This article was authored by guest writer Ozzy, the creator and pilot for this deck in World|Strike Tournament Season One’s Encounter 5.
Soundwave is probably my favorite character in the Transformers, and honestly, he’s probably on most people’s Top Five lists. When we finally got Soundwave in Wave 3, we got two of them to choose from. Sad thing is, they didn’t make much of an impact on the game.
About a year ago, I decided to switch from my regular Metroplex deck and dedicate time to making a Soundwave deck that would be tournament-competitive. I have had quite a few top 8 tournament finishes with variations of this deck, but what I present here is the deck I took to 2nd place in the recently completed Team Bayformers Encounter 5 tournament.
The starting team
The core of this deck is:
I’ve had various other characters fill the role of the 7 ★ slot:
- Private Lionizer, Ground Command • Artillery
- Shockblast, Galactic Man with This Gun For Hire from Team Bayformers World|Strike
- Nightbird, Tera-Kura Construct from Turbo Revving Old Punks Phase One
The most consistent has been:
Kreb was banned for this tournament so Parsec stood in.
Unlike what I think the makers of the game intended, which I think was a black and blue list, my Soundwave deck is orange and black. Buzzsaw, Spy wants to be blue and didn’t work for the plan I had, but Steeljaw was a great replacement.
Fangry, Sky Tracker is probably the most efficient 7 ★ (6 ★ + 1 ★ Titan Master) character in the game. He doesn’t need to flip, has Bold 2 most of the time on your first turn, and has 2 Defense and 11 Health. In this deck, he can reliably attack for 7 Pierce 4 without any help. If he survives to untap again, he can be super scary.
Steeljaw does exactly what this deck wants to do: give Bold 1 to himself and Soundwave, or flip to give Bold 1 to everyone. I’ve found that he attacks for 5 Pierce 3 on his own. He adds 1 Pierce 1 on average to anyone he gives Bold 1 to.
Ravage, Saboteur also does exactly what this deck wants to do: he has Pierce 2 built-in and can flip to give it to anyone else. I’ve found that he attacks for an average of 4 Pierce 4 on his own. With an Upgrade and an Action, he can do silly things like 9 Pierce 9.
And finally, Soundwave, Communications. His flip to bot mode to deploy a Mini-Cassette has never seemed as powerful as Blaster’s. However, if you look at it like this, it helps put it in perspective: on your turn 1 and turn 3, you look at your opponent’s hand, take the best card from it, and make them flip it for defense.
Think about that for a second. You get to put a Grenade Launcher, Fusion Borer, End Hostilities, Start Your Engines, or I Still Function! on top of your opponent’s deck. Twice. By doing this, you can have your opponents scrambling for what to do next turn, and sometimes have them overplay their hand so as to not lose another powerful card the next time it happens. If you don’t know what to take and they have 2 Actions and 1 Upgrade, take the Upgrade and leave them with all Actions. Used correctly, it is deceptively powerful. As far as battling goes, Soundwave usually attacks for 5-6 Pierce 2-3, depending on if Steeljaw is buffing him or not.
2x Rock Toss
2x Camien Crash
- 22 orange
- 1 blue
- 5 white
- 6 green
- 29 black
This is an aggro deck designed to hit attack values only slightly higher than it can Pierce for. It doesn’t have any Grenade Launchers, Improvised Shields, or Peace Through Tyranny as it’s not meant to be solely orange while still being Bold. It doesn’t play Wedge Formation either, despite the icons being perfect for this deck. Having no Ranged characters, I found it not worth your action for the turn.
Mission Briefing in this deck at the right time almost always draws 2 cards, and sometimes you will draw 4 cards. The characters are all in bot mode as they deploy, including Parsec.
The other card advantage action in this deck is Scrounging For Energon, a community card from the Team Bayformers World|Strike set. Playing this after you flip Soundwave to bot mode lets you draw 2 cards and your opponent scraps 1 card.
Prepare to attack!
Why the need to draw all these cards? Nitro Booster. The Booster is usually put on Ravage or Steeljaw, but can also work on Parsec or Soundwave in alt mode. That’s 4 targets. Add a Bold Action and you’re getting an untap plus an extra 2 Pierce 2 or more. If played on a normal turn, this can mess up sequencing, forcing your opponent to attack Fangry twice in a row instead of going after Ravage for example. On a wheel-turn, this can add up to Pierce 12 or more from a single character.
If you don’t have a Nitro Booster on a wheel-turn, how about a Heat Of Battle or Designated Target? As a result, you’ll get Pierce 2 to everyone or Bold 3 to everyone, and you are usually wide enough to go at least 2-wide against most decks at some stage of the game.
Backup Beam is an odd one to most people. It is the only green Weapon with Bold and is easy to swap for as I’d rather have it than a Combat Dagger or Rock Toss. The other Bold weapons that stick around (Flamethrower and Smokethrower) are there for the turns you get a Nitro Booster and a Bold Action for some serious Pierce. Twice.
Direct damage cards
Camien Crash, Rock Toss, Precision Fire, and Magnetic Dysfunction Ray are all useful in various ways. Make sure you play the last 2 before you flip and deploy from Soundwave, as it can keep some damage off the Mini-Cassettes a little longer. You can also time some of them to KO your own Fangry to get Parsec as an extra attacker.
Rage, a new community card from Turbo Revving Old Punks, was pretty good in this deck. Despite its utility, I feel it may be better suited to orange aggro with bigger characters. The 1 damage was critical in some matches though, so I just may need to play more games with it.
Impetuous Stand, another new community card from Turbo Revving Old Punks, has been a great addition. I’d been playing Ramming Speed as my answer to Utilities and this being green was a perfect replacement.
Also, you can look at the decklist on teletraan1.net for the sideboard. I don’t think it needs much going over here, as each tournament (and kitchen table) meta is different and sideboards change constantly. A few cards to mention though are:
- Jam Signals for use against Tripwire (thanks to KingNaga in Encounter 4), Hunker Down, and Start Your Engines
- Lose the Initiative for use against cars and other Nitro Booster decks
- Battlefield Scan as an alternate choice to Spy Satellite Uplink, as it works for more than one character
- General Ghyrik, Grievous Executioner replacing Fangry, Parsec, and Ravage. You need to go 3-wide versus 1-tall decks (like Fortress Maximus, Great War Veteran), otherwise, Soundwave gets KO’d before deploying the second Mini-Cassette. Assuming Control comes in with General Ghyrik to give Soundwave +6 Attack once General Ghyrik is KO’d.
Developing the board
My first turn is spent flipping Soundwave, deploying Ravage, and messing with my opponent’s hand before sending Fangry into their centerpiece character (who is usually 8 ★ or more). I usually deploy Ravage as he is less vulnerable to a Magnetic Dysfunction Ray than Steeljaw.
My second turn is usually spent on pumping up Ravage to ridiculous Pierce values. 8 Pierce 7 is not uncommon. Playing a Mission Briefing before flipping Soundwave to alt mode is also good if you don’t have a Weapon. Also, Nitro Booster is good here, as it forces another attack into Fangry.
A Sound surprise
My next turn is spent flipping Soundwave and deploying Steeljaw, again messing with my opponent’s hand. If you have a Scrounging For Energon, it’s time to play it. And then, this is where I become less predictable. I send in Soundwave. He’s done his job and Steeljaw is giving him Bold 1. It’s time to load him up and send him in. For the rest of the game, he doesn’t need to flip and he becomes a big meat shield. He has 15 Health and 2 Defense. That’s at least 2 decent hits; maybe 3 hits to take him out.
After this is where this deck starts to really shine. Mission Briefing at this time will sometimes draw 3 or 4 cards. If Ravage is still around, flip him to give himself Stealth and maybe give Parsec Pierce 2. Or flip Steeljaw for Stealth and to give Bold 1 to everyone. If you can spend the rest of the game forcing your opponent into Soundwave instead of your Mini-Cassettes, your chances of finding a game-ending combination of Bold and Pierce cards or a Nitro Booster for Ravage or Steeljaw gets higher and higher.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this different take on Soundwave has given you ideas of your own to construct your own – say it with me in a Soundwave voice…