As usual with Trading Card Games, new rules in order to balance the game are usually approved. Recently, a Specialist Combo deck has been the topic of conversation recently. Using Chromia, Prowl and Swoop together with a set of other cards could allow you an “infinite combo” in the game.
Drew Nolosco, the Global Brand Manager for the Transformers TCG, has uploaded a Facebook note regarding this “Infinite Combo” Deck, and one Battle Card is now retired from the game:
Today, we need to take strong action to correct an issue which has thrown the fast, tactical combat spirit of the Transformers TCG on its head. We did not take this action lightly. Significant testing, research into the issue in among our players, and listening to the thoughts of the players informed this action:
Swap Parts is retired from constructed organized play, starting Friday, April 19, 2019. This means you may not include any copies of Swap Parts in your decks when playing in a constructed event, including all constructed events in stores or at conventions. This decision does not affect sealed, turbo, or draft play. If you open Swap Parts in a booster pack as part of a sealed or draft event, you may use it.
Take notes of the complete announcement here to adapt your strategies and decks to the new rules. You can read the complete details after the jump. Let us know your impressions on the 2005 Boards!
1 Dinobot Swoop
2 Universal Network Access
1 Plasma Burst
3 I Still Function!
3 Peace Through Tyranny
3 Equipment Enthusiast
3 Incoming Transmission
3 System Reboot
1 Rapid Conversion
3 Swap Parts
3 Multi-Mission Gear
3 Field Communicator
- A worthy expression of the Transformers brand and its characters.
- A fun, fast, exciting game you can play with your friends.
- A game we can keep supporting into the future.
- The Specialist Combo deck ultimately stops attacking with its characters after about 3 extra turns. That’s basically the antithesis of making the characters the focus of the game.
- When I play this deck, my opponent stops paying attention. They pull out their phone or begin sorting through their other cards. So “fun”, “fast”, and “exciting” become highly debatable terms.
- Because of this deck, we can’t print any more versions of Peace Through Tyranny, I Still Function!, or Swap Parts because it adds more redundancy to the already stellar combo. We have been generous to Specialist characters in the past because there are so few of them (about 16% of characters), but now we have to be very careful about making any more Specialist characters at all.
We’ve tried many solutions, including:
- Only 1 extra turn – If there is a hard limit in the rules that you can only ever get 1 extra turn in a row, then eventually your opponent gets their turn back. Having play-tested a more burn-heavy version with 3 Strafing Runs, this rule did something but not enough.
- Maximum hand size – The game doesn’t have a maximum hand size rule. There could be. If you must discard down to 7 cards when your turn ends, you can still keep a fistful of Peace Through Tyranny, I Still Function!, Swap Parts, and Brainstorm, or whatever the most important cards are. If instead you simply can’t draw an 8th card while you have 7 cards in-hand, then during every card draw, your opponent will want to check and make sure you’re not at 7 already, which is extra fact-checking. The game already has diminishing returns for card drawing, but at some point, it becomes increasing returns again because you can have all of your battle cards in your hand and control exactly what you draw, flip, and play.
- Restricting one I Still Function! or Peace Through Tyranny or Swap Parts – This means you can only play one in your deck. Since the game automatically recycles cards and Chromia can retrieve a Swap Parts from scrap, the difference between playing 1 copy of a card and 3 copies of a card doesn’t feel sufficiently worse. I was still able to take infinite turns with 1 Peace Through Tyranny in my deck.
- Swap Parts doesn’t retrigger – We considered reversing our ruling so that Swap Parts does NOT retrigger “When you put this on a character” effects like Field Communicator. We play-tested this, however, the cards are clear in what they say and changing the ruling would create persistent ambiguity and confusion between the cards and the ruling.
- Power level errata – Maybe Peace Through Tyranny or I Still Function! should be weaker. Maybe they cost 1 star. Maybe they go to the KO area. In any case, we feel that cards should do what they say.