It’s time to take a look at the Decepticon Uncommon character offerings from the first wave. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding “clean” images for some of these bots, so we’re stuck with using direct screencaps from the Transformers: Legends mobile game from a few years back, so I apologize for the stat overlays.
Chop Shop // Sneaky Insecticon
Chop Shop is another of the Deluxe Insecticons, which never received the same exposure as the original three (Bombshell, Kickback, and Shrapnel). His (unused) Transformers Universe profile paints him as a kleptomaniac. It’s actually worth directly quoting it, since it makes him sound really badass.
He can carve up a moving bus and haul away its engine block before it rolls to a stop. And he can do all this while at his small insect size. Easily the sneakiest of the Insecticons, Chopshop prides himself on his subtle talents. No challenge is too great for him: the more difficult it is to steal something, the more he wants to steal it. Once he targets an object, it’s as good as gone. And once he has it he will disassemble and reshape it with the consummate skill of a brain surgeon to fit it to Decepticon needs.
Like Barrage, Chop Shop has also more recently appeared in the More Than Meets the Eye comic series as a member of Lockdown’s marauders.
In-Game: With the title of “Sneaky Insecticon,” it might make sense that Chop Shop has some ability to increase his defense. Owing to his kleptomaniac tendencies, he could also potentially grab upgrades from his companions before they’re defeated.
Deadlock // Bounty Hunter
In 2008, IDW released a miniseries named All Hail Megatron, which jumped their timeframe forward to a point in time where Megatron had essentially beaten the Autobots and conquered Earth. The storyline showed how the Autobots rallied and fought back. Shane McCarthy, the writer of the series, decided to insert a new character named Drift, an ex-Decepticon with Japanese katakana painted on his car doors, a bushido code of honor, and at least three samurai swords on his person at all times.
In short, he was the fan character that you made up when you were 12. He then proceeded to shove this character down our throats, Poochie style.
James Roberts would go on to use Drift as a major player in the More Than Meets the Eye series, where he would simultaneously parody and redeem him, going on to become one of the more interesting characters in the storyline. His hokey spirituality contrasted well with Ratchet’s grounded rationality.
“Deadlock” was the name Drift went by back when he was a Decepticon. It is a bit surprising that he’s part of this first set, but maybe they needed more Decepticons with a car alt mode?
In-Game: Nothing immediately stands out. Perhaps he’s just a solid, cheap all-around character, a la Red Alert and Ironhide from the starter?
Demolisher // Devoted Decepticon
Demolisher was one of the main Decepticon characters from the Armada days. He was fiercely loyal to the Decepticon cause and to Megatron. Ultimately, as the series went on, he began to have trouble reconciling the two, since he began to question Megatron’s adherence to the Decepticon ideology. He also appeared in the War for Cybertron series of video games, which began to incorporate him into the continuities that were closer to the G1 days.
In-Game: Demolisher is typically portrayed as the muscle. It’s likely he’ll be a high health character with a powerful attack while in tank mode.
Kickback // Cunning Insecticon
Kickback doesn’t really have the distinguishing characteristics of his brethren. He can’t control minds like Bombshell, nor can he control electricity like Shrapnel. His main claims to fame were constantly kicking airborn Autobots while in insect mode and getting crunched by Kup in the 1986 movie.
In-Game: Kickback makes sense as a cheap, fairly basic character to partner with Shrapnel in order to get his ability to fire off.
Ransack // Insecticon Commando
After a bit more research, it looks like Ransack and the other Deluxe Insecticons also appeared as some of the primary antagonists in the Micromasters series back in the Dreamwave Comics era, which seems like a fairly major downgrade.
At this point, it’s also worth nothing that Venom is the only Deluxe Insecticon that doesn’t appear in Wave 1. This is a little bit surprising, as he’s probably the most well-known out of the four of them.
In-Game: Like Kickback, Ransack is likely to be fairly basic.
Skywarp // Sneaky Prankster
Skywarp was one of the original three Decepticon jets, alongside Starscream and Thundercracker. In terms of personality, he was pretty dim-witted and needed near constant supervision to be effective on the battlefield. Off the battlefield, he spent most of his time pranking his fellow Decepticons. This was made much easier through his special ability, which allowed him to teleport.
Skywarp was one of the Decepticon casualties in the 1986 movie. One of the big arguments in the early online Transformers community was whether Bombshell or Skywarp was ultimately reformatted into Cyclonus and which one became his “clone.”
In-Game: Skywarp’s teleportation ability is almost sure to show up in the game. This could potentially allow him to avoid damage or allow him to “cheat” out action cards, in a similar manner to Mirage.
Starscream // Air Commander
When we speculated about the Common version of Starscream, I skipped talking about him. It’s worth noting that in the current IDW continuity, Starscream was actually elected leader of Cybertron, where he has struggled with the competing desires to help his people or advance his own desires.
In-Game: With the title of “Air Commander,” it would make sense that Starscream will be able to buff up fellow jets. This means that he and Slipstream could be a potent pairing.
Thundercracker // Mach Warrior
Thundercracker was always my favorite of the Decepticon jets. His tech specs and his Transformers Universe profile indicate that he has frequent doubts about the Decepticon cause. In the original cartoon, this manifested in an extremely mild way, where he contemplated allowing Jetfire sabotage a Decepticon plan after he was thrown under the bus by Starscream.
In the IDW comic universe, Thundercracker actually did decide to leave the Decepticons. After this, he mostly wanted to be left alone, but he occasionally helped the Autobots. He also got a pet dog and pursued a career as a writer. No, I’m not making this up.
In-Game: Thundercracker, along with Ramjet, are probably the best candidates for a generic jet. In some continuities, he is able to make sonic booms, which could potentially translate into an AOE damage effect. Still, it’s more likely that he’ll be fairly generic and cheap to try to slot in with characters with “Jet” synergies, like Slipstream.
If you have any comments or ideas of your own, please comment below!
Next time, we’ll take a look at the Autobot Rare characters. In the meantime, make sure you’re part of the online communities where we’re discussing the game and getting hyped!