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  • Writer's pictureTimothy Teo

Preview | Renewed Contracts

Hey everyone, it's Tim once more with another preview article, this time from the Bayformers World Strike fan set! This set was led and largely designed by billmoo of the Bayformers group in California, with many of the team's involvement in the process. This set has some interesting card designs as you'll soon find out.

As of the time of this article, you would have seen a few Quintessons being previewed as well. So let the first teaser be one linked to those tentacle waving bots.

It appears the Quintessons have taken on some hired protection. Should any of them take damage, a Mercenary would take up to 3 of the damage for them. The mercenaries are paid to take some protection, but no way would they risk their entire lives for their clients.

Well, a simple card like that wouldn't be the end of this preview article. Here's one more!

This stratagem rewards you for playing just one mercenary on your starting team. You get to play an additional 2 stars worth of black pip cards. The current wotc list of black pipped star cards are:

- Indestructible Sword

- Intercept Communications

- Plunder

All of them have at least 2 black pips. Having that kind of power in your deck on flips alone could be game changing on the attack. There are a few interesting interactions that could stem from having access to these star cards easier, but also many more options available for future designs to supplement with. There just may be some new 1-star cost battle cards with black pips coming out in this set...

Now, what if you wanted to play a team of only mercenaries? This stratagem wouldn't be legal for play, but you have the option of this instead:

With a full team of mercenaries, you now have access to a spotlight card of your very own! It's an even playing field for these hired guns now. Having a full team of mercenaries means you're bound to have multiple Bounty abilities at your disposal. How would you ever choose between them? What if you wanted to use a Bounty of a character that has already been tapped, or if you wanted to use a Bounty from a character you want to keep safe until the last attack of the wheel turn? For times like that, there's always a subcontractor agreement. Be sure to read the fine print!

What an agreement this is! A very apt name for this card's effect. Being able to subcontract out your bounty would help to bring down the target in your favour. With this card, it allows you to have better flip efficiency in your full team of mercenaries. Mercenaries tend to only flip to their bot mode when they are ready to claim their bounty, while the other bots on the team are more flip efficient for better effects. With this utility, you can plan to have your entire board flipped to bot mode to have a full range of Bounty options.

Now that we've covered what new cards help with mercenaries, you're probably wondering how these interact with the existing pool we have. Well, here's one last teaser to add on to your train of thoughts.

Hang on, is that what it seems to be? A hybrid Decepticon and Mercenary card? This is a very interesting design! Since it counts as both factions, Swindled will not count as starting with only Decepticons. Having both factions would be similarly ruled like a Titan Master with a head from a different faction - it counts as both and be affected as such.

Looking at the stats of Exhaust, it seems pretty on par with those at the 8-star cost. His alt mode ability is where it's interesting, granting him +2 attack and +2 defence until the end of turn if he has taken non-attack damage this turn. This is quite a big boost for a relatively small cost. Since Mercenaries love black pips, it's likely they would pack a Camien Crash or Magnetic Dysfunction Ray. Both of those cards get to push some damage on your opponent's board, and still buff Exhaust up for a heavier swing on the offense. If your opponent chooses to deal non-attack damage to him during his/her turn, Exhaust gains 2 defense until the end of turn which makes him a beefy 3 defense base.

Let's move into the Bot mode. If he starts the turn in this mode, he will take 1 damage at the start of the turn. Note that the Alt mode is a blanket effect and will allow the boost as long as the condition is fulfilled, so you can start the turn in Bot mode, take the damage and flip to Alt to gain a stat boost for the turn. His Bounty ability is also an interesting one where you get to move a damage to a character of your choice. To those not familiar with the rulings, moving a damage does not count as non-attack damage and will not be blocked by effects like Holomatter Projector, Motormaster's ability, Reflect Damage and Take Cover to name a few.

With all the damage he's likely to be self-inflicting, having a Bounty effect that helps move some of the damage away feels synergistic yet not overpowered. This card design opens up avenues for players to explore without breaking the game (pending other card designs), but it is something I'm personally looking forward to try out seeing as how I'm a cars player. I would be interested to test out some mercenary cars synergy, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to revive my blue pierce cars build in some way!

Oh look at that, an extra teaser stratagem that allows you to get a Smoke Cloak to hand before the game starts! Seems like even more value for a blue pierce cars deck. This stratagem also allows Exhaust to get an additional Focus 2 on top of the Bold 2 that Smokethrower already gives. This is really good value for a black heavy deck looking to refine some pips during battle flips.

I hope you guys have enjoyed the juicy 6 cards that were previewed today. Looking forward to what the rest of the set brings to the table, so stay tuned with me on the Bayformers teasers in the coming weeks. 'Til All Are One, Azyrine out!

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