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I was inspired by reading this question: Why didn't Sentinel Prime take the Matrix of Leadership when offered?

It made me wonder, does the Matrix of Leadership work only for "worthy" Autobots, or could its powers be used by Decepticons or other affiliations? Does it depend on whether or not they're "good" guys, like Dinobots?

Any Transformers canon, aside from the newer live action movie franchise, is acceptable for this answer, with a preference for any of the animated series over comic book lines.

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    Whomsoever wields the Matrix of Leadership, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor...ptimus Prime. – Paul D. Waite Jul 27 '15 at 9:11
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    @PaulD.Waite Hey! "if she be worthy" is canon now! – user31178 Jul 27 '15 at 18:12
  • Arceetimus Prime? That’s just ridiculous. – Paul D. Waite Jul 27 '15 at 23:06
  • +1 for excluding the 'newer live action movie franchise'. – EleventhDoctor Aug 12 '15 at 9:03
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    “I was inspired by reading this question” — we all were, CreationEdge. Every one of us. [Gazes skyward with brave hope in his eyes.] – Paul D. Waite Aug 12 '15 at 10:39
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A Transformer, whether Autobot or Decepticon, may have an affinity with the Matrix of Leadership

As you point out in your question, being an Autobot or a Decepticon is simply a matter of affiliation. So there is no material reason why a Decepticon could not wield the power of the Matrix of Leadership.

In the 1986 movie, the Matrix of Leadership is only wielded in power by Hot Rod, and does not respond to either Ultra Magnus or Galvatron when they attempt to wield it.

In the G1 cartoon continuity following the movie, Optimus Prime is able to use the power of the Matrix of Leadership to cleanse the Transfomers of the Hate Plague. But Scourge, a Decepticon, is shown to have an affinity with the Matrix of Leadership that his master Galvatron lacks when he is able to use its power to temporarily boost his own.

This concept of Matrix Affinity is developed rather more clearly in the G1 comics, where Thunderwing becomes the first Decepticon to be able to interact with the Matrix of Leadership directly. In its inner monologue, the Matrix itself notes that Thunderwing has a 'one-ness', allowing him to 'know' the Matrix.

Even a Quintesson has boosted his power with the Matrix of Leadership

In the G1 comic story Space Pirates, the Matrix falls into the hands of the Quintesson General Ghyrik, who seemed to have some sort of rapport with the Matrix that enhanced his strength.

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I seem to recall in the 1986 animated film Galvatron tried and failed to open the matrix — Hot Rod told him in no uncertain terms it "cannot be opened by a Decepticon!" (Although this was the English dub, the original Japanese might differ.)

If that is accurate, it suggests Decepticons would gain nothing from the matrix being opened at all. I don't recall anyone saying the Autobot had to be "good"- but Transformers back then had a rather black and white morality, pretty much all Autobots were assumed to be heroic and squeaky clean.

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    In the same movie, Ultra Magnus, Optimus' second in command also tried to open the matrix and could not. So not even every Autobot can open it. – BBlake Jul 29 '15 at 0:06
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    Only Hot Rod managed to actually open the Matrix. Even Optimus Prime only held onto it – Petersaber Aug 11 '15 at 10:28
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    It was said that the Matrix would open in their darkest hour. Hot Rod was the only who had it to try to open at that point in time. – phantom42 Aug 11 '15 at 11:33
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    The English version is the original version. Original Japanese Transformers shows would come later. – System Down Aug 12 '15 at 22:20
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In the G1 cartoon, at least, sources point to no.

As I mentioned in this question, Galvatron and Scourge both tried to upgrade themselves using the Matrix of Leadership. In both cases, they received a power boost, but also went insane because of it.

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    But, they can utilize it in someway, just with negative side-effects? – user31178 Jul 26 '15 at 19:15
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The comics:

When the Transformers' war moved to Earth in 1984, current Decepticon leader Shockwave elected to increase his forces by creating new Transformers with the power of the Creation Matrix. Capturing the Autobots and decapitating Optimus Prime, Shockwave tapped the energies of the Matrix and brought the Constructicons to life. -"The Next Best Thing to Being There!"

Once there, both sides battled the creature the Matrix had created, which had grown to enormous size, with Thunderwing ultimately killing the beast and taking the Matrix.- "Dark Creation"
The Decepticon immediately attacked the spaceborne Ark, manifesting the Matrix power in the form of a giant, vaguely humanoid energy field around himself. Soon, however, the Matrix began to speak through Thunderwing, delighting in the firsthand experience of evil, and the Decepticon realized he was being possessed. Thunderwing tried to mentally battle the Matrix, to no avail, but the Autobots exploited his erratic behaviour to impale him with a harpoon and blow him out the Ark's airlock into space. -"All Fall Down"

G1 Cartoon:

The terrified Galvatron instructed Scourge to dispose of the Matrix, but Scourge grasped the true nature of its power where his leader could not, and instead placed it within his own chest. The Matrix's energies warped his body into a powerful, misshapen hulk, increasing his power to the point that he was able to oust Galvatron and take control of the Decepticons himself. Scourge proceeded to lead the Decepticons in an attack on Earth, only to be bested by Hot Rod, who had since learned the importance of "the burden hardest to bear", and reclaimed the Matrix once more. -"The Burden Hardest to Bear"

Dreamwave G1 Comics:

When the Autobots and Decepticons were finally able to return to Cybertron, a chain of events ultimately led Optimus Prime into a confrontation with Shockwave in Vector Sigma's chamber. Knocking Prime out and blasting his chest open, Shockwave harnessed the energy of the Matrix and used it to access Vector Sigma's databanks in an attempt to learn all of the dark secrets at the heart of Cybertron. -"Countdown to Extinction"

There's a few more examples at the Transformers wiki http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Matrix_of_Leadership

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Not in the TF 1986 movie. Galvatron attempts to destroy Unicron but fails because it only works for Autobots. And it turns out not long after that Hot Rod is in a way the "chosen one".

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Opening the Matrix depends on whether the bot in question is smart enough to put his fingers in the little holes on the handles.

When Ultra Magnus tries to open the Matrix, he just yanks the sides without putting his fingers in the little holes.

But Hot Rod has the common sense to realise that the little holes are for fingers, and when he puts his fingers in the holes, the Matrix opens.

Thus, we can conclude that the matrix of leadership opens or not based on whether you put your fingers in the holes. QED.

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