Jetfire – Air Guardian (10*)
Private Arcee – Special Ops – Warrior (8*)
Raider Aimless – Air Force – Weapons (7*)
Upgrades – Weapons (7)
- Handheld Blaster – UU (3)
- Armed Hovercraft – U (3)
- Noble’s Blaster – UG (1)
Upgrades – Armor (9)
- Reinforced Plating – U (3)
- Superior Plating – U (3)
- Bashing Shield – OG (1)
- Force Field – W (2)
Upgrades – Utilities (5)
- Superior Jetpack – W (2)
- Spare Parts – WG (1)
- Bravery – U (2)
- Security Checkpoint – UU (3)
- Inspiring Leadership – U (3)
- The Bigger They Are – U (3)
- Quartermaster – W (3)
- Marksmanship – U (3)
- Tech Research – G (1)
- Vaporize – U (2)
- Smelt – UG (1)
- Battle Cards: 40
- Orange Pips: 1
- Blue Pips: 36
- White Pips: 8
- Green Pips: 5
With the release of Wave 3, I’m back doing what I love most about TCGs, theory-craft and deck-building!
My first foray into Wave 3 deck-building was a retake of Dual Primes, this time with the new Elita-1 in place of Nemesis Prime. Long story short, the biggest problem is the flip conflict – unless you use things like Rapid Conversion or Roll-out, you’re almost always in flip conflict on key turns as Elita-1 needs to flip into alt-mode to transfer damage and wants to sit in Bot mode so her KO ability can trigger. The end result is Optimus rarely gets to flip back into Alt-mode to fetch actions, losing a key piece of his power.
The other consideration is since Elita-1 doesn’t have any armor, you want Optimus as the one tanking hits, and then transfer to Elita.
My next attempt was inspired by this excellent blog post on Raider Aimless. To fill out the team I settled on Jetfire – Air Guardian and the new Private Arcee, who both have innate Bold to trigger Aimless’ direct damage ability. I’ve always been intrigued by Jetfire’s Bot-mode flip effect to fetch an armor or utility from the scrap pile, but have not been able to leverage its power in anything more than gimmick fashion (until now!).
Against aggressive comps, this deck deals plenty of damage (direct or otherwise), and protects itself via the blue shell and an endless supply of armor. Against defensive decks, direct damage coupled with Pierce (Superior Jetpack, The Bigger They Are) bypasses even the toughest armor. Without further ado…
Jetfire is the main character, and your first target for Manifold Ion Particle Blaster (henceforth known as MIPB). He’s big (15 health), has respectable Attack, and innate Bold 1 in Alt-mode will trigger MIPB’s direct damage almost 90% of the time. Since Jetfire only has 1 Armor, his Bot-mode ability will be key to his survival by fetching armor from the scrap pile. In a pinch, Quartermaster can move a Superior Plating (or any other upgrade) from Jetfire to Private Arcee in order to spread the wealth. Against defensive blue decks, Superior Jetpack puts in work as a reliable source of pierce damage, and when combo’d with The Bigger They Are, you’re probably looking at 11 (8+3) points of Armor bypassing damage.
Private Arcee acts as secondary damage dealer, and can serve as the bearer for MIPB if Jetfire is KO’d or soon-to-be KO’d. Arcee is typically the first character you flip into Bot-mode, and that’s where she’ll stay for the rest of the game. The synergy she has with this deck should be fairly obvious – when she has an Weapon equipped, she gains Bold 1 and Tough 1. Perfect for both triggering MIPB and staying alive.
Raider Aimless / Manifold Ion Particle Blaster is my current favorite Battle Master in Wave 3, just edging out Lionizer. All things being equal, I prefer blue-based decks and MIPB provides incredible value if you’re willing to build a deck around it.
Since we have a center-piece weapon on MIPB, this deck-list is a little lighter on the Weapon upgrades.
I won’t go over all the Upgrades in the deck, but I will touch on the following:
An earlier iteration of this deck ran Energon Axe in this slot, but I found them to be a bit too slow. By the time I got an Energon Axe on someone and could attack, MIPB was ready to go. Armed Hovercraft fits well as a “temporary” weapon that provides most of it’s value up-front – exactly what this deck needs. Note that only Jetfire and Raider Aimless are Ranged characters.
The weapon you want to equip early game and/or put on whoever isn’t bearing the MIPB. I used to run 2 copies, but reduced to 1 due to the green pip.
I (grudgingly) included one copy of Bashing Shield solely due to Jetfire being able to play it from the scrap-pile. It doesn’t happen often, but flipping this card when you need a third blue pip is definitely a “feels bad” moment.
The Tough 4 is insane. While there’s one copy of Tech Research in this deck, the main way you’ll get Superior Plating on the field is via Jetfire’s Bot-mode flip. I can’t tell you how many times in my play-testing a Jetfire equipped with MIPB, Superior Plating, and Spare Parts faced off against 3 Insecticons and came out victorious.
Pierce 4 on an Utility is no joke. Against a heavy blue deck, try and get both copies in play via Quartermaster.
Jetfire’s Bot flip ability makes viable certain tactics/cards that would otherwise be too slow. Spare Parts falls into this category. This card provides a lot of value in this deck as 1) it can be played from the scrap pile if needed, 2) protects MIPB, and 3) protects your Superior equipment. Your end-game goal is to have Jetfire (or Private Arcee) kitted out with MIPB, Superior Plating, and Spare Parts.
Being a defensive blue deck we don’t play Peace Through Tyranny and thus don’t have a guaranteed way of turning Raider Aimless into MIPB. Bravery is what I consider the next best alternative. Heroism is also an equally viable choice, but with a subtle set of trade-offs. While it allows you to attack with other characters before Raider Aimless, you lose the built-in Tough 3 for filling your scrap pile faster. Finally another possibility is running One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall but I opted against it (for now) due the blank pip not meshing well with MIPB’s trigger percentages.
This is included over alternatives like Pep Talk primarily due to the discard mechanic. Unless we have a Tech Research in hand, the only way we can play our Superior equipment is from the scrap-pile.
Vaporize & Smelt
Instead of 3 copies of Vaporize, I opted to replace one with a Smelt due to being able to pick it up when needed.
Pretty much a no-brainer for any deck list centered around a Battlemaster, our deck in particular gets additional synergy due to (you guessed it) Jetfire’s Bot-mode ability, and being able to move upgrades from Jetfire to Arcee.
The damage in this deck is primarily from pierce and direct damage. Jetfire and Raider Aimless (bot) are both ranged. The blue pip is a key consideration (over alternatives like Plasma Burst or One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall) due to our desire to keep our chances of triggering MIPB’s direct damage high.
I don’t really believe in static sideboards, rather I maintain pool of viable cards that either shore up weaknesses or exploit certain match-ups. From this pool, I choose a 10-card sideboard for a specific context.
For any deck that’s not running a full play-set (3) of a certain card, extra copies are certainly viable sideboard choices. For example this deck plays 1 copy of Bashing Shield so there could be 2 more in the sideboard.
Since Jet Blue has a fairly specific win condition, there’s really not much I would change except add/remove Upgrade removal (Smelt, Vaporize, Bashing Shield).
Your first few turns will be very slow. You want to focus on getting your upgrades (Superior Plating and Spare Parts) into place and letting Raider Aimless tank damage whenever possible. Your real game begins once Raider Aimless is converted into MIPB and you can one-shot opponent characters. Until then, don’t stress too much about falling behind on the damage race.
Jet Blue plays off the innate synergies of its characters, and is a beauty to behold when things are firing on all cylinders. The current iteration has about a 50% win-rate vs Orange Bugs so it’s certainly competitive and not just a “for-fun” deck. As with all my lists, I’ll continue to tweak things as the meta unfolds.