“We’d like to think it’s our magnetic personalities, terrible banter and intelligent plays that keep people coming back … ” – Nick of Blues on Attack on why people watch their channel.
Blues on Attack are a youtube channel that bursted into the Transformers TCG social scene shortly after the release of Wave 3. They made an immediate impression, releasing three videos a week in an near-unbreakable and relentless schedule, and just this last week have started a talk show ‘Blue Talk’, complete with ridiculous smooth jazz intro. But who are these odd British fellows with the beards, tattoos and longhair? I sent a message out to Nick to see if we could have a few words.
For those that don’t know, what is Blues on Attack? How does it differ from other Transformers TCG channels?
Blues on Attack is a channel solely dedicated to the Transformers TCG with game play videos being our main thing. We started just like other Transformer content creators and slowly grew into what made us different which was showcasing a lot of jank and coming up with bad slogans. Our main ‘mantra,’ if you will, was to have fun playing the games. We will of course be expanding into other video types in the near future!
Where is Blues on Attack based?
BoA Bungalow Headquarters of course!
Joking aside, all four of us live in a small town called Banbury, in Oxfordshire.
So before we talk about the game and the channel, let’s talk Transformers – what was your first introduction to the franchise?
Nick – Mine was G1 all the way back when I was 10 (about 27 years ago). I had a lot of the toys and watched all the cartoons. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Adam – The G1 cartoon and toys, I remember having season one on VHS tape and binge watching it over and over!
Salty – My first introduction was the toys. My brother and I got an Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus (he got Prime, I got Magnus) and then it grew from there with one of my favourite films being the 86 animated movie!
Dan – I had a few toys growing up, but I never really got involved with the comics.
Do you consider yourself fans of Transformers as a whole, or are you more casually involved in the fandom and more into the gaming side of the hobby?
Nick and Adam are probably the most hardcore fans of the franchise (toys, films, tv etc) with Salty coming in an extremely close second. Dan is more of a fan of the card game side of things but can definitely appreciate the big fancy robots .
Do you collect any Transformers toylines and which ones? Do you read any of the comic books?
Adam, in terms of the toys, generally buys anything he can afford that he likes. His collection is mostly the ‘masterpiece’ style from Takara/Hasbro and 3rd party companies. He also has a big interest in the comics with the main IDW ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ story arc being his favourite, with the Wreckers trilogy a close second. Nick owns a couple of third party pieces (his Warbotron Bruticus being his favourite piece) but has never gotten involved with the comics.
When did you first hear about Transformers TCG? When did you first pick it up?
It was just before SDCC2018 when they announced the exclusive packs. As players of TGC’s we were all surprised when WotC announced they were producing another game with a franchise we loved. Dan is a big MtG player so naturally was drawn in on that angle. Nick and Salty both got the exclusive pack through one of Nick’s contacts at SDCC and were surprised when they opened the packs to find only four cards. Little did they know the value. When the game was released, all four of us immediately picked up a starter and fell in love with the game.
What did you like about the game?
The game felt immediately balanced from the off. A lot of TCG’s require large amounts of money to invest in decent decks but TF seemed to be very entry level friendly, being very easy to learn the simple core mechanics. Also, the flipping/transforming mechanic was pretty neat, like reliving our fantasies as children, pretending to be Transformers.
Do you have much of a local scene?
The four of us are generally the most hardcore players at our locals. Our scene isn’t massive but you can definitely attribute that to the game still being in it’s infancy and we do live in a small town haha. We are, however, getting new people interested in the game all the time, so it’s growing nice and steadily.
As a group had you been hanging out together long? Where do you know each other from?
Nick and Salty have probably known each other the longest (12 years give or take), meeting when Salty was tattooing Nick for the first time. Everyone became better acquainted at our local gaming club, having already known each in some aspect but never really hanging. You could probably say that our locals really brought us together (roughly about 3 years ago).
What other media have you created online beyond Transformers TCG, e.g. podcasts, video channels, etc?
Nick and Salty have been hosting a video game podcast since 2014 called The Level-Clear Podcast. During that time they have recorded nearly 200 episodes and featured some very cool guests including David Hayter of Metal Gear Solid fame. They also have a YouTube channel on the occasion that they fancy sticking some videos up. Dan has recently been trying his hand at becoming a streamer under the guise of Smash Face Games but is currently on hiatus whiles he’s sorts his set up.
When did you decide to create a games channel for Transformers TCG? What prompted you to do so?
Just after wave 3 was released, Nick excitedly sent a message to our Transformer group chat asking if anyone fancied starting a channel. Everyone agreed almost immediately. It was that easy. I think at that point, we had fallen in love with the game that much, it just felt like the right thing to do.
Was there any anxiety about jumping in to the channel with three videos from the start?
No, not at all. By that point, Nick and Salty had been doing a Podcast show for five years so already had experience there. Also, we were doing it just for fun so had it failed, we still would have had a good time. If you worry too much, you’ll never get thins done.
How would you describe the production of a video?
The process is fairly simple starting with the idea that we want to try and have matches no one has seen before. We meet to film every other week on a Thursday with some of the guys building decks on the spot and Nick (the insane one) having 20 or so pre built decks to play with. We try and get everyone in games during sessions but it doesn’t always go that way. Everything is filmed on an iPhone X believe it or not. Thanks to Dan, we’ve only recently got a soft box and tripod! We’d like to keep improving the quality over time, though. After that’s all done, Nick will then edit the videos over the course of a week. Sometimes in one weekend haha. In total, filming takes about 6 hours and the editing, roughly the same, so 12 hours overall on a given week.
Blues on Attack’s audience grew incredibly rapidly as soon as you guys appeared; beyond quality of content, why do you think Blues on Attack grew as quickly as it did?
We’d like to think it’s our magnetic personalities terrible banter and intelligent plays that keep people coming back but realistically, one of our main strengths is consistency. Ever since we began, we have released three videos a week without break and we are not sure how we keep up with it! We are not the best players on the planet but that’s ok. We think it’s comforting for others to see that mistakes are made, you can try dumb teams out and just have fun.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome as video producers?
Time. Time is always a killer. We all work full time jobs, have families and other responsibilities. Keeping all those things in check and trying to provide regular, quality content, will always be a tough balance. Aside from that, it’s all been fun and games so far, excuse the pun.
How do you feel shortly before a video is released? How do you feel after?
We initially don’t worry about it before. After can be a different story as you always want people to enjoy what you do. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re doing it because we’re enjoying it and nothing else matters. Although it can be disheartening to see negative comments (not that we’ve had many), it’s then that we really need to double down on the carefree attitude. It should always be fun. Plus, our audience and the community as a whole are amazing and supportive.
As part of your Meta Mondays series, you take other people’s decks and play them on camera – often without having played them before. How has the reception been from the deck’s creators been when you do this?
Initially, the whole point of the series was to see if four average players could take well-constructed decks and play them straight out the box, recreating dream matches and also testing them against our own good decks. It was in two parts, testing ourselves as players and also seeing if we could recreate what the deck creator had intended – with, as you would have seen, mixed results. The feedback we have received from the creators is exactly what we wanted, good and bad. And bad in this situation is subjective because being told we played the deck wrong is actually a good thing. We have discussed the possibility of testing decks before recording but we do not always get time. We may decide to try and get the creators involved in the process in the future if they are willing.
Have there been any strange decks you’ve put together yourselves that you’re especially proud of?
Nick – Not that I’d call it strange but I’m quite fond of my old Blurr bold deck. Most of my new jank is pretty fun though including the Passive Aggressive Predacons and my dumb Springer Multi Missile Machine.
Salty – it’s got to be my Four Wide Cars that I’ll always be particularly proud of but in recent times, my ‘Weird Cars’ has been doing well for me. Lot’s of crazy resets with Mirage!
Dan – Bombshell/Cosmos is a fun one that always gets people rattled. I’m also super in love with Omega Supreme (W4) and my Shockwave Overwhelming Advantage decks.
Adam – To echo Nick, my favourite deck is not weird but it does produce a crazy amount to Tough. And that is my defensive Nemesis deck. It’s so silly.
Where do you see Blues on Attack heading now that you’ve established yourself?
We are looking to branch out into other video types. We wanted to establish ourselves in the community before going too nuts with the content. We’d like to do interviews with members of the community, deck profiles and other strange ideas we’ve had bouncing around. Keep an eye out soon for a Christmas skit (You can see that here – Ed)! Otherwise, we just want to get bigger and support this game and community for as long as fortune let’s us.
What would be your advice to anyone who wants to start their own YouTube channel discussing or playing Transformers TCG?
First and foremost, do it because it’s fun and you enjoy it. Don’t go looking for fame or money because ultimately, you will be disappointed. Secondly, try and find something that makes you different from the rest. Anyone can pick up a camera and press record so why should you stand out? Try and find that hook and then roll with it.
What do you want to see from Transformers TCG in the new year?
Nick – Galvatron! And more support for the UK scene.
Adam – I would like to see something like headmasters incorporated somehow into the game, but with Overlord and Tarn being two of my favourite characters, I would love to see them in the game!
Dan – Give me the Star Sabre!
Salty – I feel we need more representation for Bumblebee. He seems left out.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to add for everyone reading this interview?
Uhh yes, please like and subscribe haha. Also, thank you so much to this amazing community. We have been welcomed with open arms and the fan interaction/feedback has been amazing.