(Metagame Archive) Marvel Knights Preview: Elektra, Agent of the Hand

By Geordie Tait

The penultimate eye grabber of card gaming is not utility or elegance. It’s size. And though I claim, under the bright lights of scrutiny, to cherish beautiful and potential-laden card mechanics—to embrace them regardless of the undersized digits they so often carry—I have a dirty secret. A shadow agenda that has, until this moment, been kept firmly under lock and key. Simply put, I cannot resist the numbers on the bottom left. What is it that they used to say about cigarettes? So round, so firm, so fully packed? Truer words have never been spoken, about either coffin nails or the familiar-fonted mega-stats that we find on the bottom edge of every curve-breaking Vs. System character. Large ATK and DEF values are intoxicating to me in a way that the more traditional methods of synaptic alteration (like sniffing the heads of permanent markers) can’t touch.

There are really two types of character cards. First, there are the ones with below average stats. You look at their paltry ATK and DEF and grimace. Then, in order to justify their use, you have to read a lot of text. Sometimes, as with Super Skrull, Beast Boy, or Mattie Franklin ◊ Spider-Woman, the read is worth it and you feel vindicated. In other cases, like Hydro-Man, Clay Face, or Mr. Zsaszszszzszszs . . . well . . . it’s ten seconds you’ll never get back, no matter how desperately you might petition the cosmos for their return. I’m not here to talk about those types of cards, at least not today. They are only a footnote, submitted for your perusal to serve as a contrast to the other type of card (which is, incidentally, my favorite type of character card), the one with massive stats and a text box that we immediately scan to detect the drawback that surely must accompany such lofty numerals.

Beware! R&D is a sneaky lot, always trying to poison the sweet reservoir from which they draw their big numbers. They make you discard cards and they stick loyalty onto low drops, making successful recruitment sketchy at best. Often, if you don’t read carefully, you’ll go into battle without any idea something is amiss (I did this with Post, who immediately offed himself . . . and after an error like that, I should have joined him). R&D members like nothing better than to scuttle into dark corners and cloister in moist, mushroom-covered caves where they work feverishly to rewrite and re-imagine conditional recruitment in a hundred different incarnations. There are often donuts at these unholy gatherings, but no Krispy Kreme treat can satisfy the hunger for character balance that emanates, aura-like, from their ravenous bellies. And oh, how the cards roll in! Marvels of design that bring us to the brink of bliss at first glance, only to settle us back down to earth when we read the text.

Some of my favorite examples of those “big stats” cards include the 5-drop Thing; Wolverine, Logan; and Sabretooth, Feral Rage. With these treasures, you look at the stats first, clandestinely soil yourself with ecstatic glee (the classy thing to do is to not make it obvious), and then—and only then—scan the text box for the inconvenience that the dastardly mischief-makers of R&D have undoubtedly sown there. Sometimes you still get disappointed by the sheer discomfort of the cumbersome drawback (Mammoth), but more often than not, you’re oiling your favorite elbow (right or left?) in anticipation of the first time you send your newfound prize into combat. The best part is when your hapless opponents have to read the card for themselves, and you can see the terror slowly dawn on their faces as they realize that they’re going to have to underplay your uber-drop by an order of magnitude.

Okay, enough with the introduction. On with the show. I think we can make a case that this is, perhaps, the greatest show on earth.

I won’t sugarcoat what should by now be quite obvious to any thinking individual—I find the statistics on the above card delicious, like golden-brown chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. Clearly, it was a devilishly fortunate chain of events that dropped Elektra into my hands. Is she good? Friends, “good” has been cancelled. Elektra is on the air now. The adjective will never be the same again. Just look at her! Do you see the “14?” There are 7-drops that don’t have 14 ATK! Stats like that make a man feel almost criminal—having Elektra in your deck is akin to carrying an unlicensed Desert Eagle in the back of your waistband. It’s easy to get nervous. At intersections, you start to sweat.

Why is that cop looking at me like that?

Does he know that I have a 5-drop with 14 ATK in my car?

Is he going to pull me over?

Will there be a cavity search?

Yeah, she’s pretty savage, all right. Well worth the chance of an unscheduled traffic stop. Let’s go down the list—you can use the fingers on either hand to follow along.

(Thumb)

She has massive ATK. She can take down any 5-drop in the game. Most of the time, defensive plot twists won’t even matter. If you only have 8 or 9 DEF, what’s another 3 going to do except waste time? She can also take down any 6-drop in the game. Sure, a couple of the high-end models can give her a run for her money . . . but so what? She can even feed the dirt sandwich to a couple of 7-drops (not that killing Joker or Green Goblin is much of an accomplishment), and with a little help from some plot twists, she can run the beats on heavy hitters like Magneto or Thing. Isn’t it all about attacking up the curve? Elektra doesn’t just attack up the curve; she bends the curve into shapes so ridiculous that they’re almost chiropractic. Play with Elektra and you’re not just playing with a card—you’re playing with a revolutionary force that can rent asunder the very fabric of the game itself!

(Index Finger)

She has an average DEF, but it doesn’t matter. Elektra needs defense like a hen needs a sports utility vehicle. It’s true that our Agent of the Hand would be a lot less impressive if she could be smacked around by any passing villain. I mean, you give a guy an attack phase and he think he owns the place, right? Even Hydro-Man swaggers a little when he has first shot. As for you, when you don’t have the initiative, even your best-laid attack plans are usually moot unless you have a gaggle of defensive plot twists at the ready. Well, with all apologies to the other 5-drops of the world, Elektra is concealed. So, the best any would-be attacker can do is twiddle its thumbs, mired in the worst sort of frustrated impotence. That’s right, Captain Initiative. She’s going to hit you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Are you going to cry now?

(Middle Finger)

She has boost . . . and how appropriate that this entry is the middle finger, since that’s exactly what your opponent will be hoisting at you when you run the 17 ATK/9 DEF on the initiative and violate a 6-drop to the tune of about 10 endurance loss. And what’s better than attacking once? How about attacking twice? I’m sure you can find some way to swing it. Swinging is what you do best, right? Heck, she’s even good on turn 7, and she’s courteous enough to leave you with 1 extra resource point. 

(Ring Finger)

Now, I’m no comic purist . . . but I like Elektra. She’s cool, like the Fonz before he jumped the shark. If a card had the same stats as Elektra, but it was Stilt-Man . . . I don’t know if I’d be so enthusiastic. Does Stilt-Man have a major motion picture coming out? Not that I know of. Elektra is a babe with two swords—I’d probably go to see that movie, I’d certainly play that card, and like the slave to pop culture that I have regrettably become, I’d eagerly seek out representations of her to line the hallowed walls of my humble home. Stilt-Man I think I’d consciously avoid. How many people have “Stilt-Man” posters on the walls in their apartments? Elektra has “it.” She garrotes people, and that’s always a plus in my book. Stilt Man has . . . stilts. That’s his power. If I need a book off the high shelf in the library, I’ll know who to call.

(Pinky Finger)

She’ll be a lot of fun to power up. I don’t want to give too much away here, but it’s my humble opinion that the other versions of Elektra also approach shenanigan-like levels of excellence. You shall eventually know it all, of course, but for now, just try to imagine the fun of a deck that is fully twenty percent busty assassin. That’s a rib-tickling percentage, and I’m not afraid to admit that the very thought of it causes the fine hairs on the back of my neck to stand up and do the cha-cha. The possibility that not just one, but multiple turns of any given game might be punctuated by a flash of red ribbon and a sword to the neck, well . . . I’m pretty sure that’s the American dream.

That’s five points of goodness. The Hand, if you will. But we’re not done. Remember how I said that R&D is a sneaky lot? She has a drawback—the ol’ double loyalty. You need a Crime Lords and a Marvel Knights character in play to set the table for Elektra, Agent of the Hand. Well . . . that’s what team-ups are for, right? I’m not going to dwell on this too much—I’m sure that better men than I will find great and reliable ways to ensure that conditions are right for timely Elektra recruiting. Personally, I’m not going to let it stop me, even if it does prove inconvenient. Even if I have to fill my deck with Royal Decrees and hide ten copies of Marvel Team-Up in my jockey shorts, I will get my Elektra on turn 5. That is a solemn promise.

You’ll find your way too, I’m sure, even if you have a few more scruples than this old dog. Her drawback, the latest bit of work from R&D, is nothing that we can’t overcome. I mean . . . she’s 14 ATK/9 DEF. Doesn’t that mean that God is on our side?

Let us all enjoy the forthcoming wave of swift assassinations. Were she here, Elektra would want it that way.

===

GT

gtait@cogeco.ca

Advertisements

(Metagame Archive) Team KG Archives: Midnight Sons

By Alex Shvartsman

Last week I talked about the Marvel Knights–based deck that my teammates and I ended up playing in PC Amsterdam. This week I’m going to discuss what I feel are the two other best decks you can build around the Wild Ride/Midnight Sons engine.

First up is the deck that almost everyone from team Your Move Games played in Amsterdam. This Marvel Knights/Underworld variant is the brainchild of Darwin Kastle. Kastle championed the deck from early on in playtesting, and although several of the team members initially had doubts about it, he proved the deck’s power by consistently defeating the other test decks. Although this build has trouble with KO-oriented Marvel Knight builds such as MK Hounds, it is a resilient deck that has solid matchups against pretty much everything in the metagame.

Your Move Games’ Marvel Knights/Underworld

4 Orb
4 Dagger, Child of Light
1 Mikado and Mosha

4 Werewolf by Night
3 Iron Fist, Danny Rand
1 Shang Chi

4 Elektra, Elektra Natchios
4 Brother Voodoo

4 Centurious
1 Luke Cage, Street Enforcer

3 Blade, Daywalker
2 Daredevil, Matt Murdock

1 Asmodeus
1 Luke Cage, Power Man

1 Dr. Strange

4 Wild Ride
4 Evil Awakens
4 Black Magic
4 Strength of the Grave
4 Crime and Punishment
2 Midnight Sons

This deck tries to win by setting up a huge Strength of the Grave on turn 5 or 6. Orb is one of your most potent weapons. You really want it in your opening hand, and will throw away many hands where you do not have one and then proceed to use it to cycle through your deck (and occasionally to pump up your hidden attacker). Dagger is another 1-drop you absolutely need, as getting Midnight Sons is pretty important to this deck’s game plan.

Werewolf by Night is your preferred turn 2 play. Because the deck is so rich with characters and because it stands to benefit from having many low drops with cards like Centurious, there are also a few copies of the 2-drop Iron Fist and a single tech card, Shang Chi. Shang Chi is particularly good when your opponent’s 2-drop has no flight and range (say, Hounds of Ahab!). Against many decks, you can force the opponent to waste a turn or even trade in combat with his or her 3-drop. Most importantly, you do not want a KO-style deck to get the better of you, so occasionally you will even Wild Ride for it.

Brother Voodoo is your preferred 3-drop, even if Elektra’s stats make her seem very attractive on your initiative. Do not hesitate to lose card economy by activating Brother Voodoo aggressively. You want as many character cards in your KO’d pile as you can get away with. You still want to attack with Brother Voodoo if it’s your initiative on turn 3, but that just means you’ll get to use his ability on the following turn, which is why he is your preferred recruit.

Centurious is one of the key Underworld characters and you virtually always want to recruit him on the fourth turn. There exist a few exceptions where you might Wild Ride for Luke Cage, Street Enforcer, most notably against X-Statix so that you can draw some cards while they are knocking off their own characters.

Initiative determines which character you want to recruit on turn 5. If you have the initiative, you will usually want to bring out Blade, Daywalker and try for the win that turn with Strength of the Grave. However, Blade is an unimpressive 5-drop when it’s your opponent’s initiative. In that case, you will want to recruit Daredevil, Matt Murdock, instead.

Blade is just as good, if not better, on turn 6 when you can boost him up. If your opponent has the odd initiative, this is where you try to finish the game. Stall decks may well succeed at maintaining a high enough endurance total that winning this turn is not likely. In this scenario, and in cases where your opponent has the even initiative, your best possible recruit is Asmodeus. Decks that rely on late drops such as Silver Surfer or Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man to win the game will not appreciate you resetting the game back to turn 6, and once again, your plan is to win on the next turn with a boosted Blade.

X-Statix is a matchup you do not like to play at all. They are likely to make the game last, and in addition to Asmodeus, you have another plan, as well. Play Dr. Strange with boost to shove the X-Statix character into the hidden area and then attack with your team. This strategy will usually allow you to out-damage your opponent on the last turn.

The one character you never recruit is Mikado and Mosha. It is an excellent tool against weenie decks, especially Syndicate. It is made even better by the excellent interaction it has with such plot twists as Wild Ride and Evil Awakens.

Another deck we did not use in PC Amsterdam, even though it was a top choice for many of my teammates throughout playtesting and remains a powerful, viable choice today, is Marvel Knights/Spider-Friends. Our build was as follows:

4 Dagger, Child of Light
1 Mikado and Mosha
4 Shang Chi
1 Black Cat, Master Thief
1 Jessica Drew
4 Stick
2 Cardiac
3 Will O’ the Wisp
2 Moon Knight
1 Julia Carpenter ◊ Spider-Woman
3 Daredevil, The Man Without Fear
2 Daredevil, Matt Murdock
2 Luke Cage, Power Man
2 Iceman, Cool Customer
1 Mattie Franklin ◊ Spider-Woman
3 Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man
2 Dr. Strange

4 Wild Ride
4 Crime and Punishment
4 Spider Senses
4 Nice Try
3 Head Shot
2 Twist of Fate
1 Midnight Sons

This build sacrifices the amazing power of Underworld’s plot twists for more versatile characters. It plays basically like a toolbox—you go and get the character that best fits the current situation. Hounds getting you down? Recruit Cardiac. Someone running Witching Hour? Bring out Black Cat. Didn’t draw enough plot twists? Recruit Mattie Franklin and replace those characters you’ve got in the resource row. Although this deck is not quite as good as the other two I’ve discussed, it is definitely worth adding to your testing gauntlet.

Next week, we’ll talk about some of the more interesting (if not more powerful) builds in this format—off-curve decks! Until then, please feel free to send your comments to me at ashv at kingsgames dot com.

(Metagame Archive) Green Lantern Corps Preview: Birthing Chamber

Justin Gary

When preview time comes around, there is often a lot of jockeying for position to see who gets to spoil the best cards. Some people want to spoil the heavy hitting characters, some want to spoil the new mechanic cards, and some want to spoil the most ridiculous legacy team cards. My favorite cards to spoil are those that have the most opened ended potential—cards that make readers stop and reevaluate what they thought they knew about viable Vs. System decks. For Green Lantern, I wanted to preview one card and one card only . . . Behold the Birthing Chamber.

No card in Green Lantern inspired me to build more decks than this beauty of a location. One thing is true across pretty much every trading card game that has gone to print: drawing cards is good. And Birthing Chamber is the best card drawing engine that this game has seen since Longshot. Though the Chamber may not have the capacity to go as crazy as Longshot, it has a lot more consistency and requires a lot less sacrifice during deck construction. There is no need to have half of your deck consist of only two different characters or to run mediocre cards like Night Vision. Any deck that plans to play out multiple characters in a turn can run Birthing Chamber.

One of the things we in R&D have been trying to encourage in Vs. System is increased viability for off-curve strategies. The game just isn’t that interesting if all everyone ever does is play one character a turn with a cost equal to the number of resources they control. Sure, this kind of strategy will always be a large part of the game, but it shouldn’t be all there is to do. Birthing Chamber can go into almost any strategy where you plan to play multiple characters in a turn. The extra cards will help to keep replacing your KO’d characters and should give you enough extra plot twists to punish bigger characters. Hitting four characters in play doesn’t take very much work (especially with all the great recovery cards in Green Lantern), and getting an extra card every turn is a huge reward. But for those truly dedicated to maximizing the Birthing Chamber, swarming out to six guys is essential. Getting to filter through an extra card is as good as drawing one straight up in most situations. You will often draw a few dead cards over the course of a game (extra copies of Birthing Chamber, for example) that can be traded for useful ones.

Decks like Fantastic Fun and Evil Medical School that regularly have many characters in play could get a huge boost from an extra card every turn. Titans could probably make use of the Birthing Chamber too (including using it to feed Terra, if necessary), although to be honest, it probably won’t take the place of USS Argus in the current Titans deck. Curve Sentinels can’t make use of Birthing Chamber, but it might find a home in the good old fashioned Wild Vomit deck as a supplement to the card drawing power of Longshot.

The great thing about Birthing Chamber is its versatility. Not only can it be a powerful addition to decks already in the metagame, but it can also help to bring previously non-viable decks to the forefront. One of my favorite decks has always been the X-Men Blackbird deck. It revolves around Blackbird and Cyclops, Slim. The basic plan is to play out many guys and just overwhelm the opponent with huge bonuses and powerhouse cards like Fastball Special. One of the major problems with this deck has always been that you run out of cards. Playing multiple guys on turns 4 and 5, combined with using cards that require a discard (such as Muir Island and Children of the Atom), will quickly leave you without cards in hand and without options. Birthing Chamber solves that problem admirably.

Now, I’m not big on Green Lantern lore, but I can tell that those are Manhunters being created in the Birthing Chamber. As you can probably tell from some of our Manhunter previews here, the Manhunters are very good at putting out a huge swarm of characters to overrun the opponent. No Manhunter deck will be complete without four copies of birthing chamber.

Cards like this one are great from a deck design perspective because they force you to reevaluate a lot of old strategies that were not previously viable and they provide a very open ended means of encouraging new ways to play the game. I hope you all have as much fun with this during your playtesting as I did during set development.

(Metagame Archive) Kings Games Archives: Indy Recap & Prison GLEE

By Alex Shvartsman

Another Pro Circuit is behind us, which signals the beginning of a new PCQ season for Metagame.com readers. Over the next few weeks, I’ll talk about the Superman and Green Lantern Modern Age format, as based on my team’s experiences testing for PC Indy.

Once again, a group of qualified players from Kings Games in Brooklyn, NY has teamed up with Boston’s Your Move Games to tackle this format’s playtesting. Working together has proven highly successful in the past, resulting in some innovative decks—such as Rigged Elections at the first PC Indy and MK Hounds in Amsterdam. We’ve tested a number of decks, and it was no surprise that we settled on GLEE (Green Lantern, Emerald Enemies) as our favorite. Having tested and quickly discarded a curve version of GLEE similar to the Kiwi Fruit deck that was successful in a Golden Age $10K in New Zealand, we settled on a super-aggressive off-curve variant originally proposed by PC Indy 2004 finalist Craig Edwards.

This was the first PC where the entire team ran the same deck, though the lists may have varied by a card or two. For this article, I will be using my own list, but I plan to discuss the alternations made by others. Our playtesting paid off well, as the combined KG/YMG squad sported the following results at the end of Day 1’s 12 rounds of play.

Rank   Player                     Match Points

1        Shaheen, Anthony    11

8        Dougherty, Robert     9

13      Cuenca, Nick            9

16      Edwards, Craig         9

24      Crespo, Freddie        9

29      Corredor, Rick          9

31      O’Connell, Alex         8

35      Shvartsman, Alex      8

40      Rabinowitz, Jacob     8

62      Liu, Jason                8

75      Maderah, Eli             7

95      Pidgeon, Dustin        7

110     Cecchetti, Daniel      7

Of the sixteen players who used our GLEE deck in Indianapolis, thirteen made it to Day 2—and only three of us did so with the minimum required win record. Anthony Shaheen navigated the deck to the #1 seat, with an 11-1 record.

Day 2 did not go as well for the KG/YMG conglomerate, but we still managed to place one player in the Top 8 (Rob Dougherty), three more in the top 20, and a total of eight people finished in the money! I did finish the tournament in 71st place after an abysmal 4-5 draft performance, but I still earned $640 to pay for my trip.

Here is the decklist that I played in Indianapolis.
Characters
2 Arisia, Green Lantern of Graxos IV
4 Dr. Light, Master of Holograms
1 Dr. Polaris, Dr. Neal Emerson
4 G’Nort, Green Lantern of G’Newt
1 Guy Gardner, Strong Arm of the Corps
1 Hector Hammond, Super-Futuristic Mind
1 Henry King Jr. ◊ Brainwave, Psionic Manipulator
3 Kyle Rayner, Last Green Lantern
2 Major Disaster, Paul Booker
3 Olapet, Green Lantern of Southern Goldstar
1 Rot Lop Fan, F-Sharp Bell of the Obsidian Deeps
2 Roy Harper ◊ Speedy, Mercurial Marksman
2 The Shark, T. S. Smith
3 Tomar Tu, Green Lantern of Xudar

Plot Twists
3 ¡Ole!, Construct
4 Hard-Traveling Heroes
1 No Evil Shall Escape Our Sight, Construct
3 Shock Troops
4 The Ring Has Chosen
2 Trial by Sword

Locations
4 Birthing Chamber
3 Prison Planet
4 Willworld

Equipment
1 Chopping Block, Construct
1 Light Armor, Construct

It became apparent very early in our testing that a GLEE variant could beat just about any other deck we were able to put together in this format. The trick was to find ways of winning the mirror match. This is where our build differs from most others. We play Prison Planet and various ways to team up our characters, whereas most other builds either rely on Trial By Sword and Shock Troops, or add Helping Hand into the mix.

The objective of this deck is to overwhelm an opponent with fast, efficient characters. Combining most of your cards with G’Nort and Arisia will easily allow your 1- and 2-drops to fight against the much larger characters that a curve-based deck might recruit, and there are no cards like Flame Trap or Overload in the format to punish such a strategy.

Let’s look at every card individually and talk about why it belongs in the deck.

 

Characters

1-Drops

As this deck relies on overwhelming your opponent, you can never miss dropping a character. You simply must play a large number of 1-drop characters and will be forced to throw your opening hand away if you don’t have one.

G’Nort, Green Lantern of G’Newt: Given a perfect draw, you will always play this character on the first turn. Since virtually every other character in the deck has willpower, G’Nort will make all of them larger. This is important in every matchup, and it becomes a huge advantage in the mirror match when you have the initiative. Typically one of your 2-drops will go after the opposing G’Nort, and once he is stunned, you can devastate the opposing side of the board while relatively few of your own characters will get stunned. You want to have G’Nort out on most turns, and it will often be your target when you boost an Olapet.

Arisia, Green Lantern of Graxos IV: Arisia is especially important in later turns when your low-cost characters have to fight against higher drops. Arisia is often capable of adding even more endurance loss during your attack step than G’Nort. She combos especially well with Olapet, who will be able to attack for an additional 6 endurance loss once you control 5 resources. Your other characters, such as Kyle Rayner, Last Green Lantern, can take down 3-drops with no help from plot twists or locations when Arisia is in play. Since Arisia isn’t as helpful in the first couple of turns of the game, there are only two in the deck . . . but you’ll almost always want one in play in the later turns and can often use Olapet or even The Ring Has Chosen to go get her.

The Shark: Since most of your locations and plot twists will be flipped over almost immediately, The Shark can become very large very quickly. If you didn’t draw G’Nort, playing The Shark and flipping over Prison Planet to attack for 3 endurance loss on the first turn is your second-best play. When you have the option, you’d rather recruit The Shark on turns where you have the initiative, since it’s such a capable attacker, but its ability to stun back most characters that go after it is nothing to sneer at.

Henry King Jr. ◊ Brainwave, Psionic Manipulator: Since you can only have one of each type of character in play, you’ll often find yourself running out of characters to recruit. This extra character is there to help alleviate this problem, but his ability comes in handy, especially on turns when your opponent controls the initiative. Like most of the 1-drops in this deck, Henry King works especially well with Olapet. Against a Shadow Creatures deck, using the Henry King/Olapet combo is a key strategy in the later turns as you struggle to finish off the opponent.

Roy Harper ◊ Speedy, Mercurial Marksman: This card is the only non-willpower character in the deck, the only character that does not share an Emerald Enemies or Green Lantern team affiliation, and the only card from the Superman, Man of Steel expansion. Speedy is also a key element in defeating both the GLEE and Shadow Creatures archetypes. A perfect opening for a GLEE deck is to recruit G’Nort, followed by a 2-drop Kyle Rayner, search for Chopping Block, recruit it on your G’Nort, attack with Kyle, and begin Chopping. Speedy puts an end to this plan by KO’ing the Block-wielding G’Nort.

In the mirror match, there is no single more important 1-drop than Speedy. Ideally, you want to recruit him whenever your opponent controls the initiative, so that you can KO opposing G’Norts and Arisias and turn a potential bloodbath into merely an even contest. Speedy is also pretty good at aiming into the shadows to pick off Shadow Creatures and crippling the Anti-Monitor strategy early on. Although you cannot use Willworld on this card, you will often find yourself searching for it on turn 2 with The Ring Has Chosen.

Stupid Speedy Trick #1: Remember that KO’ing Speedy is not an activated ability, so you can attack first, and use it later.

Stupid Speedy Trick #2: You can exhaust Speedy to give himself +1 ATK to help stun a character that is attacking him.

Stupid Speedy Trick #3: Putting Speedy on top of your deck is a cost, so if you and your opponent each control Speedy as your only 1-drop, the active player can use their Speedy ability first to KO an opposing Speedy, and the opponent won’t be able to do anything about it.

2-Drops

Kyle Rayner, Last Green Lantern: An optimal second-turn play in most situations, Kyle can search out a number of useful cards, like ¡Ole!, Light Armor, and Chopping Block. If you have the even initiative (and you should always choose it when you win the die roll), you will usually go after Chopping Block. Otherwise ¡Ole! is a more practical choice in the mirror, while you will want the extra damage of Light Armor in other matchups. Kyle’s ability will activate when you bring him back into play with Dr. Light, Master of Holograms as well, so you should be able to gain significant card advantage as long as you can make sure that Kyle is among the casualties of combat every turn.

Tomar Tu, Green Lantern of Xudar: If I had to summarize the mirror match strategy for GLEE in one sentence, it would simply be this: You must continually strive to control more characters than your opponent. This is why you’re going for the Chopping Block strategy, and this is also why you want to prevent your opponent from successfully implementing it against you. Tomar Tu’s ability to protect characters is very important. It will usually play bodyguard to G’Nort, Dr. Light, or sometimes even Arisia. You would be surprised to learn just to what degree Tomar Tu throws off a player’s attack math, even in later turns. All that, and you still get a 3 ATK/2 DEF character with flight and range for your 2 resource points.

Major Disaster, Paul Booker: Major Disaster’s ability to replace your opponent’s (and sometimes your own) Prison Planet, as well as other annoying locations, is one reason to play this character. Its 3 DEF value is another. Major Disaster can stun Kyle and not stun back unless an opponent uses up a plot twist, and this is pretty important in the mirror match. On rare occasions, you will also find yourself with an empty KO’d pile on turn 3, leaving Dr. Light bored and cranky. Major Disaster is another way to get your characters into the bin.

Hector Hammond, Super-Futuristic Mind: You never want to see Hector in play on turn 2, but he’s a perfect Dr. Light target on turns 5 and later. A natural 6 ATK/6 DEF even before G’Nort, Arisia, or Prison Planet bonuses, Hector Hammond will be one of your late-game MVPs.

Olapet, Green Lantern of Southern Goldstar: Don’t believe the little number at the top right of this card—it’s really a 3-drop! You will rarely want to recruit Olapet without boost. Olapet is your alternate turn 3 play if you fail to draw Dr. Light. Olapet is also your best turn 4 play, except in the Anti Monitor matchup, where you want to recruit Rot Lop Fan instead. You will usually get G’Nort, but sometimes you might want to grab Arisia. On a rare occasion, you’ll want to get Henry King or The Shark—but don’t forget that you can only grab those cards after you have a team-up card in play.

3-Drops

Dr. Light, Master of Holograms: This is undoubtedly the most important card in the deck. In fact, the archetype would not exist without him. It’s Dr. Light’s job to put an extra character into play for you every single turn. And it’s your job to make sure you can recruit Dr. Light on turn 3 in every single game. There are plenty of deck manipulation cards available that will let you find him—just make sure that you never discard Dr. Light over something else. In fact, if you’re reasonably sure that your opponent is playing with KO effects, you’ll need to hang on to a second copy of the good doctor.

Dr. Polaris, Dr. Neal Emerson: Your optimal turn 5 play includes him and either one 2-drop or a pair of 1-drops. You don’t normally want to recruit Guy Gardner, Strong Arm of the Corps on turn 5, especially if you don’t control the initiative. Guy is the ideal turn 6 play instead. Dr. Polaris comes in especially handy against decks with hidden characters, as he can exhaust them during his attack. Although you will find yourself occasionally boosting Dr. Polaris, it isn’t really part of the plan, and you should only do so if there’s a lack of other things to spend your resource points on. Having Polaris in play also allows you to target the two Doctors with ¡Ole! or Shock Troops.

The Big Guys

Rot Lop Fan, F-Sharp Bell of the Obsidian Deeps: There is only one reason why this character is in the deck—you want him against the Anti-Matter strategy. The ability to attack hidden characters is a huge boon in that matchup, and you will almost always want to recruit Rot Lop Fan against them on turn 4. Otherwise, you can play the deck as though he doesn’t exist.

Guy Gardner, Strong Arm of the Corps: This is the game finisher. Boosting him out on turn 6, when you already have several other characters in play, will usually help you end the game on that turn.

Plot Twists

¡Ole!: I was surprised to see how few GLEE decks played ¡Ole!. This card is excellent because you can retrieve it with Kyle Rayner, and it works on both offense and defense! On turns 3 and up, having multiple characters in play with the same cost should never be an issue.

Shock Troops: This card is actually better than ¡Ole! because it helps get your character through combat without him or her being stunned. It’s a pity it isn’t a construct. These are a must in every GLEE build.

Trial by Sword: This Batman starter-deck plot twist is an extra Shock Troops. In fact, it can often be better, since it doesn’t require you to have multiple characters of the same cost in play and therefore can be played on turn 2.

The Ring Has Chosen: Perhaps the most important plot twist in the deck,  helps you find key characters at the right time. The most-often searched-for characters are Dr. Light, Roy Harper, Guy Gardner, and Olapet, in that order.

Hard-Traveling Heroes: It’s often important to team up your Green Lantern and Emerald Enemies characters, especially when you have Prison Planet in play. With Hard-Traveling Heroes you can do so, and you get to draw a card in the process! If you already have Hard-Traveling Heroes in play and you control characters of both teams, you can play it from your hand in order to draw another card.

No Evil Shall Escape Our Sight: Not only does the fifth team-up make it easier to find one naturally, this one’s advantage is that it’s a Construct. Occasionally you will use Kyle Rayner to search for this card so that you can team up on turn 3.

Locations

Willworld: This card is just as important as Cerebro is to X-Men decks. You want to activate it every single turn, because filling up your KO’d pile is almost as important as getting the right characters into your hand. Four copies of Willworld help you play single copies of some of your key characters, such as Hector Hammond and Guy Gardner, Strong Arm of the Corps, and yet it will allow you to draw them consistently by turns 5 and 6. Since there are so many good cards you want to play in GLEE but so little space, I’ve often heard others suggest that we play fewer copies of Willworld. That makes no sense to me at all. Once you have one Willworld in play, you can ditch your excess copies of locations using its own ability!

Prison Planet: This is a key card that separates our GLEE build from most others you saw in the PC Indianapolis coverage. The ability to attack for more endurance loss is surely important. However, the biggest benefit of Prison Planet is that your opponents are no longer able to easily stun your characters without stunning their own when they have the initiative. You’ll almost never be team-attacking with this deck, and the inability to reinforce isn’t as important in a format where most characters have flight and range.

Birthing Chamber: Thanks to Dr. Light, you will control four characters by turn 3 in almost every game, barring any KO’ing that your opponent might pull off early. It’s easy to get four characters in play with this deck, and it’s even pretty easy to get up to six. You always want Birthing Chamber active as early as possible, and therefore you should play four copies of it. You’ll often use it to play Speedy twice in the same turn, devastating an opponent’s board. On the last turn of the game, you can also flip a second Chamber and replace the exhausted one in order to use its ability for an extra time.

 

Equipment

Chopping Block: As discussed above, you can use it early in the mirror match to create character advantage. It’s especially good if you were to somehow face a curve-based deck, and it’s paramount in the matchup against Superman Robots. About the only way you can beat that deck is by KO’ing the very first Robot.

Light Armor: In the mirror, it’s often just another ¡Ole!, as your characters (except Dr. Light) don’t usually survive to another turn. In other matchups, it can be a source of extra damage when you play it early on. Then, of course, there’s the option of just playing it from your hand—especially if you’re expecting your opponent to have combat tricks, such as Helping Hand, but you don’t have any of your own.

Next week, I’m going to talk about the cards that didn’t make it into our GLEE build, why I feel Helping Hand does not belong in this deck, and about the best deck in the current format. Until then, if you have any questions or comments about this article, please feel free to drop me an e-mail to ashv at kingsgames dot com.

(Metagame Archive) Green Lantern Corps Preview: Hal Jordan ◊ Spectre

By Jason Grabher-Meyer

The Spectre is God’s wrath incarnate within the DC universe. As it’s an avatar, the Spectre requires a host to exist on Earth. When its original carrier, Jim Corrigan, declined the burden of the role he once had, it was up to Earth’s heroes to find a new host—one with a will strong enough to control a divine force. Hal Jordan had no idea what he was signing on for.

The burden and gift of the Spectre is the ability to see the guilt in any mind, mortal or otherwise. That power is reflected in today’s card, Hal Jordan ◊ Spectre, Mortal Avatar. Here’s what he looks like:

This incarnation of Hal makes your opponent feel bad for wiping out your characters, whether he or she actually feels guilty or not. And hey, if your characters just happen to decide that the life of a lemming is for them, well . . . the opponent still gets to foot the bill in Spectre’s book. It’s a neat card, and with the ever-popular flight/range combo and stats on the more admirable side of average, Spectre really is a powerhouse. The cool thing about it is how differently he functions depending on whether or not you control the initiative and what the endurance totals look like.

If the opponent controls the initiative, Spectre hitting the field will suddenly give him or her a very good reason not to attack you. If your opponent has a substantial endurance lead, you’ll narrow the gap quite quickly if he or she attacks successfully. If endurance totals are even, then your opponent will either have to deal a ton of breakthrough or attack down the curve to avoid suffering stun-back. If your opponent doesn’t opt to stun down the curve, then he or she might take more endurance loss than is given.

While he might not look that impressive overall, give that one aspect of Spectre some thought for a moment. Your opponent either stuns down the curve (probably sacrificing every optimal play that he or she could be making in the crucial late game), or your opponent takes a huge amount of damage. Unless the opponent can make Hal take a dirt nap with his or her first attack, your opponent’s turn is going to be incredibly difficult and will likely be followed up with Hal swinging into his pick of the survivors on the opponent’s side. That’s why he isn’t as big as a few of his contemporaries—somebody needs to have a chance to take this guy down!

Getting back to the base theory, if you control the initiative instead of your opponent, then you can likely afford a great deal of recklessness thanks to Spectre’s effect. Go ahead and make those drop-for-drop trades—your opponent will basically take double the stun damage that you take. Got some dead characters but endurance is even or in your favor? Plough them into whatever brick the opponent has available to make sure that the game ends on that turn.

Even if the opponent does manage to stun Hal and thus avoid dealing with his effect for successive attacks, the effect still works as Hal hits the dirt—it essentially costs 8 endurance to stun him. Furthermore, if the opponent makes a trade with his or her 8-drop, he or she will take a whopping 16 endurance loss while only causing you 8—not a smart thing to do.

Getting into the wackier applications, the fact that Spectre isn’t team-stamped in any way allows him to be used in any sort of combo deck you can cook up. Want to use his effect with a bunch of invulnerable guys to really stack on the hurt? Hook him up with Saracen and a bunch of New Gods or Team Superman. Or perhaps Green Lantern Corps will offer some more access to invulnerability (hint hint). Heck, even as a random 8-drop in Sealed Pack he can be a valuable addition to any deck, given the fact that he isn’t costed with loyalty in any way.

In the comics, Hal Jordan’s run as the Spectre was characterized by his driving need for redemption and his will to redeem those he was set upon. A great equalizer, this version of Hal is a spectacular way to redeem a game that you’re losing, forcing a dominant opponent to back off and reconsider his or her position in the game.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

(Metagame Archive) Cerebro IX: Split Personality

By Paul Ross

I’m back home from Amsterdam, where I had the pleasure of meeting many of you face to face. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hi. As threatened last time I wrote, I collected a solid column’s worth of questions from the pros, but I also managed to accumulate a similar volume of questions in my inbox. So the plan is to go through the reader questions today and save the pro questions for a special edition, possibly next week. Why can’t I do both today? Because I have something else in store for you . . .

Cerebro has received its first ever preview card! And since I have no desire to torment you a moment longer than necessary, here it is in all its glory:

Behold the handsomely sized, Magneto-esque body! His ATK and DEF are commendable for a 7-drop and nothing short of jaw-droppingly astounding for this affiliation, given that the reigning Inmates titleholder is the somewhat less than daunting The Joker, The Clown Prince of Crime. Range is icing on the cake.

Needless to say, he will be a Booster Draft powerhouse, given that he can stand toe to toe with Anarchist, Man of the People. However, he has two broadly useful powers instead of a single narrow one. Let’s take a closer look at these powers.

The first is probably more useful to the Arkham affiliation than to many others, given the team’s infamous lack of deck manipulation. Simply put, if you draw Two Face in your opening hand, you may keep any number of cards and mulligan the rest. Not as clumsy or random as a standard mulligan, but rather an elegant weapon for a more civilized Inmate.

But it’s the second power that has the greater potential to brighten the maniacal glint in the eyes of Arkham fans the world over. How good would Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man be if he could swing after shutting down your opponent’s board? Well, Two Face can always take out at least half of your opponent’s characters on your initiative and then attack! That sort of brute strength is impressive enough, but the surgical strike possibilities could be even more enticing.

What do I mean by surgical? Well, how about being able to exhaust any single character your opponent controls without targeting it (and possibly bagging a few bonus characters, as well)? Or ripping apart your opponent’s reinforcement channels before your first attack?

I spoke to Kieren “Honest” Otton, local store owner, All Round Nice Guy™, and the leading exponent of Arkham Inmate technology in Sydney if not the world (he took the affiliation to a 6-4 finish at $10K LA). According to Honest, the team’s path to victory is via the constant limiting of the opponent’s board options. With that premise, Two Face seems to fit the bill nicely, since he should have little trouble exhausting anybody left over after Charaxes has done his KO’ing, Ivy has done her poisoning, and Victor has done his freezing.

The Big Question is: Is he good enough to displace the ubiquitous Magneto, Master of Magnetism from Arkham builds? Very possibly, it seems, for a bunch of little reasons that all add up. Apart from the obvious benefits of reinforcement, team attacking, and Betrayal resistance, Two Face is also more synergistic with a number of his fellow Inmates (including the aforementioned The Joker, The Clown Prince of Crime, his smaller cousin The Joker, Laughing Lunatic, and Charaxes if he manages to survive until turn 7).

The Even Bigger Question is: Will he be enough to drag the Inmates kicking and screaming into Tier 1 competition? That coin is still up in the air (groan), and it will be up to the fiendish genius of Arkham deckbuilders to provide the Even Bigger Answer over the coming months.

On the subject of questions and answers, we now return you to your scheduled programming.

Ken V., from Cape Coral, FL, USA, asks this week’s Feature Question. Ken is obviously aware of my deep, abiding, and often alarming passion for questions about the interaction of continuous modifiers, and he has skillfully parlayed that knowledge into three Marvel Knights boosters.

Let’s say I have a Revenge Squad (RS) character and a Crime Lord (CL) character. I team them up with World’s Finest, and then on the following turn, I recruit a Sinister Syndicate (SS) character. Following that, I flip up Made Men and exhaust someone to give everyone the CL affiliation for the turn. Does World’s Finest check that the SS character is now also CL and add on RS?

The character will indeed end up with all three affiliations, though I’m going to use some different terminology to explain why. For a quick introduction to said terminology, you might like to check out the first question in Section 3 of this column.

Back to your question. World’s Finest naming RS & CL depends on Made Men (since Made Men can change a non-CL character into a CL character). However, Made Men doesn’t depend on World’s Finest, because World’s Finest can’t change whether or not a character is affiliated.

So, while both modifiers apply to the SS character, the independent Made Men is applied before the dependent World’s Finest. As a result, the SS character will have all three affiliations.

If so, when the turn is over and Made Men is no longer in effect, does the SS character lose the CL and RS affiliations?

That’s correct.

Ronald R. from Manila, Philippines, asks an uber-crazy question about Mr. Fear.

I have a crazy question that came up in my regular play group. I have Teen Titans and Crime Lords teamed up. I have Beast Boy and Mr. Fear in play. My opponent attacks Mr. Fear. Can I use Mr. Fear’s power multiple times, choosing Beast Boy each time, to get an uber Beast Boy?

Mr. Fear has recently been errata’d to prevent this kind of craziness (and similarly degenerate hijinks with Carrion). The new text is:

Pay 1 endurance >>> If Mr. Fear is defending, choose another non-stunned Crime Lords character you control. If you do, remove all defenders from this attack, and that character becomes the defender this attack.

So, you can still use the power multiple times (paying 1 endurance per use), but only the first effect to resolve will do anything because Mr. Fear will no longer be defending after it resolves.

On the subject of errata, I should mention that Mr. Hyde was also changed in the lead up to PC: Amsterdam. The good news is that it now works exactly how most people thought it worked in the first place! Here’s the current text:

Characters you control named Cobra get +2 ATK and, while defending, have reinforcement.

Scott H., from Iowell, MA, USA, was not the only reader traumatized by the prospect of Sniper having an Armed Escort.

How can Sniper be equipped with Armed Escort? A question in the last Cerebro had this scenario. Did I miss something?

The concealed keyword means that a character comes into play in the hidden area, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay there. Here are some of the cards that can move a hidden character to a visible area: Deposed; Good Night, Sweet Prince; Mr. Code, Masked Malcontent; Out of the Darkness; Overexposed; and Shadow Step.

Doug, from London, UK, returns with a question about warring resources.

I flip Concrete Jungle from my resource row and pass. Can my foe activate his or her face-up Avalon Space Station, discard a Brotherhood card to get two cards back, and then reveal Avalon again to discard the two new cards (one for Jungle’s effect and one for Avalon’s cost) to get some more cards back from the KO’d pile?

Your foe can certainly activate Avalon Space Station before Concrete Jungle’s effect resolves and turns it face down.

However, if he or she does so, Avalon will be exhausted when it is turned face down and will remain exhausted if it is flipped back up during the same turn. Your foe won’t be able to activate Avalon a second time that turn unless he or she has a way of readying it.

Justin B. has a question about chain timing and target legality.

If the chain resolves in reverse order, does that mean that Overload won’t work if it is played “after” an opponent plays something to pump ATK, thereby resolving “before” his or her character has an ATK great enough to Overload?

Let’s say your opponent plays Savage Beatdown targeting Brother Voodoo.

If Overload is played “in response” to the Beatdown before it resolves, then the target is illegal and the game rewinds to the point just before Overload was played.

The legal play is to allow the Beatdown to resolve and then play Overload when you next get priority.

Chung W., from Singapore, explores the intricacies of FF equipment.

Let’s say I have Thing, Ben Grimm equipped with The Pogo Plane. My opponent has Ant Man equipped with Flamethrower and a Mr. Fantastic, Stretch on the table. If Ant Man tries to burn me for 5 endurance, can I chain Thing’s effect to stun Ant Man and stop the burn?

Nope, this is the “basketball” rule from Section 1 of my first Cerebro column.

If your opponent has priority to play Flamethrower’s effect, then you don’t get priority to do anything until after that effect is on the chain. Once an effect is on the chain, doing anything to the source of that effect won’t disrupt the effect in any way.

What if Mr. Fantastic tries to transfer the Flamethrower to himself in response to Thing’s effect? Does the Flamethrower go to the KO’d pile because Ant Man is stunned, or is it transferred to Mr. Fantastic?

So, just to clarify, the sequence is: your opponent exhausts Ant Man to play Flamethrower’s effect targeting you. Then in response, you KO The Pogo Plane to play Thing’s effect targeting Ant Man. In response, your opponent pays 2 endurance to play Stretch’s effect targeting Flamethrower.

After successive passes, Stretch’s effect resolves first, and you may transfer the Flamethrower to Stretch as long as he is unequipped on resolution. After successive passes, Thing’s effect resolves, stunning the now unequipped Ant Man. After successive passes, Flamethrower’s effect resolves, burning you for 5 endurance.

Philip H., from Manila, Philippines, kicks off a trilogy of wording-related questions to bring down the curtain on this column.

Given that Advance Recon, Black Magic, Head Shot, and Never Give Up all received the “Play <this card> only during your first attack this turn in which you control an attacker” errata, I was wondering if any cards would allow these cards to be played in the same turn twice.

Do any of the following situations allow me to play one of these cards again?

A. My opponent plays Heroic Sacrifice
B. I play Swift Escape on my attacker
C. I evade with my attacker

Would all of the above situations effectively remove the attacker characteristic?

The attacker characteristic is indeed removed when a character is stunned, bounced to hand, or otherwise removed from an attack.

However, none of these situations allow you to play Advance Recon (or similar) on a subsequent attack. If a character you control loses the attacker characteristic during an attack, then any subsequent attack that turn cannot be the “first attack this turn in which you control an attacker.”

Just so you know, the errata was necessary because the game enters an attack substep for every proposed attack, even if it fails the legality check after successive passes and no attackers exhaust. Using the original wording, if you proposed an attack with a character but that character was exhausted before the legality check, you would not be able to play Advance Recon (or similar) for the rest of that turn.

Geoff F. explores what it really means to control Dr. Doom.

Doomstadt states that you are considered to control Dr. Doom, so does that count for teaming up characters? In other words, do I have a character with the Doom affiliation for cards like Common Enemy or Unlikely Allies?

No. Doomstadt will only allow you to play cards like Faces of Doom. It won’t allow you to play cards that require you to control a character with the Doom affiliation.

Albert W., from NYC, concludes the proceedings with a question on the ever-popular subject of exhausting exhausted characters.

I have a question regarding Drive-by Shooting. Can I exhaust an already exhausted character? It is not “an additional cost” effect, nor is it an “if you do” effect.

The important words here are “this way.” You’re correct in the implication that a resolving effect may try to exhaust an already exhausted character. However, in the case of Drive-by Shooting, an already exhausted character has not been “exhausted this way,” and so will not contribute +2 to the target’s DEF bonus.

Please keep those questions coming in to vsrules@gmail.com. Enquiries about previewed Green Lantern cards are more than welcome!

(Metagame Archive) Green Lantern Corps Preview: Dr. Light, Master of Holograms

By Ben Kalman

Master of holograms, indeed! Anyone who has faced a KnightLight deck has likely run into the power of Dr. Light at one point or another. There’s nothing quite like feeling as though you’re about to win a game, and then suddenly facing every single character you had previously KO’d. And your opponent always happens to have the initiative. Or heck, even if he or she doesn’t, there’s usually plenty of reinforcement to make sure that it doesn’t matter.

Well, here we have mini Dr. Light, a version for the Emerald Enemies who, instead of being hell-bent on destroying those pesky Teen Titans, is hell-bent on wiping Green Lantern right out of Sector 2814!

Mini Dr. Light is a smaller drop than his bigger brother, yet he ironically represents a later incarnation of the character. It’s the same old pesky Arthur Light who hated the Titans, failed to defeat them, and lost control of the Fearsome Five to Psimon, who then booted him out (bad Psimon!). Eventually, Arthur ended up dead on Apokolips while fighting for the Suicide Squad. Simply put, he was convinced that he would make a great hero. And, like everything else, Dr. Light took it on in a fit of zealotry and decided to attack Apokolips by himself. Parademons have big guns, and, well . . . the rest was history.

But these are comics! Real life doesn’t apply, and neither does death! Dr. Light found himself in the netherest of netherworlds, where he was tortured by resident demon Biff O’ Stoffles. (No, I didn’t make that up, I swear!) He was reunited there with former science lab buddy Jacob Finlay, whose spirit had haunted Arthur and blamed Arthur for his death. Biff decided it would be fun to resurrect and kill both of them every day! (Someone had obviously been reading too much Dragonlance before sitting down to write these stories . . . )

Anyhow, Biff became bored—could you honestly stand being with Dr. Light day and night for eternity? I didn’t think so. So, Biff resurrected both of them—for real this time—and sent them back to Earth, where Finlay promptly died again.

Still with me? Good. So how does this tie into Green Lantern? Well that’s the trick. Dr. Light was refused reacceptance into the Suicide Squad (it defeats the purpose of the Squad if you keep coming back to life, right?), and in his depression after failing once again at that challenging hero thing, he ran into Hal Jordan and decided that he could prove his prowess by taking out the mighty Green Lantern of Earth. But things never seem to work out for Dr. Light, do they? I mean, here is a man who got thrown out of the Fearsome Five after he created the whole darn group in the first place! So what happens this time? He gets trapped in Green Lantern’s power battery!

One year later and Green Lantern is Hal no longer. Scrub Green Lantern Kyle Rain Man . . . erm . . . Rayner is polishing the lamp when this genie pops out! That may or may not be an exaggeration, but either way, his free lodgings at Hotel Jordan turned Dr. Light into an actual Dr. Light. That is to say, he exited as pure light. This meant that Dr. Light could now fly, which our friendly Fearsome Five version couldn’t, and the new skill is reflected on his Emerald Enemies version. He also has Willpower, thanks to his exposure to Hal’s ring and the power battery, though all the will in the world doesn’t help Dr. Light accomplish anything in the comics. But I digress.

He’s not quite as beefy as his previous version, but his holographic power is still there. This time, he creates smaller holograms, allowing you to revive a single KO’d character, but there are some limitations. They have to be 1- or 2-drops, they have to be unique (no character with the same name in play), and he has to activate to use his power. These are some pretty hefty restrictions, but you will still find a lot of use for him in your deck. As you may or may not have noticed (depending on whether or not you’ve seen the various previews on the boards and in the gaming magazines), one of the Emerald Enemies’ greatest strengths is off-curve deck play. There are character abilities that cost a KO’d resource and there are characters, like Major Force (seen in TCGplayer), who thrive when you’ve KO’d resources. This means that you can play Dr. Light on a later turn and still bring in an extra 2 resource points for free. And an extra drop never hurts, especially when that drop comes in to play readied.

Heck, you could build an Emerald Manhunters deck with Sleeper Agents (seen in Inquest), Major Force, some KO effects, and Dr. Light. Imagine, if you will, a 12 ATK/12 DEF Major Force combined with Sleeper Agents and a certain Emerald Enemies character who can KO resources to give a nice little combat boost. Now, on turn 5, you could potentially have a 14 ATK/14 DEF Major Force, a couple of Sleeper Agents, and a 4-drop in play. Factor in a turn 6 with 3 resources, a Dr. Light . . . and ta da!, a 2-drop in addition.

On the flip side, there are one or two characters, including a specific 2-drop, that thrive while you have a lot of resources in play. This means that Dr. Light can potentially bring in a late game surprise, and you’ll still have some points left over for other recruits.

However you work him in, Dr. Light will always be a factor. He may not be the best or the brightest, but his illusions and holograms always are!

Also known by his screen name Kergillian, Ben Kalman has been involved in the Vs. community since day one. He started the first major player in the online community, the Vs. Listserv, through Yahoo! Groups, and it now boasts well over 1,300 members! For more on the Yahoo! group, go to http://web.archive.org/web/20070425140656/http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Marvel_DC_TCG