RJ and Tom were kind enough to join me in putting down some quick tips and tricks when it came to playing Transformers TCG in a sealed environment. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Admittedly, I might not be the person to ask about this since I have had less than stellar results in the sealed environment. We’ll still give it the good ol’ college try, and if you take my advice and fail miserably, blame Brian as this was his idea.
- Removal, removal, and more removal. Siege I and II are really lacking in hard removal options, as both Kev, Tom (who? I’m in WnR and I have no idea who Tom is) and I touched on in the last article we wrote. There are things like Device Virus, Dismantle, Dismantling Claw and Reactive Armor but they all require you to satisfy a secondary condition rather than just saying “scrap X (except for Dismantle, but you can’t target Utilities).” In sealed, Reprocess is going to be a game winner – it is grab-able, and you can scrap anything you want, for the low cost of healing the opponent (or yourself, if you choose to go that route!) for 2. There are times when you can Reprocess for free, meaning the enemy is undamaged and you are still able to scrap an upgrade, and trust me that feels really good. Smart players aren’t going to activate your Dismantling Claws for you so they are less likely to get maximum value. Reprocess is a common, so you should theoretically see at least one in your pool, and I highly advise taking it every single time.
- Bold is king. Siege II, if anything, is black pip focused. Again, we all touched on this last article, but what does that actually mean for sealed? Well, for one, you’re going to see a lot of black pips, and a lot of them are playable on their own. Where they really pair well is with Bold. Normally, you might think of the Bold keyword going hand-in-hand with orange and aggro, and while that still holds true, it also helps with black. It turns two flips into potentially 3+, and gives you the opportunity to flip more black pips which means more guaranteed damage. It also helps you dig for cards you may need in the form of green pips. If we look back at the first bullet point, you can again see that Reprocess is a green pip card that is able to be grabbed, and if you don’t draw it, you still want it in your hand as soon as possible to slow your opponent down. Bold gives you that opportunity by giving you the opportunity to see more cards. Tough, in my opinion, is less useful as you don’t want to flip black pips on defense, but it may help you hunt for those extra blue pips, or the green pips to use immediately after defense.
- Have fun, and don’t give up. No, you probably aren’t going to pull an SRT, those are strictly reserved for Jake (the King of Sealed (™)). Don’t get discouraged right off the bat and throw in the towel when you come up without Octane on your team. Depending on the number of people, there is a chance one or two people may have pulled on SRT but that doesn’t mean they automatically win. Those people still have to pilot their cards to a victory and sealed is a little more unforgiving than constructed in the sense that consistency is taken out of the game. You build your deck with multiples of cards to increase the probability of drawing into and using said cards. That goes out the window in sealed. An RR Disruptor Blade may be your best weapon, and you may go the entire tournament without ever drawing it into your hand because you only have one and no reliable way to draw it. Characters are more important than battle cards, and getting value out of your characters is of the utmost importance here. At the end of the day, and I think we bang on this drum more than most, you are playing a card game about giant transforming robots. Loosen up, have fun, and don’t take things too seriously. You can’t and won’t win every single game – don’t take those feelings of frustration out on your opponent. Take solace in the fact that Jake was always going to win and you had no chance to begin with. Wait, that was oddly specific…
To echo RJ’s statements, I’ve never finished in the Top 4 at any of the sealed events we’ve done, so take this advice with a grain of salt. In my defense, most of my sealed games have been down to the wire in terms of who would ultimately win.
- You probably want to go 3-wide (maybe 4-wide). We did a couple of different sealed events for Wave 1, and in every single one of them, my lowest star cost character was 9 stars, meaning that I was forced into going 2-wide. Even when I ended up with powerful characters, the ability for my opponent to keep a character protected by swinging with them last AND my inability to do the same resulted in getting stomped most games. With the multitude of black pip cards in Siege I and II, the higher DEF values of some of the higher star cost characters that you’d use in a 2-wide build are also less important. The prevalence of cheaper characters, especially as Commons and Uncommons, in Rise of the Combiners onward has helped solve this problem. My preferred method is to go with a stronger 10-13 star character flanked by two characters in the 5-7 star range, but you can sometimes get a good combination of characters that fall within the 7-9 star range that can get some work done. With Siege II, you may also be able to adjust this to a 4-wide team, especially if you get a Micromaster “Lord” and another member of their team. In our release event, I pulled Highjump and Powertrain and found them to be a pretty potent combination for 4 or 5 star characters. Later, Powertrain is also an attractive target to use as a decoy to protect another character, as you opponent may be tempted to try to wipe him off the board with his comparatively low health/DEF compared to “regular” characters. Alternatively, you can flip him into his alt mode to ensure that your opponent is forced to attack another character.
- Battlemasters are very valuable, especially weapon Battlemasters. As RJ has already mentioned, the overall power of the weapons in Siege I and II is a bit lower, and on top of that, the most powerful weapons aren’t “fetchable” with green pips. As such, being able to toss Firedrive, Lionizer, Caliburst, Dazzlestrike, Blowpipe, or Nightstick onto a character is incredibly useful, especially since, as RJ noted, it is considerably more difficult to remove upgrades in sealed.
- Be open to strategies that don’t typically work in constructed. As an example, at our Siege II release event, my roughest match-up was against a player who was using Chop Shop AND Medic’s Protective Field AND Reprocess to keep healing incrementally to prevent a lot of the damage I was putting out. Actually, while we’re on that topic, Reprocessing the Protective Field is a decent play in sealed (healing 3 total), since it’s often useless after that initial placement.
Sealed can be really fun or a really bad headache. The best thing it has going for it is that it puts all the players on an even playing field, unless your me and your pulls are a paper catastrophe. I have not had much luck in sealed environments, but I still think it’s fun, I like to look at the positive side in that once the event is over you have another 6 packs of cards for your collection.
- Damage Output. I like to put as many damage dealing upgrades & actions as I can in my deck for sealed. I know that’s the obvious point of the game but in prior sets sealed events I just went all out with orange pips; Siege is a little more balanced and brings in a lot of black and blank cards cutting down on that strategy. The attack adding upgrade selection also leaves a lot to be desired for, some of them are very specific such as the HV Electron Breacher which can only be used on Decepticions or LV Gamma Blaster which can only be used on Shockwave, good luck pulling him and his blaster. Don’t be afraid to put in the blank/black pip cards. RR Disruptor Blade and EM 24 Laser Launcher might not be your first choice in constructed but they put in the work in sealed. One that worked out for me recently was Crowbar. Even though it does get scrapped at the end of turn, it provides a much-needed damage boost. As for actions, anything that can add attack like Calculated Strike or Head-On Collision is a must add. There are, however, a few options for direct damage in this set. Frag Toss and Rock Toss can deal a damage. Special Delivery has the added advantage of healing you for one when dealing one. All of these are solid options for sealed. But let’s talk about War of Attrition, a green/blue that lets you opponent choose one of their characters and do a damage to it, but you can play three of them on your turn and then heal 3 from one of your characters. I know you’re thinking that pulling 3 of these out of six packs is impossible, but it’s worth thinking about if your event is only Siege II.
- Removal, by any means necessary. Let’s face it, there is not a lot of removal cards at all in Siege I/II. Dismantle provides you the best bang for your buck for straight up removal. Other cards let you remove something though other means such as Dismantling Claw or Reactive Armor but those are at the expense of something being removed from you. Reprocess worked out for me well in our launch draft. They might be auto include since it’s the only way to remove ANY upgrade since some of the new Battlemasters are utilities. This might be one of the only ways to get around them. Honorable mention here might be to include Sabotaged Armaments. It scraps only weapons which we already said are few and far between, but I like to have it as an option with all the Battlemasters running around. Take that Lionizer!
- Be Prepared. Remember to bring your supplies with you such as your playmat, deck box, sleeves, and dice or damage counters. Don’t be like me and forget them all the time and then have to buy them at the store while RJ scolds you with one of his “don’t you have enough sleeves at home” lectures. Sealed is basically a gamble, so go by the rule of you get what you get, and you don’t get upset. If you pull a SR, don’t go waving it around (unless RJ is sitting across from you and your name is Jake, then by all means let him have it) cause you might just get humbled by somebody else’s randomness. Remember to have fun; it’s still a game after all.
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