(Metagame Archive) Week in Review: May 8

By Anand Khare

Infinite Crisis. Wow. That’s really all that has to be said, right? These past few weeks have been all about the brand-new set, which features some of the most powerful cards printed since Origins. Sneak Preview tournaments everywhere were a rousing success; it’s always nice to see the look on a player’s face when he or she sees the first truly unique or extremely powerful card from a new expansion. Incidentally, I was planning to bring you all a Sneak Preview report for last week. You may have noticed that my article was absent. Unfortunately, my laptop caught fire (no jokes), depriving my readers of a report and my wallet of several hundred dollars. Bad beats all around. Still, the Crisis release was a blast. I’ve heard nothing but good things from players of all types about the new teams, and my inbox is literally overflowing with new deck ideas. You wouldn’t believe how many copies of Conjuration you can play on turn 3. Oops . . . I’ve said too much.

So, not one but two weeks have rolled on without me. There were a number of good Sneak Preview primers, along with the FAQ. The Sneak Previews are obviously done with, but I would still strongly recommend that everyone click on that link and download the set FAQ. With each set, there are always rules ambiguities and cards that might not work the way you think they do. Even if you’re not a rules junkie, it’s always a good idea to check out the FAQ and make sure you have a handle on anything new that might have been introduced. You get the point.

This past week, we had some particularly excellent submissions. Strategy and commentary on Crisis as a whole isn’t quite out there yet, but you can expect to see plenty of it in the coming weeks, some of it from me. The past few days, therefore, have been back to the basics. Among other things, we have two (!) new columnists and some new tricks from our old dogs (so to speak). I am writing about the week in review, after all; let’s get to it.

Paul Ross began the week on Sunday, while most of you were probably still at your local Sneak Preview. His twenty-ninth installment of Cerebro covered some more advanced topics and also introduced the new SOFT document. Basically, the Summary of FAQ Terms lists very concise descriptions and definitions of pretty much every keyword you will run across while playing Vs. System. If you know all of the rules by heart, you probably don’t need this, but if you’re new to the game or aren’t sure of the nuts and bolts of exactly how something works, it’s an extremely handy reference. The Comprehensive Rules can be a little bulky, and this document presents most of the same information much more succinctly.

Rian Fike presented a scrapbook of sorts on Monday, covering . . . wait, what did he cover, exactly? That’s right: everything. Rian brought us his usual torrent of anecdotal enjoyment in greater helpings than usual. One thing that I found particularly interesting was his re-evaluation of his preview card. Now that the set’s out, the cat’s out of the bag; the new Lex Luthor, along with the rest of the Sinister Six, seem to have been designed with Sinister Six Victorious in mind. Rian’s ideas, though, were put to paper well before Crisis was debuted and have nothing to do with that ongoing plot twist. It just goes to show how versatile cards can be when you put your mind to using them in a new way. Just because the developers had a certain interaction in mind doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot more potential there that you aren’t seeing.

Tuesday saw the debut of a brand new writer, Steve Garrett. Steve’s topic of choice was the Hobby League, and a fine topic it is. Most people don’t realize this, but a huge number of people play in their local Hobby Leagues . . . enough to put the PC to shame. Steve talks about his experiences starting Vs. System from scratch and picking up the game. If you are completely new to the game, dear reader, and you’ve happened to stumble halfway down this article of mine, than this is an excellent resource for you! It also brought back some memories of when I was starting out in Vs. System. For example, in my very first Vs. System tournament (a Marvel Origins Sealed Pack event), my curve was Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Sabretooth. And I lost. Badly. And I’ve only gotten worse since then! True story.

Anyway, back to the last week. Wednesday was the debut of another new writer, one by the name of Shane Wiggans. Shane crushed me in the semifinals of the last PC, and he’s an all-around good guy and great player. Shane delved deeply into my kind of subject matter—the important stuff about decisions that you have to make during a game of Vs. System. Among other things, he talked about formation, information control, and game pace. A good read for a Vs. System player of any level.

Also on Wednesday, we had the return of a regular columnist. Michael Barnes presented us with his best attempt at breaking Mattie Franklin ◊ Spider-Woman. He integrated her seamlessly into a Brotherhood reservist deck featuring the likes of Scanner and Go Down Fighting. I think the final result is pretty cool. It’s interesting to note that this deck wouldn’t have worked before the X-Men expansion, because previously, Team-Ups didn’t affect character cards that were face-down in the resource row.

On Thursday, Alex Brown had a little something to say about Draft. More accurately, a lot to say. Alex watched Scott Hunstad (another Australian pro) do a draft and noted each and every pick. Also, for each pick, he provided a paragraph of well-informed commentary. This article, right here, is probably the best Draft resource that’s ever been printed for the X-Men expansion. Read it, learn it, and your performance will improve drastically.

Friday was Tim Willoughby’s day, and he brought us his very first impressions of the Infinite Crisis set. He listed his top choices for the best cards of the set and discussed how it just might have the tools to foil Dr. Light and Faces. Why does this matter? In short . . . Silver Age. Pro Circuit San Francisco. They’re coming.

On Saturday, Jacob Rabinowitz gave us another article on the Marvel Modern Age format for this round of PCQs. This time, he explores the power of rogue decks in the format. If you want to use creativity to win a spot on the Pro Circuit, this article is the perfect place to start.

Do you know who Graham Van Leeuwen is? I didn’t either, but he wrote one hell of a tournament report on Sunday. If you’ve never been to a Pro Circuit, this report covers the ins and outs of the event very, very well. I can’t wait for Part Two, and I hope we see more from Graham in the future.

That’s about it for this week’s Week in Review. As always, you can reach me with questions, comments, and stories at anand@metagame.com. Until next time . . .

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