(Metagame Archive) Micro-Sentinels!

By Tim Willoughby

The dust has barely settled from Amsterdam, but the forward-looking amongst us are already putting together our play lists for the next Pro Circuit event in the Big Apple.

For reference, here’s mine so far.

  1. Gold – Spandau Ballet
  2. I Love New York City – Andrew WK
  3. Summer in the City – The Loving Spoonful
  4. An Englishman in New York – Sting
  5. I Hate Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

 

This is likely to be all the playing that I do at the event (aside from attempting to beat the designers at their own game in the staff draft), as I will be reporting on the whole shebang. What does this mean for you, oh reader mine? Well, firstly it means that if you will be playing in the big event, there is every possibility that you’ll see me buzzing around with a laptop or sitting about in the feature match area more than I deserve to be, writing about players that are far better qualified to be there than I. It also means that in this, the pre-season warm-up, there is a lot more potential for me to write whatever I choose about the format, as I don’t have to worry too much about giving away big team secrets for which I could get into a lot of trouble.

While I’m still very much a member of the UK group and won’t do anything to actively hurt their preparation for the big show, all of a sudden I have the newfound opportunity to play a fun little game with the Vs. community at large.

My goal is, one way or another, to get 60 cards of my choosing played at PC New York, despite the fact that I won’t be playing them. The easiest way to do this would be to give some unlucky soul a fancy new decklist of my creation to play. Anyone who knows me will know that this isn’t nearly hard enough for me.

Instead, as I am writing for Metagame.com, my goal is to come up with a big list of tech cards that you might not consider for an unknown metagame but that could prove powerful choices given the fairly well-defined playing field of Golden Age as we know it.

The best thing about this little challenge is that it gives me yet another opportunity to go head-to-head with Jason Grabher-Meyer. The card pool is limited . . . who can find the best tech left in the format? We’ll have to wait until New York to know for sure.

I’m going to start with a somewhat controversial call. Let me just reassure you that while it might look like cheating (as this card has already seen some play at Golden Age $10K events), I called it before $10K London, at which point it was definitely under the radar.

Micro-Sentinels!

These teeny-weeny, tinty little robots fall under the big list of cards that, while “interesting” from a Sentinels perspective, haven’t seen a huge amount of play. With the emergence of Dean Sohnle’s Fantastic Fun deck, though, that might be about to change. Curve Sentinels is a massively powerful deck that, at the time of writing, has filled more $10K Top eight slots than any other deck in the history of the game (including pre-DC Brotherhood). However, there has been a recent movement towards decks using A Child Named Valeria to its fullest—that is to say, using it to shut off the attack phase for four turns per game. This makes life very complicated for the robot squad, whose primary route to victory involves dominating the combat step, stealing the initiative with powerful defensive combat tricks, and then attacking back for a great deal.

Micro-Sentinels is, in many ways, the perfect answer to such tactics. Without Invisible Woman, the Invisible Girl in play, the chances of A Child Named Valeria making the Sentinels’ day a bad one are significantly reduced. Tiny robots are much better at getting rid of tiny characters than such traditional effects as Flame Trap because they directly KO the characters they hit, rather than merely stunning them. Children can’t reasonably play with these toys, as they have small moving parts.

The concern with Micro-Sentinels is that it is relatively ineffective against decks that curve out normally. Given the current environment, though, many of the most frustrating characters aren’t the large ones, anyway. This is truly a metagame choice, but one that I feel is justified in the current environment. With multiple copies of Micro-Sentinels, it can even pull out a few surprises against more regularly designed decks.

But that isn’t really tech anymore, is it? I know plenty of people who have already mentioned the tiny robots as a strong addition to the bigger robots. Let’s delve once more into Tim’s Big Bag of Technology and see what we can find . . .

With the venue for the next Pro Circuit being New York, the following card seems appropriate. Metropolis? Fear and Confusion? No, today I’m talking about Concrete Jungle.

My first experience with Concrete Jungle was in testing for PC Indianapolis. DC Origins had just been released, it was a balmy summer, and there was much testing to be done before a big trip out to the U S of A. At the time, Big Brotherhood was the deck with the big target on its forehead. Ka-Boom! was being flung wildly into decks that had no business replaying turns, and people were trading their own mothers for copies of this (clearly fictional) plot twist known as Have a Blast! In a frenzied weekend of testing, many crazy concoctions were built and disassembled in an effort to come up with something new, different, and ultimately damaging to the metagame that had developed on the other side of the Atlantic. One team had been rather maligned in the testing, and rather harshly, so I felt.

The Arkham Inmates clearly had issues. Their smaller characters were simply too small, while their general team mechanics weren’t doing quite enough to win the game in the face of more powerful beatdown decks that could repeatedly make their characters massive with a little help from Lost City. With such terrible smaller characters, the Inmates couldn’t happily start blowing up resources with any kind of relish, and by this point, my dislike for Have a Blast! had already set in. The Inmates couldn’t afford to lose a card to its cost. What they needed was something that played to their strengths and dealt with the problem of big nasty mutants.

Cue Concrete Jungle. With its big, friendly picture of Poison Ivy, it looked as much an Inmates card as the thrice accursed Have a Blast! and it neatly seemed to solve many of the problems involved with playing against location-centric decks. The synergy with our use of Greater of Two Evils seemed perfect. Our Arkham Inmates deck was all set.

Except it kind of sucked.

Flash forward to the present day. Indianapolis is now a happy memory. We didn’t end up playing with a bunch of crazy loons, instead opting to pull clever tricks with the Teen Titans—and much good had it done us. One among us had left behind the hum-drum life as a mere player (and $10K winner). He had taken on a job with Metagame.com and gotten the all-elusive “slash” mark of a player/writer. He sat down to write an article about tech for NY and suddenly found himself in a sentence where his own use of the past tense to describe the present (to be read in the future) left him rather confused.

Ahem.

Concrete Jungle remains a solution to various problems in Golden Age. By “problem,” I again refer to Fantastic Fun. It is not the only deck using locations, but it is certainly one of the ones with a bulls-eye-esque target on its forehead. Titans are also known for the levels of locations that they play, and there have been rumblings of decks involving the age old Avalon Space Station/Lost City combo coming to New York to challenge the rise of the robots.

A single copy of Concrete Jungle being flipped can make life a little bit tricky for opponents, forcing them to discard cards that they would really like to use to win the game with just to maintain some sort of parity. Where things get really nutty, though, is when a couple of these get flipped. Your opponent has just managed to get all of his or her locations flipped back up after the first one, and then you play a second one and flip them all back down again. Then, if your opponent wants to flip any more, each Jungle will trigger, quickly emptying his or her hand.

It gets better, though. If you are looking for a fun new bit of synergy that seems a lot more exciting post Green Lantern Corps, let me point you in the direction of Shaligo, Deep Six and the rest of the Darkseid’s Elite. With Shaligo, one can engineer quite horrific situations where opponents playing with locations face a virtual Professor X, Mental Master situation on turn 2. Shaligo turns them face down disconcertingly fast, while getting his beat on the entire time. The fact that there is clear synergy with Apokilips and Trok is just gravy. If you don’t consider it for NY Golden Age, I strongly urge you have a second look at Concrete Jungle for later.

Have fun and be lucky,

Tim “Englishman in New York” Willoughby

timwilloughby (at) hotmail (dot) com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: