Custom VS Hijinks: Foes of the Future, Part 1

Before the release of the Legion of Super-Heroes expansion, I was really excited for the Future Foes team, because I heard that their theme would be discard.  A powerful strategy in other collectible card games, I was eagerly anticipating how discard would be interpreted in the context of a VS team.  I was also looking forward to the card incarnations of the Fatal Five, the wacky villains concocted by comics prodigy Jim Shooter at the impressionable age of 13.

Sadly, the execution of the Future Foes in DLS was left painfully wanting.  The discard element was mostly optional, the discard-themed characters mostly Cosmic and frail enough that the Cosmic counters wouldn’t stay on for long, and the effects of having less cards in hand not quite so devastating.  Likewise, the Fatal Five were represented as a bunch of mildly oversized characters, none of whom had powers that even remotely approximated such a diverse and preposterous bunch, whose common detriment was that they recovered the characters that they stunned.  What did the half-cyborg tactical genius do?  He recovered a character that he stunned.  What about the old lady with the giant floating dictator eye following her around?  She recovered a character that she stunned.  The eye itself?  Ditto.  Even the Fearsome Five had more flavor than this unpalatable treatment.

The discard strategy still has a place in competitive VS, I think, just not in the form of the Future Foes – at least, not as they are now.  I agree that Justice League of Arkham and other discards before the combat phase are too crippling given the simultaneous turn setup of VS, allowing the JLArkham player to lock out the opponent by the 4th turn, so discard effects should still be limited to the combat phase and afterwards.  What else can be done, then, to turn up the strength of Future Foe discard element?

Firstly, none of the discard effects should be made optional.  Sure, it’s fun to watch an opponent squirm as he chooses between discarding a card and stopping a powerful effect, but between Mr. Mxy, Soul World and Ego Gem these days discarding a card isn’t as painful as it used to be.  Secondly, the lack of cards in an opponent’s hand should have terrible consequences for an opponent other than “I don’t have a card to discard to that effect”.  The Rack in Magic the Gathering hurt opponents for having less than 3 cards in their hand; why can’t a VS burn effect work the same way?  Thirdly, just as effects keyed to other themes have some minor benefit that becomes more substantial when a condition is met, the effects of the Future Foes should have that variable included.

By way of example, I have tried to adopt some aspects of this ideology in a rebooted version of the Fatal Five, who I feel should support the discard theme so that their abilities are better represented in card form.

We begin with the Emerald Empress’ floating ornament, revealed to actually have been her master, the sinister Eye of Ekron.  On its own it doesn’t seem to have had much of a presence, but with a slave to control, it becomes a true threat.  Here, the Eye is a vanilla 2-drop that turns into a constant discard effect source once the Emerald Empress is around, and cannot be knocked around while the Empress is in play.

The original Emerald Empress was a fragile old biddy who was granted the gift of youth and all those snazzy abilities by the Eye.  With her in play, the Eye comes in for free, and she transforms into a 6/6 contender with flight and range.  She also has a burn ability that keys off your opponent having less than 4 cards, burning for the full 4 endurance loss if your opponent’s hand is empty.  The tandem are strong indeed, but, like Hawk and Dove, are only truly effective when both are around.

Tharok is the leader and the tactical expert of the Fatal Five, so it seemed appropriate to give him more of a controlling effect.  He functions much like Ronan, although more powerful since flipped ongoing plot twists and locations with payment powers can’t be used while his power is active.

My apologies, UDE, I couldn’t find any other decent artistic representation of Mano on the web, so I was forced to re-use the old card’s art.  Anyway, Mano disintegrates everything he touches, so a KO effect seemed proper.  I figure this maybe should have been “remove from the game”.

Why didn’t the Future Foes get a Dr. Spectrum mass discard effect?  Well, the Persuader is the man for the job, swinging his Atomic Axe into the hands of the opposition, and cleaving his way to victory for the rest of the Fatal Five.

Lastly, we come to the malformed child of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, who is practically unstoppable if your opponent has no cards in hand.  I read that it took the combined might of Superman, Mon-El and Ultra Boy to take him down once, so I don’t think he’s overpowered, and makes a great closer if you’ve been playing your discard properly.

Next up, I’ll feverishly try to locate some more Future Foe pictures to flesh out the rest of this neglected concept.  Suggestions and ideas, as always, are most appreciated.


One Response to “Custom VS Hijinks: Foes of the Future, Part 1”

  1. Great jerb on the FF characters. I wish though that they were real.

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