“Nothing lasts forever... so why not destroy it now?”
—Quake's motto, 1988 toy box
Guest article by Ansel J. Cox and Brian Blair
The first rumblings began in April with a conversation we had with Dan Collett on ways to update Elita-1 for wave 5. We (Ansel Cox and Brian Blair) latched onto the idea of teaming her up with a certain bot that likes when his teammates die (Elita’s favorite pastime). The next thing we knew the tremors swelled into about a dozen different teams, including Ansel’s Top 8 deck in the Freedom Cup and a love affair with the Captain of Carnage, the Dean of Death, the King of Ping himself: QUAKE!
By now, you’ve likely all seen some of the destruction that shakes out when Quake hits the tables. But, during the preview season, Quake didn’t seem like a real player when compared to the likes of Horri-bull, Perceptor, and even Fangry. His stats aren't great for a 7★ character (8 health in the current pierce/direct damage meta is abysmal), and his alt mode ability seemed a bit underpowered: Last bot on the battlefield abilities tend to be difficult to orchestrate, and 6 base attack is only 1 better than his bot mode. How wrong we were…
Quake is, at heart, a combo card. We could play him as a side-man, getting bonus damage out from his ability, but the most fun we have had in this wave is going all in on setting Quake off, racking up the aftershocks by chaining KO’s and watching the Cybertronian battlefield burn around us.
The decks that follow take the elements of combo (long chains of triggers), the Revenge keyword, and Bugs (expendable teammates that you often purposefully KO), puts them in a blender and spits out a new, "fun" way of messing with, and defeating, our opponents. We recognize that some will hate him, but unlike other combo decks we’ve all played with, the games happen quickly, and opponents are rarely left without options to counter his path of destruction.
Our goal here is to offer some of the options you can try out when exploring ways to play Quake based on our experiences with him. We have had quite a few Quake mirror matches, which offer their own Pandora ’s Box of timing triggers and interactions.
We have also collaborated with Henri over at Freelance Peacekeeping, who is simultaneously publishing a guide to navigating Quake interactions and triggers. You can find that article here.
In addition to the myriad of ideas so you can build our own decks, we’ll link some of our own decklists below including the tag team of decks (dubbed The Natural Disasters) that Team Ravagers took to a top 8 finish in the latest online tournament on OCTGN.
First write-up: Jul 10, 2020
4 Wide | 1 Head | Aggr./PierceTop 8, Freedom Cup (wave 5) — updated
Quake's Sacrificial Lambs… Errr, Teammates
3 Wide | 1 Head | Mixed/Piercesample decklist (wave 5)
Captain Elita-1: The Fault line that sparked our Quake Madness, Elita-1 offers many attractive qualities as a teammate. She is sturdy enough to take a couple attacks and can flip to move damage off of Quake, allowing him time to set up. Naturally, her Leap of Faith when ko'd ability to play cards off of the top of the deck has synergy with continuing the KO combo by pushing more direct damage or grabbing an I Still Function! to bring her back and start the process anew. Elita’s one downfall as a Quake partner is her high star cost. But, this is a fun way to get some fresh use out of this rarely played Wave 3 character.
Raider Rumble: Could there be a more aptly named partner for Quake? Inspired by an online discussion with psychosmurf96 (AKA Michah Ehlers), it became clear Rumble was ready to shake things up when paired with the big guy. Rumble comes equipped with a “Do 2 damage to an enemy” Revenge ability. At 6★ Rumble is the go-to target for Peace Through Tyranny and Involuntary Promotion. (sure, I’ll add 2 to the Quake trigger!) Throw an Erratic Energy Grenade or ISF into the mix and Rumble can initiate absolute chaos. If all this wasn’t enough he can also serve as upgrade disarm with his bot mode tap ability (looking at you Holomatter Projector).
Ransack: Our teammate and current European Champion, Ben Saunders, suggested Ransack as another partner. Yes, haters of Wave 1 Bugs, that guy! Ransack’s abilities, like Rumble, are a perfect fit for Quake. He truly WANTS to be damaged for his bot mode ability of having an attack equal to his damage. Quake can easily help in this department. Plus, Ransak’s alt mode ability to transfer damage to himself makes him an alternate to using Energy Transfer. Ransack is also 6★, making him available for PTT and Involuntary Promotion shenanigans. Adding an extra layer of fun is when you realize you can ISF him back for a heavy +7 attack, only to have him get ko'd and trigger Quake again!
5★ Characters: We’ve tried quite a handful, and for the most part, 5 and 4★ characters can serve to round out our team and add additional bodies to get KO’d to feed the Quake bomb. Nightracer, has a decent health total, and can pair well with her stratagem to give us some extra cards to play with. Brawn is nice for some pierce damage on turn 1 and is sturdy enough to give us time to set up our combo. Lord Ravage (praise Ravage) is always an excellent choice by giving Pierce to himself and others along with going into Stealth mode when needed. This is an easy slot to experiment and flex preferences.
4 → 5 Wide | 1 Head | Aggr./Piercesample decklist (wave 5)
Patrols: Patrols seem like a nice pairing with Quake, being low health characters that allow us to go 4 wide and set up a nice chain of KO triggers. Joe over at Wreck n' Rule is a big fan of the Battle Patrol and their direct damage ability. We’ve tried various combos, but we generally prefer using 6★ bots in our 4-wide builds for the PTT option. Now, if there was a way to make the Patrols go 5 wide…hmmm. Sadly, Quake’s minimum 8★ cost prevents that…or does it?
Tidal Wave: Tidal Wave combined with a Quake? Disasters abound! The Carrier and Transport portions of Tidal Wave allow us to sneak in an additional 4★ character for free into the deck. Paired with Quake and Kreb (8★) two more Patrol characters (including their leader) can fit into the deck allowing us to go 5 wide. (Sure, we can do this by mixing and matching 4 and 5★ characters into a team, but the synergy there is just lacking).
Motormaster: Motormaster is the go to sideboard character for Quake. The Master of Mayhem starts at a paltry 8 health, so removing the ability of an opponent to directly damage Quake from the start can be essential against teams that also run Quake or Horri-bull and the like.
Bashing Shield/Disassemble: These are a must include to combat Quake’s biggest enemy: Holomatter Projector, as it will completely shut the Shakey One down.
Erratic Energy Grenade: EE Grenade just piles on the direct damage. Our team is going to be KO’d rather quickly, and combining Quake’s ability with EE Grenades can easily help feed the combo by KO’ing multiple opponents at once. What’s more, as we often will be KO’ing our own characters during our turn (PTT, Promotion, ISF and more) EE Grenades can be set up without fear of removal.
Self-Damage: Cards such as Magnetic Dysfunction Ray, One Shall Stand, Camien Crash, Scouting Mission, Last Stand and the like serve an extra duty in Quake decks as they can easily be used to get his triggers rolling.
Peace Through Tyranny and Involuntary Promotion: These cards can set up potential game winning plays by starting the wave of destruction or making sure we get an extra turn or an extra attack to set Quake up.
I Still Function!: This is a superhero card in this deck. Not only is it great to bring back a +7 attack Ransack, or return Rumble to the field to capitalize on his Revenge ability (and why not equip him with an EE Grenade while we are at it?), but Quake matches can often come down to one-on-one endgames. Recruiting one extra attacker at the right time is a big bonus.
Energy Transfer: Like Holomatter, another kyrptonite for our Main Man Quake, is his low starting health of 8. Going wide with Quake to maximize his ability is a huge enabler of making him super fun to play, but this often means we only have 10-11 health total on the central character. His 3 defense in alt mode helps, but early damage if going second along with direct damage can ruin Quake’s day. Energy Transfer, and to a lesser extent Enhanced Power Cell, can help keep Quake thriving.
Holomatter Projector: In a mirror, against Horri-bull and a heavy direct damage meta, Holomatter can keep Quake going. This is a mainboard must. Similarly, Take Cover is a nice option that can even protect our characters from our own Quake damage (Note: Take Cover prevents our characters from taking non attack damage of any kind on our opponent’s turn – even our own non-attack damage!)
Not everyone takes pleasure in the challenge of playing as or against Quake. In casual settings we recommend you clear it with your opponents before slapping the guy down on the table. But, we think the character is a blast and worth a go. Have fun, experiment and we hope you enjoy the carnage as much as we did! Remember to check out Freelance Peacekeeping for a rundown on Quake’s trigger timing. Let us know our thoughts and ideas, we are always up for a tale of the Quake Madness.