(Metagame Archive) DC Origins Card Preview: Tower of Babel

By Brian-David Marshall

I am looking forward to playing with DC Origins for a number of reasons. The cards in this new set do several things extremely well. They capture the flavor and history of the characters and distill them into powerful character cards, plot twists, locations, and equipment. The set’s artwork also lives up to the legacy of great artwork that is associated with one of DC’s highest profile properties.

The affiliations all seem very exciting from both the perspective of a tournament player and a comic book fan. Batman is one of the most well recognized characters in the history of modern media, and his adversaries have achieved similar iconic status. The Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, and many others are recognizable to people who have never even picked up a comic book in their lives.

More hard-core fans of Bruce Wayne’s nighttime activities know that Batman’s most formidable foe keeps a lower media profile than the rest of his rogue’s gallery. While most of Batman’s foes have a history of mental disturbances, Ra’s al Ghul isn’t quite your normal, everyday criminally insane super villain. Ra’s al Ghul is a 600 year-old (or so he claims) criminal mastermind bent on cleansing the earth to create a new Eden in its place. No one knows his true name but he has also been called The Demon’s Head.

Ra’s al Ghul has extended his life through periodic dips in his alchemical pools known as Lazarus Pits and amassed a fortune over the centuries to fund his master plans—plans which have put him squarely in the path of The Dark Knight. He considers the Batman his most worthy opponent—Sherlock Holmes to his Moriarty, if you will—and had designs on wedding him to his daughter Talia in hopes for an heir to his empire. He also nearly wiped out the population of Gotham City with a virus of his own fiendish design.

I am just giving you a little background to build anticipation for League of Assassins cards in DC Origins, the newest set to be released for the Vs. System trading card game. Ra’s al Ghul is the centerpiece of this new group, and if you are a fan of the Doom cards from the Marvel Origins set, you will be trading for these cards as soon as they hit the stores.

There is one card in particular that struck me as inordinately powerful. I had a chance to speak with Dave Humpherys this past weekend about today’s preview card, and he told me that it actually had to be reigned in because it was too powerful otherwise. Upper Deck R&D had to constrain the card’s effect so that it only affected the attack step. Take a peek at this bad boy and you will quickly see what I mean.

This one is a keeper, boys and girls. Even limiting its effect to the attack step doesn’t stop it from being one of the most powerful and disruptive plot twists in the game’s short history. As you can see, its effect could be devastating during the recruit step: “Sorry, did you want to play that Thing, Heavy Hitter? Maybe next time.”

During the attack step, this card has all sorts of ramifications, and you might want to consider adding some more Not So Fasts to your decks in preparation for the League of Assassins deck this set is sure to spawn—decks that will surely include more than a few copies of this card.

One of the first and most obvious uses for this card is against decks that rely on cheap, efficient characters to do maximum damage on the early turns and rely on team attacks to deal with larger characters on the later turns. A well-timed Tower of Babel will eliminate the possibility of a team attack, and, depending on how your characters are arranged, it could prevent your opponent from making any attack whatsoever.

That is just one use against one deck. Ra’s al Ghul is a criminal mastermind. I’m sure there’s no shortage of like-minded individuals out there who will work on building decks that are up to his high standards.


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