The Family. A criminal organization. If it gets big enough, if you get deep enough, it could be like a family. Really, anything can be like a family. A small super-team, no matter how ineffectual and goofy, could be like a family. It was, for the JLI. And the Crime Lords, like any good fictional criminal gang, places a lot of emphasis on family, on loyalty.
If you read the VS segments of my blog, you know that one of the teams that, for some inexplicable reason, I've always been quite fond of is Marvel's Crime Lords. For a long time considered one of the worst teams in the game, I loved them nonetheless, and it's always a pleasure to be able to build a Crime Lords deck utilizing old, and with MUN, new cards together.
Another team I've been fond of, though I neither discuss nor make use of them often, is the JLI. A team of goof-off super-heroes having bizarre adventures more suited to sit-com than spandex, the JLI offered an intriguing mix of comedy and drama in the comics, and so they are one of many teams that I'm desperately glad to see in VS.
In the newest Bring Your Own Two Teams format, you get to pick two teams, Golden Age, and you don't have to run a team-up. On the other hand, though, you flat-out can't run any generic cards. Almost every single type of deck in existence loses a lot from this. Savage Beatdown, Mobilize, Birthing Chambers - these are important, powerful cards, and we can't use them. So, you build around it.
The JLI offer two things to the Crime Lords in the way of characters - Martian Manhunter, a board-reinforcement guy on a team that enjoys reinforcement, and Animal Man, a character who gets bigger whenever he enters combat. They also offer effects that will allow Animal Man multiple safe attacks in a turn in Safety in Numbers, and full-on attack negation in Running Interference.
Meanwhile, the Crime Lords offer you Underground Laboratory, a brutally efficient card-draw engine (I wonder if Checkmate could do anything with that...?), a way to make Animal Man your defender whenever you want in Armed Escort, and one of the best defense pumps available in Drive-By Shooting. They also offer a low-cost army character that recovers characters and has range. These things, they are very nice.
So, once again, I present to you - a deck using pet teams and themes that are vastly enhanced by the lack of a team-up needed! Woohoo! I can literally smell your thrill from over here.
6x The Hand, Army * HYDRA
8x AIM Agents, Army * AIM
4x Sue Dibny, Charismatic Coordinator
4x Sin, Synthia Schmidt * RAID
2x Arnim Zola, The Bio-Fanatic * RAID
4x Animal Man, Buddy Baker
3x Martian Manhunter, Founding Member
1x The Sleeper, Doomsday Device * RAID
4x Armed Escort
4x Underground Laboratory
4x Drive-By Shooting
4x UN General Assembly
4x Good Night, Sweet Prince
4x Running Interference
4x Safety in Numbers
And that's that. Obviously, you want Animal Man out on 4 or 5. On or off initiative doesn't matter - he's an extremely efficient 4-drop, nothing more, and one that allows you to under-drop in later turns without penalizing yourself in available ATK/DEF. Martian Manhunter means each and every single one of those army guys are going to be reinforced and a simple exhaust will equal crazy card-draw, while the recovery ability of The Hand, and the ability of Sin, will allow you to negate attacks on Animal Man with Running Interference. Arnim Zola can turn otherwise dead army-characters into a 4-point swing each turn, and when The Sleeper comes down, that should be all she wrote.
I hope you've enjoyed yourself. It could definitely use some tweaking from a more experienced deck-builder, but the deck is certainly fun. I've got a few more decks I'm playing with in my head right now, for future use, and coming up pretty soon we'll see the blog expand into discussion of a few fiction authors some of you might just get a kick out of, as well as the usual rigamarole of my own personal blatherings.
Hope the weekend was great, and enjoy the semi-holiday tomorrow!