THE DECEPTICON HIERARCHY
This is my idea of a military-style explanatory organizational Decepticon chart. It includes every Decepticon, and some ancillary characters, that made an appearance in the G1 cartoon series and I've done my best to find a logical spot for everyone. Though their numbers are lower than the Autobots', it remains quite comprehensive.
I've arranged characters within each division according to the general area of expertise they bring to the fold. There is less diversity here than we find within the Autobot ranks, but that seems proper to the Decepticons' general single-mindedness.
I received criticisms of some of my choices for THE AUTOBOT HIERARCHY, so I want to enlighten visitors about the conditions I apply to my choice of arrangement and labeling. The primary condition: My work, in general, is based on the U.S. G1 continuity as shown in the original 1980s TV series. I usually consider any retroactive references added to later franchises, such as BEAST MACHINES and ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, beyond the purview of my output and consequently beside the point. If a BEAST MACHINES toy tech spec suggests the purpose of an obscure one-off G1 character was such and such, I disregard it because the original episode(s) didn't mention or display it.
Now, in rendering these avatars, I've relied upon the following three sources:
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: THE U.S. G1 TV SERIES (and a little bit of the comic book)
The TV series represents 95% of my visual references. In the few cases where a character's cartoon series representation is too limited to be used, I've drawn on THE TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE or appearances from the original comic book. I would've preferred all of my references to be intrinsic to the TV show, but I've accepted this source as the finalized character models were used for all of the G1 media permutations.
FUNCTIONS AND TITLES: THE TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE
THE TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE forms the basis of both the original comic book and TV series characters and the latter medium, though it tends to be less concretely stated, follows the functions and titles in the former. That's how I'm able to determine, for example, that TAILGATE is a scout and TANTRUM is a fueler.
FUNCTIONS AND TITLES: TOY TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
A time or two, a character was on the show but received no TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE profile. For their functions, I consulted their toy tech specs. That way, I could determine that WINGSPAN is a data processor.
SINGULAR SERIES-ONLY CHARACTERS
So what of one-off characters that were neither made into toys nor featured in contemporaneous media?
As opposed to the Autobots, the Decepticons used forces of less emotional impact. Drones, sentinels, and other machines with little or no personality (even the hysterical Deceptitran wasn't actually a living robot) perform in place of an extended legion of proper Decepticons. (They even went as far as to "recruit" the Earth-made NIGHTBIRD, who is often regarded by fans as a Decepticon as well. But she isn't, so she will never be included in this diagram.) As for their roles, I've tried my best to classify and name them based on their actions in the episodes in which they appear.
I welcome anyone to disagree with my structuring and classification of the characters, but again, within the confines of the original 1980s U.S. G1 universe, this is as true an illustration as I can -- and will -- ever make.
That is all -- thank you!
That's only to do with the way I chose to order the "branches" of the Decepticon outfit. I figure it's strategically logical that Command and Tactical come first, then Combat and Sub-Divisions. You might call the Insecticons a sub-division, but I'm also considering the layout and matching the Autobots as well as possible under each department. The Insecticons are certainly highly useful for tactical purposes, so I put them there.
I've got an update of this one somewhere in the pipeline. You can tell that the Autobot chart is a bit further along in its visual "evolution" and the Decepticons will get the same treatment.
I'm similarly working on updating this one, but need to bring more of the Deceps up to scratch.
Aim is to do that this year and hopefully get them all to be "definitive."
So why the separation? It's simple. The characters in charge are divided into two specific areas, pre-Movie and post-Movie. Regardless of whether the Decepticon leader was a single entity, his exterior and identity, even his style of his leadership, were clearly different in the two eras. As for standing alone, neither Megatron nor Galvatron ever did. Each had at least one subordinate that was completely loyal: Shockwave never wavered in his fealty to Megatron (and Soundwave's only discernible moment of betrayal was his failure to intervene when Starscream tossed Megatron into space in the movie) and Cyclonus was even more than simply a loyal soldier to Galvatron; he genuinely esteemed him, insanity or no insanity.
As for Starscream and Scourge, both commanded sub-troops under their leaders and therefore have the right to be placed in the category I have chosen. So while I thank you for your suggestion and your interest, I'm going to leave the chart as it is.