Smash Up Strategy: Robots (and Microbots)
Out of all of the factions, Robots are completely unique within the Smash Up core box. Not only do they have their own abilities, like all of the factions do, but they also have a stronger minion to action card ratio. This comes with a huge amount of benefits, the likes of which we will be exploring in this article, however, it is not without its downsides as well. Robots don’t necessarily go with everything, which can restrict their gameplay.
That being said, the Robots are an incredibly powerful faction, with a lot going for them. When asking a few other people what their favourite core box combos were, I got the following responses, the likes of which may or may not surprise you:
So, why are they so popular? Well, all that comes down to the cards themselves, and for this we are looking at the actions on the cards, as well as one level further back at what the cards actually are. With that in mind, let’s dissect these mechanical fiends, and understand just what it is that makes these robots tick. Let’s pull apart this Smash Up Robots strategy.
Smash Up Robots – A Summary
The Robots are, in Smash Up, a little bit like a plague. They are unrelenting, with huge combos being a part of their repertoire due to the sheer number of awesome (if not a little small) minions that they have at their disposal.
This will become clearer as we journey through the card list, but you can see, in their hand, that there are a huge number of minions that allow for the constant replenishing of bases and/or the player hand. These are hugely valuable.
It will, traditionally speaking, require a large number of Robots to score highly on a base. They tend to be low in power (which feels somewhat ironic seeing as they are robots) and to help show this I have restructured the card lists to show the power before the minion type. That being said, there are a lot of them. Let’s take a look.
Card List for the Robots of Smash Up
Get ready for this, because the Robots (as mentioned above) are unusual in the Smash Up world. Prepare for what is possibly the game’s longest Minion list.
- Power 5 – 1x Nukebot – Ongoing: After this minion is destroyed, destroy each other player’s minions on this base.
- Power 4 – 2x Warbot – Ongoing: This minion cannot be destroyed.
- Power 3 – 3x Hoverbot – Reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a minion, you may play it as an extra minion. Otherwise, return it to the top of your deck.
- Power 2 – 4x Zapbot – You may play an extra minion of power 2 or less.
- Power 1 – 2x Microbot Reclaimer – If this is the first minion you played this turn, you may play an extra minion. Shuffle any number of Microbots from your discard pile into your deck.
- Power 1 – 2x Microbot Fixer – If this is the first minion you played this turn, you may play an extra minion. Ongoing: Each of your Microbots gains +1 power.
- Power 1 – 2x Microbot Guard – Destroy a minion on this base with power less than the number of minions you have here.
- Power 1 – 1x Microbot Alpha – Ongoing: Gains +1 power for each of your other Microbots. All of your minions are considered Microbots.
- Power 1 – 1x Microbot Archive – Ongoing: After one of your Microbots (including this one) is destroyed, draw a card.
- 2x Tech Center – Choose a base. Draw one card for each of your minions there.
Smash Up Strategy: Robots – Hints and Tips
Microbots, Microbots, Microbots. Microbots, Microbots, Microbots. Microbots, Microbots, Microbots. You get the idea.
To be blunt, the Microbots form the main part in any Robot based strategy for a very good reason. They act as both a minion and an action card. Where all minions have abilities (bar the King Rex from the dinosaurs) the Robot minions tend to have the most complicated. This is because they are not simple actions that just affect one or two aspects of the game – but instead, they can affect the whole game with just a few tweaks. Where traditional action cards may be used, instead there is a Microbot for that.
Now, looking at that card list, let’s do a small test. Which minion is the Robots’ most powerful minion?
The solution may seem clear. There is only one Power 5 minion – the Nukebot. It must be that, right?
Well, if we are talking about a strictly PvP battle – one card vs one card then yes, you would take the Nukebot. It is the most powerful when we are talking about direct power, but, what about indirect power?
What do we mean by indirect power? Well, let’s take a look at a few potential combos.
If you need direct power then you may be able to get 5 from the Nukebot. Alternatively, in a Dinosaur/Robot combo you may be able to use a Hoverbot to pull a Hoverbot to pull a Hoverbot to pull King Rex. That would be both insanely lucky and 16 power on a turn. That, plus Upgrade as the played action, would be a net increase of 21 power on the board in a turn. That is really really good.
That being said, and this would be near impossible, but let’s say you are playing Dinosaur/Robots and you manage to get all but one of your Robot minions onto the board. It would be near impossible without tipping bases past the scoring point, but let’s say it is theoretically possible, for the sake of the debate. That would be 17 minions in total from the Robot side.
Then you play Microbot Alpha. Suddenly, that microbot gains +1 power for every Robot in play. That’s a potential 18 net power growth in a turn, plus Upgrade would increase that to 23 power in one turn. It’s unbelievable an incredible turn. Not to mention – it is just about possible. Play the Microbot Fixer on top of that and things begin to get even more ridiculous
Okay, so in a standard game those two environments wouldn’t happen; however, it is more than possible to get 10 minions on the board with ease, and so the Microbot Alpha is still worth a good net value increase of 11 power if played. That is still really really good.
You see, Robots start weak, but the Microbots work in a network. Before you know it, the Microbots Alpha, Fixer, and Reclaimer have turned eight 1 Power minions into a force that can, if fully optimised, turn into a base of 38, plus 18 from the Alpha, plus a further 18 from each Fixer. That’s 92 potential power, from one faction side alone, not including any additional benefits from the other Smash Up-ed faction.
What is the primary downside of the Robots? Well, their downside is they are slow. Yes, there are lots of minions, however, the vast majority are the weakest minions on the board. They may be the only faction with 18 minions, but they are also the only base faction with Power 1 minions as well in the base game.
So, what is the best Smash Up strategy for the Robots? It’s simple, use as many combos to get as many cards into play as possible. This means optimising the action cards of their synergised faction, as well as using the Microbots to the best of their abilities. Robots are powerful in numbers.
Good Robot Combos
Now let’s have a quick look at a few combos that seem to work well with Robots.
Robots + Dinosaurs
Robots and Dinosaurs have been mentioned a few times throughout this article, and so I won’t drone on about them too much. Needless to say the additional power can get pulled through by the Hoverbots and the Dinosaur action cards are great for making weak minions strong. This can be a fairly devastating combo at the best of times due to the power upgrades and being able to pull additional cards from the deck during the game.
Robots + Zombies
The ability the Zombies have to pull minions out of the discard pile works well with the Robots. Not only are the Robots about having large numbers of units on the battlefield at any one time, but they also have the ability to pull their own Microbots out of the discard pile as well is amazing. This means it is difficult to completely kill off a Robots/Zombie combo as there isn’t a single card they can’t get back with monotonous regularity.
Robots + Tricksters
The Tricksters have the ability to play more than one minion on a base each turn. With the abilities of the Hoverbot/Microbot Reclaimer this can be a fantastic combo, as it means potentially getting 4-6 minions out per turn. This is using the Trickster’s Enshrouding Mist card.
Robots + Pirates
Being able to save cards that would be otherwise destroyed is an incredibly powerful tool. For this, we are looking at the Pirate ability Full Sail. Full Sail can be played before a base is scored, and can save any number of minions, sending them to other bases. This is especially useful if you are (a) uncontested on the scoring base and you overshoot the power (b) massively losing on the scoring base or (c) wanting to stop a base from scoring. By moving minions you can use them again, potentially scoring another base as well. It is a fairly solid Smash Up strategy.
Conclusion: Smash Up Strategy: Robots
We started this article by saying that the Robots are unique in the core set, and they are. They are, for want of a better term, a complete plague of minions. That being said, this allows for all kinds of Smash Up strategies. It allows for all kinds of chaos and fun and moves that your opponents simply won’t expect.
They are a really fun cluster of units to play as designed to attack, wave after wave after wave, pushing bases past their limits with a few surprise moves. This makes them somewhat complex, but also highly enjoyable.
So, what do you think? Are the Smash Up Robots a faction you can get behind? Or, are they a faction you would rather leave alone? Let me know in the comments below.