Hey, folks. Brian here. Between moving into our new house and school starting back in-person, I’ve had to severely step back my TFTCG engagement over the past couple of months. Despite that, I’ve used spare moments here and there to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in TFTCG world.
A plethora of folks have stepped up to introduce new custom cards, sets, and waves in order to keep our beloved game going after cancellation. About a month ago, the crew at Bayformers (JAM THAT LINK TO SEE ALL THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA, BRO) began teasing that they’d be throwing their hat into the ring as well. Early on, folks looked at their name and assumed it had something to do with the Michael Bay movies, which was met with… skepticism, to put it mildly.
To the learned scholars amongst us, however, we’ve known that the Bayformers crew hail from the San Francisco Bay area and have been long-time participants in the game, so they’re merely trying to reclaim and rehabilitate the prefix.
Everyone was pleasantly surprised, and personally, I was incredibly pumped to learn that there’s instead a heavy Quintesson focus in their initial release. And let’s be honest, despite how godawful 2020 has been, it’s been a damn good year if you’re a fan of Quintessons/Sharkticons/Allicons.
Adam was kind enough to reach out to me and show off a few sneak peeks into the next drop of releases that they’ll be throwing out to you hungry, hungry Sharkticons, so I now have the distinct honor of sharing them with you.
I should have seen this possibility coming, but Adam and the Bayformers crew knocked it out of the park with this one. For those of you rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, Ugh, another Optimus, check yourself and look again. This is the infamous zombie Optimus Prime from the G1 Season 3 episode “Dark Awakening,” where Prime is resurrected by the Quints and has to fight their programming in order to stop their nefarious plot to systematically murder his comrades. This bit of lore is elegantly captured on the card by making Prime into a dual faction character, both Autobot and Quintesson. In addition, Prime’s alt mode ability pairs very well with the green pip-focused subtheme around many of the Quintesson characters and battle cards in the BFA World|Strike wave.
Looking at pure stat numbers, at 11 stars, Optimus Prime (Dark Awakening) (henceforth referred to as Zombie Prime) is costed on par with the 12 star Optimus Prime (Freedom Fighter) from Wave 1 and the 11 star General Optimus Prime from Siege I. In alt mode, the self-damaging effect before the beginning of the game means that you aren’t sad to see something like an Energon Axe in your opening hand. You also wouldn’t be sad if you saw this bad boy, which is one of the battle cards being released as part of the World|Strike set:
When Zombie Prime is upgraded with this Utility card, it negates the initial 2 damage self-hit that you need to take. Beyond that, it also gives you a +1 ATK and DEF boost that can’t be removed by your opponent’s cards, making it conceptually similar to Ion Blaster of Optimus Prime from Wave 1. When used in concert with each other, they have the potential to Voltron Zombie Prime (or any Optimus Prime in the game) into a very potent spotlight character.
In addition to that, Prime’s New Arm is also a powerful boost when we have Zombie Prime in bot mode. In this mode, it becomes apparent that we want to run him with characters of other factions. In this case, upgrading Zombie Prime with Prime’s New Arm will boost all non-Autobot characters with +1 HEALTH. Ion Blaster of Optimus Prime will similarly grant all non-Autobots +1 ATK. Upgrading him with an Autobot Armor card (officially we have Emergency Repair Patch, Medic’s Protective Field, Trithyllium Shield, and Ultra Magnus Armor, but I’m sure we’ll see more options) will grant all non-Autobots +1 DEF.
It’s a little bit sassy, but there are also a few Decepticon upgrades that don’t specify that they can only be put on Decepticons. If used to upgrade Zombie Prime, they’d grant the above bonuses to all of your characters (including Zombie Prime) who are not Decepticons.
It’s worth noting that the BFA World|Strike Wave also introduces a number of Quintesson faction-based upgrades that could also be equipped to Zombie Prime in order to buff his non-Quintesson teammates. I highly encourage you to follow them on their various social media outlets in order to check out their currently released sets of characters, battle cards, and stratagems in order to check out your options.
Speaking of stratagems…
I will admit to being extremely dopey and asking Adam, “So, is there any other strategy here than to mitigate the opening damage on Zombie Optimus and maybe activate certain cards like Energon Axe for your teammates?” Adam promptly pointed out that the stratagem doesn’t specify that the damage needs to go on your characters. I guess I’m a bit rusty from not having played the game since July…
So, in addition, and probably more intelligently, you’ll probably use this as 1 star cost Plasma Burst at the beginning of the game in order set up a powerful alpha strike. I guess it would also switch off Safeguard on an opposing character, but for the most part, characters with native Safeguard haven’t been seeing a ton of play.
The caveat for not moving enough damage to KO a character seems to both be an effort to remain in line with existing cards AND future proof for upcoming content, as I’m not aware of any characters or rules interactions that would currently KO any existing characters off the bat.
If you’ve been valiant enough to stick around so far, there’s one last card that I get to reveal…
Right off the bat, this action card fits in extremely well with Zombie Prime’s dual Autobot/Quintesson nature.
Personally, I’d be extremely tempted to team him up with my Snekky Boi and two of the Sharkticon options available in their wave (4 different possible choices, check their social media sites to find them), then take 3x of Universal Greeting, and go to town.
The whole Junkion addition is a bit curious, eh? At least as of this moment, no Junkion options are available in their previewed cards, hmmmm…
Adam pointed out that he and his crew are trying to promote cross-play between other fan sets whenever possible, which means that Zombie Prime could also be played alongside The Ark’s Wreck-Gar. If you were the type of kid that decided to mix your Transformers, G.I. Joes, and He-Man toys altogether for epic battles, I’m sure this is something that will appeal to you. In this case, I’d be tempted to roll with Zombie Prime + Strat + Wreck-Gar + 2x BFA Sharkticons of choice.
As sad as it was to learn of the game’s cancellation, there’s still a lot of exciting stuff going on with TFTCG. Dial in to the Bayformers crew on their various social media sites in order to stay on top of all their big stuff going down!