VS Custom Hijinks: The Sinestro Corps

Having just recently viewed an incredible post on The Lost Hemisphere (losthemisphere.wordpress.com, go there now!) about a custom Starro the Conqueror raid deck, I was instilled with the sudden drive to pay homage to the article with my own thoughts on how the Sinestro Corps raid deck might play out.

As the prolific Spud pointed out, it would be more in line with the concept of the Sinestro Corps to have the opponent face ever-increasing numbers of Yellow Ring bearers, threatening to engulf the universe in fear unless they fight back in similar numbers and with greater resolve. I also figured that Fear, as the antithesis of Willpower, should have an important role to play in the conflict, at least from the perspective of the Sinestro Corps. Lastly, while Galactus had his heralds and Starro his horde of starfish and slaves, the Sinestro Corps were led into battle by the four ominous heralds of fear (Sinestro, Hank Henshaw, Parallax and Superboy Prime) and fear’s guardian, the Anti-Monitor, whose involvement raised the Sinestro Corps from a disjointed assembly of villains and psychotics to a galaxy-consuming threat. With these principles in mind, I decided on the following preliminary avatar cards:

Okay, time for some explanation. I decided on a 150 endurance count because I anticipated much more endurance loss happening over the course of the game (since we’re not dealing with gigantic characters) and to drag things out as I feel they should (this is a full scale galactic war, after all). The Sinestro Corps avatar really only has one constant ability, which is to replace lost troops with new ones from hand as soon as they leave play for any reason, so that the swarm never really lets up. This is also thematic since when Sinestro Corps members kick the bucket, their rings immediately soar out into space to search for their replacements. Maybe they should come into play exhausted to make things more fair, but I’m functioning under the same disclaimer as Spud, that these cards are here to represent concepts more than actually game-playable cards.

The second “ability” on the avatar concerns the Fear Heralds and their Fear Guardian, who are set aside at the beginning of the game and are played alongside the avatar if the condition for bringing them in is fulfilled; that is, the accumulation of Fear. The Heralds and the Guardian are not affected by any effects that would affect normal character cards, and the more of them there are that are out, the worse things will get for the Alliance. If, through some spectacularly bad performance on the part of the Alliance, all four manage to get played, with a little more Fear, they can summon their Guardian, who pretty much spells game over for the Alliance. I forgot to include that the Heralds and Guardian can only be summoned during the build phase.

You’ll notice also that the Heralds have their own nasty abilities, which cannot be negated or redirected. I used this wording instead of simply stating they were Epic, since I didn’t feel Wonder Woman should be allowed to mess with the awesomeness that is the Fear Heralds, let alone the Anti-Monitor.

Now, how is Fear generated by the Sinestro Corps player? In one of three ways:

1) Whenever an opposing character is stunned, the Sinestro Corps player gains Fear equal to the cost of that character.

2) When a Sinestro Corps character comes into play under the Sinestro Corps player’s control, the Sinestro Corps player gains Fear equal to the Fear attribute of that character.

3) Whenever the Sinestro Corps player wins a Planet (more on this later), the Sinestro Corps gain Fear equal to the Planet’s Fear rating.

Now, my biggest beef with the Planet system in the Galactus raid was that the Alliance got squat for doing what it took to beat Galactus that turn, other than preventing Galactus from using his crazy abilities. This time around, if the Alliance wins a Planet, they can force the Sinestro Corps player to LOSE Fear equal to the Planet’s Fear rating (representing the strength of hope and willpower and unity and other fuzzy feelings), or gain endurance equal to the Planet’s Fear rating.

Okay, what are the rules of Sinestro Corps raid deck?

1) The Sinestro Corps start with one resource for every two players in the Alliance, rounded up. The Planet Cards are shuffled and placed in a separate deck. At the beginning of the game, each player names a team. Crossover all those teams for the game.

2) The Sinestro Corps player draws 4 cards each turn, plus one card for each Herald in play on his side.

3) The initiative will be determined as in normal games, including the build phase.

4) At the start of the resource step of the Sinestro Corps player, he gains resource points equal to twice the resources he has in play. HOWEVER, he may not recruit any character with a cost greater than the number of resources he has in play. This is because the Sinestro Corps are certainly not weenie 1-drops, but contenders in their own right, and at the same time not monstrously overwhelming characters like the Heralds. I felt this was the best way to allow them to swarm, but limit their size as well.

5) At the start of the third turn, before the draw phase, the top card of the Planet deck is placed face-up into play, representing the battlefield for that turn. The Planet conditions and effects cannot be negated or redirected. At the end of the battle, whoever wins the battle condition gains the Fear and can use it depending on which side won.

6) Another thing I didn’t like about the Galactus raid experience was the fact that players still retained their separate front and support rows, even though they could team attack. Well, now the Alliance players have a shared front and support row, and can reinforce and team attack and take advantage of adjacent formations as necessary. The same effect targeting rules from the Galactus raid apply. Come on, folks, you’re supposed to be working together against a common threat, so why not help each other out on the defensive, as well?

I hope I haven’t left out anything. Anyway, here’s a sample Planet card:

You’ll notice that, unlike the Galactus planet cards where only the Alliance has a condition to fulfill, both sides have to fight tooth and nail for that win condition, and the victorious side claims the battlefield and its Fear for their side. I feel this is more appropriate to the Sinestro Corps saga flavor, which featured hundreds of combatants slugging it out throughout the farthest reaches of space.

Here’s a small sampling (I really wish I had more time, sorry) of the Sinestro Corps characters, sporting Fear the same way the Green Lantern Corps had Willpower, as well as utilizing the KO of their own (which trigger the Avatar power) to generate various effects.

Lastly, we have a smattering of plot twists, nothing earth shattering, that utilize Fear for the effect. Since these are armies versus armies, combat pumps should be par for the course.  Yipes!  Forgot to add standard “reveal and put them into your hand, shuffle your deck” wording on the search card.  Oh darn.

Whew. Well, I figure there are a lot of ideas here that haven’t been fully threshed out, or the ramifications of which in-game haven’t been completely explored, but I hope it makes for an interesting diversion nonetheless. The Sinestro Corps is, for me, one the hallmarks of excellent DC epic storytelling, and I hope it gets its due in VS one day, in one form or other.

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One Response to “VS Custom Hijinks: The Sinestro Corps”

  1. I gotta say, I like the Sinestro Corps storyline, this raid deck can do it justice… if you can design it, I’d like to hold a local tournament for it. (Now, if we can olny find some VS packs to help as prize support…)

    I’d say that alliance can remove Fear by defeating Sinestro Corp members, but then, that’s a different issue altogether.

    All in all, nice design.

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