December 21, 2008

The Ring Has Chosen

For those of you who aren't members of the forums on, you should be. There is a long-running podcast that two of the 'realms members have been doing, called The Ring Has Chosen. I've been listening to Cliff and Squire since before Halloween of '07, and tune in religiously every week for the latest episode. These guys do a great job and always make me laugh with their fun banter, off-topic ranting, and insight into the game.

A while back I sent Cliff an email to let them know how much I enjoyed their show, and was shortly thereafter invited to join them for an episode! I'll let the episode do the rest of the talking, but I just wanted to let them, and everyone else, know how much I enjoyed being on the show. It was hands down the most fun I've had in a long time. Thanks again for having me on guys!

So go listen to The Ring Has Chosen episode 68! It's available for download on iTunes, or can be streamed at

December 17, 2008

Back on track!

Well I just got finished talking with the guys from The Ring Has Chosen (the absolute best pod-cast on the inter-webs!), and was gently reprimanded for not having updated my blog in almost a week. We'll talk more about that later on...for now I thought I'd get back to my regularly scheduled programming, and start talking about the rest of the teams from Marvel Evolution.

I believe the next team I said I'd look at would be X-Factor. Even if it wasn't, is now! From a broad perspective I like how they were handled. All three eras of the team were covered: the original five X-Men, the government-sponsored team led by Havok, and the current X-Factor Investigations. I know the first two teams best, as X-Factor was one of the books that I read for the longest back in the day.

Keeping with the X-Men team, the original five has some great recovery effects from Angel and Jean Grey, some stun and don't-get-stunned shenanigans with Cyclops, and Beast / Iceman rounding out things nicely with other spiffy effects (exhaust, card draw, pumps).While I don't particularly dig the Cyclops legend I do have to admit that he deserved it; if only because he's been the field leader of the X-Men 40 years. He's got some great cards and I'm sure we'll see a lot of legend decks pop up over the next little while.

It seems like the character drawing much more attention however, is Multiple Man. This (odd choice of) legend has the potential to be really powerful with only a few cards. Just flipping through my MEV binder, I think if I made an X-Factor / Madrox deck it would look something like this:

14x MEV-021 Multiple Man, Army (1)
4x MEV-025 Rictor (2)
6x MEV-015 Jamie Madrox, Army (2)
2x MEV-016 Jamie Madrox (5)
4x MEV-028 Strong Guy (6)
Total = 30

Plot Twists:
2x First Class
2x Cracking the Case
2x Multiplicity
2x One Man Army
2x Re-absorption
4x Vocal Minority
4x The "X" Factor
4x Black Box
Total = 22

2x Fall's Edge
2x X-Factor Investigations
4x Alias Investigations
Total = 8

While this isn't an ideal build, I think it has potential, and is something I could actually build with the cards I have right now, barring needing one or two more copies of some rares.

Basically you drop and keep as many army Madroxes as you can on the board until turn 4, dropping Rictor to gain endurance over two or three turns (possibly more than once per turn). On turn 5 bring in the 5-drop Madrox if you can find him, otherwise just keep dumping army guys. The ideal situation is to have a ton of 1-drop army guys available on the board when you recruit Strong Guy. Use a few of the smaller army guys to pump up others (with a little help from The "X" Factor).By this time you should have a Strong Guy with something on the order of 10 counters on him, and hopefully have been able to stomp your way through most of your opponent's board with your army dudes. Attack with Strong Guy for the coup-de-grace and celebrate your victory!

It might not be a super solid deck, but I think it would be fun to play, and very flavorful. If you wanted to round it out with a few more different characters you certainly could, but you really want to try to maximize the number of activated effects you have control of.

So there you have it...a deck and a review (sort-of). Now go play some cards!

December 10, 2008

MEV Black Box errata'd

In the past week or so since MEV was released, some tricky smart players figured out an infinite combo utilizing a combination of Black Box and Techno-Organic Virus. Today, UDE (ie: "The" Ben Seck) posted an errata of the card's text up on the forums.

The card now reads: "Shuffle up to three target cards not named Black Box from a single player's KO'd pile into his deck. If you control an X-Force character, draw a card."

I think this is an elegant solution that still makes the card playable without ruining the usefulness of a good card. Thanks TBS!

And now back to your regularly scheduled gaming. :D

Community Update

Well, if you've taken a close look at the right side of the site lately (providing the color change didn't numb you to sleep)...we have another location running hobby league effective as of yesterday! Due to lack of supply Jason, your other friendly hobby league TO, wasn't able to run a sealed tournament as planned. The sealed tournament will run on Dec 22nd instead.

We will try to operate our events as concurrently as possible Legends will be running on Monday evenings, following the same format as Trilogy on the preceding Friday. Of course we may not be able to keep things in sync all the time. For the most part, the format will be the same. Keep an eye on the side panel here for format, dates and times.

More gaming, more prizes, more Vs System goodness...sounds like a happy holiday season to me! :D

December 05, 2008

Lack of Creativity is Lame

OK I know I said that my next write up would be about X-Factor, but I really haven't had a chance to look at them very much this week. It seems the big story on Magic Workstation is Exiles. Out of all the games I've played, the only ones that weren't played against Exiles decks were those I played against Roy (a total of 5 out of approximately 25). Everyone else seems to have foregone any sense of autonomy or creativity and jumped on the Exiles bandwagon.

I admit, it's a good deck; it's better than good. As you may have garnered from my previous article, I think it's pretty damn amazing. By turn five a regular deck will have garnered a total of 15 resource points. Exiles can almost double that. But does that mean every person online has to play it? Can't we step out of the box a little bit and try something else rather than everyone running variations on a theme? I guess new-and-shiny + wins-almost-every-time is just too tempting to ignore.

Right now you're probably all thinking I sound like a grumpy old man. That's fine with me. For a lot of people, they just want to try out the new teams, see how they play and then carry on about their regular gaming lives. I've been guilty of it myself from time to time too. Perhaps it has a lot to do with my preference toward building thematic and fun decks, rather than "I just wanna win" stuff. I obviously can't claim that I'm not competitive however, as here I am, lamenting away.

It'll be harder to manage building an Exiles deck in real life simply because of the card rarity involved in building some of it. Online that's not a problem. Thanks to the scary prevalence of online net-decking at this point though, I'm tired of seeing Exiles already and I haven't even opened my half-case of Evolution. Yay.

November 29, 2008

Overpowered...or over-reacting?

I've had a few chances to play against some more decks built of cards from the new Marvel Evolutions (which seems to be selling at a very brisk pace locally). In addition to the Weapon X deck I wrote about the other day, I've faced off against an Exiles and an X-Factor deck, both of which were quite interesting to see. I'll concentrate on the Exiles build, which I've taken to calling Shi(f)t 'n Abuse.

Since one of my main concerns is the power of MEV in relation to that of older sets, I've been playing predominantly Modern-Age decks against MEV-only builds. I want to see if non-Evolutions decks can compete, or even survive a match-up with the new-and-shiny mutant maniacs.

The currently favored Exiles build starts off by recruiting no characters for two or possibly even three turns, rather concentrating on building up shift counters on characters in their removed-from-game zone. The ideal play on turn one involves shifting 3-drop Blink into play with a counter. Each turn another card or two is shifted out of play and more counters are added. Finally, Blink is shifted into play on turn three, adding an extra counter to all the other shifted characters.

Turn four will probably see an Illyana, Shadowcat and Mariko drop to burn you and provide your opponent with a heavy character advantage. All of these characters will recover for free if you don't have any way to get into the hidden area to stun Illyana, so even if you do stun them all, it's basically for no net gain other than a little bit of stun damage. The reason I say stun damage is due to Blink!
I had a full board of characters and should have been able to maximize breakthrough damage until this card was flipped up. It is extremely powerful, because it essentially allows any character the opponent controls to reinforce any other. With Illyana sitting in the hidden area, she's a perfect choice for this strategy, as her text requires nothing other than she be unstunned. Between her power and Blink! you're stunning characters almost for no reason.

Come turn 5 more characters hit the board. I was facing down SIX visible characters (Mimic, Rogue, Cat, Mariko, Blink and Proteus) plus Illyana in the hidden, and had been burned for something on the order of 15 endurance. To add insult before injury, my hefty 5-drop character ended up leaving play thanks to Warp Shards. Now that I only had two characters on the board to face off against a veritable army...I was done for. I took over 40 points of damage that turn, only scoring a few stun-backs, all of whom simply recovered for free.

Score another amazing and painful defeat for MEV on turn 5. I think with a few different draws it could easily have been the end of me on turn 4. I'm pretty amazed at the power of Shift, but there is a small light at the end of this tunnel. While the Exiles are extremely powerful, they are also very dependent on a select number of rare cards. In order to be really effective they have to hit everything early, so there is a greater chance of disrupting it. Not to mention that the cards are looking to be highly sought after (and thus highly expensive) should keep the number of occurrences of this deck down a little bit.

Tune in next time for my thoughts on X-Factor.

November 27, 2008

Hunter + Deadpool = Dead

I just played my first couple games with MEV, against a Weapon X deck built with a focus on the new Shift and Hunter keywords. Now me, I'm not a crazy combo-creating type of player. None of my decks are overly tricky, but rather tend to rely simply on smashing my opponent into a bloody mess in new and interesting ways. Well, I have seen the future tonight, and his name is Deadpool.So here's the situation. It's the start of turn 5 and your opponent has a 2-drop Deadpool on the board. After drawing and playing a resource he plays a copy of Trouble with Clones (5-cost: To play, KO a Deadpool you control. Gain resource points equal to that character's cost. Spend these points only to recruit characters named Deadpool.) from his hand. Searching his deck he comes up with a Deadpool, Party Pooper. You think it's ugly now...just you wait.

So now he's sitting there with a 7-drop staring you down on turn 5. Waking you from your shocked stupor he declares your smallest front row character as being Hunted. As combat begins you feel yourself start to sweat, and maybe even pee yourself a little. Deadpool swings into the declared huntee, stuns them....and readies. Now you begin to breathe a little easier, as your hunted character has been stunned. You're going to get smacked down a little bit more, but being turn 5 you might still be able to pull something out of the fire.

Your opponent grins sadly at you, his poor, hapless, soon-to-be-brutalized opponent. Looking into his hand he shrugs, then flips up a copy of Weapon Plus Satellite up from his resource row. If you didn't pee yourself before, you do at this very moment. This 7-drop Deadpool swings not once, not twice, but three times...on turn FIVE.

Now if your opponent has been extremely lucky and has another copy or three of Weapon Plus Satellite sitting in his resource row, think about that. Worst case scenario he is hitting you six times. Let's do the math: 6 x 17 = 102 damage with NO pumps. Granted, that is absolutely worst case scenario...but it is still amazing. It makes me smile at the prospect of playing it, and cry at the friends I lose by playing it against them. If there ever were a case for more rigorous testing I'd say this is it. A simple addition of, "Use this power only once per turn." would have made it far less broken. And yes, I truly think this is broken.

And for the record, I didn't come up with this combination. It was my opponent's deck. I merely pointed out that he could do the whole thing more than once, using multiple copies of Weapon Plus in his resource row. Because really...when you're doing that much damage who really cares about KO-ing a resource? It's not like you're going to need it on turn six. Who am I kidding...what turn six?! Happy gaming! :D

November 22, 2008

Heroclix no more...not likely

There are a lot of comic book fans out there addicted to 'plasti-crack', also know as Heroclix. I got into clix about a year and a half ago. After asking around in the city and online I had found, much to my disappointment, that no one was playing VS here. My love of comic books being what it was, I decided to look into Heroclix to get my comic-gaming fix.

Recent announcements by Topps have stated that they are ceasing production of the Heroclix product line and looking for someone to take it over. Of course, gamers being what they are, gloom and doom talk exploded throughout the interwebs...with conspiracy theories, economic debates and ideas for saving the game flying around all over the place.

What does this have to do with VS? Well, I'm not really sure. It might positively grow our player base, if clix really does stop going. Some people might be willing to make the switch simply to fill that comic-related gaming addiction. Others might simply walk away from gaming altogether, and the rest might just keep playing with the figures they have. I know I will be, regardless of what happens to future production.

As to that, I seriously don't see the Heroclix license not getting picked up by another manufacturer. The biggest hurdle overall will be what Topps (they own WizKids these days) is asking for it and what it includes. There were rumors out that WizKids had recently renegotiated the DC character agreement which would make a big difference. If those are included in the deal and Topps brass aren't asking for too much, I'm sure we'll see clix again.

A lot of posts I've seen on various VS forums almost seem to be hoping that clix will die. Personally I hope that doesn't happen for two reasons. The first is a selfish one: I like the game. I'm not that great at it and do find it to be more complex than VS, but it's fun to play. Second, I think having more than one comic-related game on the market is good for everyone. To a point of course. Not everyone likes card games, and not everyone likes miniature strategy games. But we all love comics, which in the end, is what it's really all about.

I mean, what's not to love about me getting to smash someone's X-Men with Darkseid, Alpha Flight, Green Lanterns or Superman? Cards or miniatures, whatever characters are in play...superheroes and villains smashing each other silly is the way to go.

Another huge tourney, and I had to miss it. :(

But at least it was for a good cause, and a good time. I recently started working with a new company and we had a team of team-building night out. Dinner, drinks, the new Bond flick, and more drinks. All on the company dime...oh yeah!

Roy sent me a brief tournament report (thank you!), and I was surprised, but happy with the results. It sounds like our numbers continue to grow. We had another 13 player night. THIRTEEN! And that's not counting another regular plus myself who were unable to go. I know I've gone on about how much I love the people in our hobby league group, but that's still just awesome. Granted the lingering effects of the beer I drank may be increasing my euphoria a little bit, but that's still pretty damned impressive.

So here's my report, based on what I heard about (any sensationalism is entirely my doing, blame the beer):

The final match after three rounds of preliminaries was Roy's Hidden Injustice Gang deck (I've played this thing and it's REALLY nasty) vs Will's X-babes deck. Will doesn't often play in the tournaments, but frequently stops in the store to chat and trade while we do. I'm really glad that he decided to enter his deck in, and win a tournament for the first time in the bargain! I've been beaten many-a-time by that X-Babes deck (see an earlier post I made this month), and I can't think of a finer match up to take Roy's IG stuff down.

Both players hit their curves until turn 6 which was called last turn due to time. With Will sitting at 6 endurance and Roy with only 2, Will won a mitt full of MUL cards and a couple packs. Fun was had by all!

1. Will Eisnor, GA X-Girls, 4/0
2. Roy Madill, MA Hidden Injustice Gang, 3/1
3. Matt Swend, GA Spider-clones, 3/1
4. Scott Mooney, GA Skrulls/Inhuman, 3/1
5. Jon Nash, GA Hellboy buff, 2/2
6. Daniel Lapointe, GA Thunderbolts, 2/2
7. Jordan Lapointe, GA Shield/GL, 2/2
8. Bryan Hons, GA X-men Assembled, 2/2
9. Benjamin Burndorfer, MA Warbound, 2/2
10. Harry Osborne, GA Darkseid's Elite, 2/2
11. Braden Lucas, GA X-men, 1/3
12. Vern Townsend, GA New Gods, 1/3
13. Colin Smith, GA JLA, 1/3

I'm glad everyone had a good time. Our next will be sealed with Marvel Evolutions! I can't hardly wait. But, please bring a deck just in case Pascal's shipment is late or anything.

November 20, 2008

Is anyone actually reading this?

For the most part, I keep this blog for two reasons...the first one is for myself. I like talking about my favorite game, posting ideas and reports about our local Hobby League / gaming group. The second is obviously for the people in that group. I thought that it would be helpful to have a site that everyone could easily check that had information about the upcoming tournament date and format, since not everyone can make it to every event.

So for anyone who reads this thing, feel free to pipe up. Leave a comment, whether you play Vs here in Calgary or not. I'd love to hear from you. Give me some ideas on things you'd like to see, article topics, deck ideas, stuff you love or hate about my writing...whatever.

November 17, 2008

Super Awesome-tacular

I've been meaning to post for a few days, but with the realms being was I. Not enough to not play any cards, but it saddened me. I was able to fill my need for Vs talk via the boards on the Kamiza's site, and those over on TCGPlayer. For anyone interested in the game I heartily recommend both communities. I think there is a lot of overlap, but that's actually a good thing in my mind. It goes to show how tight-knit our players are on a global-level. It's an amazing thing to see something like that come out of a shared love for a simple game.

As for playing, things are still going really strong for me here. A week ago, I was able to organize an impromptu sealed tournament with five players, including myself. It was only the second time I've been able to play sealed, and I absolutely loved it! We had two players (including myself) playing with packs from Marvel Team-Up, one player with Marvel Knights, one with Infinite Crisis, and another playing World's Finest.

As we had an odd number of players and a limited time-frame, most of us were only able to get two rounds of play in. I went 1-1 with my Spider-Friends / Marvel Defenders one loss coming from an Underworld / Defenders team up. Jason pulled the extra-sweet combo of Samantha Parrington (foil no less) and the 7-drop Hulk. I might have been able to survive long enough to squeak out a win, but I made an unfortunate (ie: STUPID) formation mistake that let him smack me around.

Will's deck was a little shaky, but he was playing with DC cards for the first time, and was able to make all of his games go VERY close...against poor draws and scary match-ups. I think Roy was the only player to go 2-0, playing a strong Marvel Knights deck. I may be wrong in that though, as Jordan's Team Superman deck looked like it had some insanely good pumps in it. Playing and trying to see what was going on in the other games is obviously not my strong suit, so if I've made a mistake please correct me or...try not to throw too many vegetables my way.

Besides the sealed play, I was able to get a few games in on Thursday as well. Luck wasn't with me that night, as I only recall winning 1 of my 4 games. It was good fun nonetheless, and Scott was able to fill a few slots from my trade list with older rares. They were, as always, much appreciated.

Topping things all off was Saturday evening. Trilogy Gaming Club has moved to a new location, so I had to swing by to check it out. It looks awesome. There is probably three times the gaming space of the old store, and Pascal has put up not one but two HUGE displays for VS. One is a Batman standee directly across from the main door, standing on the top wall, slightly in shadows (as Batman should rightly be). The other is a Superman poster on the far wall. It's really great that he's done that, as I certainly didn't ask for the support. The more visibility we have in-store the better. I can only help us bring in more players!

Will and Sebastien were also hanging out at the shop, and we decided to make an evening of it; grabbing some pizza and beer and heading over to flip some more cards. I played several games against Will's X-Babes deck (piloted to near perfection by Sebastien)...winning only one. He was able to get 3 copies of X-Men Assembled out on one game, and all FOUR in the next. It was absolutely crushing to see a 14/15 (or something) 2-drop staring at me on turn 7. I just couldn't get rid of them.

Lastly, I have to give huge thanks to Will for spending a large portion of his evening sorting through his extra cards and dropping almost a DOZEN cards from my want-list on the table to me to take home. If there's one thing about our Vs community here that I would be inclined to brag about, it would be the generosity of our players. Everyone is always willing to step up and help each other out with trades, lending cards for testing, strategy and just plain being a great bunch to play with. You guys are great.

November 08, 2008

I am...the World's Finest

Well maybe that's a rather extreme statement, but I sure felt like it on Friday night! We had our Bring-Your-Own-Two-Teams tournament, and I ran my first-ever build of a Team Superman / Gotham Knights team-up deck. It was a lot smaller tournament than most that we've had in the past two months, but we had some great decks brought in. With only 5 of us playing we had time for every player to play against everyone else, which I really liked.

BYOTT World's Finest (65 cards)

2x DCX-023 Superman/Batman Robot (0)
2x DCR-212 Lois Lane (1)
4x DBM-006 Commissioner Gordon (1)
2x DJL-209 Kelex (1)
3x DWF-010 Krypto (2)
3x DWF-042 Batman (3)
4x DOR-007 Cassandra Cain <> Batgirl (4)
1x DWF-127 Catwoman (5)
1x DWF-025 Wonder Woman (5)
2x DCL-028 Superman (5)4x
4x DCL-070 Dick Grayson <> Nightwing (6)
4x DGL-159 Azrael <> Batman (7)
1x DWF-008 Kara Zor-El <> Supergirl (8)
1x DOR-020 Superman (8)
1x DWF-022 Superman (9)
Total = 35

Plot Twists:
1x DCX-005 Flying High
2x DSM-032 Man of Tomorrow
2x DOR-029 Fizzle
3x DWF-037 Iron Will
2x DGL-161 Blood in the Dark
3x DWF-036 Impervious
4x DWF-038 Soaring to New Heights
3x DWF-035 Home Sweet Home
4x DWF-060 Good Cop, Good Cop
4x DWF-059 Bat-Signal

2x DBM-012 Gotham City

The idea for this deck is a combination of plot twist negation, character recovery, and smashing my opponent on odd initiatives. As has seemed the case lately, it's a little card-heavy, but there are a few items that could be removed, namely single copies of Wonder Woman and Catwoman on 5, 1 Lois the 8-drop Kara and 9-drop Superman. That would put it down at an even 60 and should still likely run just fine, as I never needed any of those characters in my games.

My mulligan condition for each game was either a Batman in hand, or a way to get Batman. If I'm lucky enough to get Gotham City on the board I use it on my defending turns to draw cards, which can be used as discard for Batman's ability or my Fizzles. When Superman comes out on turn 5 he's never been smaller than 10/10 for me. With some Soaring to New Heights and Iron Wills to play, my entire board (always at least three characters on turn 5) can start to pummel my opponent. Dick Grayson is one of the beefier 6-drops I could find that was thematic, and I liked the Azrael <> Batman text for the times I might get stuck with even initiatives. With the amount of search, it hits very consistently and plays very well.

Round 1: Marvel Defenders / Warbound

Scott was able to get his Hulk set up on turn 5 and it was looking scary for me with all the readying and counter effects. Luckily I had a solid board with my Batman 3-drop, Superman/Batman Robot (boosted in for 4 resource points), Superman, and Krypto. With me on even initiatives...Hulk was swinging first. I was able to slow the pain with a timely flipped Flying High and Home Sweet Home from my resource row and survive the turn with three characters on the board. On turn six, four attacking characters and a couple of Soaring to New Heights shifted the game in my favor. On turn seven Scott had to under-drop and just couldn't survive my counter-attack.

Round 2: Teen Titans / Legionnaires

Harry's deck was a weenie build based on team attacking and cosmic effects like Legion of Super-Pets. I started off poorly and missed my first two drops, but from there I hit my preferred character every turn. Batman and my Fizzles proved to be extremely valuable in this round! With Superman getting +5/+5 or better for two turns in a row, it was all over for Harry on turn 6.

Round 3: BPRD / Hellfire Club

Fast forward to turn 8. I have Supes/Bats Robot, Nigthwing, Azrael and Superman out as my 5, 6, 7, and 8 cost characters. Jon has the initiative with three hidden characters and a massive Hellboy sitting in his visible area. He was able to stun Azrael and Nightwing but not being able to attack around Superman to get my Robot, had to pass the attack to me. However, at this point Hellboy is even more intimidating, sitting at 21/20. So I'm faced with a choice, I could gamble and throw my 20/20 Superman into Hellboy and risk a power up or something, or I can team attack and ensure the stun. I opt for the team attack, resulting in a stunback on my Superman. But when the dust settled and the smoke cleared I had risen victorious with 0 endurance to Jon's -8. An awesome battle and a great game!

Round 4: Gotham Knights / Birds of Prey

My final round was up against Vern, who was a first time player at our group, but not a new player to the game. Unfortunately for Vern I was able to hit Krypto on 2, Bat-Signal for my Batman in preparation for 3, and draw into my 4, 5, and 6s. I had a character and endurance advantage by turn 6 with the all-Gotham crew only being able to stun my two smaller characters. Superman finished off Vern's last standing visible attacker, and with no one to protect him, Nightwing swung in for the coup-de-grace. To cement the beating, I flipped up two copies of Soaring to New Heights, a copy of Iron Will (matched by a one in my KO pile) for an additional 8/8. That was 20 straight to Vern's already-bloody mouth, but he took it with a smile, scooped his cards and shook my hand in defeat.

As for me...this was the first time I ever won a tournament in the year we've been holding them at Trilogy. I took home some of the Ultimates cards and two packs of World's Finest (hello foil Last Son of Krypton) as winner prizes. I also bought a few packs of Legion, and ended up with two cards I was still searching for, in Ion and Dark Superboy...and finally cracked a Mobilize!

To sum up: I'm really happy with my deck, absolutely floored by the consistent turn out of new and older players we've had recently, and grateful that we have such a supportive store to play at. I truly couldn't ask for a better gaming experience.

November 04, 2008

Lightning Strikes Twice

As promised, here's the listing for my SHIELD Ultimates deck. I'll post up the cards first and then address how it's supposed to work.

Lightning Strikes Twice

3x MUN-094 Hank Pym <> Yellowjacket (1)
4X MUN-051 Beetle <> Mach (2)
3x MUL-019 Clint Barton <> Hawkeye (2)
4x MUL-020 Nick Fury (3)
2x MUN-064 Radioactive Man (3)
4x MUN-062 Lady Deathstrike (4)
1x MUL-005 Natasha Romanoff <> Black Widow (4)
1x MUL-030 Jean Grey (4)
4x MUL-008 Iron-Man (5)
1x MUN-118 Wonder Man (5)
1x MUL-029 Cyclops (5)
2x MUL-004 Captain America (6)
1x MUN-084 Ares (6)
4x MUN-101 Mar-Vell <> Captain Marvel (6)
1x MUN-096 Iron Man (7)
2x MUN-088 Carol Danvers <> Ms. Marvel (7)
1x MUL-018 Thor (7)
1x MUL-007 Hulk (8)
Total = 40

2x MUL-006 Subterranea
2x MUN-127 Stark Armory
1x MUL-021 The Triskelion
Total = 5

1x MUN-121 Hulkbuster Armor
1x MAV-035 Mjolnir
3x MUN-120 Extremis Upgrade
Total = 5

Plot Twists:
2x MUN-137 You're Under Arrest
2x MUN-134 Scarlet Spiders
2x DCL-262 Heroic Effort
4x MUN-314 Losing the Argument
4x MUL-017 Liberation Day
Total = 14

It seems like recently 66 cards has been the magic number of cards in the decks I've been building. With this deck having a few extra cards isn't actually a bad thing, since we're trying to remove around half of them by turn 7. The idea is to get Nick Fury, Jean Grey and Iron Man out by turn 5. If I can hit an Extremis Upgrade as well I'm likely able to keep all two of my characters going into turn 6. Being a burn strategy Mar-vell is my 6-drop of choice, and Thor my turn 7.

If I have the initiative I'm hoping to have at least 1 copy of Lady Deathstrike. Recruit Thor, activate to burn, sub in Deathstrike for Iron Man, bounce to ready Thor. Burn then ready him by subbing Deathstrike in for Mar-Vell. Leave him ready, and possibly equip him with Mjolnir and attack with him once. If it comes to turn 8, Hulk is a lot of fun to drop on the board. I've had him gain an extra +15/+15 in one game!

The deck is really character heavy. I'm very likely going to pull out the 1-drop Yellowjackets. I have never been able to recruit him, and he's not Ultimates so I can't search for him or use him to pay for Liberation Day. Hawkeye is there more as a plot twist, so that's fine. Radioactive Man almost never sees play because I want to get Nick in to start removing cards. Maybe Mr. Fantastic would be a better option. I might also need to swap the ratio of 4s around but I only have 2 copies of Jean. And lastly...only having 1 copy of The Triskelion is a huge gamble. If I end up removing it or a character card from the game, I can put myself into serious trouble.

It's certainly not a perfect deck, but it's been fun to play so far. I'm going to keep it as is until I can play it in a tourney and then see if my initial criticisms should be acted on.

November 03, 2008

I Love This Game

Over the past week I've built three brand new decks, including one for the upcoming BYOTT event this Friday. Thanks to convenient scheduling, I've actually been able to play test all three of them against several of Scott's formidable decks. All in all I'm really happy with them, and am actually trying to figure out what to build next. Of course I could always refine something that I've already built, but shiny-and-new seems to be winning out over tried-and-true with me right now.

Two of the three decks I'll share, but the other I'll keep under wraps until Friday arrives. The first deck that I built was a team I haven't played with since the release of DOR; League of Assassins. When DC Legends came out I was really excited to play with all the great cards in it, but looking back I really haven't built any decks centered on that set. I suppose one of the reasons would be that I wanted to build a JLA deck using my favorite characters (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc). Of course since most of those characters also happened to be rares it was made rather difficult. But anyway, back to my LoA deck.

The basic idea of my curve was to get Ra's al Ghul out on turn 4 to lock down my opponent from playing any locations and then beat them to death with Cassie Cain, Shrike and Nyssa Raatko. If it comes down to it I have Ra's again on turn 8. I've found the Mountain Stronghold to be a truly superb card, being both a search I can play on turn 1, and a way of giving my Ra's reinforcement.

Ra's is Gonna Get Ya (66 cards)

2x DOR-100 Josef Witschi (1)
4x DOR-108 Thuggee (1)
3x DCR-138 Talia (2)
3x DCL-214 Shadow Assassin (2)
4x DOR-109 Ubu (3)
3x DBM-015 Kyle Abbot (3)
4x DOR-104 Ra's al Ghul, Immortal Villain (4)
4x DBM-018 Ra's al Ghul, Eternal Nemesis (4)
2x DBM-016 Lady Shiva (5)
3x DCL-204 Cassandra Cain (5)
4x DCL-215 Shrike (6)
1x DCL-205 David Cain (6)
4x DCL-211 Nyssa Raatko (7)
1x DOR-106 Ra's al Ghul, The Demon's Head (8)
Total = 42

2x DBM-024 Ubu Encampment
4x DOR-115 Mountain Stronghold
4x DBM-023 Flying Fortress
1x DCL-222 Plague Zone
1x DCL-220 Lazarus Pit
1x DCL-218 The Demon's Quarters
Total = 13

Plot Twists:
4x DOR-118 Tower of Babel
4x DBM-027 Swing Line
1x DOR-116 Remake the World
1x DCL-223 The Demon's Head
1x DCL-226 Harsh Judgement
Total = 11

As you can see, it's a little character heavy. I'm pretty sure I can remove the Josephs and maybe one of each of the 4-drop Ra's cards. I could probably trim two of the Kyle Abbott cards off too, but that decreases my chances of hitting three by quite a bit. Since the LoA seem to be fairly light on range, it might also be a good idea to pull out two of the Flying Fortresses and put some range-giving equipment into the deck.

I'll post up my SHIELD deck tomorrow.

October 30, 2008

Bring Your Own Two Team rules

This event is similar to BYOT events, except that players choose two teams that are automatically crossed-over during the game. Players may only play with characters from, or cards that reference, one or both of those teams. You may not play with "generic" cards. This includes ALL cards in your deck, so plot twists, locations and equipment must also reference one of the two teams you are playing with!

Multiplayer Re-cap

The past few events have been great in terms of participation! Over the past two months I don't think we've had an event with less than 10 players signed up, and to me that is just awesome. I love seeing the group grow and change with the addition of new players, deck ideas, and friends.

For the multi-player game night last week, it was a little odd. I was running a little late and had had a rather long day before heading down to Trilogy, and wasn't quite prepared to be greeted by a dozen beaming faces all waiting to play some cards. I hadn't expected quite that many players, and had only brought one Galactus set and one Starro set, which wasn't enough for that many players.

What we ended up doing is something we've done once before, and while I'm a fan of it, I am sure some of the players aren't quite sure what to make of it. We ran two 3-player games, and one 2-on-2 game, for three rounds. The way we determined the winners for the tournament wasn't by who won, but rather by vote. Each round, every player voted for someone who played in their game that they thought was the best player, but not necessarily who won. It makes for an interesting dynamic, and is something quite different from the playing to win doesn't always net you a lot of votes. I think it fosters good sportsmanship and fun play and plan to keep the format around.

With that, I have to congratulate our 1st prize winner Matt, who took home the second of our two Ultimates play mats, and Harry who was the winner of the rare MUL Submariner cards!

Next up with be our Golden Age "Bring Your Own 2 Team" event.

October 13, 2008

Clone Saga Results

Another really good tournament has come and gone, this time with 11 players coming out to compete in our Clone Saga event. There were a few gimmes, and a few surprises among the characters chosen; including Darkseid, The Joker, Captain America, Dr. Doom, Captain America, Brainiac 13, Silver Surfer, Rha' al Ghul and more! I wasn't able to take a close look at every player's deck, but I was very impressed with the creativity shown in some of the builds. From those that did have a chance to look at I think the Captain America and Silver Surfer decks had some really good potential, with the Cap deck coming in second only to Doom. Once again Scott walked away with top prize, smashing all comers in an impressive 4-0 tournament win. We'll have another Ultimates play mat and the final three MUL cards up for grabs in an upcoming event.

Next time however, we're going to play some multi-player games. Depending on the number of players we'll either play some 2-on-2 team games, some 3-player battles, or possibly some Giant-Size games up against Galactus and Starro. Yes, I said Starro. Captain Spud on VS Realms put together an excellent Starro deck that I've play tested a few times and I think will be a lot of fun for everyone.

Just a reminder to everyone, banned cards are not legal in our Golden Age events, so please be sure to check the banned list, or check with me if you're not sure what cards have been banned. I'll try to put together a list for the site here as soon as I can.

October 10, 2008

Marvel Evolution: Preview Thoughts

Ok well this isn't so much about what I think of the individual cards we've seen previewed on various spots online, but an overall impression so far. Maybe.

First and foremost, I am sad that with Evolutions being a direct follow-up to Universe we see an end to the previous Marvel / DC alternating release schedule. I know that many other players share my fear that DC may no longer be represented in the game. I admit to leaning more towards the DC camp when it comes to what characters I enjoy more, but this really isn't about personal preference. The fear for my player group is that over time, we will lose players who play more DC cards, or DC exclusively. That's not a good thing, and I hope it won't happen should DC sets truly be out of the picture.

So along comes Marvel Evolutions, the first time ever that we've had two Marvel expansions released back to back. Unfortunately, I feel there are a lot of things going against this set. I can't really prioritize them so here's my list in no particular order. Keep in mind this is all my opinion, based on my local group and news online. Feel free to disagree. That's what your blog and the realms are for.

- It's another Marvel set: A lot of players are disappointed that we didn't get another DC set, and fear that the DC cards can no longer compete with the Marvel teams. I think this is a valid concern, based on the sheer number of great cards and effects we saw in Universe.

- It's coming after Universe: While I initially thought that Universe was too big as an expansion, I've obviously been playing with cards from it for the past 6 months or more. I can't deny just how freaking GOOD the set is. I've incorporated cards from it into probably every deck I've built since it was released. It's going to be hard to top or even match.

- It's X-Men: Ok, so this will likely get me a lot of flack, but I'm fucking tired of X-people. I admit, I used to be a long term reader back in the 90s, but haven't read much of anything in around 10 years. The simple fact is that I just don't care anymore. There are what seems like 8 billion mutants, even after the House of M was supposed to clear them all away, and they all seem stupefyingly powerful yet completely uninteresting. It's hard for me to get excited about the set when I don't care for the 90% of the characters.

- The packaging: Who the hell thought that putting a dude holding a baby on the box and wrapper are was a good idea? No really! I want to know so that I can congratulate them on getting that turd of an idea past Marvel and their own marketing departments and stamped with an "Approved". I've never met a female that plays this game, and maybe only 10 or 15 females ever who even read comics. While I'm not saying that guys don't like babies, it just seems so ridiculous. The game is based on comic characters beating the crap out of each other so seriously, WTF?

- The legend characters: Cyclops, Madrox, Gambit...ugh. Ok yeah, Cyclops has been around for EVER, but he's still boring as hell.

Ok now that I've effectively pissed of everyone who's ever liked X-Men or me, I do have a few hopes for this set.

1. It will have good cards that I can use. I know this will be true, because every set there seems to be at least 4 or 5 cards that make me go "Holy crap, this is awesome!"
2. It might have some original Alpha Flight members in it. The AF characters in Universe were actually Omega Flight, yet that was their version. This gives me hope that I'll see some of my favorites in there. If there are...this set will automatically get my gold-seal of approval.
3. I used to like X-Factor. Yes, the old one, which was basically the original X-Men in new outfits. I'm hoping to see some of those, which might make me smile and have fun.
4. It's a new VS set. That is ace in my book no matter what universe it's set in or what characters are in it. I'll keep buying and playing as long they keep making cards. Hell, I'll probably keep playing as long as I can find people to play against.

September 27, 2008

"Luck of the Draw" results

We had an amazing turn-out for this weekend's tournament; 11 players total. That is really sweet as far as I'm concerned...since the only time we've ever broken that number was for our DC Legends release celebration back in December!

Since I put a 30 minute time limit into place a little while back we've be able to play tournaments with four rounds rather than our previous three. I think this is more fun and certainly gives the players a chance to see more of the decks the other bring in.

For some reason the first match of my four has totally evaporated from my memory, beyond the fact that my search-less Darkseid's Elite won out in turn six. The second and third matches were up against Heralds of Galactus and Avengers respectively. The Heralds player was new to the game and had a terrible draw. Overall I'd say that he only pulled four or five plot twists through the entire 8 rounds we played; and the Avengers just didn't have the oomph to survive all the burn effects I was able to get set up with.

The final round for me went far, far worse. Statistically speaking I suppose it had to happen eventually, which it finally did in spectacular fashion. I was unable to draw any of my locations or ongoing plot-twists, barring two copies of Ancient Evils and an early Have a Blast. Roy's deck was a Secret Society deck running Dr. Polaris, Dr. Sivana, Cheetah, Poison Ivy, Charaxes, Black Mantis etc. The true "you're f-ing kidding me" combo was Messiah Complex retrieving Death and/or The Beyonder three times in the game...essentially making me fight against an opponent with an endurance total of 80! By the time you add in the free recruits from Poison Ivy and Charaxes it was pretty ridiculous. I lost on turn 7 with Roy sitting at a hefty 30.

Roy was our big winner, taking home the top prize of Ultimates Thor and a spiffy play mat. Congratulations! Brian and Scott rounded out our top-three.

The next event format will be Clone Saga: For this you may choose one character to make non-unique in your deck. Multiple copies of the same card cannot be recruited, but different versions and / or costs of that character can. For example: If I already have a copy of 2-drop Captain America, Secret Avenger in play, I can't recruit another one. I could however recruit any other Captain America card. It should prove to be a lot of fun.

September 26, 2008

Fear the Power of Darkseid

I've been meaning to make a Darkseid deck for quite some time now, and finally did so about a week ago. I've been able to play 4 or 5 games with it and am very happy with how well it's been performing. The first game was a three player game and Kanto was a serious threat for both of my opponents to face. I was able to use his power twice; once to remove a 7-drop Defenders Hulk, and the second time to remove an Iron Man equipped with four pieces of extremely nasty equipment! There was a lot of swearing in that game... :)

Darkseid has also had success against an X-Men build running Sage and Bad Press (thank god for resource row manipulation!), Gotham Knights and a Secret Society team up. There are a few cards I'd like to switch in, but I need to hop online to buy them. I'll post a deck list up after tomorrow's "Luck of the Draw" tournament. I think that my next project after this one will be something involving the League of Assassins.

Oh and in other news: I recently heard that another venue in town will be running bi-weekly Vs. events soon. When I find of the time and date that they'll be starting those I'll be sure to post them up for everyone to see.

Until then...happy gaming!

September 16, 2008

City Champion Crowned!

Another fine tournament event has come and gone. Last Friday we held our City Championship event. We had an 8-player pool with a diverse field as usual. I played my Fearsome Five / Infinity Gauntlet deck through four rounds. In the first round I was up against a Thunderbolts deck piloted by newcomer Dan. I was able to hit every drop as planned and draw into a fistful of gems. By turn six I had Thanos on the board against his 5 and 6 cost characters. Dropping a Power Gem and a copy of Armageddon on the table ended the turn, and the game, in my favor.

Round two saw me up against an Insanity deck. Ben hit his one-drop Ratcatcher and caused me a few rounds of grief by burning me for all the stuns I was causing. By turn four I was able to get my team-up out and the New Baxter Builder and Moondragon combo running. I had to go to turn seven this time, but Thanos, a Power Gem and a copy of Armageddon cemented the win.

Round three is where it started to go downhill for me. The first few turns against Scott's rallying Avengers were pretty evenly matched, but I was unable to get my team up going, or search for my 4 or 5 round characters. I was able to bring out Thanos for turn six and very nearly put the game away, but just couldn't pull it off. When I drew my cards for turn seven and had no characters to recruit...I knew it wasn't my game. Thanos was staring at a full board of Avengers 4-cost up. I had to admit defeat.

Usually we only play three rounds, but all the players agreed to run one final round, and the clock agreed that we had time. The final round put me up against Brian's Revenge Squad deck. He had an Anti-Matter Kiman in there and was able to get a ton of out of combat stuns. Add that into the fact that I suffered an awful draw all game (I only hit on turn three and four), and was never able to search for a needed character...I was done.

When the dust cleared after four rounds of play we had one undefeated player among the group: Scott Mooney! He walked away with a pile of Ultimates rare cards and the Iron Man t-shirt. Congratulations Scott.

September 05, 2008

Finally a new deck idea...

I had been having a lot of trouble coming up with something new after building my not-yet-complete Green Lantern deck. I tried putting together a build of Manhunters, but it seemed to fall a little flat. They just don't have the support cards that Sentinels seem to enjoy. I have been able to get it to run well a few times, but I need a lot more than my 6 copies of Manhunter Soldier to make it run better. I do rather enjoy dropping Cyborg Superman on turn 5 though. I was able to do that against a Negative Zone deck and remove ALL the copies of Negative Zone from my opponent's deck, which made me laugh in a most sinister fashion.

For our switch-deck event last weekend I didn't have time to build something new, so I grabbed something at random out of my rather large demo deck pile. I ended up with Revenge Squad. It didn't do very well against a lot of the others, but I was told that if you could hit the curve it was actually fun to play so I took a closer look at it for myself.

While I'm sure this isn't anything original I decided to beef it up with some more fire power and ongoing plot twists in an attempt to make it more playable. Here's what I have come up with on a first past.

2x DSM-082 Prankster (1)
4x DSM-076 Mercy (2)
2x DSM-091 Atomic Skull (2)
3x DSM-084 Silver Banshee (3)
3x DWF-159 Alexandra Allston <> Parasite (3)
1x DSM-074 Lex Luthor, President Luthor (3)
4x DSM-077 Metallo (4)
4x DWF-171 Livewire (4)
3x DSM-079 Mongul (5)
2x DWF-173 Maxima (5)
2x DWF-178 Preus (5)
4x DSM-073 Lex Luthor, Power Armor (6)
2x DSM-067 Eradicator (6)
1x DSM-083 Satanus (6)
4x DSM-069 Gog (7)
1x DSM-065 Doomsday (8)
Characters = 42

4x DWF-213 Skreeeeeee!
3x DWF-195 Knowledge is Power
3x DWF-196 Never-Ending Battle
2x DWF-194 Imprisoned in the Source
2x DGL-193 In Evil Star's Evil Clutches
2x DWF-189 Executive Privelege
2x DSM-083 State of the Union
1x DSM-095 Toy Soldiers
1x DWF-186 Battle For Metropolis
1x MUN-329 Underground Movement
Ongoing Plot Twists = 21

2x DCL-257 Duty Calls
2x MUN-307 Grudge Match
Regular Plot Twists = 4

This is by no means a final list, but it's a starting place to build on. The premise is simple, but tough to pull off. This deck wants even initiative. Essentially I want to get Underground Movement (which I'd love to have 4 copies of) out by turn 3, then recruit Silver Banshee and move her into my hidden area. Then you want to get Lex Luthor, Power Armor out on turn 6.

Hopefully you have some plot twists in your resource row or a copy of Grudge Match to ensure that he can do some breakthrough. If you succeed there and can remove your opponent's ability to recruit their 7-drop you're in good shape to win the game. If you think it will go to turn 8 then you can move Lex into the hidden area to protect him and hopefully get his effect off again on turn 7. Doomsday should finish things on turn 8.

The deck isn't meant to be a smash-your-opponent-and-make-them-cry sort of thing. It's more of a fun deck with the villains doing nasty things to them, but without being too dirty or janky. I don't really like decks that aren't fun for my opponent to play against. When you are completely locked out of everything it's more frustrating than anything else. Feel free to post up some suggestions to make my deck better though!

September 02, 2008

Another long weekend, more great fun.

Our switch team tournament went off spectacularly! I was really excited to see eight players show up with eight completely different decks. The format was embraced by all the attendees and was claimed to be good fun by everyone. And for me, that's what playing Vs System is all about.

Rather than go into detail I'll just give a brief run down of the decks and the winners. As usual, this is from memory, so I may make a few mistakes, but I'll do my best to overcome my middle-age memory gaps! Our pool of submitted decks consisted of Warbound, Thunderbolts, Brotherhood, Crime Lords / Avengers, Gotham Knights, Avengers / Thunderbolts, Revenge Squad and on other deck that currently slips my memory. I want to say Shadowpact, but that just doesn't sound right.

So the way the switch deck tourney works is that each player submits a deck to the pool. Each round, the players are given a random deck from the pool. They cannot pilot their own deck, or one that they have already used. At the end of three rounds of play the player with the best record is chosen, as is the most-winning deck. The creators of those decks play them against each other determine the final winner of the tournament.

We had one undefeated player: Roy, and one undefeated deck, created by Scott. They had brought in Warbound and Thunderbolts respectively, so that was what the final matchup was. The game went down to the wire with Hulk, Worldbreaker facing down a board of huge Thunderbolts...including a pumped up Radioactive Man who effectively stopped Roy from playing any plot twists to save himself from the stun and following face-smashing. In short, the winner of our first switch-deck tournament was Scott! Congratulations. :)

August 16, 2008

Vs Meltdown

Never fear, the title is only that...I'm not going insane and lighting all my cards on fire or anything. It's just been amazingly hot here over the past few days...

Friday's tournament was pretty good. We started out with what looked to be a small four, but two late-comers bumped us up to a respectable six players. With the weather being so nice and it being a Friday night, I was actually really happy with that.

It was another interesting field as well. I believe we had X-Men, Negative Zone, Thunderbolts / Avengers, Crime Lords, Injustice Gang (I think), and my newly-built Green Lanterns deck. All of the decks were really strong and almost all of the games looked to be very close affairs.

We had some really good prizes too! After digging around in the back Pascal found us another Fin Fang Foom mat and a Silver Surfer t-shirt. I also still had some rares from our batch of MUL cards too, so the top three guys all walked away with something cool. Everyone also got some copies of the MUL Captain America and Iron Man cards, so I think all went home happy. We have another cool surprise for the next event winner too, so I hope we have a good turn out.

While I'm on here, I also thought I'd give a little intro to my Green Lantern build. Originally I had started out wanting to make a Hal Jordan legend deck that took advantage of Clash of Worlds to get drops of him out on multiple turns. After taking a look at the cards available I decided that wasn`t a really good strategy, due to the lack of cohesive synergy among the Hal cards. So I refined it a few times and ended up with something completely different!

Fear My (Will)Power:

1 drops
2x DGL-003 Arisia
1x DGL-007 G`Nort
2 drops
3x DGL-021 Olapet
3 drops
4x DGL-009 Hal Jordan, Green Lantern of Earth
2x DGL-017 Kreon
4 drops
4x DJL-013 John Stewart
3x DGL-006 Ch`p
5 drops
4x DCL-020 Kyle Rayner
1x DJL-016 Oliver Queen <> Green Arrow
6 drops
1x DGL-024 Sinestro
7 drops
1x DGL-002 Alan Scott
1x DGL-011 Hal Jordan, Reborn
1x DCL-015 Hal Jordan, Fearless
8 drops
1x DJL-198 Mogo

2x DGL-186 Chopping Block
4x DJL-198 Nth Metal

1x DGL-035 Oa
2x DGL-187 Coast City

Plot Twists
4x DGL-181 Battle of Wills
4x DGL-215 The Ring Has Chosen
2x DGL-196 Lantern's Light
2x DGL-217 Uppercut
2x MOR-183 Cover Fire
1x DCL-047 Fearless
4x DCX-008 I'm Back Poozers!
3x MUN-309 House of M

The idea is to take odd initiatives. The turn one and two drops aren't that important, thus the low numbers. For turn three you ideally want Hal and Oa out for a solid attack, but if your opponent is relying a lot on his resource row, then Kreon is handy to have around. Save any character searches for your turn four character. You really want to get John out on turn four, drop Kyle on five, and then boost Ch'p in on turn six. You also want to drop as many Nth Metals on turn six as well, because between John's ally text and Ch'p's boost text it makes your board damn-near impossible to stun (on my attack back one game I had a 14 / 14 Ch'p, which is just awesome!). For a turn seven finish you want Hal Jordan, Fearless, out on the board to exhaust all of your opponent's support row characters. Then swing for the fences.

I still need a few more cards to really flesh this idea out. I'd like to load it with four copies of Oa, dropping the Uppercuts. Coast City and Sinestro are a back up plan, backed up by Kyle and the I'm Back Poozers... It's really unpleasant for your opponent when they stun Kyle in hopes of getting to Sinestro, only to have him recover for free. I'd also like to put in a full four copies of Cover Fire. If I can get those I may switch the turn six into four Sinestros rather than the boosted Ch'p. I'll need to do more testing.

August 06, 2008

Long weekend of gaming

The first weekend of August is a holiday around here, which means more time for gaming! Actually it meant more time for a lot of things, and I had a packed weekend schedule. First up was the Weird Al concert on Friday night. I think this one makes four times that I've seen him live. The seats were really good and while he was walking around during one of the songs he stopped about three seats away. The guy in the row in front of us got a great shot of it on his iPhone too!

Saturday was a barbecue, then off to play some Heroclix. I started playing last spring, and had been playing almost weekly up until about two months ago, but haven't really been enjoying the game as much as I used to. I think part of it is the quality of the current set. The dials are really strong overall, but the figure sculpts and paintjobs are really awful. I think the other part of it is the competitiveness of the other tournament players. I enjoy winning too, but don't really care about it as much as a lot of other seem to. I'd rather play something with a theme going, rather than a bunch of random guys who will kick your butt in two rounds. Of course, I also have a hell of a time rolling dice, which likely doesn't help my enjoyment on some occasions.

But on Sunday and Monday (and Tuesday!), we had a lot a VS action going around here! I wasn't able to make it to the Bring Your Own Team event, due the concert I mentioned above, so I was really itching to play some cards. Zack and I were tied for second place in the Heroclix event, and decided to play a game of VS for the prize. Since I didn't have any decks with me I opted to play one of Roy's: and insanity deck. I didn't do very well against a Golden Age Titans build. Playing someone else's deck against a well-honed machine like that just isn't a good idea. Luckily I didn't really want the prize, and was able to get a taste of how insanity works without having to go to all the trouble of building it myself.

Monday a few of the guys game by for a barbecue, some beer and of course...some VS! Jason, Roy and I played a few three player games that were very close, and I was able to pull out a win with my Infinity Watch / Fearsome Five on the seventh round. Will came by later and we played several more two player games amongst whoever was up for a game. Sage and Bad Press make for a very nasty lock-out combination!

And finally, today I was able to play a few games against Collin after getting home from the gym. He also had to miss out on Friday's tournament and had a few decks he wanted to try out a little more. I was able to run several of my demo decks up against him. I think I only won one of the four games we played, but all the decks I had built performed very admirably...especially considering they're built entirely of commons. I think the most exciting time of when we played was during a matchup of my Brotherhood deck against Collin's Outsiders. He had the initiative on turn 4 with Dick Grayson, Grace and Indigo on the board facing down my puny Destiny and Toad. I had a fistful of plot twists though and was able to stun all of his characters back with only my 1 and 2 drops! As you might guess however, I lost the game due to my poor recruiting, but it was great fun nonetheless.

July 22, 2008

DCU Fan-set Preview: Pancake Breakfast

Once again I've had the good fortune of being given a card to preview from the DC Universe fan-set created by some of the players over on VS Realms. So far the set is looking fantastic, and contains all kinds of Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps shenanigans. It's almost a shame that it's a fan set, because some of these cards are so damn good. It's been promised that the set will be available for both Magic Workstation and OCTGN (my preferred virtual tabletop). Being able to play with these cards, even if only just online is a very exciting prospect.

So with that, let's have a look at the next preview!

Pancake BreakfastNow I have to admit that my JSA knowledge is far more limited than my Green Lantern lore, but I know the characters and have tried a deck or two out. However, you don't need to be a JSA expert to realize that Pancake Breakfast is a good card!

The JSA's theme seems to be based on getting bonuses for having a lot of exhausted characters. So, if you're able to keep another character out of your KO pile, it stands to reason that you can have more bonuses. Not to mention the possible board advantage you could get after your opponent goes all out to stun your two biggest characters in hopes of KOing one of them.

The cost of the card really isn't an expensive one either. If you have a card in hand that you plan to recruit next turn, why not put it back on top of your deck? It certainly isn't going anywhere and you'll be getting it back soon enough.

I also think this card could be pretty strong in an army or rally deck as well. I'm sure there are some players out there far smarter than me that could come up with some pretty spiffy combos. Or just save them all up for the end of turn six. Just when your opponent thinks they've stunned all of your characters and you'll only be coming back with one recover four of them and have a full field plus your seven-drop the next turn. Ouch times five = good times.

July 19, 2008

A good gaming group is hard to find

The group that's come together to play Vs. at our regular Hobby League events is definitely a good one though. We're also lucky to have a supportive store to play at, which makes all the difference in the world.

Yesterday's event wasn't any kind of special event, nor did we have any special prizes, but we still had eight players show up with mostly new constructed decks. There was quite a field too including Avengers, New Brotherhood, Crime Lords (two different builds), Outsiders, Gotham Knights and a tweaked Thule Society deck. I've been really impressed with some of the deck building skills of the players lately too. Some of this stuff is amazingly inventive.

I have played against both of the Crime Lords builds and find them to be very strong decks. Master Man is a serious threat if you can't get him off the board. With cards like Hired Hit he can be made huge even if you're trying to avoid attacking him. Add in all of the reinforcement mechanics with James Barnes and the Death Warrant and it's scary. The only thing I've had good success against them with Thule Society.

I haven't really spent much time building anything from Marvel Universe specifically, but rather play-testing against a few of the other players builds. The only one that I've actually built is a Warbound deck. But as I only have one or maybe two of some of the main rares (Sakaar, Great Arena, etc...) it's really not that good. I also don't find it that much fun to play, so I will likely be taking it apart fairly soon.

I'm still trying to make my Infinity Watch / Fearsome Five team-up deck work. The bloody thing still doesn't even have a name. Since I've talked about it a few times I figured I might as well post up a deck list.

4x DOR-121 Gizmo (1)
2x MHG-175 Pip the Troll (2)
2x DOR-126 Shimmer (2)
4x DJL-120 Dr. Sivana (3)
2x MHG-173 Gamora (3)
3x DOR-122 Jinx (4)
3x MHG-174 Moondragon (4)
3x DOR-120 Dr. Light (6)
2x MHG-176 Thanos (6)
2x DOR-125 Psimon (7)
1x MHG-171 Adam Warlock (7)

Plot Twists:
2x DOR-127 The Underworld Star
2x MHG-177 Gathering the Watch
2x MHG-196 Armageddon
3x MAV-197 Prismatic Shield
4x DCR-191 Forbidden Loyalties
4x MUN-320 Public Outcry
4x MUN-309 House of M

2x MHG-178 Mind Gem
2x MTU-211 Ego Gem
2x MHG-185 Time Gem
1x MHG-180 Reality Gem
1x MHG-181 Soul Gem
1x MHG-179 Power Gem
1x MUN-293 Quantum Bands
1x MHG-184 The Infinity Gauntlet

2x MTU-213 Monster Island
2x MTU-214 New Baxter Building
2x MUN-295 Asgard

Total cards = 66

I have played variations of this deck for the past few months, but it really didn't seem to work well until I was able to put in some cards from Marvel Universe. I replaced Soul World with Asgard and swapped in the Public Outcry and House of M because they can still work when I have Monster Island on the board.

We played a few four-player team games after the regular event. Shimmer is a monster, especially in multi-player games. Exhausting two or three of an opponent's characters for two or three rounds can be devastating. Colin will vouch for it. :D

Next up will be our "Bring Your Own Team" event.

July 09, 2008

Can you smell the rares?

I love rare cards. The near-brokenness of their effects, awesome artwork and sheer cardboardy goodness all make me smile. And if you're lucky, sometimes you get that extra-shiny rare-card treat! Just the other day I received an envelope in the mail containing 70-plus rare cards that I had ordered online. With these cards added to my collection I can finally declare my first two complete sets: DC Origins and Green Lantern Corps.

Now to clarify, "complete" to me may not mean the same as it does to you. I'm a collector as well as a player, and as such my aim is to obtain at least one copy of each card from each set. Many other players would consider a complete set to be 4 copies of each card from the set. The fact is that there are just too many cards out there and not enough time for me to play. And of course some rares I may never have a chance to use, and thus don't need four copies, or they are cards that you simply dont need four copies of (basically any card with cost 8 or higher).

All of my cards are neatly organized into binders by expansion set, so it is easy to tell what cards I'm missing. It also makes it a lot easier when building decks, as I know exactly where to look for what I need. I also tend not to keep decks together for very long. I like to change what I'm playing on a frequent basis. The binders allow me to flip through, looking at cards and artwork until something catches my eye. From there, I can pick a card or team that seems interesting and begin to build a new deck.

My want list is still in need of a lot of attention, so drop me a line if you have stuff to trade. I probably need something you have.

July 07, 2008

Missed out

Other obligations came up and I had to miss out on our last event. I had pretty cool deck put together and was disappointed that I wouldn't get a chance to try it out. It's a really interesting team-up that I wish I could have come up with myself. I found it on VsSystem in an article back in October of last year my Michael Barnes. You can read the article here. I had to make a few substitutions, as I didn't have four copies of a few cards. The most notable one I remember was tossing in the Marvel Knights 4-drop Wolverine. Otherwise it was almost exactly as the deck list there shows.

Happily enough Darren, who was also unable to make it to Friday's event, was able to get together on Sunday. He ran an Avengers deck based on reservists and rallying for equipment like Hulkbuster Armor. After losing three games (the first being the closest), he conceded defeat. It just seemed like luck wasn't on his side, as he seemed to be missing draws and failed a lot of his rally attempts. I will say though...every time he dropped an Ares or flashed a Sentry card at me I started getting pretty nervous. The 6-drop Ares from MUN is freaking scary. (13/12, Range, If the controller of a character in combat with Ares would take an amount of stun endurance loss, instead, he takes twice that amount.) I was playing odd-initiative and got smacked around by that guy more than once; and it stings.

We played a few more games, me with the "Two Gauntlets Blazing" and Darren with his Crime Lords deck. He had a nice combo going with the concealed James Barnes and Death Warrant which caused me enough problems to lose the first game. After I'd seen it once though, I started making plans for getting around it. Of course, after four games I also had a good feel for how my deck ran and what it was capable of doing. And frankly, it's insane, even without getting the Infinity Gauntlet out.

However, I was actually able to get it into play in the 6th and final game. I've run a few decks that try to get the Gauntlet out, but have never been able to pull it off. Darren had just dropped Sleeper and things were looking grim for me, even though he only had one other character on the board. I had my 7-drop Punisher, the Infinity Gauntlet and five of the gems in hand. Checkmate Armory saved my butt, letting me spend that left-over resource to grab another gem, and drop the Gauntlet onto my 6-drop Huntress. She was protecting my 7-drop Sasha, and I had Ahmed and Black Thorn hidden. With the Gauntlet activated it left Darren with one character to my 5. Game over.

Ah if only I could think up crazy stuff like this on my own... Hell, I'd be happy if I could come up with something even half as good! It's a great example of thinking outside the box. ;)

July 01, 2008

DCU Fan-set Preview: Beware My Power

Today I have something very cool...our first card preview! Hot on the heels of the release of Marvel Universe is a new fan-set, DC Universe. This set is being put together by a hard-working group of members over at

I liked the DC Legends set a lot, but found it really tough to get the rare cards of my favorite Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. With Beware My Power you can really lock down an opponent's board. I think I'd build a legend deck centered around Hal Jordan, Hard-Traveling Hero. Pump up his willpower with a Green Lantern Ring, Mogo or Power Surge and then exhaust a pile of your opponent's army characters, their big gun or both!

June 29, 2008

Upcoming Event: Characters Crazy

This is an idea I got last year when reading some articles over on I can't remember the author who mentioned it (sorry!) but I thought it sounded like an interesting challenge: No plot twists.

That's right, you have to build a deck that includes only characters, locations and equipment. No plot twists can be included in your 60-card build. I think we're going to see some really unique ideas with this one.

Marvel Universe set review (sorta)

It's been a good two weeks. I've played more Vs. in that time than I probably have in the past 3 or 4 months put together. We've got a few new players who are really into learning the game and older players are playing more often. It's all good stuff, because the more games I get to play, the more fun I have!

I've had a chance to play with and against most of the main teams in Marvel Universe. I'll cover each one below based on my play experiences. Of course they all have their pros and cons, like any other team previously. A lot of my testing gets done with decks made entirely of commons, to get a feel for what the teams can do if a person only has a few packs to work with. Any uncommons or rares that get added in after that are even better. So let's get started.

Avengers: This team has some amazing rally effects. Coupled with the sheer volume of reservists and leader cards available you can really do some crazy stuff. With a few good rally effects you can have a mittful of cards in your hand and shouldn't miss a drop after turn 2 or 3. You'll also have plenty of cards available to pay discard costs, or use as power-ups.

SHIELD: Of the main teams this is the only one I haven't played against except in team-up decks. These guys really seem to center around your army characters. You'll need a good number of soldiers to make things happen, but if you can get it to work it's good times.

Crime Lords: This team can seriously burn you with a lot of effects, centering mainly on the various Red Skull cards. Master Man is a stand out as well I think. If you play it carefully you can lose characters every turn and still keep growing while bleeding your opponent to death.

Thunderbolts: I think so far this is my favorite team to play. They have some fantastic mechanics to keep their characters on the board, and they almost all get better the longer they stay around. I've seen the 2-drop Beetle <> Mach sitting on the board with eight +1/+1 counters on him. An 11/9 2-drop is insane!

Warbound: While it has been said many times already, I think this is definitely going to be the deck to beat for a while. If you can hit the combination of Brood (4), Hulk (5), and Hulk (6) with his boost on turns 4, 5, and 6 you've got something really tough to beat. Since almost all of these powers are triggered effects and not payment powers or plot twists, they're very difficult to negate. If you boost in Hulk on turn 6 you have a 19/19 body who is only a location or Archangel-discard away from having flight, and anyone he stuns gets sent to the KO pile. That's just nasty.

The other smaller affiliations: Nextwave, Negative Zone, Illuminati (yes, I know not an affiliation, but it works about the same), and Alpha Flight are largely unexplored by me thus far. I'd dearly love to make an Alpha Flight deck. I think they have a very interesting mechanic, but I simply can't figure out what other team they would work well with yet. Sasquatch fits in well with the Warbound, but he's not really a good replacement for the 5-drop Hulk. I'll have to do some more testing with the smaller TAs to see what will work out.

That's it for now. Please post or email me any comments!

June 22, 2008

Release Celebration Report

Ah good times, good times.

We had eight players in for the tourney and everyone seemed excited about the prospect of playing our first sealed games. As an aside, we've only been playing here in Calgary for about 7 months, me having started the group back at the end of November last year. I was expecting around a dozen, because we had 14 for our DC Legends release event back in December. We didn't have DCL cards for that one, so it ended up being a constructed event...but back to more recent gaming.

Everyone cracked packs and furiously set about building their decks. I saw some copies of nice rare cards in a few of the players piles, but in the four games I played, I didn't see many of them on the table. I think it was more that they didn't fit in that well with the other cards than that they were bad ones. I know that I had a few in my deck that I was never able to use...

I ended up constructing a Crime Lords / SHIELD deck, as they had the most characters which would allow me to build a decent curve. I had actually had two team ups, and based my deck around the 3-drop Red Skull, followed by a 5-drop Master Man, then Genis-Vell for a turn six win on evens. I should have written down my full deck list, but didn't think to do so before I dropped the cards in with the rest and started sorting on Saturday.

In the first round I can't remember what I played against, but I think it was mainly Thunderbolts. Once I brought out my Red Skull things started going downhill for my opponent Roy. I think we both made a few mistakes, but mine were just smaller/luckier. This was a VERY close game, with me winning by only one point of endurance.

Round two I was up against Jordan, who was playing Avengers. His smaller guys just couldn't keep up and his draws were poor. I had drawn well into my curve and got my team-up, which allowed me to make it to turn five with only losing my 1-drop. I was able to recruit my 6-drop Mar-Vell to burn him for 9 and then stop his stun-back with a Grudge Match on my Red Skull. This left me with a full board left to defend against an army of flight-less small drops. The game was over.

Round three I was up against Brian. His deck was amazing for a sealed deck. It wasn't team specific, but it kicked my butt all over the place. I remember seeing Bishop, the common Speedball and Spider-Woman (evasion/invulnerability) and the finishing touch...Norman Osborne. The details of this are hazy due to the severe beating I took, but needless to say I lost spectacularly.

The final round I played against Colin. He was playing mainly Thunderbolts, but wasn't able to draw into many decent plot twists, and was unable to get rid of either my Red Skull or Master Man. By the time Genis-Vell came out his Karla Sofen and smaller characters couldn't stand up. I felt bad that he'd drawn so poorly, but it happens to us all at times.

As for the other players, I know there was an Avengers deck with hopes of bringing out the 8-drop Captain America, but didn't have the luck needed to make it...and a few mixes of Crime Lords and Thunderbolts. Amazingly enough, it seems no one drew enough cards to run Warbound, which I was fully expecting to see. My case of cards had arrived the day before the tournament, so Carrie and I had gone through a practice game of sealed. I had amazing luck and was able to team up Thunderbolts and Warbound and it simply wrecked house. In constructed I'm more than certain I'll see a Warbound deck or two, and may even be tempted to try one myself.

I really enjoyed the sealed tournament and I think the other players did too. We're talking about doing another one soon, but our next event is going to an interesting challenge...stay tuned for that.

June 10, 2008

Marvel Release Celebration!

Friday June 20th, 6:30 to 9:00pm

Each player will get 5 packs of the newly-released Marvel Universe set to create a deck from. This will be the first organized event in which Marvel Universe will be legal. Come down, crack some packs and play a few rounds in our very first sealed event!

Quick Review: Marvel Ultimate Battles

Before I left the shop on Friday night, I decided to grab a starter set of the new Marvel Ultimate Battles card game and a few boosters. The friend who had come with me to the tourney bought the same and we headed off to grab some pizza and beer before settling down to play.

The game is definitely intended for younger players, but that doesn't make it less fun. The set contains 12 different hero cards around which you build a deck of Ally and Action cards. The first player to knock out all of their opponent's heroes wins! After the first game spent flipping over the rule sheet a few times, we figured out things well enough that the following games proceeded at a furious pace. They were often over in less than three rounds.

Ultimate Battles has nice card artwork, fast gameplay and is great fun to play. There is room for some good strategy and strong themes to deck construction too. I'd highly recommend it as a game to get younger players started if you think Vs. might be a little too hard, or to someone who wants a game that plays fast and doesn't require a big investment.

I'll be bringing a deck or two with me to my VS events from now on.

Event Report: Beatdown Beauties

I often like to set deck building challenges for our players. It helps mix things up so that we don't see the same decks played night after night, and also encourages players to try cards and combos that they wouldn't usually attempt. For the last event I came up with something extremely challenging: Beatdown Beauties.

The format breaks down as such: each card in your deck must have a female character somewhere on the artwork. Card artwork with no characters are also valid for play.

I didn't have a chance to look at all the decks in detail, but I know we had an all X-Men (or should I say X-Women?) deck, an X-Men team-up (I wasn't able to catch what the other team was). Between rules questions and teaching a lonely WoW player how to play VS, I wasn't able to look at two of the other player's I apologize for not mentioning them here.

I provided two decks for use as well; one being a Darkseid's Elite / Underworld deck centered on endurance burn and Madeline Pryor on turn six to KO all of the opponent's board. Turn seven's endgame featured Kara Zor-El, Female Fury to stun all the attacking characters and then finish off with Madeline.

The other was far less synergistic, being a more straight forward team-attack deck. It was an Avengers/Spider-Friends pairing. The idea was to play Daily Bugle with and in order to reuse attack / defense pumps (Big Leagues anyone?). The rest of the resource row was characters in preparation for turn six. MOR Mattie Franklin powering up from the resource row and replaces all the extra drops, then bring out Elektra on turn seven. It worked alright for the player I provided it to, but would definitely need more work if played again.

Kudos to everyone who stepped up to the challenge!

And finally, some news!

So it's been almost a year since I put anything up on here...not for lack of happenings, more a lack of desire to write online. You never really know who's reading and what kind of weird things they may be thinking about you. Of course, I don't really care if someone out there in the wide, wide world of web thinks I'm strange, but I digress.

I've been working on a lot of things, work being one of them. A large portion of my non-work time has been devoted to my various hobbies. Gaming (that's the non-video kind for you young kids out there) has kept me sane when I'm bored or frustrated. It's also helping to keep me largely devoid of any disposable income as well, but it's a fair trade off.

I started playing Heroclix last May and try to play at least once a week. There are easily three or four places I could go to on various days of the week, but my dice still frequently choose to betray me in my moment of need, so I limit my disappointment accordingly. I dabbled briefly in Horrorclix as well, chiefly intrigued by the sculpts moreso than the gameplay, but unable to find regular players I elected to stop buying those with any frequency.

About three months ago I was visiting a friend who showed me an RPG sourcebook by the name of Dark Heresy. It was beautifully produced with lavish artwork and some amazing writing. The universe of Warhammer 40,000 was far more interesting than I'd imagined from passing by the Games Workshop outlets in the mall. I recently purchased a starter box of that game and have been diligently painting my crashed spaceship terrain pieces. I haven't played much yet, but after receiving a Chaos Battleforce box for my birthday, and a massive box of Chaos Daemons in the mail today I certainly intend to! Lots of painting to do...but it'll be worth it.

And now on to the crux of my sudden burst of typing.

Late in the fall of last year I was going through some of my items from storage and came upon my collection of Vs. System cards. I was reminded of what a fun game that was and decided to look into finding some local players. Alas, none were to be I started on a quest to create some. After a few months of travelling around to various gaming shops in the city I found a supportive shop and set up a few game demos. Bi-weekly tournament soon followed, and now we have a solid player base of around 4-6 regulars, with another 8-10 players that drop in on occasion.

Since we've got a nice player base and people are playing both at the regular tournaments and in their off-time, I thought I'd start a little page to post about it. Since I already had this site set up, it seemed a natural place to start. I'll still post random musings on occasion, but the main focus will be on our player group, tournaments, events and deck ideas that I've seen or am working on.

Stay tuned!