Titan Masters Attack, Wave 5 of the Transformers Trading Card Game, is due to release on April 17th. Our friends at Wizards of the Coast were gracious enough to allow us to reveal a few cards for you. Today, we are honored to be able to present Roadbuster and his Strategem card Weapons Cache.
For those of you who are just interested in seeing the card, here you go. We’ll follow up afterward with a bit of character backstory and some thoughts on his role in the game.
The first two years of Transformers toys were reused or recolored versions of toys that were produced for other toylines in Japan, mostly Diaclone (many of the vehicles) and Microman (most of the non-vehicles and the Minibots).
They also reached out to other companies to license out the use of their toy molds, which is where we got a lot of characters (Roadbuster, Whirl, the Deluxe Insectitcons) that weren’t featured in the cartoon or the US Marvel comics. He was featured in the Marvel UK comics, where both he and Whirl were members of the Wreckers. Perhaps because of the abundance of weaponry that was included with his toy, he’s often portrayed as having a love of combat, and in particular, heavy weaponry.
About five years ago, Roadbuster was given an updated toy, along with his fellow Wreckers Whirl, Sandstorm, and Springer (Scoop got one too, even though he’s less prominently featured in Wreckers lore). This version of Roadbuster comes with EVEN MORE weaponry, and the ability to combine or clip them together in a number of different ways.
In the Dreamwave comics (and the early IDW comics that were using old Dreamwave materials), Roadbuster showed up a few times as a Wrecker, and was mainly just there to look cool.
He was pretty heavily featured IDW’s Regeneration One series, which was Simon Furman’s continuation of his work from the old Marvel G1 days. Roadbuster was given a lot more “screentime” and a lot more complexity. He clashed with Wrecker leadership a number of times, often believing that they were taking actions that were too extreme or morally questionable.
More recently, he appeared a number of times in multiple series from IDW.
He was one of Kup’s crew of Autobots who showed up to save Prime’s Autobots in All Hail Megatron.
Roadbuster received his most nuanced portrayal in Nick Roche’s Wreckers trilogy. Going into it further would spoil it, but it’s HIGHLY recommended that you pick up the Wreckers saga in digital or physical book form if you haven’t already.
Character Card Analysis
Character Card Initial Impressions
Compared to other 11 star characters, Roadbuster is on the higher end when it comes to attack and defense values in both modes. With the currently available card pool, my initial instinct is that he’ll want to run in a heavy blue deck (14 health is pretty decent, 3 DEF in alt mode is above average, and his alt mode ability can help to counter the incremental Pierce damage that is becoming more and more common).
I think it’s also important to note that while in Bot mode, EVERY weapon now has the added benefit of having Energon Slingshot’s card text. In situations where an opponent’s character has only 1 health remaining, you don’t need to hope that you draw into a direct damage card to finish it off; now ANY weapon can fulfill that purpose. In a similar way, EVERY armor in Alt mode has the added benefit of healing you.
The first thing that really jumps out at me is his lack of typing. He is a Wrecker and a Leader and that is it. No Truck, no Melee, no Ranged, etc. That’s probably to stop him from dealing too much damage on his bot side, but I am less sure about why they omitted a vehicle mode. Maybe we’ll see a card revealed that obviously answers that, or maybe Cargo Trailer is too strong on him (!!!).
Stat-wise, he compares favorably to Wave 4 General Optimus Prime with Roadbuster having an extra attack in alt mode being the only difference. Healing hasn’t really seen much play so far, so it’s no surprise that initially I feel as though his bot mode ability is better on first glance. It’s no coincidence that you can’t pair this with Armed Hovercraft, or even Energon Slingshot (though every weapon you play now becomes a Slingshot).
I want to see more Wrecker based battle cards before I make the plunge on sleeving him up. Kup2 might be a decent partner for him but I’m weary of 2 tall builds for the moment. Like RJ said, his lack of “types” really narrows the amount of battle cards that apply to him. Not quite sold yet.
Strategem Initial Impressions
For reference, these are the currently available Weapons and Armor that cost 1 star.
I believe this is up there with Cosmos’ stratagem with regards to how good I personally think it is. I cannot envision a scenario in which you would play Roadbuster without his dedicated stratagem. You are essentially getting 14 stars for the price of 12 when you play Roadbuster and his stratagem since he then allows you to bring an extra star of a weapon and an armor. As mentioned in the reveal video, that’s potential for 7 double pips of a single color, depending which way you decide to build your deck. Is it worth it to essentially make Roadbuster cost 14 stars and bring in two extra star cards? It’s definitely something worth exploring for the time being.
I’m not quite sold on it as an auto-include yet. I need to see more star weapons and armors first to see the pros/cons. I feel like since we already have an orange star weapon and blue star armor, maybe this set we will see the reverse? If that star weapon allows for ping damage, then maybe we go this route right off the bat?
I’ve been thinking of Roadbuster’s Strategem as “Buy a 1-Star Weapon Card, Get a 1-Star Armor Card Free” coupon. I don’t think it’s MANDATORY to take the strategem, but if you can free up a spare point, it’s definitely helpful, for the reasons RJ laid out above. Personally, the only card I wouldn’t consider taking is Blast Suit. With Mounted Missiles, you can play it in the Utility slot, while still getting his bot mode damage ping. In that case, you’re also keeping his Weapon slot open for future turns. It also potentially pairs well with Energized Field, since you can see it while flipping as an orange pip card to trigger the defensive ping . Since my instinct is to go heavy blue with Roadbuster, I’m happy to see Energized Field while flipping on defense. Indestructible Sword is also useful in that you can keep overwriting it with a different weapon, then getting it back into your hand, to then play it to overwrite a weapon, to then overwrite it with another weapon, and so on, and so on.
Thoughts on battle cards to play with him:
You might as well start every Roadbuster deck with a full playset of both of these cards. Playing a full set of Attack Drones during a turn while in Bot mode will allow you to deal 3 points of direct damage, targeted as you see fit. Playing a full set of Extra Paddings in Alt mode is healing you for 3 damage, which is substantial.
Not just for dealing with fully suited up high-star-cost characters, Disarm also allows you to target yourself to return the playset of Attack Drones or Extra Paddings from your previous turn to your hand in order to use them again.
As noted earlier, Roadbuster has the Leader keyword. Since we’re probably building with a heavy blue slant, the attack boost and Pierce 1 to other characters will end up being useful, and we’re happy to see Matrix of Leadership whether we flip it on attack or defense.
With Roadbuster clocking in at 11 and having the ability to heal up, Energy Pack will get some work done for us (and if we end up taking Energized Field, it’s an orange pip).
Metal Detector is going to allow us to play multiple Weapons or Armors in one turn, and as long as we don’t mind overwriting the previously played card with the newly revealed one, we’re triggering his ability more often. We just have to hope we’re in the correct mode for the card that we reveal (or that we’re able to manipulate the top of our deck).
There’s something to be said for opening up additional Weapon or Armor slots to get additional mileage out of his abilities.
Playing Increased Durability is essentially healing yourself for 5 damage. You do need to be careful playing this as you get closer to 14 damage, though, as Increased Durability is easier to remove than Energy Pack.
While in alt mode, MPF heals you for 2 points of damage when you play it.
We’re approaching Magical Christmas Land, but if you can squeeze a Merc character into your lineup, you’d be able to use Opportune Repairs along with a full set of Extra Paddings to heal for 6 damage in alt mode.
Since you probably want to overwrite your upgrades frequently to trigger Roadbuster’s abilities, playing a copy or two of Reprocess can help you to increase your healing.
Once again, if you decide to lean heavily into healing Roadbuster, Toolbox will help you get more mileage out of those abilities.
War of Attrition synergizes well with both of Roadbuster’s abilities.
As both a Weapon and Armor, Crystal of Power can help us out whichever mode we’re in. In general, if we’re about to attack with Roadbuster, we want to play it on him in bot mode before he goes to attack. If we want to use it to heal and want to keep the defensive bonus, we want to use it while he’s in alt mode and we plan to attack with a different character.
As of writing this, Drew just dropped these cards into the Facebook group. With Roadbuster looking to overwrite both Weapons and Armors to keep triggering his abilities, both of these are strong considerations, probably as 1x or 2x of in a deck.
Thoughts on characters to partner Roadbuster with…
Depending on whether you decide to take the Strategem or not, you end up with either 13 or 14 stars to build out the rest of your character lineup. My initial instinct is that you want to at least go 3-wide in order to keep Roadbuster protected in order to keep using his abilities.
A lot of the cards shown above have green pips, so the Air Strike Patrol is definitely worth considering. Whether you take the Strategem or not, you can squeeze in 3 ASP members.
If you decide to go a mixed pip route that uses orange or black pip battle cards, Sights can help you filter them while battling AND he/she opens you up to additional direct damage effects with the RANGED keyword (especially if your 3rd character is also ranged).
If we decide to take a Mercenary character to open up the use of Opportune Repairs (and get additional mileage out of Dual Wield), Nightbird and Mudflap are our cheapest options. Both of them also open up access to RANGED for more direct damage. Nightbird pings out indirect damage, while Mudflap’s alt mode flip helps us with cards like Metal Detector, Shoulder Holster, and Defensive Configuration. His Bounty ability also has the potential to trigger additional instances of Roadbuster’s ability.
You can really put any Weapon or Armor Battlemasters here, but as long as you have Roadbuster in the correct mode when they’re KOed, they’ll also trigger his ability.
Triggerhappy can ensure that you can always have a weapon in hand.
Chromia can both help you find the cards you need AND play an Armor “for free” on her flip. If you can play your cards right, you can use Roll Out to flip Roadbuster and Chromia into alt mode (Roadbuster first, then Chromia) and use Chromia’s flip ability to play an armor onto Roadbuster, healing him. From there, you can flip Roadbuster to bot mode and play a Weapon to ping out damage.
We’re looking forward to getting Roadbuster onto the table on April 17th when Titan Masters Attack is released. Make sure you talk to your local gaming store to schedule a release event and preorder your boxes. As always, we are incredibly grateful to the Transformers TCG team at Wizards of the Coast for letting us share these cards!
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