Off Road Safari
Nick Wiedeman March 16, 2020
The deck I am about to cover was put together to hunt the big game currently present in the meta: [[General Optimus Prime Galactic Commander]] and [[Captain Jetfire Engineering Air Guardian]]. These predominantly blue leaning decks and large health pools are a tough animal to bring down for even the most aggressive decks. This list was based on David Burgos’ 2nd Place 4 Wide Orange/Black deck from PPT Orlando. The goal is to pierce through damage and not care about how much tough the opposing deck has available.
I built my first version of the deck after getting home from PPT Orlando. This is the current iteration that I have been playing. I have made some tweaks along the way and I’d like to go over some of the cards that I initially had that did not make the final list. I would like to note that I wanted to keep the total number of black pips in the deck between 24-28 to keep as close of a 1 to 1 ratio to orange pips as possible. This influenced some of the card decisions as you will see.
Equipment Left Behind
[[Designated Target]] - I initially had 3 of this card in the deck. Double black pip and Pierce 2 for all of your characters until end of turn seems great right? Not so much in practice. If going first vs a 3-wide deck, you will only be getting the benefit of the Pierce 2 on two characters. This is a nice boost, but with so many low base attacks and the high number of black pip only cards, it lead to many situations where the pierce ended up being higher than my attack. That’s the situation I try to avoid, and when it happens I consider it a bad turn. This eventually became 3 [[Heat of Battle]] which I found to be the superior choice for this deck.
[[Erratic Lightning]] / [[Grenade Launcher]] - I initially had 3 Grenade Launchers and 2 Erratic Lightning. However, when I decided to cut Designated Target, my black pip count went too low and I was forced to make changes. The Grenade Launchers became [[RR Disruptor Blade]] and the Lightnings turned into more
[[Crowbar]] - This helped bring the black pip count back up while still providing a base damage pump. It does make the aggro matchup harder, but I dedicated the sideboard to morphing into a primarily orange deck.
[[New Orders]] - Black Pip and untaps 4 out of my 5 characters. Seemed great to steal an extra attack. Problem is even against blue decks the patrol members are not usually not surviving a hit. It was nice when it worked, but ended up being too cute of a tech.
Crafting the Game Plan
I’d like to cover some basic plays that I make no matter the matchup. My main plan of attack is to lead with [[Private Lionizer Ground Command Artillery]] and then [[Private Mudslinger Special Ops Infiltration]] due to his 7 health. If it takes two hits for the opponent to KO Mudslinger, I feel like I’m in good shape.
Make sure that there will always be a non-stealth character to take a hit on the wheel turn. Keeping [[Private Powertrain Off-Road Patrol Patrol Leader]] alive to close the game is paramount, and if you leave him exposed on the wheel your opponent will make him pay. I typically have [[Private Highjump Off-Road Patrol Infiltration]] or [[Private Tote Special Ops Infiltration]] flipped (hopefully because I was able to attach a [[Kinetic Intensifier Whip]] the previous turn).
Watch out for [[Armed Hovercraft]] and [[Sturdy Javelin]] plays that can leave Powertrain exposed. Sometimes healing one with Wedge Formation on a character that is still going to be KO’d is the best play.
The plan vs blue decks is pretty simple: play bold cards and flip black pips. Send out Lionizer to get an average 4-6 damage out early. If he gets KO’d, that’s great; now the deck has a Bold 4 weapon. If he lives, it sets up a potential [[Peace Through Tyranny]] play down the line. This is an ideal play on the wheel turn to get an extra swing into the tentpole of the opposing team. I like to make sure I have another weapon to equip besides Lionizer the turn I [[Peace Through Tyranny]] to make sure I am pushing the most damage. If the [[Peace Through Tyranny]] play is not there, I like to try and hold a Heat of Battle until the wheel. You get Bold 3 for everyone attacking, and do not care that your opponent gets the extra tough.
Against orange decks, I’m hoping the number of bots on my side will help outweigh the lower ceiling of my damage output in game one. I built the sideboard to transform into a standard orange aggro deck. If facing an aggro deck, I’ll take out 3 [[Crowbar]], 3 [[RR Disruptor Blade]], 2 [[Smokethrower]], and 1 [[Immersed in Shadow]] for 3 [[Improvised Shield]], 3 [[Erratic Lightning]], and 3 [[Grenade Launcher]]. This removes all the black pip only cards and increases the damage output. I typically only bring in [[General Optimus Prime Infantry Leader]] and [[Mounted Missiles]] against 3 wide aggro decks.
Now that the general plans are assembled, let’s look a little closer at some common matchups.
Analyzing the Prey
Galaxy Prime: The matchup here is still tight. You will cut through Skydive and Flamewar like a sharpened machete, but if Prime is able to get his [[Energy Pack]] early and often, he will be tough to chew through. [[Reprocess]] is the only way in the deck to scrap them and should typically only be played to scrap them. There are situations where reprocessing a [[Matrix of Leadership]] or a weapon can lead to a patrol member surviving a hit and it would be okay to play it.
Jetfire: Plays out very similarly to the Galaxy match. Jetfire only being able to equip one energy pack though usually means the deck will push enough damage through before Jetfire can pick off the whole team.
Shockwave: This matchup also plays out similar to Jetfire and Galaxy. However, if Shockwave pulls off the trifecta ([[LV Gamma-Disruptor Launcher]], regular flip, [[Unconventional Flying Object]], shout out Steffon) it can put you in top deck mode and be rough to recover from. I would consider sideboarding General Prime in for this matchup for the extra bold without needing to play cards and a bigger body.
Airstrike Patrol: The changes the deck has made to combat blue bite it in the backside vs wide aggro. They push higher damage than the deck does in the mainboard. The best chance is doing anything possible to make sure you one shot an opposing patrol member. Leaving any alive with more than one health is almost certain defeat. [[Rock Toss]] can help clean up a missed KO, but it will often leave you in the Airstrike Patrol’s dust if forced to play it instead of a damage pump. After game one, bring in the sideboard. The next two games should be slightly in the deck’s favor due to having more attackers.
Insecticons: This plays out roughly the same as Airstike Patrol. Going first and hopefully pushing through four damage to [[Insecticon Skrapnel Insecticon Leader]] is the best chance at pulling out the win in game one. If bugs hit an energy transfer or are able to play an [[I Still Function!]], it effectively seals the game. I follow the same sideboard plan as the Airstrike matchup.
Post Hunt Review
I hope you enjoyed the write up on my Off-Road Safari deck. It has been my favorite deck to play lately, and I would love to hear any thoughts or opinions on the deck. I think this archetype is in a great spot going into Wave 5. I’m really looking forward to slotting [[Fusion Borer]] into the deck. I hope this article inspires you to take the deck out for a hunt.
NAME Off-Road Safari
1 Private Powertrain Off-Road Patrol Patrol Leader
1 Private Highjump Off-Road Patrol Infiltration
1 Private Mudslinger Special Ops Infiltration
1 Private Tote Special Ops Infiltration
1 Private Lionizer Ground Command Artillery
3 Combat Dagger
1 Kinetic Intensifier Whip
3 Power Punch
3 RR Disruptor Blade
1 Bashing Shield
3 Immersed In Shadow
3 Fight For Position
3 Heat of Battle
3 Peace through Tyranny
3 Rock Toss
1 System Reboot
3 Wedge Formation
3 Erratic Lightning
1 General Optimus Prime Infantry Leader
3 Grenade Launcher
3 Improvised Shield
1 Mounted Missiles