The Science of Search, Part 7

Locate Your Fate

Considered by most to be the finest DC expansion produced for VS, the Infinite Crisis expansion introduced the concept of Identity, finally providing relevance to the character alter-egos that appeared after the diamond in the name box on the character cards.

How did this affect the constantly evolving discipline of search?  Not much, actually.  Identity was an interesting mechanic from a flavor perspective, but did not significantly affect competitive VS play.  The Hawkman/Hawkgirl JSA search component was not much more refined than the original JLA Hawkwoman/Hawkman interaction, and relied on the same Ally abuse tactic to get the edge over the opposition.

Search tech in DCR was instead catapulted forward by what is today the most efficient search card in the game, period.

The White King came with a hefty drawback that was perhaps meant to balance him out and dissuade players from using him due to the risk he presented.  What the designers didn’t take into account was that a 6/6 3-drop with Concealed-Optional, being oversized and able to hole up in the hidden area for the rest of the game, was already very difficult to dispose of, without even taking into consideration the wealth of defensive and preventive options available to Ahmed’s Checkmate team.  Moreover, the power of Ahmed was truly phenomenal — for the cost of a simple activation, which could be performed at any time (curious, given that his team had a heavy Backup complement), Ahmed could not only search the player’s deck for any location, but also immediately place it into the resource row so that it could be used at once.  Between Brother Eye Satellite, Brother Eye and Checkmate Safe House, Ahmed provided character search, a massive ATK pump or limited KO pile recursion, a team-up and a turn-long DEF boost.  The vast assortment of locations now available meant that other toolbox mechanics, such as the ability to attack hidden characters, more KO pile recursion and static ATK pumps could easily be placed into the deck and yanked out by Ahmed when the occasion arose.  For practical purposes, Ahmed’s game text may very well have read “Activate -> search your deck for any character card and put it into your hand, or any non-character card and put it into your resource row” with no significant change in power levels.  Best of all, since Ahmed was a character, he could use his incredible search ability turn after turn after turn.  The peerless utility of Ahmed Samsarra has never been matched by another character since his introduction to the VS universe, and he may well be the best character in the game because of this fact.

One of Ahmed’s most infamous search targets is itself a search card of sorts, notable for ushering the threat of equipment to new levels of abuse.

At first glance, Dr. Fate’s Tower may seem like a poor equipment search card, and you would be right based on this parameter alone, since it only searches for a particular type of equipment, the Fate Artifact (of which there are three).  Considering, however, that the three Fate Artifacts, when assembled, form the greatest equipment enhancement to a character in all of VS (+4/+4 with flight, range, untargetability, some deck sifting, and the Dr. Fate identity), and that the Tower is presently the only location card capable of searching for them without costing a player resource points or something similarly unpalatable, it becomes a far more potent deck component for Ahmed to work with.  More importantly, it has the added benefit of being able to transfer the Fate Artifact set to a new character during the build phase each turn, meaning that its hefty bonus never gets outclassed by the increasing size or numbers of your opponents’ characters.

Although its search aspect could only be used once, Ahmed could simply replace a “used” Tower with a fresh one, so that in the worst case scenario the Fate Artifacts could be assembled over a few turns.

Ahmed and the Fate Artifacts were and still are hailed as DCR’s most prominent contribution to VS, serving to reinforce once again the importance of search tech to the game.

Next:  Exploring the Galaxy


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