Big Brother’s House

“At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmic chant of ‘B-B! …. B-B! …. B-B!’-over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first ‘B’ and the second-a heavy murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamps of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms.” ~George Orwell’s 1984

That’s right, today’s article is about Brotherhood; more specifically Big Brotherhood.  Like his democracy-hating counterpart “Big Brother”, Magneto takes the path of domination or more aptly, submission.  For this reason Brotherhood has little to no stall elements.  They’re all about hitting hard and hitting early… and hitting middle… and late.  Really, they just like to hit things.

As a refresher, Big Brotherhood is a specific type of Brotherhood deck that curves out and uses Lost City to pump its characters out of reach of your opponent’s characters.  This deck idea has been around in one form or another since the very first set.  People have tried to abuse Lost City with Superman clones, Kang, even Arkham Inmates were proven to have synergy with Brotherhood as shown by Alex Antonios’ $10K Brisbane winning build:

4x Harley Quinn
4x Mastermind, Jason Wyngarde
1x Mr. Mxyzptlk, Troublesome Trickster
1x Mikado and Mosha
4x Mad Hatter
4x Poison Ivy, Deadly Rose
1x Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon
1x Adam Strange, Champion of Rann
4x Mammomax
1x Rogue, Anna Raven
3x Blob, Fred Dukes
4x Anne-Marie Cortez
1x Magneto, Eric Lehnsherr
1x Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff

4x Straight to the Grave
4x Enemy of my Enemy
4x Ka-Boom!

4x Avalon Space Station
3x Slaughter Swamp
2x Lost City
3x Metropolis
2x Genosha 

A Big Brotherhood build also took the crown at $10K Madrid.  This one was piloted by Jose Maria Aramburu and focused around the four drop Centurious, The Soulless Man: 

4x Dagger, Child of Light
2x Daredevil, Protector of Hell’s Kitchen
4x Steel Wind, Cyborg Cyclist
4x Werewolf By Night, Jack Russell
4x Mephisto, Soulstealer
2x Luke Cage, Power Man
2x Varnae, First Vampire
4x Brother Voodoo
2x Moon Knight
2x Blackheart, Son of Mephisto
4x Centurious, The Soulless Man
1x Blade, The Daywalker
1x Dr. Strange, Stephen Strange

4x Mist Form
4x Wake the Dead
4x Midnight Sons
4x Wild Ride
2x Have A Blast!

4x Lost City
4x Avalon Space Station

Since these innovative takes on Big Brotherhood, the Brotherhood team has been refeatured a couple more times.  For this reason I decided to see if a mono-team build of Big Brotherhood was possible.  To aid in this quest I came up with a chart to see where all the Brotherhood characters lie on the curve.  Since Lost City relies on powering-up, we need to design a curve that uses characters at more than one drop.  For this reason I’ve only included brotherhood characters with more than one version in the chart.

Yay!  Charts!

  1 Drop 2 Drop 3 Drop 4 Drop 5 Drop 6 Drop 7 Drop 8 Drop
Avalanche   XX XX
Blob       X XX
Dark Beast     XX X
Destiny XX XX
Exodus           X X
Juggernaut     X X X
Magneto     X X X XX XX
Mammomax     X X
Mystique     X XX XX
Pyro X X X X
Quicksillver   X X X X
Rogue     X X
Sabretooth       X XX X X
Sauron X X
Scarlet Witch X X XX X
Toad XX X X        

I think we’ll keep our character curve limited to two through seven.  Hitting one drops reliably in a curve deck is pretty hard, and eight drops are unnecessary when your seven can be pumped up ridiculously high.  This means any Brotherhood characters who only have two versions, one of which is in the one or eight drop spot, can be dropped.  We can also exclude characters who only have two drops that are back-to-back because we don’t want to have to immediately replace our recruits on the following turn.  This eliminates Rogue, Exodus, Destiny, Avalanche, and Sauron.  Our new chart will look like this:

  2 Drop 3 Drop 4 Drop 5 Drop 6 Drop 7 Drop
Blob     X XX
Dark Beast   XX X
Juggernaut   X X X
Magneto   X X X XX
Mammomax   X X
Mystique   X XX XX
Pyro X X X
Quicksillver X X X X
Sabretooth     X XX X X
Scarlet Witch X XX X
Toad X X      

At the seven drop spot we only have three character choices, so let’s start there.  Juggernaut, Weapon of Mass Destruction and Magneto, Master of Magnetism are the best choices here.  Juggernaut can stop your opponent from dropping an eight drop or higher, and Magneto just locks down your opponent’s board.  Sabretooth and the alternate Magneto are not that impressive when held up against these two behemoths.

Since we’re eliminating Sabertooth at the seven drop position, we can really only run him on turn four and six.  If we run him on five, we’ll be running the risk of replacing him.  Being limited in this reguard isn’t a bad thing because the four drop Sabretooth, Feral Rage is amazing.  He doesn’t really have a drawback either because you’ll likely be running Avalon Space Station to get back any characters you discard.  Sabretooth, Victor Creed is actually pretty good too.  For an extra four endurance, he’s guaranteed to stick around an extra turn.

Our other choices of characters that reside at both four and six include Blob and Mystique.  I’m torn on this decision.  Blob, Fred Dukes and Blob, Immovable Object both have defense values a full spot up the curve.  Their attack values might be a little low, but their attack values were not decreased as much as their defense values were increased.  They make a good counterpoint to your Sabretooths as they both are very defensive, and would serve you well if your opponent got even initiatives.  They would also work well with Insignificant Threat, because there’s no way your opponent can attack up the curve into Blob without wasting multiple attack pumps.

Mystique on the other hand, is pretty darn good too.  Mystique, Shapely Shifter is a new four drop that can become anyone she wants.  I initially put her in the deck to help me meet the seven drop Juggernaut’s “if you recruited another Juggernaut this game…” text, but soon realized that she would not become Juggernaut until after recruited (poop).  She still has her uses in this deck though.  When you’re about to recruit this femme fatale, you can simply look to see what character you have the most power-ups in hand for.  This is obviously the name to give her.  At six Mystique has a couple of options.  Mystique, Shape-Changing Assassin has a decent ability that allows you to remove your opponent’s seven drop from their hand.  Now-a-days, though, there is a prevalence of tutors that makes this ability less and less useful.  Mystique, Freedom Force on the other hand is incredible.  Her ability can give the rest of your team +3 attack (That’s a 20 attack Juggernaut on 7!).  This capacity for beats is what made me decide to go with Mystique over Blob in my final build.  If you want to swap her out for the fat boy, I understand!

With our four and six drop slots taken care of, Toad has no more reason to stick around.  This gives us only three choices for our two drops: Scarlet Witch, Pyro, and Quicksilver.  Scarlet Witch is awful in this build.  She can return herself to your hand to burn your opponent for zero endurance (whoop!).  Therefore, by default, we will run Quicksilver and Pyro.  If you face a meta with a ton of activated abilities you could always switch to Scarlet Witch to run Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff on five.

Remember now that our four, six, and seven slots are already full.  Remember also that we don’t want to run consecutive drops (i.e. a Quicksilver on turn two and three).  This means that Quicksilver and Pryo will also make an appearance on turn five.  This is by no means a bad thing considering how powerful Quicksilver, Speed Demon is.  If you can power him up he is a 11/11 character that can attack twice.  I actually could have started my build with him because it would be a little silly to exclude this powerhouse.  If you recruited Sabretooth on turn four, you would have three swings of eleven attack on turn five!

The only spot left in our curve is the three drop position.  Since we currently only have one version of Juggernaut and Magneto in our build, we’re going to put them in here.  Juggernaut, Champion of Cyttorak is awesome.  He’s a 6/6 that doesn’t ready, but who cares about that!  If it’s your initiative you can power him up to take down five drops as a 9/9!  Then he can just be a wall on your opponent’s initiative.  Magneto, Mutant Terrorist is pretty decent as well.  His stats are an impressive 5/5, and he can ping annoying one drops away as if they were ants (well, metal ants anyway).  His loyalty requirements shouldn’t be an issue as long as we’re mulliganing for a two drop.

There are some pretty obvious non-character choices that go in this deck.  Avalon Space Station and Lost City are the very core of a Big Brotherhood deck.  Lost City turns all your characters into It’s Clobberin’ Times that work on the attack and defense and Avalon nets you two cards for a single discard so that you can pump to outrageous proportions, or simply get back a character card that you need to recruit on a later turn!  It also allows you a bit more freedom when deciding what to discard for Mobilize, which is obviously going to go in this mono-team build.

Now, since this deck focuses on some very important locations, we might want a way to search them out.  Kate Corrigan, Folklore Consultant and Kelex, Faithful Servant were original considerations, but they were off team so they weakened the number of power-ups we’d be drawing into.  They also have some steep costs.  Kate bounces back to hand leaving your field open until turn three, and Kelex requires two cards to be discarded.  Poison Ivy was never considered because I wouldn’t have one drops to KO to her ability.  But there was another choice; a rather unusual choice: Amadeus Arkham, Architect of Insanity.  Amadeus is situational, but not unrealistic.  Your opponent will often be exhausting for various effects, or to simply reinforce (big characters like your Juggernaut on three or Sabretooth on

four guarantee the latter).  All you have to do is wait for the right moment to unleash this card that they will most likely have to read in front of you (and that’s always a fun moment!). Nth Metal is another must in this deck.  An automatic power-up every single time the character enters combat is phenomenal.  Quicksilver would be an 11/11 on both of his attacks without needing to power-up from hand.  Similarly Juggernaut would be a 9/9 on three.  That’s a huge wall for you opponent to attack through on turn four if you got odds.  Equipping an Nth Metal essentially puts your character one slot higher in the curve (four drops become fives, fives become sixes, etc.)  This is sure nice in case you ever have to under drop. Misappropriation goes amazing with Nth Metal.  It can move them from one character to another, even in the middle of the combat phase.  This can really throw a wrench into your opponent’s plans, especially if they already wasted all their pumps on the Nth Metal’s previous owner.  Misappropriation also works as equipment hate to take down annoying things like the Fartifacts.  You can even move the Fartifacts to your own characters, albeit one at a time! Our final inclusion will be Insignificant Threat.  As I mentioned earlier, this one can be a real pain in the arse.  There’s nothing more cruel than to make your opponent commit to an attack with a couple of Savage Beatdowns, only to swat them aside with this brutal plot twist.  I guarantee the sight of this card has made many-a-player scoop in frustration.  If you opponent suspects this staple card of making an appearance, they will just attack across the curve, but that’s okay because they can never gain board control this way. Alright, here’s our final build:

4x Amadeus Arkham, Architect of Insanity
4x Pyro, St. John Allerdyce
3x Quicksilver, Mercurial Speedster
4x Juggernaut, Champion of Cyttorak
3x Magneto, Mutant Terrorist
4x Sabretooth, Feral Rage
2x Mystique, Shapely Shifter
(or Blob, Fred Dukes)
3x Quicksilver, Speed Demon
2x Pyro, Flame Thrower
3x Mystique, Freedom Force
(or Blob, Immovable Object)
1x Sabretooth, Victor Creed
2x Magneto, Master of Magnetism
1x Juggernaut, Weapon of Mass Destruction

4x Nth Metal
4x Misappropriation
4x Insignificant Threat
4x Mobilize

4x Lost City
4x Avalon Space Station

There’s five to six of every non-Amadeus character card in the deck.  I did this intentionally to maximize each character’s power-up potential.  There also seems to be a natural balance in terms of initiative.  That is, the deck does not really care what initiative it gets.  The Pyros are good on the defense while the Quicksilvers are good on the attack, etc.  I doubt this qualifies as tier one in Golden Age with the large number of resource row hate cards, but it would sure be a fun alternative to running another Crisis Doom!  See you guys next week.

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