Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thunder Tactics - Little Deck Creations

Team Tactics is easily one of the most powerful cards in the game. I don't think it's ever gotten it's due, because (luckily, I think) it's a combo piece that needs a lot of work to pull off and isn't too hard to disrupt. Early versions of Tactics Abuse used Fantastic Four because they had very large stats to begin with, access to a great pump in It's Clobberin' Time and of course they had the best readying tech for a very long time, if not still, Cosmic Radiation.

Cosmic allows you to ready your entire team! You can't attack, but if you're all ready attacking, who cares! They also had a 1-drop Ant-Man who killed reinforcement, which is very important if the plan is to smash through somebody for lethal damage with Team Tactics. Basically they gave you eight cards to ready and eight cards to break reinforcement with while any other team would only have Press the Attack and Blindsided. The version I played also used A Child Named Valeria, the idea being to weenie up, draw a lot of cards with Antartic Research Base and play Thing, Heavy Hitter or Wolverine, New Fantastic Four on the kill turn. You attack with your unstunnable small drops, attack with the big guy, pump them to all hell and Press/Cosmic them into Tactics.

It was very fun. There was also versions with Doom as early as Marvel Origins. My friend Joe O'Brien built a deck with Doom-Bot, Doom's Throne Room and Tactics that played used a Doom-Bot or two to ready the Latverian overlord into a pump fueled Tactics kill. Boris was great at searching out the key plot twist, Doom-Bot being army made him easy to hit on three and Robot Destroyer on 5 was a good way of negating reinforcers.

The next major change to Tactics as a deck idea, that I remember was in the Avengers expansion. In that set the Thunderbolts debuted. A team of villains looking to get over as do-gooders that eventually decided they preferred the life of a hero had a sub-theme of being "ready" and thus had multiple ways to set an attacker straight ways.

So, this LDC is probably obvious by now, if it wasn't from the very subject line. I decided to build a Team Tactics deck that focused on the ability of the Thunderbolts to ready themselves. The first thing I did was pull out the super obvious choices. To me that consisted of 5 cards.

Speed Demon, Second Chance Speedster
Melissa Gold <> Songbird, Heroine Unbound

Blind Sided
Deadly Conspiracy
Team Tactics

Next I thought about what I need to make this work with the Highlander rule of Little Deck. Obviously you needs attack pumps and to make sure you get your Team Tactics the best solution outside of search is card draw. I also wanted ways of preventing reinforcement. With that in mind I set about building a curve.

At one, I chose two characters,

Count Vertigo, Werner Vertigo
Ogre, Weaponsmith

I'd play Dallas Riorden over Vertigo, but the only copies I have are in my Faces deck and I didn't want to replace her in there. lol He'll help out with reinforcement issues.

Captain Boomerang, George Harkness
Erik Josten <> Atlas, Kosmos Convict
Speed Queen, Female Fury
Tania Belinskya <> Red Guardian, Cold Warrior

Boomerang gets rids of two drops, Josten gets bigger and bigger and is just a nice attacker on turns 4 and 5. Speed Queen's readying effect is useful not so much for Team Tactics, but for card draw with Ego Gem. If Tania sticks around or you have to under drop, +4 attack for the turn is incredible.

Besides Speed Demon on three I have...

Dr. Doom, Richard's Rival
Hellcat, Patsy Walker
The Creeper, Jack Ryder

Doom will search out Tactics for you, Patsy is a pump that's likely to stick around even to turn 6 for Melissa Gold. The Creeper's card draw is very useful. He should net you at least 2 cards thanks to Evasion and he's only made better by being on everyone's team. And if I had any copies of Babs I'd totally play a copy of her over him though.

For four drops I picked 3 really strong card draw four drops.

Darkseid, Apokoliptian Opressor
Moondragon, Protector of the Mind Gem
Professor X, Headmaster

With luck, all of them will net you 2-3 cards per game. If you have an Ego Gem, Moondragon will guarantee at least one the turn she comes into play. And since you want the even initiative you can probably protect her until the next turn by making safe attacks.

As well as those three, I picked a card I've never really seen get used much, but I think is pretty good.

Dallas Riordan <> Vantage, Ionic Inheritor

She pumps her self at the cost of giving your opponents a card. But if you do you get a 10/7, which is pretty nice. It's too bad it only lasts for one attack.

Charcoal, Charles Burlingame
Paul Ebersol <> Techno, Man of Metal
Scarecrow, Psycho Psychologist

Since 5 is likely off initiative Charcoal makes for a scary defender. He'll stun just about anybody attacking into him. Especially if he's Hellcat's +2/+2 bonus on him. Paul Ebersol lets you get back a pump you might have used to stock up for turn 6, or if you somehow lost Team Tactics, he's a second copy. Scarecrow is a nice five drop or six drop and if you keep letting your opponent fill their hand with things like Vantage, Win-Lose Deal or bouncing 2 drops, he can deal a nice little stack of burn damage.

Finally, I'm packing one seven drop.

Beetle <> Mach 4, New Team Leader

He's got okay stats. Nothing bad, nothing phenomenal, but his ability can be very nice. Did you have to under drop last turn? Well, put that character adjacent to Beetle and give them +3/+3. Flight and range make him a good option as a Tactics finisher too.

That's a total of 22 cards, 19 characters, 3 plot twists. I all ready mentioned, Ego Gem and Win-Lose Deal which rock for card draw so let's make that 19 characters, 1 equipment, 4 plot twists.

Ego Gem, Infinity Gem

Win-Lose Deal

And that's 6 cards left. Pumps!

Barbaric Brawl
Combat Reflexes
Flying Kick
Justice, Like Lightning
Savage Beatdown

The only one that isn't at least 3 attack worth is Justice, Like Lightning which also allows you to exhaust target character if you play it on a Thunderbolt. No need to talk about these, they're just chocolate syrup. Once you get the ice cream in the bowl... Pour it on!