Ranking TFs Using Spark Run

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  • I have done Spark Run with all 106 TFs.

    There’s a lot of details to be considered in order to make Spark run results comparable

    • All TFs are at least at level 15. Only 5 of my TFs are overpowered to level 20 or higher. The overpower seems not to be very significant element.
    • All TFs are fully accessorized. I tend to prefer damage over defense. Defensive accessories might provide a little advantage but I haven’t tested this.
    • The runs are made either at Spark run level 350 or 500. There are a few exceptions but even then the level has been between 350 and 500.
    • The whole Spark run must be completed – if not the first TF then by the second or third in order the result being accepted.
    • The score is recorded only from the first TF in the run – there might be an exception or two.
    • At level 500 runs I record the score and that’s it. At level 350 runs the promotion–% is normalized to a common percentage and this score is recorded. I have used my average squad promotion–% as the common percentage.
    • With most TFs I have done only a single run. And even if I have done multiple runs with a TF only the best one is recorded. So there is no statistical significance to the results. The scores with one TF may vary considerably between runs.

    Additions

    • A TF might be good in the Spark run but not so good in event runs or vice versa, e,g. Sergeant Thundercracker was surprisingly good in the Spark Run but I would not use him in event runs because he is bad at breaking Energon structures.
    • A TF might need some special handling to perform optimally and that might take several run to learn and I’m not willing to learn e.g. how to destroy targets optimally when using Grapple.

    Some observations

    • Flying pigs are the most deadly enemy!
    • EMP accessory or capability will help a lot!

    Last edit: 2021–03–12 / 12.3.2021 / Mar 12th 2021

Viewing 23 replies - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
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  • GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    (More or less) Current ranking

    TFs in the TOP–10 have finished alone the level 500 Spark Run.

    1. Dirge – best TF based on Minion Pig
    2. Menasor – best TF based on Corporal Pig
    3. Superion – best TF based on Mighty Eagle
    4. Classic Bumblebee – best TF based on Chuck
    5. Mirage – best TF based on Bubbles
    6. Nightbird – best TF based on Zeta
    7. Nautica – best TF based on Nautica
    8. Slipstream
    9. Hound – best TF based on Terence
    10. Blaster
       
      These are the good ones
    11. Captain Starscream
    12. Warpath – best TF based on Bomb
    13. Major Soundwave – best TF based on Chef Pig
    14. Nemesis Prime – best TF based on Red
    15. Energon Nautica
    16. Breakdown
    17. Nemesis Hot Rod
    18. Devastator
    19. Soundwave
    20. Energon Starscream
    21. Specialist Ratchet
    22. Dead End – best TF based on Moustache Pig
    23. Energon Grimlock – best TF based on Hal
    24. Energon Bumblebee
    25. Alpha Trion
    26. Thrust
    27. Sideswipe
    28. Optimus Prime
    29. Wheeljack
    30. Sergeant Thundercracker
    31. Ultimate Megatron – best TF based on King Pig
       
      These are OK
    32. General Optimus Prime
    33. Sunstreaker
    34. Ratchet
    35. Drift
    36. Cyclonus
    37. Ironhide
    38. Chromia – best TF based on Stella
    39. Private Sideswipe
    40. Optimus Maximus
    41. Motormaster
    42. Ramjet
    43. Trypticon
    44. Sergeant Chromia
    45. Blurr
    46. Energon Megatron
    47. Energon Lockdown
    48. Major Shockwave
    49. Ionstorm
    50. Rodimus
    51. Drag Strip
    52. Dark Megatron
    53. Moonracer
    54. Novastorm
    55. Cliffjumper
    56. Red Alert
    57. Thundercracker
    58. Strongarm
       
      A bit on the weak side
    59. Omega Supreme
    60. Volcanicus
    61. Major Prowl – best TF based on The Blues
    62. Kup
    63. Grey Slam Grimlock
    64. Greenlight
    65. Lockdown
    66. Barricade
    67. Beachcomber
    68. Ultimate Optimus Prime
    69. Cosmos
    70. Smokescreen
    71. Sergeant Barricade
    72. Energon Galvatron
    73. Energon Optimus Prime
    74. Energon Soundwave
    75. Sounblaster
    76. Flamewar
    77. Epic Optimus
    78. Goldbite Grimlock
       
      These are actually quite bad
    79. Novastar
    80. Energon Windblade – best TF based on Silver
    81. Ricochet
    82. Bluestreak
    83. Bludgeon
    84. Lord Megatron
    85. Brawl
    86. Starscream
    87. Sentinel Prime
    88. Sunstorm
    89. High Octane Bumblebee
    90. Elita One
    91. Windblade
    92. Bumblebee
    93. Airachnid
    94. Jazz
       
      Absolutely the worst ones
    95. Ultra Magnus
    96. Acid Storm
    97. Skywarp
    98. Heatwave
    99. Prowl
    100. Major Ultra Magnus
    101. Galvatron
    102. Energon Shockwave
    103. Grapple
    104. Shockwave
    105. Arcee
    106. Scorponok
    ABT
    @abt

    @grimlockdown Impressive and excellent effort! No doubt you spent a lot of time meticulously testing, evaluating, and recording your results!

    My only concern is that it’s still difficult to accurately rank TFs when using Spark Run. In addition to each TF’s level and accessories, there is a significant amount of randomness in Spark Runs. I can use the SAME TFs over and over again and get completely different results/progress each time. It seems that sometime I get hundreds of WMTs, sometimes I barely get any. The same goes w/ flying pig swarms. There is just too much variation/randomless with Spark Run itself for it to be effective at producing consistent metrics. I also find that I do better with TFs that blows a lot of things up (ie. Blaster, Nautica) rather than ones that you have constantly swipe all over the screen (ie. Grimlock, Superion). Therefore, there’s some kind of player-specific bias as well.

    However, I think it is still quite useful as it is probably still accurate when comparing TFs that are more than 10-20 ranks apart. Your results will help many of us choose which to unlock or invest with overpowering or promotion.

    Great job!

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    @abt Thanks!

    You’re right that it is quite difficult to compare TFs. But I think the Spark Run is the best – and maybe the only – one where you have some kind of chances to make comparisons.

    I’m pretty sure that if you make a run at the same level with the same TF five or ten times your results start to form a bell curve. If the bell curve is wide then that TF has a weakness – or multiple weaknesses. If the bell curve is very narrow then that TF has very good chances either to go to the end or very near.

    I have added some more points to my first message.

    ABT
    @abt

    @grimlockdown I just noticed you’ve updated your list here. Some of my favorites for Spark Run are: Blaster, Nautica, and Superion. I wonder if these made your top 10.

    Keep up the good work!

    Pinokio
    @papakarlo

    @grimlockdown big work! But I not sure, if this ranking can be useful. All those TF’s in your list a much worse for SR, then 1st 10 TF’s. Using those 96 TF’s can rise % of SR fail. I can’t see any points to using them for SR besides promotion. Since promotion have only best TF’s from each squad, personally I using “Squad-based” ranking. As @abt correctly noticed, we have an SR killers, like Blaster, Mirage, Nautica etc. wich can finish SR alone (not always, but mostly). So, mixing SR killers with best TF’s from each current bonus squad – best way to successfully complete SR with lowest time spending.
    Your ranking list are correct and have big precission imo, I just don’t understand for what we can use it. Most TF’s in your list was never in my SR. And I not planing change this, because it’s can cut my Sparks income, or/and greatly increase time spending for SR.
    As an abstract variant of ranking all TF’s – very nice list, thank you for your work!

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    @papakarlo Yes, you’re right that most of the TFs are useless in the Spark Run. But, sometimes you might save time by using TFs that are not in TOP 10 because those TFs have a (much) higher combined promotion. Then the question is: Can that combination finish the Spark Run? The answer isn’t apparent in the list above but I will provide that list in the future.

    The most useful case for the ranking is when someone wants to know which TF to unlock or which TF to promote.

    And the third point is that I wanted to know and I wanted some variation to my Spark Runs.

    Pinokio
    @papakarlo

    @grimlockdown nice points! Now I see. Sorry, but for my playstyle those 3 points are absent, thats why I wrote previous post.

    Since we have “1 TF events” trend for now, I stoped promoting 2nd TF’s. Because it’s wasting of Sparks. So if you interested, my SR combination very simple and constant :

    1. SR “Killer” (Nautica, Blaster, Mirage etc.) – green crown promotion.
    2. “Sponsor” – Green crown TF from bonus squad (not in all squads still, tbh)
    3. “Cleaner” – usually Superion as backup.

    As you can see, no spot for most TF’s from your list. Imo using them in SR can lead to run fail, and wasting time/Sparks at all because of run fails, useless 2nd TF’s promotion etc.

    It’s just my tactic, if anyone have any notes or another tactic – you wellcome to comment.

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    @papakarlo You have very good tactic. You should try Classic Bumblebee as a SR “Killer”. As you can see from the ranking he is very good.

    I use either

    1. Test TF
    2. SR “Killer”
    3. ”Sponsor”

    or

    1. SR “Killer”
    2. ”Sponsor”
    3. ”Sponsor”

    I more or less knew good SR “Killers” beforehand but now I know for sure. And now I might try

    1. “Sponsor”
    2. ”Sponsor”
    3. ”Sponsor”

    because I know that the Sponsor only team can finish the Spark Run. I try not use Energon TFs because their performance can vary hugely.

    Pinokio
    @papakarlo

    @grimlockdown yes, Classic Bee one of the best for SR, but I have just red promotion for him, and also I already have green crown in The Iconic TF’s squad, so I using Classic Bee as SR killer only when his squad is a bonus one.

    Main target for my combination – SR must be succesfully finished every time I started it. 2nd target – spending lowest time as posible. I didn’t miss any SR since it was renewed, exept 3 times, which was technical problems, and new for me, like starting SR before new event starts, and finishing after, etc.

    I used your combinations before, exept last one. Very nice and usefull. But they need better concentration of my attention on the game. I play ABTF for relax and some fun. Afaik, 1 killer can finish SR if I have more then +1k bonus and almost no vehicle mode. But this can greatly increase time, needed for one run and have chance of fail, if Sponsors is very bad as SR killers. So mostly combination “killer/sponsor/sponsor” I using for killer’s squads, where sponsor=killer : Instruments of Destruction, Speedsters etc. And actually combination looks like “killer/killer=sponsor/sponsor”. For weak squads, like Brothers in Armor etc. – always with backup.

    Combination “sponsor/sponsor/sponsor” is crazy. Ofc everyone can do with own TF’s anything. Also I know some players, who promoting 3 TF’s in one squad. But they barely can took 3rd place in events, because their other squads very low promoted. Why should I  promote 3rd TF in one squad? Events uses only two, and once in two months, usually just one TF. Ofc, when ALL my squads will be with one green crown, I start to promote 2nd TF’s. And only when I got 2 green crown TF’ in every squad, maybe I’ll promote 3rd TF’s. But … heh, this will never happend ofc, because needed crazy amount of Sparks.

    Pako
    @pako

    Both are making good points. But I have to give it to @grimlockdown. If it wasn’t for his list I wouldn’t have given Dirge a shot in the spark run. Thank you.

     

    3X sponsor isn’t that crazy if the event squad has one SR killer. A green crown TF + 2 red crown TF’s is more than just a good combined promotion. BTW, promoting 2 TF’s to red crown costs less than what is needed to promote one TF to green crown.  My team for the spark run is usually a green crown SR killer and 2 red crown TF’s from the event squad.

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    @papakarlo When way back R/E lowered the cost of promotion it became feasible to promote two squad members and it made sense back then when we had two TF events. (Edit: and the old Spark Run where high promotion was essential This was incorrect: one needed three TFs regardless of squad membership.)

    Promoting two squad members gives you some leeway e.g. my Nemesis Prime was promoted to red crown and I was hesitant to promote him further until I saw the last two squad members. After the introduction of Classic Bumblebee it was relatively easy to decide to make him the number one squad member and promote Classic Bee to green crown.

    After the introduction of the Spark Run v2 it started to make some sense to promote 3rd squad member – not every squad as there’s not enough good TFs. Yes, it’s debatable if it makes sense to promote the 3rd member but what is a fact is that the cost is negligible: it cost’s “only” 13,450 sparks(†) to promote a TF from zero to gold crown and “moderate” 41,950 sparks from zero to purple crown. If and when applicable you get a big increase in promotion–%.

    So, for event runs it may be advantageous to promote only a single bot from a squad but for Spark Runs two bots per squad is the optimal strategy. If nothing more these two bots can be used as sponsors.

    (†)
    It costs 285,950 sparks to promote a TF from zero to green crown. Of that cost the gold crown is only 3.2% and the purple crown 10% but the gold crown gives you half of the total promotion–% and and the purple crown gives 67%. The last phase i.e. from the purple crown to green crown is a whopping 58.8% but this gives you “only” ⅙th of the total promotion–%.

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    @pako One should be a bit careful with the list. A TF may be high in this Spark Run ranking list but that same TF may be lousy in event runs. The reason for this is that the score can be high in a Spark Run even though the TF misses a lot of targets but the TF is good at evading lava balls, bullets etc.

    A couple of examples

    • Kup – very lousy in event runs as he only raises blocks into air but seems to manage a Spark Run quite well
    • Sergeant Thundercracker – very high in the list but is terrible at breaking Energon structures which can be catastrophic in event runs

    Dirge is quite a positive surprise though. As is Thrust but I wouldn’t use him in event runs because his weapon is unpredictable and slow.

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    And speaking of Dirge: He is the new number 1 in the ranking! I just made the first level 500 run using Dirge and he not only passed it but with zero health loss!!

    Dirge is fast but he misses most of WMTs. He has some kind of health regeneration capability so it makes him kind of no–brainer to use.

    moi
    @moifirst

    @grimlockdown
    Just like you I was completely surprised, that Dirge ended on the first place. The key fot this is indeed his health regeneration capability, which I’ve never noticed before. (Probably because I’ve hardly ever used him.)
    Thanks for making this ranking. It is quite an eyeopener.

     

    EDIT (15 min later): His health regeneration capability is also descibed in his biography:
    dirge bio.jpg

    Pako
    @pako

    @grimlockdown, you made good points. Back when the spark run needed between 3 to 5 bot, I did try-outs to select spark run worthy bots. All based on performance. Sought abilities were, inter alia,  EMP and easiness in killing pigs and in taking down structures. Now, with the spark run 2.0, I use two event squad bots promoted to red crown and a green crown SR killer, usually Nautica. If for any reason I don’t have a single event squad bot, I use 3 green crown bots, two fast ones and Superion as fall back.

    John
    @john12345

    @moifirst Does thrust have a special built in energonicon ability as well seeing as the other two do

    moi
    @moifirst

    @john12345 I’ve never seen any  built in energonicon ability with Thrust, but I must say I haven’t used him not very often.

    Pinokio
    @papakarlo

    @grimlockdown even 10% matter. Promoting 3rd TF to purple crown takes 10% x 29 squads = almost three green crown from zero. Or almost five from red crown to green. And gives you what? Nothing. Better promotion in SR – not giving more Sparks. Only maybe save some time, and it’s debatable actually.

    As I said before, I don’t have green crown in every squad. Usually combination of two promoted TF’s, one green (any stage) and one red (also any stage, not only crown). I promoting 2 TF’s in the past, because it’s helped alot in Event’s, when 2 TF’s events was very often. But now, for those 10%, instead of promoting 3rd useless and weak TF, I can finish 5-12 strongest TF’s in 5-12 squads. It’s mean I’ll get green crown in more squads, and since most event’s are 1 TF now, it’s will make me strongest in another 5-12 events per cycle, which can give me more tokens, gems, OP etc. Ofc, green crown in 1 TF event not mean 1st place automaticaly, but greatly increases chances. Just my strategy.

    Yes, playing same TF’s at SR every day during years is boring. But I not ready to waste Sparks, promoting Kup or Grapple. No fun smashing pigs by concrete block with Grapple power beam, if Warpath and Drag Strip died :D

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    Some additional info about TOP–10.

    1. Dirge – level 15 – purple crown
    2. Menasor – level 16 – red star
    3. Superion – level 18 – green crown
    4. Classic Bumblebee – level 17 – green crown
    5. Mirage – level 15 – green crown
    6. Nightbird – level 15 – red star
    7. Nautica – level 20 – green crown
    8. Slipstream – level 15 – red crown
    9. Hound – level 22 – green crown
    10. Blaster – level 22 – green crown

    The order is determined by calculating the average health left after all level 500 runs. Currently the maximum number of runs is three (Classic Bumblebee, Nightbird, Nautica and Blaster).

    Dirge and Menasor didn’t lost any health, Superion lost one heart, Classic Bumblebee and Mirage three and Nightbird four. Nautica and Slipstream lost almost all but managed to finish alive. Blaster and Hound managed to finish level 500 only once and with high promotion (about 1600% or more). Nautica has finished level 500 with lowest promotion (980%).

    My highest overpowered TF is Dead End (level 24) and he is at position 21. So with powerful TFs overpower isn’t that important – of course if helps.

    My recommendations are Classic Bumblebee and Dirge. They are fast and should always be able to finish level 500 (assuming some reasonable promotion). Classic Bumblebee requires some concentration from me but Dirge is almost indestructible. Mirage and Nightbird should also be OK (and some concentration). Superion and Menasor are very slow but are reliable. Nautica and Slipstream seem to require that I can maintain a good concentration on the run. I’m not recommending Blaster or Hound because they require very high promotion. Hound is also very slow.

    Pinokio
    @papakarlo

    @grimlockdown nice, I didn’t expected that Dirge so good at SR, thanx. Not sure, if I’ll promote him atleast to purple, Ramjet is better for events. Maybe next event for Coneheads, and ofc in case of 2 TF’s.

    FortressMaximus
    @fortressmaximus

    Dirge moves fast, and is very hard to kill, as noted.  However,  I have tried him out this week and feel like he leaves enough things undestroyed that it actually takes far longer for me to play with him than with energon starscream, who very quickly destroys everything.   Maybe it’s a question of my dirge being lvl 16 and energon starscream being lvl 20.

    ABT
    @abt

    Hi all. I didn’t noticed Dirge’s healing ability (seems like built-in Enerbot Energonicon?) until it was pointed out here. I only noticed that he’s quite resilient since I almost always finish with full health and never need to recharge his health.

    However, w/ the Event, I ended up using Ramjet since already have Ramjet at Green Crown. I find that Ramjet w/ Glassor Energonicon has no issues clearing everything. (It helps with all damage accessories maxed.) I can also get 1000+ points with Boss Pig runs (hit all of the missiles) and can finish off Unicron (pick off the flaming boogers in the air) as long as there are not too many falling monoliths. Dirge actually doesn’t do as well with Boss Pig or Unicron.

    For doing SR, I followed @grimlockdown’s approach:

    1. SR “Killer” (Green crown – no bonus aka 210%)
    2. ”Sponsor” (red/green crown – 700-840% bonus)
    3. ”Sponsor” (purple/red crown – 560%-700% bonus)

    I usually have a combo with ~1610% total bonus (1470-1750%) which allows me to finish lvl 500 SR w/ just the 1st TF. Even when the 1st TF dies, I’m usually at 80-90% already so I just need to finish w/ the 2nd TF. This combination let’s me finish the whole lvl 500 SR in under 15 minutes. If I had to settle with a lower bonus (<1400%), it will take longer to finish, and there’s a higher chance of the 1st TF not surviving. Picking the 2nd TF is important as it needs to be a TF that will do “respectable” in a SR. This is where @grimlockdown’s list is useful. I don’t have 2 TFs per squad promoted to green crown, but promoting to purple crown (+560%) from scratch only takes 41950 sparks (which I can earn back ~4 days of SR).

    If I don’t have any bonus squads and have to us 630% (3x non-bonus green crowns), I just dial it down and play at lvl 300 which will still let me finish around 10 minutes while netting 3300 sparks after ad bonus.

    GrimLockdown
    @grimlockdown

    If you take three best performing TFs from each squad and sum their scores you get the following squad ranking. The first figure is my promotion–% and the second number of TFs I have promoted.

    1. Combiners – 510 % – 3
    2. The Iconic Transformers – 475 % – 3
    3. Specialists – 355 % – 3
    4. Instruments of Destruction – 430 % – 3
    5. Speedsters – 385 % – 3
    6. Coneheads – 320 % – 2
    7. Femme Fatale – 430 % – 3
    8. Noughties – 300 % – 2
    9. Target: 2006 – 210 % – 2
    10. Officers – 480 % – 3
    11. Support – 440 % – 3
    12. Enslavers – 405 % – 3
    13.  
      These squads can’t complete a Spark Run

    14. Energized – 390 % – 3
    15. The Hotrods – 375 % – 3
    16. Operations – 355 % – 3
    17. VIP – 285 % – 2
    18. The Seekers – 350 % – 2
    19. The Wreckers – 345 % – 3
    20. Pure Warriors – 445 % – 3
    21. Energon Fueled – 465 % – 3
    22. Command – 300 % – 2
    23. Variant Versions – 350 % – 2
    24. Reinforcements – 140 % – 1
    25. Rescue Bots – 315 % – 2
    26. Leaders – 355 % – 2
    27. Valkyries – 285 % – 2
    28. Brothers in Armor – 285 % – 2
    29. The Cybertronians – 150 % – 2
    30. Gestalt – 140 % – 1

    In 9 squad the best TF can single–handedly complete level 500 Spark Run and the 3 next ones need 2 to 3 TFs. With these 12 you can – at least in principle – use

    • Sponsor
    • Sponsor
    • Sponsor

    model.

    The rest require

    • SR Killer
    • Sponsor
    • Sponsor

    model. Although, it can be argued that most – if not all – of the 12 most powerful squad have also a SR Killer.

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