‘Transformers Trading Card Game: Metroplex Deck’ Review, Plus an Exclusive Interview

Gaming Reviews Tabletop Games
You’re gonna need a bigger table. (Image: Hasbro/WotC)

The Transformers Trading Card Game is still in its early days (it just launched last month, after all), but Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are not slowing down the product release train (which transforms into a space shuttle)!

It would have been easy to mirror their current offering and push out a Decepticon-themed starter box and booster, but they instead decided to do something a lot more fun (and a lot bigger).

What’s in the Energon Cube?

The Metroplex Deck is a complete deck for one player. It contains one 8-inch tall Metroplex card, three oversized character cards, and a 40-card battle deck with three new cards for use with Metroplex and Titan-class characters. It also contains a printed copy of the Advanced Rules, previously only available online. This deck definitely isn’t for basic play.

The big guy himself sports some of the most incredible art so far in the game, with what feels like a metric ton of foil. In bot mode, he’s got a pretty interesting ability where, if he flips two cards of every color during battle, the entire enemy team is tapped and takes one damage. Unfortunately, it’s only going to see use very late in the game (more on that in a second). His attack is OK, his defense is paltry, but his health is a daunting 35.

He’ll need every drop of it as well because one of the new upgrade cards is “Protected by Metroplex,” which has the Titan soaking up damage that would befall his wee-little pals.

Transforming Playstyles

You only get seven new cards, but what cards they are! (Image: Anthony Karcz)

Scamper, Six-Gun, and Slammer (all companion characters and drones included with the original toy) are included in the Metroplex Deck. They start the game under the giant Metroplex card. Then, whenever he transforms into city mode, you can deploy one of them. And you’ll want to get them on the field as soon as possible because, while the new action card “Height Advantage” gives Metroplex Bold 4, he’ll need the Bold bonuses provided by Scamper, Six-Gun and Slammer (who appropriately does not have a bot mode) to consistently use his bot-mode ability.

Of course, there’s nothing saying that you have to keep the gang together. Slammer is a robust little Tank card and Scamper is a respectable 4-star addition to your Cars decks. Since Metroplex himself is 25 stars all on his own, there’ll be no sneaking him into the middle of another deck.

The Metroplex Deck offers a lot of the same mechanics that you see in Dinobots decks (damage transfer, lots of extra damage via Bold), but with a longer time to set up its full potential, since you’ll need at least three rounds to deploy all your characters. If you’re playing against a fast deck, you could find yourself in trouble.

He Turns Into a Building? Where’s the Fun in That?

Playing a deck like this isn’t just about how much power you bring to the table. There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to slap down a nearly one-foot card, add three more characters to him, and saying “This is my deck” (or maybe “Metroplex heeds the call of the Primes” if you’re feeling nostalgic for the War for Cybertron game). Knowing that Hasbro and WotC will have complimentary Decepticon products in future waves, I can’t wait to pit this against the inevitable Trypticon deck.

If you’re looking to dive into Advanced play, or you’re just a Metroplex fan, this deck is well worth the $20. You can pick one up today on Amazon.

Q&A With Wizards of the Coast

I recently got to pitch some questions about the new Transformers Trading Card Game to Drew Nolosco, Brand Manager of Wizards of the Coast. Read on to find out what drove the character selection in the first wave, what his favorite cards are, and what might be in store in the future of the Transformers Trading Card Game!

WotC: First, a point of order, you know that we’ve produced other TCGs since the launch of Magic: The Gathering?

GD: Yes! Sorry about that. It’s what writing at 5 AM will do to you. In addition to Magic, you’ve produced dozens of games. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I haven’t been this excited about a Wizards game since I first discovered MtG.

So, first things first. There are so many fun mechanics at your disposal in the Transformers universe. You’ve already taken the concept of city bots and turned it into the Metroplex Deck with some really cool mechanics. Could we see a combiner team mechanic as part of future waves? What about going smaller with Headmasters or Targetmasters available as battle card upgrades?

WotC: One of the cool things about working at Wizards of the Coast is that we’ve been creating trading card games for 25 years. That means we have a ton of card technology at our disposal. One of the most rewarding things about working on Transformers is that we get to match up all of those interesting printing techniques to unique card mechanics. For Wave 1, size is the main thing we’re playing with. I can’t divulge any details, but with all of the methods and ideas we have, I can say that Transformers fans will have a lot to be excited about!

GD: How do you weigh what characters to add to a wave when everyone seems to have their own individual favorite (from a cast of thousands)? Along those lines… where’s G1 Sunstreaker?

WotC: There are a lot of factors that go into choosing characters. For the Wave 1 booster pack, for example, one of the most important considerations was team building. We wanted to provide easily understandable pathways to choosing teams, but with enough mechanical depth and variety inside each of those themes. A great example is cars. There are multiple ways to build a deck around cars. For a youngster, that could simply mean putting together 25 stars’ worth of cars and then finding battle cards that work with that team. For a player who’s into min/maxing, there are different car teams that do different things. A deck that focuses on Wheeljack will perform much differently than one that centers around the Super Rare Bumblebee card, for example.

Aside from the major themes in the Wave 1 booster (cars, trucks, planes, tanks, Insecticons, Dinobots), we also wanted to include characters from outside of those themes to promote exploration into different and stranger styles of play. The first set of any TCG needs to show players the scope of coolness the TCG can offer. Cosmos is a great example of that. He has a unique ability that plays OK alone, but he offers lots of very interesting and unusual deckbuilding options if you’re interested in maximizing his ability.

From an IP point of view, we want to include characters that are both familiar and unusual. We made sure there were very prominent Transformers characters like Optimus Prime and Megatron at a common level of rarity. As well as different and perhaps more powerful versions of them at a higher rarity. At the same time, we wanted to show Transformers fans that we were going to be diving super deep with our character selection. That brought out the deep cuts like Flamewar, Darkmount, and Demolisher, among others.

You can expect to see that continued in future booster sets as it’s something that’s super important to us.

And Sunstreaker? I thought you were a fan of Sunstorm? Whoops! My bad.

GD: There’s been flak online about how hard it is to find some of the rarer cards (or that certain cards, like the convention exclusive set, are unattainable). Will collectors see these harder to find characters again at some point (albeit with different rarities and/or abilities)?

WotC: Rarity serves a number of functions in a trading card game. One function I’d like to point out that’s especially relevant for the first booster release of a TCG is that it lets us put more complexities at higher rarities so that players aren’t overwhelmed with nuanced mechanics before they’ve gotten to understand the base game system.

I can’t speak to the future plans for any specific card, but we do endeavor to make important game mechanic options available to fans of any particular deck archetype.

GD: Wave 1 covers a lot of Transformers history, from G1 to Transformers: Armada (with Demolisher) to Transformers: Animated (with Slipstream). Are there any branches of the franchise you won’t/can’t touch? Is there a favorite that you haven’t been able to bring to the table yet?

WotC: The Transformers TCG is going to center around the Generations-style versions of characters. There’s a super-wide universe of characters and themes for us to include and we’re really excited at the prospect of bringing in some of our favorites, but we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew.

I still have my original G1 Devastator, and although he’s not the first Transformers character I got my hands on as a kid, I’d love to get him in the game someday.

GD: What are your favorite Wave 1 cards?

WotC: Nemesis Prime is a powerhouse and he really fits my play style. I like decks that really build momentum over the course of the game. I enjoy playing around with Hound and Mirage, with a battle deck that has a higher-than-average number of white pips. I think that play style is super fun. My go-to deck, however, is tanks. I’m a giant fan of the battle card Hunker Down.

GD: What’s your favorite character/battle card combo?

WotC: There’s a lot to choose from, but Static Laser of Ironhide and any characters that can move or reposition damage counters is an unexpected and fun two-card combo.

GD: Thanks, Drew!

WotC: Any time!

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