(Metagame Archive) Totally Freakin’ Broken: Cosmic Counter Placement

By Jason Grabher-Meyer

It’s no secret that cosmic effects rule. There really aren’t any bad cosmic effects. Even at their worst and most awkward, they’re still pretty good—think John Henry ◊ Irons Steel or Fastbak (who both get additional effects for ditching their counter, anyway). On the other end of the scale, cards like Big Barda; Beautiful Dreamer; Mark Moonrider; Darkseid, Uxas; and Superman, Blue are hideously good, crying out to be used in decks or to have decks built around them.

That said, many of the best cosmic effects require you to either remove the cosmic counter on the character or put that character in harm’s way. All of the really awesome cosmic effects in Superman, Man of Steel are relatively well balanced. If the effect doesn’t remove the counter itself, it will likely put the character at risk. This means that cards with the ability to replace cosmic counters are generally quite powerful and probably limited in number. Consequently, there are only four cards in Man of Steel that can replace cosmic counters.

Each card from the group is unique. Professor Emil Hamilton is the only character that can place counters anywhere you like. New Genesis is the one location that can do so, and Mother Box is the one equipment. Parasite is a character as well, but is different from the rest in that he can only generate cosmic counters for himself. Let’s look at each of these cards individually.

First up is Professor Emil Hamilton, Garrulous Genius. As a 2-drop character with 3 DEF, we’ll likely want to protect him on turn 2. She-Thing, Pantha, Toad, and several other popular 2-drops can stun him. A single stun is usually fine because we won’t lose anything if a 1-drop wasn’t played on turn 1, and Emil himself doesn’t have a cosmic counter that we need to worry about protecting. If, however, the deck Hamilton is in did play a 1-drop, we’d rather not start losing board advantage immediately. The plethora of good, low-cost characters in Man of Steel will probably make A Death in the Family see a lot more play, so protecting Emil is a good plan.

Emil is, obviously, team-proprietary. Even though Team Superman has a lot of cosmic effects (eleven characters on the team have the new keyword—more than any other team affiliation), it doesn’t necessarily have the ones that best take advantage of cosmic counter replacement. Superman, Blue can really benefit from having a fresh counter each turn to pay for his direct-stun effect, but other than that, there aren’t many characters who will lose counters on a regular basis.

Emil really shines when paired with characters whose cosmic-dependant tricks require the loss of their counter. Beautiful Dreamer is a good example of this type of card. Beautiful Dreamer’s effect is only activated when she’s stunned, so it’s obvious that her effect was intended to be used only once. Emil lets us juice another use out of Dreamer’s effect every turn, and because Dreamer’s effect provides a recovery, we can always keep her and one other character alive.


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