(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

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