The Deck I Would Play at Origins

The Deck I Would Play at Origins

The timing of the Organized Play announcement means that I’m unable to attend Origins to play in the Transformers Open. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about what I would play, especially with the existence of sideboards for the tournament. I think that players that come well prepared with a strong sideboard plan will have the best shot at having a good finish.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that reads my articles regularly that I’m a staunch advocate of Mission Prime, a deck I’ve been playing since November of last year. When I first heard about the sideboard rules, my mind began churning, and I landed on a particular idea: what if I could actually play two decks? Optimus Prime, Battlefield Legend has been a presence in two major decks: Three wide lists featuring Flamewar (including Mission Prime) and Double Primes with the Wave 1 Super Rare: Nemesis Prime. While both decks lean heavily on Optimus, they each boast particular advantages. Three wide Optimus decks are generally stronger against orange based decks, as Flamewar coupled with an extra character allows you to have better defensive setups when you need to protect Optimus. Double Primes is generally better against other blue decks since having two high attack bots as opposed to just one means that you can do a better job pressuring the high defense in blue decks. This is especially true once Nemesis has a card underneath him, which is generally inevitable in those matchups because the games last longer against defensive blue decks than against aggressive orange decks.

The sideboard rules allow a three wide Optimus deck to have Nemesis in the sideboard, and Wizards confirmed that you can side out multiple characters from your starting lineup to bring in one character from your sideboard as long as you are still at 25 or less stars. This means that you can play a three wide Prime deck for game 1, then sideboard into Double Primes when the match calls for it. This kind of transformational sideboard will allow you to have a very high amount of flexibility in a tournament and let you approach every matchup with a plan.

The matchup I tested the most with the Double Prime sideboard plan was against Aerialbots. My reasoning is that I find Mission Prime to be generally favored against most decks, but Aerialbots was the one deck that had the best game against Mission Prime. Since I wouldn’t need many cards in the sideboard for most decks, I could simply focus on the ten cards in the sideboard with the Double Prime lineup to find the best plan for Aerialbots.

I’m going to go over the different sideboards I tried out with Nemesis Prime, and which one I would ultimately play. The starting point for my maindeck can be found here.

The first sideboard setup involved a combination of Photon Bombs and Espionages as the “best” cards against Aerialbots.

2x Photon Bomb
2x Espionage
2x Scoundrel’s Blaster
1x Energon Axe
3x Heavy-Handed

This was fine, but still not a slam dunk. Heavy-Handed was a nice improvement over The Bigger They Are… and ended up in an updated version of the maindeck, as you only really care about the pierce against Aerialbots, while in most other matchups both blue pump actions just give you a plain +2 attack. Photon Bomb was surprisingly worse than I had originally anticipated, even when you got all five Aerialbots with it. Generally speaking, you are trying to one or two shot their guys. The extra two damage on their other characters was mostly irrelevant, but they care very much about piling up a bunch of damage in small increments, and the Photon Bombs plus One Shall Stand, One Shall Falls were actually more of a liability than a help. Espionage was fine, and was particularly good when it stopped Superion from combining for a turn if you were already ahead in the race.

The second setup I tried focusing on a sort of “brain drain” strategy, where I would bring in lots of discard and extra Work Overtimes to try and strip their hand and board of resources.

3x Disruptive Entrance
2x Espionage
2x Work Overtime
1x Scoundrel’s Blaster
2x Vaporize

The updated version of the maindeck had Heavy-Handed now, so I didn’t need them in the sideboard. This sideboard plan was worse than the Photon Bombs. You can’t really keep them permanently off an Enigma in the later turns, and you give up way too much pressure, so both decks kind of just end up durdling, and they have a much better endgame than you. What I was finding was that Espionage was good IF you were pressuring them at the same time as forcing them to scrap Enigmas out of their hand on crucial turns. Also One Shall Stand had been a real stinker in both setups, so it was time to swap those out for Plasma Bursts.

The third setup I went with was pure, simple aggression. I wanted to just hit as hard as I could on every attack without doing any damage to my own characters in the process.

3x Grenade Launcher
2x Scoundrel’s Blaster
2x The Bigger They Are…
1x Heavy-Handed
2x Espionage

Grenade Launcher was kind of the “a-ha” moment for me. There’s a couple of reasons Grenade Launcher is good: 1.) you don’t really care about having a stacked deck of blue pips. You still don’t want to take anymore incidental damage from their attacks than you have to, but you only really need 3-4 defense to stop most of their damage. Sometimes you can also mise the orange pip too and get an extra damage here and there. 2.) It doesn’t do any damage to your characters. Sure, Reckless Charge is the “better” card for Optimus since it’s an action you can play on his attack or buy back with his flip, but you can’t afford to take the three damage. The games are always a race, and doing damage to your own characters, especially when you only have 30 combined health between Optimus and Nemesis, is a losing proposition. 3.) Losing the weapon doesn’t matter too much. While it would be nice to have a more permanent weapon for multiple attacks, your other weapons often get scrapped anyways because of Vaporize and Air Raid. Basically weapons in the deck are often just a single pump that doesn’t take up your action play for the turn.

This sideboard was winning the most against Aerialbots. You just did more damage than they did, and even when they combined early, you would still be able to get two or more attacks in with your remaining character(s) and finish Superion off.

For those that want to know, these are the cards I would take out against Aerialbots:

2x Ion Blaster of Optimus Prime
3x Handheld Blaster
3x Swap Missions
1x Data Pad
1x Reinforced Plating

With the above sideboard plan, here is the exact deck I would register at Origins if I was attending:


Optimus Prime, Battlefield Legend
Autobot Hot Rod, Impulsive Fighter
Flamewar, Veteran Decepticon

Nemesis Prime, Dark Clone (Sideboard)


3x Reinforced Plating
3x Data Pad
3x Handheld Blaster
2x Ion Blaster of Optimus Prime
2x Energon Axe
2x Noble’s Blaster
1x Sparring Gear


3x Plasma Burst
3x Leap Into Battle
3x Inspiring Leadership
3x Swap Missions
3x Security Checkpoint
3x Brainstorm
2x Heavy Handed
1x Vaporize
1x Espionage
1x Work Overtime
1x Press the Advantage


3x Grenade Launcher
2x Scoundrel’s Blaster
2x The Bigger They Are…
2x Espionage
1x Heavy-Handed

Good luck to everyone who is playing, I hope to see some interesting decks now that we have sideboards!

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