Weekend Casual: Hound & Alpha Trion

Welcome to Weekend Casual, where I round up some fun stuff I did over the week related to the Transformers TCG, relate a bit about various characters and cards I saw being played or played myself, then give you a deck list at the end that isn’t especially amazing, but probably fun to play regardless. Sit back, relax, forget about the forthcoming miserable week of work, and read about Transformers TCG for a bit!

This past week I’ve been mostly focused on Alpha Trion. I had hoped to find time to make at least three different decks related to the old man, but unfortunately time constraints meant that I only got round to making two.

What I did make was:

Alpha Trion / Arcee / Fireflight / Topshot (aka Mission Trion)
(Orange w/ 3 x Leap into Battle, 3 x Swap Missions)


Alpha Trion / Hound / Flamewar
(Blue, w/ 2 x Press the Advantage, 1 x Battle Ready, 1 x Bolster)

I actually think Mission Trion has some decent potential; in testing it’s walked all over my mid-tier Blue decks (it wasted poor Elita-1, and Runabout / Runamuck just can’t cope with it at all). I haven’t tested it against Aerialbots or Major Shockwave yet, but that’s certainly coming next week. I have been testing it against Insecticons though, and against them I think it’s just a case of learning how to pilot the deck better. It can finish them off, certainly – but it’s not quite there yet, and I think a lot of that is me, not the deck, I just need to ‘get the reps in’, as a certain Southampton tournament organizer would say. If I can just master that line up, and it does alright against Aerialbots and Major Shockwave… any games I lose are on me and not the deck. No pressure at all.

Also, three weeks on from Siege I being released, and my desk is a mess.

Just cards everywhere. Chaos.

It was a quiet one on casual Saturday @ Dice Saloon this week; just Mat, Michael and myself. Michael has been creating a whole host of imaginative decks, steering clear of power decks and just making stuff that is interesting and fun.

First up from him was a White deck, featuring Pteraxadon, Mirage and Chromia. If you’ve never seen a White deck, most of them tend to try and get Mirage‘s bot mode trigger – he flips three whites, he untaps. Pulling this off is a real pain for the other player who is stuck punching into the same person again and again. Traditionally this is Jazz (who is also trying to reduce your damage to only 2), but here it is Pteraxadon.

I decided to start the day by playing the Hound / Alpha Trion deck. I really like Hound, I pretty much fell in love with the card when I was playing him in Sealed, and in Constructed I think he has even more game. +2 attack for every upgrade played is an incredible bonus if you’re building your deck around him – it’s not difficult to collect Attack Drones, and playing 3 all at once drives Hound to a somewhat silly 13 attack. With Alpha Trion able to grab a Battle Ready on command, that’s a reasonably dependable 16 attack in games without card disruption.

The deck itself performed okay – it scraped a win against the White brigade. I do find Pteraxdon a bit of a disappointment; denying base defense just seems like a very poor man’s Pierce. When Wave 1 Mirage works correctly I think he is an excellent character, but three White is a hard target to hit without some Bold, and your deck hurts with a high ratio of cards that are neither Orange or Blue. Chromia has game though; I think her ability to fetch any White card from the scrap, action or upgrade, is incredibly powerful and can be the centrepiece of some amazing, interesting decks, not least of which were those infinite turns decks that people kept making a while back.

After a few games with Alpha Trion, I was happy to sit out a few games and just watch Mat and Michael play a few rounds. Mat brought out a surprise Firecon deck, which wasn’t something I was expecting. Meanwhile Michael played an Orange deck consisting of all three Prowl cards. Here’s something about every Autobot Cars deck – they all inevitably play the same. Every Autobot Cars deck is Hot Wheels. Regardless of who your characters are, you are essentially looking for Turbo Boosters or Start Your Engines. An all-Prowl Cars list… is exactly like Blurr, or the Elita-1 Orange list I posted several posts back. Blue plays slightly different but not by much. Inevitably it always comes back to that same play style – hit for lots, untap, hit for lots more. Wave 1 Prowl is particularly good in these lists; it’s no wonder that he has become the mainstay and not Wheeljack or either of the Bees.

Still, regardless, it is fun seeing three Prowls in one team. Prowl works best with just himself I guess?

Urgh, this guy, am I right?

Michael also played an all Skywarp deck that was a lot weirder, and I wasn’t fully sure on it’s ultimate game plan. Wave 2 Skywarp treating secret actions as blank cards is something of a revelation though, and overall I’m starting to feel an urge myself to try out one or possibly both of the better Skywarp cards so I can get a better feel for them. Frankly though Wave 1 Skywarp should stay in the folder and be replaced by Acid Storm; but then the deck wouldn’t be so thematic, would it?

After that I tried Mission Trion again Firecons; it seemed to do pretty well. Firecons seem okay but I’m having a hard time seeing them as anything more than a curiosity. Flamefeather‘s defensive abilities are… fine? Sparkstalker seems mostly just okay. Cindersaur‘s ability to play extra actions should not be dismissed though, especially not at 8 stars. That is an incredibly good ability at such a lower build cost, and might be worth thinking about elsewhere if you can get Orange cards in hand (like, for example, if you were playing a certain Cybertronian Sage)

Michael then brought out his Shockwave deck, and I tried Mission Trion into Shockwave; Alpha Trion did not treat Shockwave very well, or rather, a highly boosted, swinging for Pierce 11+ Arcee didn’t. The biggest problem I have with Wave 1 Shockwave is that at 11 health points, he’s easy fodder for most Pierce-centric builds. Elita-1 seems to deal with him okay, and an Arcee with a Grenade Launcher and Supercharge is just going to one-shot the poor old cyclops every time.

We had a bit of chat between the three of us over how we all would improve the deck, what we thought could be tweaked about the deck, before Mat tried his Hound / Inferno deck against Shockwave.

Meanwhile, I created shocking, electrifying Kaon x Shockwave fan fiction that involved Shockwave begging Kaon to transform into an electric chair so he could feel the sparks fly. I have since been banned from playing with Michael’s transformers and I have absolutely no idea why.

“Electric laaaaaarrraaaarrraavvee….”

Mat’s Hound / Inferno deck has some pretty neat ideas in it, many of which I stole for my Alpha Trion list, not least of which is the fact that both Inferno‘s flip ability and the card Disarm can be used on your own characters – bouncing Attack Drones away from Hound with Disarm or the on-demand Inferno ability, and then simply reattaching them, means you can hit for 10-13 damage with Hound A LOT, even in Blue. You can see Mat playing this deck in one of the latest City Speakers videos.

I finished the day with a few games against Mat’s General Prime deck, which won the first local Siege Constructed tournament in Brighton last week. I played both Elita-1 and Mission Trion. Elita-1 got absolutely wrecked by it, I think I managed to get only one character down through the entire match. Mission Trion, however, did pretty well against it. There’s some tweaks to do on the deck, but it will almost certainly be one I’ll be talking about over the next week.

In the meantime, here is the Alpha Trion / Hound / Flamewar deck I played:

(Not pictured: A much tidier working space)

Alpha Trion
Sergeant Hound
Flame War or Fireflight or Skydive

Battle Ready x 1
Bolster x 1
Disarm x 2
Heavy Handed x 3
Heavy Landing x 2
Leap into Battle x 3
Press the Advantage x 2
Security Checkpoint x 3
Steady Shot x 3
The Bigger They Are x 3
Vaporize x 2

Secret Actions:

Attack Drone x 3
Energon Axe x 1 (honestly, I’d have had more, but this was the only spare one I had)
Handheld Blaster x 2

Bashing Shield x 1
Extra Padding x 3
Sparring Gear x 2

Data Pad x 3

Orange Pips = 7
Blue Pips = 32
White Pips = 6
Green Pips = 11
Black Pips = 3
Blanks = 0

I don’t know if Flamewar is really the right choice here, and I might be tempted to go with Fireflight or Skydive over her instead if I’m honest (and did so in testing). She rarely lives long enough for the team to take full advantage of the Tough 1 being put out.

The general play pattern is to try and get either a full set of Attack Drones, or failing that a full set of Extra Padding by Turn 3. The first turn have your 5 star character go in and attack; if it’s Flamewar she should be flipped, otherwise flip Hound. Then on your second flip Alpha Trion, and attack with him. On Turn 3, if Hound is already flipped (because you went with Fireflight or Skydive), flip Alpha Trion and pull back a Battle Ready; hopefully by this point you’ll have a set of Attack Drones or Extra Paddings, play the set, then play Battle Ready. This could end up giving you 16 Attack on Hound. It’s not entirely reliable, there’s a few moving parts and it probably works should work better without Flamewar, but it is quite a fun deck to play around with.

I’d probably put a Ramming Speed in this deck too, as I found I wanted Alpha Trion to pull upgrade-removal into hand a lot more. Otherwise I’d probably look to lower the amount of Orange in this deck, as the level of Blue is rather low. Reinforced Plating over Sparring Gear maybe? Either way I don’t think I’ll keep the deck long-term as I have other plans for Alpha Trion, but if you want some Hound related ideas this deck could be a good starting point.

Later this week I’ll be discussing the other Alpha Trion deck ideas, and then getting to the real meat of this project, Mission Trion itself.

Until next time, happy flipping.

One thought on “Weekend Casual: Hound & Alpha Trion

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