"Nothing can rescue the Rescue patrol, yes?"
Micromasters (Part 4)
In Part 1 of this article series we covered the Transformers TCG (TTCG) Wave 3 and Wave 4 Micromasters in general, along with a short sprint with the Sports Car Patrol; in Part 2 we examined the Off-Road Patrol; then in Part 3 we had some flight time with the Air Strike Patrol. Next up is the Rescue Patrol.
Rescue (White) Patrol
The Rescue Patrol builds itself around the white pip. As a reminder, the white pip lets a bot flip two more battle cards during battle, regardless of whether they are attacking or defending. We'll call this a Flip-2 as shorthand.
In Wave 4, existing patrol members Private Red Heat and Private Stakeout are joined by Private Fixit and patrol leader Private Sunrunner. All are Specialists, but their vehicle modes vary.
- Private Seawatch [5-star Boat]: The Leader of the team. In alt-mode he provides a patrol feature of Flip-3 on a second white pip.
- Private Fixit [4-star Truck]: Scrap a white pip and another card; each player scraps their hand and draws 4.
- Private Red Heat [5-star Truck]: Scrap a white pip; swap 2 of your character's upgrades.
- Private Stakeout [4-star Car]: Scrap a white pip; flip one of your characters.
Seawatch is the effective patrol leader, though the Rescue Patrol are the one patrol to lack a bot with the official Leader role. As with all of the patrol leaders he has 8-health, is boosted when the other patrol members are K.O.'d, and provides the mentioned Flip-3 on second white pip patrol feature. In a heavy enough white deck, which doesn't have to be that heavy, this means at least 7 cards being flipped in each battle, at least 2 of which are white. Jumping ahead of ourselves, the trick will be balancing the number of whites.
The other new member of the Rescue Patrol is Private Fixit. He's the card draw member of the patrol, requiring each player to draw a big 4 cards, at the expense of scraping their current hand. He's the second Truck on the team and has a 3-attack in both modes.
A Dysfunctional Team?
Considering the Rescue Patrol as a whole, they seem to be pretty dysfunctional. The major challenge in designing a deck for the Rescue Patrol is that an aggressively white deck would likely be nonsensical. It would be an empty deck for the purposes of combat as, unlike green pips and black pips, there are very few cards with white/orange or white/blue pips. Even if you have another means of victory, a deck is still likely to want blue pips for defence.
To this end, an aggressively white deck is a small increase to the normal expectations of white pips in a deck. Computron have an excellent article series on this topic. It shows 6 white pips is generally the ideal (massive simplification on my part) and that adding white pips up until 12 white pips does not have a major effect on the simpler battle flips. To support their card discarding needs the Rescue Patrol will likely want those 12 white pips (or perhaps a little higher). Fortunately, Seawatch's patrol feature is nice for this regard. It allows us to push the amount of white in our deck without suffering as much. After that the question reverts to the typical question of all-blue, all-orange, or mixed.
As with the Off-Road Patrol, the Wave 4 battle card Swerve, with its white/black pip, will be desirable for the Rescue Patrol. The white/green pipped cars will also be attractive (commonly Escape Route, Attack Drone, Personal Targeting Drone, and Espionage). In addition to their usefulness, the green pips will help support the patrol's discarding. The 1-star Fuel Cache battle card is also going to be very desirable with its white/orange/blue pips, but will you be able to afford those stars?
Wave 4 provides some useful new white pip cards for the Rescue Patrol. Acute Reflexes is a utility that gives the bot +1/+1 when they flip a white, Kinetic Intensifier Whip is a +1 weapon that gives them a further Bold-2 after a bot is flipped, Erratic Cannon adds an extra +3 attack when a white pip is flipped, and Medic's Protective Field both heals them and provides them with Safeguard-3 (can't take more damage than 3 while undamaged).
There are quite a few bots whose features require flipping a white pip. Typically their star cost is not attractive for Micromasters, though Autobox Jazz (6-stars) and Skywarp Sneaky Prankster (6-stars) would both slot in nicely cost-wise. Skywarp would be able to balance a little damage amongst the Rescue Patrol, and Jazz is decent enough for his cost with good defence and pierce bonuses if he flips two white pips. Wave 4 gives us Private Smokescreen (7-stars), who gets a +1/+1 when he has a white pip upgrade. His Safeguard makes him an excellent initial blocker for the team when they go second.
Top of the pack though is the 6-star Private Pteraxadon, leaving room for a Fuel Cache star card. Pteraxadon's weapon ability, in addition to a +3 attack, allows them, on flipping two white pips, to negate the base defence of the target bot. After the Rescue Patrol is mostly wiped out, Seawatch could go into battle swinging some big damages for a Micromaster.
There are less clear white pip choices for a 4-wide partner, with little in the 10-star to 12-star range. If you dig down into the 9-star range there is Bumblebee Courageous Scout, who flips two more battle cards when he flips at least two white pips, and Autobot Mirage Lone Wolf, who untaps (once per turn) if he attacks and flips three white pips. Choosing either allows you to add Fuel Cache again, two of them this time. Bumblebee is a Specialist, matching the patrol, while Mirage's untap ability is attractive.
As to who to remove for a 4-wide; Stakeout is the clear runt of the patrol. There's frankly not much need for more flips. A white deck will quite likely have some Escape Route and Rapid Conversion, and the player will need to flip Stakeout out of stealth to get him ready for a tap; will you want to do that when you could have flipped his tap target instead?
Multi-colour pip bots?
Perhaps the answer lies not in bots who focus on the white pip, but on bots who want to see orange/white/blue pips drawn. Bluestreak could, in a mixed Rescue Patrol deck, achieve his 5-attack/4-defence dreams; though he's an 8-star so you'd need three stars to complete that 4-wide team. Private Red Alert would expect to get 6-attack in a 5-wide, and then flip to heal everyone on the team by one. Thematically this would be a nice team, the Rescue Patrol should be healing and Private Red Alert should be rescuing.
Go it alone?
Or, perhaps the Rescue Patrol may remain better as buddies for other decks, not as a patrol in their own right. Fixit's hand scrapping tap ability makes them a useful partner for W1 Shockwave. Red Heat's upgrade swapping tap ability goes well with Jetfire's pulling of armor from the scrap pile. Stakeout… well, I look forward to hearing of the flip-focused deck that gets value from Stakeout.
What do you think the game designers wanted us to do with the Rescue Patrol?
[Continue reading in Part 5]