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Alpha Trion Protocols Articles

Bay Diving: Encountering ATP

Editor’s note

We at bayformers.net have been covering the creator community of the Transformers TCG since the game’s cancellation, and Team Bayformers itself has been involved in the competitive scene of the game since Wave 1.

At the beginning of the “creator-driven” phase of the game post-cancellation, we began covering content from most major groups. We also began hosting events featuring that content. At the time of this article’s publication in May 2021, this remained true. Since that time, the central creators within Vector Sigma/ATP have indicated that they do not desire nor appreciate objective (even when positive) coverage and event support of their content. In some cases, they’ve been less than gracious with news of this coverage and support. They’ve openly accused creators and organizers that include their content of bias, stealing clout, and worse.

Given this – what we would characterize as behavior against the broader creator community – we have stopped covering their content. Additionally, we no longer support ATP content in our regular events. We believe other capable, collaboration-minded creators are more deserving of our coverage and support. We continue to cover community content outside of ATP. As such, we also regularly feature other creators’ content in events under the “allied crossplay” ideal of the Transformers TCG.

At the same time, we understand that many that participate in Team Bayformers / allied crossplay would like, at minimum, support for some select parts of ATP gameplay. We are exploring ways to eventually bring portions of their content that are not overly disruptive to our gameplay meta into the allied crossplay scene.

And now, the rest of the article…

We’re getting back into the swing of things with new #transformerstcg articles! World|Strike Tournament Season One is currently continuing its tear through the #transformerstcg competitive scene. We’ve been seeing community cards in a whole new light via the crucible of competitive play. Our last event, Encounter 2, featured an unprecedented mix of community cards: Wave BFA World|Strike from your Team Bayformers, and ATP 1-3 from Alpha Trion Protocols!

That event has since concluded, with surprising results that we’re eager to sink our analytical teeth into. Our first analysis will look at some of the more memorable ATP cards that made an appearance in Encounter 2 decks. Here are a few cards from ATP that made a deep impression – and also some truly epic games.

Howling Howitzer

And how.

Despite the diverse deck composition in Encounter 2, in the end, two decks clashed for supremacy – and both featured heavy Pierce. Indeed, the showdown between [BF] Champion and Brettasaurus did not disappoint. However, despite the matchup, there were some important compositional differences between the two decks – not the least of them being the presence of Howling Howitzer.

The orange/black problem

Since the end of official support for the game, orange/black has been in a fairly static place, without a great deal of nuance between orange/black decks. For a typical orange/black deck build post-Wave 5, there hasn’t been a lot of diversity of choice. Normally, it’s key to stack the Bold, time the untaps, and go nuts with a selection of untapped characters on the wheel turn.

Howling Howitzer changes all that. With its Ranged orange pip, this won’t be an automatic include in, say, your run-of-the-mill Burgos Bold deck. However, any orange/black player playing Ranged characters will get even more value here. Howling Howitzer did work in Brettasaurus’s deck due to the presence of three Ranged characters in his lineup. This was likely the determining factor for inclusion in his deck – and dis-inclusion from [BF] Champion’s Melee-heavy deck.

But we shouldn’t only look at Howling Howitzer in a purely orange/black light. New factions introduced into the game by custom card groups (like Team Bayformers!) have made previously reliable faction weapons like Noble’s Blaster and Scoundrel’s Blaster much less consistent. Assuming a player can get Howling Howitzer in their hand (via cards like Raider Triggerhappy and Lose the Battle…), the +2 Attack and Pierce 1 are more likely to land attack damage on a character in the same or other “non-opposite” faction.

Also, the Common rarity of Howling Howitzer makes us eager to include it in Junkion format decks! Boost your Commons-only deck with the power of the Howitzer. May I suggest… Raider Ion Storm? Ramjet?

All in all, Howling Howitzer has made a positive impact and we’re sure it will find its way into more crossplay decks supporting ATP content.

Team Bayformers-relevant decks for Howling Howitzer

  • Orange/black Guardian builds
  • Gilthor Repair
  • Aggro Exhaust / Axor
  • Ranged Overwhelming Advantage + Autobot Pipes builds
  • Aggro Sky Shadow
  • Currently featured decks in the Wave BFB Alpha

Despite Any Difficulty

Big DADdy cool.

It’s a parental shame to include Master of Metallikato (MoM) in a deck without also including Despite Any Difficulty (DaD)! DaD is sure to help your mixed-pip strategy keep your characters alive, all the while making terrible jokes about it.

DaD’s bod is looking good

Even at the time of its reveal, the value of Despite Any Difficulty was massively apparent. The rise of mixed-pip decks with Wave 5 was greatly boosted by Master of Metallikato, and Despite Any Difficulty is well-positioned to continue this gameplay trend.

We’re also especially glad to see that DaD didn’t seek full symmetry with its counterpart MoM in the design department, as it only bears two battle icons as opposed to the trait-gated triple battle icons of Master Of Metallikato. DaD is a bit more opinionated in the kinds of decks it finds itself in with its black/blue battle icons, but we’re actually fans of this approach. Since Wave 5, black/blue cards have been in the minority as opposed to orange/black, so we’re happy to see the support here.

Indeed, in Encounter 2, DaD found its way into two separate ATP Superion decks – decks that have long favored black/blue. Despite this, the presence of a healthy variety of green and white cards in both decks would ensure that a result of 3+ Defense would occur regularly.

A surprising bonus: Despite Any Difficulty is great in Primus decks! Given the wide variety of cards one is likely to put into your average Primus deck (given the general one battle card per name per deck), it’s still very likely that DaD will fire to great benefit in a Primus deck. Perhaps it’s a good candidate as a Signature Battle Card?

Be sure to invite DaD to your next PTA party – especially if they’re playing crossplay Transformers TCG!

Team Bayformers-relevant decks for Despite Any Difficulty

  • Any run-of-the-mill mixed pip deck you can imagine
  • Master Builder Grapple
  • Metroplex
  • Fortress Maximus
  • Bold or Tough Tow-Line
  • Black/blue cars with Exhaust and Up In Smoke

Lock-On Lasers

Good against the tall ones.

Combiner, Guardian, and Titan decks are all currently very strong in crossplay environments. What does this mean, exactly? It means you’re going to have the last laugh when you deploy LoL (Lock-On Lasers) to the battlefield! One of the most prolific Weapons in Encounter 2, Lock-On Lasers made its presence known on the webcam tables.

(Another) Rise of the Combiners

One of the most easily observable trends in community Transformers TCG play is the increasing creation of taller characters. Somewhat at a lull during Wave 4 and 5, tall characters came back with a vengeance – with many of the first community sets to release post-game cancellation featuring tall characters.

The release of Lock-On Lasers seems like an answer to that trend – and a welcome one at that. Truly, this is the sort of answer that Windblade, Combiner Hunter might have aspired to… and horribly failed at. Now, the Combiner Hunt can truly begin! The equivalent of a Fusion Borer that doesn’t fall off against most Combiners and other 17 star + characters can do serious damage, especially in a scenario where most of your wide team is still present on the board.

And, like Howling Howitzer, Lock-On Lasers doesn’t require a specific faction to activate its Pierce. The additional point of Pierce will add up over time in a wide team. It’s interesting that in Encounter 2 a few black pip-heavy decks ran multiple Lock-On Lasers just for those single points of nearly-guaranteed attack damage. The additional +1 Attack also doesn’t hurt its cause at all.

Some powerful cards that act like 17 star + Combiners, Guardians, and Titans – but aren’t – are exempt from its full functionality (looking at you, Galaxy Prime, Captain Jetfire, and Alpha Sentinel). Be aware of the particulars of your local and online meta before including this card in your main deck, at minimum.

Lock-On Lasers was one of the most popular cards in Encounter 2. Five decks in total included it in their main decks and sideboards. With a large number of competitive Combiners in Encounter 2, Lock-On Lasers was witnessed by many to have put in some serious work during the event.

We were excited for Lock-On Lasers when it was first announced during ATP-3’s spoiler season. Its utility as a battle card is further borne out by our gameplay experiences with it. We’re looking forward to smashing more tall bois with it!

Team Bayformers-relevant decks for Lock-On Lasers

  • Any sideboard – like, literally any
  • Motorcycle plus Pteraxadon white-pip fun
  • An extremely valid Quintesson sideboard
  • Combiner decks that are slower to combine by design in a Combiner-rich meta

Conclusion

Thus far, we’ve been very pleased with the variety of competitive gameplay that Tournament Season One has provided, and Encounter 2’s inclusion of ATP cards has furthered that variety. Battle cards produced by ATP have largely been solid offerings, and we’re eager to include them in future crossplay events.

Want to see a deeper breakdown of cards included in Encounter 2 decks? Check out the Encounter 2 tournament listing on teletraan1.net.