(Metagame Archive) Superman, Man of Steel Preview: Rose ◊ Thorn

By Ben Kalman

Superman, Man of Steel is just around the corner, so today we’re going to look at one of the more interesting characters that has ever crossed Superman’s path. We have to travel back to the spring of 1968, into the pages of Lois Lane. There, Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito wrote a backup story that introduced a new character. She wasn’t Earth-shattering, and she didn’t change the entire DC universe, but she was pretty darn cool nonetheless. The issue was #105, the character was Rose Forrest, and the story ran for about 25 issues.

Rose Forrest was a secretary. She was also the daughter of Phil Forrest, who was a detective on the forces of Metropolis’s Finest—the boys in blue who didn’t have a big “S” on their chests. Things were hunky-dory in Rose’s life. She had a good career, a happy family, and a safe and friendly environment in which to live. That is, until daddy was murdered by The 100, Metropolis’s ruling gang.

Rose was a daddy’s girl, and the trauma of his untimely demise was too much for her. She snapped, had a breakdown, got hospitalized, and went schizophrenic. In order to avenge her father’s murder, she subconsciously developed an entirely separate personality that called itself The Thorn. Whenever Rose slept, The Thorn would rise and go forth to battle The 100, eventually toppling them with a little help from our friendly neighborhood Superman. When The 100 reformed as The 1000, The Thorn again joined Superman to take them down. She’s since helped Supes fight Intergang and other criminal elements that crawl out in the silence of the night. After every crime-fighting exploit, Rose would wake up in the morning unaware of what had occurred while she was in Neverland.

So, let’s take a look at the Vs. System incarnation of Rose Forrest:

Rose is an interesting addition to Team Superman. She has fought alongside Supes on multiple occasions, so her place on the team is well justified. There are three other Team Superman 3-drops in the Man of Steel expansion, and of them, Rose is not the best offensive choice. There is a bigger, nastier 3-drop who would even make a decent 4-drop. However, if your deck has team restriction issues (like a hybrid deck would), and if you’re not running a solid Superman deck (where Superman would be your first pick at 3), then Rose is definitely worth a look.

Rose isn’t really a Constructed character, but she’s a monster in Sealed Pack. Superman, Man of Steel is not like Web of Spider-Man. There are four main teams in this set, so you can’t afford to build a Sealed Pack or Booster Draft deck where team restrictions come into play, especially when they do so as early as turn 3. Unless you’re beyond lucky, you’ll never have enough team characters to get them into play via revealing a character or fulfilling your loyalty obligations. A Superman deck would be out of the question, as you’re not likely to have enough copies of Superman to warrant making a weak character like the 3-drop Superman your drop of choice. Rose is a perfect Sealed Pack character because her 7 ATK/7 DEF stats while attacking give you a fierce attacker all the way into the fifth round. Sure, her defense isn’t great, but her offense is so strong that the extra damage you deal will more than compensate for any extra damage you may take. This is especially true on turn 4 with even initiative. In all honesty, there are very few 3-drops I would consider drafting over Rose, and none that I would outright choose in every situation.

Rose’s ability may look familiar. It’s similar to another 3-drop dual-persona, Man-Wolf, John Jameson. He has both advantages and disadvantages over Rose ◊ Thorn, Rose Forrest. He doesn’t gain the defensive boost that can mean the difference between saving or losing the character. However, unlike Man-Wolf, Rose’s bonus is only valid during the attack and not the whole turn, so she can become a real liability on defense if you haven’t planned your formation with extra care. This is because of her split personality. She attacks as The Thorn: Martial Arts Master, but defends as Rose: Helpless Secretary.

While there are one or two cards in this set that could help overcome her defensive deficit, they’re likely not worth the cost. Instead, Rose is best served with a heap of reinforcement. Still, if you want a beefcake strategy or if you’re playing swarm, she’s a solid choice at 3 as long as you play smart. Plus…

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