(Metagame Archive) Risk Vs. Reward: Some Days are Better than Others

By Rian Fike

Cinco De Mayo is hot. It started in Mexico with a day of liberation, and it has become one of the spiciest worldwide fiestas of the year. May 5, 2006 was even more special than ever.

In the year 2000, the world was supposed to end on Cinco De Mayo . . . according to one man’s interpretation of the Egyptian pyramids. I am not making that up and it did not come from a comic book. Richard Noone studied the mysterious mathematics of the Great Pyramid and calculated its cosmic calendar. He concluded that the end of history was pinpointed on May 5, 2000, and he correlated the doomsday date to a cataclysmic melting of the polar ice caps.

Richard Noone first published his frightening findings in 1986. The book was not simply an announcement that the end of the world was nigh, but rather a very entertaining and educational study of ancient Egyptian mathematics combined with cutting-edge New Age philosophy. My friends and I found the book during its second printing and new marketing push in 1998.

You know it’s been a good day if you have worked together with a bunch of people and accomplished a common goal. Successful teamwork creates a sense of satisfaction that cannot be found on your own. In this case, since we only had a few years left as a planet to re-harmonize our intentions, we decided to party like it’s 1999 . . . even though it was only 1998. To make a long story short, it worked. We successfully team attacked Armageddon. The world did not end on May 5, 2000, and each new Cinco De Mayo makes me appreciate life that much more.

This year’s five-date fiesta started at school. It was the climactic Friday of Teacher Appreciation Week and we cleared the students out of the building quickly and turned the Salsa up really loud. Working in an educational institution provides another great opportunity for teamwork. Cinco De Mayo 2006 just happened to be the perfect day to celebrate our communal accomplishments. Our school mascot is the White Tiger, and with another successful school year almost complete, we got to frolic in our feline team affiliation properly.

Celebrating with co-workers was fun, but my main focus of the day would be happening later. It was a hockey night in Miami, and that means an even bigger party every time. We absolutely adore watching team sports. Each game gets better when it is cheered by a flock of friends working together to will our side to victory. The target for our fanatical fiesta this year was the Buffalo Sabres. The game was the first of a seven-game series with the Ottawa Senators and it promised to be a beauty. Lindy Ruff has trained his troops to perfection, and this year’s Sabres can team attack like no other squad in the NHL. They were fifth in the league in scoring, yet no individual player reached seventy-five points for the season. That left their leading scorer a full fifty points behind the league leaders. They still won their way into the playoffs and only missed the number one seed in the East by three points.

This year’s Buffalo Sabres fulfill all of the cliches; they work together as one, they are all on the same page, and there is no “I” in team. Cinco De Mayo saw them put on a show that shattered records and vocal cords across the entirety of the hockey-watching world. It was a thrilling see-saw battle that went back and forth so often that it set a new standard for the amount of tying goals in a game. There were three goals scored in the first two minutes and three goals scored in the last two minutes, alternating each time between victory and defeat. The Sabres sent the game to overtime with a spectacular shot in the waning seconds of the third period and won wildly with a Chris Drury miracle only eighteen seconds into overtime. The final score was 7-6! The team never gave up, and together they overcame every obstacle for a sensational start to the series.


The New York Mets also played a fourteen-inning masterpiece on Cinco De Mayo this year, vanquishing the hated rival Atlanta Braves, but I have spent enough time today on non-superhero sports. Let’s talk teamwork in Vs. System.

When I woke on the morning after May 5, I found a treasure in my email inbox. It happened to be from another die-hard hockey fan. Jason Gillespie lives in Montreal, and since his beloved Canadiens had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, he was busy working on a team of cardboard champions instead. His deck focuses on building a sizable board presence of small characters and then fully abusing the team attack. Let’s take a look.

Justice Farm

Jason Gillespie


4 Sue Dibny

4 Lois Lane, Star Reporter

4 Lana Lang, Smallville Sweetheart

3 Catherine Cobert

2 Perry White

2 Jimmy Olson

1 Oberon

4 Max Lord

4 Kelex

2 Booster Gold

4 Joseph Jones ◊ General Glory

2 Silver Sorceress

Plot Twists

4 Justice League Task Force

4 Safety in Numbers

2 Enemy of My Enemy


4 The Kent Farm

4 Birthing Chamber

3 Slaughter Swamp

1 Phantom Zone


2 Justice League Signal Device


The Justice Farm deck is the essence of teamwork. It can consistently build a little line-up of five or six characters by turn 4, since Sue Dibny and Lois Lane can beat the bushes to find plenty of weenies to recruit. Booster Gold loves to fund his fellow teammates, too. Lana Lang, Smallville Sweetheart can be played for free and she can also save you from the big breakthrough. The deck has insane amounts of pumping power with Catherine Cobert and a row full of green. Between Birthing Chamber and Justice League Signal Device, the deck cycles through almost every card. Safety in Numbers is truly nuts when the team is all on the same page. My main man Joseph Jones ◊ General Glory comes in and controls the opposing board, while Kent Farm’s seeds of potential are finally allowed to bloom and thrive. With proper tuning, Jason’s Justice Farm could actually harvest some serious cash in the Silver Age metagame.

Studying all those team attack tricks gets me all excited. Since the early days with my darling Wild Sentinels following their Combat Protocols, I have been a big fan of the combined swing. When I get a particular itch like this I always head straight for Dylan Northrup’s Vs. System search engine. This time, I typed the words “team attack” into the card text box and came up with exactly fifty different cards with which to draw up plays on the chalkboard in the locker room. Here are some of my favorites.


Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has always been one of the coolest cards in the game. The Spider-Friends team affiliation is one of the eight affiliations that have extended abilities for team attacking. The others are X-Men, Gotham Knights, Avengers, Teen Titans, Injustice Gang, JLI, and Team Superman. The benefits of team attacking are found in multiple ATK pumps, alternate recruitment or search effects, unstunnability, character readying, and KO effects.

Cyclops, Slim is a good example of the big beef that can be brought with a successful team attack deck. Unlike the friendly web-head we mentioned earlier, this little captain does not even need to be involved in an attack to pump up his posse. Slim only works for X-Men, however. If you are looking for a late-game enhancement of your multiple-character swing strategies, don’t forget Kimiyo Hoshi ◊ Dr. Light. That’s a shining ability that needs no Team-Up to illuminate your cooperative ventures. When your weenie wonder-team wants to enjoy some sacrifice for the greater good, try Grandstanding. It’s hard to beat a +7 ATK / +7 DEF spotlight or two.

One Vs. System technique really puts a bee in my bonnet when it comes to the group-mind connection that occurs when a team attack is synchronized in perfect harmony. Yep, you guessed it. Bugs! Insectoid Troopers have a natural taste for teamwork from the day they emerge from the hive, but Hard-Light Storage Tank is the card that really gets me buzzing. With no Longshot, Rebel Freedom Fighter allowed in the next two Pro Circuit events, the Tank might be the ticket to a proper swarm. When I diagram the schemes for that particular creepy crawly concoction, an Infestation of ideas explodes all over the table—kinda like the piñata we busted wide open with a hockey stick when the final goal was scored on Cinco De Mayo.

Some days are better than others.

Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes, and he wants to fiesta with you. Hopefully, we won’t need to wait for Cinco De Mayo next year. Send party arrangements to rianfike@hattch.com.


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