Amplifier Artifact: Cyber Keys. Also, Megatron's Unicron Armour and the Matrix of Leadership can act like this.
An Axe to Grind: The giant Transformer Metroplex's weapon is a BFA called Sparkdrinker. It's as tall as he is. And Metroplex is twenty stories tall. Also, Scourge's beast-mode tail is an axe when he is in robot mode.
Ancient Astronauts: Ancient Cybertronians (that's before Earth existed) populated several planets in different places forming the locations where the show takes place.
Apocalypse How: The Unicron Singularity, being a freak black hole, threatens to consume the galaxy if not the entire universe. If the Expanded Universe is to be believed, the Singularity threatens to consume the Transformers Multiverse itself.
Not just that, it damaged the timelines of several Universes. Vector Prime tried fixing them, but the result wasn't perfect. It's basically the canonical Hand Wave for any and all plot holes in any Transformers media.
Arc Words: 'Til All Are One. As in, one in purpose, notthatway... When the transformers of Cybertron and the four colonized worlds come together to help thwart Galvatron's plans, Primus declares that all ARE one.
Primus, being a planet-sized Physical God, would have a huge gun. However, in the end, he wields one that's a space battleship as a gigantic cannon that counts as a BFG for him!
BFS: Vector Prime's sword, Rhisling, by dint of being a Transformer-scale claymore.
Broken Faceplate: Optimus Prime's mouthplate is shattered during the final battle, although he is the victor.
Butt Monkey: Ransack and Crumplezone, a Team Rocket-like duo. Ransack perhaps more so than his partner. Quoth Crumplezone:
"When he [Optimus] sees our real strength and feels our vengeance, he'll regret beating us over and over and over and..."
Thundercracker. Dear Primus, Thundercracker. Having the worst boss ever doesn't help. He gets lit on fire by Scourge twice. ("Would somebody please put me out?") At the end, after Ransack, Crumplezone, and Thunderblast go back on their Heel Face Turns and sneak off in homemade rocket, poor Thundercracker gets shanghaied aboard when goes to investigate. The Hasbro version of his toy's mold was a major-league example of quality-control failure. (PRIMUS DAMNIT HASBRO!)
Thundercracker comes up with bigger and more grandiose names for simple attacks as the series goes on. However, they actually work as advertised.
The Cameo: G1 Soundwave in tape-player form. First being used by Sideways in one episode, then in the epilogue being carried by this series' Soundwave. G1 Soundwave's cameo model is detailed to the point of having G1 Laserbeak in tape mode visible within him.
Combining Mecha: In Super Mode, Optimus Prime can combine with Leobreaker to form Savage Claw Mode, or with Wing Saber to form Sonic Wing Mode. Megatron can combine in a similar fashion with Leobreaker's Evil Knockoff Nemesis Breaker to form Dark Claw Mode.
Conspicuous CG: Very conspicuous. The Transformers are in (Non Cel-Shaded) CG and the human characters are traditionally animated.
Cool Starship: The four ancient Cybertronian colonization starships. Atlantis, Ogygia, Lemuria, and Hyperborea. And then their combined form, the massive warship Ark, which is used as a Black Hole destroying Wave Motion Gun by Primus after his spark is restored.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Thundercracker, despite his ineptitude and repeated comical failures can be effective. In 2 episodes he had the strength to carry his teammates (Ransack, Crumplezone and Scourge, later Thunderblast). Twice he's proven himself to get the better of Jetfire, unleashing overly long attacks, like spinning around, firing off shots and downing Jetfire (unable to finish him because he got dizzy), and unleashing a charge attack on Gigatron and fighting Jetfire to a near draw (it was a near-draw because both beat each other into immobility, but Thundercracker knocked Jetfire out, while he stayed conscious).
Curb-Stomp Battle: Metroplex vs. Megatron. Metroplex literally stomps on Megatron, and then after Megatron uses a dark energy attack to get Metroplex's giant foot off of him, Metroplex brings his colossal axe Sparkdrinker down on Megatron's head. Smashing him through the floor. And to make it worse on Megatron, he was in Dark Claw mode. Ouch.
Megatron then returns the gesture the very episode after after he evolves into Galvatron, he not only blocks the axe with one hand, he snatches it and defeats Metroplex with his own weapon to add insult to injury.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Vector Prime's Time Reverse power. Using it shortens the users life. One or two minutes are okay, but three days to a week? Too dangerous.
Defeat Means Explosion: When Optimus and Leobreaker stab Megsy, an inexplicable explosion follows, and sends him flying! Or when Metroplex powers up his axe and brings it down and somehow causes a battle-ending explosion.
Defeat Means Friendship: Override to Hot Shot, though this is helped by him aiding her a few times and genuinely impressing her with his drive to win.
Determinator: A few examples. Overhaul against Scourge, Hot Shot in the last race against Override, and then Starscream on his Foe Tossing Charge. Hot Shot, Red Alert, and Scattorshot refusing to give up after their Near Death Experience is one of the triggers for their Mid-Season Upgrade. Galvatron gets a second wind in his last clash with Starscream. Optimus Prime manages to do it numerous times, especially in his last battle with Galvatron. It is finally subverted with Galvatron in the final battle.
Demoted to Extra: Half the cast. How long did it take for Evac to stop doing anything? Four episodes?
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Darklyinverted. In episode 49, Galvatron (while hopped up on power from the Omega Lock and the Cyber Planet Keys) stuns a weakened Primus with a blast of dark energy. Played somewhat straight with Primus' second beatdown of Starscream.
Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Restoring its intended status as a sequel to Armada and Energon when Galaxy Force wasn't written to be leaves some Unicron-sized holes. Dead characters are alive again, returning characters sometimes act very differently or have new origins, some prominent characters don't seem to exist anymore, nobody remembers Sideways, and so forth. The black hole being a Crisis on Infinite Earths event that changed things is All There in the Manual - your average viewer on the street wouldn't go in knowing to take it on its own.
But if you do take it on its own, though, as the dub team evidently felt was the choice, it's not so bad. The All There in the Manual retcons are pretty weak, and exist mainly to please Aaron Archer, who insisted on it.
Dub Name Change: Naturally. In some cases, these are better. It's a bit of a list but:
Exillion/Exigeyser (post-upgrade name) became Hot Shot
First Aid/First Gunner (post-upgrade name) became Red Alert. Anyone who complains about this is being silly, as his character design is blatantly meant to be an evolution of Armada Red Alert
Backpack/Backgild (post-upgrade name) became Scattorshot.
Jackshot/Ligerjack became Overhaul/Leobreaker. Ligerjack isn't so bad, but try saying Jackshot out loud.
Dark Ligerjack accordingly became Nemesis Breaker
Nitro Convoy became Override. And a girl. See She's A Man In Japan below.
Flame Convoy became Scourge
Live Convoy became Evac. Appropriate for the guy who turns into a rescue helicopter.
Megalo Convoy became Metroplex. He's a major-league homage to G1 Metroplex, so the name fits like a glove.
Sonic Bomber became Wing Saber. Either name works quite well, and Wing Saber shows some semblance of continuity with Energon, which also featured an Autobot named Wing Saber that Optimus Prime could combine with.
Master Megatron/Galvatron dropped the "Master" part of the name.
Dinoshout became Undermine
Terrashaver became Brimstone
Fang Wolf became Snarl. Fitting enough for the guy who turns into a wolf.
Saidos became Backstop
Skids became Clocker
Land Bullet/Arm Bullet (post-upgrade name) became Crumplezone/Dark Crumplezone
Gasket became Ransack
Inch-Up (So named because his toys wheels raise him an inch up off the ground) became Dirt Boss (Fitting for a 4x4)
Hop became Jolt
Blit became Six-Speed
Bumper became Reverb
Roots became Safeguard
Blender became Quickmix. The change was fitting, considering this Quickmix is also an homage to a G1 character of the same name.
Moledive became Menasor. This was probably just to keep Hasbro from losing the trademark.
Dull Surprise: Although it still suffered from this, Cybertron was in general better about this (characters are now capable of smiling, sneering, glaring etc, although all talking is still "mouth open, mouth closed".)
That's just a common cheat in anime, to avoid a dub having to redo the lip sync.
Evil Versus Evil: Galvatron and Starscream. Normally, Galvatron would Curb Stomp his treacherous second in command, but this time, Screamer puts up such a good fight, he nearly wins!
Eyelid Pull Taunt: Lori does this once when the kids are running from Sideways. Later, Ransack and Crumplezone (to a few Autobots) and Thunderblast (to Lori) do it, but they don't have eyelids to pull nor tongues to stick out.
Foe-Tossing Charge: Starscream goes on one of these in episode 25. Against almost every known Autobot. And WINS, successfully stealing the Omega Lock and the three Cyber Planet Keys found at that point.
Gainaxing: Thunderblast not only has a pair of big round breasts under her chest-plate, with nipples, but in some scenes in the series, they can even be seen bouncing.
Played with at times, Played Straight at others. Quite a few good guys tend to have red auras, while bad guys often have purple. Autobots' weapon fire is always red with red-and-white explosions, while Decepticons' blasters always have blue beams with purple-and-yellow explosions.
Heroic Sacrifice: Vector Prime makes one. He uses Time Reverse to take the heroes back to when the interuniversal warp hole they used to reach Gigantion was open in order for them to return, even though he knew that the effort would cost him life.
Homage: Plenty to be had in this series, but this exchange during the Final Battle stands out:
Early in the battle:
Galvatron:: Why throw away you life so recklessly Prime? It's a pity it has to end like this.
Optimus Prime: That's a question you should ask yourself, Galvatron! I will finish you!
The battle rages on, until they get ready to clash with each other for the last time.
Optimus Prime: Only one shall stand, Galvatron. It ends here!
Just Plane Wrong: For some reason, the United States Airforce's primary fighter jet in Cybertron is the Su-37, which is Russian.
Large Ham: Megatron/Galvatron. But with David Kaye voicing, what did you expect? Also, Starscream, Thundercracker, Scourge...
Last Villain Stand: Megatron. After he loses the Omega Lock, his minions have deserted him, and his plan to reshape the universe to his own desire is foiled, he decides to go all out and destroy Jungle World and Earth while at the same time challenging Optimus Prime to a final battle.
Leeroy Jenkins: Hot Shot. Overhaul also has traces of this, as does Wing Saber.
Make My Monster Grow: Various characters do this to themselves, the first being Starscream. He does it again and becomes as big as Primus, only to have Primus smack him down in a Curb-Stomp Battle. Hard. Later, Landmine does this to himself briefly to serve Starscream his afterburners on a platter and throw him through a wall into a lake. During his showdown with Galvatron, Starscream reveals that with the power he's already absorbed he can do this to his body at will. He enlarges his forearm to Rocket Punch Galvatron. In episode 49, Galvatron first does this to his remaining troops and then to himself. It doesn't last.
More Dakka: The point of Optimus' Super Mode. Red Alert, Hot Shot, and Scattorshot after their upgrades. And then there's Primus. Absolutely LOADED with guns. That are the right size for him. And he's as big as a planet ( his alternate mode is Cybertron itself).
Ms. Fanservice: Thunderblast. Boobs, jiggle in one episode, nipples in an earlier one...
Mythology Gag: On our mythology. The names of the ships match the names of legendary lost continents. The Atlantis was the first ship to crash in the Bermuda Triangle.
Not that there's not plenty of TF mythology in this series. In a more straight example, the "four wise elders" who began the space bridge project are drawn to look like G1 Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Jazz, and Ultra Magnus.
A lot of famous lines from G1 turn up, like "Such heroic nonsense" (we also got "such villainous nonsense" back when Megs first appeared to die.) and "Why throw away your life so recklessly" (we'll hear that one again in the last battle.) Also, "Until all are one" comes back in a big way. In G1, we hear it in one episode where it was suddenly always the Autobot rallying cry. In this, it's the Arc Words. Also, Prime is sometimes affectionately called "Big Bot," just like in Beast Wars.
The designs. Optimus's face is taken from Beast Wars "Optimal Optimus," for one. Starscream is based on the Dreamwave Comics pre-Earth Seeker designs. The most curious one is Metroplex's Mini-con, Drill Bit, who bears a striking resemblance to G1 Decepticon Headmaster Horri-Bull. Also, when you consider that the Cybertron version changes a lot of names to match past characters, pretty much everyone is a Shout-Out to their namesake and wasn't intentionally created as a new version of the same character.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Transformers was already slagging made of this trope, and is an example of it working. Cybertron is no exception, and with Primus took this to a new level.
Not Quite Dead: Vector Prime. He isn't strictly dead, but now he can only exist outside of time. He can no longer venture out into the multiverse.
Well, in the series proper, he is clearly quite dead, and Bud trying to tell himself it's not so and failing to makes it even more of a Tear Jerker. Later Word of God on "multiversal singularities" such as him would indicate that he can still exist in the multiverse - it basically means that all alternate versions of him are equally "him" as opposed to being distinct individuals. Basically, if another series introduces a Vector Prime, it'll be the same character as Cybertron Vector Prime.
Basically what it means is he can't enter either of those universes any more. Others, yes, but not those two.
Vector Prime, may also count Being as he is one of the original thirteen Transformers and could use Time as his personal plaything
Planetary Nation: Gigantion and Velocitron are like this. The politics of Gigantion are not really looked at, but there is only a single city on the entire planet, presumably under one form of government. Velocitron is governed solely by who is the fastest racer. The politics of this position is not essential to the plot, so it was not looked at.
Optimus: You will always lose, Galvatron. You think of nothing but destruction. None of your victories last. You care about nothing but yourself. No-one cares about you. The time has come to end your struggle.
Redubbing: Much, much better than Armada and Energon 's dubs.
Retcon: Okay, this takes a bit of explaining. The original Japanese show, Galaxy Force, was written to be a completely separate series from the previous two, which is why the characters are new/different/missing and the backstory doesn't connect to the other two shows. Hasbro, on the other hand, originally intended to make the show connected to the rest of the trilogy, and adapted the series accordingly. Supplementary material used the "Unicron Singularity" as an excuse for changing the entire universe around. However there is enough lack of reference in the show itself for it still to be taken separately.
Rocket Punch: Thundercracker's "Super-'Lectric Lightnin' Thundercrackin' Punch!" Also, Starscream pulls a variant in his showdown with Galvatron, enlarging his right forearm to knock Galvatron through a loop.
Scott McNeil: Snarl, Backstop, and the race announcer. He's no longer Jetfire, though, who has a completely new voice and accent (despite other changes made to present the series as in continuity with Armada and Energon - and there were some.)
Leobreaker (Lio Prime in Japan) bears more than a passing resemblance to Galeon.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The retcon that the energon sun collapsed to make the black hole turns the entire Energon series into one of these, annihilating the planets they fought for the whole series offscreen. Again, however, the actual show largely ignores such things (mainly, Cybertron and Jungle Planet still exist.) The screen-given (and therefore more official) explanation is that the destruction of Unicron upset the balance between good and evil, and the black hole is the result. Its first victim is an uninhabited world, aptly named Moriturus - "I am about to die" in Latin.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Unlike most Transformers shows this one's characters are very faithful to the toys... to an unnecessary degree. Because the 3D models were based directly on the toys, there's absurdities like screw holes or buttons for spring-loaded missile launchers visible on many of the robots.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Lori and Coby, although they never actually get to the 'kiss' part. Well, one supposes they did when they got married.
Spell My Name with an "S": Due to trademarkability, Scattershot and Breakdown are called "Scattorshot" and "Brakedown" in the toyline.
Also, this time Starscream is far from incompetent. He carefully waits for the right opportunity, when Megatron is irritated and not thinking clearly. He then tricks Megatron into a forcefield trap in the middle of deep space. This buys him time to steal the Omega Lock and the three keys found so far, trouncing an entire team of Autobots in the process. He becomes supersized and much stronger, and fights Primus (i.e., God) twice. When he clashes with Galvatron near the end he almost WINS. He's not just a serious threat in this series, he borders on scary. He also outlived Galvatron making Starscream the most dangerous Decepticon in this series alive.
Steam Punk: Vector Prime, who is mostly CLOCKWORK.
Stock Footage: Cybertron was a serial offender. Eventually the cast virtually started MSTing it.
Stupid Sacrifice: Averted. Optimus survives the whole way. He also kills Galvatron. Alone. Scourge nearly makes one but Snarl talks him out of it.
Super Mode: Optimus Prime, via the parts from his vehicle mode that go into subspace when he's in normal robot mode. The fire-trucks combination ladders/water cannons/laser cannons swing under his arms to act as guns that are BFGs even for a Transformer. And they open up to make the charging area even bigger when he uses his Cyber Key.
Theme Naming: The ancient starships are all named after mythical lost continents. Of course, within the show, the continents are named after the ships.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Optimus using Metroplex's axe on Ransack and Crumplezone (To be fair, they had held Jolt and Bud captive briefly, and even tried the "save the hostage or catch us" routine. Prime managed both, and repaid the baddies' Jerkassery in full.) He lampshades it hilariously.
Optimus: I hope you don't think this is a tad excessive.
Transformation Is a Free Action: The English dub often has the character transforming talking about something as they go through a step by step sequence that takes about a minute at worst to complete. Gets particularly silly in the case of Metroplex, who transforms to save the comparatively small heroes from a falling object. Especially considering his transformation sequence is literally comparable to standing up.
Not really Transformation Is a Free Action, though. The talking seems to be more of an internal monologue used to fill the stock footage. The stock footage that's used like packing peanuts. Heck, sometimes the talking is used to lampshade the stock footage. And seen from the outside the transformations are instantaneous.
Prime does explain his plan while transforming once, though.
During the longest chunk of uninterrupted stock footage in the show.
Undying Loyalty: Thundercracker's the longest serving Decepticon under Megatron, and only jumps ship when Galvatron turns on them at the very end of the series. After that, he's one of the few Decepticons actually liking the Autobot peace.