Monday, June 30, 2008

Thursday (Yeah I Know) Thirteen - Week Four

But it's Monday! But I'm way behind! So let's cut to the chase. Four drops. You love them, I love them. These are my favorites and not necessarily the best, but just the ones I like best. Some are important to the history of the game, some are power brokers and some are just damn cool or even all three. I cut down from 24 this week, proving once again, that it's getting easier as I go along.

Here we go...

#13: You know I love No-Hand Squadron. He is a hell of a good reason why. He's a nice 7/6 and then you get his effect. Burn for 6!? Crazy! How can he do that!? Well, they gain one back for each card in your hand. Oh, okay... Well, wait, so if I just have no cards he burns for 6? Ooooh yeah.

#12: Little Bucky didn't die, he grew up Red. This version of the Winter Soldier is unaffiliated and falls into a very dangerous category of characters. His power allows you to directly KO a character. That's a nasty power. In a game won and lost on missed drops at times, KO'ing someone, effectively for free? Especially a character up the curve? Incredible. Unlike some other characters with this ability though, Bucky makes you work for it. I have this Turbo Bucky combo-ish deck in my head that I'll have to write up if it ever starts firing. I have a feeling Sniper Shot ala Eugenio is a much easier and more consistent choice, not to mention all ready developed, but options are good.

#11: Ahh, Poison Ivy, quite a regular on my lists so far. She's a bit further down on the list here, but she's just not quite as good at four as she is earlier in the game. Stealing a 2 drop or KO'ing a character is very nice, but her activate cost is a bit prohibitive. While Bucky kills things without having to do anything and other characters kill things by doing what comes naturally, she has to have a character stunned before she can use her ability. So KO'ing a four drop on 4 require a 3 drop to go up the curve. Why is she a favorite then? Well, it's Poison Ivy! Also, I had quite a few sealed decks that decimated people with Ivy Lock.

#10: Wow, I may be under rating this guy, but I'm still trying figuring him out. With the Iron Man support in Marvel Universe, just having the name is pretty good. Extremis Upgrade is ridiculous. Nimrod every turn? Check! Stark Armory growing him every turn? Check! I'm A Futurist doubles as a character search? Yes, yes it does! Better yet though, his effect is amazing. It lets you keep your board and they get bigger to boot! Your three drop is good as a 5/4, he'll be better as a 6/5. Your five drop is only a 9/9? Next turn he's a 10/10. That's using average characters! Imagine him teamed up with Thing: Heavy Hitter or Wolverine: Logan! Or my favorite pairing so far, Radioactive Man: Containment Suit.

#9: So John isn't obviously a powerful card. But he's on here because I have a really fun Willpower deck that uses him to power a few combos. His ally effect works great with Oa, Ultra-Humanite: Evolutionary Antecendent, Katma Tui, Wall of Will, Guy Gardner and Satellite HQ. Even The Ring Has Chosen sometimes is ably assisted by John. I've turned games around when I missed on 5, but powered up and searched out Sinestro-6.

#8: So drawing cards, nice defense and he grants team ups. You'd think they're be powerful in that order: most to least. But the ability to give adjacent characters the X-Men affiliation is what really put Professor X on the map. Drawing cards is always nice, but you have to make it to the recovery phase. Good defense helps with that, but even better is letting Xavier's School ready Puppet Master (or you know, Dr. Light: Master of Holograms before he was banned, who... got another Puppet Master usually anyway) to exhaust an additional character who is one more character who can't attack into the big chair end of Chuck. Oh, and then draw a card when they can't stun him. Hehe.

#7: My only cheat this week. Bullets or arrows, guns or bows, these guys will kill you dead. In that power group of 4-drops with KO powers, these are probably the best. Punisher KO's anyone he stuns at the low cost of playing equipment while making equipment better anyway! Merlyn requires locations and is a little more fragile, but his power has been proven in the past, having won a PC. He activates, sure, but he doesn't need a stunned character! Both are 7/7 with range and both play into a theme of their team. Marvel Knights are good with KO's and equipment, while the League of Assassins was the original Location hog. Both have great search, they're both uncommons, it's no wonder that with the addition of a KO ability they've rocked the house. And luckily both are very cool characters. Merlyn's appearances in Green Arrow's solo series which I recently caught up on are absolutely brutal in the best possible way.

#6: Rogue is the kind of card that makes combos you didn't think possible, possible. She allows you to copy an ability, like, maybe KO'ing characters based on your number of locations or exhaust a character like Puppet Master or any number of other things. My favorite Rogue trick was in a Heroes United deck. Rogue, Mr. Fantastic: Stretch, and Professor X: World's Most Powerful Telepath. Normal F4 burn got 9-12 off each Cosmic. With Rogue and Professor X you could get 18 with just the two of them! And on the occasion you faced off against Thing: Heavy Hitter...? 22 damage on their initiative turn 7 is usually insurmountable.

#5: "I bet you a fucking dollar The Captain makes Top 8 at Worlds." Well, I wish Guglio or anyone else had taken me up on that offer. And thank you to Brian Eugenio, local deck builder extraordinaire, who not only proved my prediction on The Captain right, but also went all the way to the finals and won the WHOLE event with the Nextwaver, becoming the very first VS Worlds champion. Which I also predicted after seeing the Top 8 after day 2. Congratulations Brian! You deserve it, big time. I could tell you a million things to do with The Captain, but I'd rather just build decks and show you later!

#4: This card just doesn't seem like it should work the way it does. I read it and thought for sure I was reading it wrong. Go ahead, take a look... Read it yourself. Yeah, see? She's direct burn that you can add attack pumps onto! How crazy is that!? Savage Beatdown? +5, direct to the face! But of course, like any deck that attack so efficiently, think Quickfate, you play Samantha Parrington on 5 and Elektra can attack twice letting you play for the turn effects like Flying Kick, Combat Reflexes and Tania Belinskya. I like to team her up with my favorite 3-drop Dr. Doom with Lust for Power to load up a huge hand of pumps before you smack the crap out your opponent!

#3: I think Sentinel Mark V is one of the most important cards to ever be printed. For good or evil, Curve Sentinels was the dominant deck in VS for longer than anything before or since. Strategies like Puppet Master and Rigged Elections have always been at the edge of the meta waiting to jump in and steal the event, but Curve Sentinels ruled supreme. They had the tools since Origins with Bastion, Nimrod, Micro-Sentinels, Search and Destroy and one set later the addition of Total Anarchy, but they needed a bridge to the future, and this four drop/five drop turned the dial to 11. I enjoyed my time with Curve Sentinels, but will admit I was very happy to see Avengers dethrone them. I think the reason many people felt smothered by the Purple Curve King was not because the Robots weren't a good deck, but because they were the Kings of Savage/Nasty/Overload too. Combined with an open ended deck list they could tech against and beat all most anything.

#2: I love assassin characters. Deathstroke is one of the coolest. He's so cool even Deadpool, who originally was just Rob Liefield's excuse to draw Deathstroke, is that much cooler by association. And Deadpool is cool on his own! This version is one of my favorites. He's powerful and will usually see play if he's your main four drop. The effect of burning your opponent whenever he stuns is simple, but very effective. He's practically got invulnerability, but instead of taking 0, you just even the playing field. This gave him a prominent place in the High Voltage burn deck that aimed to drop your opponent to zero very fast by Enemy'ing out the nastiest burn options it could get it's hands on. Besides effects though, the guy has his own team! And a sword too! (if you get that joke, congratulations, you have a good memory!)

#1: You knew this was coming right? How could you not? Dr. Doom won the first PC, he won the last PC. He was my first major VS love and to this day nothing thrills me more than dropping him, turning up a search card and turning it back down before clearing a board full of weenies with Reign of Terror. 7/9, 10/6, whatever flavor your Doomstadt it turns him into a monster and if you don't like attacking he can just remove people from the fight to begin with via Mystical. Best of all though, your opponent can't do anything about it. Locking the plot twists in your opponent's hands from being played can devastate their game plan. I've had people scoop on turn 4 in response to a second Reign of Terror that they're powerless to stop. Diabolic Genius, is probably the most successful card in VS history. I'd be very surprised if any character card has been in more PC Top 8 decks than him. And I bet he gives Beatdown and Enemy of My Enemy a run for their money.