Characters

Captain Elita-1- Special Ops, Ranger (12*)

Insecticon Skrapnel – Insecticon Leader (7*)

Arcee – Skilled Fighter or Motormaster – Stunticon Leader (5*)

Upgrades – Weapons (11)

  • Enforcement Batons – OG (1)
  • Mounted Missiles – OO (1)
  • Grenade Launcher – O (3)
  • Erratic Lightning – O (3)
  • Power Punch – O (3)

Upgrades – Armor (4)

  • Improvised Shield – OO (3)
  • Bashing Shield – OG (1)

Upgrades – Utilities (5)

  • Heroism – U (3)
  • Bravery – U (2)

Actions (20)

  • Peace Through Tyranny – OO (3)
  • Ramming Speed – O (2)
  • Work Overtime – W (3)
  • Escape Route – WG (3)
  • Treasure Hunt – O (3)
  • Supercharge – O (3)
  • Medic – Blank (3)

Summary

  • Battle Cards: 40
  • Orange Pips: 33
  • Blue Pips: 5
  • White Pips: 6
  • Green Pips: 5

Intro

While the bellyaching over Optimus Prime: Battlefield Legend continues, another powerful character from Wave 1 has thus far avoided the angry mobs and pitchforks. Skrapnel, most famous for anchoring the aggressive Insecticon deck, has an absolutely game-breaking trait of only taking a maximum of 3 damage per attack. Up until now he’s been balanced by the fact he only has 7 health (and thus very susceptible to direct damage), but what if we can get around that? Let’s dive in…

The Team

Insecticon Skrapnel

Skrapnel‘s Bot-mode ability is what makes this deck go.

He is typically the character you flip and attack with first, although Heroism allows some leeway here.

His Attack (5) is very respectable, and with a weapon he’ll regularly hit for around 10 damage.

Elita-1

Elita-1‘s primary function is to move damage off of Skrapnel (and to a lesser extend, Motormaster) so he can tank more hits.

Unless we are in the process of using her Alt-mode flip, it’s important to keep Elita-1 in Bot-mode at all times. Here she’s primed for the flip and in the case she is unexpectedly KO’d, we can get value out of her innate Leap of Faith ability.

Motormaster

Motormaster is here to provide direct-damage cover for his teammates, in particular protecting Skrapnel from 100-0 turns such as Armed Hovercraft + One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall + character attack.

Motormaster should always remain in Alt-mode unless you find yourself in some absurd scenario where you need the +1 attack to immediately win the game.

Arcee

In the case your opponent presents no direct damage threat, you can swap out Motormaster for Arcee. Her Alt-mode flip provides repair for the entire team, but always keep your eye on the prize and prioritize keeping Elita-1 in Bot-mode.

Battle Cards

I won’t go over every battle card selection as many are your typical orange shell staples. Instead I’ll touch on the non-obvious choices, the motivations for including them, and potential alternatives.

Mounted Missiles

The double orange pips maximize our offensive flips, and being a +2 upgrade that can sit alongside another weapon is pretty good.

Power Punch

Other than the first Bravery/Heroism, our Upgrade phase is wholly dedicated to playing weapons every turn so doubling up on the single-use variety has no drawbacks.

Due to how many orange pips we have in this deck, Power Punch has higher expected value than a flat +3 weapon (Energon Axe, RR Disruptor Blade, EM24 IR Laser Launcher, etc) and the pip is on-color to boot.

Erratic Lightning

Due to the nature of this deck, this is basically a reliable +3 with no downside.

Heroism & Bravery

These two are very similar and ultimately achieve the same goal of forcing your opponent’s attacks into Skrapnel for (at most) 3 damage.

When using Bravery, you have to make sure to send Skrapnel out first so he’s always a valid target. Also keep in mind there are cards out there like Battlefield Scan which can get around Brave. Heroism has no such caveats, which is why we run a full play-set.

We dedicate 5-6 card slots for these two because they are absolutely critical to this deck’s ability to function, and must be equipped within the first few turns of the game.

Ramming Speed

Since the vast majority of our damage bonus comes from Upgrades, this deck prefers to remove opponent upgrades via the Action phase.

Escape Route

We need some white pips to balance the 5-6 off-color blue pips, and these help get Elita-1 in the mode you want her in.

Work Overtime

For this action slot I wanted card-draw power in a white pip. System Reboot and Backup Plan were considered, but I typically want to keep a backup copy of Heroism and/or Bravery in hand.

Medic

Helps smooth out our damage transfer party, and can provide some breathing room when played directly on Skrapnel. Repair Bay is objectively worse in a deck where only one character should have damage, and if we are getting more repair value out of Emergency Maintenance, we are probably losing the game.

Treasure Hunt

These have one mission – find Heroism and/or Bravery.

Supercharge

We need at least one way to pump our attack via the Action phase in order to one-shot targets. Reckless Charge was also considered, but the self-damage was not worth the incremental gain in damage and consistency. In this deck, using Reckless Charge on Skrapnel is just asking for trouble, and Motormaster is not a great target either (puts you into conflict on who to heal). Why play around with all those gotchas when we don’t need to?

Sideboard

Other than Arcee in place of Motormaster, there are really no sideboard considerations for this deck.

Gameplay

The goal of our deck is to funnel as many attacks as we can through Skrapnel. Your early game attack order is going to be determined by which of Bravery or Heroism you draw. With Bravery on Skrapnel, you must send him out first, but the field is wide open when using Heroism.

Special care should be taken when your opponent is fielding a team wider than yours, as they will likely have multiple attacks on the wheel turn. Make sure Skrapnel is topped off on health and can’t succumb to consecutive attacks.

Elita-1 can absorb 16 damage from her teammates, which comes out to (16 / 3) 5 hits on Skrapnel (who can then take 2 more hits before KO). You can think of this as your time limit to win the game.

Final Words

I have not done a whole lot of play-testing of this deck yet, but on the surface it seems pretty strong. In theory, opponent’s running aggressive decks are almost completely countered, and only defensive decks can hope to outlast you.

Prior to Wave 3, the majority of decks relied heavily on Bashing Shield for their Armor removal, and consciously chose to ignore Weapons and Utilities, with perhaps a single Vaporize/Ramming Speed to serve as a catch-all.

With the introduction of Battlemasters, I expect Enforcement Batons to become a mainstay, however that still leaves Utility removal as a weak spot. I myself have started running a full play-set of Vaporize/Ramming Speed (or 2 Vaporize, 1 Smelt) as Utilities have too much impact to ignore.

It goes without saying that this deck heavily punishes the lack of Utility removal. I’ll be interested to see if this has meaning impact on the meta going forward.

More to come as I continue play-testing!