(Metagame Archive) Golden Avengers

By Hans Joachim Höh

The time of waiting for the Sneak Preview is finally over, and by now, everybody has gotten his or her first impression of the new set. While everybody coming to PC Indianapolis will probably only be drafting the set in the upcoming weeks while focusing on DC Modern for Constructed, some of you might already be starting to think about the impact of The Avengers on Golden Age. So what is going on in Golden Age right now?

Overload has been removed from the format, and without any kind of System Failure, it will not return. I am still not sure whether it is better this way for Golden Age. It might have been fine to keep us pumping small characters in the Modern Age formats while having Overload around in Golden Age to prevent that strategy from taking over. The banning surely worked the way it was supposed to, allowing some new teams to be played succesfully. That is very exciting and refreshing after the total Sentinel domination, although I am supposed be the last to state that after fine-tuning the Sentinels deck for half a year and finishing in the Top 8 of five consecutive $10Ks with it. As long as the very aggressive strategies are only playable and not totally dominating, Golden Age will be better off without Overload.

So why did I build and play an aggressive Green Lantern / Emerald Enemies deck in Munich? Is it the new “best deck”? No, I do not believe it to be better than Teen Titans or Sentinels. Even if it were, it would take a genius to build it correctly at first try. This is because it is a willpower deck, and the number of willpower-based cards is more substantial than the number of cards related to a single team. Because of the possibility to fetch Constructs with Kyle Rayner, Last Green Lantern and Tomar Re, Green Lantern of Xudar, and characters with The Ring Has Chosen, you can also include lots of different single-copy cards. Therefore, my version is probably far from perfect.

I will tell you why I still made Top 8 in Munich soon, but before that, I want you to realize that the format is fresh again and ready to be explored by you. You could start improving my deck, Edoardo’s League of Assassins deck (which got a power boost from the new starter), or the concealed deck built by my friend Kristian Kockott. Of course, you could also believe that the format is still about the old decks, like $10K San Diego seemed to show, and that only the Europeans are bad enough to lose to whatever I play. Conversely, you could start looking at your new Avengers cards, build a new deck, and place it in the next $10K Top 8. Believe me, you would enjoy that a lot more than doing it with Sentinels again. So let’s go!

While it is pretty difficult to build a tier 1 deck on your own—after all, the existing decks you have to beat have been tested for months by the entire Vs. community—for a jumping-off point, it is sufficient to have some good ideas. Your new deck does not need to beat the best decks consistently. You only need some chance of winning. As you test those matchups before the tournament, you will have an information advantage because your opponents during the tournament will not have a good plan against your new deck.

I like the Vs. System because it is both highly complicated and very consistent. This consistency makes it easier to discuss and analyze matchups after a few games instead of having to play them a hundred times. The complexity makes it very hard to win without a correct analysis of the matchup. If your opponent does not know which initiative is better in the matchup, which turn the matchup tends to end on, or even which plot twists you are using, then he or she is at a serious disadvantage. Only the best players will be able to figure out the right game plan against an unknown deck. I remember feeling like my brain was melting away when I had to play against EMS and Rigged Elections for the first time. During playtesting, I would have leaned back, joyfully observed how exactly the new decks were beating me, and tried to figure out how to stop them later on in another game. Unfortunately, this was not testing at my place, but a later round at a $10K, so leaning back was not an option.

This will be your strength. You should know how to beat the top decks, while your opponents cannot know how to beat your new creation. We have seen multiple decks dominating tournaments while they were unexpected. Only some of them have had enough power to keep on winning when they were known and expected—but that is another story.

As long as everybody else believes in Teen Titans and Sentinels, you need to build a deck that can handle those two decks. If you can win against one of those most of the time and have a 50% win percentage against the other, you are fine. That was what I could achieve with GLEE during testing against unprepared opponents, and that was my win ratio during the $10K, too. All the robots refused to bring their former master down, and I ended up 1-1 versus Titans. Do not expect more! It is not even easy to get to 50% against both with many decks, as Sentinels and Titans have totally different threats waiting for you.

Sentinels has two major threats—the Hounds lock and the unbeatable late game characters—so your game plan should be able to defeat either one. The Hounds lock can be easily avoided by playing some 1- and 2-drops, while the late game of Nimrod, Bastion, and Magneto, Master of Magnetism is impossible to beat with fair combat. You can try to win on turn 5 or 6 before the entire team arrives, apply some kind of KO’ing lock yourself, have a way to win without combat, or find an effective way to stall to even later turns.

Teen Titans works completely differently, so you cannot really hope to beat both decks easily. The Titans deck’s biggest threat is the direct stunning done by Terra and Roy Harper ◊ Arsenal, Sharpshooter, which reduces the effectiveness of your initiatives and makes KO’ing locks impossible. In order to win against Teen Titans, you will need to get them into the Loyalty lock on turn 4, turn their activated character abilities off, or play better late game characters than they have access to.

So now that you know what your deck has to be able to beat, you can start constructing decks with Captain America, Super Soldier; Melissa Gold ◊ Songbird; and all the other fine Avengers cards. I wish you lots of fun and good luck with building a cool deck to sneak your way into the next Top 8 of your choice!

HaJo

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