(Metagame Archive) Those Darn Meddling Kids!

By Josh Witanen

There comes a time when every top tier deck comes under scrutiny and people start to doubt its dominance. It is in times like these when the top tier decks look to the professionals and cry out to be played again. Most of the time, we try to ignore them, but there’s just something about those meddling kids (Teen Titans) that got me thinking again. Maybe Teen Titans isn’t dead after all, and maybe, just maybe, they’re exactly what we need to get through this extremely diverse Golden Age format. Teen Titans has answers for nearly every deck in the metagame and posts quite impressive results against a good portion of the field. I want to show you what I’m thinking before you go to $10K San Francisco or any other major Golden Age event. I want you to see the Teen Titans deck in all its glory, including all of its matchups and how it overcomes even the worst ones.

The first thing you’re going to want me to do is give you a decklist. Gosh, how greedy is that? Here’s the list that I think I’ll be playing in San Francisco this weekend.

Those Darn Meddling Kids

Joshua John Wiitanen

2 Roy Harper ◊ Speedy

2 Dawn Granger ◊ Dove

2 Hank Hall ◊ Hawk

4 Tim Drake ◊ Robin, Young Detective

2 Beast Boy

4 Roy Harper ◊ Arsenal

4 Terra

3 Red Star

4 Garth ◊ Tempest

1 Koriand’r ◊ Starfire

1 Connor Kent ◊ Superboy, Tactile Telekinetic

4 Teen Titans Go!

3 Betrayal

3 Press the Attack

4 Finishing Move

4 Savage Beatdown

3 USS Argus

4 Tamaran

4 Optitron

2 Titans Tower

I’ve been playing this deck for about three weeks, and the more I play it, the more confident I am that this is the right list. I love having multiple copies of Roy Harper ◊ Speedy because he is so amazing against the Child Lock decks, and he can also hold his own against New School. At the very worst, having two Roy Harper ◊ Speedys can be Optitron food or a timely power-up for Roy Harper ◊ Arsenal.

I love Titans Tower, so I wish I could fit three, but I just haven’t been able to find room for that. Plus, Child Lock and other combo decks like FF Fun and Anti-Green Lantern Beatdown will be much more popular than Avengers or the mysteriously declining Curve Sentinels.

Betrayal is a house against more than 50 percent of the decks I’ll be facing, and it’s rarely a useless card. It can get Common Enemy in the early turns and it’s always good against Avengers with Amenhotep. It can even hold its own against the Child Lock decks, allowing you to get a free stun in response to A Child Named Valeria. Betrayal isn’t your main game plan against any one deck. It’s more or less an extra edge against some top decks. It is always there to help you get better turns when you can, but you should never feel like drawing Betrayal is the only way you can win, because that will almost never be true. Betrayal is there to gain board advantage, and that’s why we play it.

Connor Kent ◊ Superboy, Tactile Telekinetic is here to KO Catcher’s Mitt against the Child Lock deck. Your goal is to stay above 10 endurance, and then on turn 6, just annihilate your opponents with attacks that they cannot reinforce against.

Beast Boy is always above par, and against decks with Flame Trap, he is your best way to win. He will keep attacking up the curve the whole game, and he’ll never be a liability to a Flame Trap. He also has flight, which can come into play when trying to do the most damage against decks like Child Lock or GLOCK Stall.

That pretty much sums up the list. It is fairly basic, just with the addition of two copies of Roy Harper ◊ Speedy and three copies of Betrayal.

The only things that are more important than your decklist going into a $10K or any big tournament are your knowledge of all the matchups and your estimation of what the metagame will look like. That being said, we can now continue with the lesson of the day: how to play Teen Titans and never win a $10K!

Teen Titans only looks like a simple deck to play. Just recruit, attack, and abuse the insane abilities and plot twists of the team. That’s the way most people approach the deck, when in reality, it is the most complex deck in Vs. System history. Many players don’t know the most efficient way to play it, much less how to play against it in the hands of a pro. An important thing to remember when playing Teen Titans is that you’re always going to be playing the reactive game with your opponents. You will always let them do what they want before you figure out the best way to respond. Very rarely will you start using your activated abilities before giving your opponents a chance to misplay. That is a huge advantage to you, because you can wait for them to make mistakes before you choose the best time to make your responses.

Since knowing about the matchups and the metagame is so important when preparing for a tournament, let’s go over that next.

Guesstimated Metagame for $10K San Francisco

Avengers 25%

Child Lock Decks 15%

Squadron Supreme 20%

Faces of Evil 10%

Common Enemy 10%

New School 10 %

Teen Titans 10%

This is how my Las Vegas teammates and I expect the metagame will look like in San Francisco. Keep in mind that this is a guesstimate, so I could be completely wrong when the day arrives. It is a very diverse metagame featuring an overabundance of decks that are hovering around that 15–20% area. Any time the metagame is overly diverse, I look to Teen Titans as my first choice because of how good all of their matchups are. I don’t think any deck has the same advantage that Teen Titans does now, especially since Curve Sentinels is no longer on the radar with any sort of consistency. The Titans deck posts winning records against nearly every other deck, and in matches where it isn’t the favorite, it’s still never very far behind. That being said, I would like to get into some of the matches (which I know you are looking forward to, right?). 

Avengers  This matchup took me a while to figure out. The trick is to stay up on endurance while still gaining a character advantage. The best way to do this is to use both of your 4-drops, Red Star and Terra. You want to play Red Star and attack with him on either turn 4 or 5 (whenever you have the initiative). Remember that this plan only works if you can power-up Red Star! On non-initiative turns, you want to play Terra and stun Black Panther or Quicksilver to keep the character counts even.

Betrayal can be your best friend if your opponent plays Amenhotep. Otherwise, the matchup MVP is Finishing Move because it lets you take out 4- and 5-drops while allowing the little drops to survive only to be ousted by Terra and Roy Harper ◊ Arsenal. Wonder Man can be bad for you, but try to have a 5- or 6-drop out so you can take him down. There’s really no way around Wonder Man or any of the combat tricks that Avengers will throw at you, like Avengers Mansion or Heroes in Reserve. Your best defense against these tricks is to avoid getting cute with your attacks and just make the right decisions, abusing Red Star and his synergy with Teen Titans Go!. Always be on the look-out for guys in the support row, because you can always get free wins with Koriand’r ◊ Starfire.   

Child Lock  This is probably the most complicated matchup, just because Child Lock gives so much resistance to your activated abilities. The main goal is to get Roy Harper ◊ Speedy so you can disrupt your opponent’s board early and then stall until you can just kill him or her with Connor Kent ◊ Superboy. Some people have argued that you can easily take out either Invisible Woman or Mr. Fantastic to keep your opponent off of A Child Named Valeria. But that plan is fragile, because your opponent can draw or search out another copy of A Child Named Valeria, or he or she can use Dr. Light to bring back Mr. Fantastic or Invisible Woman, and then you’ve only held your opponent back a turn. I feel much safer waiting until turn 6 and knowing that I can beat my opponent with Connor Kent.

So, don’t go for the early kill—just use Speedy to mess with your opponent’s set-up and then stall until turn 6. Try not to KO resources earlier than turn 6 if you don’t have to, and put up enough resistance so that you have the endurance to kill your opponent then. (Having 10–14 endurance is optimal.) 

Roy Harper ◊ Speedy is the MVP in this matchup, followed in close second by Connor Kent ◊ Superboy.   

Squadron Supreme

This is without a doubt the hardest matchup you will face at a big tournament in the upcoming months because the deck is so quick and has so many tricks. Squadron Supreme will try to kill you as quickly as possible, but they aren’t really bothered if the game goes until turn 6 or 7. Although the late game heavily favors the Teen Titans player, the Squadron Supreme can definitely hold their own during the later turns, thanks to the character advantage provided by Panacea Potion and the beatdown potential of Other-Earth.

The best advice for this matchup is to get Terra and use her as much as you can to reduce endurance loss, and also to use Betrayal to punish your opponent for playing Joystick, Janice Yanizesh or Human Torch. Early characters are good, and Roy Harper ◊ Speedy can really keep the character advantage in your favor. Try to keep your endurance up while doing anything you can to gain a character advantage. Also, try to save Finishing Move to act as a counter to Panacea Potion.

I hope that those of you who are planning to play “Those Darn Meddling Kids” will take the time to look over this article once more to make sure that you know how to play the matchups inside and out, because what makes the Teen Titans the most dangerous deck is your knowledge. Until we meet again (which now that I’ve taught you all of my tricks, will hopefully not be on the tournament floor), please prepare yourself and be the best that you can be.

Any questions and comments are welcome and should be sent to tennisjosh1@hotmail.com. The next time you’re getting ready to go to a tournament, bring the big dog (yeah, I have no idea what that means either) and help show the dominance of the better decks.

Josh “Someday I’ll Learn How to Play a Non–Teen Titans Deck” Wiitanen

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