(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

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

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.


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