(Metagame Archive) Deck Clinic: Sin City

By Andrew Yip 

 

The last time this tattooed R&D member wrote for Metagame.com was at the release of the Avengers. Unfortunately, my Sealed Pack triumph over Ben Seck was so complete that he couldn’t bring himself to write about his Sealed Pack or the ensuing two-game match. Since we’ll be moving to a new subject this week, I’ll leave a final Sealed Pack strategy: Stick to the basics, concentrate on the curve, and know the speed of the format. Sealed Pack naturally has more teams per deck than Booster Draft and a preference for being on-curve, meaning there’s less reinforcement and more breakthrough per attack when characters aren’t reinforced. This is somewhat balanced by the overall lower quality of cards in Sealed Pack versus Draft. However, since characters at a given cost usually have similar stats, the lack of reinforcement is the larger factor in dictating when games end. While hitting a 7-drop consistently was huge in Marvel Origins, a particularly aggressive Sealed Pack deck with a variety of 6-drops may do the job better.

Sealed aside, I’ll be writing regular deck deconstructions starting this week. In every article, I will dip into the well of player-submitted decks from this thread on the VsRealms forum.

The intent of each deconstruction will be to make each deck as playable as possible in its proposed environment, while at the same time remaining true to the original intent of the deck. This is one time where adding Dr. Doom is not the correct answer. This week, Canamrock wins the game with his fine creation, SinCity:

“SinCity” // Canamrock

Characters (31)

1 Psimon

3 Dr. Light, Arthur Light

3 Shimmer

1 Batman, World’s Greatest Detective

1 Barbara Gordon ◊ Oracle, Information Network

1 Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon

4 Alfred Pennyworth

7 GCPD Officer

1 Harvey Bullock

2 Sunfire

3 Storm, Ororo Munroe

3 Dazzler

1 Lacuna

Equipment (1)

1 Utility Belt

Locations (3)

3 Wayne Manor

Plot Twists (25)

4 Bat-Signal

3 Fizzle

1 Have a Blast!

4 Home Surgery

4 Marvel Team-Up

2 Millennium

3 Press the Attack

2 The Underworld Star

1 Ultimate Sacrifice

1 World’s Finest

Overall Strategy

In terms of other deck archetypes, SinCity is most easily described as a twisted hybrid of Jason Hagar’s Evil Medical School and William Jenson’s Four Freedoms from the very first $10K event. The basic strategy involves a consistent early start that develops both your hand and board position with character tutors, Alfred, and a plethora of 1- and 2-drops. Off initiative on turn 4 or 5, you recruit Storm behind a wall of low cost characters, remove flight, and absorb minimal loss of endurance and board position via reinforcement and recovery effects. Using Storm’s power off-initiative and Shimmer’s on your own, Dr. Light can steal the show as early as turn 6, stalling to a boosted Dr. Light on turn 9 if necessary.

As tends to be the case, Sin City’s best matchups are on-curve decks; any deck that plans to recruit one character per turn will fall victim to its inability to break up formations and establish a significant board advantage. Off-curve decks usually have a much stronger early game, and an extra opposing character going into later turns can be very telling on your board position when you’ve lost an extra character or two. Like Four Freedoms and EMS, Sin City relies on control elements to bring the game to a turn that other decks are rarely prepared for. At the same time, each deck requires a fine balance between early-game aggression and control. This is particularly true for Sin City, as it does not have the raw giant bodies that EMS has (Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria) for turn 8. Without this turn 8 play, it is necessary to get breakthrough endurance loss whenever possible to keep the endurance advantage on your side.

Card-by-Card

 

Besides the usual suspects, Canamrock’s deck sports some interesting individual card choices for specific problem cards and matchups:

Psimon – A significant body on turn 7, Psimon locks up many strategies and prevents your opponent from playing offensive plot twists while he sits safely behind a Stormfronted GCPD Officer or other low cost character.

Batman, World’s Greatest Detective – The lone 3-drop in the deck, Batman adds flexibility, allowing the deck to play aggressively on occasion and stop combo and team-up decks like Rigged Elections.

Barbara Gordon ◊ Oracle, Information Network – With as many discard costs as the deck has, any amount of supportable card draw is a must. Considering the deck’s desire for early drop characters and Sentinels’ inability to stop the activated power on turn 2 if they miss Boliver/Hounds, Barbara fits naturally into the City.

Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon – While the Commissioner’s bonus to GCPD cops is an interesting prospect, the real meat of the character lies in his ability to KO equipment of any flavor, including extremely problematic equipment like Power Compressor and Utility Belt. Since his ability is usable multiple times in a turn, not even Batman’s belt can prevent confiscation.

Harvey Bullock – A standard in the original Knight Light, Harvey Bullock offers weak, off-initiative control, exhausting random low cost characters like Hounds of Ahab. Unfortunately, there are few cops in Sin City, so Harvey’s influence is significantly weakened.

Sunfire – Off initiative, the only thing better than exhausting is stunning. Considering the overall control strategy of the deck, your opponent is still very likely to have a 3-drop in play on turn 5. This is especially true against problematic off-curve strategies, where Sunfire can quickly reestablish board parity.

Dazzler – As the recent $10K in Atlanta demonstrated, even the best players can make bad formations given limited information. A baby Koriand’r ◊ Starfire easily saves you a dozen or more endurance from an opponent’s bad formation, and she can even exhaust a GCPD Officer in a tight spot.

Lacuna – Essentially another Gotham Knights character for Bat-Signal, Lacuna serves double duty, acting as an early body and an automatic team-up.

Utility Belt – In a world of Sentinels, Utility Belt plus a low-cost character ensures that a Sentinels player has to go off-curve to stop your potent activate powers. It also aids the deck against Terra on your initiative.

Have a Blast! – The answer-all for problematic ongoing plot twists and locations, Have a Blast! in this build basically reads, “Replace target Total Anarchy.”

Ultimate SacrificeUltimate Sacrifice acts as a fifth Home Surgery for the deck and a fourth Fizzle for off-initiative Flame Traps. If your off-initiative stunners (Dr. Light and Sunfire) cannot stem the tide of opposing characters, Ultimate Sacrifice will get your big guys back for the next turn. It is particularly strong because its cost is unique from other effects you have. This allows you to pay it cheaply and not have to worry about other commodities (such as cards in hand).

Changes

 

One of the biggest weaknesses of any triple team-up deck is consistency. Any Gotham-based team-up deck runs into pseudo loyalty problems with Alfred, Barbara Gordon, and Batman. But with the introduction of Millennium, team-up decks should never lack cards in hand. With Sin City’s discard-hungry effects (twelve in total) and early board development giving you characters to exhaust, there is little reason not to include the full compliment of Millenniums. This is especially true considering that the main function of Wayne Manor is to exhaust characters in a timely fashion; the majority of the time, exhausting a character to draw a card is superior to gaining 1 endurance. The poly effect of the Manor can be largely disregarded, since there will usually be only one character on a given turn that you need to exhaust to fulfill Press the Attack’s requirements or to reinforce.

On the other end of the consistency spectrum, many of the singleton cards are answers for effects that, while certainly impossible to beat if you face them, you do not expect to play in the current tournament environment. Commissioner Gordon falls into this category. Likewise, Harvey Bullock simply does not have enough GCPD support to justify his inclusion. Cutting the Commish and Bullock from the ranks gives you two character slots that are best filled with equivalent low cost characters. Finally, one of the big omissions from the current decklist is Big Wheels himself, Professor X, World’s Most Powerful Telepath. Adding Big Wheels to the deck allows you to turn the corner several turns faster, switching from control to beatdown. He also is a much more significant body than Psimon.

 

Final Deck Changes:

 

-1 Psimon, -1 Commissioner Gordon, -1 Harvey Bullock, -3 Wayne Manor, -1 Marvel Team-Up, -1 The Underworld Star

+1 Professor X, World’s Most Powerful Telepath, +2 GCPD Officer, +1 Shimmer, +2 Millennium, +1 Rogue, Power Absorption, +1 Press the Attack.

Conclusion

My final spin of Sin City looks like a Frankenstein’s monster of the control and combo decks of yesteryear, with a nod toward EMS, Knight Light, Four Freedoms, and X-Stall. Similar in play pattern to the original, it sacrifices some of the original stall components for a more aggressive attack plan. First and final credit must go to Canamrock for his vision and courage in attempting to create a catch-all deck that is both satisfying to play and very playable. The last time this tattooed R&D member wrote for Metagame.com was at the release of the Avengers. Unfortunately, my Sealed Pack triumph over Ben Seck was so complete that he couldn’t bring himself to write about his Sealed Pack or the ensuing two-game match. Since we’ll be moving to a new subject this week, I’ll leave a final Sealed Pack strategy: Stick to the basics, concentrate on the curve, and know the speed of the format. Sealed Pack naturally has more teams per deck than Booster Draft and a preference for being on-curve, meaning there’s less reinforcement and more breakthrough per attack when characters aren’t reinforced. This is somewhat balanced by the overall lower quality of cards in Sealed Pack versus Draft. However, since characters at a given cost usually have similar stats, the lack of reinforcement is the larger factor in dictating when games end. While hitting a 7-drop consistently was huge in Marvel Origins, a particularly aggressive Sealed Pack deck with a variety of 6-drops may do the job better.

           

Sealed aside, I’ll be writing regular deck deconstructions starting this week. In every article, I will dip into the well of player-submitted decks from this thread on the VsRealms forum.

 

The intent of each deconstruction will be to make each deck as playable as possible in its proposed environment, while at the same time remaining true to the original intent of the deck. This is one time where adding Dr. Doom is not the correct answer. This week, Canamrock wins the game with his fine creation, SinCity:

 

“SinCity” // Canamrock

 

Characters (31)

1 Psimon

3 Dr. Light, Arthur Light

3 Shimmer

1 Batman, World’s Greatest Detective

1 Barbara Gordon ◊ Oracle, Information Network

1 Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon

4 Alfred Pennyworth

7 GCPD Officer

1 Harvey Bullock

2 Sunfire

3 Storm, Ororo Munroe

3 Dazzler

1 Lacuna

 

Equipment (1)

1 Utility Belt

 

Locations (3)

3 Wayne Manor

 

Plot Twists (25)

4 Bat-Signal

3 Fizzle

1 Have a Blast!

4 Home Surgery

4 Marvel Team-Up

2 Millennium

3 Press the Attack

2 The Underworld Star

1 Ultimate Sacrifice

1 World’s Finest

 

 

Overall Strategy

 

In terms of other deck archetypes, SinCity is most easily described as a twisted hybrid of Jason Hagar’s Evil Medical School and William Jenson’s Four Freedoms from the very first $10K event. The basic strategy involves a consistent early start that develops both your hand and board position with character tutors, Alfred, and a plethora of 1- and 2-drops. Off initiative on turn 4 or 5, you recruit Storm behind a wall of low cost characters, remove flight, and absorb minimal loss of endurance and board position via reinforcement and recovery effects. Using Storm’s power off-initiative and Shimmer’s on your own, Dr. Light can steal the show as early as turn 6, stalling to a boosted Dr. Light on turn 9 if necessary.

 

As tends to be the case, Sin City’s best matchups are on-curve decks; any deck that plans to recruit one character per turn will fall victim to its inability to break up formations and establish a significant board advantage. Off-curve decks usually have a much stronger early game, and an extra opposing character going into later turns can be very telling on your board position when you’ve lost an extra character or two. Like Four Freedoms and EMS, Sin City relies on control elements to bring the game to a turn that other decks are rarely prepared for. At the same time, each deck requires a fine balance between early-game aggression and control. This is particularly true for Sin City, as it does not have the raw giant bodies that EMS has (Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria) for turn 8. Without this turn 8 play, it is necessary to get breakthrough endurance loss whenever possible to keep the endurance advantage on your side.

 

Card-by-Card

 

Besides the usual suspects, Canamrock’s deck sports some interesting individual card choices for specific problem cards and matchups:

 

Psimon – A significant body on turn 7, Psimon locks up many strategies and prevents your opponent from playing offensive plot twists while he sits safely behind a Stormfronted GCPD Officer or other low cost character.

 

Batman, World’s Greatest Detective – The lone 3-drop in the deck, Batman adds flexibility, allowing the deck to play aggressively on occasion and stop combo and team-up decks like Rigged Elections.

 

Barbara Gordon ◊ Oracle, Information Network – With as many discard costs as the deck has, any amount of supportable card draw is a must. Considering the deck’s desire for early drop characters and Sentinels’ inability to stop the activated power on turn 2 if they miss Boliver/Hounds, Barbara fits naturally into the City.

 

Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon – While the Commissioner’s bonus to GCPD cops is an interesting prospect, the real meat of the character lies in his ability to KO equipment of any flavor, including extremely problematic equipment like Power Compressor and Utility Belt. Since his ability is usable multiple times in a turn, not even Batman’s belt can prevent confiscation.

 

Harvey Bullock – A standard in the original Knight Light, Harvey Bullock offers weak, off-initiative control, exhausting random low cost characters like Hounds of Ahab. Unfortunately, there are few cops in Sin City, so Harvey’s influence is significantly weakened.

 

Sunfire – Off initiative, the only thing better than exhausting is stunning. Considering the overall control strategy of the deck, your opponent is still very likely to have a 3-drop in play on turn 5. This is especially true against problematic off-curve strategies, where Sunfire can quickly reestablish board parity.

 

Dazzler – As the recent $10K in Atlanta demonstrated, even the best players can make bad formations given limited information. A baby Koriand’r ◊ Starfire easily saves you a dozen or more endurance from an opponent’s bad formation, and she can even exhaust a GCPD Officer in a tight spot.

 

Lacuna – Essentially another Gotham Knights character for Bat-Signal, Lacuna serves double duty, acting as an early body and an automatic team-up.

 

Utility Belt – In a world of Sentinels, Utility Belt plus a low-cost character ensures that a Sentinels player has to go off-curve to stop your potent activate powers. It also aids the deck against Terra on your initiative.

 

Have a Blast! – The answer-all for problematic ongoing plot twists and locations, Have a Blast! in this build basically reads, “Replace target Total Anarchy.”

 

Ultimate SacrificeUltimate Sacrifice acts as a fifth Home Surgery for the deck and a fourth Fizzle for off-initiative Flame Traps. If your off-initiative stunners (Dr. Light and Sunfire) cannot stem the tide of opposing characters, Ultimate Sacrifice will get your big guys back for the next turn. It is particularly strong because its cost is unique from other effects you have. This allows you to pay it cheaply and not have to worry about other commodities (such as cards in hand).

 

Changes

 

One of the biggest weaknesses of any triple team-up deck is consistency. Any Gotham-based team-up deck runs into pseudo loyalty problems with Alfred, Barbara Gordon, and Batman. But with the introduction of Millennium, team-up decks should never lack cards in hand. With Sin City’s discard-hungry effects (twelve in total) and early board development giving you characters to exhaust, there is little reason not to include the full compliment of Millenniums. This is especially true considering that the main function of Wayne Manor is to exhaust characters in a timely fashion; the majority of the time, exhausting a character to draw a card is superior to gaining 1 endurance. The poly effect of the Manor can be largely disregarded, since there will usually be only one character on a given turn that you need to exhaust to fulfill Press the Attack’s requirements or to reinforce.

 

On the other end of the consistency spectrum, many of the singleton cards are answers for effects that, while certainly impossible to beat if you face them, you do not expect to play in the current tournament environment. Commissioner Gordon falls into this category. Likewise, Harvey Bullock simply does not have enough GCPD support to justify his inclusion. Cutting the Commish and Bullock from the ranks gives you two character slots that are best filled with equivalent low cost characters. Finally, one of the big omissions from the current decklist is Big Wheels himself, Professor X, World’s Most Powerful Telepath. Adding Big Wheels to the deck allows you to turn the corner several turns faster, switching from control to beatdown. He also is a much more significant body than Psimon.

 

Final Deck Changes:

 

-1 Psimon, -1 Commissioner Gordon, -1 Harvey Bullock, -3 Wayne Manor, -1 Marvel Team-Up, -1 The Underworld Star

 

 

Conclusion

 

My final spin of Sin City looks like a Frankenstein’s monster of the control and combo decks of yesteryear, with a nod toward EMS, Knight Light, Four Freedoms, and X-Stall. Similar in play pattern to the original, it sacrifices some of the original stall components for a more aggressive attack plan. First and final credit must go to Canamrock for his vision and courage in attempting to create a catch-all deck that is both satisfying to play and very playable.
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