This deck, which I built as part of the Turbo Revving Old Punks deck building challenge, is a departure from my normal approach because I'm using fan set cards. I am including pictures of the fan cards so people who aren't familiar with those sets can see some of the cool stuff people have been making to keep the game alive. Thanks to their efforts, I can finally make a helicopter deck!
Highbrow Appallingly Astute (TROP 1)(9)
Whirl (Wave 5)(12)
Tracer Ambitious Scout (Ark 1)(4)
Battle Cards (Pip)(Number)
Evasive Action (TROP Wave 1)(O - plane only)(3)
Arial Superiority (ARK Wave 1)(no pip)(3)
Trithyllium Drill (TROP Wave 1)(B)(3)
Armed Hovercraft (B)(3)
Cooling Vents (O)(3)
Drill Arms (B)(1)
Energon Axe (B)(3)
Matrix of Leadership (OB)(3)
Roll Out (OB)(2)
The Bigger They Are (B)(3)
War of Attrition (GB)(3)
Anticipation Engine (W)(2)
Crystal of Power (BL)(1)
Why these characters:
The first thing I thought when I saw Highbrow was "Finally, another helicopter. It's time to get to da choppa!" (Bonus points if you get the deck title reference).
When I started looking at helo options to pair with Highbrow, a character I've never been able to build around due to his high star cost jumped out - Whirl. At 12 stars, he's too expensive given that he's really not good enough to be the focus of a deck. He inevitably ends up in tall teams (a few big bots), which I find tend to get eaten alive by wide teams (many smaller bots). But it turns out he pairs quite nicely with Highbrow. Highbrow's alt ability is to ping his attacker for 1 damage if he flips two blue cards when defending. Whirl also loves blue pips - when you hit one while attacking, he pings each non-defending enemy. This is a great way to counteract wide teams and make the most out of my blue card strategy.
It would have been impossible to find a fitting third character before the fan made sets (and I've never really liked using star battle cards or stratagems that much). The official cards are very light on helicopters, and none had 4 stars (This was especially frustrating given the potential for Tidal Wave to deploy a 4 star helicopter but I digress). Alpha Bravo was the closest helo option at 5 stars but he obviously wouldn't fit. Tracer is admittedly nothing to get too excited about, but he fits the stars, fits the theme, and packs a little punch at 3 attack. His stealth ensures he can stay alive long enough to pick the best time to use him.
Why these battle cards:
This is a helicopter team so I tried to follow that theme first and foremost. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of helicopter support cards, so I'll take what I can get. Thankfully, the fan sets save the day once again, providing three cards for the deck. While it doesn't have a pip, Aerial Superiority is pretty beast for helicopters (+4 attack and pierce) ... but only if they face tanks, cars, or trucks (I guess boats are impervious to planes!). I'll take my chance that I face at least one those on the other team. This would be a great card for Tracer to use to make his turn worth something.
Evasive action is a nifty little card that reduces attack damage to helicopters (and planes and spaceships) by two. Normally its utility as a secret action is weakened by the fact that it goes away if the trigger doesn't occur, but in my case, someone will always be attacking a helicopter so it will always come into play.
For the rest of my deck, my strategy was to use blue cards to trigger my characters' abilities. I tried to pick cards that also had something to help offset the fact that I don't really have orange cards in this deck.
Trithyllium Drill is a blue card weapon that has a plan ability. This will only come into play in a few circumstanced given my deck, but when I use the ability my character gets +1 pierce. Armed Hovercraft is a blue card that goes on either of my ranged characters (Whirl or Highbrow) which has the nice side effect of adding another ping damage when it is placed. Brainstorm allows me to play two actions, which can trigger Highbrow's bot mode ability if I need it. Drill Arms give me plus 1 attack, but more importantly it weakens my opponent by taking out their armor (or giving me a card if they don't have any armor). Matrix of Leadership is mostly there to sneak some orange into my deck while maintaining near certainty that I'll flip blue every turn. I don't have a leader on this team, but the +1 attack from a utility spot helps my two Autobots. Roll out is another orange blue card that is mostly there for pips, but you never know when a flip card will come in handy. The Bigger They Are is there for Tracer, who will always be attacking a bigger bot and love getting pierce 4. Hopefully he lives long enough to enjoy this card. Tripwire is another source of chip damage, and if I'm facing a wide team (which could cause this relatively tall squad problems) it will help even the playing field by tapping a 5 star character. War of Attrition is usually hard to make use of because you really need to snag three to take full advantage of its chip damage, but since this deck is pretty low on attack power, I figured it's worth the risk. Energon Axe is a beasty weapon and its blue pip is a bonus.
Anticipation Engine is a white pip card (which shouldn't hurt my blue pip flipping because it allows me to flip more cards). What it brings to the table is the ability to play an action card if that's on top of my deck. With Highbrow's bot ability, I can set it up to make sure this happens (and this deck is pretty heavily weighted to actions anyway). These actions help offset my lack of orange pips in the deck.
Cooling vents is an orange pip armor card that repairs one damage from ranged characters when placed on them. This can help Highbrow and Whirl stay in the air. Crystal of Power is just cool so I had to add it.
This deck is all about pinging damage with blue cards. I'm likely using Whirl first - he's guaranteed to nail everyone on the other team and it gives me time to collect some cards for Highbrow to potentially use with his bot mode ability. If I get Brainstorm and some actions, I'll flip Highbrow, but otherwise, I like him defending in helicopter mode. Tracer is lying in wait hoping I get some cards that can help him make his life worth something - like Aerial Superiority, The Bigger They Are, or Crystal of Power (which goes away when he uses it anyway so it doesn't matter as much if he dies). Defense and healing cards are funneled towards Whirl if the opposing team is wide - if he can make it 4 turns he can really hurt a team of five star bots. If the opposing team is tall, I'd consider propping up Highbrow because he stings the opponent every time he is attacked.
Will this deck win? Who knows, but if you are losing, you can always ruuuuuun...goooo....get to the choppa!