(Metagame Archive) Marvel Knights and the City

By Brian-David Marshall

Daredevil took a detour on his way home to Hell’s Kitchen this weekend, lingering for a while around the Chelsea area. I thought I’d caught a glimpse of Elektra, as well, but I must have been mistaken—when I turned around, there was no one there.

I ran a pair of Marvel Knights Sneak Peek tournaments this weekend at Neutral Ground, with over 70 players taking part in the festivities. Everyone seemed to enjoy the new cards and have a grand old time. One of the neat little things we do at my tournaments is cut to a Top 8 and let the players draft, rather than simply give prizes to the Top 8 at the conclusion of a fixed number of rounds. It costs me an extra box of product for the draft, but my player base has come to expect it. This means that even if you squeak into the Top 8 with a mediocre set of cards from the Sealed Pack, you still have an opportunity to draft a solid deck and end up at the top of the heap with a fat stack of booster packs. It also provides some early experience drafting the set for the Sealed Pack portions of the upcoming PCQs.

Everyone learned hard-fought lessons during the Swiss. It quickly became obvious that Roscoe Sweeney, Fixer was nuts on the first turn . . . though not nearly as nutty as one player thought it was when he didn’t read all the way down to the part that says you must discard a card with each activation. Despite that drawback, players were mulliganing to him like he was Longshot, and with a little Marvel Team-Up action, those players rarely missed a drop over the course of the game.

The big hurdle for the players was learning how to deal with the hidden area. The mechanic was deceptively simple, but it could be powerful at some times and impotent at others. When building Sealed Pack decks, the players were faced with the difficult decision of how many concealed characters to play at each drop. On the turns you don’t have initiative—especially the later turns—you tend to take a whupping if your character is lurking in dark alleyways instead of in full view of the other combatants.

Out of the Darkness was a remarkable, solid plot twist that did more than simply reduce the DEF of a character. It actively disrupted opposing strategy by literally pulling the player’s character out of the shadowy periphery of the game-play area so that it could be smacked around. Any cards that moved a character from one zone to another proved to be very powerful this weekend. It was interesting to watch players as they either embraced or eschewed concealed characters, and to see how they developed strategies over the course of the day to deal with the opposite position.

One of the more impressive aspects of the new set was the availability in the common slot of many large men at various drops on the curve. Of particular note were The Spike, Angry Young Mutant and Deathwatch, Unrepentant Killer. The latter was a temptation to anyone who opened him and a bane to those who were not paying full attention when the concept of double loyalty was described. Players who were paying attention seemed to have little trouble getting him into play—certainly a lot less than I expected—and were rewarded well for their efforts.

Speaking of being rewarded well . . . how good do you feel opening Professor X, Mental Master in your Sealed Pack? If you haven’t seen one yet, let me save you the time of looking him up to double check—he doesn’t have loyalty. All other 8-drop rares will take a hit in the pocketbook (bet you never thought of Silver Surfer having a purse) once this bad boy rolls up on the tournament scene.

Personally, between running the event this past weekend and gearing up for another big tournament, I have had little time to play with the new set. I’ll be running a Yu-Gi-Oh! Regional at Neutral Ground on Saturday and a Vs. System PCQ (that will use Marvel Knights for the Sealed Pack portion, with any luck) on Sunday.

One thing that struck me about the new set that has no relevance to its play value is the continual improvement in the quality of the art. Several of my all-time favorite artists contributed to this set, including Steve Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Golden, Rick Leonardi, Duncan Fegredo, Doug Alexander, Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, Bryan Hitch, Mike Allred, Chriscross, and many more. Every time I cracked open a pack, I was taken aback by the artwork and may actually have said, “They got him/her?” on more than one occasion (to no one in particular).

X-Statix was the early powerhouse in Booster Draft this weekend, with busty characters and powerful, yet extremely flavorful, plot twists. Here is one of last weekend’s winning draft decks, which should give you a sketch of how the deck might pan out for you if you attend a PCQ this weekend.

Avadean Lewis

Winner, Saturday Main Event Draft


1 Stilt-Man
1 Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze
1 Anarchist, Tike Alicar
1 Battering Ram
1 Corkscrew
1 Doop, Forward Observer
1 El Guapo
1 Gin Genie
2 La Nuit
2 Orphan, Good Guy
2 Orphan, Guy Smith
2 Sluk
2 The Spike
1 U-Go-Girl, Eddie Sawyer
1 Venus Dee Milo, Telegenic Teleporter
2 Vivisector, Lunatic Lycanthrope
2 Vivisector, Myles Alfred
1 Zeitgeist

1 Training Theatre
1 Falling Stars
1 Grandstanding
1 Missed Drop
1 Supporting Role

Good luck to everyone who’s playing in a PCQ this weekend or taking part in the Columbus $10K. Next week, I will begin to shift my attention toward Constructed with the Top 8 decks from the PCQ I’m running on Sunday. Someone new should be taking the reins of the Sealed Pack topic in the near future, but each Friday, I will bring you the Essentials of Constructed.


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