The Transformers have a giant roster of classic characters. Admittedly, most of them are Decepticons. The bad guys really have the better catalogue, and generally seem to have more fun doing their job. It’s their leadership that’s screwed up. You have Megatron, who is such an egomaniac he wears a gun the size of a planet on his shoulder and is still constantly undermined by his much cooler second in command. Then you have Galvatron, who once destroyed a planet with the sheer power of his insanity. So, yeah, there’s that.
But, you also have to look at the Autobots. They are less of an army than they are a ragtag group of mismatched resistors that Optimus Prime has managed to form into a team. For every Ultra Magnus and Iron Hide, you have guys like Huffer. For every Prowl, you have Seaspray. SEASPRAY! Maybe the question isn’t why the war has gone on so long, it’s how have the Autobots not wiped themselves out already. Maybe Optimus Prime keeps dying on purpose. He just wants away from these messes.
For this list, we’ve explored the Transformers roster and found the 16 Worst Autobots Of All Time, Ranked.
Triple changers are pretty cool. They get to be giant robots and two different vehicles. And look at Broadside! He’s a plane and an aircraft carrier.
Wait, he’s afraid of heights? Okay, that’s kinda odd. Well, good thing he has the other mode. Sure, you really don’t have much use for a water-based alt-mode on Cybertron, but aircraft carriers are—wait, he’s afraid of the water too? Then what use is he?!
The Transformers’ evolutionary track make their vehicle modes as natural and as important as their robot modes. They literally are these things. It’d be like a human having a fear of hearing or seeing. Broadside is this much of a mess. What’s worse is that Transformers can reformat themselves and choose other alt-modes, so what’s this guy doing? Go be a modest four-door family van. Or a badass sports car.
Would you look at this abomination? So desperate were the doctors to save Rack and his brother Ruin that they merged the two like conjoined twins, making it so that these Robots in Disguise were alive, but could no longer transform. The confusing thing is, they stayed this way. Both of their sparks were intact apparently, and they’re only tethered together in a way that makes it look like they’re holding hands like Bill Clinton and Bob Dole on The Simpsons. So why not just, you know, separate them now that neither is in danger of dying anymore? Admittedly, forcing kids to buy two toys at once is a smart reason, but in-universe? Meh.
It also confusing from that in-universe perspective; the fact that Autobot scientists can save these two nobodies using godless Frankensteinian science, but they can’t manage to keep Optimus Prime dying every forty-five minutes?
Other than that, what can you say about him? Them? Whatever. They like hitting things with hammers and not thinking things through. Usually, they get killed off because artists don’t enjoy drawing robots that look like they’re about to start the hopak squat dance.
Oh, poor, poor Scrounge. Unlike many of the others on this list, Scrounge isn’t an idiot with a personality disorder. He isn’t on this list because he’s insufferable, tedious, or tries so hard to be cool you just want to throw him into a black hole during a nuclear explosion. He’s just this small, sweet, but incompetent guy who has this special arm (there’s no other like it) and he turns into a wheel and…and…okay, he sucks. He got his special arm (there’s no other like it) ripped off and was tortured to death in the original comics.
In the IDW continuity, Scrounge still had his special arm (there’s no other like it), but was now a homeless derelict, scrounging (hey!) around garbage looking for things to sell. Bumblebee—aware that for the grace of the Matrix goes he—would give him spare change in the hopes Scrounge wouldn’t use it for robot heroin called Simultronic, which rots your insides but feeds you a temporary false reality where everything is awesome.
13. Hot Shot
You know you’re a jackass when people say you’re worse than Hot Rod. Much like the Prime Killer himself, Hot Shot doesn’t believe in teamwork since he’s smarter than everyone else, and often responds to being given orders by waving them off or complaining about being given hard work. The fact that he constantly needs to be rescued is an unrelated issue. Totally unrelated.
After coming to Earth, Hot Shot befriended a bunch of human children, which, as any Transformers fan will attest, is their least favorite thing for a Transformer to do. It’s about giant robot aliens fighting each other, not dumb little humans who are out of their element. Then again, maybe Hot Shot figured if the Autobots always had to save these idiot kids from the Decepticons, he’d seem more competent by comparison.
Somehow, Hot Shot managed to climb the ranks, and found himself leading a team…that he would berate and insult because leadership is difficult and the best way to inspire your troops is to abuse them. The fact that no one under his command did what Neidermeyer’s soldiers did to him in Animal House is a miracle.
And worst of all, Hot Shot, for some reason, wears a hat. Look at it. That hat.
Landfill isn’t necessarily bad at being an Autobot. He’s a decent soldier, and by all accounts, a real nice guy. But, unfortunately for him, he lives up to his name. Landfill literally stinks. Apparently very, very badly. It keeps him isolated from the other Autobots. For whatever reason, Landfill either doesn’t notice it or doesn’t care. Of course, this brings up all kinds of horrible evolutionary questions.
Why do Transformers have functional noses? Does Landfill have pores with which to secrete the smell? Does he merely bathe in toxic waste and current Hollywood scripts? Why would Vector Sigma create Landfill to live like this?
They say god has a sick sense of humor, but this is just bizarre. Vector Sigma would have to go through all these other steps of long-term creation and design; formatting and producing Transformers with active senses just to purposely create one to offend said senses. Why?
When you think of a soldier, you don’t normally think of a weak-willed, whining coward. Yet, here we are with Huffer, a name that perfectly explains his personality (in that he complains a lot, not that he abuses inhalants—though that actually would be some cool character development). There’s a difference between being a cynical observer like Dr. McCoy and just being a cranky baby. Huffer is a C3PO-level baby, and he’s more than willing to let the Decepticons invade Earth if it means he can avoid the battle or go back to Cybertron.
What’s great is that the other Autobots are sick of Huffer, and if you read into the Marvel-UK comics a bit, a strange subtext becomes clear: they’re spitefully punishing him. Despite being one of the weaker Autobots, he’s forced into fighting a great battle where he’s quickly shot by Thundercracker. Huffer survives, only to be blasted by Shockwave and strung up on the ceiling of the Ark. When he was repaired, Ratchet had him run laps to make sure everything was in working order. He had to run laps. Despite being able to turn into a truck, he had to run laps.
That’s right: the Autobots turned Huffer into Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket.
10. Sky Lynx
Sky Lynx is actually somewhat useful and pretty powerful. His alt-mode is a giant space shuttle which is convenient for troop deployment. However, his utility ends there. His robot mode is just an extension of the shuttle, popping his neck out and giving him a tail. He doesn’t have hands and can’t maneuver outside of open spaces.
Sky Lynx’s personality ends up ruining whatever sympathy points you can muster for him. Despite not being able to open jars or go indoors, Sky Lynx is very arrogant, lording his inborn and intellectual superiority over those around him, including his commanders; often, he’ll bristle at whatever orders he’s given as being beneath him. How often do you think Ultra Magnus has thought about cutting Sky Lynx’s head off by his paper-thin neck? This desire has to be a near constant.
Admittedly, Sky Lynx’s attitude is probably just for show. Think about it. How do you think he files reports? The guy can’t even use a keyboard.
9. Warpath (G1 Cartoon)
Remember Michael Winslow, the guy in the Police Academy movies who could make all those sound effects? Well, Warpath is his Transformers analogue, but with one major difference: Warpath has no talent. He will literally make noises as he talks like he has some sort of disorder. Where Michael Winslow would make his sounds realistically, Warpath goes the route of the Adam West Batman show.
A quote for the articulate talking tank: “Okay, knights, let’s go BLAM ZING ‘em!”
What the hell is that?
Warpath is also needlessly dangerous. He has a damned gun jutting out of his chest all the time, not only making him awkwardly shaped, but also a constant danger to everyone. Imagine someone holding a gun up to your chest every time they are talking to you. That’d be terrifying. Now imagine him just sitting there at Autobot HQ, cleaning this phallic adornment with solvents and lubricants, adjusting the sights and giving it a good shine.
8. The Dinobots (G1 cartoon)
In the comics, the Dinobots are some of the greatest badasses in Transformer history. Their two primary functions are to drink heavily and kill Decepticons. Naturally, they’re made to be idiotic comic relief in the G1 cartoon from the ’80s. The Dinobots are so stupid that you can’t help but wonder if the entire series was in-universe propaganda made by Shockwave.
In the series, Wheeljack created the Dinobots, but wanted them to be just like real dinosaurs. So, he made them very powerful and very stupid. Apparently, no one thought after the fact to reprogram the morons to make them less of a danger to themselves and others, but, then, this is probably just Decepticon propaganda anyway.
When not destroying their own base, the Dinobots like to wade in sewage, make dire situations worse, get locked up when they’re not needed, mangle the English language, and make friends with Wheelie (damn them).
Seriously, at no point did Wheeljack not think that making the incredibly dangerous Dinobots stupid would be, well, dangerous and stupid? Ugh, he really was an awful scientist. No wonder Prime replaced him with Perceptor.
One of the big selling points of The Transformers is that whole Robots in Disguise gimmick. Remember watching those commercials as a kid, and the truck turns into a giant robot? Remember seeing that and just about crapping your pants?
In universe, it makes sense too. Part of the war between Autobots and Decepticons is the stealthy spying; you never know what’s an enemy.
Then you have Repugnus, who doesn’t believe in stealth. Rather than use a vehicle or a telephone pole or a stupid plant as an alt-mode, he’s just a giant robot bug monster thing. He and the Monsterbots (really running out of names, aren’t we?) would be tasked to do unsavory missions, which matches Repugnus’ personality.
Repugnus takes pride in being unpleasant to everyone and needlessly violent, even by Decepticon standards. Rather than ending up in the cool anti-hero platform like the Wreckers or Grimlock, he ends up being a parody of cool like Drift or Lobo. When it turns out that the Autobots imprisoned him, it’s hard to decide if it was because Repugnus finally went too far or they were just tired of his loud, tedious personality.
Cheetor is a Maximal from the Beast Wars era, making him an Autobot descendant, so this counts. Cheetor is an idiot. His penchant for disobeying orders and leaping blindly into anything and everything gets him in trouble constantly. When he’s chewed out for his stupidity, he proves his commanders wrong by doing the same stupid thing again and again.
Episodes like “The Web” and “The Spark” show him being brash and impudent, which results in missions being failed, new and helpful technology being destroyed, and people nearly dying. But at least he takes his lumps humbly and—nah, just kidding. He gets indignant and storms off angrily, likely just to get captured or put others in danger again thanks to a stupidity so deeply ingrained within him that no reformatting could possibly erase it.
Here’s another fun example. Cheetor often gets trapped by the cyber-webs of Tarantulas and Blackarachnia. At no point does he consider using his claws because he’s a cat. Instead, he has to wait for someone more capable to rescue him.
Botanica is a robot that turns into a houseplant. While the bio-tech concept is really cool, the fact that it makes up the entirety of her character makes her one note, while her obsession with botany and recreating Cybertron makes her sound like that one person at the party who won’t stop talking about being vegan.
And boy, does she talk.
The fact that she’s almost entirely plant makes her romance with Rattrap more disturbing, and her ability to survive on Cybertron questionable. She’s made of leaves on a planet where all her enemies use weapons that can light you on fire. Choosing a plant form isn’t exactly the best tactical decision.
Botanica is also into mysticism, which means she blathers on vaguely about spirituality, speaking in esoteric and pseudo-metaphysical terms like she just read a pamphlet about tarot cards. The problem is, she never stops. There are no conversations about the weather, favorite TV shows, or the best ways to slag Waspinator. Nope, just more rhetorical nonsense and propaganda about essential oils or something. Botanica just prattles on in her rhythmic, slow-as-molasses twang that would work better than Valium if she wasn’t constantly trying to convert you to her belief system.
Seaspray is the leader of the Autobot navy. It should be noted that the Autobot navy is an army of one. This might be the universe’s first pity promotion. The fact is, Seaspray just isn’t a very capable soldier on land; he’s much better in the water, but there are no oceans on Cybertron.
It doesn’t help that in order to save a colony of underwater mer-people, he actually had to become one of them. His giant, metallic and (comparatively) powerful body was still too weak to be of any use, so he had to become flesh and blood to help. And he still had that awful gargling voice the entire time.
It’s easy to hate on the guy, but in writing about how awful he is, it just makes you feel sad. Seaspray is the very definition of punching down. It’s like beating up on Waspinator: anybody can do it, and even if you don’t, the universe will do it itself.
Unfortunately, you did indeed read that wrong. This has nothing to do with Starscream or Nightwing. Beast Machines wouldn’t know what to do with quality characters. Not only was it able to assassinate the characters of Megatron, Silverbolt, Rattrap, and Rhinox, it also introduced us to awful original characters as well (Diagnostic Drone being a wonderful exception). However, none of these characters were as obnoxious as Nightscream.
He’s a mutant bat with an emo haircut and personality. We might as well end the entry there, but he does get worse (yay?). Nightscream hid during Megatron’s invasion, surviving off the delicious fruits that grow in the Cybertronian sewers (Beast Machines was a strange show) before latching onto the Maximals once they started feeding him and saved his life. Then, of course, rather than expressing gratitude and loyalty, he repaid them with incessant whining and distrust.
This worthless bag of roadkill feces would constantly disobey orders and complain how no one likes him, how he can’t trust anybody and that nobody understands him, maaaaaan, before slinking back into his hole to either work on his Anakin Skywalker shrine or listen to Nickelback.
Blurr does things fast. So fast that his words are jumbled together in unintelligible and endlessly long sentences. His boundless energy is second only to his extreme nervousness and questioning of every incident and every order he must follow.
Blurr is the kid who pounded sugar in school, the competitive jock, and the shmuck sitting next to you on a ten-hour flight who couldn’t shut up if the plane was going down–all rolled into one. The thing is, for all his speed, Blurr doesn’t seem to do much of anything. For all the tactical advantages he’s seemingly capable of, he’s relegated to the background because of his personality and, let’s face it, stupidity. The guy doesn’t focus; he’s a distraction to others at best and a danger to others at worst. His shining moment was in the G1 cartoon when we thought Optimus shot him to death. At least things were quiet for a while.
You all remember Wheelie. The tiny, chartreuse-colored Autobot with a sing-songy voice and a slingshot–two things that are definitely helpful in an eon-spanning intergalactic war. Thankfully, he was only ever obnoxious in every episode he was featured in, which was nearly all of them in seasons 3 and 4 (counting Headmasters). So, to honor/spite the little burden, the rest of this entry will be written in his inimitable/appalling style. Please enjoy/send hate mail:
If Wesley Crusher was a Transformer he’d be Wheelie, but even Wesley wasn’t this bad, really. Wheelie is small and without much power, and his cadence gives us many reasons to glower. He would hang out with Daniel in the show, and their interactions gave your brains reasons to blow. Despite whatever danger, trouble, and shortage of time, Wheelie would just have to complete his rhyme. Fighting Galvatron would make Magnus very terse, but, no, no, Wheelie must finish this goddamn verse. He once murdered a Sweep by burning his face, making the Sweep soon fall from grace. It was surprising to see on a kid’s show, and rather cruel too, but not for nothing, Wheelie, good on you. At a diplomatic event, Wheelie got drunk, which showed some spunk. Maybe Wheelie isn’t so bad, perhaps we were just being a little mad. Oh God, the rhyming won’t stop; please, somebody, call a cop.
This can’t go on the rest of my life.
Forget it, pal, just get me a knife.
Which Autobots do you dislike? Do you want more dank Wheelie rhymes? Let us know in the comments.