The Transformers Trading Card Game officially dropped wave 2 yesterday, and TFW2005’s own Vangelus and Aaron have run the new cards to show off what they can do! After the break you can read their thoughts on the new Combiner mechanics, new methods for playing, and new options for building out decks. Vangelus has also graced everyone with not one but two videos highlighting the new cards. Keep reading to check it all out!
Official Press Release:
The Transformers Trading Card Game continues to grow as its second set rumbles into stores TODAY!
RISE OF THE COMBINERS sees the battlefield changed forever as the mighty, towering Combiners come into play for the first time. Introducing a number of characters and mechanics into the Transformers TCG, certain cards from RISE OF THE COMBINERS Booster Packs allow players to race against their opponent to assemble and activate their team into Combiner mode while battling for victory.
Character Cards that are components of a Combiner character employ an exciting physical mechanic. Each card is the size of a standard Transformers TCG character card, but has a piece of the Combiner character on one side, and the Alt and Bot modes of a character on the Combiner team on the other. The cards have a reinforced hinge in the center, which allows them to be neatly folded when in play as one of several characters on a player’s team.
RISE OF THE COMBINERS Booster Packs will be available beginning March 1 in the US and certain other regions. You can find it where trading card games are sold, but fans can check their preferred retailer for availability.
- 46 TRANSFORMERS Character Cards and 76 Battle Cards not previously in Transformers TCG Booster Packs, including cards to assemble and activate 6 Combiner characters
- Mechanics to complement updated roster of characters
- 1 Foil TRANSFORMERS Character Card and 7 Battle Cards in Each Booster Pack
- Multiple character cards are needed to form a Combiner character.
- 5 Combiner teams have their own Enigma Battle Cards, which a player must deploy to assemble the component characters into the full Combiner character.
- Approximately 1 in 2 RISE OF THE COMBINERS Booster Packs contains a Character Card needed to form a Combiner character.
Transformers Trading Card Game Wave 2 – Details and Thoughts by Vangelus and Aaron
The Transformers Trading Card Game’s Wave 1 was the laying of the groundwork, basic mechanics with surprising hints of depth that led to a decent number of signature decks, and room enough for some fun jank to hit the table. Wave 2 has now arrived, and to say that Rise of the Combiners builds on all of that bedrock would be an understatement.
First and foremost of the new mechanics is the Combiner mechanic. Certain cards in this set are scored down one side so that they can be folded in half, and will start that way. One half of one side is the Alt mode, and the other half is the bot mode. On the back of the card is a partial foil artwork for the combiner. (This folding card tech has also introduced two triple changers, who have a bot mode, alt1 mode, and alt2 mode) Through various methods once you have all the parts of your combiner into alt mode they can combine into their gestalt form with new powers.
The second new mechanic is the green pip on cards. The green pip doesn’t give a bonus to attack or defense, but allow you after combat to scrap a card from your hand in order to put a single one of the green pipped cards into your hand. This is a great way to be able to have important cards that you may need for combining your team or finding a clutch piece to get the win.
But the big new toys aren’t even the bulk of the new gameplay experience. Just building on Wave 1, several battle cards have been tweaked and re-pipped in opposing colours. That, along with the new swathe of smaller star-count characters, opens up the deck-brewing experience enormously. On top of that, the new Green Pip mechanic is present on far more battle cards than the Combiner Enigmas, turning battle flips into potential game-changing moments outside of their effect on combat. Upgrades and Actions that could save your team might pop up, also providing a chance to ditch dead cards from your hand. And between characters like the new Common Megatron & Bumblebee, and battle cards with effects like Confidence & Swindled’s faction-rewarding bonuses, there are many more ways to mess with the basic tempo of a given turn by playing additional actions and upgrades.
Also, while it is early days, initial reports on card collation in booster boxes seems to indicate that rare and super rare character cards are less scarce than in Wave 1. Certainly, the Super Rare ratio was clearly changed from 1:79 to 1:50, but many box opening debriefs have confirmed between 3-4 rare character pulls.
Aaron: In my Hasbro provided box I pulled 1 super rare and 4 rare character cards. 2 Dinobot folding cards and 2 regular character cards. I had 3 common duplicates, which compared to Wave 1 boxes seems like a much smoother distribution. I ended up with 20 folding cards and 10 regular cards.
Vangelus: I not only pulled 1 super rare and 3 rare character cards, but also managed to draw every single common combiner card AND a singleton-minus-Defensive-Driving set of battle cards. With only one dupe character pull! This clearly isn’t a universal case, but it speaks to both the likelihood of improved card collation & the potential positive effect of WotC’s additional stipulation of going for a 1:2 ratio on folding character cards vs regular ones. My full ratio of character card pulls was 16C 10U 3R 1SR, with 21 folding cards and 9 regular cards.
As for the quality of the new folding cards, so far things have been quite positive. They appear to have been produced to be more durable overall, with a different finish on the non-foil side and a confirmed increased thickness! Aaron’s digital calipers said so.
Aaron: Yes, Digital Calipers read the regular cards at 0.0150-0.0155″ and the folding cards at 0.0190″ . Precision is important. Don’t judge.
While it’s likely that there will be a few bum copies due to the nature of mass production, one of us decided to try to stress-test the hinge on a duplicate folding character card.
Obviously, the cards are not indestructible and could likely suffer from continued heavy abuse, but it seems unlikely that the hinges will fall apart with regular use, anytime soon. However, it is just as viable to sleeve the folding cards up like a regular character card, and simply cover up the mode that you aren’t using.
How do the new mechanics feel in actual play, though?
Vangelus: I was fortunate enough to have the pulls to assemble a basic Stunticon deck and a basic Aerialbot deck, which I ran against each other a few times with the help of Saul over at Three Kingdoms Games (by Eglinton Station! hi Saul!). With only 2 copies of their Enigmas in each deck, we never felt as though we were hunting for the card by the time we’d gotten everybody into bot mode, thanks to the green pip mechanic. With the Stunticons leaning towards defense and the Aerialbots pushing a closer even balance of pips, games were close while usually coming down to a race towards combination AND equipping the combiner to be stronger than the other. Menasor’s extra action play per turn is rather frightening, as is Superion’s Pierce 5 when armed with the Noble’s Blaster upgrade.
Aaron: Unfortunately I only got to run a few limited play tests on a Gamathon Saturday without the benefit of these fancy combiner things. So I’ll take Vangelus’ word on it.
Vangelus: I was also able to run the Stunticons against a Wheeljack/Bumblebee/Prowl deck from wave 1, and that required a much different place and strategy. While I certainly was aiming to awaken Menasor, I realized that one may want to delay the combination until the timing is just right. For example, if I combined right away, Wheeljack would have then punched Menasor in the face with a huge swing. Instead, I attacked with an injured teammate, leaving only 2 injured Stunticons as targets for Wheeljack. This meant that instead of dealing 9+ damage, he could only deal a fraction of that, due to the limited health bars of either of his targets. And then I could form Menasor afterwards and hit Wheeljack very, very hard.
Aaron: I’m very excited for how Wave 2 is showing a peek into the depth of a system that is this card game. Combiners as a theme great and the added faction specific battle cards align well with combiner teams as a group, but also have a good “looking back” aspect so that they aren’t eliminating old cards. The re-pipping of some staples from Wave 1 is also interesting in that it could help you focus decks that maybe were a bit orange or blue heavy to get the card use you were looking for. The addition of the green pips to help you get the essential cards you need for your strategy is a great boon as well. I’m looking forward to playing as many games as I can sneak in at TFCon.
Vangelus: Wave 2 is enormously exciting for me. The Combiner stuff is big and loud, but the true value of Wave 2 is the widened game palette. Team builds are exponentially larger in terms of choice, and the battle cards & mechanics of this set feel like the second half of the game’s base form. Where Wave 1 was the spine and skeleton, Wave 2 is the meat and sinew. Also, I’m really happy that the folding cards are not simply the regular character cards with a scored fold, as I and many others clearly had feared. Very much looking forward to jam some of this stuff in future (especially when we get the full Canadian launch~)