(Metagame Archive) Infinite Crisis Preview: Zazzala Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive

By Michael Barnes

I’ll let you in on a little secret: writing for Metagame.com is hard work! The writers at Metagame are held to a very high standard; in order to write for our illustrious website, the columnists must have both proven Vs. credentials and an ability to articulate his or her thoughts into a typewritten format. Those sound like simple enough tasks until you realize that the penalties for failure are severe. In my first month of writing for Metagame, I accidentally misspelled Toby Wachter’s last name as “Watcher.” As punishment, he forced me to type, “I shall never, ever, ever misspell my boss’s last name again” one million times.*

To be fair, though, Toby does have a tough job in trying to manage the variety of personalities that inhabit the pages of Metagame. Any person who has to put up with me, Rian Fike, Shane Wiggans, and Tim Willoughby must have near-infinite patience.** And that’s only on the Vs. System side—I hear that those Yu-Gi-Oh! writers are really nuts! Suffice it to say, Toby is a real glutton for punishment.

You may have noticed that I seem to be fairly focused on the topic of punishment. I’d like to say that this is because I’ve been deeply immersed in Dostoevsky novels, or perhaps, Marvel Knights cards named after these novels. But the truth is that it is a thinly veiled effort on my part to lead up to our preview card. You might have noticed from all of the sneak previews to date that the Villains United team has an underlying theme of “vengeance” or “retribution.” This theme presents some interesting possibilities for deckbuilding, as your cards are effectively active on either initiative. When you control the initiative, your characters will be attacking for oodles of damage. When your opponents control the initiative, your cards can potentially make them regret attacking.

This, of course, is the basis behind today’s preview card. May I present the newest incarnation of Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee:

A little history about Zazzala and her role in the Villains United: Zazzala is the leader of a world named Korll, a giant “beehive” planet, if you will. She had numerous run-ins with the Justice League throughout the 1960s and 70s. After being absent for a large part of the next two decades, Zazzala re-emerged to join Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang (hence her double stamping as a part of that team, as well). In the recent comic series “Villains United” (book #4, to be precise), it was revealed that Zazzala had joined the 200+ member roster of the new Secret Society of Super Villains, which is represented in the new set by the Villains United team.

Zazzala’s ultimate goal as the leader of Korll is to expand the presence of her species throughout the cosmos. To achieve this end, Zazzala will sacrifice anyone and anything. The Justice League has fought against Zazzala on numerous occasions to prevent her from enslaving humanity as drones for her ever-growing universal colony. Given her credo of sacrificing others to cultivate her ends, the effect of Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive is rather fitting.

When Toby sent me the email containing the information for this card, he said, “I think you’ll have fun with this.” And, oh, how right he was! My mind has been racing about how to abuse this card since the moment I saw it.

First, let’s take a look at the basics. Zazzala has decent stats at 5 ATK / 4 DEF. She also has concealed—optional, which can be very useful if you want to try to avoid getting her stunned. Finally, she has the team affiliations of both Villains United and the Injustice Gang.

This last feature is particularly important, as Zazzala works well in both team’s themes. We’ve already discussed how the Villains United team operates. For the Injustice Gang, she can be very effective in unison with Infernal Minions. Now, whenever your little Army guys get stunned, not only do you get a +1 ATK / +1 DEF counter, but your opponent also takes endurance loss.

Let’s talk a bit about options outside of the norm. Obviously, I like to write about how specific cards can be utilized in unique ways. I think there are a myriad of possibilities for Zazzala. First and foremost, it is important to note that Zazzala’s text specifies any character on the board that leaves play (including your opponent’s). This opens up a whole new set of options, as cards like Finishing Move, Total Anarchy, and Reign of Terror become pseudo-burn cards through her effect. Of course, you can double the fun with characters that remove both themselves and opposing characters from play. Captain Boomerang, George Harkness will send that opposing 2-drop back and hit your opponent for 4 endurance loss in the bargain. Dead-Eye may be suicidal, but your opponent will be the one mourning when he drags an opposing character to the KO’d pile with him while Zazzala takes a chunk out of your opponent’s endurance. And you thought Roy Harper ◊ Speedy was annoying before? Just wait until he and Zazzala start depleting endurance by rather large percentages every time he takes out an Anti-Green Lantern!

The first card that came to mind when I saw Zazzala was Multiple Man ◊ Jamie Madrox. Here we have the perfect set of drones for Zazzala to lead, as a copy of Multiple Man in play can remove itself from play to be replaced by up to two more copies from the player’s hand. Now, not only is Mr. Madrox a source of board advantage, but he’s also a source of direct endurance loss. Heck, if you had Zazzala and a copy of Multiple Man in play along with twenty-four copies of Multiple Man in hand, you could conceivably do 50 endurance damage with just those cards!

Given my proclivity to build janky decks in my regular Metagame column, I thought it would be fun to see what I could do with today’s sneak preview card. So here is my effort at some burn madness featuring Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive; Multiple Man; and a supporting cast of other potent burn cards:

The Mistress and the Madroxes (60 cards)

Characters

17 Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox

4 Ape X, Xina

2 Electric Eve, Live Wire

1 Joystick, Janice Yanizesh

4 Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive

2 Golden Archer, Wyatt McDonald

1 John Henry Irons ◊ Steel, Steel-Drivin’ Man

Plot Twists

4 Die for Darkseid!

4 Enemy of My Enemy

4 Flying Kick

4 Glass Jaw

4 No Man Escapes the Manhunters

4 Trial by Fire

Equipment

4 Flamethrower

1 Thunder Jet

This deck—inspired by Shaun Hayward’s “High Voltage” deck that has been dominating Golden Age $10K events as of late—attempts to take advantage of the synergies between Zazzala and several other Silver Age burn cards. Electric Eve is great from the perspective that she can net you anywhere from 3–5 extra endurance damage per game. Ape X is an obvious choice as an equipment searcher. Joystick is huge, but probably not really effective until later turns when we’ve used all of our cards. Golden Archer is almost always a guaranteed 6 points of direct endurance damage. And John Henry Irons ◊ Steel is just as big as Albert Gaines ◊ Nuke when equipped with a Flamethrower, but he has the option of dealing out burn damage on off-initiative turns.

However, the key combos stem off Multiple Man. Since we’ll be removing Mr. Madrox from play pretty much every time we have the chance, he is a natural choice for a Flamethrower. When he becomes stunned, we can put Flamethrower’s effect on the chain before his effect (ensuring that his effect will resolve first) and get a fresh new Multiple Man in play. As far as attacking goes, we have enough pump in the deck that Multiple Man should be able to attack two to three spots up the curve without too much difficulty. Of course, if we have Zazzala in play, we could easily suicide our Multiple Men into our opponent for cheap burn damage. As Rian Fike would no doubt say, “That’s 1 for me and 2 for you!”

The obvious goal of the deck is to get Multiple Man and Zazzala into play on turn 3, then use our ATK pumps to let Jamie Madrox stun off our opponent’s board on turn 3 or 4 (depending on initiative). A single turn of that, followed by some direct attacks by our remaining characters, should bring our opponent close to 0. We can then use Golden Archer and Die for Darkseid! (which burns for 6 when Zazzala is in play) to put the game effectively out of reach.

I’m sure that the Infinite Crisis set will have other options available to make Zazzala an even bigger menace to our opponents. But we still have a few more days to see what else this new set has to offer. In the meantime, we can only wait and wonder in eager anticipation.

So, get ready for Infinite Crisis and get to a Sneak Preview this weekend at a store near you. And if your friends haven’t yet heard, be sure to tell them what the “buzz” is all about!

(Sorry . . . I couldn’t resist making just one bee joke!)

* Thank goodness for MS Word’s cut and paste option. Come to think of it, Toby was rather surprised when I finished typing after only fifteen minutes . . .

** I was recently asked who my favorite Vs. System “Tim” was. Tim Willoughby is tons of fun and probably rates slightly above Tim Batow. However, you must also take into account that Tim Willoughby is also twice the size of Tim Batow. So, pound for pound, there really isn’t anyone in the Vs. System better (or smaller, for that matter) than Tim Batow. I’ll let you in on a little secret: writing for Metagame.com is hard work! The writers at Metagame are held to a very high standard; in order to write for our illustrious website, the columnists must have both proven Vs. credentials and an ability to articulate his or her thoughts into a typewritten format. Those sound like simple enough tasks until you realize that the penalties for failure are severe. In my first month of writing for Metagame, I accidentally misspelled Toby Wachter’s last name as “Watcher.” As punishment, he forced me to type, “I shall never, ever, ever misspell my boss’s last name again” one million times.*

 

To be fair, though, Toby does have a tough job in trying to manage the variety of personalities that inhabit the pages of Metagame. Any person who has to put up with me, Rian Fike, Shane Wiggans, and Tim Willoughby must have near-infinite patience.** And that’s only on the Vs. System side—I hear that those Yu-Gi-Oh! writers are really nuts! Suffice it to say, Toby is a real glutton for punishment.

 

You may have noticed that I seem to be fairly focused on the topic of punishment. I’d like to say that this is because I’ve been deeply immersed in Dostoevsky novels, or perhaps, Marvel Knights cards named after these novels. But the truth is that it is a thinly veiled effort on my part to lead up to our preview card. You might have noticed from all of the sneak previews to date that the Villains United team has an underlying theme of “vengeance” or “retribution.” This theme presents some interesting possibilities for deckbuilding, as your cards are effectively active on either initiative. When you control the initiative, your characters will be attacking for oodles of damage. When your opponents control the initiative, your cards can potentially make them regret attacking.

 

This, of course, is the basis behind today’s preview card. May I present the newest incarnation of Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee:

  

 

 

A little history about Zazzala and her role in the Villains United: Zazzala is the leader of a world named Korll, a giant “beehive” planet, if you will. She had numerous run-ins with the Justice League throughout the 1960s and 70s. After being absent for a large part of the next two decades, Zazzala re-emerged to join Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang (hence her double stamping as a part of that team, as well). In the recent comic series “Villains United” (book #4, to be precise), it was revealed that Zazzala had joined the 200+ member roster of the new Secret Society of Super Villains, which is represented in the new set by the Villains United team.

 

Zazzala’s ultimate goal as the leader of Korll is to expand the presence of her species throughout the cosmos. To achieve this end, Zazzala will sacrifice anyone and anything. The Justice League has fought against Zazzala on numerous occasions to prevent her from enslaving humanity as drones for her ever-growing universal colony. Given her credo of sacrificing others to cultivate her ends, the effect of Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive is rather fitting.

 

When Toby sent me the email containing the information for this card, he said, “I think you’ll have fun with this.” And, oh, how right he was! My mind has been racing about how to abuse this card since the moment I saw it.

 

First, let’s take a look at the basics. Zazzala has decent stats at 5 ATK / 4 DEF. She also has concealed—optional, which can be very useful if you want to try to avoid getting her stunned. Finally, she has the team affiliations of both Villains United and the Injustice Gang.

 

This last feature is particularly important, as Zazzala works well in both team’s themes. We’ve already discussed how the Villains United team operates. For the Injustice Gang, she can be very effective in unison with Infernal Minions. Now, whenever your little Army guys get stunned, not only do you get a +1 ATK / +1 DEF counter, but your opponent also takes endurance loss.

 

Let’s talk a bit about options outside of the norm. Obviously, I like to write about how specific cards can be utilized in unique ways. I think there are a myriad of possibilities for Zazzala. First and foremost, it is important to note that Zazzala’s text specifies any character on the board that leaves play (including your opponent’s). This opens up a whole new set of options, as cards like Finishing Move, Total Anarchy, and Reign of Terror become pseudo-burn cards through her effect. Of course, you can double the fun with characters that remove both themselves and opposing characters from play. Captain Boomerang, George Harkness will send that opposing 2-drop back and hit your opponent for 4 endurance loss in the bargain. Dead-Eye may be suicidal, but your opponent will be the one mourning when he drags an opposing character to the KO’d pile with him while Zazzala takes a chunk out of your opponent’s endurance. And you thought Roy Harper ◊ Speedy was annoying before? Just wait until he and Zazzala start depleting endurance by rather large percentages every time he takes out an Anti-Green Lantern!

 

The first card that came to mind when I saw Zazzala was Multiple Man ◊ Jamie Madrox. Here we have the perfect set of drones for Zazzala to lead, as a copy of Multiple Man in play can remove itself from play to be replaced by up to two more copies from the player’s hand. Now, not only is Mr. Madrox a source of board advantage, but he’s also a source of direct endurance loss. Heck, if you had Zazzala and a copy of Multiple Man in play along with twenty-four copies of Multiple Man in hand, you could conceivably do 50 endurance damage with just those cards!

 

Given my proclivity to build janky decks in my regular Metagame column, I thought it would be fun to see what I could do with today’s sneak preview card. So here is my effort at some burn madness featuring Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive; Multiple Man; and a supporting cast of other potent burn cards:

 

The Mistress and the Madroxes (60 cards)

 

Characters

17 Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox

4 Ape X, Xina

2 Electric Eve, Live Wire

1 Joystick, Janice Yanizesh

4 Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive

2 Golden Archer, Wyatt McDonald

1 John Henry Irons ◊ Steel, Steel-Drivin’ Man

 

Plot Twists

4 Die for Darkseid!

4 Enemy of My Enemy

4 Flying Kick

4 Glass Jaw

4 No Man Escapes the Manhunters

4 Trial by Fire

 

Equipment

4 Flamethrower

1 Thunder Jet

 

 

This deck—inspired by Shaun Hayward’s “High Voltage” deck that has been dominating Golden Age $10K events as of late—attempts to take advantage of the synergies between Zazzala and several other Silver Age burn cards. Electric Eve is great from the perspective that she can net you anywhere from 3–5 extra endurance damage per game. Ape X is an obvious choice as an equipment searcher. Joystick is huge, but probably not really effective until later turns when we’ve used all of our cards. Golden Archer is almost always a guaranteed 6 points of direct endurance damage. And John Henry Irons ◊ Steel is just as big as Albert Gaines ◊ Nuke when equipped with a Flamethrower, but he has the option of dealing out burn damage on off-initiative turns.

 

However, the key combos stem off Multiple Man. Since we’ll be removing Mr. Madrox from play pretty much every time we have the chance, he is a natural choice for a Flamethrower. When he becomes stunned, we can put Flamethrower’s effect on the chain before his effect (ensuring that his effect will resolve first) and get a fresh new Multiple Man in play. As far as attacking goes, we have enough pump in the deck that Multiple Man should be able to attack two to three spots up the curve without too much difficulty. Of course, if we have Zazzala in play, we could easily suicide our Multiple Men into our opponent for cheap burn damage. As Rian Fike would no doubt say, “That’s 1 for me and 2 for you!”

 

The obvious goal of the deck is to get Multiple Man and Zazzala into play on turn 3, then use our ATK pumps to let Jamie Madrox stun off our opponent’s board on turn 3 or 4 (depending on initiative). A single turn of that, followed by some direct attacks by our remaining characters, should bring our opponent close to 0. We can then use Golden Archer and Die for Darkseid! (which burns for 6 when Zazzala is in play) to put the game effectively out of reach.

 

I’m sure that the Infinite Crisis set will have other options available to make Zazzala an even bigger menace to our opponents. But we still have a few more days to see what else this new set has to offer. In the meantime, we can only wait and wonder in eager anticipation.

 

So, get ready for Infinite Crisis and get to a Sneak Preview this weekend at a store near you. And if your friends haven’t yet heard, be sure to tell them what the “buzz” is all about!

 

(Sorry . . . I couldn’t resist making just one bee joke!)

 

 

 

* Thank goodness for MS Word’s cut and paste option. Come to think of it, Toby was rather surprised when I finished typing after only fifteen minutes . . .

 

** I was recently asked who my favorite Vs. System “Tim” was. Tim Willoughby is tons of fun and probably rates slightly above Tim Batow. However, you must also take into account that Tim Willoughby is also twice the size of Tim Batow. So, pound for pound, there really isn’t anyone in the Vs. System better (or smaller, for that matter) than Tim Batow.
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