(Metagame Archive) One Step Beyond: Group Therapy

Steve Garrett

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages! Degeneration X proudly brings to you its (“soon-to-be” if they weren’t already, or “former and future”) WWF Tag Team Champions of the Worrrrrrrrrrld, the Road Dogg Jesse James! The Bad Ass Billy Gunn! The New! Age! Outlaws!”

This is a throwback to the “attitude” era of the World Wrestling Federation. You have two wrestlers (Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg) who were okay on their own and quickly evolved into a decent tag team, but it wasn’t until they joined forces with the Degeneration X faction that they really shone. They are probably one of the most entertaining tag teams in professional wrestling history.

“I’m Bill S. Preston, Esquire . . .”

“. . . and I’m Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan. And we are . . .”

 “Wyld Stallyns!”

Bill and Ted are a couple of San Dimas, California’s most intellectually challenged teenagers. Aspiring rock musicians who don’t have what it takes to make it big, they can’t convince Eddie Van Halen to join them (for some bizarre reason), and things look bleak for the fledgling band. After a little bit of temporal tomfoolery, they rescue a couple of beautiful medieval English princesses. They eventually join the Wyld Stallyns, helping propel the band to superstardom and bringing about world peace or some such nonsense.

Yes, two is a great number, but as my grandmother always used to say—the more, the merrier.

Vs. System is without doubt a brilliant game. Endless fun is to be had heads up against a friend, but sometimes it’s even more fun if you throw a couple more bodies into the game. Despite being such good times, multiplayer Vs. System is a largely overlooked area of the game. A couple of weeks ago, a few of the guys at my local store decided to have a multiplayer free-for-all. The six of us sat down around the table and prepared for a game. While the rules of our match stated that it was every man for himself, there were alliances formed and quite a bit of friendly bullying.

Before I go further, I must tell you about one guy who goes to our shop—a 14-year-old lad who goes by the name of Ralph. This is not the name given by his parents; he was granted this name by the patrons of the store due to his uncanny resemblance to Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. This young man is a bit of a pain, but you can’t help but like him. Anyway, because he can be so irritating, he always becomes the focal point for a beatdown. Everyone makes it his goal to knock him out as quickly as possible—then, we can begin the real game. It’s all done in good humor, and Ralph himself is often found playing his own copy of Flying Kick onto a character attacking him just to kill himself off more quickly.

These games are good fun, and there is so much more you can do with the multiplayer format. There is nothing stopping you from creating your own rules and limitations—just make sure that all players know the score before you begin. To make sure that any one player is not knocked out before turn 2, why not set a rule that states that a player cannot be attacked by consecutive opponents?

The area of multiplayer action that interests me the most is team games. Working with someone to take down the opposition provides a whole new dimension to strategy and deckbuilding. You could play a multiplayer game with your normal everyday deck, but there are advantages to be gained by sitting down with your teammate and constructing two decks that work off each other. This is an excellent opportunity to use those cards you would love to include in your deck if you had the space. I spent some time testing the Doom / Injustice Gang team-up deck a while back, and I loved it. The problem with the deck is that there isn’t enough room to include everything required to make it work well.

These two decks are designed to be used together in a standard two-on-two match. Each player has his or her own front, support, and resource rows, and each has an individual endurance total.


   Injustice Gang Yin


6 Infernal Minions
4 IQ
2 Captain Boomerang, George Harkness

4 Lex Luthor, Nefarious Philanthropist
2 Sam Scudder ◊ Mirror Master

4 The Joker, Headline Stealer

1 Fiero
4 Scarecrow, Psycho Psychologist

2 The General

1 The Joker, Permanent Vacation

Plot Twists
4 Criminal Mastermind
4 Power Siphon
4 Surprise Attack
4 Gravesite
4 All Too Easy
4 Secret Files
3 Trapped in the Sciencells

3 Injustice Gang Satellite

   Doom Yang



4 Boris, Personal Servant of Dr. Doom

6 Robot Sentry, Army

4 Purple Man, Zebediah Killgrave

2 Doom-Bot, Army

4 Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius

3 Kristoff Von Doom, Pretender to the Throne

1 Robot Destroyer, Army

1 Sub-Mariner, Atlantean Monarch

4 Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom

1 Sub-Mariner, Ally of Doom

Plot Twists

4 Reign of Terror

4 Mystical Paralysis

4 Entangle

4 Faces of Doom

4 Hidden Surveillance

3 Null Time Zone

3 Have a Blast!


4 Doomstadt

The way these decks work together is really quite good. Both decks have control elements, but the Doom deck does most of that work. The Diabolic Genius and his cronies are there to ensure that the Injustice Gang gets its burn action going. Doom provides cover by really limiting your opposing team’s options. The strength of cards like Reign of Terror, Mystical Paralysis, and Entangle is well-known, but one of my favorite cards from the Doom build is Hidden Surveillance. Not only does it slow your opponent down, but it also helps to increase the potency of Trapped in the Sciencells.

The Injustice Gang side of the equation is all about burn, burn, and a little more burn. I’ve seen a lot of Injustice Gang decks that do not include a 1-drop. That seems a little silly to me. If you can activate a Criminal Mastermind on turn 1, you’re onto a very good thing. Gravesite and IQ are a thing of beauty. In a solo game, I achieved the “nutz” draw by turn 3. I had IQ and Lex in play, with a resource row of Criminal Mastermind, Gravesite, and Trapped in the Sciencells. My opponent was using a reservist deck, which made Trapped in the Sciencells all the sweeter. Getting the burn action going as quickly as possible is key to winning. Also, Lex Luthor should be protected at all costs. Even go as far as letting your 4-drop die in the recovery phase in favor of keeping Lex. He is that important.

As I suggested earlier, why not make up your own rules regarding the format of your multiplayer games? One way that I particularly enjoy is the “Tag Team” format. The minimum number of players is four (two vs. two). You share a combined endurance total (50 endurance per player on your team—so a three-player team would have an endurance total of 150). Players have their own resource rows and KO’d pile, but teammates share front and support rows. You are considered to control characters recruited by your teammates, but you may not actually use those characters yourself. This stipulation allows your teammates to reinforce you or use card effects like Lanterns in Love. Perhaps the most fitting strategy for a format like this is the ally deck.

Here are a couple of lists that are quite fun to use together:

   World’s Greatest Tag Team
Good Guys


4 Sue Digby
4 Ted Kord ◊ Blue Beetle
4 Booster Gold
2 Connor Hawke ◊ Green Arrow
1 Adam Strange, Champion of Rann

1 Maxwell Lord
4 Shayera Thal ◊ Hawkwoman
1 Silver Sorceress
3 Katar Hol ◊ Hawkman
1 Oliver Queen ◊ Green Arrow, Emerald Archer
2 Fire
1 John Henry Irons ◊ Steel, Steel Drivin’ Man
1 Oliver Queen ◊ Green Arrow, Hard Travelling Hero

Plot Twists
4 World’s Greatest Heroes
4 Magnificent Seven
3 Enemy of My Enemy
3 Trial by Fire
3 No Man Escapes the Manhunters
1 Null Time Zone
1 Removed from Continuity

4 Kooey Kooey Kooey

4 Nth Metal
1 High-Tech Flare Gun
Bad Bots


4 Sue Dibny
4 Maxwell Lord

16 Wild Sentinel
4 Animal Man, Buddy Baker

4 Fire

Plot Twists

4 Millennium

1 Justice League Task Force, Team-Up

4 Reconstruction Program

4 Search and Destroy

4 Magnificent Seven

3 Savage Beatdown

1 Have a Blast!


4 Kooey Kooey Kooey

1 South American Sentinel Base
1 Birthing Chamber
1 Slaughter Swamp

As you are considered to control all characters on your team, ally abilities are quite easily realized. You could run two identical “Good Guys” decklists if you liked, but I really like the Wild Sentinel / Fire deck I’ve listed above. My local store owner Jason first introduced me to the Wild Sentinel version a while back, and it is really fun to play with. I’ve tweaked the list a little bit from his build, but the principle remains the same.

I hope I’ve given you something to think about. If you’ve never tried a multiplayer game, you really should try to organize one as soon as possible. They can be an absolute blast. Hopefully, team events are somewhere in the future for Vs. System Organized Play. I can see them being a huge success. Please feel free to email me with any of your multiplayer ideas.

Before I leave you today, I would like to apologize for not posting the Deckbuilder Challenge Cup top 5 decklists until now. Personal circumstances have kept me away from my computer, and I had a huge amount to go through. If you missed out on the Challenge, you can read about it here.

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to join in. Unfortunately, I had to whittle it down to a top five, so here we go. In no particular order, we have:

Brian Herman  “Fantastic Assassins”


4 Ant Man, Scott Lang

4 Human Torch, Johnny Storm

1 Talia, Beloved Daughter

4 Hook, Hired Killer

1 Thing, Ben Grimm

3 Ra’s al Ghul, Eternal Nemesis

3 Merlyn, Deadly Archer

4 Mr. Fantastic, Stretch

1 Bane, Ubu

1 Ra’s al Ghul, Master Swordsman

2 Sensei, Martial Arts Master

2 Lady Shiva, Master Assassin

1 Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd

Plot Twists

4 Cosmic Radiation

3 Tech Upgrade

4 The Demon’s Head


4 Stormfront-1

4 Lazarus Pit

4 Mountain Stronghold

3 Flying Fortress


3 Mother Box

Robert Bridge  “Multiple Moonriders”

4 Dagger, Child of Light

1 Micro-Chip
1 Mikado and Mosha
6 Soldiers of New Genesis
4 Vykin
4 Hannibal King
4 Poison Ivy, Deadly Rose

4 Mark Moonrider
2 Garth ◊ Tempest

Plot Twists
4 Midnight Sons
4 Wild Ride
4 Cosmic Radiation
4 Marvel Team-Up
4 Forever People
4 Children of Forever

3 Birthing Chamber
2 New Genesis
1 Slaughter Swamp

Sam Roads  “Both Pies Cooking”

4 Dagger, Child of Light
4 Micro-Chip

2 Invisible Woman, Invisible Girl
2 Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards

4 Alfred Pennyworth

3 Mikado and Mosha
1 Spoiler, Stephanie Brown

1 Aunt May
1 Madame Web, Cassandra Webb

1 Shimmer
1 Garth ◊ Tempest

2 Dallas Riordan, Mayoral Aide
1 Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas
1 The Joker, Emperor Joker

Plot Twists

4 Wild Ride
4 Bat-Signal

4 Cosmic Radiation
4 A Child Named Valeria
4 Midnight Sons

1 Fizzle
1 Have a Blast!
4 Millennium

4 Utility Belt
1 War Wagon

1 Catcher’s Mitt
 Jin Yi Huang  “The Zeitgeist Shuffle”


3 El Guapo, Robbie Rodriguez

1 Ant Man, Scott Lang

3 Human Torch, Johnny Storm

1 Kelex, Faithful Servant

1 Poison Ivy, Deadly Rose

1 Floronic Man, Jason Woodrue

1 Moonglow, Melissa Hanover

1 Medusa, Inhuman

3 Phat, Liv’n Large

4 La Nuit, Pierre Truffaut

1 Invisible Woman, Sue Storm

4 Mr. Fantastic, Stretch

4 Zeitgeist, Axel Cluney

1 Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing

1 Anarchist, Man of the People

1 Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd

1 Doop, Ultimate Weapon

Plot Twists

3 Never Give Up!

2 Teamwork

4 Cosmic Radiation

4 A Day Unlike Any Other

3 Tech Upgrade

3 Signal Flare

3 Spin Doctoring



3 X-Statix HQ



2 Mother Box

1 Quadromobile



TheLord  “Xtastic Discard”



Archangel, Angel
She-Thing, Sharon Ventura
Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards
She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
Medusa, Inhuman
Rogue, Power Absorption
Human Torch, Hotshot
Professor X, Charles Xavier
Emma Frost, Headmistress of Xavier’s Academy
Mr. Fantastic, Scientific Genius

Plot Twists
Cosmic Radiation
Fastball Special
X-Treme Maneuver
X-Men United, Team-Up
Enemy of My Enemy
Signal Flare
Power Nexus

1 X-Corp: Amsterdam,  X-Corp
1 Worthington Industries, X-Corp


1 The Blackbird


You can vote for your favorite deck from this list by emailing me at kamiza989@gmail.com

. You can only pick one deck. Please make sure you use the deck name that I have listed. I have also posted the poll on my website, so you may vote by clicking here.

Due to deadlines and such, the winners will be announced in my article on Tuesday, June 20. Never fear, though, because next week I will be setting Challenge #2 to keep your little grey cells ticking over.

Until then, be excellent to each other . . . and party on, dudes!


Steve Garrett



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