In a past life, it is very possible that Vortex was a roller coaster of some sort. He is the interrogator of the Decepticons, and his favorite method of divulging secrets from trembling Autobots is to take them on Mr. Vortex's Wild Ride. Laughing like a maniac, Vortex will treat Autobots held hostage within his cargo hold to a psychotic helicopter ride of twists, turns and near-death experiences. Then, once he has learned everything they have to tell: kerplop!
Vortex and the Decepticon air force were led into battle by Astrotrain in 2008. They planned to strike back against the Autobots, but were instead ambushed by the Quintessons in what could have been a massacre. Putting aside his pride, Decepticon commander Soundwave radioed the Autobots for assistance, and soon the two factions were fighting side-by-side on Cybertron against the invading Quintesson forces. After the fight was over, Soundwave left the battlefield in Vortex's ridiculously-oversized helicopter mode.
Vortex, along with the other Combaticons, formed the first line of defense against Jhiaxus's attack on Warworld. While Vortex's ultimate fate is unseen, the fact that Jhiaxus's troops ultimately took Warworld makes it likely he was destroyed.
Vortex was one of five Decepticon renegades liberated by Starscream in the Air Commander's latest attempt to unseat Megatron. Rebuilt into new bodies based on WWII-era human military vehicles and dubbed the Combaticons, the renegades worked with Starscream primarily to gain the energy absorbers the schemer left out of their new forms. While Vortex and the others were at first successful, the Stunticons' intervention meant the brigade's defeat, and all six were exiled to a remote asteroid.
Vortex and his fellow Combaticons soon escaped the asteroid and invaded Cybertron, defeating Shockwave's defenses as Bruticus. After Onslaught modified the space bridge to pull Earth into the sun, the Combaticons were attacked by unknown forces, which were actually holograms. Vortex was quite happy, as he loved sneak attacks. Once again, however, the Combaticons were defeated by outside intervention, as the Autobots and Decepticons temporarily allied against the renegades. While Megatron allowed the Autobots to believe the Combaticons had been destroyed, he secretly had Bruticus (and his components, we guess) reprogrammed to serve more loyally.
Millions of years later, Vortex, along with his fellow Combaticons, was imprisoned by Shockwave until he was released by Starscream.
When Sunstorm appeared on Earth, the battered Combaticons were ordered by Starscream to combine into Bruticus and deal with the crazed zealot. It did not end well.
The repaired Combaticons were brought to Guadalcanal, where they could hone their somewhat lackluster combat skills and listen to Starscream's long-winded aspirations of glory. Starscream ordered them to defeat the Autobot Sky Lynx as a means to train themselves for greater battles. Blast Off ordered Vortex to "take [Sky Lynx] down", but the crafty Autobot split into his two forms, and Blast Off was embarrassingly grabbed in the flying form's jaws while Vortex looked on.
This was the least of their troubles, however, as Predaking showed up as soon as Sky Lynx was deactivated. This encounter also did not end well.
He was part of the Combaticons' assault on the Garrus-9 penal facility to seize the Pretender Monsters. When Arcee turned up to kill them all, it was Vortex who reacted quickly and sprang the Monsters while under fire. He then dissed Fortress Maximus on the way out.
Vortex is a repaint of the Energon Blackout with a color scheme resembling his G1 colors. Interestingly, his energon weapon's side-guns can pop off and attach to his arms like somoene else's. At least his Universe toy isn't grounded as a tank