Freelance Peacekeeping

Play vs Put

Bits and Bolts - Exploring TF:TCG Synergy


Welcome to Bits and Bolts, a series intended to help Transformers the Trading Card Game newcomers discover some of the valuable interactions between different cards.

For today's article, let's discuss the difference between Play and Put, and suggest some synergies that come from this difference.

A common word you will see in TF:TCG is Play. When you place a card from your hand onto the battlefield (aka the table in front of you), you are Playing it. You might also Play a card as a result of another card. For example, you might Play the Leap of Faith action, which requires you to scrap the top two cards of your deck, and to optionally Play them.

Leap of Faith Card Image
Leap of Faith, a great Play.

You will also see Play used as a requirement for a card. For example, Wave 5's Master Sword instructs you to only Play Master Sword onto a character who has no empty Weapon slots.

Master Sword Card Image
Master Sword's Play condition stops it being Played onto an empty Weapon slot.

This is all simple enough. So what is Put?

Put is another common word you will see in TF:TCG. Put refers to the act of an Upgrade being attached to a character. When you Play an Upgrade card, part of the act you are doing is a Put. For the purposes of sketching Play and Put, let's describe the Playing of an Upgrade as:

  1. Move the Upgrade card to the battlefield in the direction of a character.
  2. Check any Play conditions of the Upgrade for that character.
  3. Check any Put conditions of the Upgrade for that character.
  4. Put the Upgrade on the character.
  5. Apply any Play effects described by the Upgrade.
  6. Apply any Put effects described by the Upgrade.

This is inaccurate because most of this happens as one step, rather than a series of steps, but it suffices to show you Play and Put at work. To highlight the reason why this difference matters, let's look at how moving an Upgrade works. Let's (inaccurately again) sketch out a Move:

  1. Start to move an Upgrade from one character to another.
  2. Check any Put conditions of the Upgrade for that character.
  3. Put the Upgrade on the character.
  4. Apply any Put effects described by the Upgrade.

Notice that the core difference between Playing and Moving an Upgrade is that the Play conditions are not checked when you Move an Upgrade. This leads to two interesting synergies. The first is that you can move an Upgrade onto a character who it couldn't be Played on; and the second is that you get to repeat Put effects after moving.

For the first, let's imagine you have two characters. One of the characters has a Master Sword, and the other has no Weapon. You play Wave 3's Quartermaster. Can you move it to the other character? Yes you can. Quartermaster Moves the Upgrade, and Master Sword has no Put condition, only a Play condition. Congratulations, your second character is ready to smash for +4 Attack. You can also move an Upgrade using a Character's effect. Two character examples would be Chop Shop and Buzzsaw.

Quartermaster Card Image
Quartermaster sneaks cards passed their Play restrictions.

There's another character who has synergy with cards he couldn't otherwise Play, and that's Wave 1's Jetfire, Air Guardian. When you flip Jetfire to bot-mode, you can Put either an Armor or a Utility onto Jetfire from your scrap pile. Historically that meant having special synergy with either Wave 2's Superior Plating or Superior Jetpack, but now in Wave 5 it also means attaching Ghost Shield without needing an empty Armor slot.

Jetfire Card Image Ghost Shield Card Image
Jetfire loves Wave 5, +3 Ghost Shields on demand.

Let's return to our synergies. As well as moving Upgrades, another synergy is repeating the Put effects after moving an Upgrade. Let's imagine you have two characters and you use Quartermaster to move an Armed Hovercraft from one character to the other. Because Armed Hovercraft has a Put effect, you will get to repeat it (doing 1 damage to each of your opponent's characters). Note that your two characters will both need to be Ranged to pull off the Put effect twice.

Armed Hovercraft Card Image
Armed Hovercraft - keep on putting it on.

It's not all moving; there are other ways to repeat a Put effect than simply moving an Upgrade between two characters. One approach would be to use Wave 4's Involuntary Promotion. If you swap a KO'd Ranged character for an existing character who is equipped with an Armed Hovercraft, that Put effect will happen once again. Another way is new with Wave 5. Let's imagine you have one of Wave 5's characters with a Head and Body mode, such as Autobot Nautica with Convex as her head. You had played a Bashing Shield onto Nautica, scrapping an enemy armor, but now Nautica has been KO'd. Fortunately, you had also equipped Nautica with an Escape Capsule. Convex is deployed in bot mode, then the Escape Capsule and Bashing Shield are Put on Convex, leading to another enemy armor being scrapped.

Involuntary Promotion Card Image Escape Capsule Card Image
Involuntary Promotion and Escape Capsule, two intriguing Put cheats.

Before we end, I should point out a situation in which you do NOT get to repeat the Put effect. When a Combiner is formed, any upgrades on characters still concious can be kept on for the Combiner. However this happens because the character component is still there, it is not an actual move. Thus there has been no Put.

Despite that last note of caution, I hope this has helped you with the Play and Put actions and that your mind is full of useful synergies to use in your decks. Thank you for reading.