2020: What could be next? (Part 1)

We’re coming to the end of 2019; in terms of Transformers TCG, we’ve seen a lot we probably didn’t expect to see so early in the game’s lifecycle. We’ve seen triple-changers, we’ve seen combiners, we’ve seen micromasters and battlemasters. We’ve now seen 6 Bumblebees, 6 Optimus Primes, 6 Megatrons and 5 Starscreams. We’ve somehow seen Flame War twice, and the action master partners have cards; I repeat, Vanguard and Turbo-Board somehow have cards.

So what could be next? What could we see next year?

Stands to reason we might expect future waves to focus on incoming toyline War for Cybertron: Earthrise, just as we saw this year for War for Cybertron: Siege, but that’s probably at least a good wave or two away. Assuming the game stays within the confines of Generation 1, what toys haven’t they done yet that might appear in the next wave(s)?

In this two-part article, I’m going to run down some of the characters and groups of characters from the original Generation 1 toyline that have yet to appear in the game. Just Generation 1, no IDW original characters (sorry fans of Tarn, Drift, Nautica, etc.), no characters from later series (sorry fans of Beast Wars, Prime, Animated, etc.), and only characters that were available everywhere (so no Overlord, Star Saber, etc.)

This is loosely ordered in likelihood and anticipation. Loosely. Lists aren’t an exact science. You can’t get a degree in listology. I think. I’ll look that up.

Shall we start?

#20
MONSTERBOTS

(Doublecross, Repugnus, Grotusque)

Monsterbots were released in 1987 and were three creepy looking autobots that turned into monstrous creatures. Their original toys would do things like light up and spew sparks, similar to the Sparkbots and Firecons (the latter of which we saw in Wave 3 of the TCG).

Unlike either of those groups, all three Monsterbots have been remade recently – Doublecross appeared near the end of the Titans Return line as Twinferno, with two retools appearing in limited forms for Repugnus and Grotusque.

The Monsterbots wouldn’t require any particular new mechanic in order to appear in the card game, so could quite easily sneak in without much fanfare the same way the Firecons did in Wave 3. Their unique look would let them stick out from the pack, and they could operate as their own tribe.

#19
PRETENDERS

(many)

Coming out around the same time as the original Micromasters, Pretenders were a baffling idea where you’d have an average looking transformer that would sit inside a plastic shell when in a certain mode. The plastic shell wouldn’t do anything, and in most cases weren’t especially appealing to look at. I didn’t get it when I was a child, and I continue to not get it as an adult.

That being said, the line did produce some cult favourite characters like the weird Octopunch, and the iconic Bludgeon. Bludgeon‘s cult status has meant that he has become a regular antagonist in many of the comic series, and has even started appearing in the second season of Cyberverse. The pretenders also appear as weapon type characters in the Power of the Primes toyline.

Whether these characters just appear as regular characters in the card game or come with some sort of pretender gimmick remains to be seen; these characters could potentially have a small character that starts underneath a large character (representing the shell). Alternatively they could work as triple-sided cards, with three separate modes: alt-mode, bot-mode, pretender-mode.

#18
WHIRL and ROADBUSTER

Whirl and Roadbuster are two characters you won’t see in the original Generation 1 cartoon. Like Jetfire and the Deluxe insecticons Barrage, Chop Shop, Ransack and Venom (now Venin), they were not created by Hasbro partners Takara, but … okay hold up, do you care? Bunch of weird business stuff from the ’80s? Hit up tfwiki for the details, I’d just be repeating what they said anyhow.

Both of these characters would appear in the Marvel comics, in the elite combat unit The Wreckers. Later, they’d appear in the IDW comics too – Roadbuster in the Wreckers Saga and All Hail Megatron series, whilst Whirl would be a central character in the More Than Meets the Eye series. They also saw new toys in the Generations toy line, both of whom had gimmicks where they pack a whole ton of guns that you can cover all over their bodies and vehicle modes; just like Siege would do line-wide much later on.

Neither would necessarily need special mechanics; the slow inclusion of the Helicopter tribe makes Whirl increasingly likely, and it’s only a matter of time before Roadbuster shows up.

#17
MISSING DELUXE AUTOBOTS

(Skids, Tracks, Hoist)

We’ve seen most of the original ‘regular size’ main-line Autobots from the original pre-Movie lines in some form now. Jazz, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Red Alert, Smokescreen, Grapple, Inferno, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack… you name them, they’ve appeared in some form (even if it’s just as combiner pieces, as is the case for Sunstreaker).

There’s three characters that haven’t made the cut though: Skids, Tracks and Hoist.

Hoist is about to get a new toy next year in the new War for Cybertron: Earthrise toyline, so it’s possible we won’t see him until the inevitable Earthrise set. Skids enjoyed some focus in the More than Meets the Eye comic series, but that was a few years back, and he hasn’t done much outside that series.

Of the three, Tracks might be the most likely – a robot that turns into a car and a, err, flying car? It can go either way if he shows up as a triple-changer or just a regular car with some sort of flying bonus.

#16
BATTLETRAP

Wave 4 saw the appearance of Skytread, formerly known as Flywheels, as the first proper duocon in the game. He has no bot mode – just two alt modes, that when a trigger is met they form one combiner mode. This behaviour was also used for a second Omega Supreme.

Skytread wasn’t the only duocon though – in his original 1987 release, Skytread was paired with Battletrap, a duocon formed from a truck and helicopter.

Whilst the original toys had the same mechanics, the recent toys behave differently and exist in two separate toylines. Skytread is simply a tank and a plane that combine together and form one bot; but Battletrap is two separate characters, Roadtrap and Battleslash, that can form their own little bots if you don’t want them to form Battletrap. Whether or not Battletrap will work like this in the game, or if he’ll behave more like Skytread, is anyone’s guess.

#15
PUNCH / COUNTER-PUNCH

Continuing on with the 1987 crowd is the character Punch. Punch is an Autobot robot that turns into a car; but there’s more – Punch is a triple-changer too, with his third form being a Decepticon robot called Counter-Punch.

The character has a whole complicated story in the Marvel comic books (which I have not read so I won’t talk about them), but for more general audiences he might be best remembered for his single scene in the Transformers mini-series The Rebirth. If you’ve seen his scene you’ll know what I’m talking about, but if you haven’t you should absolutely check it out – it’s a master class in spycraft; truly Punch is the universe’s greatest spy.

Punch got a toy in the Power of the Primes toyline only a year ago, and whilst players might not be clamouring for him for his sparkling characterisation, he could be mechanically interesting and yet simple all the same. Punch is one of the few characters where shifting faction is central to his design; it’d be really interesting to see a character with a Bot1 and Bot2 mode, instead of the usual Alt1 and Alt2 modes we see in regular triple-changers.

#14
BROADSIDE

By 1986 there were six official triple-changers, starting with ’85’s Astrotrain and Blitzwing for the Decepticons, and continuing with the inclusion of a third Decepticon (Octane), and three Autobots, including Springer and Sandstorm. All five of these characters have now appeared in the TCG, with Blitzwing and Springer appearing in Wave 2, and the others (and Springer again) appearing in Wave 4.

… but there’s a third Autobot triple-changer that has yet to see a card, and that’s Broadside. Broadside‘s original toy was somewhat maligned and a bit weird – he turned into a jet (fine), but also an aircraft carrier, something that should carry multiple jets… scale is always out the window when it comes to Transformers, but Broadside might be the biggest offender.

For Broadside to appear one would assume the game would bring him in with other triple-changers, just as they did in Wave 4. Whilst Broadside would be the last of the classic triple-changers, there’s plenty of other candidates such as Apeface‘s buddy Snapdragon, and triple-changer versions of characters like Sentinel Prime, Galvatron, Alpha Trion and even the leaders Megatron and Optimus Prime, which appeared in the Titans Return toyline.

#13
PIRANACON

(the Seacons: Snaptrap, Nautilator, Overbite, Seawing, Skalor, Tentakil)

One of the last regular size combiners in the original toyline, the Seacons are six bots that turn into sea monsters, as well as combining to form Piranacon. As combiners, they are notable for not only having a limb mode, but having a weapon mode as well.

The Seacons are being released as part of the Siege Selects line early next year. Whilst effectively retools of existing combiners from the Power of the Primes toyline (Mostly based on Terrorcons from what I can tell), they apparently will still be able to turn into weapons for the completed Piranacon.

Presumably any implementation of Piranacon would not utilize the Seacon’s weapon mode, and would just be a six-piece combiner like Optimus Maximus or Devastator. It’d be interesting if there was some way of having one behave as a battlemaster for the others, though.

#12
ABOMINUS and COMPUTRON

(Terrorcons: Blot, Cutthroat, Hun-Gurrr, Rippersnapper, Sinnertwin and Technobots: Afterburner, Lightspeed, Nosecone, Scattershot, Strafe)

Rise of the Combiners, the second wave of Tranformers TCG, introduced combiners – but it certainly didn’t introduce them all. There were a few notable exceptions (and we’ll come to a few more of them later on), but a pair that were definitely missing were the Terrorcons and the Technobots, two teams from the 1987 toyline.

The two groups are meant to be aesthetic rivals – the Terrorcons are ancient mythical beast creatures, representing fantasy; whilst the Technobots were futuristic sci-fi vehicles. In practice these bots weren’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing (Terrorcon Blot is infamously awful), but they are well loved all the same.

The Terrorcons were updated as part of last year’s Power of the Primes toyline, set up as a Decepticon rival to Volcanicus, the new combined form of the dinobots. Meanwhile Computron was released as a box-set a few years ago in the Combiner Wars toyline. Both might be longshots, but they are still cult favourites amongst fans; and the updated Terrorcons in particular might inspire some awesome updated robo-monster art.

#11
REFRAKTOR

(Viewfinder, Spyglass, Spectro)

Finally for Part 1, let’s talk about one of the last remaining Decepticons from the original series to not yet appear in the game: Reflector.

In the original cartoon, Reflector (now Refraktor) is a group of three fairly generic looking Decepticons. Individually they have no alt mode, but three of them can combine and form a camera, which other Decepticons can use to spy on their Autobot enemies.

Refraktor has never quite inspired people the same way Soundwave did – despite Soundwave‘s cassette recorder alt-mode now being obsolete, and cameras still being a thing. He’s still a loved character for some, appearing as a battlemaster of sorts for Skrapnel (of all people) in 2014, and getting two releases in the Siege line – a set in original toy colours, and an individual release in cartoon colours intended to be bought three times.

Refraktor is probably a bit weird for a mainstream TCG character card; it’s entirely possible that he might better fit a future promo release with a weird, underpowered mechanic. We’ll see.

Say cheeeeeeeese!

There’s still more to come – stay tuned for Part 2.

Until next time.

Follow Flip Flip Bang Bang on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram for more talk about the Transformers TCG.

One thought on “2020: What could be next? (Part 1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s