SURVEY SAYS: WNR’S UNDERUTILIZED ACTION CARDS

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, a few of the Wreck ‘n Rule crew have talked about some of their favorite cards that don’t quite see ubiquitous play. Today, we finish that by taking a look at Action cards!

RJ – Squish Them Like Bugs

This card seems unassuming. It’s not Zap, you aren’t immediately doing a single damage to a target of your choice, and it isn’t Armed Hovercraft where you’re doing a single damage across the board, plus pumping up one of your own characters. The drawback for Squish, in addition to the two I have just mentioned, is that you have to attack into someone AND do damage to them AND be a higher star count than them for the card to trigger. I ran this card at GenCon in my Hot Wheels deck (spoilers: I did not do well there, if you haven’t heard) and didn’t find enough uses for it – I thought I’d run into way more Bugs players, and had I done better, I am sure I would have.

The “problem” with this card is that it has the potential to do absolutely nothing, and now you just wasted your action for the turn by playing it. Not only that, but you have to do damage to an enemy with fewer stars than your attacking character. Again, this card is perfect for, ironically enough, playing AGAINST Bugs. I think this card is a great sideboard card, I wrongly ran it in my main deck at Gen Con. You also don’t want to run it in wider teams because, by the nature of “wide”, you will have fewer chances to play the card because your characters star count will more than likely be pretty low.

I think this card, in the right matchups, would have done well at the beginning of Siege I. The meta was, and I suppose still is, heavy orange so you are almost always guaranteed to do damage. It is starting to slide towards more blue with the rise of Major Shockwave seeing play, and now that Press the Advantage is banned, I can only guess that it will start sliding even more towards blue. That’ll make the card a little more difficult to play, but not entirely impossible. I think that Squish paired with some type of Pierce cards can do some damage, and maybe not even the Pierce keyword cards, but just some black pips. I think it pairs particularly well with Legendary Bee and his ability in car mode to bypass tapped characters. You dream of scenarios where you can get around an enemy sitting at one health where you’d normally have to waste an attack into them – here, you can load up Bee for a large attack and swing into an enemy that isn’t ready to take a big hit to the face, then thanks to Squish, still kill the enemy you’d otherwise have to waste an attack on.

The card effect is still super strong and one that I definitely think deserves a second look. Again, as a sideboard card I think it is super useful, and if you run it in your main deck I definitely wouldn’t run it as a three-of, only for the fact that it has the potential to be a dead card in a lot of matchups. Yes, the card isn’t great in all scenarios, but in my opinion, when it’s good, it is really good. I think with Siege II coming out so soon, and people maybe anxious to try a team full of the Micromasters, that Squish could (and should) see some play.

tom – Calculated Strike

I will start off by saying that I didn’t care for this card much at first.  I admit I am not a real big fan of the blank cards or the cards with just a black pip, as they can put you at slight disadvantage during battle flips, even setting you back early on.  I started adding this card into blue/black pierce decks and it started to grow on me. It gives you +2 attack and Pierce 2, so essentially its 2 damage to the defender, barring any counters on your opponent’s end.  Think of it like Plasma Burst’s little cousin, but it gives you the added black pip. Anything that adds pierce is great, Piercing Blaster is another one of my favorite cards, but that does not come with the attack bonus, so your character needs a base attack to take advantage of it, Calculated Strike does not require that as its +2 all in one package.  The Bigger They Are… and Heavy-Handed also give the +2 attack and a whopping Pierce 4, but you need to meet the star criteria to take full advantage of that, Calculated Strike can be played on anyone.

I think it works great on those low star, low attack blockers; take Fireflight for example.  His built in Brave and low star cost makes him a great support character, but that 1 base attack isn’t going to get the job done especially in heavy blue decks, playing a calculated strike on him guarantees at least 2 damage on your opponent and it makes you feel like you didn’t waste an attack.  I have been able to play it on Raider Laserbeak (who already has built in Pierce 2) when my opponent is all tapped out while still being able to un-tap with Soundwave for a second swing of Pierce 4. Or try to pair it with a weapon that gives Pierce, works great with Laser Cutlass.

Where this card really puts in work is in sealed/turbo formats.  It’s a common so you have a good chance of getting one, or maybe even two in a six-pack sealed tournament.  If you’re playing sealed Wave 3 only be on the lookout for Point Defense System, which basically nullifies Calculated Strike.  If you’re on the fence about the non-blue/orange pip cards I say give it a try, you might find the results to be favorable.

brian – work overtime

In the beginning and middle of the Wave 2 lifecycle, I needed a deck to be able to beat 3 different teams before I’d consider taking it to a larger tournament.  Those teams were:

  • Blue based OPBL-centered lists
  • Bugs
  • Orange Sentinels

Against Sentinels especially, I needed something to help refill my hand if I ended up getting Mirage-KO-flipped to death, especially if used in conjunction with Espionage.  Beyond that, unless you have a reliable way to draw additional cards, if you keep following the “play an Action, play an Upgrade” each turn flow of play, you’ll eventually end up with an empty hand and only being able to play the card you draw each turn.

Treasure Hunt is one way to mitigate that, but it feels bad to whiff and end up with no Upgrade cards in hand after those four cards flip out, or to only pull in Handheld Blasters or Improvised ShieldsBackup Plan is another option, but I like the ability to draw the additional card from Work Overtime, even if it’s only to have more possible fodder to trade for a green pip.

I’ve also become very fond of using Extra Padding in my blue decks, as I pointed out in the “Underutilized Upgrades” article from last week.  If you haven’t experienced the beauty of General Optimus with an Ion Blaster and 3x Extra Padding in a blue based deck, I highly recommend giving it a shot.  The chief downside to playing multiple copies of a card at one time is that you’re quickly depleting your hand. Dropping those 3x Extra Paddings at once, then following up with Work Overtime helps set you up for the next few turns.  For similar reasons, decks that use Confidence (or Swindled…) also like Work Overtime.  

Unless I’m playing a character line-up with built-in draw power, I often have at least one copy of Work Overtime as a starting point, if not two copies.   

As always, keep your eyes on the Wreck ‘n Rule YouTube channel for our usual shenanigans. Also consider supporting us on Patreon, since the proceeds go toward helping us upgrade our recording set-up AND toward throwing some sweet custom swag your way! Plus, we now have merch available too!

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