Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DC Legends - First Impressions

Well, I'm looking through my first DCL buys - 8 packs, all I can afford, sadly, until Friday. There are highs, there are lows...and here are my first thoughts.

Doom Patrol.

Ah, Doom Patrol. It's not the line-up I like. They didn't get nearly as many cards as they deserve. All the support cards are rare - and if it's anything like Marvel Legends, I'll never see any of them, let alone get a playset of each. There are so many reasons I should dislike them, but I can't. They're just too cool.

Let's face it. They look like fun. They look like a great team to splash...or to splash characters into. Like, say...Plastic Man, Plastic Fantastic? Hell. Yes. I'll probably never get ahold of the DP cards I want, but they'll be my favorite '...ah, if only' team, and I'll do my damndest to play them as much as I can. Unfortunately, in 8 packs, I've pulled precisely 1 copy of 1 Doom Patrol stamped in any way card: Negative Man, Larry Trainor. Still, I'm trying to keep my spirits high, and hoping I'll get more on Friday.


Well, the JLA have got some interesting things going on. They've got the Big 3 curve that people wanted So Damn Badly for So Damn Long - Batman 3 -> Wonder Woman 4 -> Superman 5. Playable drops, good cards. Unfortunately, while Batman and Wonder Woman have strong control vibes, Superman seems to work better with 4-drop Barry Allen, as Barry will keep your board AND your opponent's larger-than-average going into turn 5, making Superman an 11/11 or 12/12.

The JLA look to have some great 'mini-combos', or small card-sets that just seem to work well together. Barry 6+Hal 7, Firestorm 4 + Batman 5. Just, solid all-around. The early-drops also bounce to fuel discard-based effects, which is nice, but the one thing I feel the JLA are lacking is card draw. Normally, Barbara Gordon <> Oracle would take this spot, but she's notably absent, tragically, from the set, and the JLA hurt for it. Still, a fun-looking team that I'll love to experiment with - and especially love to throw into some old Ally-based decks.

Favorite Legend from the team: Wonder Woman.

Teen Titans.

I've seen a lot of complaints about the Titans, probably because they aren't as broken as they were in the days of yore. All their best cards - Tamaran, Garth, Terra, etc... - were given to other teams, and while amazing enablers like Teen Titans Go! did get reprinted, the card they most often enabled - Roy Harper - did not. And I understand why, but even I felt a twinge of disappointment, especially after the power-level of Marvel Legends.

Still, they do look potent...just not by themselves. Their reservist theme looks strong enough that it could be interesting to see them thrown in the mix with some old reservist builds, and they're team attack theme, while more...errrr...traditional...than it used to be still seems quite powerful. Given that the next deck I had planned on talking about would've been Avengers/Legionnaires team-attack, I'd like to see how Avengers/Titans or Titans/Outsiders team-attacking does. If you can't tell, I really like team attacking.

Favorite Legend: Starfire (though Beastboy is a close second, for DP ties)

Injustice Gang.

The Injustice Gang is the team I'm least excited about, though initial glimpses suggest that they are at least still quite powerful, and I'm dreading playing against them. The hand-fill theme has always been one of my favorite to think about when discussing how great the designers at Vs are, and one of my least favorite to play because I'm an idiot and am incapable of handling such firepower.

Still, the Earth 3/Anti-Matter theme of losing the initiative looks like a lot of fun, and I'm definitely going to fiddle with it when it's time for me to once again rework the Crime Lords deck I've been desperately wishing would come together for a few years now.

Favorite Legend: Lex Luthor

Secret Society.

The Society supplanting Villains United makes me sad - just DA'ing everyone or almost everyone to the team seems like it would make sense, as it would mean that VU and all their support wasn't essentially dead now. Nonetheless, the Secret Society looks flavorful and powerful. I've had a fondness for them ever since I drafted them in a JLA draft and managed to deck my opponent on turn 5 while I had 1 endurance left to pull out the win, and they don't look to disappoint here. The biggest sadness for me about them is the lack of Slaughter Swamp reprint, as I would rate it as the single best location in the game...but the Society got their own (non-unique!) version of the Swamp in the set, so Society players should be ecstatic about that.

Favorite Legend: Grodd!

League of Assassins.

They're small, and I would feel relatively unfair judging them as I see them as 'stealing' space that should have gone to the Doom Patrol, but all told they look fun, flavorful, and interesting. They use their locations in new ways, distinguishing themselves from Checkmate, and they have an interesting new recovery theme that looks like it could get pretty awesome with a little more support/a team up. Plus, they reprinted one of my all-time favorite 7-drops: Lady Shiva, Master Assassin!

My biggest complaints about the set.

1) Lack of appropriate Dual Affiliation hurts it for me. It's still better (obviously) than MVL in this regard, but not by enough.

2) Drop-spacing. Martian Manhunter on 6 and 8. Batman on 3 and 5. Superman on 5 and 7. Starfire on 5 and 7. I understand the theory behind making certain drops 'regular' for certain characters, but let's be honest - that makes it damnably hard to build a good legends deck. I basically have to choose between Kory 5 or 7, or screw my board-position over. For modern age, I mean. Silver gives me Substitute, but I still think the drop-spacing in this set commits some serious no-no's. As does the 'rarity spacing', I suppose. All Barry Allen and almost all Flash support cards are rare. 2 rare Superman. 2 rare Hal Jordan. Legends decks are going to be literally impossible to build, especially given how difficult the cards will be to get a hold of.

It's not much, I know, but that's just the initial impressions from looking at/hearing about the set. I'll post my deck ideas here when I come up with 'em, whenever that may be, and I hope you all pull some sweet stuff tonight!

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