Yesterday I explored some of the ‘older’ deck types that could make a splash at your local Hobby League’s Bring Your Own Set (Modern) Event. Today I’ll be exploring the two latest VS. sets, Marvel Legends and DC Legends, and what impact we can expect from them in this format.
Actually ‘impact’ is an understatement, because these two latest sets will most likely define the average tournament and metagame…
Marvel Legends is another extremely powerful set, and one which has seen a lot of play. And it should! MVL has powerful generic cards, amazing rares and playable decks for just about every time. Also, MVL contains Mobilize, which will give every team in the set added consistency. Of course, some of the teams featured already had great tutors, but that’s neither here nor there.
Family of Four: Due to the rarity of HERBIE and a lack of genuinely groundbreaking equipment, Fantastic Four should remain a simple (and downright abusive) beats deck. Players lucky enough to get more than a couple of boxes will likely go for the ‘Family of Four’ archtype, with a emphasis on Invisible Woman and Forcefield Projection. However, those without the flashy rares will still be competitive, given the oversized stats of characters like She-Hulk, Mr. Fantastic and every incarnation of Thing. Remaining aggressive against the Four is always a solid strategy, although it may prove difficult.
Marvel Knights KO / Marvel Knights Burn: Arguably the defining ‘aggro’ deck in the format, Marvel Knights can hit hard from the concealed area and clean up an opponent’s board through damaging KO effects. Those who would rather stay visisble have the option of running a burn deck, utilizing Vengeance, Ghost Rider (6) and the discard-able Dagger. Not every set in Modern has great answers to concealed characters, which should make MKKO (and any concealed beats deck) even more potent.
X-Babies/Wolverine: The X-Men swarm deck was given a lot of new toys to play with in Legends, most notably Cable, Beast and Shadowcat. Unfortunately the cards that truly push the deck’s burn potential over the edge (Dazzler, Wylde) are not available. A more aggressive deck that relies on stunning out characters through Fastball Special, and abusing Wolverine is possible, but not nearly as powerful.
Jean Grey Legend: The Jean Grey deck could make a strong showing in this format, but it will suffer due missing the 3 and 6-drop Jeans from AoA and MXM. Still, the 5-drop Jean Grey has potential to become one of the largest characters in the game. By combining her legend with another character or team (Doom?) it will not be difficult for this powerful deck to overcome their shortcomings in this format.
Due to an underprinting of the set (it’s funny how the whole DC/VS. situation makes sense in hindsight) DC Legends cards have become some of the sought after in the game. This is also the set’s undoing as the most powerful cards are so intensely rare that few people can actually afford them. As a self-contained set there are only two frequently played decks: one of which is the most expensive deck in all of VS., and the other may actually be one of the cheapest.
Two major teams, Secret Society and League of Assassins, are extremely unlikely. The Society’s most powerful tool, Deadshot, is nearly impossible to pull off in a timely manner, while the League of Assassins is simply lacking the card support they need to make a splash.
JLA Legends: Also known as ‘Money.dec’ this deck consists almost entirely of valuable rares. However unlike Fantastic Four, where some of the rares are reprints of older, less valuable cards, the JLA cards are all-new and all-expensive. This is an amazing control build, negating effects, plot twists, and pretty much anything else your crappy deck has to offer. The good news is that this deck is also the White Whale of the game, and only a handful of people actually own enough cards to build it. If you see your opponent playing this you should shake their hand politely, scoop, and try going to a Hobby League in a less affluent neighborhood.
IG Concealed: As I stated yesterday, IG Concealed is extremely powerful, but takes a hit when put in a Bring Your Own Set format. This is because DC Legends doesn’t have enough powerful combat pumps to generate the damage neccessary for a quick kill. It is likely that this deck will be overlooked in BYOM in favor of more solid hidden beats such as Marvel Knights, or even Birds of Prey.
IG Handburn: BYOM should prove to be a slower format, which will greatly improve the performance of this fan-favorite control deck. Though the deck relies heavily on rares, many of them are reprints from a much more affordable set. The deck’s weakness is in Lex Luthor and The Joker. By eliminating one, or both of those threats from the board you should be able to take advantage of extra card draw while not suffering the consequences associated with it.
Titans Variants: The Teen Titans are an extremely popular team, and people seem to want to play with them regardless of how viable the decks are. The Tim Drake or Beast Boy Legends might make a splash in Hobby Leagues, but both decks suffer from consistency issues due to the availability of certain cards. Titans Reservists can also be quite powerful, but suffers from an overreliance on face-down resources.
After going through the list of viable decks I’ve come to the realistization that even this limited format holds an awful lot of diversity. Though some decks will be making appearances in every Hobby League (World’s Finest, Fantastic Four) there should still be surprises abound.
Without access to Pathetic Attempt and the cross-polination of certain cards I would expect this format to be dominated by control effects. This means that the few decks that will thrive will either A) hit harder and faster than the control decks can handle (MKKO, Birds) or B) Negate opposing effects with relative ease (JLA, World’s Finest and Spider-Stall.)
Given that I spent most of my time writing this article (as opposed to actually building a deck) I’ll probably end up throwing my World’s Finest deck into the fray. My second choice, Titans Reservist, feels too inconsitent to truly succeed, and I’m also missing three copies of Roy Harper (3.)
My professional advice is simple enough: Play the deck you want and have fun. Though I discounted many decks based on their ‘viability,’ it’s funny how that sort of thing can change from one scene to another. You want to build a Martian Manhunter Legend? Do it!
If nothing else this format is ripe for experimentation, so try to come up with something unique.