Archive for September, 2008

The Dynamics of My Multiplayer

Posted in Movies, Randomness, VS Ramblings on September 29, 2008 by omnicresence

Gargh.  Curses.  My colleague got to attend an exclusive Hasbro convention in Hong Kong, during which she got to see sneak peeks at the new toys they’ll be releasing for the Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe movies next year, as well as images from the movies themselves.  I, on the other hand, was shipped off to the southern point of the Philippines, where the highlight of my trip was the purchase of 11 kilos of pomelos.  And these were both work trips.  Life isn’t fair sometimes.

Ah well.  That’s not the point of this post.  What I really want to talk about is how my friends and I play a unique blend of multiplayer VS, in which decks that you would never consider playing even for fun have a chance to shine.  The rules are:

1)  Even number of players, at least 4, divide into two teams.  Each team starts with endurance equal to 50 times the number of players in a team, but no more than 150.

2)  Shared front and support rows, though no shared resources.  Recruitment and resource laying can be in any order that the team chooses.

3)  Characters that belong to different players cannot team attack.  However, characters can reinforce other characters regardless of team affiliation.  This rule was set to ensure that neither team would win by cheap shot breakthrough on weakling characters, and though I know it does make certain things easier, the fun factor is enhanced considerably.

4)  Effects that say “you control” can still only be played on characters you control.

5)  Burn effects that simultaneously affect all opposing players or all players, such as I.Q.’s draw burn effect, are counted only once for each team.

Clearly, this format takes a giant dump on all the Tier One decks that you’ve ever played, particularly those that try to force a stall or win the game by turn four.  The quantity of opposing characters that one has to deal with, even with potentially twice the allied characters, is daunting.  It gets worse if you miss a drop or two, though that’s just as likely to happen to the other side, as well.  Moreover, you quickly find, especially in the larger (3 on 3 and beyond) games, that you won’t quite have all the answers you need.  Sooner more than later, you will run out of combat pumps, negation and exhaustion effects, and extra cards to pitch.  Really, when you’re facing a full deck’s worth of effects from three different players, there is never a turn when you feel you’ve finally exhausted your opponents’ options.

Alternate win condition and crazy combo decks have it easy in this format, since they can concentrate on the alternate win while their teammates stave off the opposition.  The Secret Six Victorious win is quite easily achieved, I have discovered to my chagrin, when his teammate is drawing all the fire and keeping the SS characters protected at his expense.  Time can be bought for someone’s wacky combo to trigger.

Certain cards become monstrous in this format, such as Metropolis Marvel Superman and Bring It On.  Leader cards also become much more useful, able to dispense abilities to a wider variety of worthy recipients.  Teen Titans Go! in teams featuring two or more Teen Titans decks is practically cheating.

Naturally, team synergy will play an important element in victory, and a team comprised of Future Foe discard and Injustice Gang Hand Burn will have a much harder time winning than, say, an Avengers Leader deck and an Avengers Reservist deck.  Mileage varies with each pairing, but that’s the beauty of the format — no matter how fantastic your deck is, if you’ve got no teamwork with your partner or partners, you will lose out to weaker decks that happen to work well together.

It’s a whole mess of fun, and worth a diversion every now and then from the intensity of the one-on-one VS format.  If you enjoyed the Galactus experience, and wished you could band together to fight a common swarm of foes instead of single devouring conqueror, then give this format a try.

HULK Hulk Hulk Hulk Hulk… Goose!

Posted in VS Ramblings on September 24, 2008 by omnicresence

This is a most unusual location from which to be updating the VS Ruminations – at a yacht club overlooking the docks, a couple of hours from the urban cacophony that is Manila.  I’m here as a speaker for a franchisee’s conference to educate the franchisee guests on the nuances and practicalities of the franchise agreement, which I suspect 75% don’t actually read before signing.  This conference is a good first step towards enlightening them, but we’re looking into providing a crash course on the franchise agreement periodically for all new franchisees to attend before they actually sign the damned contract.

Anyway, over at the Lost Hemisphere, they’ve announced that the MEV previews will be starting soon, so the bloggers had better get cracking once again, which means I’d better update this site with more frequency.  Part of the hassle, aside from my recently punishing work schedule, is looking for appropriate pictures and plastering them on the site to give them more visual appeal.  The Deranged Bear has successfully ignored this concern of mine, kudos to him, but I find myself occasionally needing to throw a graphic file in the mix every so often.

Gah.  Next time, maybe.

Anyway, today’s post highlights a deck concept that I threw together last week, after playing the heck out of Hulk Warbound, noting that, much like Doom, the team affiliation is almost insignificant since the best cards for the deck key off the Hulk as a character anyway.  I thought, then, why not take all those Hulk-stamped effects and toss them into another team that can support Hulk as a major character element?  A team like… Marvel Defenders?

Admittedly, Hulk doesn’t come into play for the Defenders until turn 5, so this is not a quick-win deck. But once Hulk is recruited, his extensive Defender support base gives him the rage that he needs to decimate the opponent’s field.

HULK DEFEND!!!!

Characters

2 Elloe Kaifi 1-drop W

2 Wong 1-drop D

4 Rick Jones 2-drop W

3 Tanya Belinskya 2-drop D

2 Archangel 3-drop W

4 Hellcat 3-drop W

1 Sam Parrington 4-drop W

2 Nova 4-drop D

2 Brood 4-drop W

4 Hulk 5-drop D

2 Hulk 6-drop W

1 Quasar 6-drop D

2 Hulk 7-drop D

1 Hercules 7-drop W

Non-Characters

4 Secret Defenders

1 World War Hulk

3 Righteous Anger

3 One-Man Rampage

4 Hulk Smash!

4 Savage Beatdown

2 The B-Team

4 Warbound to the End

3 The Great Arena

Again, this is a rough draft based on cards that I have and the general concept. I’m sure you professional deckbuilders out there can really jack up the power level of this deck.

The fundamental idea is to get the ever-growing 5-drop Hulk to attack as many times as possible on turn 5, clearing your opponent’s board while at the same time hopefully inflicting a ton of damage via breakthrough. This isn’t too hard to do in theory, between Sam Parrington, One-Man Rampage and Righteous Anger, and if Hulk can attack even three times in a single turn, he’ll be a hefty 12/12 bruiser, and that’s not even taking into account the various bonuses that can be granted to the Hulk. Tanya hands out those +4 ATKs, Elloe is good for a +1/+1, Hellcat grants a +2/+2, and Quasar provides a whopping +4/+4 to an attacking character for the turn. Ideally, Hellcat and Tanya will still be around on turn 5 with an Elloe removed from the game for a starting 16/12 5-drop Hulk that becomes a 17/13 monster on his first attack, and grows angrier with each subsequent exhaustion. If you’ve got evens, Quasar steps in to boost Hulk into a 21/17 attacker. In a pinch, 6-drop Warbound Hulk is there to consume the 5-drop (and likely be bigger starting out).

The 7-drop Defenders Hulk is there as a finisher just in case the 5 and 6-drop Hulks don’t close out the game, and has the added bonus of being able to re-ready itself for an extra attack’s worth of punishment.

The assortment of cards is something of a jumble and may not be the best selection, but the concept is there for the most part, and it’s finally a Hulk deck that isn’t Warbound.

Of Ahmeds and Annihilus-es (Annihili?)

Posted in VS Ramblings on September 12, 2008 by omnicresence

Negative Zone’s still not getting any love as of late, which isn’t really that surprising considering their relatively poor augmentation in MUN.  There’s potential there, certainly, but nothing unfair or combo-tastic to whet the appetites of tournament level deckbuilders.

Which is not to say that people can’t have a bit of fun.

AA Meeting  (Negative Zone/Checkmate)

Characters

2 Connie Webb, Knight

2 Mr. Mxyzptlk, Troublesome Trickster

4 Skreet, Chaos Mite

2 Black Thorn, Elizabeth Thorne

4 Ahmed Samsarra, White King

1 Thanos, The Mad Titan

2 Syphonn, Energy Leech

2 Centurians, Army

1 Elimination Protocol <> OMAC Robot, Army

1 Annihilation Protocol <> OMAC Robot, Army

3 Annihilus, Anti-Matter Master

2 Huntress, Reluctant Queen

1 Ravenous, Servant of Annihilus

1 Sasha Bordeaux, Autonomous Prototype

1 Blastaar, The Living Bomb Burst

1The Void, Robert Reynolds

Locations

1 Negative Zone, Gateway

2 Negative Zone, Shadow Dimension

2 Negative Zone, Prison Alpha

3 Negative Zone, Seat of Annihilation

3 Negative Zone, Harvester of Sorrows

4 Brother Eye Satellite

4 Checkmate Safe House

2 Brother Eye

1 Soul World

Plot Twists

4 Knightmare Scenario

3 Target Acquired

1 The Annihilation Wave

Keep in mind that this build is based on cards I actually have, which explains the lack of any Swarm of Annihilus, and could use some more focus, though it runs surprisingly well for something I cobbled together as an afterthought.

Connie Webb:  For Ahmed, really, who is always the centerpiece of any Checkmate engine.

Mr. Mxyzptlk: Because of all the discarding you’ll be doing with the Negative Zones, he’s very handy for keeping your hand size decent.

Skreet: Because she’s Zone,  she burns for 4, and you can stick her out there again later on for some extra burn.

Black Thorn: For re-use of the Safe Houses, the Dark Dimension Negative Zone, and occasionally Brother Eye.

Ahmed Samsarra: Needs no explanation.

Thanos: On the off-chance that you don’t manage to get Ahmed, he’s a poor second-stringer.

Syphonn: A bit oversized, and you can shunt him into the hidden area to allow you to gain some endurance for the rest of the game, barring any hidden hate.

Centurians: Into the hidden area they can go, where their ability not to get stunned while attacking will become doubly useful.

Annihilus: Hates on your opponent’s hidden area, and you’ve got the Prison Alphas to give him some juicy targets.

The OMACs: There really if you haven’t managed to team up by then and need drops, but Annihilation’s KO ability is quite useful.

Ravenous: There because he’s Zone, and to get rid of an annoying location or ongoing plot-twist.

Huntress: A fine-sized 6-drop that doubles as a pseudo Pathetic Attempt.

Sasha Bordeaux: Makes everyone chunkier.

Blastaar: Between him and Annihilus, that’s two stuns without fear of stunback.

The Void: With the Negative Zone around, he practically amounts to a free stun or three.

Playing this deck is fairly simple – set up the Checkmate engine, stuff everyone into the hidden area, blunt attacks with the Safe Houses and Knightmare Scenarios, and strike hard with Brother Eye, Target Acquired and your direct stun abilities.  Use the Wave and/or Gateway to wipe your opponent’s field clean on turn 5.

As always, suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Still on Hiatus

Posted in Randomness on September 5, 2008 by omnicresence

Wahahahaha.  Still busy playing with my Animated Transformers.  Just got Leader Class Animated Ultra Magnus a few days ago and he is simply fantastic.  Intimidating presence and benevolent leadership, topped with a kick-ass lightning-channeling hammer, in toy form.  Seriously, if DC doesn’t want to relinquish license rights for their images and characters, UDE should approach Hasbro.  What they’ve done with Animated blows a lot of what we see in current superhero lore clear out of the water, considering that one of the underlying foundations of the new TF series is “What if the Transformers were superheroes/supervillains?”

And… still struggling in the Marvel Universe drought to come up with coherent new builds.  Not nearly enough Captain America or Iron Man stuff to justify building a deck around either, though my Warbound Hulk is firing on almost all cylinders (except for the fact that I have ZERO of the 4-drop Hulk…).

And… not eating or drinking anything from sunrise to sunset is not the easiest thing.  I’m not Muslim, but I figured I’d give this Ramadan thing a shot.  It’s a swell diet, but I work in a food company so this is torture.

Sigh.