Since building and playing Swoop,There It Is at the Energon Invitational, I’ve written a lot about it. This was in an attempt to provide the community with as much information as possible and hoping we could discover a consistent counter to the deck.
I’ve heard a lot of people claiming that this deck is unbeatable—but not a lot of solutions. Let’s take a look at what doesn’t work and why.
It’s a trap!
By playing this deck a ton, I’ve discovered that all of the counters printed in Wave 4 are trap cards against it. They lull you into a sense of security while Springer just plays around them. This is completely understandable because they were created to combat the Multi-Mission Gear variants of Daring Escape, but it also means we need a new counter.
Caliburst should be a hard counter to a deck that tries to draw every card, right? A deck is 40 cards—that’s more than my total character health! Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to fit a couple Defensive Driving into a Springer deck.
Since Caliburst has a trigger ability, they actually queue up during an action chain, or more importantly, Springer’s Bot mode ability. This means that I can draw tons of cards during Springer’s action play and then play Defensive Driving with his upgrade play before I have to place any damage from Caliburst, which will result in all of that damage disappearing (each trigger is unique for defensive driving). This scenario happened to me at the Invitational, and the Rules Manager clarified that is the correct sequencing.
While not strictly a counter, he functions similarly to Caliburst by punishing excessive draw.
Usually, the Springer deck only shuffles the deck once or twice, so Megatron isn’t placing much damage. Also, it can choose to place the damage on Firedrive, which speeds it up by becoming another upgrade once dead.
While Turbo Board was a hard counter to most previous versions (with Cog as the notable exception) of Daring Escape decks, it often doesn’t stop Springer, which is mostly due to the Firedrive weapon. On the wheel turn, Turbo Board is exposed and can be killed by Springer with the Firedrive weapon.
That being said, Turbo Board can work in an aggro deck; however, it usually lowers the power of the deck so much that it can’t kill Springer fast enough. Springer will eventually get a wheel turn and KO Turbo Board. If Peace Through Tyranny was used to KO Firedrive, Springer can even combo on the extra turn. The only time this worked against me was when an Insecticon deck used PTT to protect Turbo Board through the first wheel turn.
If Turbo Board is used in a blue deck, it gives Springer way too much time. In my final round of the Invitational, an Aerialbots deck sideboarded into Turbo Board. This gave me as many turns as I needed to draw my whole deck and just naturally played Daring Escape without ever killing anything.
Side note: As the Springer player, if you play an upgrade before PTT, you won’t be allowed to play the upgrade side of Firedrive! Be careful!
Hijack is actually the most effective, because it slows Springer down a lot. Be aware that Peace Through Tyranny completely gets around it because Secret Actions are scrapped at the end of turn, and Springer combos on the following turn. You really have to pair Hijack with Infiltrate in your deck to throw off the Springer player.
If an aggro deck chains enough Hijack and Springer doesn’t draw PTT, it actually has a good chance to win. Defensive decks have a much harder time making this work because Springer has more time.
Side note: When Springer is trying to test for Secret Actions, you can’t bluff the Hijack because it says you must reveal when they attempt to draw their 2nd card of the turn. If you miss that timing, they can just perform the combo on that same turn.
Springer’s Bot mode ability gives an action then upgrade play. So if Jam Signals is used to negate Daring Escape, the Springer player can just attach a Conversion Engine and play another Daring Escape after attacking.
The night before the Invitational, I played against Peter Lawson using his Metroplex deck. I won the first game because he deployed his little characters, but he gave me a run for my money in the rematch by never deploying and attacking Springer each turn.
I also noticed Carl Endres testing “Galaxy” Optimus & Thrust at the convention. I mostly registered it as a neat idea and told myself to test it when I got home. It’s pretty amusing to me that Carl was the inspiration for the Springer deck and the counter.
I’m really good at taking a lot of seemingly unrelated inputs and combining them into something greater. After about a week of swirling around in my head, these two occurrences resulted in a good idea.
Fast forward to the weekend after the Invitational. Some of the Phoenix players decided to play in PPT Last Vegas, but none of us wanted to make new decks. My friends decided to play “Galaxy” Optimus with Flamewar and Fireflight, and I would play Swoop, There It Is. The night before the event, we were testing some matches, and I randomly asked “What do you think of playing Thrust as your sideboard character?”. They thought about it for a minute and agreed to try it out.
We played a couple games with Optimus & Thrust against Springer, and I lost every game. Optimus could go first and attack Springer for 11 attack. Then Springer would take 3 attacks, and everyone would untap. Optimus could play a weapon, like Grenade Launcher, and swing at Springer for 15 attack. Often, Springer would be KO’d after those 2 attacks and the game couldn’t be won by Swoop, There It Is.
Not being able to defend Springer with the other characters puts too much pressure on the Daring Escape deck, and it is unable to combo. This scenario even played out in the last round of Swiss in Las Vegas—where I won the first game against my friend, then he sideboarded into Thrust and won the next two games. This was supposed to be on stream, but I’ve heard they were having technical difficulties.
The next time you are worried about a Springer combo deck, consider going 1-tall—maybe even removing all but your biggest character. Who knows, making Thrust the sideboard character in “Galaxy” Optimus could be good against other matchups, and it definitely is better than using Turbo Board.