(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.

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