Since the debut of the hit television cartoon series in 1984, Transformers has, and have been a great source of entertainment, marketing, and requisite moral teaching. If any should recall the life lessons learned at the end of any given Transformers episode, these were required by the production company, due to the fact that the sole reason for the cartoon’s existence was simply to market toys to kids (which it did very successfully).
Since the cartoon series, there have been spin off shows, films (both animated and live action), comics, music, toys, cosplays, and all manner of things Transformers.
However, this article is not going to focus on any sort of positive, “love thy neighbour” life lessons, nor is it about the economical boon Transformers has been for its creators. To the contrary, this article is all about the villainy of the Transformers, in the powerful vehicular-manslaughtering style of the Decepticons. Below are fifteen of the most powerful Decepticons to have graced the Transformers universe. Now true, there are many others beyond those listed here (like the insecticons of Beast Wars), but a line must be drawn, and here are some of the most devastating, and cunning villains Transformers has to offer.
15. The Fallen
The very first Decepticon. Of course there is no way that a list of powerful Decepticons could be put together without this magnificent specimen making an appearance. And why not make him first on the list, as he was the genesis of the Transformer villains. The so-called Fallen, had an actual name once upon a time. Megatronus was once his name, until he fell from grace. Very much a Lucifer, or Judas-like story. Finding some degree of selfishness in a group that was solely about giving, for the greater good, Megatronus turned against his brothers to achieve his own desires. The Fallen had once been a disciple of Primus, and much in the same way that Lucifer had been tainted, and stripped of the beautiful angelic qualities he had in Heaven, so too was Megatronus stripped of his moral character, and he was consumed by a raging fire. Indeed, the cartoon series saw this character as a constant, fiery furnace. The granddaddy of all evil in the Transformers universe, The Fallen is a welcome opener to this list.
Everyone’s most favourite, and annoying Transformer. Starscream may not come across as overwhelmingly powerful, or useful (indeed he spends most of his time plotting against his own leader), but the cunning with which Starscream asserts himself is unparalleled in the Transformers universe. Even though he is the most untrustworthy, and deceitful of all of the Decepticons (which is saying a lot), Starscream always manages to be spared destruction for his continued attempts of treachery. His malice, and manipulation are indeed strong factors in his favour. And this is without mentioning his incredible speed, agility, and efficiency in battle. Though, for the most part, Starscream is typically foiled, and exposed as a treasonous pain the metal ass, he has had his run as leader, however briefly. Of course, the return of Megatron did not bode well for the conniving pile of scrap. All in all though, Starscream might be a devious ally, but he is assuredly a devastating foe.
The most well known, likely, of all the Decepticons, Megatron has many a story line to follow (many thanks to the animated series, the comics, and the films). At least with regards to the Transformers Prime story arc, Megatron was once nothing more than a mining robot, named D-16. Laughable to think that the super villain of the old animated series could have been something so paltry, given his incredible standing as a mechanical monster. Taking his name from the very first Decepticon (later known as The Fallen), D-16 took on the name of Megatronus, and began making a bit of a tizzy in the political arena. When his proposal to create a just society was shot down by the high council, Megatronis (who had then shortened his name to Megatron, saw fit to obliterate Cybertron. The story in most cases, ends up picking up on Earth where Megatron, and his ultimate rival Optimus Prime fight for the greater good of Cybertron (and Prime does work to save Earth).
Perhaps this author’s favourite Decepticon of all time, Soundwave is actually a cassette player; releasing several smaller bots to do his bidding at the simple push of an eject button. For those readers too young to know what that is, a simple Google search will more than sate the curiosity. For those old enough to know what that is, the one will also know why, at the time the animated series was airing at least, that was so cool. And for those too young to have been exposed to cassettes, but who are still using them all the same, welcome hipsters. Soundwave is Megatron’s right hand, and is certainly more trusted than Starscream. His undying devotion to Megatron is astounding, and often alarming to other Decepticons who would much rather dissemble for their own ends. This does not mean that Soundwave does not have his own desires, but he favours his work in the Decepticons over personal gain. His ability to read minds by way of electronic impulse analysis, makes Soundwave a very welcome addition to Megatron’s collection of warriors, and though he may be a bit retro, he still works better than a lot of things today (ie. the butchered version of Soundwave in the recent films).
While on the subject of waves, why not introduce Shockwave: another rather important addition to Megatron’s army. The tactical, and military leader of Megatron’s forces, there is something rather peculiar about Shockwave, that even makes the stoic Soundwave seem like a blast at parties (pun intended). Shockwave is essentially the embodiment of logic. Computing every conceivable detail of a given situation, Shockwave bases each and every one of his decisions on pure logic. Speaking of his loyalties, he had only this to say, “Ultimately, I serve only one master… pure logic.” So, in the end, much of what comes to pass with regards to Decepticon battle plans is blamed on Shockwave, even though he is completely emotionally removed from it all. It’s no wonder that he receives so much blame though, given that the hot-headed Megatron is the leader, and his back-stabbing, and equally emotional pet Starscream is never far behind. Given his incredible powers of deduction, and reasoning, Shockwave should be given far more credit.
And speaking of shock, Bombshock is a devastatingly intense addition to the Decepticon ranks. One could call him Shellshock, but that would imply that the trauma caused to him through war had somehow rendered him unable to battle. With Bombshock, it is quite the opposite, and his name is more descriptive of the weapons he brings to bare, than the effect war has had on him. Having fought for millions of years in civil war on Cybertron, Bombshock is an unbelievably calloused beast of a robot. Completely devoid of any emotion but rage, once on the battlefield, it is often difficult to stop the mechanical massacre that ensues (even at the cost of his own men, and often himself). Leader of the Military Patrol, comprised of three other, yet rather unnotable bot, Bombshock is constantly plotted against, and met with contest. But treason never seemed to bother this combative cyber being. Given that, after millions of years, fighting is the only thing he has known, it matters little to Bombshock just who or what he fights.
This rather… eccentric Decepticon (though his comrades simply call him jerk), is seemingly faced with some sort of multi-personality disorder, which happens to make him one of the more powerful, and simultaneously frightening robots in the Transformers universe. One of three Decepticons who can “triple change” (Octane and Astrotrain being the other two), Blitzwing can, at will, transform from jet, to bot, to tank (or any order of those three). Imagine, is possible, a tank taking shots at an Autobot. The tank then takes to the sky, does a bombing run, and transforms into a bot, shooting a gun, and kicking the crap out of whatever’s around… that’s Blitzwing. His triple change ability seems to have left him somewhat scarred though, in his mental programming. From strategic, to wrathful, to just plain hilariously nuts, Blitzwing is truly a pain the armoured ass for his allies. Typically he is seen making jokes, that do not always turn out so funny. What’s most interesting, and deadly, is seeing the mental transformation, just as quickly as the physical one, but over the course of a single sentence.
Yes, the only female Decepticon to make the list (apologies to those who are offended by this). Airachnid, technically at a certain point, cannot truly be called a Decepticon, but given her once-upon-a-time membership, one thought it fit to include her and her badassery here. Perhaps more treacherous than Starscream (if only because she often succeeds in getting her way), Airachnid has burned perhaps each and every bridge ever afforded her… there is seemingly no more rope, wood, concrete, nor steel for bridge-making with regards to her. Having tired of the constant battles between Decepticons and Autobots, Airachnid decided to fly solo, pursuing a rather sickening hobby: hunting and decapitating endangered species. Having killed her own partner, it might have been too on the nose to call this once-Decepticon Black Widow (or perhaps there were copyright issues with Marvel), but the collection of endangered animal heads…that’s something specially villainous. She also has the ability to control Insecticons (none of which are here listed, but are important in their own way all the same).
This high-flying Decepticon has a dent on his shoulder for those petty beings who cannot leave the ground. Oozing with contempt, it is as though his last oil change was replaced with contempt for flightless beings (not just robots, but flightless beings of all sorts). That being said, he does sometimes have at least a slight degree of sympathy for humans, as made clear in his saying “These creatures were never worthy adversaries. The Decepticons are forged through combat, not slaughter.” But given that his wing men (pun intended), Starscream and Skywarp keep him pretty well in line, Thundercracker scarcely dissuades himself from the destruction of Earth, and those land-locked creatures who inhabit it. However, in spite of his relative commitment to his job, his disdain for flightless things, and his occasional sympathy for humans, it seems that Thundercracker just doesn’t really care much for the Decepticons anyway.
Lugnut, as is seemingly suggested by his name, is nothing but a fastener, meant to keep things together through its efforts. There is no thinking involved for a lug nut; it just must remain secured, and do what it is made for. Similarly, Lugnut is absolutely devoted to the “mastermind” who is Megatron. Though some may argue that he is not truly dim, it seems more than reasonable that his circuitry might have cut him a few amps short of some real critical faculties. Regardless, his devotion to Megatron, and his incredible battle prowess, make Lugnut a more than worthy addition to the Decepticons. Able to level city blocks, acres, or even just a score of Autobots with a single ‘Explosive Punch’, Lugnut really is a devastating member of the team. Though he can get a bit tiresome, due to his constant praising of the dear leader, Megatron, Lugnut is not very often reprimanded for this drivel. Why would he be, when he can lay waste so easily? He may be a bit thick, and would rather destroy, than strategize, but he is constant in his purpose, and beliefs. And what are those? “I believe only two things: The Decepticons will rule Cybertron, and Megatron will rule the Decepticons!”
Alright, so there is a lot of bad that can be said for the new, live-action Transformers films (like every part of the film that does not have some sort of robot battle in it), but this showing of Blackout is just fun. It’s a bit silly because Blackout is seemingly going after some degree of intel, like he really cares about anything other than destruction, but whatever. This largest of all Decepticons (though not in the films), is the stuff of legend. If any can recall what the Omega Sentinels are (bots created in the likeness of Omega Supreme — a last line of defense sort of bot), then it will be no surprise just how incredibly devastating they can be. Well, Blackout mauled his way through a great swath of these sentinels before finally succumbing to destruction himself. Hell, with every step this behemoth takes, the power goes out (perhaps hence the name?). He is basically one large, weaponized, EMP of death and destruction.
Like Blitzwing, Astrotrain is a triple-changing Decepticon. This is an ability he is more than happy to lord over others. Deception not being just a part of his job title, but also just a sheer pleasure for him Astrotrain does what he can to confuse his enemies, and even bystanders, because what’s more fun than picking on them? Especially when Astrotrain’s main job is simply flying the Decepticon troops from this place to that. Giving him a lot of time to do nothing but think… and perhaps think too much. Indeed, Astrotrain wishes to one day have an army of “train drones” at his disposal. This is unlikely to happen, given his constant transportation service, and the vigilance of Decepticons like Soundwave, who can easily know exactly what one is thinking, but it is still an ambition. And ambition is not something Megatron needs more of within his ranks. He does already have Starscream. That being said, thanks to his ability to confuse enemies with his triple change, and his sheer size, as made obvious in the above photo, Astrotrain is indeed a formidable addition to the Decepticon lineup.
Ok, so this video does show the “death” of Bonecrusher at the hands of Optimus Prime, but he does show up for a sneaky peek in the second film anyway (before inexplicably disappearing from every subsequent film). Originally, Bonecrusher was a bulldozer, and a member of the Constructicon section of the Decepticons. Loving nothing more than to lay waste to the world around him, it made perfect sense that a bulldozer would enjoy destruction. In the film, however, he is relegated to a mine-clearing vehicle, that would be used for the cessation of destruction, and not for the cause of it. Sure, the film version of Bonecrusher clearly cares little for the amount of destruction he brings, but changing up the vehicle form made less sense in the film than the clear transition of bulldozer (since he is a Constructicon), to a bot that loves demolishing things. All the same, Bonecrusher, in the animated series, prided himself on being able to show the devastation he wrought on this place or that. The above film version seems hellbent on not very much at all… nor for very long.
One of the great Combaticons of the Decepticons army, Brawl is… well he is very aptly named. There should be no shock that this robot likes to fight. And given his short, short temper, he will fight anyone. Not a very helpful Decepticon in terms of stealth missions, Brawl makes as much noise as is physically possible. One sometimes wonders if there’s something mechanically wrong with him, given the amount of noise, but that also is accompanied by his blasters, yelling, and smashing everything in his path. Brawl is also not a robot to take in to a hostage negotiation. Short of patience, and of understanding, he would much rather dispatch every person, and robot in the room, than have to sit and chat about it. It’s a good thing he’s not an Autobot with a short fuse, because the number of civilian casualties that would be on his hands… and his feet, and every other part he slams into the ground… there would be a lot of blood and spare parts on the Autobots… but instead, Brawl just has at the Autobots, and everything else. Nothing like a metal container of rage to really kick off a battle.
Barricade was part of a Cybertronian racing gang, and was subsequently a Decepticon leader of the Race Track Patrol. Comprised of Micromaster bots, it was a tight ship, that Barricade ran. Eventually, like Airachnid, Barricade would leave the Decepticons, along with his team, but not out of personal gain: simply out of disillusionment. All the same, Barricade (earning his name from race-control tactics, was a fast, and cunning force. In the film, he is a police car, that has a rather brief battle with Bumblebee, just before Shia LaBeouf, and Megan Fox gets started on their robotic adventure of not-so-awesome-ness. It really must be said that Barricade, having been once an Autobot, venturing out to become a Decepticon, then dropping both ideals, and hitting it out on his own with his crew, was a far superior Transformer in the animated series than he ever could have been in the films. That being said… each and every last Transformer in the live-action films, were very strange (attempt-to-be-updated) renderings of their original, and amazing selves. Perhaps one day there will be a battle between Autobots and Decepticons that is worth watching.