The Dynamics of My Multiplayer

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.

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