Time for the second tournament of Wave 3 in Brighton, this time it’s the turn of Alpha Trion and his merry mob of tiny misfits to see how they can do. Normally I’d leave the decklist until the end of the article but this time I’m going to mix it up. Let’s get straight into the decklist, and then summarize how I did after that. Sound good? Bit late if it isn’t.

Mission Trion, v1.1

Characters:
Alpha Trion
Arcee
Fireflight
Longhaul (new)

Actions:
I Still Function x 3
Incoming Transmission x 3
Leap into Battle x 3
Peace Through Tyranny x 3
Ramming Speed x 1
Supercharge x 3
Swap Missions x 3
Treasure Hunt x 2 (new)
Zap x 1

Secret Actions:
None

Weapons:
Flamethrower x 3
Grenade Launcher x 3
Power Punch x 3

Armour:
Bashing Shield x 1 (new)
Forcefield x 2
Improvised Shield x 3

Utilities:
Data Pad x 2

Sideboard:
Razorclaw; Bashing Shield x 1, Bolster x 1 Enforcement Batons x 1, Espionage x 2, Press the Advantage x 2, Ramming Speed x 1, Scrapper Gauntlets x 2

(The following was written on the morning of Saturday 27the June, about 10 minutes before leaving for the tournament)

So what’s changed?

Well, first of all Topshot has been thrown out and replaced by Longhaul. I don’t want to use Topshot‘s tap ability, despite it potentially being useful, because I want the benefit of being four wide; using his tap ability would inhibit that. Longhaul is pretty good for a 4 star in an aggro deck too; 2 Attack with Bold 1, that’s an okay opening hit, and he can take a hit of 7 damage, or 6 in Pierce / Direct Damage.

Confidence is gone completely (the card that is, who knows about my self esteem). Press the Advantage has been moved to the sideboard; don’t get me wrong, Press the Advantage is amazing but it didn’t feel like the best card to play often. It’ll be brought back into the deck against Decepticons, naturally. Replacing those were two Treasure Hunts and a Bashing Shield; I felt the Bashing Shield was essential and couldn’t believe I missed it, and the two Treasure Hunts mean I have a better chance of seeing my weapons for Arcee.

In the sideboard, I have the aforementioned Press the Advantage, Espionage for killing enigmas from combiner teams, Scrapper Gauntlets and Enforcement Batons for killing Battlemasters, Bolster to try and sneak in an armour. Chances are I’d be using Bolster ‘openly’ – Alpha Trion retrieving it, playing it, and making it so that the player would have to do something about my hand instead of doing an alternative action. There’s also another Bashing Shield and Ramming Speed if I feel there’s too much armour or utility in play.

I’m not sure about some of my choices in the sideboard; I skipped a second Zap and a third Treasure Hunt, both of which I feel would be useful if against Bugs or Shockwave.

Finally, Razorclaw is in the sideboard to replace Arcee when fighting into Orange decks, as Arcee would be a bit redundant.

I’m still not keen on sideboards, I feel they change the pace of the game in a way that I don’t find appealing. But we’ll see how it goes.

So, a plane, bike, hauler and spaceship walk into a bar…

(the following was written about ten hours later)

Well, that was a thing!

Only 6 players this time around, with Mat dropping to prevent a Bye from being a thing. Usual crowd, plus a new player all the way from Weybridge. Here’s what was being played:

Alpha Trion / Arcee / Longhaul / Fireflight (me)
Runamuck / Runabout / Deadend (Marc)
Optimus Prime BFL / Starter Bee / Skydive (Michael)
Needlenose / Triggerhappy / Hot Rod (Nick)
Dreadwind / Blackwing / Lionizer (James)
Stunticons (Joe B)

Bit of a weird mix this time around, nothing blatantly overpowered (even the Optimus Prime deck wasn’t the most common of combinations). If I wanted to see how Mission Trion was to fare in a competitive environment, this was probably not the right weekend. This apparently was the weekend for everyone to try out something weird and interesting.

Round 1 – Needlenose / Triggerhappy / Hot Rod
Must admit I was surprised to see this combination coming from Nick, I was kind of expecting him to bring something similar to what he had last time I played him – a psuedo Dinobot deck with Lionizer.

But no, instead Nick brought with him a deck that he’s been talking about for a while. This is a mostly Blue concoction that is looking to play Bolt of Lightning from Needlenose, dealing extra damage in the process. Getting hit by 4 points of direct damage is no laughing matter, and when you’re pairing it up with Triggerhappy‘s weapon grab and high Pierce, this is a machine when it comes to chewing through Blue.

… but I’m not Blue. Don’t get me wrong, a Hot Rod with an Energon Axe is still 7 points of damage and something the likes of Arcee should be rather weary of, but it did feel like my deck had a bit of an advantage. Nick’s an uncanny player though, and I still felt there were a couple of occasions where I was very much on the ropes and only just about squeaking victory; a stray Blue pip probably saved the first game. Sideboarding into Press the Advantage probably helped in the second.

Kudos to Nick, the deck he was playing was really cool, and I love seeing characters like Needlenose and Triggerhappy on the table; I love the old target masters, as you can probably guess by the Misfire-themed blog. In the end it was a clean victory with no defeats, but it was still pretty close.

First round: 2-0

Round 2 – Dreadwind / Blackwing / Lionizer
For some reason I got paired down for my second match and got to play new guy James, who came down all the way from Surrey. He was playing a mostly Orange version of the Dreadwing deck, with Lionizer instead of Thrust (I’m so used to Thrust I called him out on star cards in his deck, even though they were completely legal, stupid me!).

First game was a bit of a wash – a misplay meant Blackwing was killed very easily by Alpha Trion, and then a combined Dreadwing didn’t last long against a fully charged Arcee. A very quick, very easy victory for Mission Trion.

I felt a bit cocky at that point and subbed in Bolster and some Scrapper Gauntlets for game 2, when I should have pulled in Press the Advantage. He replaced Lionizer with Firedrive…. which I think was the right move. Dreadwing is built for card draw, and James’s deck was pretty mixed so he got a lot more mileage out of Firedrive. Plus, he managed to get an Energy Pack on Dreadwing. With plenty of 12+ damage hits being fired out from a Dreadwing with Firedrive AND a Scoundrel’s Blaster, and with me not able to churn out enough damage, I lost the second game.

For game 3 I did the smart thing and brought in the Press the Advantage, and threw out the Bolster and Scrapper Gauntlets that had not been useful in the slightest. This time around the cards were a lot more in my favour, and the all important Alpha Trion / Arcee swings were combined with applying Press the Advantage on at least two occasions. Clearly this was a card I needed to be using in the last game. Even with Energy Pack on, I was able to cut down Dreadwing without issue.

Second round: 2-1

Mat plays a Secret Action against my Bold deck. What could it be???

Extra Bonus Secret Round – Soundwave!
So I had won two matches and was about to play my last…. but before we talk about that, let’s talk about a post-tournament match and build up unnecessary suspense!

I’ve not had a chance to play against Soundwave in Constructed yet; I got to play against Joe B using Soundwave in Sealed and he seems pretty damn solid, especially with an Energy Pack on, so I was quite excited to have a chance to play against him after the tournament.

I’m not sure how sold I am on him in Constructed. Mat would send Laserbeak out, do a little bit of Pierce, then I’d kill Laserbeak with a big Alpha Trion swing (and somehow Swap Missions from the flip because I’m flukey), then I’d kill Ravage… and then after that Soundwave is more or less just a big dude who doesn’t hit all that hard without a weapon? Mat felt that Soundwave wasn’t really that good at dealing with aggro decks, and I think I agree with him. Cards like Callous Leadership do keep Soundwave alive for a bit, but it feels like he wants the Spy Patrol to stay alive for more than a round, and any deck that can one-shot them has an advantage.

Secret Actions aren’t feeling too strong. At one point a Dampening Field was played; I simply held back my big Bold swing, and attacked with someone else. Maybe there’s more required nuance for Secret Actions, and we as players haven’t reached that point yet.

Extra Bonus Secret Round: 2-0

Round 3 – Optimus Prime Battlefield Leader
Oh boy, this guy, we all know this guy right? Urgh….

I had a couple advantages here. Firstly, Michael doesn’t normally run this deck, or at least I’ve not seen him do so. Secondly, this isn’t necessarily the most optimal configuration of the line-up (no Flamewar, no Hot Rod). That being said, starter Bumblebee is still 9 health, 2 defense and Tough 1, and Skydive is Tough 2; it’s a really hard pair to crack through. That’s before you get to Optimus Prime.

My general strategy was the same as usual, but probably more focused here – throw Fireflight and Longhaul under the bus (or truck as the case might be), and then slam Arcee and Alpha Trion as hard as I can into Prime and hope for the best. Pre-load weapons if I can.

For the first game this plan looked like it was working; Alpha Trion and Arcee were ready for the hit… but it didn’t quite work out. An Armour on Prime meant that I was doing little damage with Alpha Trion, so only Arcee’s (admittedly huge) Pierce damage got through. Arcee got butchered by a Pierce-loaded Bumblebee, Alpha Trion finished off Optimus Prime but by that point he too had taken a lot of damage and couldn’t do enough to get rid of both Tough boys. First game lost.

The second played very similarly – this time though I got Optimus Prime to one health left, and waited for the retalitory swing. Alas, a misplay – Michael swung in with Skydive, completed the attack, and then misread the table thinking I was tapped out for some reason. Unfortunately that meant I could use Alpha Trion to pull a Zap from the scrap, kill Optimus Prime, and then clear up the rest. Second game won, albeit perhaps not through any fault of my own.

That left a decider, and Michael decided to bring in General Optimus Prime to try out double Prime. I think he mostly just wanted to try it for funsies at this point, and it’s not like General Optimus Prime isn’t good, right?

I do think playing into two-wide is advantageous for any four-wide aggro deck, though. The same routine played out, with Fireflight and Longhaul being sacrificial lambs, ready for the Arcee and Alpha Trion swings. Both were loaded, Arcee with a Grenade Launcher and Supercharge, Alpha Trion with a Flamethrower. I checked the scrap pile and saw there was likely to be a Leap into Battle coming up. I swung with Alpha Trion – and indeed Leap into Battle was in the flip. Rather than play it on Alpha Trion, I played it on Arcee just in case. Alpha Trion had done 4 points of damage to Optimus Prime Battlefield Leader. Arcee attacked – and hit a lot of not-Orange, but was able to hit two Orange pips. 10 Pierce 10 damage in total; a perfectly dead Optimus Prime.

After that General Prime was relatively easy to clean up.

Did…. did I just win?

Third round: 2-1.

Placing…. First?

Myself, not smiling or looking at the camera, with all the promos.

Aftermath
This was obviously not the toughest of tournaments; don’t take Mission Trion coming first as some sign that it’s a meta-buster. Most everyone was playing cool and interesting stuff and not the usual decks they play. Marc was running Runabrothers rather than Insecticons, Nick was running Triggerhappy and Needlenose instead of three-wide Prime, Michael was running a Prime deck instead of his Cars, etc. There were also misplays, perhaps as a result of the recent weather, tiredness, etc.

I think in a more grueling tournament I’d have placed a lot lower. But I enjoyed seeing such a wide range of things in play. That’s my kind of tournament – nearly everyone prefers seeing strange stuff on the table, as opposed to an endless see of Bugs and Primes, so I think this was a favourite tournament for me. Winning was a bonus.

Still, yay I won! That meant I got my promos (apparently I was the only one there who didn’t have most or all of the promos!). I also got a free pizza – that’s not a joke btw, I won enough store credit for a free pizza. That’s the real reason you should go to these tournaments.

Future for the Alpha Trion deck
Some cards didn’t really see play. Treasure Hunt never got into my hand in any of the games I played; but it also ended up swapped out a lot, so apparently I’m undervaluing it or feel it is my most disposable card. Bolster / Scrapper Gauntlets never seemed worthwhile, so will be scrapped. I think I’d have to play into Battlemasters more to determine if Enforcement Batons should be dumped too. I didn’t play Espionage at all, but then I didn’t play against any combiners – had I played against the Stunticons deck, it would have been straight into my deck.

Zap was essential; I questioned whether I needed a second Zap in my sideboard and the answer is YES. I think I also might want to experiment with maybe putting in a blue Zap (Underhanded Tactics / Heavy Landing). Force Field actually worked a couple of times, and the bold suite is doing great. There’s anti-Bold tech around but it feels rare or easy enough to deal with, we’ll have to see if Gyro Blasters or Infiltrate really become a thing. I Still Function gets work done. The current Blue cards are working perfectly.

I really enjoy the deck, I think it could do with a couple more tweaks, but nothing big. I probably won’t be writing anything further about it, as I think the changes I’ll make will be small. Overall though I’m very happy with the deck, and whilst I do not think it is a top tier list, I do recommend giving it a go and trying it out for yourself, as I think it is rather fun.

Next week is Pride weekend in Brighton which will prevent me from using the trains. So instead I’ll be writing something different before I embark on the next project.

Otherwise, the next tournament in Brighton is August 10th. See you there!

PS. Flip Flip Bang Bang is now on Facebook and Twitter. I’m endeavouring to only post once a week on non-local social media pages, so if you want to read posts as they happen, please follow the blog on your chosen Social Media platform. Thanks 🙂

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