Take two friends who love comics. Add a superhero-themed collectible card game. Sprinkle a dash of competitiveness, and a lump of testosterone. The result? Weekly matches that turn friends into nemeses.
This is not your typical “card of the week” column. Every web site dedicated to CCGs has been there and done that. This column is all about our competition, though. Dan and I usually play two games of Vs. a week, and every Sunday, we’ll feature the card that we think most influenced the outcome of the matches we played the preceding week, and the metagaming lessons we learned in the process.
I hate Vs.!
Actually, I love the game, but I hate the Avengers expansion set that’s dramatically tilted the tables in Dan’s favor, with its broken team attacking benefits that have enabled him to pull off a couple of 30+ point 6th round knockouts. From almost everybody having flight, range and Leader abilities, to the ridiculously imbalanced cards like the brutal 6-drop Hercules card he profiled a few weeks back, or the curve-defying 2-drop Natasha Romanoff ? Black Widow — who gets an extra automatic stun whenever she’s team attacking — the Avengers are forcing me to upgrade my current deck in order to stay competitive. Which, of course, is the point, but damn if it doesn’t burn me that most of my Gotham Knights cards have been depowered so dramatically, so soon after I’d constructed a deck that had us on a pretty level playing field.
Lady Vic DOR-134
My current deck — Gotham Knights / JLI / Unaffiliated — was a desperate attempt to work in as many of the new mechanics that have been added to the game since its launch, because my original GK / Arkham Inmates deck simply couldn’t hang against Dan’s more up-to-date Spider-Friends and Marvel Knights decks. Handicapped by my preference for the Dark Knight and company, and my unwillingness to repeat my Pokémon experience and go crazy buying multiple packs, it’s a compromised build that was able to hold its own until the Avengers came along.
Lady Vic was worked into my pre-JLI build, but never made it into a game until after I’d fully revamped the deck, removing the underpowered Arkham Inmates in favor of the more up-to-date JLI. With her power to KO a stunned character “unless its controller pays 3 endurance” and her 2 DEF, she was a strong 1-drop who often survived into the later rounds if I was able to quickly equip her with Twin Firearms, making her a formidable 5/2 and an easy sacrifice to a mutual stun to take out a stronger character. Throw in a Counterstrike or Trial by Sword plot twist, and Dan quickly learned that she wasn’t an easy target to take lightly.
As a 1-drop in need of equipment, though, she’s been a tricky play, helping as often as hurting me when I’ve had to decide whether or not to recover her or a higher drop character; and Unaffiliated characters’ inability to team up has definitely hurt me a couple of times. As I’m about to revamp my deck yet again — faced with the reality of having to cycle out Gotham Knights in favor of either JLA, Secret Society or Injustice Gang — I hope to keep her in the mix, but I can’t risk playing favorites over strategy and continuing to handicap myself the way I have by sticking with Gotham Knights up to this point.
In the meantime, I really hate the Avengers!
PS: When I say things like “broken” and “ridiculously imbalanced,” I’m speaking purely out of bitterness and jealousy in reference to cards that have directly caused me to lose a match. To my knowledge, there’s only one or two cards that are universally viewed as actually being broken.