(Metagame Archive) Totally Freakin’ Broken: Replacement, Part One – Offensive Replacement

By Jason Grabher-Meyer

Resource replacement, a.k.a. “that thing that Have a Blast! does,” got keyworded and formalized with the release of Superman, Man of Steel. To “replace” a card in the resource row now means to KO it and replace it with the top card from said resource controller’s deck. It’s a nice, easy-to-use bit of lingo that keeps the amount of text on certain cards at a manageable level, and the keywording emphasizes that replacement will continue as a staple effect in the Vs. System.

Introduced in Marvel Origins via the effects of Avalanche and Jean Grey, Marvel Girl, the theme was expanded in DC Origins. Six cards in that set (Terra; Have a Blast!; Batman, World’s Greatest Detective; Remake the World; Clocktower; and Ra’s Al Ghul, Master Swordsman) included replacement in one way or another. Mattie Franklin ◊ Spider-Woman and Terrax employed replacement in Web of Spider-Man, but other than, that the set was devoid of the effect. With eight new replacement cards in Man of Steel, it looks like the ability is more of a DC theme than a Marvel one, at least for now.

There are currently nineteen cards in the Vs. System that can be categorized as strict replacement cards. From these nineteen cards, three major categories emerge, along with a smaller fourth category. The four categories are offensive replacement, defensive replacement, cost replacement, and Terrax. Offensive replacement refers to cards that force the replacement of one or more of your opponent’s cards. You use it to get rid of cards that you don’t want to see in your opponent’s resource row, as well as possibly cause some disruption by locking cards in his or her row that can’t be used. Defensive replacement refers to the replacement of your own resources to cycle away cards you’ve used, or possibly to cycle towards important plot twists and locations. Cost replacement refers to cards that require you to replace a resource as payment for an effect. Terrax refers to . . . Terrax. He doesn’t really fit the mold for any other replacement effects, since one could argue that he belongs to all three major categories.

In this volume of TFB, we’re going to look at offensive resource replacement. The other types will follow in the coming weeks. There are seven cards in this category; two are plot twists, one is a location, and the remaining four are characters.

Starting with the plot twists, we have Have a Blast! and Remake the World. Have a Blast! is a classic, proven card that is a staple for many players. The fact that it can replace both locations and ongoing plot twists, and that it does so without being team-proprietary, has made it one of the few Vs. System money cards. The fact that its cost can be lessened through recursion, especially in Brotherhood and Teen Titans decks, makes it potent in the current environment. Easy to use, easy to control, and accessibly costed, Have a Blast! is obviously one of the stars of the replacement lineup.

Remake the World is quite different. It requires the exhaustion of a League of Assassins character to play. It also requires you to KO locations you control, and then it sticks you with your opponent’s. In many cases, you’ll end up getting locations you can’t even use (like Optitron or Lost City), and you’ll be out the resources you previously had. In such a situation, the more intricate strengths of Remake the World need to be understood. Not only are you robbing your opponent of locations that he or she was likely counting on, but you’re also making a mass replacement. What lands in the opponent’s resource row could be his or her drop for the next turn or an important equipment card. In addition, because you know Remake the World is coming, you can always load your resource row with extra copies of the locations you wanted. The Demon’s Head makes this relatively easy to do. Also, remember that even if the locations you get are useless in terms of effect, they will always count for things like the bonus from Hassim’s activated ability. That can really add up if, in the mid-game, everything on your side of the field is suddenly green and face-up.

The one location in this group is The Source, and it’s absolutely brutal. The mere presence of The Source in the current environment requires players using team-up dependant decks to diversify—four copies of Common Enemy might not be the smartest choice anymore. Metropolis is unaffected by this card, so it can be an important backup when playing against The Source. However, The Source ruins more than just team-up cards. When facing a New Gods deck, a player must be very careful when deciding which plot twists to play from his or her resource row. Not only can The Source remove important plot twists like Acrobatic Dodge, Teen Titans Go!, and Savage Beatdown, it strips them from a player’s hand, not just a player’s deck. So, not only does that player lose key cards, he or she also loses hand presence.

The remaining four cards in this category are characters: Avalanche; Batman, World’s Greatest Detective; Connor Kent ◊ Superboy, Kon-El; and Perry White.

Avalanche is a decent card for The New Brotherhood. He fills the role of a nice, cheap attacker, and he also offers some flexibility that TNB hasn’t seen in the past. With locations as a whole becoming more popular (especially some great new ones from Superman, Man of Steel), and with the strong rise of Teen Titans in the environment, Avalanche is definitely worth considering.

Batman, World’s Greatest Detective is great. As a 5 ATK/4 DEF 3-drop, he’s one of the few characters at his cost level with a topnotch ATK. His DEF isn’t shoddy, either, and that’s important because Batman needs to make it to the recovery phase before he can use his activated effect (replace a target ongoing plot twist of your choice). A reflection of how Batman often puzzles out and diffuses situations before they blossom into threatening surprises, Batman, World’s Greatest Detective is one of the best options for taking care of problematic ongoing effects. He’s a good card for the Gotham Knights in most metagames, and an awesome one in others.

Connor Kent ◊ Superboy, Kon-El is a nice 4-drop for Team Superman, despite his lower than average DEF. When he attacks, he’s very likely to stun someone, and his flight lets him get at the little guys in the back that can’t stun him in return. He replaces face-down resources, provided that they stay face-down. He’s pretty brutal when combined with Perry White, especially if Perry hits the field on turn 1. Perry White is a 1-drop that, at the start of the combat phase, can look at a target face-down resource controlled by an opponent and replace it. Perry needs a protector for his effect to trigger, but that’s not difficult given the large selection of Team Superman characters that get a boost when they’re protecting someone. If you can get Perry out on turn 1 and use his effect on turn 2, you’ve got some decent disruption going. If Superboy hits on turn 4 and Perry is still alive, you’re suddenly jamming as many cards into your opponent’s resource row as he or she normally draws. The result is solid disruption and deck thinning. It’s a nice strategy for a Team Superman Protection deck. I think it could also be the beginning of a very potent mix with Arkham Inmates, working towards the goal of a victory via The Joker, Emperor Joker.

So, anything totally freakin’ broken? Well, The Source is pretty amazing. It’s certainly not broken, but it has had a huge impact on how players view certain elements of the game. It will continue to shape many metagames on some basic levels. Beyond that, I really like the prospect of Connor Kent ◊ Superboy, Kon-El and Perry White joining forces to make an opponent miss some key drops, especially when the team is backed up by some Arkham power. Whether or not that idea is viable is a bit sketchy, but it’s a fun concept to tinker with. I expect that we’ll see more offensive replacement from Team Superman in future sets, seeing as they got the lion’s share of it in Man of Steel. It will be interesting to see which, if any, Marvel teams get a similar trademark.


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