(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

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