Goth Chicks

When most people think of “Goth Chicks” in comics, they think of heroines like Raven, or certain artists’ takes on Rogue.  However, for the sake of today’s article, I’m talking about “Gotham” chicks, better known as the Birds of Prey.

When I first opened my World’s Finest booster packs, I was underwhelmed by this team.  I thought, “It’s cool that they all have a theme of large attack values and low defense values that can be switched, but what support cards did they get?”  As I kept opening packs I realized they didn’t get much of anything for support cards.  Here’s what they have:

Aerie One: A zero cost equipment that can move them to the hidden or visible area.

Cry for Blood:  A Nasty Surprise-type card that also moves your defender hidden or visible.

Birds of a Feather: An attack pump for offense and defense that gets bigger for each one in your KO’d pile, similar to Path of Destruction.

None of these cards are terrible, but I think I was hoping for a more aggressive nature from this team.  Something akin to the Marvel Knights concealed decks of old.  Instead, they seem to be designed around the strategy of recruiting them visible to absorb damage with high defense values, then moving them hidden to get big attack bonuses. 

With the recent boom of hidden area decks like the Injustice Gang tyrant or builds focusing around Elektra, Masterless Assassin, I decided to go back and give these girls another chance.  After all, they have a curve of characters that have attack values two points higher than average.  That’s like having White Martian in play the entire game!  We’ll start with that backbone for our build:

2 drop –> Huntress, Vicious Vigilante 4/1

3 drop –> Catwoman, Feline Fatale 6/3

4 drop –> Vixen, Mari Jiwe, McCabe 9/6

5 drop –> Savant, Brian Durlin 11/8

6 drop –> Dinah Laurel Lance <> Black Canary, Cry in the Dark 14/11

All of these characters get -3/+3 while visible, so instead of higher than average attack values, they would have higher than average defense values.

Since most of the Birds of Prey characters are also Gotham Knights, it made sense to see what the knights could bring to the table.  We already know that the recent refeature of Gotham Knights was very good to them, so let’s see what cards should stolen from them for this build.  We’ll start by looking at their hidden characters to see if they can fill our curve a little better.  Here’s the entire concealed curve of both Birds of Prey and Gotham Knights:

1 drops
Lady Blackhawk, Zinda Blake
Harvey Bullock, Gotham Central

2 drops
Huntress, Vicious Vigilante
Gypsy, Illusionary Operative

3 drops
Catwoman, Feline Fatale
Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Hacker Elite
Batman, Problem Solver
Batman, Founding Member

4 drops
Vixen, Mari Jiwe McCabe
Ted Grand <> Wildcat, Nine Lives
Batman, Twilight Vigilante
Huntress, Harsh Mistress

5 drops
Savant, Brian Durlin
Cassandra Cain, Death’s Daughter
Batman, Justice’s Shadow
Catwoman, Jewel Thief
Kate Kane <> Batwoman, Katherine the Younger

6 drops
Dinah Laurel Lance <> Black Canary, Cry in the Dark
Batman, Cape and Cowl

7 drops
Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Inside Information
Lady Shiva, Jade Canary

8 drops
Batman, Dark Knight Returned

Like the hidden Injustice Gang deck before this, I want the kill turn to be five or six.  Therefore, we’d be thinning the deck to include seven and eight drops.  Also, Batman, Cape and Cowl is an amazing card, but in no way fits the aggressive nature of this deck, so I’ll cut him as well.  Actually, Batman, Twilight Vigilante is the only Batman available that fits our aggressive theme so he’s the only one we’ll run.  His burn is spectacular, and reminiscent of Batman, Caped Crusader, who was a lynch pin in most Brave and the Bold decks back in the day.

At one we have Harvey and Blackhawk.  I feel like Blackhawk is the only one drop we need because we can mulligan for her, and she can fetch us our two drop, ensuring a one-two punch right off the back.  Harvey’s ability is pretty useless to us here, and his stats are even more useless.  Besides, if we mulligan for Blackhawk, we can use her to get Gypsy who can stack the draw for turn three.  Essentially we get to look at five cards after Gypsy to try and find a three drop (the card you draw after Gypsy, the three you see with her ability, and the one you draw beneath the card Gypsy left on the top of your deck).  Obviously you can get Huntress if you already have a three drop or a way to search one out.  Or you might already have a two drop in hand and can get the next missing drop in your curve.  Lady Blackhawk can even be useful late game when combined with Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Hacker Elite.  If you would miss your four drop, you could instead drop Lady Blackhawk, put Catwoman on the top of your deck, use Oracle’s ability to draw Catwoman, then recruit her as well!  That would be a total of eight attack recruited on turn four, which is on curve.  This same trick could be applied on turns five and six with Vixen and Savant respectively playing Catwoman’s part.

At two we will use our only two options, which is OK because both are pretty good.  Huntress has the stats; Gypsy has the skills to pay the bills.  On three however, there are a bunch of choices.  Luckily, we decided earlier to run the four drop Batman, so it would be silly to run him at three and four.  That leaves Oracle and Catwoman.  Once again, one has the stats; one has the skills.  Most are familiar with Oracle’s skills because she has been running rampant in the recent meta.  Her ability to give you a third card a turn at the measly drawback of only being a 3/3 is incredible.  She would make more sense to me if she were visible, but alas we’ll just have to all run her so that no one gets advantage from her draw effects!

Turn four has been decided; Batman and Vixen are the kings of the hill here.  Turn five is another story.  We’ll start with Savant, who will be included because of his stats.  Next is Cassandra Cain.  She’s decent and reminiscent of her DC Origins version, but I was hoping to run The Hook-Up to pitch extra characters from turn two on.  This would leave nothing to pitch for her ability so I’m going to have to leave her in the card box.  The five drop Batman can keep her company because his power-up ability is useless, even on the JLA team which didn’t have any Ally abilities for their refeature.  Next is Catwoman, and she’s pretty decent.  Good stats and a decent ability.  I chose not to include her in the final build because she only gets her card when stunning an opponent.  If she got her card when attacking, I would be able to potentially get another pump mid-attack.  She could also potentially be replacing my three drop Catwoman, which would make me very sad indeed.  All these reasons for excluding Catwoman are good, but the most important reason not to run her is that we need room to run Kate Kane <> Batwoman.  Kate’s ability to get a free stun is crazy, especially when it’s pretty easy to make a plot twist/location package of all two and three cost cards.  This free stun can really help against other hidden area decks that were planning on attacking back with their three drops, or it can just get a three drop out of the way for you to smash face.  Oh yeah, I guess it can take care of Invisible Woman, First Lady of the Fantastic Four too (barring a Pathetic Attempt)!

At six we’ll run Dinah.  If we didn’t finish on turn five, six should do it!  her 14 attack is pretty tasty, and should mow down most things your opponent puts in the way.

Attack pumps are a must in this deck, if only there was a global pump we could run similar to Hunte Castle, which was a great help to the hidden Injustice Gang deck.  Oh wait… Gotham Central is a global pump!  It forces us to put our characters in the support row, which is similar to how Battle for Metropolis forces you to put everyone in the front row, but this card also gives everyone range, so there’s no reason not to be in the support row.  This is especially true when your whole board is in the hidden area, and there’s no reason to protect anyone.  Other than this card, we can throw in any pumps we want that are legal, but lets do our best to keep them two or three cost plot twists to help Batwoman out.  Ones that come to mind are Blinding Rage, Combat Reflexes, Skreeeeeee!, Crushing Blow, and the team-stamped Birds of a Feather.  Congrats, you just got yourself a pump package!

Next, we need to insert some tasty non-pump cards.  Gotham Knights has many good choices here.  The Hook-Up is a great card because from turn two on you can turn every extra character in your hand into a different card.  We could also include Bat Got Your Tongue to stop things like Pathetic Attempt or your opponent’s attack pumps, but I think I will stick with more aggressive cards until I do some more playtesting.

This deck will need some search and Gotham Knights has one of the best.  Bat-Signal nets you card advantage by forgoing the usual discard penalty and making it an exhaust.  But this can be bad if your deck relied on having it’s characters ready for an attack back from the hidden area.  Perhaps if we throw in Aerie One we can put a character visible to soak up some damage, exhaust them for Bat-Signal when attacked, then move them hidden with Aerie so that they can smash again another day.  I’m kinda liking this idea, but let me know if you think it weakens the decks integrity.  Aside from Bat-Signal we better include Mobilize because it’s too darn good not to.  That means we’ll have twelve character search cards counting Lady Blackhawk.  This means that we can run less characters that the hidden Injustice Gang deck did.  Here’s my current build:

4x Lady Blackhawk, Zinda Blake
4x Huntress, Vicious Vigilante
2x Gypsy, Illusionary Operative
4x Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Hacker Elite
2x Catwoman, Feline Fatale
4x Batman, Twilight Vigilante
1x Vixen, Mari Jiwe McCabe
2x Kate Kane <> Batwoman, Katherine the Younger
1x Savant, Brian Durlin
2x Dinah Laurel Lance <> Black Canary, Cry in the Dark

4x Mobilize
4x Bat-Signal
4x The Hook-Up
4x Crushing Blow
4x Blinding Rage
4x Combat Reflexes
4x Birds of a Feather
4x Skreeeeeee!

2x Gotham Central

If you look at the costs of the plot twists and locations you’ll see that their spread looks like this:

1 cost = 4
2 cost = 14
3 cost = 16

This means that by turn five you will almost assuredly have three resources that are the same cost to set off Kate Kane’s ability.  If you want to run Savage Beatdown instead of Combat Reflexes, your spread would turn into this:

1 cost = 4
2 cost = 14
3 cost = 12
4 cost = 4

This will still give you good odds for using Kate’s ability, but be careful about watering her potential down.  It helps me to look at it this way…

1) Savage Beatdown has an attack modifier that’s two greater than Combat Reflexes.

2) You’ll likely draw two of any four-of card that you run by the end of a six turn game.  This means running Savage Beatdown over Combat Reflexes will net you four more points of damage in an average game.

3) Kate Kane’s ability stuns a three drop so that’s three points of damage right there.  Now running Beatdowns only nets you one more point of damage in an average game.

4) Three drops usually have a defense of four.  This means that they take one less in damage than your attacker’s attack value (after stun damage is factored in).  Now all of the sudden neither way nets you an advantage, however…

5) getting a character out of the way after your opponent has formed can wreck plans of theirs.  Perhaps they were using their three drop to protect a vulnerable character.  Perhaps their three drop is in the hidden area, and would have attacked you back for five or more points of damage.  Perhaps their three drop is particularly annoying to you like Invisible Woman, First Lady of the Fantastic Four.

The final decision is up to you, but I think Kate’s ability is too game-changing to risk messing up.  Remember that my train of logic above ran on the assumption that a person running a deck with Savage Beatdown was somehow unable to get Kate’s ability to work.  If you find that she goes off for you with Beatdowns in the deck then, by all means, go for it!

With the draw potential of this deck, it’s larger-than-life characters, and a comparable plot twist/location package to the hidden Injustice Gang deck, I really believe this deck is stronger than Injustice Gang, especially now that Injustice Gang loses Hunte Castle in Modern Age.  The one (large) downside to this deck is that the meta currently contains a lot of hate cards for the hidden area.  Those decks that are already fine-tuned to take down the Injustice Gang will find themselves already well-suited to take on this deck.  Try it for yourselves and let me know what you think.  Does this deck have what it takes for Worlds?

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8 Responses

  1. goth chicks, hot imo.

  2. I was disappointed that Goth Chicks didn’t mean Gothic, but still very cool nonetheless. 🙂 I’ve become very enamored of BoP decks recently.

    -Mike

  3. My articles rarely, if ever, have anything to do with what they imply they will be about. Probably not a good strategy on my part… what am I thinking 😉

  4. Hahaha, that’s cool. I like it! Misdirection was how Barnum made a mint, you know.

    -Mike

  5. Hello there… quite good article but the drawing of Raven at the top… did you actually ask the person who drew that drawing if you could use the drawing for this blog? Because I know the person who drew it personally and I doubt she allows anyone to use her artwork anywhere.’

    You took it from here right?: http://silverbrumby.deviantart.com/art/The-Raven-48802899

    • Nope, I didn’t take it from there, I got it from another site. However, if it’s hers and she doesn’t want to share, I will change it!!

      Done!

      • what site did you get it from? perhaps I need to go see where it is as well. Might be someone else stealing it from my friend

  6. Unfortunately, I have a terrible memory that does not go back that far (this would have been over a year ago). Try searching for Raven in google images, your friends picture will probably show up more than once.

    Good luck!

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