Jankyard | Secret Ops
Updated: May 21, 2020
Greetings Cybertronians, Autobot AL of Team PTSD reporting in. With the Covid-19 global pandemic still ongoing, I urge all fellow Cybertronians to stay home and stay safe during these troubling times.
At this juncture, we know that Titans Masters Attacks' release has been extended to 29 May, but from what we have seen from the set's digital reveals show a lot of chances to what we know so far in this TCG. Wave 5 provides new traits and mechanics such as bots that have head modes, and stratagems to improve older cards.
The biggest change we see is from having an additional character deployed when the body is KO'ed. This not only affects gameplay time, but it changes the attack order and flow of the game. Having an extra bot for an extra attack in aggro decks can be crucial, and possibly the key turning point in the game.
Stratagems have also changed the way we build our decks with cards like Villainous Spotlight ensuring that our entire line-up comprises of Decepticons only to receive the benefit of 2 extra stars of Orange pips.
In this article, I'd like to showcase a team full of Decepticons that utilises this stratagem. Stratagems come at a cost of at least a star which may affect the calibre and selection pool of your characters. Having the options of stratagems in your build create play advantages and allows for different strategies.
Now for the build of this deck, I'd like to explore the sneakiness of the Decepticons using a range of Secret Actions.
As per my usual, I am running a total of 42 battle cards instead of the minimum 40. This is made up of 24 Actions and 18 Upgrades. There are 5 Orange pips, 31 Blue pips, 9 Black pip, 7 Green pips and 8 White pips.
B - Blue
O - Orange
W - White
G - Green
K - Black
Decepticon Pounce, Infiltrator
Sergeant Skywarp, Black Ops Seeker
2 Sparring Gear (OG)
3 Enhanced Power Cell (K)
2 Recon System (OB)
3 Piercing Blaster (W)
2 Scoundrel's Blaster (BG)
1 Enforcement Batons (OG)
2 Drill Arms (B)
2 Backfire (B)
2 Brainstorm (B)
2 Heroic Resolve (BB)
3 Hidden Fortification (B)
3 Leap Into Battle (B)
1 Leap of Faith (W)
2 Sabotaged Armaments (B)
3 Security Checkpoint (BB)
2 Spymaster's Ruse (*KKG)
2 Swerve (WK)
Sky Shadow (Tank)
3 Belligerence (O)
3 Point Defence System (K)
2 Stable Cover (K)
Deck can also be found listed on Fortress Maximus. A big thank you to the team running the site for an amazing job!
As the name suggests, secret ops is all around Secret Actions. The idea of having 4 or more secret actions on the board causing your opponent difficulties in making their moves sounds like fun. Decepticon Pounce is the main star of this deck with his abilities and stratagem.
Decepticon Pounce is our heavy hitter in this deck. His attack scales according to the number of Secret Actions that you have in play. His stratagem Infiltration allows you to immediately play 2 Secret Action cards one per game when you flip him to alt mode.
Pounce comes with a decent printed attack of 5 for an 8-star cost character. Having either an Energon Axe or Scoundrel's Blaster with some Secret Actions on the table will easily push his attack beyond 10.
Flipping Pounce at the start of the game allows you to look at the top 3 cards and place a revealed Secret Action card into your hand, and reordering the other cards. This allows for some form of setup for further actions or combat flips.
Nightracer is the beefiest 5-star character in the game now. Her stratagem allows for 2 extra stars of Secret Actions which I've selected to use Heroic Resolve for the double blue pips. It's worth considering having Lucky Dodge instead to be used in tandem with Spymaster's Ruse to ensure that it can trigger at a time of my choosing when a character takes odd attack damage.
Spymaster's Ruse allows for the Secret Action to be in play until you so choose to activate it. This synergises extremely well with Nightracer's ability to have Tough 1 across the board, as well as having +2 Attack for Pounce. The green pip on it ensures that I get access to it during the game.
A good start for starting second would be to have either a secret action to grant your board Tough 1 on the attack back, or a weapon like Piercing Blaster or Scoundrel's Blaster to push for early damage before the opponent gets to setup his/her board.
Playing all these Secret Actions exhaust your hand rapidly, so I look to Sergeant Skywarp to help me with this. His ability on bot mode allows me to draw a card each time I play a Secret Action. This replenishes my hand size and provides me options.
If you flip him to his alt mode, you get to retrieve 2 Secret Actions of different names from your scrap into hand. This allows you to annoy your opponent freshly once more the following turn, or get that Secret Action you needed that got flipped past you earlier.
He plays a critical role in the deck, so it's recommended that he is geared mildy and protected before sending out after Nightracer. Pounce will be the last to attack so you have maximum time to set him up for a huge attack swing at your opponent.
Having Skywarp on bot mode and using Infiltration allows you to also draw 2 cards from it, increasing your hand size for more options to be played during the turn. This in conjunction with Brainstorm, Special Ops Mission, and Leap Into Battle, Pounce looks to be hitting for a really high amount of damage.
Now the deck wouldn't be worthy of being called Special Ops if I didn't include Special Ops Mission inside. With the number of Secret Actions in the deck, it makes sense to be able to spam my board with more by having this, with Brainstorm as secondary backup.
Secret Actions allow me to be both offensive and defensive at the same time based on my plays. Depending on your own local meta, your choices of Secret Actions may vary from mine. You could go for more pierce defense with Stable Cover, or to counter Belligerence with End Hostilities. Reflect Damage or Take Cover can deal with non-attack damage decks while Infiltrate or Overheat can deal with aggro decks that rely heavily on Bold.
With a focus on having more Secret Actions in the deck composition, I sacrificed having direct utility cards like Espionage, Disruption, and Disarm. This deck suffers a little from cards that deal non-attack damage across the board as the overall health pool of the characters aren't great at only 34.
As I'm focusing on a heavy blue and defensive build here, my choice of character sideboard is Sky Shadow (Tank). With an in-built Tough 2 and 2 armor, without having to be flipped works ideally in this case. This can replace Nightracer, Stealth Mission (with the 2 Heroic Resolve) and Leap of Faith.
With the replacement of 2 double blue pip cards, I can look into having Secret Actions with more utility (depending on local meta).
In the side board, we have Point-Defence System and Stable Cover in case I encounter heavy pierce decks which negates all the blue pips I have. Belligerence is there to deal with other blue decks with high amounts of Tough walls, or End Hostilities to counter aggro decks running Belligerence themselves.
I have Intrusion Countermeasures Software as a counter to hand control decks, or battle cards like Espionage and Counterespionage.
With so many options of Secret Actions available now, the selection pool of counters and annoyances to your opponents are open to your creativity. Have fun forcing your opponents to play around your Secret Actions and making non-optimal plays. I hope that you guys enjoyed my thoughts in this article, and once again I thank you for reading till the very end. Do share with us your own iterations in the comments. Autobot AL, out!