(Metagame Archive) Risk Vs. Reward: Are You Creating Your Own Reality?

By Rian Fike

Reality creation has always been one of the most intriguing concepts in the world. There have been numerous novels, feature films, and ethereal exercises revolving around the human mind’s ability to fulfill its deepest desires within an actual life experience. This trading card game of ours is getting so good that it seems like we are manipulating reality itself.

Quite a few bombshells of information have detonated across the Vs. System community in the past few weeks. We had unveilings of future features and repairs to dangerous cards and combinations. The community was filled with excitement and enthusiasm. Each new announcement satisfied our collective wishes directly. It seemed that the offices of UDE were actually doing our bidding, creating the reality that we desire.

Since day one, the fans of Vs. System have been crying out for the chance to include characters and comic myths from companies beyond Marvel and DC Comics. Many of us believed that this would never be possible. But now, our impossible dream has come true. Hellboy is taking our game to the demonic depths, and we have been singing like a choir of angels ever since. The new Essential Collection sets will open vast vistas of possibilities for our cardboard culture. Things that we never thought could ever come close to being real are now very possible. Hang on tight—the future is blindingly bright.

There had been some concerns on the forums about three problematic interactions that the Infinite Crisis set had unleashed upon the metagame. We came together as a community and exposed the potential problems. There was a sense of urgency because the Pro Circuit San Francisco competitive environment could have been negatively affected, and it was only one month away. Then, Dave Humpherys saved the day.

Not only did those changes fix things perfectly, but the article was also very entertaining—especially his little tease that “[these changes] will also allow us more space to keep pushing the power level on future unique equipment—like, say, for a handful of related equipment in the Heralds of Galactus set . . .” Instantly upon reading that, my head exploded. There is one toy that I have always wanted. It is called the Infinity Gauntlet. It is a glorious golden glove that has spaces for different gemstones on the knuckles. It is most closely connected to Thanos in the comic myths. I’ve wanted a cardboard copy to use on my kitchen table when battling all my other favorites since the day Vs. System was first announced. It seems that I will finally get my wish with our next expansion; Thanos was confirmed by one of the other recent announcements. I have been pinching myself ever since, and I am awake.

I know that Pro Circuit San Francisco is mere weeks away, and it looks like one of the big decks there will be G’Lock. This stalling endurance-gain deck has the potential to survive the loss of Cover Fire in a Silver Age environment. It also received a huge upgrade in the person of Captain Marvel, Champion of Magic. G’Lock decks have traditionally needed to wait until the ninth or tenth turn to win, but the big new Shadowpact alternate win condition is awfully tempting. It almost seems that G’Lock players screamed “Shazam!” and their wishes came true. Meeting the loyalty condition is a bit tricky, but it seems that quite a few victories on the Pro Circuit will be traded for 25 endurance.

As the community shuffled and stewed over the possibility of a frustrating field full of endurance gainers, reality was changing again in the offices of UDE Research and Development. It looks like some of our Vs. System designers live in Bizarro World.


Bizarro World has been around for a very long time in the comic books. It received its own continuing series in the pages of Adventure Comics the month I was born. The old tales of Bizarro World were actually guided by the fans, much like the Nyssa Raatko card that we are creating as a community. Forty-four years later, Bizarro World has become something of an institution. Back in 1961, it was simply a place for Bizzaro and his bride to live in their own version of reality, away from a world that didn’t understand them. Today, it has become a common phrase throughout popular culture.


The Bizarro World myths are some of the wackiest, most wonderful stories that paper pulp has ever held. I never thought that their flavor could be captured fully in a Vs. System card, although I certainly wished for it. Thanks to the Man of Steel set, Bizarro World is indeed a reality. And it is also a really good idea; Bizarro World is the only card ever created that can change its text at will.

The reality that has been created by the Vs. System Bizarro World is simple: things change, and this location changes with them. Since the Shadowpacted G’Lock deck has the potential to gain enough endurance to dominate the PC: San Francisco environment with Katma Tui and her willful crew, Bizarro World can provide an antidote. Starting May 27, just in time for the Pro Circuit, Bizarro World will stop opponents from gaining endurance at all.


Not only does the new text of Bizarro World give G’Lock a good reason to pack a Breaking Ground or two, but it also gives the Revenge Squad team a reason to get really excited. Since opponents cannot gain endurance with Bizarro World in play, Bizarro, ME AM BIZARRO #1 also loses his vengeance drawback and becomes just about the biggest, baddest beatstick that turn 4 has ever seen. The reality of a Pro Circuit Day 3 Revenge Squad deck might still be too much of a fantasy to come true in San Francisco, but it sure is fun to think about.

Probably the most fun of all the recent announcements, and perhaps the one that promises to create a “new world” for Vs. System, is the revelation that the game we have come to know and love as a member of the family will now be available to play as a video game. Our TCG family is going to be expanded in ways that even I did not dare to dream about.


The screen shots from the upcoming Konami multi-platform video game are almost too good to be real. The first one is from the PC version, and it shows the super-cool reality of the “Stun!” graphics. It teases us with gorgeous virtual playmats and a hard-charging binary simulation of Rhino. And just when I think these fantastic possibilities cannot be grounded in fact, I look at the PSP version, and what do I see with my own eyes? Hand-held shiny purple virtual Sentinels! I am not telling tales from my imagination; see for yourself:


There are more than a few ways that our Vs. System reality will be changed by its video game translation. Popularity is sure to skyrocket. The artificial intelligence program that allows players to learn the game and test their skills will be one of the most fascinating and educational interfaces yet. The online play system will allow global interaction and sanctioned tournaments that deny the restrictions of geography. We will all be connected even more directly than ever before, and the game that we love will form the central hub. And it will all be real.

There is a real possibility that the final match at Pro Circuit San Francisco could be an alternate win condition duel between two completely different strategies. We already mentioned Captain Marvel, Champion of Magic. The other viable path to winning without reducing your opponent to 0 endurance is a secret. Secret Six, that is.


We have a Secret Six deck in the hidden hive of the We’re Bugs! team, so I can’t give you a full list. But I can tell you that it is a real possibility for some crazy creative victories on the Pro Circuit. Alternate win conditions are always great in real life, and this is one of the wildest. Secret Six Victorious checks to see if you have the secluded seis in place at the start of the recruit step, so you can actually create a reality that only sees four rounds of combat before the win. The six characters you need to meet the win condition do not all need to be different from each other, and Lex Luthor, Mockingbird loves to sneak an extra Fiddler or two onto the field. Scandal can fetch the Secret Six Victorious, and It’s Not Over Yet can flip the Mockingbirded characters to fill your quota. Add the protective power of Dodge the Bullet or Ragdoll, and you might just find yourself basking in the reality of a Pro Circuit championship.

As usual, Pro Circuit San Francisco has me dreaming of a 1-cost Army deck that wins $40,000 in one weekend. I could not create a functional illusion of my real-life educational commitments disappearing long enough to allow me to attend this party, so someone else will need to do it for me. Believe it or not, Anti-Green Lanterns actually allow the possibility. I hope it happens—for real.

Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes, and he owns a rather tenuous grip on reality. If you know any ways to help him stabilize through Vs. System, send them along to rianfike@hattch.com.


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