Monday, December 10, 2007

Deck Building on a Budget

Decks...decks are tough. I mean, I can cobble together the most asinine stuff you can imagine. Give me a card - any card in the entire damn game, and I'll do my damnedest to make fair use of it. It's not always a success, but, you know, it's generally fun.

Anyway, I'm going to take you on a little blast to the past, a deck I made back in the time when the metagame was ruled by Squad No-Hand, Avengers Reservist, and that pesky, damnable Faces of Evil. My deck could beat them all. Not 100% of the time, of course...but often enough. Squad was the toughest match of those big decks, and Titans just kicked my ass.

It was a deck featuring a team I liked - X-Statix. They'd had some success with the "I Stand Alone" theme, but I didn't have the rares and I wasn't the obsessive I am today. I coupled them with a team that I saw had one card that I was convinced was the absolute most broken card I had ever scene (ahhh...youth...): Legendary Battles.

And thus do we have: Grandstanding!

4x Rick Jones, A Hero's Best Friend
4x El Guapo, Robbie Rodriguez
1x Beast, Furry Blue Scientist
1x Doop, Forward Observer

3x Natasha Romanoff <> Black Widow, Super Spy
2x Wasp, Janet Van Dyne-Pym
3x Gin Genie, Beckah Parker

4x Quicksilver, Mutant Avenger

4x The Spike, Angry Young Mutant,
1x Carol Danvers <> Warbird, Galactic Adventurer

1x Monica Rambeau <> Captain Marvel, Lady of Light
1x Anarchist, Tike Alicar

1x Hank Pym <> Goliath, Giant Genius


4x Playroom

Plot Twist

4x Two-Worlds, Team-up
4x Legendary Battles
4x Go In Swinging
4x Grandstanding
4x Never Give Up!
4x Chaos Magic
2x Prismatic Shield


I'll admit it...not the best deck. Unreliable, to say the least. But powerful. Gin Genie was shockingly good if you got unlucky enough not to hit Playroom and/or a team-up by turn 3...but obviously, Natasha was the drop of choice.

I think the strongest point in the deck's favor is versatility. It may be unreliable, but it can make due with what it has. It can run a solid Avengers team-attack if that's all you see, but X-Statix opens you up to things like Anarchist, Never Give Up!, and most importantly...Grandstanding!

Grandstanding + Quicksilver was generally amazing, especially with a free Rick Jones. On turn 4, my board frequently ended up being Quicksilver, Natasha, Wasp, Rick Jones, and Doop. A single Never Give Up and Grandstanding would often net you between 20-30 damage on turn 4, if you had Playroom out, and you'd likely only lose a pair of 1-drops in the exchange. Your opponent, on the other hand, would lose considerably more in the exchange.

It's the first deck I ever built that was even remotely 'tricky'. You couldn't play Legendary Battles and THEN play Grandstanding! You had to make sure that you had enough characters to do what you needed to. You had to know what effects to redirect and where. It was honestly a great learning deck for me. It was potent but simple, punishing me for mistakes...but not destroying me for them. It could stand up to the metagame of the time, but obviously had room for improvement.

The deck was fun, but it didn't age well. It was okay when JLA hit, but the advent of X-Mental, and more reliable and potent Faces of Evil builds, caused the deck to begin to lag behind, but it had received very little support. I put the deck aside, tragically, for over a year...until the first city championship came up, and I decided that it was time to team attack once more, albeit with an enormous change to the deck - the removal of X-Statix, and insertion of another, newer team. More on that next time, though.

There's something else that's notable about the deck. Despite being a fairly solid deck at the time, it's fairly cheap. The only card of any expense in it is Monica Rambeau, who would often be sold for 3-6 dollars. The only other rare is the under-used, extremely fun Chaos Magic, and that never really hit more than two dollars.

For as cheap as Chaos Magic was, it was actually far better in the deck than Monica Rambeau. It helped quite a bit to protect Quicksilver against the out of combat stuns my friends were so absolutely in love with, redirecting them onto poor, abused Rick Jones.

The X-Statix cards were cheap as could be imagined, and the Avengers commons and uncommons were, for the most part, easily cobbled together. If I recall correctly, the most difficult card to obtain for the deck was Natasha Romanoff, strange as that sounds.

But, there...if you want to try a blast from the past that you could build really cheap, give it a whirl. Or, better yet, play around with it. What can YOU do with Grandstanding? How can Playroom best be abused now, with so many more sets released?

So there you go. A gift, from me to you. Yes, Titans team-attack is powerful, but I don't know that I'd call that a team-attack deck. In fact, there aren't very many team attack decks in the game. Outsiders is probably the most prominent, but how do you prefer to tag-team your opponent? Are you a Dynamic Duo kind of person, or do you prefer a more Legendary Battle? What's your favorite team attack combination?

No comments: