(Metagame Archive) The Day of Anti-Knights

By Maik Stich

Do you ever wonder about the foreign players who are dedicated enough to travel halfway around the world just to compete in top Vs. System tournaments? Many of them have names you likely would not recognize, but they are making their mark on the Vs. tournament landscape. This is the story of one such player.

My name is Maik Stich, and I’m a 25-year-old college student from Germany who has been playing card games for over ten years now. This is the story of my recent trip to Gen Con Indy. I came over from Europe unqualified but willing to do my best to play for some big money in the US. You might think me crazy to fly thousands of miles with all of my hopes riding on a Last Chance Qualifier, but I was so secure in my deck that I felt it was a sure thing.

I call it the Anti-Knights deck. It was a mix of the $10K-winning Marvel Knights deck from Munich and some stuff I had learned during my DC Modern testing. Both decks had the same basic theme of concealment. Having an all-concealed deck allows you to get board advantage during both initiatives. This advantage usually translates into finishing the game as early as turn 5 or 6 in some rare occasions. The Anti-Matter Universe added some potent weapons to the concealed style decks.

Since I had been playing the Marvel Knights deck for quite some time, I had come to realize that it was shaky at best in certain situations (like turn 5 against Nimrod). The usual play was to swing in with Daredevil to avoid the stun back and then play Swan Dive in case you weren’t able to Quick Kill the 4-drop on the turn before. But that meant having to draw a Quick Kill by turn 4. We all know that it is not reliable to run only four copies of your 4-drop without any further card search. After some more testing, I decided that the deck was too unstable to do it each time as is needed, so I came up with the idea of combining two decks: MK and Anti-Matter. What would happen if you included the newfound synergy of the all Anti-Matter Beatdown deck with the $10K winning Dark Knights? Well, I surely wanted to find out, and this is what we came up with during our first attempt:

Anti-Knights v.1

Characters

1 Dagger, Child of Light

3 Mikado and Mosha

3 Scarab

4 Iron Fist, Danny Rand

3 Elektra, Elektra Natchios

4 Slipstream

2 Hush

4 Luke Cage, Street Enforcer

1 Daredevil, Matt Murdock

3 Johnny Quick

1 Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man

Plot Twists

4 Banished to the Anti-Matter Universe

4 Cosmic Conflict

1 Crime and Punishment

4 Crushing Blow

4 Flying Kick

2 Midnight Sons

4 Savage Beatdown

4 Thunderous Onslaught

4 Wild Ride

Let’s take a look at the differences between an original all-MK concealed deck and this new breed of concealed deck. Two of the strongest cards for additional damage and board control are Slipstream and Johnny Quick. Both are solid drops with the ability to clear your opponent’s table in no time via their double attack. You may be thinking that the consistency of the double attacks is questionable, since they have restrictions. But that is where the tested mix of plot twists pays off. The new powerhouse of the deck is Banished to the Anti-Matter Universe. Let’s go into more detail about this card and the other choices I made.

Banished to the Anti-Matter Universe: Most people scoffed at this card when they first saw it, but in combination with one of the double attackers, it gets utterly vicious. You can also use it to move Nimrod out of the way and avoid having to work through his counter, thus avoiding the dual stun back that Nimrod can often dish out.

Scarab: Scarab is just a solid Anti-Matter 2-drop. There’s nothing overly special or fancy about him other than his 3 ATK. But the fact that you can save some endurance with him while he is visible is useful. I try to keep him on offense when possible, but he’s a nice cushion.

Hush: I was looking for an alternate 4-drop. Hush’s ability is particularly effective against Sentinel Mark V. Use his payment power to exhaust the Mark V and deal some breakthrough if you are using a combat pump. After that, your 2- or 3-drop swings at your opponent’s 3-drop for additional breakthrough. Hush also allows you to use the Crushing Blows more consistently.

Cosmic Conflict: Basically, it’s like a Crime and Punishment, but with more synergy for your double attackers because it’s not team-stamped. Although not always usable because you need to have a hidden character to activate it, this card remains a vital part of the deck.

Crushing Blow: This allows you to keep your characters on the board. It can have the same game-saving effect as Sucker Punch, but with the benefit of the extra 3 endurance loss.

Flying Kick: Since it lasts for the turn, this ATK pump is amazing. I would play twelve of them if I could; the synergy with the double attackers is just great.

Thunderous Onslaught: The viability of this card should be obvious. It’s very good with the double attacking characters, and at worst, it’s a random ATK boost of 2.

The ideal way to play the deck would be to hit the curve and try to pump as much damage as possible into your opponent. However, do not waste your resources or your possible board advantage. This deck can cope a lot better with missing a drop than most, as your double attack creates a virtual additional character on the attack. There are so many details I could go into about how to play the deck in different situations, but I think I would take most of the fun away if you just walked over to your friends and smacked them around without a bit of experimentation. I will leave you with one thing: it beats Curve Sentinels and it beats Teen Titans!

Let me say that again in case I was not clear. It beats Curve Sentinels and Teen Titans. While we are not talking about auto-wins, I assure you that it performs better than fifty percent against both of those top tier decks.

For those of you wondering how I did at the tournament, I actually needed two attempts before I made it into the PC, where I finished seventeenth overall. While it went very smoothly, the first version had some minor card selection and testing issues that eventually made me lose two games against a decent Curve Sentinels player. I didn’t see any Banishes in three games! This and some minor design faults made me go for another LCQ. Many people were surprised by the insane damage potential, and while I was playing my matches, a large crowd came by to watch this new deck. They were surprised to see how easily it beat Curve Sentinels and Teen Titans, as most of the deck’s tricks were new and therefore unexpected.

This version is actually far more complex than the original MK version—it has a lot more tricks and tools to work with. Against control decks, an early double attack hinders an opponent tremendously. Being exhausted isn’t that big of a problem if you play against Doom or X-Stall, as you can always play the character in the visible area to begin with. It still needs to be field-tested against many of the decks out there, as Vs. System has so many interesting and absolutely different viable deck concepts. But I predict that we will see a lot more hidden decks like this one in the upcoming environment. If this particular build survives, the coming metagame is a story for another day. Hopefully, I will continue to bring you future developments on this deck and on the game in general.

If you give this deck a shot, good luck, and I hope to see you at the top tables!

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