(Metagame Archive) Arcade

By Danny Mandel

Smells Like Team Spirit

Up till now, every character we’ve looked at has belonged to a team. Team affiliated characters have the advantage of being able to team attack together or reinforce each other, and they can benefit from team-specific modifiers like It’s Clobberin’ Time or Danger Room. Even the Negative Zone boys (who don’t have a whole lot going on . . . yet) can attack together in a pinch.

But there is that other team. And by “team,” I mean “non-team.” What I’m talking about are the unaligned or unaffiliated characters. These are the loners of the Marvel Universe—the mercenaries, cads, and rapscallions. Or sometimes they’re just versions of characters representing them when they weren’t really on teams. For example, Lady Deathstrike was at one point a Reaver, but this set’s version of her is when she’s on her own.

So how do unaffiliated characters fit into the game on the whole?

At first you might say, “Wow, they don’t belong to a team. That means I can splash them into any deck. Yay!”

I don’t mean to curb your enthusiasm, but actually you can put pretty much any character into any deck. There are exceptions like the giant Professor X or Magneto, but for the most part it’s easy, because the Marvel TCG is pretty wide open. Throw a few Storms into a Brotherhood deck, and she’ll function an awful lot like an unaligned character. So if any character can be splashed anywhere, what’s the bonus of putting an actual, for real and for true, unaligned character into a deck?

Actually, there isn’t one. If an off-team card (whether it’s unaligned or just not part of the team your deck’s mostly built around) has enough synergy with what your deck’s trying to do, you run it. That’s all there is too it.  

That said, here’s a little something to think about. Since not having a team affiliation is for the most part a drawback (sure, sure, it’s an advantage against Onslaught or Combat Protocols), unaligned characters are typically packed with more bang for your buck than their hippy, team-spirited counterparts. Let’s take a look at today’s preview card, Arcade.

Killing in Style

As a 3-cost, 4ATK, 4DEF character, Arcade’s no powerhouse like Wolverine, Thing, or even Darkoth. And because he has no team affiliation, you can’t boost him with Savage Land or make a team attack to put his power to good use. Speaking of which, his power’s cool, but if you’re not careful, it’s just as likely to send him packing as it is your opponent’s character. In the right situation, however, Arcade can be a shining star.

That’s right—a shining star.

Arcade is all about board control. In the early parts of the game, characters are pretty safe because of the end of turn free recovery. Usually there are only a few characters in play on either side, and consequently it’s hard to gain a real board presence without a Finishing Move. But Arcade makes combat a bit more lethal. When he takes you down, you stay down. No Children of the Atom’s gonna help you.

Here are some good basic uses for Arcade:

1. Throw some DEF-pumping equipment onto him to keep him around longer. I played in a Sealed Deck tournament at the office a couple weeks ago, and my opponent got out a turn three Arcade with Unstable Molecules on him. I had no characters in play at the time and was left with the unpleasant decision of either playing out a Quicksilver and watching him get KO’d, or not playing a Quicksilver and letting my opponent develop his board unopposed. Frown.

2. Kamikaze him into a larger character with the help of a Flying Kick or Savage Beatdown. Ideally, you’d have already KO’d a 2- or 3-cost character, and it’ll be a two for one and a tempo swing when you take down your opponent’s Sauron or Ghost Rider.
           
3. Make him a component in a Mojo deck. You see, in some ways, Mojo’s the glue that holds the non-team together. Or is it the other way around? Either way, dropping a few Random Punks into play on the first few turns and then following them up with turn three Arcade and a turn four Mojo is pretty exciting.

That’s all I’ve got about our friend, Arcade. Tune in tomorrow for our final preview.

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