A business lives or dies based on its location. Growing up I had always wished that Manana, the closest town to where I live, had a McDonalds. Given that the town is off the beaten path with only a population of around ten, my dreams never came to fruition. I wasn’t bitter though because I understood economics, at least at a base level.
Well, a form of location economics applies to Vs. as well. We’ve seen how powerful Ahmed and friends can be with the appropriate locations, but before them there was another team that focused on locations… League of Assassins. They had the first real location search with The Demon’s Head, but there really weren’t that great of locations to search out at the time. The team had Flying Fortress, but compare that to Brother Eye. They also had The Demon’s Head, but compare that to Ahmed. They even had Mountain Stronghold, but Checkmate got both Connie Webb and Brother I Satellite. All in all, Checkmate was a huge upgrade on the old location theme.
The new League of Assassins come out of the DC Legends set and are a significant improvement over their predecessors. They still have all their decent old cards, but now there are also a ton of generic locations that can help them out. This is what’s available in Modern Age:
Team (or Ra’s) Stamped:
- Harsh Judgement
- The Demon’s Head
- Tower of Babel
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Fortress
- Mountain Stronghold
Tower of Babel is a bit redundant because the five drop Ra’s al Ghul does something very similar, but we’ll keep it on the back burner in case we have space for it. Divide and Conquer is reliant on our opponents running good locations (similar to Espionage), so it’s more of a tech card, but so very often it will be a wasted slot. I think we’ll omit it for now. I’ve always been more of a fan of playing my own game than reacting to my opponent’s. When you focus too much on tech cards, you switch gears from “trying to win” to “trying to survive”. That’s just my play style though (and probably why I do so badly at constructed!).
- Coast City
- Research Facility
- Unstable Ground
- Birthing Chamber
- Construction Site
- Lazarus Pit, Death’s Door
- Plague Zone
- Stryker’s Island
- The Demon’s Quarters
- Evil Lair
- Alias Investigations
Yes it’s true, the new Marvel Universe set has given League of Assassins some fantastic “MUN”ition. Mainly Alias Investigations and Asgard. Alias Investigations should be dynamo in a deck that’s mostly locations and characters because it can really help us hit our curve. Asgard on the other hand, seems like a good card to get back characters that accidentally get put into the row with replacement effects like Merlyn’s. For instance, If a character gets put into the row with something like Merlyn’s effect, then replaced with Research Facility, Asgard can rescue him/her.
Since many League of Assassins cards replace locations, I though using Unstable Ground in this deck would be a cool idea. Many of your other locations you want to keep around all game, so it’s nice to have this card to blow to effects like Meryln’s, Talia’s, David Cain’s, Demonfang’s, etc.
Construction Site, while appearing as useful as Research Facility, isn’t very useful when half your characters already replace face-up locations. There will be a couple of times that you row a plot twist and want to play it, but the only vital plot twist in this location-heavy deck will probably The Demon’s Head, which replaces itself. Besides, the loss of the Nyssa six drop in this format means that we don’t need the ENTIRE row to be locations, just most of it.
Speaking of losses in this format, the League did lose a couple good cards to Silver Age. Negative Zone from the Heralds set was awesome for hidden character tech, but it was replaced by Plague Zone (one Zone for another). Seibo’s Garden was also a location that bit the dust, but it wasn’t game changing enough to shed tears over.
Nyssa was a painful loss for the league, but now we can play her seven drop version, who is awesome on the “D”.
Here’s a quick rundown of other cards we lost to Silver Age tagged with Modern Age cards that essentially fulfill the same slots:
- Soul World is replaced by Asgard
- The Kyln is similar in function to the new Lazarus Pit
- The Substructure is the same as Research Facility
- Battleworld/Rann/Thanagar are all similar to Tarnax but +1anything is pretty tame.
Alright, here’s a list I came up with after much thought:
4 Hassim, Loyal Retainer
3 Shadow Assassin, Army
4 Ubu, Ra’s al Ghul Bodyguard
2 The Mad Dog, Rabid Killer
4 Merlyn, Direct Hit Man
2 Talia, Heir Apparent
4 Ra’s al Ghul, Demon’s Head Rising
2 David Cain, World Class Assassin
1 Lady Shiva, Master Assassin
1 Nyssa Raatko, Maiden of Death
1 Ra’s al Ghul, The Demon’s Head
4 The Demon’s Head
4 Mountain Stronghold
4 Unstable Ground
3 Flying Fortress
3 Lazarus Pit, Death’s Door
2 Stryker’s Island
2 Alias Investigations
2 Research Facility
1 The Demon’s Quarters
1 Plague Zone
While some location counts are a little low, the high amount of replacement effects mean that you should be cycling through your deck pretty darn fast. Use your replacement effects first on Unstable Ground, then on anything you have duplicates of. This burn combined with David Cain’s burn, means you should out-damage any other curve deck that tries to match you drop for drop.
This deck also has a lot of combat tricks with Stryker’s Island, Demonfang, and Flying Fortress. Add this to the out of combat tricks of Merlyn and The Demon’s Quarters and you should be able to exert a decent element of control. Speaking of Stryker’s Island, it should always be three or four attack with the range of costs in this deck, and that’s pretty darn good for an every-turn pump.
Lady Shiva is obviously amazing on the offense, while Nyssa can force your opponent to go through her multiple times on the defense.
It’s also worth noting that this deck is one card away from being a Ra’s al Ghul legend deck. If there are any modern legend tournaments coming up, you wouldn’t have to change much to make this deck a viable and fun option.
Let me know what you guys think. What changes would you make? Should Coast City have made the cut to combo with Nyssa and Ra’s? Did I have too much Sudafed to even remain coherent this week? Look forward to hearing the constructive comments!
How would a Golden Age deck with the old Merlyn and Thunderbolts Mountain work? It could go off earlier than Sensei did in the previous Deep Green incarnation. Deep Green 2.0 coming to a theatre near you! Just Kidding, I’ll leave that one up to you guys!