(Metagame Archive) Legion of Doom

By Tim Willoughby

I’ll let you into a little secret. I think that my brain might have a tiny Manhunter probe in it somewhere. Either that, or I’ve just been captivated in the way of so many card players before me by the potential to draw a whole mess of cards.

In the following Dangerous Experiment, I have briefly allowed my own brain to run riot on the collected universes of both Marvel and DC, with which to put together the following piece of degeneracy. It won’t be pretty. You have been warned.

The Manhunters seem to have quite a lot going for them. They do the whole “swarmy swarmy” thing better than any team printed thus far, with cunning ways to get around the Guardians of the Rules at UDE involving the number of characters you have in play and numbers of cards in hand at any given point in the game. They are an army that doesn’t win based on the strength of any individual. They just shout the word “Bundle!” and do to their opponents what so many extras in Bruce Lee films could not.

Thinking of Bruce Lee, I was rather inclined to find some sort of a leader for the Manhunters. Shang Chi proved not to be it, and I wasn’t going to be fooled by the sneaky tricks played by the likes of Danny Mandel, with his clever “include characters with the subnames Manhunter Leader/Supreme Leader” tricks. These Manhunters are masters of disguise. Surely their true leader wouldn’t stand out in the open, proclaiming himself a target to all concerned?

It turns out that their leader is even cleverer than anyone dared think. He decided to hide in plain sight, in a whole different comic book universe!!! For dramatic tension, I choose not to speak his name, lest he appear too soon and smite you all. But fear not gentle reader, you shall experience his power very soon. Veerrrrry soon.

The army of Manhunters must be assembled before their leader can be allowed to show himself, so let me without further ado announce . . . THE LEGION OF DOOM!!!

Yes, I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong. Trust me on this . . . you are wrong. Unless you are thinking about WWF wrestlers from the 1980’s, in which case you aren’t wrong, you are just stuck in completely the wrong era. Move on. I like to think that that last paragraph was ultimately responsible for bringing back the Legion of Doom, and also for brightening up Geordie Tait’s day, as he had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time finding a good picture of Hawk and Animal for the article. Short but sweet.

Now I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but I am really quite keen on the cards that I previewed a while ago from the Manhunter affiliation. Believe me, that extra time knowing what they do is all it took for them to invade my brain, build a little campfire and start dancing around it like the girl scouts that got all the cookies. They have a deliciously swarmyness that fits into the idea of building a huge army quite well (the Manhunters that is, not girl scouts . . . as far as I’m aware).

Manhunter Soldier and Manhunter Guardsman make the cut. Their draft call has come up. Manhunter Engineer also seems like a good chap to have around when something kicks off. With Manhunter Giant topping out the curve and Manhunter Infiltrator lurking off on one side, there is quite the curve of army men ready to get stuck in.

However, their plan is a little more cunning. These Manhunters have Plans Within Plans. They aren’t just going to barrel in at the first opportunity. For maximum tactical “bundling,”* they will wait until their leader is there to issue the call to battle. No, just to worry your opponent, until turn 6, your horde will just swarm about like something from a Hitchcock film. After much thought, I realized that I couldn’t actually come up with a Hitchcock film featuring a swarm. The closest I got was The Birds, but that featured a flock. Not really appropriate for the Manhunters, I think. Sure, they might draw a few cards with such platinum hits as Manhunter Science and Birthing Chamber, and generally hold things up with Fire Support and some surprisingly Acrobatic Dodges, but really, for the majority of the game, they’ll be pretty community-spirited.

Where things get really interesting, though, is on turn 6. Assuming that your best-laid plans have come to fruition, you should have quite the force on the board, and fair numbers of cards in hand, including your illustrious leader, whose name we dare not speak. Ok, I’ve now reached the point where the article kind of falls apart if I don’t start naming names, so I will, but let me just say that I’d be much happier carrying on with him just being a nameless force of nature.

Who’s the character who lurks in disguise with all sorts of super powers with which to bring down his foes when they least suspect? Who is it that cries the word “BUNDLE!” more than any other in Vs. (or would if he were aware of it)? Who is Super Skrull? Darn. Stupid Jeopardy, confusing me on questions as answers. Which writer is doing Jeopardy jokes without ever having seen Jeopardy? That would be Tim Willoughby. Other quintessentially American things I’m not familiar with include (but aren’t limited to) are The Tonight Show, the taste of burritos, and (thankfully) country western music.

Oh well, the secret is out. Mr. Super Skrull manages to live up to his name quite admirably here. On turn 6, the ideal situation involves using as many Manhunter Engineers as you can reasonably get away with (after having generated resource points and recruited Super Skrull of course), and putting your army all in the front row. After a few attacks with your assorted peeps, use Millennium to team up, and attack with Super Skrull himself. Conveniently with the card you have drawn from Millennium it is pretty likely that you’ll have something to throw to the big Skrull’s ability. This is where you shout “Bundle!” if you are that way inclined. I know I am. All of a sudden all of your boys are ready and raring to go for another fight. With the help of Only a Friend Can Betray You, hopefully you can ensure that Super Skrull isn’t stunned by his little encounter with whomsoever he has deigned to get into a scuffle with. I would recommend that just to be safe, you go for someone pretty small to start with.

After this, you have the opportunity to pummel in for a bit more with your new army Skrull buddies. Here is where things get fun though. “More fun?!?” I hear you cry. Why yes, with any luck, you should have drawn into a copy of Press the Attack with all of your card drawing. Fancy attacking again with Super Skrull, and by extension your entire team? I kind of thought so. But I would suggest that it might be better to hold back with the smallest fellow in your little force. His job is to exhaust to Plans Within Plans to get back Press the Attack. I know what you’re thinking . . . that is a lot of attacks right there. Can you see why I can’t get the Manhunters out of my head yet? If your first few attacks go alright, then there is a very real chance that you will be able to achieve quite concerning amounts of attacks with all your boys. If a few key players get stunned along the way, don’t fret, because for some reason or other that crazy Danny Mandel has chosen to include the perfect answer in this set, too, in the form of Lanterns in Love. Is it a sign? No. It’s a card. But it’s a pretty thumping good one in this deck regardless.

Truly this convoluted plan is something that is so deliciously evil that you’ll have to try it at least once. For the icing on the cake, let me just suggest the following bit of pure frosting . . .

Rebellion on Oa

I’m sorry . . . I just can’t write any more. I’m too busy laughing. Here’s the completed decklist.

Legion of Doom

Characters
6 Manhunter Infiltrator
4 Manhunter Engineer
6 Manhunter Soldier
4 Manhunter Guardsman
6 Manhunter Giant
4 Super Skrull

Plot Twists
3 Plans Within Plans
3 Press the Attack
4 Acrobatic Dodge
3 Millennium
3 Quardian Pincers
2 Fire Support
4 Manhunter Science
2 Lanterns in Love
2 Only a Friend Can Betray You

Locations
3 Birthing Chamber

Have fun, and if any of you play with this, please let me know some of the funnier situations that have come up with the deck. My email is at the bottom of the page.**

All the best

Tim “Bundle!!!” Willoughby – Funny story about this one. A friend of mine once walked into a McDonalds pretending to be a senior McDonalds executive named Keith Bundle Williamson. He got the full tour and told them everything they were doing wrong at great length, getting a complimentary Big Mac in the process. He now has the honorary middle name of Bundle forevermore.

* The verb “to bundle” is commonly defined as follows: To jump with one’s friends on top of someone in a big pile, immobilising them, following the command of “Bundle!”

** Right here, in fact: timwilloughby (at) hotmail (dot) com.

(Metagame Archive) Wicked Clever: The More, the Merrier

By Matt Hyra

This will be the first in a new series of articles that explore alternate play formats. Have you ever played a Vs. System multiplayer game? How about a “Wacky World” format? Ever played Team Sealed? Man, are you missing out! If you find that you spend too much time playing the same ol’ net decks in highly competitive one-on-one contests, you might be ready for a diversion. Today, I’ll explore the multiplayer format and some multiplayer tactics you can employ.

Multiplayer games have a political/diplomatic element not found in your standard one-on-one contests. In fact, most multiple player games, be they Settlers of Catan, poker, or what have you, involve politics. There’s just no getting around the fact that you might step on some toes and suffer repercussions for your actions. In a one-on-one contest, your opponent expects you to be as mean as you can be, but when you have the option of attacking any one of your opponents in a multiplayer Vs. game, the person you do attack may feel picked on.

When it’s your initiative and you’re deciding whom to attack, you may pick any opposing legal character or unprotected player. Attacking a player directly is a bit too nice, however. Taking down opposing characters is the key. Board position is crucial in a multiplayer game, as the action will be fast and furious, with very few characters surviving an entire turn unscathed.

Play proceeds clockwise around the table. This is probably the most important determiner of who and what you attack. The person to your immediate left will be attacking when you’re done, so he or she should be considered your biggest threat. The main reason for this is that, if you attack that player, it will be very easy for the opponent to remember that you’re the one who wronged him or her. Players who go late in the turn are not as much of a threat, as the earlier players will likely have picked on them, and they’ll also probably go after their more recent aggressors. Players who have already attacked are also not much of a threat, as they have already made their attacks for the turn. However, the person who attacked first may not have any stunned characters, and will consequently be a huge threat on the next turn if he or she is not dealt with immediately.

Chances are high that most attacks will come down to simple revenge. “If you take down one of my guys, I’ll take down one of yours.” Unlike some multiplayer TCGs, however, Vs. doesn’t become a Mexican Standoff. Having the initiative is too good of an opportunity to pass up. Attacking and keeping your opponents’ board positions weak is your key to victory. There are several tactics you can employ to ensure your success.

Weakest Baboon

 

When baboons attack, they always single out the weakest opponent. When a player has a character or two that has been stunned, and has just one character remaining face-up, that person is prime “Weakest Baboon” territory. You see, if that player has already let two characters get stunned, chances are very high that he or she is all out of defensive tricks. Your attack against the last character should be successful, the opponent can’t retaliate this turn, and that opponent will be in a bad position for retaliation next turn, too.

 

Down With The King

 

After a few turns have gone by, chances are good that one player will have a better board position than the other players. It’s quite easy to rally the rest of the players against the leader. The best time to suggest this tactic is on a turn when you’re going last. The other players will do all of the dirty work involved in taking down the leader. When it gets around to your turn, you can attack one of your former allies, since the leader’s characters will surely all be down by then. Of course, this sets you up as the king for the following turn.

Kingmaker

 

Instead of being the king, let someone else become king. Use a plot twist to save one of your opponent’s characters from becoming stunned. Or, KO an ongoing plot twist that is hurting another player. This tactic is best utilized when the king you’re setting up has very little endurance and is not long for the world. By helping out another player, you’ll make a friend you can probably get a favor from. Once the game is down to just the two of you, spring your direct damage on him or her for a quick and easy victory.

Mr. Consistency

 

If you’re going to employ this tactic, you have to do it early and be . . . well . . . consistent. When you’re determining whom to attack, talk about your decision out loud. Explain that you’re attacking your 7 ATK/7 DEF character into a defending 6 ATK/7 DEF character simply because it’s the best attack for you to make and have your character survive the ordeal (barring plot twist intervention). Other players cannot fault your logic, though they may be annoyed if you don’t join in on a “down with the king” conspiracy. This tactic may not be the best for reducing other players’ board positions, but it keeps other players from seeing your attacks as personal.

Vendetta

 

When you are picked on or betrayed by another player, explain that it’s now your personal mission in life to destroy that offending player, no matter the cost. This is a rather self-destructive tactic, but it does keep other players off your back, especially since your board position was probably ruined by the betrayal. The betrayer probably has a good board position, which leaves you a good candidate to get “kingmade” by someone else. Other players will want to see you go crazy trying to take out the opponent, so they’ll be quiet allies. You chances of winning this game are low, but you’ll be feared during next game.

(Metagame Archive) Pro Circuit Los Angeles Championship Report

By Karl Horn

So here I sit, having never ever written a report for anything in my life (outside of school, of course), and I’m wondering, “Man, what should I write about?” I feel obligated to do something since I won a PC (I won a PC? Really? I still don’t believe it . . . ), but I have no idea where to start.

Really, this all started back at PC: Indy, where I managed to scrape into Day 2 at 7-5 despite not having playtested at all. My roommates for the trip, Heath Scheiman (one of the owners at the store where I game) and Ben Weinburg (a gamer at said store) told me that me that an aggressive GLEE build was the best deck out there, so I took their word for it. All I did to get ready for Day 1 was quibble over a few cards with them. In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder what I was doing throwing out suggestions when I had not played a game with the deck in my life—maybe that’s how I ended up with Coast City in my deck. (To be fair, I did win the games where I flipped it up and got to keep G’Nort behind my best dude.) I started 5-0 on the day but didn’t pick up my seventh win until round 11. Oh, well—I still made it to Day 2.

The drafting began, and I thought to myself, “Undefeated to make Top 8, huh? OK, let’s just make some money.” The goal for the day? Make as much money as possible. I went 2-1 in the Avengers pod and then reeled off five in a row only to face Craig Edwards in the last round and lose a game I should have won. Still, I was pretty happy to be taking home $2,900 (at the time, the biggest paycheck I had taken home from any gaming event) for 25th place, especially considering my lack of testing leading up to the tournament. Actually, I only got $2,850, as Heath and I agreed to a split since we were seated at the same table. He finished right behind me, so I shipped him the $50 (after apologizing profusely because I should have won the last round) and all was well.

After Indy was out of the way, some talk about So Cal was thrown about, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the trip or not. It was a few months away, and it was taking place around my girlfriend’s birthday. I thought I was done, so I told everybody that I was out. It was rough, because Heath was going, Ben was in, and Prosak was back in town and was obviously going as well. I kept getting asked and saying no, until one day, Heath said, “Buy her an iPod for her birthday so you can go.” Pure genius, and might I add—Best. iPod. Ever. I could already see myself gaming in LA.

The following week, I started testing, or at least, I intended to start testing. You see, I game all of one night a week. The tournament schedule at the local store alternates weekly from Constructed to Sealed Pack/Draft. Afterwards, another draft is usually held, so by the time that it’s over, it’s 1 or 2 a.m. and everyone is ready to leave or has done so already. Needless to say, that doesn’t leave much time to test Constructed. I must admit that all the drafting left me feeling confident about Day 2—I even went so far as to say that if I could muster at least an 8-2 record on Day 1, I would be looking at the Top 8.

So, since I was suddenly planning to go, I was faced with another dilemma: What should I play? As long as I’ve been gaming, I’ve liked decks that control the game, ultimately winning by playing game-ender or somehow getting into a situation that the opponent just can’t deal with. Prosak told me that New School (Maybe Old School New School now? At any rate, the NY version.) was still good. It seemed like a deck that I would enjoy playing, so I started to fool around with it. For those of you who don’t know me (pretty much everybody), Constructed formats are less than appealing to me because I only like to play decks that I will have a good time with. I abhor Sentinels and have never been a fan of aggro, off-curve strategies. Even Titans, Prosak’s deck of choice, which I put in the category of aggro-control, is just not my style. As far as deck choices go, New School seemed like my best option short of some sort of Gamma-Doom build, and that deck just didn’t seem plausible to me. It’s really all about live, live, live until (hopefully) turn 8, (sometimes 7), when you can Gamma Bomb as much as you need to. New School might seem the same way, but at least you’re doing it with characters and being somewhat proactive about it. New School also seemed much more consistent, because it lets you tutor a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, the deck can run out of gas, but then again, what deck doesn’t occasionally do just that?

I wasn’t yet sure that New School was going to be the deck, but I started tinkering with it to see if I wanted to make any changes. The deck that I started with was pretty much the NY version with Silver Surfer instead of Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria. Sadly, I had to start our by goldfishing with the deck—Prosak yells at me still because he insists goldfishing does nothing to help you prepare. I agree that you really need a live person to play against to see how a deck runs, but what I really wanted to do was narrow down deck choices/card slots. I found that I almost never wanted the early Boris, Personal Servant of Dr. Doom—he just sat there until turn 4 when his text finally turned on. I cut it down to three, then two, then finally tried it out with one and found that one was the right number for me. Boris was only a tutor target for me in the games I played, and I never had a game where I thought, “I wish I had drawn Boris.” Also, I wanted to be able to curve out against decks where I feared Flame Trap. This was much harder to do with Boris taking up so many slots. He was a dead card if I wanted to go the curve strategy, and I thought there were enough times that I would want to do this to warrant cutting down to one copy. This also led me to add an extra Entangle, as I would want to draw it occasionally rather than having to tutor for it every game.

Another change I made was to bump the copies of Robot Sentry up by one, because the card is just that good. I wanted to run four because I always wanted to draw one (assuming, of course, that my opponent hits a 2-drop), but in the end, I couldn’t find the room, so I was content with three.

Cloak, Child of Darkness? RUJK?! (Say the letters rather than try to pronounce it if it doesn’t make any sense.) No, he was really in there, if for no other reason than to have an alternate 4-drop if my opponent had Null Time Zone for my Reign on turn 4. I never played him in the tournament (OK, you got me—I played him in the game where I drew no Signal/Ride or Doom and no Alfred until turn 6 . . . and then lost), but that was why I included him in the deck.

Silver Surfer over Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria was Prosak’s idea—maybe you read about it in his article a few months ago about New School. I wasn’t convinced initially, but after some testing, I found that I, too, liked the Surfer. In Prosak’s words, “You have to think for another turn if you don’t have evens.” What it came down to was that Silver Surfer allowed me to have a lock with either Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man or Shimmer after turn 8. Basically, what my opponent does doesn’t matter, because I always have the initiative and all his or her dudes are always exhausted, which means no attacks back. This, coupled with the fact that the deck naturally prefers odds for Psimon on 7, will just win most games. Also, I never want to replace my Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius, especially when he’s equipped with a Power Compressor.

I added another generic team-up card simply because the only time I ran into trouble was when I didn’t hit an early (before turn 4) Marvel Knights character. Adding the team-up increased my chances of being able to use the silver bullet characters, which would let me pull out a game without having dead cards like Midnight Sons pollute my resource row. Sounds pretty lame, I know, but it happens more than you’d think. It’s like Lacuna randomly being amazing because you don’t have to have the team-up to use Glorious Godfrey (GG) or Robot Sentry, activate Alfred, or turn on Dr. Doom’s text. Yes, in those instances, I could search the team-up out if I had Lacuna in play, but a lot of the time, you don’t have a card that you want to discard until much later in the game. Millennium was the spare team-up of choice because I hate having to search for the team-up with Alfred. At least this way, if I have to do it, I get to draw an extra card.

Wait, only one extra team-up? Well, yes, this was how I originally built the deck. For me, the final piece of the puzzle was Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing. Believe it or not, he’s amazing, and here’s why. He’s a 7-drop that has good stats, he doesn’t have loyalty, he’s another Fantastic Four guy to discard to Surfer if I don’t have a team-up (it’s happened a couple of times . . . seriously), but the biggest reason is that he’s good against off-curve strategies that win the die roll and choose odds. On turn 7 in these matches, you can’t just rely on the “replay Doom, Mystical Paralysis, Mystical Paralysis, tutor for Reign of Terror, Reign your guys” plan. So, Thing is the answer. He Reigns your opponent by himself, and he’s a big dude besides. Sadly, I could not play him in the Top 8 because I misregistered my deck with four copies of Marvel Team-Up and no Ever-Lovin’ Blue Eyed.

Alright, at this point, I had a deck, but was it the one I would play? I was tempted by Avengers after being frustrated with New School pooping on itself. Avengers may not be the best deck out there, but it’s simple and straightforward to play, and I love having split-cards in the deck. By this I mean the cards that go both ways—Heroes in Reserve, for example, can be a Savage Beatdown or a Nasty Surprise! The same can be said for Avengers Mansion. I playtested my Avengers deck a few times and found that it also gave me a fair number of bad draws, so I decided that if I was going to be playing a deck all day, I might as well enjoy it. New School it is! This let me play my favorite cards: Dr. Doom, Reign of Terror, Alfred Pennyworth, and Dr. Light, Arthur Light . . . does it get any better?

4 Alfred Pennyworth
4 Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius
4 Dagger, Child of Light
4 Micro-Chip
3 Robot Sentry
2 Dr. Light, Arthur Light
1 Shimmer
1 Glorious Godfrey
1 Lacuna
1 Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man
1 Cloak, Child of Darkness
1 Psimon, Dr. Simon Jones
1 Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd
1 Boris, Personal Servant of Dr. Doom
1 Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing

4 Reign of Terror
4 Wild Ride
4 Mystical Paralysis
4 Bat-Signal
4 Midnight Sons
Marvel Team-up
2 Entangle
2 Press the Attack
1 Fizzle
1 Millennium

1 Power Compressor

I think I’ve gone on enough about the deck, so let’s move on to the PC. If you’re looking for detailed match descriptions, sorry to disappoint—I don’t do that. In fact, I throw away the score sheets as soon as I’ve used up all the slots. I’m way too lazy to keep track of notes while I’m in a match and then transfer all of that into a report. If that’s what people are looking for, I might start in the future, but, for now, this is what you get.

Minor detour here—I can’t rightly go into the PC section until I recount our lovely trip to California.

After searching some online sites for the cheapest airfare we could find, Prosak the Master finally managed to book us some roundtrip tickets for about $200—off to a good start already! Unfortunately, because my girlfriend’s birthday was on Wednesday, we could not leave until Thursday morning. Our flight was at 9:30 a.m., which wouldn’t have been too bad, except that it took off out of Indianapolis, which is about a two-hour haul from Cincinnati. Factor in the time change, wanting to arrive at the airport about an hour early to be safe, and at least one person of the four invariably being late for our early morning rendezvous, we set our meet time for 6 a.m. We definitely left at about 6:30.

Despite the half-hour setback, we made good time to the airport with no major drama. At the airport, we saw Mark Slack, Sammy Gilly, and Dair Grant. We checked our bags and moved on to the security line. Wait . . . a line? Yes, a freaking line about 50 people long at 8:30 in the morning on a Thursday. Perhaps that’s a common occurrence, but I was certainly not expecting it. Fortunately, it moved pretty quickly and would have been even faster if Prosak didn’t hold us up with his Super Security check. I guess that’s the price you pay for being a thug.

We made our way to our gate and waited for the flight to start boarding. They called our rows, so Ben immediately went. Heath, Prosak, and I decided to chill for a while, thinking that we would wait until everybody else got seated. We sauntered down the hall for all of two minutes, but when we made our way back to the gate, it was closed! One of the flight attendants was outside finishing up whatever it was that needed to be done and let us on. I guess we won’t be doing anything before our next flight takes off.

We made it to Houston a couple of hours later and boarded the next plane, which was bigger and slightly more comfortable—instead of feeling like I was sitting on a rock, it was more like a hard wood. The captain informed us that the flight would be about three and a half hours and that there would be a complementary in-flight movie. Yeah, it was free to watch, but if you didn’t happen to bring headphones, it set you back $5. Luckily, Ben found some headphones in the seat pouch in front of him and lent them to me, since he had the ones that came with his iPod.

The movie was mildly entertaining, but it was made much better by the fact that I would have had absolutely nothing to do if it weren’t on. This flight seemed much longer than the last, probably due to the fact that we had already spent two and a half hours in a plane. Finally, we arrived at LAX.

In the baggage claim, Prosak made a call to his buddy Niles and asked for an ETA, as he had said he could provide us with a ride to the Con. I’ll make a long story short—after about an hour of waiting, we decided we’d split cab fare to the site. Niles’s alibi? Something to do with burning cows on the highway causing a traffic jam.

Catching a cab was no problem, but the ride was. I didn’t think it could get any worse than the plane, but boy was I mistaken. You know how riding in the back seat of a car kind of sucks, especially when there are three people and said people are fat? Alright, Heath is skinny, but Prosak and I, not so much. Well, I discovered that in a taxi, this is only amplified. Sadly, there were no burning cows to be spotted. I mean, bad beat for the cows, but man, what a story!

Forty-five minutes later and $25 poorer, we arrived at the convention center. It was a nice-looking place and all, but really excited me was the hotel. You see, I haven’t stayed within walking distance from a Con in ages, and I had forgotten how great it is. Not only that, but we checked into our room and found it was on the Concierge level—you need your passkey just to be able to go to that floor! And oh my, The Players’ Club. Free sodas (pop, as we say in the Midwest), bottled water, hors d’oeuvres (man, I just spelled that right without having to spell-check . . . I swear!), cookies, and breakfast! Without a doubt, this was the best place I had stayed at for a Con. Thank you, Heath, for being in the Marriott Players’ club!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled event—the PC.

Day 1

As I told you before, I don’t take notes, and I really don’t want to try to dredge up all of the matches from memory. I will, however, bring up a few things that stick out.

By far the coolest thing I did on Day 1 was win on turn 6. That’s right—New School got the turn 6 kill. It came against the Both Guns Blazing deck piloted by Billy P. My guys were actually bigger than his, and I was able to attack each turn and keep his character count low. Really, this matchup is all about Doom. It’s really hard for that deck or similar ones to deal with him if you’re doing anything else at all. I just remember Press the Attack on Spider-Man for the win, putting him exactly to 0. He thought he was going to go off with Rigged Elections on the next turn, but I had the initiative and would have tutored up Psimon for the win. His deck auto-scoops to that guy, but then again, a lot of them do.

To give you an idea of how unfair Doom is against that deck, I’ll go over my last match of the day against Matt Oldaker. He was playing his team’s newest crazy concoction, a A Child Named Valeria lock deck with Scarlet Witch, Eldritch Enchantress for the win. Child is another of my favorite cards, but decks containing it pretty much scoop to anything with Doom in it. It is a card, though, that a lot of the decks in the environment just can’t deal with. If you can get the engine going, your opponent just looks at you for the rest of the game until you win.

Our match started out with each of us playing an Alfred. I rolled my eyes at the thought of another mirror match, but to my chagrin, I found out it was not when he tutored for a Utility Belt, a card that totally wrecks me, on turn 2. Because of the Belt and a Fizzle on his part, my plays for turn 1–4 were Micro-Chip and Alfred. I was pretty sure I was going to lose that game, as I wasn’t drawing any more tutors or Dooms. On turn 5, I played GG to go with my Alfred. On turn 6, he burned me for a ton, but I finally drew a tutor, and the good Doctor made his appearance. I played two Reign of Terrors from my hand, and he was left with two guys. On turn 7, I flipped Midnight Sons to team up with Fearsome Five and played a Bat-Signal. In a last ditch effort, Oldaker asked, “Shimmer?” But I got Psimon, and he promptly scooped.

As for other match-ups, I was 3-0 against Avengers and 2-0 versus Squadron. Melissa Gold ◊ Songbird, Sonic Carapace is not so good against me. I like the match-up against the aggressive Squad decks because they don’t have the nightmare cards that I was getting wrecked with in our playtesting: AIDA and Foxfire. (On a side note, I really think they should errata the earlier team-ups to be actual Team-Ups.)

At the end of Day 1, I was really happy to be at the 8-2 that I had set as my goal. The downside was that I had the worst tiebreakers, but that wasn’t nearly as important as getting to where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, Prosak whiffed, but Heath and Phimus were into Day 2 at 7-3. They both played Curve Sentinels (man, I hate that deck).

Topping things off, we were done with Day 1 by 6:30. That was amazing—good job, UDE. My roommates and I hoofed it over to Outback and were later joined by our judge buddy Prakash Madhav, who Head Judged the $10K. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and our room.

Day 2

I’m at table 2 to start the day, and honestly, I’m feeling pretty lousy. I’d been thinking about that if I made Day 2 at 8-2, I would be looking for Top 8. Well, there I was, and man, I wish I hadn’t said that to everyone. I had a gloomy outlook for the day because I was thinking “Now that I’ve said it, I’m going to scrub out.” Nothing to be done about jinxing myself now—it was time to just draft and play some cards. 

I opened my first pack and didn’t find what I was looking for: something ridiculous that I could commit to. The best cards in the pack were Hawkeye, Leader by Example; Iron Man, Tony Stark; and the 2-drop Melissa Gold ◊ Songbird. I ended up taking the Hawkeye, which was probably a mistake. His text and stats seem so good, but I’ve never had a chance to test them out. I almost took Tom Thumb so that I could try to force Squadron Supreme and possibly try out the equipment deck that Prosak was so enamored with. If I had, my deck would’ve been insane, as the Squadron cards were underdrafted. My next picks were Amenhotep followed by Heinrich Zemo ◊ Baron Zemo—I figured he’s good by himself and I would leave myself open to Faces of Evil if I got the cards for that. Beetle, Armorsmith came to me seventh, I believe, so I snagged him and started looking for the low-drop characters to fill out the curve. Of course I didn’t get a Faces, but the real problem was that I didn’t get any team-ups. I passed a ton of them in the first two packs, and to be quite honest, all I really needed was any generic team-up. Of course, pack 3 contained none from any opens. I was pretty furious, but my characters were insane, and I had two copies of Heinrich Zemo. The plan: draw lots of dudes and Heinrich Zemo for the win. It got me to 2-1. I lost to Neil Reeves because he had Wonder Man; I’m pretty sure that’s the only card he could’ve had to beat me. He only got my 1-drop with Wonder Man, but it was enough that I couldn’t team attack for the stun, which allowed him to keep both of his guys for the next turn (his initiative). 

At this point, I was up to tenth place, which put me back at table 2. Phimus was there with me. This time, I went with my favorite archetype, mostly because Squadron seemed to be underdrafted at most of the tables from what I was hearing. Phimus had the most absurd Squadron deck I’d ever seen in his last draft, so I figured it was my time to give it a go. I started taking Avengers and Squadron cards in an attempt to force my favorite team combination. I like it because the team-up makes your guys reservists, and a majority of them are reservists anyway. I started to get worried because after two packs, my deck was pretty atrocious. Somehow, it paid off, because I got some gifts in pack 3, including a fifth pick Black Panther. I went 2-1, with my loss coming at the hands of Hans Hoh. 

I looked to see where I was seated for the third draft pod and discovered I was finally at Table 1. I was slightly intimidated for the first time, because there was only one guy at the table that nobody had heard of—yours truly. Before things got going, all the others were chatting at each other, and then Dave Spears looked at me and said, “I don’t recognize you. Who are you? Are you good? Well, you must be decent, you’re at Table 1.” I just shrugged rather than saying what I wanted to say: “Actually, I’m pretty awful.” Oddly enough, after that, I was pretty relaxed. It was at that time that I just told myself to draft a deck and try not to 0-3, because that would be embarrassing. 

First pick I saw Hawkeye, Clinton Barton and slammed it. I believe next was Carol Danvers ◊ Warbird, followed by Eldritch Power. From the get-go, I was into my favorite deck, and I was pumped. Things started slowing down, however, and I was worried because either Neil or Dean was cutting me off. It was fine, though, because in the next two packs I was just getting gifts. Supply Line came to me eleventh in pack 2 along with a late Airskimmer and other goodies. Pack 3 made me a little antsy because I thought I was going to get cut off again, but evidently, there was plenty to go around. I think Dean and I were the only drafters in Squad, and he couldn’t snatch all of it, so I was fine feeding off the leftovers. The end result: I had the best deck out of the three pods so far. Finally, I was excited to play. 

Round 14 was my first feature match ever in a big event against Eugene Harvey. I didn’t know Eugene, but I’d heard that he didn’t really talk a lot and that he tended to play slowly. I didn’t want to rely on hearsay, though, and commented on how I though it was slightly warmer in the Feature Match area and that I wish I’d packed more than t-shirts to wear because I’d been freezing so far inside the Convention Center. I’d also seen him shivering during some of his matches and thought it would be a nice icebreaker. Sure enough, he told me that you learn after going to so many events to pack warmer clothes just for the site. Immediately, I felt better and was thankful for his genial attitude. 

This game was pretty tough, mostly because I didn’t draw any of my Squadron guys. As a result, I sat with Panacea Potion and Supply Line in my hand the entire game. I finally played a Squadron character on turn 7: Arcanna. This wasn’t the greatest, because Eugene underdropped, but she was still a really huge body that he had to deal with. On turn 8, I played another 7, while Eugene, who was drawing off the top of his deck with no cards in hand, was forced to play off-curve again. I was able to live to turn 9, when he scooped because I had more guys to play. 

The next round yielded another feature match for me, this time against Dave Spears. From what I gathered, his deck wasn’t very good, though it seemed fine against me, mostly due to the fact that he had Wasp in the hidden area so I couldn’t lock it down with Haywire and followed up with Natasha Romanoff ◊ Black Widow, Super Spy, so he got to keep both of his guys. My deck loved me in this match, though, and I drew the absolute nuts. On turn 4, I played Hawkeye and attacked his two visible characters. He didn’t swing back with Wasp, and on turn 5, he recruited Charcoal to my Nighthawk. He ran Baltag into my Hawkeye, which I activated to stun Wasp. Charcoal flew over to hit my Captain America, Steve Rogers, who I had used to reinforce the last attack. I had my team-up and the Eldritch Power for the mutual stun. I did some quick math and found out that I couldn’t quite kill him, but I was able to put him at 3 and Potion my Hawkeye. I drew my next two cards, put a resource down, and discarded to get Skymax back from my KO’d pile. Dave extended his hand and congratulated me on making Top 8. At this point, I wasn’t sure I was in because I didn’t even pay attention to the standings, but I was pretty happy and thanked him. 

At this point, I was ready for the last round to start up. I didn’t bother to check  

standings, but I was pretty sure I was in. The last round pairings went up, and I was paired against Michael Dalton. We sat down at our table, rolled the die, and started playing. This one wasn’t even close. I can’t remember ever getting beaten as badly as I did in that match. I’ll tell you this much: I scooped on turn 6 after he played Mystic Summons for his 6-drop. He had his 4, 5, 6, and two concealed 1-drops while I had . . . drum roll, please . . . Rick Jones.  

Fine, I’ll tell you how it went down. On turn 4, he had the initiative; a team-up for Masters of Evil and Thunderbolts; and Hawkeye, Melissa Gold ◊ Screaming Mimi, Yellowjacket (hidden), Dallas Riordan, Mayoral Aide (hidden), and Nathan Garrett ◊ Black Knight, brought back courtesy of Hard Sound Construct. He attacked and stunned my 3- and 4-drops. He then exhausted his Yellowjacket to Stolen Power my 4-drop and then played Hero’s Demise from the grip. OK, I just got wrecked, but at least I would have the initiative next turn, right? I played Scarlet Witch, Mistress of Chaos, who was holding the fort with Rick Jones. Care to take a guess what his 5-drop was? He recruited Paul Ebersol ◊ Techno, Man of Metal, getting back Hero’s Demise. And that was the beating that I received on the last round of Day 2. What a way to go out. 

If you’ve ever been in position to possibly get ninth at a cut to Top 8, you know what I was going through. Not only that, but this time it was for the PC. It’s funny how things you say come back to haunt you. I distinctly remember saying, “If I get ninth at the PC, I’ll be like, ‘Man! That sucks!’ and then do a happy dance because I just pulled like seven G’s.” Well, I can tell you that that was not at all the case as I waited for about half an hour for the standings to be announced with my guts churning. I mean, I was pretty sure I was in, since I was third going into that round and I had just lost the first seed, but there’s always that doubt in the back of your mind that gnaws away at you. Maybe it was compounded by the fact that I tend to get X+1 place when the cut is to Top X. 

Finally, they start announcing the seeds. I hear, “Fourth place . . . Karl Horn,” and a handful of people go nuts while the rest of the crowd is like, “Who is that?” Whew, Top 8—I got in. I’m playing on Day 3. So now what? Let’s go eat! My roomies and I decided that Buca sounded pretty good, so we made our way over there for dinner on me. I did my best to consume all the food we ordered, but in the end, I came up short. We just got way too much for the four of us to even stand a chance. 

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and . . . went drinking? Playtested matchups? Memorized decklists? No, absolutely not—I was exhausted, and I crashed. Adam, Phimus, and Heath went back down to the site and were nice enough to test a little for me. It was at this time that one of the bystanders watching the testing asked, “There’s a 7-drop Thing in the deck?” 

Top 8 

I woke up the next morning, and Adam informed me of the Thing situation. We headed down to the tournament site and went about the process of trying to get my physical decklist. The judges were having some problems finding it, so I went in search of a Marvel Team-Up just in case I had listed my deck as it was on the website. I made my way over to the vendor’s booth pick up the card. 

In the time while I was gone, my list was found. Prosak had lingered behind to look at it in my absence, and upon figuring out that it was different from the actual deck I was playing, he informed Paul Ross of the mix-up. Paul told him that because it was the Top 8, they could not retroactively give me a game loss. Because I was not checked on Day 1 (where I would have received a loss), I would not be penalized, but I would have to play the deck as it was on paper. Prosak then relayed the bad news to me, and I made the change. Bad times—that was my favorite addition to the deck, but I would not be able to play it. The deck was still fine; I would just have to remember that I didn’t have Thing to bail me out. 

I started off my day with my quarterfinal match against Hans. The first thing he asks is if I want to negotiate any kind of split. To be honest, I was taken aback and replied that I hadn’t really even thought about it. I guess that’s something one should consider at that point, but all I was thinking was that I would be walking away with at least $7,500, probably more, so splitting didn’t really interest me. 

He won the die-roll and chose the odd initiatives, which was a bad beat for me because I wanted those, especially since I wanted to play Psimon on turn 7 before he could recruit and I didn’t have Thing anymore to make him pick up everybody except for Golden Archer and Albert Gaines ◊ Nuke. Nothing could be done about it, so I drew my cards and we started up the match. 

The game was a close one. He missed his drop on turn 1, but afterwards, his deck did what it wanted to—beat down fast and hard. However, I was able to keep myself alive, search for the Power Compressor, and stall the rest game out until Psimon hit play. Once that happened, it was just a matter of time. 

On to game 2. I had a less than stellar draw where I was unable to tutor up a Robot Sentry to halt his Shape, so he unloaded on me on turn 2. I think I took 17 points of endurance loss. On turn 3, still no Sentry, and I was at about 14 already. Turn 4 came around, and I played Doom. His recruit was Archer from the resource row, replacing it with the last card from his hand. I responded, making sure to say “in response to the recruit effect,” by returning Alfred to my hand to get Reign and Reigning his Shape. He let this resolve. 

About a minute later, after some staring at the board, I saw something that I couldn’t believe I was witnessing. Looking over at the judge, I knew that he’d seen it, too. He went over to the other side of the table, looked at what was in Hans’s hand, and then looked at the face-down card. He then went over to consult with the other judges. 

Hans’s explanation was that he thought the replacement was part of the chain and that he could put Shape down instead of his Answer the Call. After much consulting, the judge came back and issued the penalty of DQ without prize. Hans appealed, and after more deliberation, Paul Ross upheld the decision. I made sure it was alright to pick up my deck, collect my things, and storm off. 

I wasn’t looking forward to my semifinal match against Dalton. I hadn’t tested the matchup at all and didn’t want to play against another deck that had Doom in it. Not only that, but I wasn’t really sure how to proceed with the match. I had to go with the “curve after turn 4” option, because 7-drop Thing just houses me. He’s going to own me anyway, but I can at least lessen the pain if I curve out. Basically, the plan is to live long enough to boost Dr. Light. 

If you want the specifics about the match, you can find them in the PC: LA coverage. Game 1 went pretty much as according to plan until Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom hit the table. I wasn’t teamed-up with Fearsome Five at this point, and I wouldn’t be unless I could get the 6-drop stunned . . . and I was worried about Diabolic Genius. Fortunately for me, he left Doom unprotected on turn 8, and I was able to team attack with Dr. Light and Psimon and flip my team-up. A boosted Dr. Light on turn 9 got the scoop. 

Game 2 was pretty rough, as I missed on turn 1 and had no Marvel Knights to play in the first three turns, which meant I could not hit Glorious Godfrey because I had no way to flip my Midnight Sons. Predictably, Dalton wrecked me with Flame Trap, which was basically the game at that point unless he missed horribly on the next few turns. 

Game 3 did not go so well for him, as he had Boris as his only play through the first three turns. Once again, my deck went off like clockwork all the way through turn 8, when we had Silver Surfer wars. My board position was perfect, so he scooped. 

Oh my god! Finals of the PC! Please don’t let it be another Common Enemy deck—that was not a fun match. I already had a pounding headache from the last one. 

After a brief respite from gaming, I find out that Sohnle was the winner of the other semifinal and that I didn’t have to slog my way through another CE matchup. While this sounded good and all, the fact of the matter was that I was now faced with yet another deck that I hadn’t tested against at all. Obviously, my Doom and Reigns were excellent against him, but I wasn’t really sure what to do afterward or what initiative I wanted to have. I went in with the plan of taking the odds so that Psimon would just lock the game on turn 7. 

Dean won the die roll and chose evens. Woot! I didn’t even have to win to get the initiative I wanted. On games 1 and 2, I got excellent draws and was able to stall the games for Psimon and the win. 

For game 3, Sohnle took the odds since the evens didn’t exactly work out for him the first two. My draw this game was sub-par, but I still should have won. Remember me saying I never read cards? True to form, I didn’t read Personal Force Field, and it cost me the game because I didn’t think I could use Dr. Light to stun Mr. Fantastic, Stretch. I’m sure everybody who is reading this knows what it does, but I’ll go ahead and explain it anyway. It gives the equipped character +3 DEF and reinforcement, and says that that character cannot be the target of plot twists. Well, I thought it couldn’t be targeted, period. Hee haw! I should probably start reading cards, eh? 

After losing the game, I decided to take a break. I had been gaming for quite a while now, and I just needed a little time to regain my composure. 

A few minutes later, I sat back down at the table and chose the odd initiatives again. My draw was insane. I hit Alfred and was unsure what to tutor for because I had almost everything I could possibly need. Sounds great so far, right? It’s about this time that I learned that I did want the even initiative in this matchup. Like I said, everything was looking amazing, and I got my ideal draw . . . so what went wrong? Turn 6 is what happened—he just went off with Stretch and Thing, Ben Grimm. He was able to throw his equipment at my 1-drops, which just wrecked me. I was able to use them in response, but I really wanted them on the table to power my Dr. Light. He drew lots of Flamethrowers, and I could do nothing to stop the burn. 

Well, that was certainly an eye opener. As far as I could see, aside from a horrible draw on my part, that was pretty much the only way he was going to beat me, so I vowed that I wouldn’t let that happen. This time, I switched it up and took the even initiatives so that I could stun Stretch with Dr. Light. 

I presented my deck and looked at the top four cards. Here they are: two copies of Alfred, Robot Sentry, and Power Compressor. Dear lord, what do I do? I once again have turn 1 Alfred but no plot twists, and even if I do draw one, I might not be able to use him until turn 3. But if I draw a team-up, I should be fine, as both the Sentry and Compressor are amazing against him. I agonize over the decision for a while and decide that I can’t keep it. $40,000 is on the line and I don’t want to lose because I kept a hand that could have been nuts. I mulligan into another great draw and things go exactly as planned. Turn 6 comes around and I hurriedly tutor up Dr. Light and use him immediately to stop any Stretch nonsense. I also have two Press the Attacks to stun more of his guys and counter any attempted equipment. 

Turn 7 was his initiative, so I was still a little nervous, but I still had Dr. Light to stop any potential burn from equipment. He drew into his one Dr. Light, Master of Holograms and recruited it. He then spent another resource point to attempt to put a Flamethrower on it. I responded by exhausting my Doom and discarding a card to Entangle to exhaust his Dr. Light. The reason I did this rather than going for the immediate stun is because he had a copy of Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards in his KO’d pile with Invisible Woman, The Invisible Girl already in play, and I was afraid that if I tried to stun with my Dr. Light, he would simply activate his in turn to bring back Reed and flip a A Child Named Valeria to prevent the stun. By using Entangle first, I could respond to his Dr. Light activation with my own, ensuring the stun. Surviving this turn was the game, as I was able to recruit Psimon on my initiative next turn to keep him from playing any more characters. 

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I won, but I still can’t believe it really happened. I’ve actually started reading Vs. System websites and looking at my picture almost every day, and every day I’m shocked to see that it’s still there. If you made it through this whole report, I’m both honored and disbelieving. This thing is like 8000+ words! Sorry about that—stuff just kept coming. The last thing I will do is a props section. Not sure if people still do that, but in my day that was the norm, and I’m sticking to it. 

 


PROPS
  

  • Neil Reeves, for cheering me up after the quarterfinals.
  • Phimus Pan, for being there and making me look forward to the trip even more than I already was. Way to go with those Ahabs! Oh, and you owe me Betrayals, suckah! Here’s to more good times in Atlanta (raises his cup).
  • Adam Prosak, for testing with me even though he already had his deck ready. Also, for being back in Cincy (you should stay after you graduate!) and being a gamer extraordinaire. I definitely enjoy gaming more since you’ve been back and I’m better at it because of you. By the way, we knew Prosak way before he had his Vs. success and were his friends before there was such a thing as “barns.” Oh, and thanks for believing in me more than I believed in myself. The day might come where I don’t think of myself as a “hee haw,” but I wouldn’t count on it.
  • Heath Scheiman, for the iPod suggestion and the amazing hotel room across from the tourney site.
  • Prakash Madhav, for letting me borrow cards (yeah, I still don’t have the complete deck) and going out to a celebratory dinner after I won.
  • Ken Hagen, for being another person to have confidence in me even though I can’t muster it in myself. You’ve always told me that I could and should be doing this and I appreciate it. You really need to find that new job so you can game with us more often. Wish you could’ve been there.
  • Jason Hager, Matt Oldaker, and Anthony Justice, for rooting me on in the Top 8. OK, maybe you were cheering for the deck, but most of the people I knew had left, and it was still good to have some support. Thanks for the deck, too. I’m glad I could take it down with New School.

  

Done . . . no, really . . . peace out.

(Metagame Archives) Pro Circuit Atlanta Judge Sponsorship

By Ian Estrin 

Hello Judges,

The next stop on the $1,000,000 UDE Pro Circuit will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from March 23-26, 2006. The UDE Judge Certification Program will be offering sponsorship for this event to a limited number of judges. This is a phenomenal chance to improve your judging skills and to work with some of the most talented judges and players in the industry.

If you are interested in applying for sponsorship, please email judge@upperdeck.com with the subject line, “Sponsorship for Pro Circuit Atlanta 2006.”

This sponsorship opportunity will be open from Thursday, December 15, 2005, through Friday, December 30, 2005. No sponsorship applications will be accepted after 11:59 pm on December 30, 2005.

There are two types of sponsorship, Full and Partial. If you only need airfare or only need hotel accommodations, please indicate that in your email. This will increase your chances of receiving partial sponsorship.

Full Sponsorship: Upper Deck Entertainment covers the full cost of your airfare and hotel for the duration of the event.

Partial Sponsorship: Upper Deck Entertainment covers the full cost of EITHER your airfare OR your hotel for the duration of the event.

If you are selected for sponsorship, a UDE staff member will contact you between January 9, 2006 and January 13, 2006 to let you know the type of sponsorship you have received and to arrange travel to the event.

Application Requirements

  • Expertise in current Vs. System rules.
  • Proficiency with current UDE Tournament Policies.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Ability to work long hours with minimal breaks. Most days will be at least twelve hours long.
  • Ability to assist event staff with duties other than judging, including tournament area maintenance, player registration, side event logistics, game demos, and so on.

General Information

  • Pro Circuit Atlanta 2006 will be held from March 23-26, 2006 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Last Chance Qualifiers will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2006. Sponsored judges will be expected to judge at these events.
  • We are looking for judges who have excellent player management skills, in addition to a baseline of rules knowledge.
  • If you are not available to judge on Thursday, March 23, you may still be considered for sponsorship.
  • Each judge will receive $50 cash (US Dollars) during each day of judging to offset the cost of meals, snacks, taxis, parking etc.
  • A judge may be scheduled for work outside of the Pro Circuit area. Talented judges are needed for side events, particularly on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The dress code is black and white UDE judge shirt, black slacks, and black shoes. If you do not have a UDE judge shirt, a shirt will be provided for you at the event at no cost.
  • If you are not selected to receive sponsorship for this event, please do not be discouraged. We receive hundreds of applications and only require a very small number of judges. If you continue to work hard and advance your skills, you will most certainly be chosen for a future event.
  • If you are not selected to receive sponsorship but still wish to volunteer at this event, please send an email to judge@upperdeck.com with the subject line, “Judge Volunteer for Pro Circuit Atlanta 2006.”

 

Include the Following in Your Email

Please email judge@upperdeck.com with the subject line, “Sponsorship for Pro Circuit Atlanta 2006.” The following should be included in the body of the email:

  • Name
  • Date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • UDE Number
  • Days you are available to work
  • Email address
  • Mailing address (street, city, state, ZIP, country if from outside the United States)
  • Phone number
  • Events you regularly judge
  • Any special requirements (hotel, flight, food, disabilities, and so on)

 

If You Are Selected For Sponsorship

  • Judges will have to provide a signed copy of the judge waiver prior to attending this tournament.
  • Judges are expected to act in a professional manner at all times, and any judge not doing so will be asked to leave the venue immediately.
  • Judges will need a credit card to cover incidental expenses at the hotel (room service, movies, laundry, and so on.)
  • Judges will cover their own transportation to the airport and hotel.
  • Judges may be assigned to share a room with one other judge.
  • Judges may not have friends, spouses, players, or volunteers stay in their rooms for liability reasons.
  • Judges will pay any changes to the hotel or flight schedule that cost more than the original purchase price.
  • Many judges may wish to take the advanced level Vs. System Rules Knowledge Exam. While we will try to rotate judges so that they are able to take this exam, no judge is guaranteed a chance to take the exam at this event.
  • Bring comfortable shoes and socks.
  • Be prepared to work very hard for the duration of the event.

 

If you have any questions regarding this email, please email judge@upperdeck.com.

Sincerely,

Ian Estrin

Judge Manager

Upper Deck Entertainment

(Metagame Archive) UDE Statement on Hans Höh’s Disqualification at Pro Circuit Los Angeles 2005

By Russell Pippin

Hans Höh was disqualified from Pro Circuit Los Angeles 2005 (20th Nov) based on the decision of the Head Judge that he had cheated by illegally replacing a resource.

The UDE Penalty Committee considered all relevant materials regarding this disqualification; this includes statements from the Head Judge, all other judges involved, and the players themselves. The committee examined the information in great detail and came to conclusion that the actions of Mr. Höh were consistent with cheating.

Therefore the committee is assigning a suspension of three years from all sanctioned UDE tournament play. UDE takes matters of cheating very seriously.  UDE strives to make the tournament experience a fair and enjoyable one for all involved.

Russell Pippin

Tournament Commissioner

Upper Deck Entertainment

(Metagame Archive) PCLA Deck Clinic: Child Lock

By Jason Hager

Welcome back to the Deck Clinic. Having just come off of a disappointing but acceptable 46th / 47th place finish in PC: Los Angeles with Child Lock, I have decided to deck clinic what Matt Oldaker, Heath Baker, and I decided to play and explain how I did in the Constructed portion of PC: LA.

This began as a list that every prominent Vs. professional team had access to, except it was originally awful and couldn’t hold or establish the lock easily. Here is something close to the original list we started testing, but not the exact list. Cards were moving in and out of the deck so quickly that I can only give an approximation of what it looked like at any given time early in development.

Child Lock

Tested by Nick Little, Heath Baker, Matt Oldaker, Anthony Justice, and Jason Hager

60 Total Cards

Characters (29)

4 Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards

4 Invisible Woman, The Invisible Girl

4 Dr. Light, Master of Holograms

4 Alfred Pennyworth

1 Lacuna

2 Rama-Tut

1 Kristoff Von Doom, The Boy Who Would Be Doom

1 Boris, Personal Servant of Dr. Doom

4 Beetle, Armorsmith

1 Paul Ebersol ◊ Fixer

1 Melissa Gold ◊ Screaming Mimi

1 Professor X, Mutant Mentor

1 Anti-Monitor

Locations (4)

4 Birthing Chamber

Equipment(5)

3 Utility Belt

2 Catcher’s Mitt

Plot Twists (22)

4 A Child Named Valeria

2 Bat-Signal

4 The Ring Has Chosen

1 Signal Flare

1 Fizzle

1 Rise from the Grave

1 Cosmic Radiation

4 Millennium

4 Marvel Team-Up

The overall strategy looked something like: Lock, Lock, Lock, Lock, Anti-Monitor. The deck wants to use Professor X after getting it into play with Dr. Light and teaming up with Doom to get back Rama-Tut and play Child every turn until it wins.

We played around twenty games with Anti-Monitor in the deck. Why? He was in the original list we were given, and we assumed he was necessary in some matchups. As it turns out, he’s not. We were still winning a lot of games, though, with what was effectively a 59-card deck with one blank. He was the first guy to get scrapped. The original list played Scarlet Witch, Eldritch Enchantress as well. Silly us—we were still in the mode of Avengers drafting and fancied Screaming Mimi. We later figured out that Scarlet Witch wins in a third of the time that Screaming Mimi does. We also took out the Professor X. This happened under the guise of night when I wasn’t at the shop testing, but it’s a choice that made sense. We moved away from the ability to Child infinite times and decided to only Child six times in a game. If we couldn’t win using six A Child Named Valerias, we didn’t deserve to win. That’s the type of card gaming mentality that I like.

We were having major problems drawing Dr. Light. He was what we would mulligan for, but there was no way in the deck to get him besides drawing him. We originally tried Olapet so that we could The Ring Has Chosen for Dr. Light on turn 5. We also considered playing a Sonar so that we could Beetle for Sonar, team-up, and then Bat-Signal for Dr. Light.

Then we had an epiphany. The clouds opened, and he sat perched atop the Empire State Building, swatting at planes with one hand and gripping Dr. Light in the other: KONG! We had searched desperately for ways to play Kang, Kang Kong since he was released, and he is perfect in this deck. He took the pressure off of Alfred and made Boris unnecessary. You now had a way to Child proactively, without ending the previous turn with an exhausted Alfred. We now had another way to get Catcher’s Mitt in a pinch. We now had a way to search for locations.

We originally put three copies of Kang in the deck and played quite a few games like that. Anthony and Nick wanted the number upped to four, and eventually, I agreed. They were right—the more Kang Kongs that you play, the easier it is for them to become active. The truly brilliant thing about Kang Kong in this list is how often you never have to team-up with Kang Council. The option of teaming-up is always there, but the best solution is to reveal Lacuna with the last Kang you play, since she sneakily satisfies his Kang Council requirement. This also let us put back in the infinite Child loop, since Kang could search for Avalon Space Station. Now we could get into a situation where we would just play Rama-Tut over and over, gobbling up Child after Child like we were the Boogie-Man.

The next thing we realized was how precious Utility Belt is. It does everything this deck has to do to keep the lock. Without it, you cannot win against Titans, and even with it, it’s not easy. We quickly realized that four copies were necessary.

Rise from the Grave and Cosmic Radiation were two pet cards that kept coming in and out of the deck, and both have their merits. On turns when “the pair” would be stunned (meaning Mr. F and I-Girl), Rise gives you a chance to pay 6 endurance to couple them back up for the opening of the next turn. Doing this means that Null Time Zone doesn’t have an opening to stop you from playing and being “under Child” for that turn. There were also many situations in testing where Rise would stop Finishing Moves and keep up pace by letting a field that was decimated return to fight again.

Cosmic Radiation is a different fish altogether. It helps you rebuild, giving you the option of readying Alfred, effectively paying a resource point and the card to get any plot twist or equipment that you need ASAP. The Radiation often felt like the fifth Child in the deck. It also gives you a reason to team-up with Emerald Enemies (something that rarely happens in the deck) so that you can get an additional Scarlet Witch burn by discarding her to one of the many discard effects this deck has in the late game. It gives the deck a fresh round of Utility Belt activations and gives Reed another shot in the dark at getting an equipment (usually when the deck is desperate for a Mitt). The Utility Belt activations are especially powerful when they’re done to Speedy’s targets. (The Titans matchup often boils down to a turn when the Titans player uses Roy Harper ◊ Speedy three times during the build because of Optitron and U.S.S. Argus. This, combined with Terra and the eventual Roy Harper ◊ Arsenal, Sharpshooter could often break up “the pair.”) Due to space issues, though, both the Rise and the Radiation fell victim to the cuts.

In one specific night of testing, I won around twenty games in a row with the deck, even though we didn’t even play many games against the Avengers Reservist deck because, frankly, it wasn’t a fair fight. At the time, I was considering three decks that I might play at PC: LA—New School, Child Lock, and GLEEMoE. With all the success in testing, my mind was made up. We did, however, have to concede some acceptable losses. The Thunderbolts Team Tactics deck would beat us unless we added a Devil’s Due, anything with Power Compressor would beat us unless we added a Commissioner Gordon, anything with Thing, The Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing would beat us if they had even initiatives and we couldn’t burn them out on turn 6, anything with Rigged Elections would likely beat us, Squadron would occasionally just burn us out and threaten Other-Earth for the win, and anything with Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius would likely beat us. That’s a lot of things that we lose to. That said, we felt comfortable that we could beat anything else. For fear of Other-Earth, we took out a Birthing Chamber and added in a second Fizzle. Here is what we ended up running,

Child Lock

Pro Circuit: Los Angeles

Characters (30)

4 Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards

4 Invisible Woman, The Invisible Girl

4 Dr. Light, Master of Holograms

4 Alfred Pennyworth

1 Lacuna

2 Rama-Tut

1 Kristoff Von Doom, The Boy Who Would Be Doom

4 Kang, Kang Kong

4 Beetle, Armorsmith

1 Paul Ebersol ◊ Fixer

1 Scarlet Witch, Eldritch Enchantress

Locations (4)

1 Avalon Space Station

3 Birthing Chamber

Equipment(6)

4 Utility Belt

2 Catcher’s Mitt

Plot Twists (20)

4 A Child Named Valeria

1 Bat-Signal

4 The Ring Has Chosen

1 Signal Flare

2 Fizzle

4 Millennium

4 Marvel Team-Up

Now, instead of theories about how matchups play out, here is a breakdown of my rounds of play in the PC.

Round 1: Curve Sentinels

My opponent gets two Null Time Zones and plays two Flame Traps, two s, and two Search and Destroys. My opponent curves out, playing Hounds of Ahab, Sentinel Mark II, Sentinel Mark IV, and Nimrod on turns 2–5. Despite this, I win in convincing fashion. He got too busy trying to disrupt my game and forgot to try to put my endurance under 30. I reassembled my team turn after turn and Scarlet Witched him out. (1-0)

Round 2: Avengers Reservist

I lose about 12 endurance this game before my opponent is locked, and then I never lose any more. This matchup is so easy that I feel sorry for the Avengers player. (2-0)

Round 3: Squadron, played by Andre Muller *Feature Match*

He plays out Melissa Gold ◊ Songbird, Sonic Carapace, but my row ends up being Fizzle, Fizzle, character, character, so I’m never able to capitalize on how ridiculously bad Songbird is against my deck. He is able to Foxfire my Millennium, which hurts a lot, and I am forced into a tough decision. My opponent has two blanks face down, and I have Alfred in hand with two Fizzles in the row. I can play Alfred and lose to Other-Earth if he has it. This play ensures that I likely win the game. From there, I can Lock forever and only need a team-up to use the Belts to stop Golden Archer activations. In the alternate scenario, I can hold Alfred in hand and hope to top-deck so that I can beat an Other-Earth. I make the play I think everyone should make. I play Alfred, Muller Other-Earths, and I lose. Ironically, the second Fizzle was added for this match-up, and I drew both of them. Had one been the Birthing Chamber it would otherwise have been, I likely would have won this match. (2-1)

Round 4: Squadron

I lock him with his Melissa Gold. I choose not to play any character with a 3 ATK or greater so that he can’t stun his Melissa Gold and choose to not recover her. With Child in my resource row and no way for him to get rid of Melissa, I win handily. (3-1)

Round 5: Avengers Reservist

Same as before. (4-1)

Round 6: Avengers Reservist, played by Chris Donati

I have played Chris before. He plays out turn 2 Natasha Romanov ◊ Black Widow, and I win the game. (5-1)

Round 7: Squadron, played by Markus Kolb *Feature Match*

I have the game well in hand but lose on time. He is completely locked, but due to important decisions in the early game on my part taking too long, I can’t pull it out. This loss is my fault. Tough choices have to be made more quickly when playing a control deck, and I got burned this time because of it. (5-2)

Round 8: Evil Medical School, played by Olav Rokne

I’ve played Olav before. He gets the nuts EMS draw against me, Reign of Terroring 9 points worth of guys on turn 4 and leaving me with just Fixer. (That’s right. I had out 10 resource points worth of guys on turn 4.) He has Commish on turn 3 and Power Compressor on turn 5. Oh well—I knew I’d lose to this. (5-3)

Round 9: Faces of Evil, played by James Kong

I lock James with his own Songbird. I get two uses out of my Ring and two out of a single Child. He wises up and sends Songbird into Dr. Light, choosing not to recover her. Despite Ratcatcher and Nathan Garrett ◊ Black Knight, I win, ensuring a Day 2 for me. (6-3)

Round 10: Common Enemy, played by Martin Weis

His draw is lacking, but mine is only so-so. He is in the negatives on turn 8 and has only a single card he can draw to pull out the game: The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing. I am able to Fizzle the Signal Flare if he draws that or Utility Belt any Boris activation . . . but he naturally draws Thing to kill me. Bad beats, but at least I Day 2. (6-4)

My results:

3-0 vs. Avengers

1-0 vs. Curve Sentinels

1-0 vs. Faces of Evil

1-2 vs. Squadron

0-1 vs. Common Enemy

0-1 vs. EMS

There you go—a quick summary of what some of us in West Virginia played in LA and why. I suggest trying this deck out, as it is really fun and handles nicely. It does take some practice to figure out the subtleties (like realizing you can Lacuna with no cards in hand and not be forced to discard, since it’s part of her resolution). There are a few cards that can be added to the deck to win certain matchups, and I wish you luck finding them. The deck has so many tutors that you can include any of an infinite number of “one-ofs” to improve certain situations.

Until next time,

Jason “Stealing Tim’s Sign-Off Gimmick” Hager