Energon Invitational Deck Profile
Guest Article by Ansel J. Cox
First write-up: Dec 28, 2019
"A Meta Breaker!" That was my initial thought when Octone was first revealed. Prime, Bugs, Cars, and Shockwave all felt like safe ways to venture into the unknown environment of the Energon Invitational. But, personally, when it comes to my deck choice, I don't like just going with the flow and picking the "what's not now", tweaking it, and making it "my own." I prefer to build my own deck from scratch, put some cards together, playtest, modify, take constructive criticism from my playtest groups, wash/rinse/repeat, until I think it's worth playing it at a big tournament. Octone seemed to me like the perfect candidate to possibly shake things up a bit. He's a beast of a bot, with some outstanding stats. A build-around character which is not being KOd any time soon. The fact that he's both a Triple Changer and a Mercenary opens up a slew of battlecards that the likes of Shockwave and Prime normally don't have access to.
What follows is the description of the decklist i ran at PAX for the inaugural Energon Invitational. It granted me a top 32 finish, and proved its potential. I'm overall happy with it. But there is still much work to be done before Octone will be a true Cybertronhold name.
Octone is a truly impressive bot. The most versatile of the triple changers, with very representative stats for a 13★ character, a +3 attack boost against either Autobot or Decepticons, an additional 1 damage ping, and a Plasma Burst as his bounty ability!
Autobot Hot Rod is pretty much there as a damage sponge. After a prompt flip from Flamewar, he's most likely the one you are going to send out first. He can hit pretty decently, and should survive practically all small/medium shots with little to no damage. You will never need to flip him until he eventually gets KOd, and turns into a repeatable Zap.
Flamewar... Words really can't do her justice. She's been hands down the best support character since Wave 1. You only need to flip her once to provide your team with a much needed Tough 1. After that, you'll just focus on getting Octone to whatever mode he needs to be in. Of course, Flamewar is likely going to be your opponent's primary target once she's open, so be aware of that.
I won't go into explanation of all of the battle cards as to why I chose them over others. But I do want to go over the highlights of the cards that I feel are crucial to the deck.
Two out of our three characters are ranged, so this is a no brainer. But I opted for only two Armed Hovercrafts as opposed to three. This is mainly for space issues, and my personal preference. The new Sturdy Javelin is a welcome addition to the mix. And Octone dual wielding two of them is a scary concept for your opponent, but so much fun when it does happen!
Soldier's Blaster, Pocket Processor, and Reprocess don't help our defense, but are in the deck with very good reasons. Our characters are from all three factions. Therefore, we'll always find a good character to upgrade with a Soldier's Blaster, regardless of our enemies' allegiance. Pocket Processor is outstanding against those pesky hand disruptive decks, so that we don't have to rely totally on topdecking. And Reprocess is a nice alternative to Smelt when we really need a specific upgrade removed, and don't mind the 2 damage repair.
This is a may play more than a must play, but since the centerpiece of the team is a triple changer, it seems a fair inclusion. This list features 2 copies, that I would ditch for Pocket Processor or an Energy Pack when the right time comes.
If you don't care about the black icon, go with Bravery, as this only gives Brave to a tapped character. My preference for Point Position is due to the sea of blue that is currently dominating the meta. Since he's typically attacking first, Hot Rod is our primary target for this card.
I only played two cards that are geared almost specifically towards mercenaries: Contract Contingency and Dual Wield. This is 1) for space issues and 2) since they are non-blue cards, I needed to minimize the "blank space" in the deck. Out of 42 cards, only 27 are blue, making the deck mostly flip efficient on defense, but not what you would typically call a "mono-blue " deck. That said, being able to use Octone's ability regardless of a KO, or having him wield two weapons is totally worth the sacrifice.
Sabotage Armaments is arguably the most impactful Secret Action in the game so far, and pretty much a must have if you are going to decide to play blue. 3 copies may be excessive in this build, but you definitely want at least 2 in your mainboard. And, there's just enough blue in the deck that, under the right flip conditions, Hidden Fortifications can make up for the lack of armors in this list.
Opportune Offensive is a given, as I have at least one Decepticon who should last long enough to get it mid game. However, The Bigger They Are... is a recent addition after playtesting against several Shockwave (14★), Galactic Prime (15★), and Captain Jetfire (16★) decks, and seeing its usage, not just for the little guys, but also for my 13 ★ Octone.
I eventually decided on Raider Sights because: 1) I felt I had enough weapons in the deck for the team, 2) having +1/+1 is never a bad thing, especially as a utility, and 3) having focus 2 in a mixed pip deck greatly improves the efficiency. That said, there are only certain match-ups where I would bring him in over keeping Hot Rod (and there are certainly other 7★ Battlemasters that could go in this spot), but since he is Ranged and doesn't need to flip, he helps to preserve the status quo of the team.
Disarm is there for the big boys (Major Shockwave, Galactic Prime, Captain Jetfire, etc.) who rely on getting fully suited up and sitting back, while dealing heavy damage but hardly taking any. It's also there for the occasional Overwhelming Advantage deck you may come across.
Fog of War, I think, is a very much slept on card. I chose this over System Reboot because, while 4 cards are better than 2, that's also true for my opponent. And I would rather bite the bullet, than refresh my opponent's hand.
Leap of Faith felt like the best star card for this deck as it's both playable, and it doesn't worsen our defense too much. A double-blue card would definitely help, but none of them would often see actual play.
Lastly, Stable Cover is there if you find yourself in an area of heavy pierce, which this deck otherwise has no defense for, and will quickly wreck your day if you aren't careful.
As I mentioned before, I'm not totally married with Conversion Engine for Octone. Is it useful? Most definitely. Has it won me matches? Not really. I think future builds will have less white and more blue (which means Espionage would go as well, depending on your local meta.) Dual Wield is a definite must in the deck, and I would increase it to a 3 of. I would gladly swap out Contingency Contract for Steady Shot, as the 2 damage Bounty, while great, isn't totally necessary to win games. Lastly, for the sideboard: unless you are in a heavy pierce environment, I would swap the Stable Covers for War of Attrition to further the decks's "burn" abilities.
The deck Octone enables seems to posses a lot of potential in the current meta. Capable of strong attacks, consistent defense, and built-in direct damage, this is definitely not the passive blue deck that tanks damage and goes to time.
Thank you for your time, and have a great day!
Ansel J. Cox