(Metagame Archive) Voices from the Field: A Green Lantern Overview

By Ben Kalman

Well, the week of previews is over and done with, and as you read this you may already have had the chance to attend a Sneak Preview tournament and taste these cards firsthand. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is the most exciting set to come out of UDE’s secret, hidden, R&D chambers (where they attach their Design and Development teams to giant, mind-sucking machines and bleed them dry of ideas).

From the dazzling artwork to the new mechanics, there is synergy in this set that works on multiple levels for both Sealed Pack and Constructed. It allows you to use simple mechanics to form complex strategies and ideas.

Today I’m going to take a look at the set, team by team, and examine some of the potential strategies and combos that may surface. I’ll also discuss some key cards in each team to which you should pay attention for both Sealed and Constructed success.

 

The Green Lantern team is the one team where every character has willpower. It’s also a team where the vast majority of its characters and team-stamped cards have some inherent effect that is based on the willpower of your character(s). The central theme of the team, and what you will want to pay attention to when building a Green Lantern deck, is using your characters’ willpower to win the game. This can be done through Hal Jordan, Reborn’s effect; through cards like Guy Gardner, Strong Arm of the Corps and Oa, which garner you combat advantage through your willpower level; or by splashing in cards such as Sinestro, Enemy of the Corps for his alternate win condition (although many fanboys would never dare to cross continuity to do something so blatantly anathematic!).

Willpower is a very exciting concept because it’s very simple to grasp (it’s just a number that does absolutely nothing on its own, so it’s not easy to get confused about) but opens up a nigh-infinite realm of in-game possibilities. There are almost a limitless number of effects and abilities, old and new, available to be used with a willpower reference. This includes various willpower strategies. It will be easy to integrate them into your decks, either building decks around willpower-related strategies or assimilating various willpower tactics and combos into an existing deck.

Guardians Reborn is of the latter category. Essentially a Green Lantern version of Home Surgery, it allows you to exhaust to recover a character. The one bonus aspect of the card is that you’re not limited to a lower-cost character, as you are with Home Surgery. This is primarily a defensive card and will allow you to maintain some board advantage even when your opponent is on the attack. As your opponent attacks a character, you can exhaust it to recover a previously stunned character. This may also make the new attack illegal if you play your cards right; if your opponent doesn’t have a ton of flight, and he or she runs into your big character (protecting a smaller character), you can then exhaust the protected character to recover its protector and force your opponent to attack the big drop again.

Guardians Reborn can be especially vicious when played in tandem with Sinestro, Green Lantern of Korugar. The sole Green Lantern Sinestro is one of the best characters in the game, and he has a big bull’s-eye on his giant, red forehead. Not only does he have a nice, juicy willpower of 6, but as long as he’s unstunned, any attacker that stuns one of your defenders gets stunned in return. This means that if your opponent doesn’t hit Sinestro first, when his or her big and buff 7-drop runs into your sniveling little 1-drop, your 1-drop will stun the 7-drop back, even if it has 1 ATK to the 7-drop’s 16 DEF. As well, because the effect works on any defender you control, Sinestro is splashable into any deck—his power isn’t team-stamped.

Just as Sinestro can be splashed into a deck outside of the Green Lantern team, you can splash other characters into a Green Lantern deck using Green Lantern Ring. A card that beautifully reflects the comics, the Green Lantern Ring bestows a character with the Green Lantern affiliation, and as a bonus, gives +2 willpower (which on its own is worth its weight). As well, it’s transferable, meaning you can switch it to a better target during your next formation step. It’s also an uncommon, so you should see one in Sealed Pack now and then, which will be a boon to any deck that focuses on Green Lantern as one of its central factions.

 

 

The Emerald Enemies provide an interesting conundrum to any player looking to make a deck with them—do you go curve or do you build off the curve? Most Enemies cards revolve around one of those two deck scenarios and each have their positive side. There are cards that prefer fewer resources in play (some even KO resources for their effects), while other cards give bonuses for having more resources in play and work to maintain board advantage over your opponent.

For the former, you have Carol Ferris ◊ Star Sapphire, who you can hide in the shadows and activate to give an ATK boost based on your face-up resources. You also have Hector Hammond, a 2 ATK/2 DEF 2-drop who gains +4 ATK/+4 DEF when you have five or more resources in play. He combos nicely with Dr. Light, who can pop him into play on turn 5, essentially giving you an extra 4-drop in addition to the 5-drop you recruit. These characters go hand in hand with other characters like Dr. Ub’X and Fatality and plot twists like Emerald Twilight and Damsel in Distress, which KO your opponent’s characters and give you major board advantage. This strategy also leads nicely into Sinestro and his alternate win condition—you simply have to have a fair amount of willpower and keep Sinestro unstunned (or use a card like Lanterns in Love to recover him).

On the flip side, you can play characters like Tattooed Man and Major Force who have stats that are far beyond the average for their cost but get -1 ATK/-1 DEF for each resource you control. However, there are many cards that KO resources as a cost for their effect, such as Goldface, Myrwhydden, Femme Fatality, Empire of Tears, and Sinestro Defiant, and some of these cards include KO effects to help maintain board advantage through sheer numbers. When you add in Dr. Light and the potential of the Manhunter team with their resource row recruitment, you can overcome the disadvantage of smaller drops with strength in numbers and stat pumps.

Either way, the Enemies have some vicious tricks up their sleeves, and a fair amount of those tricks involve mulching your opponents through high ATK values and KO effects.

 

 

For those unfamiliar with the Anti-Matter universe, it’s essentially the opposite of ours. Hence, on their Earth, they have the Crime Syndicate (or the other, other JLA). As well, there are the Qwardians, from the planet Qward, the planet that Sinestro was banished to (and eventually took over) when he was found to be too . . . erm . . . unfriendly to be a Green Lantern.

But no matter the planet, one thing that the Anti-Matter characters have in common is that just about every character on the team has concealed. And, more interestingly, many of them have it on an optional basis. Concealed-optional is one of the new keywords in this set, or rather, a new twist on an older keyword. It’s concealed as it always was, but with one little difference—you can choose to recruit the character in the hidden area or the visible area. Both have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your deck, game strategy, cards in play, and the overall state of the game you’re playing.

Another interesting aspect of many of the Anti-Matter characters is that they have different effects or abilities based on whether or not they’re hidden or visible. You’ve all seen Johnny Quick, with his ATK bonus while hidden and his “Speed Demon” ability when he’s visible. There’s also Slipstream, or “mini-Quick,” who has the same abilities but to a lesser degree. Those are just two minor examples of a team that thrives on control of the hidden and visible areas—who goes in, who comes out, and who can move back and forth. These effects include the new Play Time, Banished to the Anti-Matter Universe, which essentially takes an opponent’s character, pops it into the hidden area, and doesn’t let it back out again. This is great for late game mayhem—simply pop your opponent’s 7-drop into the hidden area and smash forward for maximum endurance drain. Or, you can simply “stun ’n steal” with In the Hands of Qward, which allows you to recover and take control of an opponent’s character as long as you have the willpower.

Crime Syndicate characters also have powers that reflect their JLA counterparts (or those who currently exist, at least), with Ultraman being the standout in terms of nastiness. Ultraman’s abilities reflect an overall pattern of “attack and defend” abilities split amongst the Anti-Matter characters. For every offensive-minded character, like Ultraman, Power Ring, or Johnny Quick, there are some very strong defensive cards, like Qwardian Watchdog, a 5 ATK/5 DEF 1-drop who can’t attack but who can stand in front of an opposing attacker as a big brick wall to protect other characters and cause some defensive stun. Dead-Eye is another character that is built to attack up the curve or to attack a specific threat and eliminate it. You’re essentially sacrificing Dead-Eye to take out the dangerous character, which is also the character that your opponent would most likely recover. We have Kiman, who can defensively stun just about any character of cost 3 or less for the low cost of an activation and 1 endurance. He’s the kind of character that would simply destroy a Hounds deck. And St’nlli is a card that Anti-Matter will want to pack if they thrive on concealed, as he allows you a one-shot rearrangement of your entire board between both areas.

As an addendum, burn decks also got a nice boost with Fiero, a 4-drop with 9 DEF who burns for 3, or for 6 if he’s hidden! Add him to Anti-Matter Universe, which burns your opponent for 2 every time he or she draws a card (if you can get it in play), and New Gods may have a new best friend in the burn stratosphere. 

 

 

Their saying is, “No man escapes the Manhunters!” And they can back it up. They accomplish this by swarming you with Manhunter agents, half of whom you don’t see coming. Why not? Because they were hidden in the resource row, which is the last place you’d expect= to see characters ripe for recruitment.

If you have been reading my articles for a while, you may have read an article I wrote last July on resources and dead cards in the resource row. Danny Mandel and Mike Hummel had mentioned to me at Origins that year that having characters in the resource row would be too confusing (especially for new players) if they could simply be flipped up as a power-up and remain face-up in the resource row. Instead, they compromised, telling me that there would be a character in the Spider-Man set that could interact with characters in the resource row. That character would turn out to be Mattie Franklin, who can replace face-down characters in the resource row for a power-up. Now it appears that R&D has taken this idea one step further and made it so that those buried character cards in your resource row can be recruited or brought into play via their card effects.

I bring you Manhunter Engineer, who can put a face-down army Manhunter from your resource row into play if its cost is lower than the resources you have in play. I bring you Sleeper Agent, which, as long as you have a Manhunter character in play, can be revealed from your resource row and then popped into play. These can be vicious in Sealed Pack (especially the former), where you tend to pile characters into your resource row. And if you play your cards right, you can have a late game burst that will simply knock your opponent down and out in a sudden late-turn swarm!

These characters are only a sampling of the ways that the Manhunter team can get characters into play outside of regular recruitment. They can curve jump with Manhunter Guardsman or Manhunter Soldier by paying 2 resource points to recruit army Manhunters of a cost 3 or less. A boosted Manhunter Excavator puts army Manhunters of a cost 3 or less from your KO’d pile into play.

When you add it all up, you might find yourself with a massive swarm of characters on the field, each of which may not stack up to your opponent’s drop(s) but can simply devastate together. And when you throw Rebellion on Oa onto the fire, you can potentially wipe out your opponent’s field in one fell swoop. Or, if you’re concerned about a swarm of tiny characters, simply use the Excavator to bring a weenie in to play, and then KO both of them to play Rocket Red, which gives you a massive 13 ATK/13 DEF character with flight and range on turn 5!

There are alternate strategies, as well, where you can discard characters for effects like Mark Shaw’s and then bring them back. Or use Plans Within Plans to sift out the sludge in your deck until you find the card you need and snatch it.

Manhunter has become the new mill, with Lana Lang, Manhunter Sleeper, Plans Within Plans, and The Fall of Oa each able to KO the top card of your opponent’s deck. The Fall of Oa also allows you to draw your deck (yes, you heard right) when your opponent runs out of cards. If that strategy is too much for you, you can use the aforementioned cards to sift cards from your own deck and then KO all of the characters in your KO’d pile to dish out a wallop of endurance loss to your opponent with Highmaster.

 

A Green Lantern Explosion!

All in all, this set employs many new strategies that add new layers of game play without being overly complex. This is the best set yet—it has the potential for huge amounts of strategic and deck building power without being too powerful on a card-by-card basis. We’re looking at a set that should supplant Marvel Origins as the go-to set for Tier 1 deck ideas . . . and DC Modern Age has now gone from a curiosity to Monster status. Take it from me; GLC is where it’s at!

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/20070425150357/http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Marvel_DC_TCG

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