It’s a Miracle!

Last Christmas, when I was busy praying for Vs.-related gifts and watchingMiracle on 34th Street the traditional Christmas movie fare, something caught my attention. I looked closely at the DVD box art of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and saw something I had never seen before. The Santa in the background looked oddly familiar. It was then that I remembered that they had to add a subtitle to the movie to keep it in line with all five of its sequels and prequels. The new subtitle was: ‘Miracle on Yancy Street’. Now I might just be getting this movie confused with ‘Star Wars’, or it’s possible that my opening diversions are just getting much more insane; either way, I was inspired. But instead of trying to find a way to abuse Yancy Street itself, which would pigeonhole me to Golden Age, I decided to settle for just a miracle… Mister Miracle to be exact.

The first thing to note about the game text of Shiloh Norman <> Mister Miracle, Soldier of Victory, is that he requires you to control another New Gods character. ***SPOILER ALERT*** There are no other New Gods characters in Silver Age. Lame right? This means any attempt to abuse him requires a team-up. In case you’re wondering what’s so special about Shiloh, let’s take a trip back in time to the Web of Spider-Man set.Shiloh Norman Many of the Spider-Friends had the keyword ‘evasion’. Evasion was an interesting concept because it let you stun your own characters so that you could get them back later. The problem with evading was that it would leave your board completely open for your opponent to get in a ton of early damage. Most players found that keeping your characters until later rarely made up for the endurance loss you suffered early game, especially because you were still taking stun damage. In terms of mechanics, evasion was a lot like cosmic; it was pretty underpowered when released, but was fixed with a later refeature. Evasion got it’s refeature in the X-Men set. In this set they gave evasion characters abilities that triggered when becoming stunned. This took away some of the pain of evading, but not entirely. Enter Shiloh Norman from the Legion of Super Heroes set. His vengeance ability means that whenever he becomes stunned during an attack, the attacker does not ready. His evasion ability means you can be the one doing the stunning instead of your opponent. That means you’re essentially paying three endurance to cancel one of your opponents attacks… and you get to do it every turn!

While thinking of the best teams to abuse Shiloh with, I became bogged down with Join Us or Dieideas. This is something that never happens to me, so I figured I’d take advantage of the situation and write up a little bit on the many possibilities. The first thing I thought of was Villains United. They have an easy method of teaming up; Join Us or Die to get multiple stuns out of Shiloh; and a one drop that can search for characters with vengeance. They do not really fit the stall theme though. In fact, their stall-orientated character is already a three drop (Dr. Polaris). If Polaris was a 7/7 four drop, this team-up would get me a little excited, especially with Mr. Freeze on turn 5. If you can make this work, give me a shout with your list. I would love to see it!

The next team I thought about was Underworld. They were another team that could easily team-up. I had actually forgot about them until seeing Carlos the Dwarf’s avatar. BlackheartI thought about using a Mind Gem on Shiloh every turn to get extra character cards into the KO’d pile, then using Ritual Sacrifice to put those cards back under the deck to gain endurance. I really liked this because it softened the blow of losing three endurance a turn. This also had good synergy with the Underworld four drop, Blackheart. He stays hidden so that your opponents have to attack your three drop. He also KO’s your opponents three drop so that they have to attack down the curve with their four drop. The rest of the Underworld curve is where I get turned-off. They don’t have much going beyond turn four, and I was hoping not to have to add a third team. Again, if you can tweak this, let me know!

Next I thought of the current champion of attack-deflection: Invisible Woman.Force Field Projection Popular builds use her hidden three drop version because she best enables a board of all four Fantastic Four members; however, there is a four drop version as well. Like her three drop version and Blackheart, Invisible Woman, Baroness Von Doom can also sit in the hidden area. From here she can use Force Field Projection to force your opponent to attack Shiloh multiple times. Again, a very fun concept, but when you think about the great cards for the Fantastic Four, you can’t help but notice that a lot of them are dependent on how many family members are on the table. Putting Shiloh in at your three drop spot seems to slow down the tight knit clan.

When evasion was refeatured in the X-men set, it focused mostly on the Morlock’sBloodhound team. So I looked there for a team-up too. Morlock’s have the Silver Age equivalent of Yancy Street: The Alley, which would protect all your evasion characters from cheap KO’s. It also has cards like The Hill; The Forsaken team-up; Bloodhound, which searches for evasion characters like our Shiloh; and Backs Against the Wall, which removes attackers from attacks similar to Force Field Projection. The three drop spot also happens to be a weak spot in the Morlock’s curve, so I really liked this team-up. The Morlock’s have a really strong curve from turn four onward.

My ideas didn’t stop with the Morlocks however. I also couldn’t get over the fact that Shiloh is constantly recovering. Everyone is currently going crazy over X-Men Assemble!,X-Men Assemble! which gives X-Men characters +1/+1 every time they recover, so why not take advantage of that? The one drop Archangel can get X-Corp: Amsterdam to team-up. Bishop can fetch X-Men Assemble! on turn two. The five drop Wolverine auto recovers at the start of the recovery phase. You could have a huge board in no time! Not only would your opponent need an attack pump just to stun Shiloh, but it would be wasted once he just evades. I love it, but you need to hit a very specific curve. The problem with this is that all the X-men search cards are team specific. Generic searchers like Enemy of my Enemy are weak unless we’re going to include other non-X-Men characters besides Shiloh. It’s especially hard to force this build when the X-Men already have an auto-recovering three drop, Morph.

Spider-Friends used to be the evasion team, and they’ve been getting some support for that theme in recent releases. For that reason, I decided to look at them too. What I found was pretty impressive. For one thing, they have a well-known card cycling engine. It involves Black Cat, Nine Lives (an evasion two drop), Mind Gem, and Empire State University. Your turn three would look something like this: 1) Draw. 2) Recruit Shiloh. 3) Recruit Mind Gem on Black Cat. 4) Exhaust Black Cat to ESU. 5) Evade Black Cat to use her ability and bounce the gem back to your hand. 6) Recruit the gem on Shiloh and wait for your opponent to attack. If I did my Spider-Man, Bag-Manmath correct this would mean you get to see seven cards and only discard four for the turn. This ability to set up the rest of you game so early has HIGH potential. Especially when you remember that the four drop Spider-Man, Bag-Man has a vengeance-type ability that forces your opponent to exhaust someone. This is huge when you consider that your two and three drops are already recovering automatically. Besides, if you wanted to give Bag-Man evasion, it’s only a Spider-Sense Tingling! away! Bag-Man can even be the target of Gift Wrapped. They also have another two drop with evasion that can search out the Stark Tower team-up. Is anyone else out there getting goose bumps? Yet this is still not the team I chose to flesh out.

With that I’m going to leave you hanging. I have a spring break to enjoy, so I’ll be back next week with part 2 of “Breaking Norman.” While you stew at me for the week I want you to help me think of even more ways to crack Norman wide open, because there is no way my limited mind thought of even half of them.

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One Response

  1. Holy crap, that is good stuff. Shiloh is insane, both in art and in effect. Your article is magnificent.

    And now you get Spring Break! Enjoy yourself as much as I did reading this, I can’t wait until you get back.

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