following turn.

The real strength of Shockwave though comes from his bot ability, granting you the ability to play cards from the top of your deck, specifically Decepticon cards and Secret Actions.  Keep in mind that you are still restricted to playing one upgrade and one action per turn. We’ve only seen one Secret Action so far, Battlefield Report. The card is solid, if not too exciting on the face of it, serving as the spiritual counterpart to Incoming Transmission.  Transmission would allow you do things like put an Improvised Shield on top of your deck to attack for more damage. Battlefield Report let’s you do a similar thing, only this time on defense, by putting a Handheld Blaster on top of your deck for extra defense.

What makes Shockwave potentially exciting is that cards like Battlefield Report are much stronger if you can play them from a different zone than your hand.  The reason is that when played from your hand, Report doesn’t actually net you any cards, it just improves the quality of your hand and gives a little bit of value by placing the battle icons you want on top of your deck.  But if you play Report from the top of your deck, then you actually net a card since you didn’t have to commit a card in hand to play it. While Battlefield Report is the only Secret Action we’ve seen so far, there’s certainly plenty of interesting possibilities in War for Cybertron: Siege 1.  If we have a mirror card for Incoming Transmission, how about one for Supercharge: a blue Secret Action that gives you Tough 3 when you defend. This would be the perfect kind of card for Shockwave, allowing you to grind your opponent out with high defenses and inherent card advantage.

The other card Shockwave can play off the top of your deck are Decepticon cards.  So what Decepticon battle cards do we have from the first two sets? While we haven’t received confirmation of what these include, it seems fairly safe to assume that a Decepticon card contains the Decepticon watermark in the rules box for the card.  If that’s the case, then we have the following list of current Decepticon battle cards:

Fusion Cannon of Megatron
Null-Ray of Starscream
Bad Attitude
Decepticon Crown
Stunticon Swagger
Tooth and Claw
Builder’s Tools
Scoundrel’s Blaster
Stunticon Enigma
Predacon Enigma
Constructicon Enigma
Heavy Landing
Underhanded Tactics

Three cards stand out on this list: Reclaim, Scoundrel’s Blaster and Swindled.  Scoundrel’s Blaster and Noble’s Blaster have proven themselves, and even though they’re basically just a Primary Laser, their green battle icon makes them solid cards that give you access to a weapon when you need one.  Swindled is a decent card, if not too particularly powerful. It’s Autobot counterpart, Confidence, has ended up seeing more play, in large part because playing more actions tends to be stronger than playing more upgrades in a turn.  Still, Swindled would allow us to “reset” the top of our deck if needed to try and hit a relevant Decepticon upgrade like Scoundrel’s Blaster.

The really interesting card though I think out of all these is Reclaim, in part because the card at this point in time is pretty much restricted to either Constructicons or Starscream, Decepticon King wanting to put a Decepticon Crown on top of the deck.  Because you will always end up scrapping several cards from the top of your deck after you’ve played an action due to combat, Reclaim does basically nothing in most decks. Major Shockwave, however, can actually make immediate use of a Decepticon upgrade you put on top of your deck.  While the best Decepticon upgrade at the moment is Scoundrel’s Blaster, there are certainly possibilities for a powerful Decepticon upgrade in this set, perhaps even one comparable to Ultra Magnus Armor. One problem with a card like Ultra Magnus Armor is that while it’s a powerful upgrade, even if you are willing to pay the steep cost to put it in your deck (two stars!), odds are you won’t draw it in a majority of your games(obviously ignoring special rules such as Major Ultra Magnus being able to play it at the start of the game).  But playing three Reclaims in a Major Shockwave deck with a single two star cost Decepticon upgrade means you will have access to that single upgrade in a lot of your games. Again, this is only speculation at this point, so Reclaim may still end up being limited in its use. But it’s something to keep in mind as we begin to see more spoilers for War for Cybertron: Siege 1!

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