You & your friends can play with any cards you want. At this stage in the game's (after)life, if you're meeting up with people to play then you already know eachother and know what sets you're all using. Have fun, that's what matters. Anything said in this document has no bearing on what your group does. This document is referring to more structured organized play: Tournaments, public online gatherings, that sort of thing.
When WotC canceled the Transformers TCG in July 2020, multiple groups formed within the community with the desire to continue the game. There's been a lot of talk since then on which groups "matter" and which are "official". It can be a bit confusing, even if you're pretty active in the community. This is document is an attempt to clear things up, especially for those who are new or just returning to the game.
It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but community sets are sets of cards made by groups within the community. I like to use the term "community set" rather than "homemade" or "fanbrew" because it emphasis that these cards are made by well known groups with help from the community, and not by a single person who created ten cards last night. Community sets are designed and tested for months by many people who know the game extremely well, much like official WotC product was. Some of these designers are tournament champions and have decades of experience playing card games. Progress and some testing is usually made public, making it easier for the community to trust that the cards are well balanced. Most importantly, they're designed with the game's best interest at heart, and not simply "wouldn't it be cool if..."
I strongly believe this game will not thrive without new cards. WotC left us in a precarious situation with Wave 5. It was a very powerful set of cards, and clearly not how the designers would have ended the game. This game was not designed as a deck builder with a static set of cards, it was designed as a growing TCG. Without new cards, the game will eventually devolve to a very limited number of strategies/decks.
In addition to all that, new cards simply bring excitement. Having something new leads to further engagement. People who quit come back to see what's been happening and what's new. That is extremely important for a small community like ours that no longer has outside marketing.
I see this argument a lot, and while it's not wrong, it's also not relevant. People have been making up cards since the game first launched, but the vast majority of players just never used them. There's never been anything to stop a group of friends from using their own set, and there's nothing stopping that from happening now. In the same vein, a lot of the custom sets being made right now will see little to no play outside of their own group; just because someone shares their new set on Facebook doesn't mean the community is going to adopt it. And that's okay! Like I said at the beginning of this, your group of friends can play with whatever they want.
In a tournament situation, any tournament organizer is going to clearly state what sets they're allowing. Limiting what sets can be used is not a new idea either. There were plenty of "Siege I & II only" or "Wave 1 only" tournaments long before WotC left. Even at official events, WotC always listed which sets were allowed. Nothing about that is new.
Given time the cream will rise to the top. At the end of the day, the only sets that "matter" are the sets that people actually play with. If tournaments and the majority of the community are only using sets A & B, then you can ignore sets C & D if you want to.
What was stopping WotC from making such a card? Perhaps you've heard of Peace Through Tyranny? Daring Escape? Press The Advantage? Inevitably, very powerful cards will get made, however, trusted groups will not intentionally add a game-breaking card for the same reason WotC wouldn't either: they want the game to prosper. This goes back to the importance of being public about how thoroughly cards are tested, and by who. There's a big difference between having tournament winners and people with years of experience testing cards, versus people who play cassually with friends on the weekend.
At initial face value, this sounds like the right idea. For those unaware, Aequitas is a group whose members were voted on by the community with the intent of being a rules mediator. They're a unbias group who interpret past WotC rulings as they apply to new situations. They're very good at what they do, and their decisions have been well received by the community.
That said, Aequitas was not formed as an all-ruling body. They're more like judges: they create & apply precedence, but they don't randomly create new rules. More than that, interpreting rulings is a totally different skill set than designing cards. Just because Aequitas members were voted in by the community doesn't mean they'd be good at designing & balancing cards.
In an ideal world that would be the situation. It would de-complicate so much of what is going on right now and make things much easier for people to follow, but that seems unlikely to happen any time soon. However, just because we don't have a single unified group leading us right now doesn't mean we don't have any leadership.
It's become very clear that Alpha Trion Protocols and The Ark are the two major card creating groups in the community. This is not the place to debate the merits of one over the other, but I think it's very fair to say that these two groups are leading this game forward. You can join any of the larger TF:TCG Discord servers and see games being played using their sets. We will never have "official" sets again, but these are as close as it gets right now.
It can be a bit frustrating for the layman having two groups each with their own set of cards and different ban lists, but it's still only two groups and that's a far cry from "the wild west". I once read someone compare it to the National League and American League in baseball, and that's pretty close to what we have now.
Teletraan I will continue to support other well polished community sets. Even though The Ark and Alpha Trion Protocols are the predominant groups in our community, other sets can still be a lot of fun to play around with.
Team Bayformers have now released their first set, World|Strike. It has the longest period of testing, all public. The effort that went into it cannot be understated, and their development cycle has set a new standard for what a community set can be. They are absolutely one of the more important groups, and their sets should be considered just as relevant as Alpha Trion Protocol's and The Ark's. They've even taken a step further by trying to integrate elements from those other groups into their set.
It was previously announced that there will be some sort of partnership or cooperation between Team Bayformers and The Ark, with details to be revealed early this year. This document will be updated once more is announced regarding their partnership.
Instructions for that are right here