Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Silver-Age Deck-Building: Heralds/Legionnaires

Okay, so there was the core of that deck. Based on those three cards, what do we know?

1. Cosmic is good.
2. Under-dropping is good.
3. Team-attacking is good.

So, wow. There's the themes. You want to under-drop cosmic character. Shazam! Deck done!

...not really. You wish, huh?

Well, here's a few things to keep in mind for the deck.

Obviously, if you're going to be under-dropping, you want to maintain card advantage. What do we have available for that?

Some of the best generic options...
Ego Gem, Infinity Gem
New Baxter Building
Birthing Chamber

Past, Present, and Future, Team-up
Elemental Converters
Triad, Luornu Durgo
Foiled Assassination

Ego Gem is generally a good option. There's little downside...except for exhausting to it, which you don't normally want to do. Not a bad option, so we'll put it to the side.

New Baxter Building is a great card, but if we're iffy even on the Ego Gem, we probably won't be using too much equipment. It's probably not worth it.

Birthing Chamber is good. Really good, if you're under-dropping enough...which we will be. It's in.

Past, Present, and Future, Team-up is a good option. If we have to team-up, getting an extra card in the deal isn't a bad option.

Elemental Converters is another good card, but it's hurt by the need to discard to it. Not a bad option, though.

Triad, Luorno Durgo is amazing. You want her in your deck.

Foiled Assassination is one of the best recovery options in the game, especially for this deck. Bring one character back to your hand to drop again next turn, and recover a character? Yes, please.

So far, here's what we have.

Triad, Luorno Durgo
Saturn Girl, Imra Ardeen
Plasma, Replacement Herald

Plot Twists
Past, Present, and Future, Team-up
We Are Legion
Foiled Assassination

Birthing Chamber
Elemental Converters

That sets up the core of a team-attack deck. It gives you the card draw you need to keep pushing characters onto the field.

Another part of the deck is life-gain. So, let's have a look at some of what's available.

Level 12 Intelligence
A Proud Zinco Product
Leslie Thompkin's Clinic

Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
Worldeater Apparatus
Galan, Famished
Human Torch, The Invisible Man
The Arrival
The Herald Ordeal, Team-Up
I Hunger
Elemental Battle
Cosmic Necessity

I'm not going to go over all of these, but I am going to knock some out of the running and explain why.

Cosmic Necessity can be good, but the fact that your opponent chooses makes it a little less useful.

Galan, Famished is good, but his lack of cosmic might hurt him, especially if you hit him after turn 1. Out.

The Arrival. Not bad, but it's too little endurance, even if you control Galactus.

Leslie Thompkin's Clinic is too little, and the back-up effect isn't that helpful in the deck.

Elemental Battle is not enough defense and not enough endurance.

I Hunger can be useful, but you aren't going to be stunning enough characters, in all probability, to make it come in handy.

A proud Zinco Product is great tech, but it's completely dead if your opponent isn't running equipment. It's out.

What does that leave as possibilities?

Level 12 Intelligence
Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
Worldeater Apparatus
Human Torch, The Invisible Man
The Herald Ordeal, Team-Up

Galactus, Devourer of Worlds is a fine game-ender. He's fine as a 1-of.

The Herald Ordeal, Team-Up is good. I'd say, probably run 2 of 'em, since you're already running 4 of PPaF.

Worldeater Aparatus is in. Gives all your characters something to do on defense.

Human Torch, The Invisible Man is an all-around powerful card, even without the cosmic counter.

Level 12 Intelligence is worth including in a equipment-heavy meta...otherwise, keep it out. I won't have it in this version of the deck, but feel free to include it.

And that's all for tonight. I hope you enjoy it, and you can probably see where I'm going with this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

We Used To Be Friends

You know, there's a lot of bad TV on. There's a lot of TV on also that I just flat out don't like, though not all of that is bad - it's just not my style.

What annoys me more is that there are plenty of television shows that, through either mismanagement, bad timing, or just sheer bloody-minded bad luck, got axed before their time. Shows like Firefly get a second chance, while shows like Freaks and Geeks never do. But, in a way, it doesn't matter. The shows get their ending, however abbreviated...and with the great ones, it really doesn't matter. They get an ending that is frequently stunning and emotional. They get what they need, if not what we want.

Still. What this is about. I finally got to the end of Veronica Mars. Like many great shows, for me it was too little too late - I didn't get into the show until the series was on its absolute last legs. I did buy seasons 1 and 2 after seeing only a couple episodes, and my lovely girlfriend recently got me season 3, the final season, for Christmas. But...I wish I could've done more to support the show while I still could have.

Veronica Mars...is one of the quickest, cleverest shows I've ever seen. The dialogue is some of the best in television, and the characters are wonderfully precise. It's just a damn good show. It's a little depressing, and ultimately, the show's message is very mixed: the finale, like the rest of the series, is 1-part hope, 1-part cynicism, and 2-parts revenge. The show alternately makes you revel in how the characters change and realize how harmful it is for them that they haven't changed more.

It was a little melancholy, to be honest, to reach disc 6 of season 3. Disc 5 had been the rest of the season, as the last 4 episodes of the series got cut by the CW and were never filmed. Instead, on disc 6, they give interviews, commentary, and one, very saddening, very awesome thing for me: a 'preview' of what's to come, should the series be allowed to continue. It wasn't, but I'm glad they let me see what they hoped for the future, even if more is, sadly, not to come.

Ultimately, Veronica Mars was a TV show that should have been here longer, but made better use of its 3 seasons than most shows that go on twice as long.

It's a show that I hope you all go out and see. Check it out of libraries. Download it illegally. If you like it...pick up a season. It's a worthwhile investment, both of time and money.

I wish my summary could've been more well-written. I tend to write these when I'm feeling a bit scattered, and I think it shows...still. Hope it doesn't put you off the show, or my thoughts.

Silver-Age Deck Core: Legionnaires/Heralds of Galactus

I'm going to do a short series of things about one deck...and how it got built. Epic, right? But, really, it's just to solidify things in my own head. It's a pretty standard deck, using one of my favorite sets - DLS - and one of my least favorite - MHG - and it's the first really potent cosmic deck I ever made.

Here is the core of one of my all-time favorite decks.

Plasma, Replacement Herald

We Are Legion

Saturn Girl, Imra Ardeen

I think you're picking up where this is going pretty damn quickly. Those three cards, only one of them a rare, are the powerful core of one of the most efficient life-gain decks I've ever seen.

Next time? Building it from the ground up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger

I'm sure most of you know by now the terrible business of yesterday: specifically, the death of Heath Ledger. If not...have you been living under a rock? Seriously, though, Heath was a young star, one of the very few who seemed to have his head on straight, and was just beginning to make his mark. He's one of the very few people in the crop of young actors and actresses that I respected. R.I.P. Heath. Here are a few words.

I hated him for awhile. The first thing I saw him in was "10 Things I Hate About You", and I couldn't stand that movie at the time. Then again, I was an obnoxious teenage ass at the time, and I hated a lot of things just because they didn't seem cool. Next movie I saw him in? "The Order". There's another movie I hated. I couldn't see that Heath was a talented actor - didn't realize how different the two roles were. I dismissed him as another pretty face in Hollywood, one that people were just tossing into movies left and right because he was that month's hot flavor.

I didn't see a single movie he was in for a good two years after that, until "A Knight's Tale". I had been studying Chaucer a bit for school, and I came across it and decided to watch it. I loved it! It was witty, it was fun. It didn't take itself too seriously. It was just an infectious movie. I had forgotten who Heath Ledger was, and so I went out to look for some of his past stuff. Older, and a little more secure in myself, I found that I actually enjoyed "10 Things I Hate About You", and that while by-and-large "The Order" was still complete rubbish, Heath did...a pretty damn good job.

I started to realize, looking over his films, that he was pushing himself. That he wasn't just a pretty face. He probably could've ridden the "10 Things" Hottie wave to shallow stardom. He didn't. He did a dark films, comedies, indie films, tragedies. He did 'em all. He would space out his work, pick something new or clever or just flat-out interesting, and when he got on camera, he would rock you.

When I heard that he had been cast as The Joker, I wasn't quite sure. I had been hoping for someone like Paul Bettany or someone like that, but I trusted the Nolans, and I decided I would wait for the trailers and only complain a little bit. And when I first saw him on those trailers, he blew me away. He wasn't the clowny Jack Nicholson Joker, who I despised. He was a terror, a figure of nightmares. He was fucking nuts.

Rumors are flying around that his role as The Joker might be to blame, or partially to blame. I don't know. Method acting can be brutal, and it seems like he was getting into the character waaaaaaaay more deeply than I believed anyone could. I don't know if there's any validity, and I don't know what it means. And I don't care, honestly.

All that matters is that we lost one of the best actors of his generation, a man who constantly challenged himself, and from all accounts, a genuinely stand-up guy.


Sunday, January 20, 2008


"If a superhero can be such a powerful and effective metaphor for male adolescence, then what else can you do with them? Could you build a superhero story around a metaphor for female adolescence? Around mid-life crisis? Around the changes adults go through when they become parents? Sure, why not? And if a superhero can exemplify America's self-image at the dawn of World War II, could a superhero exemplify America's self-image during the less-confident 1970s? How about the emerging national identity of a newly-independent African nation? Or a non-national culture, like the drug culture, or the "greed-is-good" business culture of the go-go Eighties? Of course. If it can do one, it can do the others."
-Kurt Busiek, in his introduction to "Astro City: Life in the Big City"

I've been asked before, by family, by my girlfriend, by friends, why I read comics, and even more geekily, why I invest so much time, money, and passion into the Vs. System card game. It's hard to explain, but I think Kurt Busiek does a pretty good job. Superheroes have a metaphorical, a symbolic power, almost by their very nature, both in their own fictional world but also, more importantly, in ours. A superhero can emulate the angsts and needs of his time, but he can also reflect the bygone values of a lost age, or the emerging hopes of a potential new one. In a way, the genre of 'superhero fiction' - not really a genre, I know - is among the most modern and versatile genres there are.

Vs captures some of that passion for me, some of that screaming power. Don't get me wrong, I don't play it just because of the superheroes - I play it because it's the best damn game out there. But without that initial push, I might never have learned about it.

I don't know where you're coming to this blog from, if you're coming at all. Some of the posts - obviously! - are extremely Vs-centric, and some are very comic-book-y. Sometimes I'll talk about movies, and sometimes music, and sometimes I'll tell you what my favorite novels are, or what I love in role-playing games. Whatever. I guess this post was a little post-intro-explanatroduction, and as such, I'll keep it succinct.

Go out and try something new. If you're a Vs. fan who never picked up a comic book, or never strayed from the Big Guys (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc...) give something else a shot. Try out Blue Beetle, by John Rogers, or Grant Morrison's Animal Man, or Seven Soldiers. Or go way out there, and hit up something like Lucifer, or Y: The Last Man.

If you're a comic book fan, give Vs. a shot. You can build decks and play them for free online, and if you want me to teach you with a game or two, let me know. It's a great game, it really is, and it has one of the best player-bases I've ever had the pleasure to interact with.

And, if you don't like either Vs OR comics...well, you've got a whole helluva lot of things to try out, don't you? Enjoy them!

Download for the program to play Vs free online: http://forum.tcgplayer.com/showthread.php?t=114390

Monday, January 14, 2008

In the Know

Because I like to keep you all 'in the know', as it were, when it comes to comic books, here's something that people are getting up in a bunch about.


If you're curious about that journal, it belongs to Greg Rucka, an extremely well-respected comic book writer. I heard about it through scans_daily, which is THE place to go if you're curious about any sort of comic books. It's a good place to be.

Anyway, chime in with your opinion if you want. I think that it was a remarkably short-sighted move on DC's part, though I don't think it was a calculated one by playboy. DC really does need to get on top of the ball with Wonder Woman and figure out what the hell they want to do with her. Because half the time, they bitch and whine about not having enough 'positive female role-models' and how they 'can't seem to hold onto female readers'. And half the time they treat Wonder Woman as a fetish model and think that if they just porn her up enough, she'll be popular.

You might guess which I think Wonder Woman should be.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Attempted review, failed!

I often don't have too much to write about here. Shocked? I'm not. I don't know that anyone reads this, but I still plan to keep up on it, just because...yeah.

I doubt most of you would be interested in this particularly, but I'm probably also going to begin to post some fantasy cards. I really like making them. It's fun. It's...a lot of fun. For me. And only for me. So heads up.

I tried to post a DCL review, but I was defeated by my computer. I apologize most humbly!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The New Year

Well, it's been a little while since I posted. A whirlwind of vacations and packing and driving back to school and visiting friends have seen me stepping away from the Internet in recent days. But worry not! I've not forgotten you, oh no. And to prove it, here's my new years resolution.

I solemnly swear that I will, every single day, try and arc out a storyline for a comic book, short story, or novel AND write it down. If possible, I will get to work on the actual scripting/writing aspect of it, too, but my resolution right now is to make sure that I don't forget that, when it comes to writing, you really should never give up.

It's not about being published. It's about having fun.