Reflections

Greetings all and welcome back to Pyrahmancy. This week there is no new Thursday 13 for you but I do have a different treat instead. Over the last three Thursday thirteens I have reviewed the Birds of Prey, these articles sparked the interest of a veteran Vs. professional: EvilDave! He disagreed with some of my opinions on the Birds  so I asked him if he would mind writing up a review of his own; he graciously agreed  and I have worked his review back into the previous three articles.

So go check out his reviews and let me know who you think is right! (Of course Dave is a much better player than me so it’s probably him…)

https://pyrahmancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/thursday-thirteen-dcn-set-review-part-11/

https://pyrahmancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/thursday-thirteen-dcn-set-review-part-10/

https://pyrahmancy.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/thursday-thirteen-dcn-set-review-part-9/

Join me again next time for the League of Assassins…

Thursday Thirteen: DCN Set Review Part 11

Greetings all and welcome back to Pyrahmancy. It has been two weeks since my last post mainly due to keyboard failure last week making typing anything very difficult, but I’m now back in the swing. This week we finish of the Birds of Prey cards and get a first glimpse at the League of Assassins. On to the reviews.

103. Ted Grant <> Wildcat, Bullish Boxer

Small “blanket” attack pumps are obviously much better in swarm type decks (as Faces of Evil showed us). Unfortunately a substitute theme doesn’t really lend itself to this style of play. So while Ted’s +1 ATK for subbed girls is nice I don’t think you can “”build around it”.

His second ability means that not many 5 drops can safely attack him without fear of being stunned back; This is obviously a good thing and it can mess up combat maths for other attacks too, especially if he is hidden. But the fact that most 4 and some three drops can take him down any way means it’s not that great. I’m not sure it’s ever worth trying to use this ability offensively either as playing a four drop you are not attacking with to boost up the ATK of some team attackers doesn’t seem worth it to me (unless you have 8 or more attackers and really need the boost!)

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

How sad is it this is the preferred on-team character for modern? He does stuff, and triggers on himself (I think?), so can swing solid. It’s not what I usually look for in a 4, but with the terrible offerings of this team, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

On-team (Birds) 3-star. Meh, he’ll get you a few extra damage.

On-team (JSA): 1-star. That team specializes in 4, this guy won’t register on the radar.

Limited: 3-star. He has beatdown stats, an occasionally useful ability, and another occasionally useful ability. That’s good enough for limited.

104. Vixen, Totemic Mimic

Another BAMF! type effect, like the Dark Lantern this girl gives your characters a free pass on attacks for the turn, but unlike the lantern she doesn’t target one guy but rather effects herself and all of the BoP trinity. Also unlike the Lantern her effect only works on others if you Substitute her into play.

Substituting her in for Babs 3 on turn 6 when you play big Babs certainly seems like a strong choice for maintaining board advantage in the trinity deck but she doesn’t really have a home elsewhere.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

I love her ability, especially as you can put her down and sub in Dinah over her immediately afterwards. When your team’s stats tell you they’re going to be stunned every attack, it’s nice to know she’s here to keep the beatdown going. Not quite the god-staple Dinah is, but very solid.

On team (Birds): 4-star. God this team got some 3-drops.

On team (JLA): 1-star. Really? Just because a character has been on a team once doesn’t mean they need the affiliation if it doesn’t fit the character’s text.

Limited: 4-star. I like hidden 3s, especially those that substitute in and can give me board advantage. She’s everything I look for.


105. Vixen, Pack Runner

Another across the board pump that relies on substitution. However this time she alone is able to take down a six drop unaided if substituted, she’ll also allow most 4 drops to take out a 5 drop perhaps allowing your six drop a direct swing, or at least a big swing into an unreinforced four drop. She is also not team stamped at all so is splashable in a lot of decks to be subbed in on 6/7 depending when you have the initiative. If this set had a booster release I think she’d be a good early draft pick.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

A killer by any other name. When she sees play, you should be expecting to win, with a global +2 pumping up everyone and her hitting hard. This is what you want as a finishing 5, no ifs, ands, or buts.

On team (Birds): 4 stars. She ends games for you, not unlike Whiteout for the Injustice Gang

On team (JLA): 2 star. They don’t have good CIP effects, and they finish with ally effects.

Off team: 3 star. If you have a solid Come Into Play 5-drop and need a finisher, it’s two great tastes that taste great together. She’s a more widely useable (and earlier) Guy Gardner.


106. Aerie One, Unique – Blackhawk

This card seems very good in an aggressive BoP deck. It is basically a free Flying Kick every turn as long as you can recruit a hidden character. With hardly any characters that are not concealed or concealed – optional this shouldn’t be a problem. It also allows you to move concealed only girls visible if you want. A definite inclusion in any BoP equipment deck and a strong contender in most other BoP builds.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

All right, I really want more from an equipment. Only good if you can transfer them back. It’s also unique, not that I would really want to play more than 1.

Any format: 1-star. If it could be equipped to a Hellfire club member I could see more arguments for it.


107. Vigilante’s Crossbow

Apparently Vigilante’s are much better at making Crossbows, but they don’t like to share them. On top of this if you are a BoP you can use two at once, making them almost twice as good as Dual Sidearms. Of course the real benefit these range granting weapons bring is that they are concealed optional meaning hidden characters of any kind can have their own Dual Sidearms equivalent. A good inclusion in an equipment deck as duplicates don’t cause as many problems. They also make Kate Spencer look somewhat more attractive.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:
Missing…


108. Clocktower Systems

(errata note – this card gives hidden characters +1 ATK).

This card looks like it is good friends with Aerie One, want the ATK pump but also to keep your character hidden? No problem move them out with the Aerie and back in with the Clocktower; Bang +4 ATK!

It also you better control over you formation and can give you some nice combat tricks especially when combined with the DWF Birds. Imagine  you opponent swinging his 4 drop for a “safe” attack into you visible Catwoman, you flip this and move her and all of a sudden he has 7 ATK to contend with. You can even reinforce her before making the move…

Of course this card also gives another across the board attack pump (well almost) with Ted and Vixen they could start to add up…

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Well, moving back and forth isn’t really Birds “thing”, and most locations help off-team guys too when they just say “concealed get +1 atk” (see Hunte’s Castle). But it’s enough to warrant a 1-of, or possibly a 2-of. Also helps if a character gets stuck because of SKREEEEEEE! or some such.

On-team: 3-star. It’ll probably make the cut

Limited: 2-star. You’re less likely to be all-concealed or on team, so it’ll be harder to work, and not good enough to MAKE work.

 

109. Platinum Flats

This card looks like it will be vital in the substitute build. It gives you a way to get back cards that you substituted out of the game and increases your hand size. It does this effectively for free off initiative and gives 3 drop Babs something to do on initiative. A very strong card but only for the substitute deck.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Here we go. Keep the 3-drops subbing in and out, all day every day. This is a card engine like you would not believe. Sadly it does not work in team-ups (otherwise it’d be cool with Ultimates), but a staple in every birds deck ever.

On-team: 5 star. The team’s best non-character card


110. Confidential Information

This card is basically a Base of Operations. A card that has seen very little constructed play. As this card is not unique however getting multiples out can make its deck filtering quite powerful. However if you are searching out plot twists anyway you might as well get what this would be filtering for rather than more copies of this.

Probably playable in limited where consistency is much more of an issue (the only place I’ve really ever used Base of Operations is in the DS Marvel TCG game where tutors are very hard to come by). I can’t see myself wanting it in constructed though unless I’ve got some rally tricks up my sleeve…

1/5 (2/5 in limited)

Evil Dave’s Review:

Really? What happened birds? Terrible in multiples, never nets card advantage (give it a replace effect maybe?) I could think of no reason to play this.

Any format: 0-star. Really, I don’t even know what they were looking for here. It’s not even in-theme for the team.


111. Flock Together, Team-Up

A team-up with a built-in equipment transfer looks like it might be useful for a GK BoP equipment deck. However, few reservists or terraform locations along with probably a highish character count to capitalise on substitution means that the replacement cost is quite risky (It’s certainly no Planet X). If I’m teaming up with GK I’m probably going to be opting for The Hook-Up but this might fill a useful role in a F4/BoP deck. Not a bad card but not especially exciting.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

It replaces itself, has an OK ability (which clearly is meant to help synergize the equip effects with substitute, a combo on this team that they try for). Overall probably you can find better, and as most of the members are GK you’ve got a better team-up already.

On-team: 2 star. Will probably never see play

Limited: 3 star. It’s a generic team-up, and can replace itself if you have an equip. That’s actually more valuable in limited.


112. Hard-Traveling Heroines

+3 DEF on a defender is pretty good, sometimes even enough to counteract an up-the-curve Beatdown attack. Acrobatic Dodge was a great card and unless your opponent has busted his way into your hidden area this is just as good, and just like Against All Odds you can use it on the attack as well if needed.

The fact this doubles as a Blinding Rage light for your hidden guys when needed is just an extra drop of awesome source. When MTU came out I loved Spider-Signal for it’s versatility and I think I;m going to love this too.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Now we’re talking. For the rare times you have a visible “damage soak”, it can make them bounce attacks nicely. Usually it’s a +3 with no noticeable drawback. This kind of versatility I like.

On-team: 4-star. Would be higher for teams that are more likely to use concealed optional (like the older Birds of Prey).


113. Pin-Ups

Sure Titans of Tomorrow can only be played in the build phase but I’m always going to choose that over this card. It’s not like I’m going to be substituting outside of the build phase very often…

Titans can get me any card that has the same cost as a character I control and that shares a team with a character I control, it doesn’t care when they came into play. One of the benefits of substitute is you can play a card that’s good on the turn it comes out but not so good later in the game, and replace it with one that is when the time is right. Titans allows you to do that, Pin-Ups doesn’t.

It does support some of the BoPs “only if substituted” character powers but this is certainly after mobilise on the list of character tutors even in a deck with that theme. With only access to this set I can see BoP decks having to play this card but I certainly wouldn’t be happy about it…

1/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Are we that desperate? Really? If I missed my drop, this isn’t going to help me find it, and that’s what search is all about. But the answer is yes, this Modern has little in the way of generic search, and its ability helps set up your bouncing 3-drops and 5-drops that you need set up, so you will probably play it.

Constructed: 2-star. It’ll make the cut until someone reprints mobilize in a fanset.

Limited: 1-star. I just want to hit in limited, and this won’t help do that.


114. Swooping In
PG

+4 ATK is nice and I’d certainly be taking it in limited, but at only one point cheaper than Beatdown and only one point of ATK bonus higher than Flying Kick I think it’s other restrictions means it will be ranking after those two cards in my ATK pump selections for a BoP deck where they are available, I’d rather have +3 ATK I can play on anyone rather than +4 that only works sometimes. Within just DCN it becomes a lot more attractive though.

2/5 (4/5 in limited and a top pick if you are already in Birds…)

Evil Dave’s Review:

ll right, seriously. Darkseid had a version of this card that only required the guy to have entered play for the +4, and they got +2 if they were just Darkseid. That card was only “pretty good”, why did they feel the need to make a strictly worse in several ways version? Poor birds and their support cards… it’s a shame a team with such good characters can’t at least get a good beatdown card. With its limited text, it should be a +6 attack; or +5 with +2 if they weren’t subbed in.

On-team: 1-star. Sorry, I’d play a generic +3 attack card over this, and plenty are available in Modern.

Limited: 2-star. They actually managed to make this card difficult enough to play where it’s an attack pump that would probably not make the cut in limited


115. Alpha, Michael Sommers
x

In their previous incarnation the LoA have always cared about locations, deep green showed us that this love could translate in to a powerful deck especially when helped by Ahmed. This guy is a normal sized 1-drop with range that has the potential to get pretty big. With the perfect row he’ll have no problem taking down 2 drops on turn two and some 3-drops on three. Under dropping him late game can net you a lot of ATK for one resource point.

4/5

Until next time…

Thursday Thirteen: DCN Set Review Part 10

Welcome back to Pyrahmancy. Once again a little late this week; my brain must still be addled from the French Draft we did last Friday. I managed to win with a Spider-friends/Marvel Knights team-up deck, but X-statix had me on the rocks for a lot of the final game. But that’s a story for another time perhaps, onto the set review…

90. Hank Hall <> Hawk, New Bird

A 4/3 flyer for two is pretty sweet, for one is awesome! However the fact that he always costs you a card is less good and costing two cards is pretty much unacceptable for a one drop, whether it has high stats or not. There are plenty of 2/3 two drops around, some with good abilities and slapping a Jetpack on any of them gets you an attacker as good as this guy. With the high card cost of substitute already I don’t see myself wanting to run this guy in BoP and Titans have got lots of better Hawk options.

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

So Dawn’s counterpart is… pretty mediocre all around. First, I hate discarding a card for an effective +1 attack on a 2-drop. Second, he’s visible. His only saving grace is he + Dawn = 2 cost, total (well, and 2 cards, which makes it a bit more of a downer), which is a nice effect. It’s still more Teen Titan than Birds, but he hits hard and I can accept that.

On Team (BoP): 3-star. I think you can do better, but haven’t reviewed the rest of the 2s. He does have good stats etc. I just want to hide my 2-drops on-team

On Team (Titans): 3-star. Again, just not as impressive as most Teen 2 drops, including the original Hank.

Limited: 3-star. Big, and he and Dawn are common, so sure I might take him 7th or 8th and not regret it.

 

91. Huntress, Helping Hunter

Four attack on a hidden two drop is nice, six is bordering ridiculous. Okay you are probably going to have to sub her in to get the effect off, but she’ll certainly make Bab’s 3 ATK much more palatable when she can stun pretty much any 3-drop without further assistance. Just that stats and affiliation probably mean she will go into outsiders decks too even if they can never trigger her effect as variety amongst low drops is key for uniqueness issues. (Although putting Babs in the press build might not be too bad anyway…)

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Now HERE is a 2-drop. Has that valuable name drop (Huntress) for various effects, becomes a 6/1 2-drop when subbed in later (while Babs or Dinah are around). She is everything you’re looking for, a 4-of staple in every agro Birds deck. Even on the outsiders being a 4/1 hidden is “enough” to justify her as a 1-of.

On Team (BoP): 5-star. She represents the team, and is your earliest access to a critical name.

On Team (Outsiders): 3-star. She’s hidden, she’s on team. That’s enough to make the cut as a 1-of on that team.

Limited: 4-star (5-star). Might almost splash her just a hidden high-power 2-drop. On team I’d grab her early so opponents don’t get tempted to do that.


92. Huntress, Hunter in the Dark

When they printed the DCX cards Hush was one of my favourite. Huntress reminds me quite a lot of him, switching her power on may be a little more difficult but it certainly achievable from turn five onwards and probably on turn four with a bit of help from Carrying the Torch and/or running the JLA one drop Dinah. With the BoP’s roster of hidden characters it is also easier to force your opponent to attack into huntress and get the KOs off initiative, especially if you are packing Nasty Surprise effects. I’d love to see if it were possible to team up and play with the “only visible character” theme that Hellfire or Hellboy had, but I don’t know if it would be possible with the double legend stamping…

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Hmmm… well, I respect her stats. And REALLY respect her ability. The issue? It’s probably not going off on 4 sadly. You can get lucky and get a 1-drop Barbara and 3-drop Dinah, which would mean that, combined with Huntress’ KO and Dinah’s stun, would leave an opponent helpless on 5. This is REALLY good, but hard to pull off (easier in Silver, where said deck would Carrying the Torch Barbara’s name onto Huntress herself). But even on 5 it’s respectable. That assumes you are aiming to make it to 6 with the Birds deck, which is much less likely than one would think, so I’d say she is “passable”. On GK, 3-drop Dinah + 6-drop Oracle is a nice “setup” anyway (and the 1-drop Barbara is on-team, so hey), so you can sub her in and team attack down their 6 for a free KO, that makes her splash-worthy.

On-team (Birds): 2-star. You can really do better, her ability won’t trigger enough

On-team (GK): 3-star. Her ability is still tough to pull off, but a little more thematic here, I’d certainly keep 1 around to search for and sub in later.

Limited: 3-star. She’s solid, there are enough of those names running around where I might pull her ability off, and if I do it will probably be “game” for opponent. But I wouldn’t take her early.


93. Huntress, Taking it to the Streets

A nice negation effect, but again very card hungry – requiring a substitute and a discard. This version of Huntress seems more at home with her GK affiliation but Cape and Cowl probably elbows her out of most decks. I think in a BoP Trinity Deck I’m going to much prefer to have the 4-drop Huntress out and run big Babs at 6. Not a bad card and I’d be pleased to see her in limited but I can see her making her way into many of my constructed decks…

2.5/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

All right, for those mediocre stats, I expect no “ifs ands or buts” on a 6-drops ability to fizzle once per turn. As it stands, bad stats, OK ability that ONLY triggers if I subbed her over my other 6-drop… generally will pass on this one. Maybe a dedicated GK-sub deck she might be a 1-of, but probably not.

On team (Birds): 1-star. Seriously, she’s a 6 with bad stats and an exceptionally limited ability.

On-team (GK): 2-star. A little better, but still probably wouldn’t even bother as a 1-of

Limited: 1-star. I can do better than a 12/12 with a one-time fizzle, and I don’t play enough 6s to play the late-game sub trick.


94. Infinity, Silent Runner

Moving opposing characters between areas can be quite useful and powerful, however you don’t have much control with Infinity to do so short of Kamikaze-ing her into your opponents drops. Without any ability to attack hidden characters she is going to most useful shifting visible ones out of the way. She can perform this task quite well late game though; If you’ve got 3 drop Babs still sitting around on turn 6/7 then after you’ve drawn your card you can sub in Infinity and use her to shift your opponents biggest drop to the hidden area or break up reinforcement formations, leaving your heavy hitters free to attack the opponent’s smaller characters (or directly) for breakthrough. If this is the effect you are going for though perhaps Lay Down with Dogs might be preferable? Infinity is more easily tutorable though…

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review: (editor’s note: I think Dave may have mis-read this card – check back soon for an update)

I like her as a 1, a lot. She’s hidden, which in and of herself makes her good, and she starts “working for you” as early as turn 2. With the “god hand” (turn 1 her, turn 2 Huntress, turn 3 Dinah), their 2 drop will be hidden by Huntress (so no longer a threat as damage prevention / future stuns), then turn 3 Huntress will stun their 2 (moving it hidden) and Dinah will follow up to make that 2 locked down in the hidden area. She also lets 3-drop Barbara do “suicide runs” to make characters hidden. A lot to like here.

On team: 4-star. She really work engines, and has GREAT synergy with the early named characters

Limited: 4-star. Stops people from trying to become control decks on you.

 

95. Katana, Queen of Blades

Like Cardiac and The Ravager before her, Katana is a three drop that takes down two drops out-of-combat with no risk of a stun back. Unlike the others though she stands a chance of actually beating 2 drops in combat as well. Katana’s effect may only be a one shot but as she removes the 2-drop from the game rather than stunning it, against curve decks it doesn’t really matter. And, once she has done her thing you are ready to substitute in Babs next turn. It does mean that she is not so useful against off curve strategies.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

You know, as cute as her ability is, I don’t see either Birds or Outsiders WANTING this ability. And she can’t be further subbed if she uses it. I’d rather just swing down that 2, and no 2-drop is going to annoy me enough to make me want to waste my time with her. If Birds had a little better search I MAY consider playing her as a 1-of to stop my face from being eaten by Syndicate.

On team: 2-star. I may consider her as a 1-of, but with so many amazing 3-drops on team, I doubt it. It’d only be if I suspected a REALLY aggressive format where everyone was trying to kill me on 5. She does eat Carnage though.

Limited: 3-star. A little better here, as everyone smart will have hidden their 2-drops, and the free hit may make up for the limited stats. The format also has a lot of substitute, so I could eject her out (hopefully) the next turn, as 3-drops I tend to play more of than any other drop.


96. Kate Spencer <> Manhunter, The 8th Manhunter

A 2/2 that becomes a 4/2 whilst attacking up the curve, but only whilst equipped? I don’t really think the 1 extra point of DEF is enough to make me want to play this over 2 drop huntress especially as BoP decks probably aren’t running a huge amount of equipment and the bits they are running will probably be more useful on other girls. She is also of the wrong teams to fit into an equipment themed deck…

1/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Really? 2/2 with situational fearless? There have been fearless 2 guys that were 3/2 and not situational, being hidden and substitutable does NOT make up for this.

On-team (any): 1-star. Really, no excuses here. Even in an equip deck.

Limited: 0-star. Expect this one to table a lot.


97. Kendra Saunders <> Hawkgirl, Sky’s the Limit

Apart from one or two exceptions characters causing people to lose flight has been limited pretty much to the X-men team in the past. Now the BoP can get in on the action to, grounding your opponents board whenever Kendra is exhausted. Granting all of your girls flight for a turn is also quite useful. Most of the time though I think I’m going to prefer to have Huntress out at 4 or even Wildcat.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Gives flight, removes flight, pretty solid. Only problem is the teams she is on. Birds don’t really care if opponents can fly, but do like flight themselves; this and their lack of solid 4s (along with her hidden status) make her playable here. JSA, she’ll never be a substitute for Hawkmans high-defense and can power up with identity text, so she’s a bit of a waste here (Though they do like her defense ability more than Birds)

On-team (Birds): 3-star. Global flight Is nice, and the team needs hidden 4-drops

On-team (JSA): 2-star. Her defensive ability is more likely to trigger here, but she can’t beat out the top contendor on this team.

Limited: 3-star. Solid ability, can conceal or not. I’d take her relatively early, not insanely, but I would not regret her.

98. Lady Blackhawk, Aerie Ace

Across the board flight is good and +1 ATK for everyone pretty nice to. This is the kind of effect that is worth running conceal equipment for. No substitute means that you’ll be playing this girl early or under dropping to get her out in a curve BoP deck though. However the bonuses she provides aren’t team stamped so Lady Blackhawk could find her way into any swarm deck that doesn’t mind running some concealed equipment. (SRA/Black Bolt?).

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

All right, if she’s not equipped she sucks, horribly, obviously. But if you’re running enough equipment… eh, you’d probably want them on more meaningful people. She has her place in life, but probably not in a deck. Ah, where is my original Lady Blackhawk, she would have been a welcome reprint.

On-team: 2-star. She does a lot of what I’m looking for, and might make the cut if I’m running 8-10 equips.

Limited: 1-star. I’m not equipping my 1-drop.


99. Lady Shiva, Street Fighter

A 14/14 6-drop is okay but an 11/11 is not. Being concealed probably means she is likely to be able to pick her fights but it also means her “big butt” is not going to give you any added protection on the defence. BoP have better six drops and she is not really worth trying to splash else where.

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

A 14/14 by any other name? If she’s Skreeed out they can team attack her down with their 2 and 3, but generally she’s as 14/14 as they come. The issue? The team doesn’t really want a 14/14 that can’t defend, and GK doesn’t want a no-text no-defending 14/14 either.

On-team (Birds): 2-star. I’m not saying she is bad per se, she’s just never what you are looking for. If Birds had a search that could make her a 1-of you could argue (in a mobilize format, for instance).

On-team (GK): 2-star. She can be a solid finisher, and could potentially be seen as a 1-of target. But probably not.

Limited: 4-star. 14/14 finishers on my preferred kill initiative. Limited is where Lady Shiva would be my angel of death.


100. Misfit, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe

Misfit is very similar to the original Nightcrawler, except you still take the two damage for her being stunned, your opponent does have a chance to respond to her ability with a finishing move or similar and you can’t make use of readying tricks with her. However having the option of being hidden means that the fact than she can be stunned whilst defending is less of an issue. Against most decks Misfit gives you a 3 ATK character that will last you the whole game.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

3/2 “flight and range” is not so bad for a 2-drop. Her other ability is semi-relevant… essentially it lets you trade whatever equipment you have in exchange for keeping your 2-drop. So overall just a solid character, no huntress, but she’s good.

On-team: 3 star

Limited: 4-star. I love 3/2 flight/range hidden characters in limited, and again her ability is not irrelevant. I may even trade an equip for a recovery effect.


101. Power Girl, Bird of Power
PG

+3 ATK across your whole board is pretty strong! Sure you have to exhaust your seven drop to do it, but you can do that by attacking. Her JSA affiliation makes her look like a good choice for The Rock of Eternity deck, and a single team-up allows any team to benefit from the across the board pump. I think she could be very strong in a variety of decks especially those that go off curve a little bit or have “free characters” like secret society.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Ah, JSA’s much beloved finisher card. Sadly I don’t see a birds deck trying to (or succeeding at) seeing turn 7, but what an effect if they did. Big Barda. Pah! Solid stats, a global +3 attack, what more could you ask for? Oh right, some defensive ability and not on a 7-drop. Well, win some, lose some, she’ll certainly finish limited games for you.

On-team: 2-star. But if I wanted a finisher, this would be the one.

Off-team: 3 star. I could see people who could bring her into the affiliation finishing with the global +3 attack.

Limited: 3-star. You may be surprised with all I said, but in limited I expect if I have turn 7 init and a 7-drop I’m likely to win. I prefer 7 drops who give me a chance if it’s my opponents initiative.

 

102. Rose <> Thorn, Wild One
x

I think I’ve said before on Pyrahmancy that one of my favourite uses for hidden one drops is finishing move type effects. Well Rose has one built-in, and as long as your aren’t playing against Ultimates this effect is a little more permanent than a KO. Because she doesn’t have to exhaust for this power she can even finishing move as well, or just swing in for one. Again she is tied to the BoP trinity but unless you really want to use this power on a very low drop you’ll most likely have one of them out anyway. With Rose, Katana and 4-drop Huntress perhaps BoP can start to build something akin to MKKO?

3.5/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

After Infinity, probably my favorite on-team 1. A 1-time KO effect, and can even ping opponents for 1 before using her effect. Combined with Dinah lockdown, she will certainly make things look grim on turn 4 or 5 for opponents.

On-team: 3-star. A 1-resource KO effect, but an on-team character, can be subbed in when you are ready to use her. Not as continual as Infinity, but few are.

Limited: 4-star. Only because you require a correctly named character. I love KO effects in limited.
Until next time…

Thursday Thirteen: DCN Set Review Part 9

Well after a week off this week we finish up our trip to the Asylum and revisit some more of Batman’s “Friends” – The Birds of Prey. If anyone is in the UK on Friday evening and fancies a trip to Loughborough, my monthly gaming group is doing a draft, in French, of the European dual release of Marvel Knights/Web of Spider-Man.

And don’t forget the UK Vs. System Megaweekend is happening on the 3rd and 4th of September. Email UkVsSystem@gmail.com for queries, more information or to purchase advanced tickets.

On to the part 9 of the set review…

77. Live from My Hideout!

[just a quick note to say, as written this card doesn’t quite work, but I am assured this is being fixed soon 🙂 assuming it works in the way everyone thinks it should when reading it…]

This Plot twist either does nothing or it draws you a card and exhausts an opposing character. It is great if you can fix the top of your deck (Losing the Argument?) at least for the exhaust deck, but if you can’t it is probably too unreliable. Unfortunately I’m  not sure the exhaust deck gets much other mileage from fixing the top cards of its deck so I don’t think it wants to waste the deck space running cards to do so. Perhaps there is a control/burn strategy made viable by this card and Human Torch – Secret Avenger but I’m not sure…

2/5


78. Mud Pack

I’ve probably said it enough times in the Arkham review already, but I think insanity will love this card. With inconsistency as part of your game plan having a card that lets you recruit guys from you row or KO’d pile is very useful. In more traditional decks though I’m not sure Arkham really care about giving their guys reservist and Messiah Complex or one of the Slaughter Swamp type locations is probably give you more utility.

2/5


79. Party Time

This card is pretty awesome, it is not quite a tutor but it can “search” for an on-turn drop every turn, from turn one. Again of course insanity loves it but so to do most Arkham decks, it might lose out to Usual Suspects in some decks but because this cards discard is non-random it will be a tough call for deck builders, and I can see situations where I’ll want to play both; BYOT and Insanity for sure and any other AI deck where I think I need more than 8 tutors (because we have mobilise for 4 of them)

4/5


80. Scare Tactics

A version of a plot twist that gives a previously turn long effect for just a single attack, and that carries the additional limiter that the defender must be exhausted seems like it is a serve weakening of the original effect. Luckily Bamf! is a very powerful effect to begin with, and having its effect for only one attack is usually more than enough to swing the board position in your favour, especially if you’ve already baited out a Nasty Surprise. Perhaps only truly good in an exhaust deck, but this plot twist also has a good chance of drawing you a card so I think it is a really strong inclusion.

One of the problems Bamf! had, was that it often encouraged “bad plays”. I have seen, on more than one occasion, a player with Bamf! in his hand off initiative that would not use it on his single remaining character/attack. Preferring to save it for next turn when all his guys could benefit from it, even though using it there and then would gain them a character advantage going into their initiative. As this card only works for one attack, maybe people will be more prepared to use it to best effect off initiative as well as on – I can but hope.

4/5


81. Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Hacker Elite
Babs

I don’t know anyone who didn’t love Babs the first time around, this time is no different. Her stats may be a little low but the fact she draws you a card every turn, cycles extra copies of her self if needed (through substitute) and can be brought into play later in the game when another 3 or higher drop has out lived its usefulness makes her the perfect inclusion in any control style deck, whether you are running one of her team or not…

5/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Well, we’ve seen her, we love her, every control deck that fails to have a 3-drop (or needs to eject the one they have because of name loyalty requirement) uses her. She’s a card drawing engine on a stick (though post-council fanset days loses out to Dr. Strange of the Marvel Defenders as the “best” card drawing engine 3-drop for a control deck). She’s an amazing card, though in the actual Birds of Prey deck serves the role of simply cycling… when you are an aggressive deck, you rarely actually want to keep a 3/3 for 3 around long enough to attack. Still, Platinum Flats with her and Vixen subbing through make for a solid enough engine that you will want her even there.

Limited cards aren’t worth as much as constructed, so I rate her much, much lower. 3-drops are so vital in limited that a 3/3 body is unacceptable, even with a nice ability like that.

On-Team (BoP): 3-star. You probably play her as a good “cycling” come into play effect with excellent synergy with Platinum Flats, but you’re probably not happy. On opposing initiatives, you’ve got the Vixen / Dinah substitrain to ride on.

On-Team (GK): 5-star. Yeah, you just play her. She ejects out Batmans, she draws cards. She’s a staple in every Batman deck.

Splash (Modern): 4-star. Most Modern decks include State 51, and she acts as a happy teammate, drawing you cards on her own then State 51ing cards out. I only lower her because Dr. Strange tends to draw more, and acts as a good meat shield from the defense running around.

Limited: 3-star. I’d rather hit someone in limited, and she can’t do that. Cards are valuable, but not worth giving up your 3 drop. But she does have substitute.



82. Barbara Gordon <> Oracle, Eyes Everywhere

Like her three drop incarnation, this oracle nets you a card every turn. This discard cost means it is possible you might not always be able to use her ability but overall I think it makes the ability more powerful as it allows to increase card quality as well as quantity.

Her second ability is hard to get and keep on-line, requiring as it does two other characters and this six-drop, but it is one hell of a secondary effect to have – your opponents can’t target you or your characters with anything! This is a nail in the coffin for a spider-stall deck, or any deck that controls your characters without KOing them.

Eight is a very low attack stat for a six drop, she needs help to stun most 5-drops, but her 14 DEF and concealed optional means she is going to be hard for your opponent to take down if you don’t want them to. The fact she costs six makes her too much of an investment to be a splashable as the 3 drop but I can certainly see her in loads of GK and BoP decks.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Now there are three phenomenal abilities on this card. First, the ability to cycle, puts her slightly above her 3-drop equivalenet. Second, as a clear control deck card, her 14 defense will block out anyone (and I don’t know why anyone would ever actually conceal her, given those stats). Her third text is interesting, if you are looking to play a Batmanless (Fight For Cowel) Gotham knights deck. Between Dinah 5-drop and huntress, if you have them in the hidden area and Barbara visible (preferably wearing Batman’s Cowel), you’re not going to be targeted, and neither are her squishy hidden friends. Obviously being a 6-drop, she would never make the aggro build.

On-Team (BoP): 1-star. She is a 6-drop

On-Team (GK): 5-star. You can’t ask for a better on-team control card, especially if you have Dinah on 5 and Huntress 4 too.

Splash: 5-star. If you’re looking for a splash control card, I can’t think of much better

Limited: 2-star. See above, I give her a nod for stopping opponents with 14 defense, but she won’t stun back and is terrible on-init.


83. Big Barda, Bad Attitude Barda

This is the first card in the set we’ve seen with Substitue-Loyalty on. Luckily it does exactly what you expect and loyalty isn’t usually too hard to meet by turn seven, even in a team up deck.

Having to substitute her into play to get her cosmic counter means you’ll need another seven drop available to recruit on turn seven. Unfortunately there is not much on team that you can benefit from to do this, but splashing say X-Man or another comes into play effect character could be good. Running Basil Karlo would allow you to get over the card cost of the substitute.

If you do manage to get her ability online Barda can make a big difference to the endurance race on the final turns of the game effectively gaining you seven endurance. 17 ATK and range aren’t too bad either. Overall though I think there are better effects that you have to work less hard to get at seven…

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Seriously? A 7-drop with invulnerability is pretty mediocre in and of itself, with this character it’s cosmic and you have to play another 7-drop just to get that much.

All formats: 1-star. Come on people, New Gods aren’t REQUIRED to suck.


84. Cassandra Cain <> Batgirl, Crashing In

Cassandra is very similar to Freddy Freeman a card that to my knowledge saw little play. The fact that she is hidden means that she can’t use the DEF bump she gets to brick-wall attacks although she can make a pretty scary return attacker off initiative. The way her power triggers means you can’t pull of any Raven tricks with her, although I’m not sure they’d be worthwhile anyway, but it does mean that unlike Freddy she gets a pump even if she is substituted,or recruited, into play herself after other characters have been subbed in (for example if you draw her off an oracle you just switched in).

Unfortunately to make much use of her power you’ll need a lot of cards to substitute into play and most of the time you won’t have more than 2 or 3 characters out anyway. Perhaps there is a deck out there than can use her and Freddy as the 5 & 6 drops and exploit the synergy between them, but I’m not sure.

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Hmmm… she’ll be 11/10 to 12/11 in a dedicated substitute deck, which is nice. But then, I think the dedicated aggro substitute deck has better options, and she can’t be splashed, so I don’t think she has a deck. I wish she was concealed optional so you could at least consider playing her as a defensive 5-drop.

On-team: 2-star (1-star GK). You’ve got better options on both of her teams, GK might consider her if she was concealed-optional.

Splash: 1-star. Marvel Defenders can use her, but not really.

Limited: 2-star. You don’t draw as much in limited, so she’ll probably be a 10/9, tops. With no other text, even in limited you can do better, sometimes even if you have to leave team.


85. Catwoman, Good Kitty

Catwoman has had discard themes associated with her before, but the “prediction” theme of this one definitely puts her in the GK detective deck category rather than any of the birds themes. Getting her ability to go off can be difficult and correctly guessing a card is hard without the help of other detectives. An 8 ATK, hidden, substitute, 4 drop is not to bad overall but I think most decks can do better at this drop.

2/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Her stats are pretty bad, but you’re not expecting much defense. Her ability is pretty mediocre. Even if she made your opponent discard whenever she stuns a character, and even if you have knowledge of their hand, discard 1 non-character is pretty mediocre, as opponents will quickly run out of non-characters in hand (they’ll be rowed). As it stands she’s a bit limited, and put off by reinforcement.

On-team: 1-star. Even in the new GK “peek your hand” deck, you can do better.

Splash: 1-star. Couldn’t think of a reason

Limited: 1-star. Yup, you can do better even here. Especially as her ability becomes less relevant when people have less non-characters.

86. Connor Hawke <> Green Arrow, Locked on Target

Hmmm… at first glance this card looks like off curve hate, but then you realise you only get to stun low drops for free if you also stun a bigger character. A lot of off curve decks I have played, both with and against, curve out at 3 meaning this isn’t really a great card against them. Against standard curve decks you might take out 2 characters for the price of one if you have initiative on turn 4 but otherwise this guy will probably be most useful for picking off “free” one drops and hidden low drop utility characters, not too bad but not brilliant either as it can only really be used on initiative and only in attacks where he will most likely be stunned back. His substitute does allow him to be included as a one of in a deck to be tutored out and substituted in as a Silver Bullet (or should that be arrow?) should those hard to deal with hidden one drops start to Vex you though…

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

He’s pretty bad too, sadly a long trend of pretty “safe” characters. His presence will make your opponent put their 2-drop (if it is still around) in front of their 4, limiting his ability to activate turn 4. And after against curve decks he stops doing anything. Against non-curve decks, he can still… only be OK. His stats make him easy to stun “up” when defending (he really should have higher defense), and even when swinging his 2-for-1 will result in him stunning out. I’d say he might be a 1-of searchable splash for decks that hide their twos, but that is enough to warrant his 2nd star in my book.

On-team: 2-star. There are rare instances he’ll do double-duty, so for those instances you may want 1. Maybe.

Limited: 2-star. People are more likely to value hidden 2s in limited, upping his value.

Splash: Don’t know why you would ever bother.

87. Dawn Granger <> Dove, New Bird

Yey, Teen Titans! A 2/1 with flight for one is a pretty good deal and I love the fact that in my titans deck she boosts everyone’s attack every time she team attacks! Teen Titans Go! loves her, especially if you’ve got some stun avoidance tech too, and remember she boosts everyone’s attack not just those in the team attack making her a great choice in decks like the SRA
Black Bolt deck, and I can certainly see her making friends with the outsiders…

I’m not sure how much she adds to the birds’ strategy, getting her and hank out at a reduced cost is quite card intensive in a deck that s already hungry for cards to substitute, but I think she might take over as the dawn of choice in many Titans decks.

4/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

Here’s an interesting one. This might be the best Dawn Granger printed to date. 2/1 stats, alternate cost (with her standard Hank text), and an OK ability (encourage swing-up with your 2). What’s not to like? Well, she’s not hidden on the birds, that knocks her down a notch for me there. And Hank also isn’t hidden.

On Teen Titans she is a train though, since she can encourage a stun-out on an early attack (she feeds Teen Titans GO! So nicely). Certainly the Dawn of choice there.

On team (birds): 3-star. Nice stats, which she could hide herself

On team (Titans): 4-star. Great Dawn, great synergy with TTG, what’s not to like?

Limited: 3-star. If you need a 2, her stats are solid, and she and Hank are both common, so there you go.

Splash: 1-star. You’d never really splash her.

88. Dinah Laurel Lance <> Black Canary, Sonic Sister

This Dinah has a strange mix of stall type abilities, locking down an already exhausted character and potentially reducing the attack of another (or the same if you wish). The abilities pull you between wanting her to attack first, to protect your other characters by lowering an ATK value, or last, to keep the biggest opposing guy locked down next turn. Obviously she is best if you have 3 girls out so she can attack in the middle (a nice tie in to the BoP “trinity”) but I think ultimately she is going to lose out to Babs as the preferred drop at this slot.

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

OK, I appreciate she is a member of Emerald Archers, but her text has no synergy with that team’s effects, so I don’t think this version belongs on that teams. Gripe aside, I like this character. You’ll love her locking down “effect”, especially on-init (where their biggest guy gets stunned first and she comes down and effectively “Kos” that character. Nothing not to like. Her added effect also only requires Barbara OR Huntress, so she gives you 7 power worth of attack for a 3-drop. Probably my favorite 3 on-team to actually attack with.

On-team : 4 star. Though I hesitate to see her as an Archer, she’s good there too.

Limited: 5-star. I might off-team splash her, for no better reason than lockdown is effectively a KO, something far harder to work around in limited.


89. Dinah Laurel Lance <> Black Canary, Biker Babe

A borderline under-statted, loyal character with an ability she can only use on the turn she comes into play seems like a bit of a bum deal. Having substitute makes it somewhat better as does concealed optional. The fact that the ability is an off-initiative exhaust effect is also pretty sweet even if it can only hit “down the curve”. Being part of the BoP trinity and having these attributes actually makes her pretty good in those decks, as she helps to enable six drop Babs and four drop huntress (who we’ll see next week). I can’t see her making the cut in many other places though, maybe a in a Superhuman Registration Act powered stall deck?

3/5

Evil Dave’s Review:

She belongs on Gotham Knights, as it would be tough to justify me using her as a Bird. With that said, she hits as a 10/7 and has an option if your opponent is really aggressive (and this Modern format has several REALLY aggressive decks, including opposing Birds decks, the Syndicate, and Underworld beats). Even as a 1-time off init lockdown, she’s “worth it”, as she can then swing in the next turn

On team (Birds): 3-star. She’s not bad, and you may want 1-of in case you are trying to push-off an init a turn vs some other aggro decks.

On team (GK): 4-star. More highly rateable here, as I love the lockdown effect on GK (who always serve as a better “soft control” in the first place.

Off team: NA (whole loyalty thing)

Limited: 5-star. Diverse and good stats, what’s not to love? I’d draft her fairly highly in limited, only hesitating a little because her loyalty gives me SOME leeway and 5s aren’t as important as 3s or 4s.

Well that’s it for another week, I hope to put something up about our experience of drafting in French next week but we’ll see how it goes time wise.

Until next time…

An Apology

Greetings readers, after two weeks of late articles (this would be the third) I have decided that I am not going to put out a set review thursday thirteen this week. This should allow me not only time to catch up but also get a little ahead so that the next few weeks articles should be more timely and better edited.

Other than Vs. my main Hobby is re-enactment and my group the Vikings of Middle England has its first major show this weekend. Preparing for this, on top of other things, means I don’t have the time to put out an article of the quality I would like this week and I think taking a break will help me get back into the swing of things going forwards.

In the mean time why not check out the chatter on the VsSytem.org forum, like me on Facebook or try out the latest dominion cards

Thursday Thirteen: DCN set review Part 8

Welcome back to Pyrahmancy! Once again this article is going out quite late on Thursday, but fear not it is all due to Vs. related reasons. I’ve got my finger in a few pies; organisation for the UK Vs Megaweekend, lead of the Community Committee rules team, a designer role in another Vs. set project, and recruiting players for the French Marvel Knights draft on the 27th. So anyway, here is the next part of the set review…

Rating guidelines:

5/5 – If I can I’m definitely playing this card, even if it doesn’t meet the main themes of the deck, heck I might build decks specifically to abuse this.

4/5 – If I’m building with this team I’ll probably play this card, definitely if it’s on theme too. (or visa versa)

3/5 – I’ll play this card if I’m running a specific strategy, or as passable filler for a poor selection of on team drops

2/5 – I’ll play this card if I have to but I won’t be happy about it.

1/5 – There is pretty much no way I’m playing this card unless I open it in sealed and absolutely need drops of this number…

64. Ulysses Armstrong <> Anarky, Chaos Successor

3/3 is respectable stats for a two drop, but this card has “card advantage” written all over it.

Without even playing him Ulysses replaces himself if you use him to pay a discard cost (say for Mobilize). This makes him pretty strong in any deck that run Arkham. But he nicely fills the role of Penguins 5-8 in migga city too!

If you actually do play him his card draw ability is usable pretty much every off initiative turn (when they exhaust to attack) and in the exhaust deck often on initiative too if you want.

Insanity decks love any on-team card draw sources to trigger Beside Myself so this guy will have no problem finding a slot there. I have nothing bad to say about this card, although if he were concealed he would be better than Oracle! The fact that he is team stamped means he misses out on the top rating but I can see him going into a lot of my Arkham decks even if I have no intention of playing him…

4.5/5


65. Ventriloquist <> Scarface, Peyton Riley

Now this is certainly a strong enabler for the exhaust theme. Her two defence makes her very fragile though; a good chunk of one drops can take her down. The fact that she means your 1-4 & possibly 5 drops can swing up the curve without the need for further pumps certainly makes it look like this paper tiger might be worth it though.

I would definitely choose here over Batzarro in my exhaust deck, I don’t think she really has a home outside of it though. Maybe if you team up for a concealed based strategy that can also move her hidden…

3/5


66. Whale, Tobias White

Targeted exhaustion usable off initiative, without a size limit is pretty good. Having to spend two resource points is quite a high cost though. In the days of Dr. Light this card would be unbelievably amazing, now much less so but I can see him being a strong play late game, preventing your opponent from swing with say his 7 drop on seven whilst you still have a Hush to swing back with… His combat phase and Arkham stamp limit his abusability but I’m sure you could do nasty things with him using Clash of worlds or Mimic.

3/5


67. Two-Faced Silver Dollar, Unique

If you check the last Thursday 13 installment of this set review you’ll see that for all of the Two-Faces I have pretty much said they have a very strong effect that is worth the risk of not having it work at all. Well this special coin changes the odds of success to 75% rather than 50%. Whats more if your flip(s) succeeds each subsequent one has a 75% chance of working too!

This is also great with the Coin flip plot twists in this set and of course with Beside Myself, it is however unplayable in a lot of decks.

1/5 or 4/5 (you can flip a coin to decide)


68. Ammo Depot

If you need to “switch this on” when it is your initiative the exhaust cost can be pretty annoying, but off initiative this cost is effectively free meaning you can probably active it on turn 3 or 4 without too much effort. If you are running exhaust tech anyway a blanket -1/-1 across the board can be very strong, making all your “trades” into “Safe attacks”. With this and Ventriloquist out even your 5 & 6 drop can probably attack up curve without need for more pumps. As with the Ventriloquist  this can also probably find a good home in a concealed strategy.

3/5


69. Iceberg Lounge

A strange effect, moving a character hidden whenever you like is quite useful – but having that character being unable to attack or activate when you do is certainly limiting. Perhaps a good way to protect Ventriloquist off initiative – or just a way to gain 2 endurance every turn with a random 1 drop.

This is the only Arkham stamped Location in the set that actually interacts with the Penguin’s readying ability.

2/5


70. No Man’s Land, Non-Unique – Team-Up

A pretty straight forward team-up card. It is nice that it draws you a card, but being on a location means you can’t cycle it from your hand once you have one out.

It is a little bit sad that is shares its name with an existing location, like the Asylums you’ll have to choose which effect you’d rather have.

3/5


71. Cold Spell

Take that quicksilver! Oh wait he’ll probably be fated up…

In any case this plot twist is really nice against any of the speedster characters, just wait till they put their ready effect on the chain them leave them exhausted for the rest of the turn. Even against normal characters keeping the character exhausted for next turn is great for the exhaust deck and although -1/-1 isn’t great, normally at worst it saves you a point of break through and occasionally it can bounce an attack. I do think you have to regard this as an exhaust enabler that has a little pump thrown in rather than a pump with a bonus though…

3/5


72. Face Time

This card has a pair of strong effects that you can choose from to use every turn! Of course like the other two-face effects they only work half the time. The limit on only having one in play also makes for potentially a lot of dead cards if you play multiples in the deck. Like so many of the cards I’ve already spoken about, this probably means it has a place in the insanity deck (along with some extra two-faces to meet the flip requirement). 

3/5


73. Feathered Friends

This twist is very similar to Glass Jaw, except it targets your guy rather than theirs. Like so many of the exhaust effects we’ve spoken about it is great with Charaxes and the DCX Hush but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it helps out Batzarro as he needs characters to be exhausted before he even declares the attack. A plus three “for the turn” attack pump is nothing to sneeze at by itself especially with a threshold cost of 1.

4/5


74. Flip of Fate

A constant finishing move effect that doesn’t require anything more than a stun is awesome, even if it is unreliable. I can see this card being amazing in a Crisis of Two-Face deck (with this set he has drops at 2, 3, 4 , 6 & 7 and you can always run Mystique at 5).

3/5


75. Heist Society

This card is only good if you have things that benefit strongly from your opponent having exhausted characters. I can envision very few situations where you opponent will chose to let you ready you biggest dude in preference to exhausting his smallest. Of course if you manage to exhaust your opponent’s board before or during your first attack, they won’t be able to exhaust anyone so you get a free attack! Well as long as you don’t get stunned yourself.

The large number of limitations on this card and the fact that usually it is just an exhaust that your opponent chooses means I don’t think it has a place in many decks, even exhaust themed ones.

2/5


76. Hired Hilarity

The Arkham Inmates don’t really have much of a team attack theme so this doesn’t add to any existing strategies. This card might allow you to choose who gets stunned when you’ve declared a team attack; but removing a team attacker from an attack doesn’t stop it from being a team attack so playing this won’t allow you to cause breakthrough. I love the flavour of this card but I can’t see myself ever actually wanting to play it.

1/5


Until next time…

Thursday Thirteen: DCN set review Part 7

Welcome back to Pyrahmancy, this is the first proper article here in a fortnight and it is late! Sorry about that. But it is still Thursday and it is still a 13 so lets get to it before it becomes a Friday 10…

51. Matt Hagen <> Clayface, Protoplasmic Prototype

Another Clayface; this version of Matt comes in one stat point behind Sondra, but his ability probably makes up for it. If your opponent has no characters to exhaust this is a free recovery – if they do, then they are left with the difficult decision of enabling your exhaust tech or allowing you that free recovery. This card is certainly a strong way of retaining board advantage if your opponent’s board is out statting you. Your 5 takes down their 4, then Clayface takes down their Jetpacked Thing leaving them the decision of allowing you to recover Clayface or exhaust their Power Gemed Mr. Fantastic… Either way they are loosing a character and you aren’t.

It is a little sad that both your 5 & 6 drop clayfaces would be Matt Hagens if you chose to play this over Sondra though…

4/5


52. Mr. Freeze, Heart of Ice

This card’s ability has a pretty high cost, and its usage is pretty restricted. However what it does for you is very impressive. With the potential to exhaust up to 4 characters this power really helps top out the exhaust curve. But even if you aren’t playing the exhaust deck this guy makes it virtually impossible for your opponent to reinforce his characters, whilst also taking their biggest guy out of the fight and allowing you to focus on causing breakthrough without having to worry about painful return attacks.

Because Two-Face has a similar non-targeted effect, which he gets for free, I think he is probably still the seven drop of choice for most Arkham decks, but this guy is a close second.

4/5 (might have been 5 if not for 2-face’s existence)


53. Mr. Zsasz, Tally Marks

This card packs some pretty nice off-curve hate. Once he has a counter he can shoot down a 1 cost attacker every turn without ever loosing it.

4/4 stats mean he is starting a little behind the curve but Roy was behind the curve to. I think an out of combat stun effects like this mean his actual stats aren’t too important. But this is mitigated anyway as a single trigger of his first ability puts him back on curve.

I can certainly see this guy being good friends with the thunderbolts, it is unfortunate that he competes with radioactive man’s  slot but he certainly begs to go in a deck with Strategic Thinking and Heroic Effort. Maybe Ultron Prime and the Underground Movement have a new player.

4/5


54. Poison Ivy, Madhouse and Garden

A five drop whose power exhausts other 5 drops and only during your attack step doesn’t seem like a great return on investment to me. The fact that she can cause the character to KO is somewhat redeeming; as long as a lower drop can swing up the curve for you she can produce a nice swing in board positions, but nothing a hidden 1 drop & a Finishing Mov couldn’t achieve.

I can’t ever see a situation where I would rather have Ivy than Hush – much like in the Harley/KGBeast situation Hush can attack and exhaust a character, and his exhaust isn’t limited by cost. Sure he doesn’t have the KO effect but an extra attack probably results in an extra stun and thus an extra KO anyway…

2/5


55. Professor Hugo Strange, Malicious Masquerader

Everyone loves free characters right? Well actually what I often use free characters for is to pay exhaust costs – so having one at the cost of an exhaust somewhat negates that, but at least he’ll have a chance of sticking around for later turns. Having this guy on the board though does mean that you opponent can’t make any “on the dot” attacks without having (or bluffing having) an attack pump in reserve.

He is pretty good as a one drop in the exhaust deck and probably worth dropping onto the board for free off initiative. Not sure he is worth it otherwise though.

2/5


56. Scarecrow, Bone-Chilling

Another 5-drop Scarecrow. I guess it is in keeping with Vs. tradition. This guy’s ability is actually quite strong for one so simple. It locks out speedster tricks, allows you to keep guys exhausted to enable your exhaust based powers and keeps annoying characters out of the fight in future turns.

I don’t see the boost cost being relevant in a lot of games, but having the option open is always good especially if your opponent is pressing out Outsiders!

3.5/5


57. The Joker, All Smiles

If this were a one shot it would perhaps be one of the worst tutor effect in the game. However it is still a tutor effect and one that allows you to search for any type of card, and it is reusable. With the clayfaces and discard triggers this card might be put to good use, and discarding excess characters for “more gas” is never a bad thing. It certainly makes running one-of 5, 6 & 7 cost plot twists look more desirable. Appropriately I think this guy fits very well into an insanity deck but I’m not sure his inconsistency makes him worth the risk in a more “traditional” deck.

Perhaps in something with a lot of good recursion – like secret society – he could find a home.

3/5


58. The Joker, Stealing the Show

Wow, where to start on this one? I’ve heard people call out broken on this and others unplayable! What I think is you really need to think about what type of deck this can work in. Perhaps this could work in a more X-stall style exhaust deck but I think this card needs a more detailed unpicking than I can give it here. You certainly cannot just stick in a deck and hope it to be good for you though!

1/5 (Until someone builds “the deck”)


59. The Penguin, High Society

The first thing that springs to mind when seeing this guy is Tarnax IV. A single dual affiliated (non-AI) character out with Penguin and Tarnax turns two of your cards in hand into Devastating Blows that work on the defence two, a second with non-overlapping affiliations gives you a Beatdown/Nasty Surprise for the cost of any card in hand.

I would certainly be happy to replace the Ethan Edwards in my Skrull deck with this guy, but I’m not sure he is two useful in a straight Arkham deck.

3/5


60. The Riddler, Quiz Show

An interesting form of control, I think I still prefer the one drop but not having an exhaust cost is nice. Unfortunately there is not much control to back this up on team and whilst disruption is good, incidental, unreliable disruption is not likely to be good enough to include in a deck.

2/5


61. Two-Face, Bad Side

If you have ever played against Punisher – Captain America you already know how annoying his effect can be. Now this effect is limited to defenders only and it only works half the time, but it is printed on a two-drop! Just having this guy out makes planning attacks a nightmare for your opponent; there are no longer any “safe attacks”, even characters who cannot be stunned whilst attacking are not safe! This certainly a great two drop in any non-exhaust focussed AI deck.

4/5


62. Two-Face, Face to Face

Like Black masks endurance gain trigger I can see this guy triggering an awful lot during the course of a game. Remember this triggers off your opponent’s characters attacking and them being stunned (if not already exhausted)!  Even with it being dependant on a coin flip I can see this drawing 3+ cards in lots of games, against teem attacking decks the potential for card advantage is massive – teen titans certainly aren’t going to like it – sure you can stun my board with Roy and TTG! but now you’ve burnt out most of your resources and I’ve got 12 cards in hand…

Definitely goes in the insanity build and I can see a strong case for him in any Arkam deck.

4/5


63. Two-Face, Big Bad Harvey

So mutual stuns on our six drops? Actually no I think I’ll just ready mine, saving me five endurance and using it to take down your 5 unharmed – how does that sound. Oh yeah and this power moves him hidden so I can make that attack even on the defence. Like the other two-faces, this ability only works half the time but it is so powerful it is most likely worth the risk, just make sure you don’t count in it unless you have to. 13 attack and range isn’t to bad either.

4/5

It is still before midnight in the UK so until next time…

UK Vs. System Megaweekend!

Hello all,

Just so you know I am back from my Holidays and the DCN set review will be continuing on Thursday!

In the meantime I have taken some time to put the details of the UK Vs. System Megaweekend up on their own page which you can check out here. If you are in the UK (or fancy travelling here to join in) please go and check it out, join the Facebook group
and tell your friends!

Until next time…

poster

Thursday 13: DCN set review – part 6

With the first set of good guys out of the way its time for the set review to dip into the insanity of the Arkham Inmates. As you may know I have a soft spot for the crazies so I apologise in advance if any of my ratings are biased. Actually I don’t it’s my blog 😛

Rating guidelines:

5/5 – If I can I’m definitely playing this card, even if it doesn’t meet the main themes of the deck, heck I might build decks specifically to abuse this.

4/5 – If I’m building with this team I’ll probably play this card, definitely if it’s on theme too. (or visa versa)

3/5 – I’ll play this card if I’m running a specific strategy, or as passable filler for a poor selection of on team drops

2/5 – I’ll play this card if I have to but I won’t be happy about it.

1/5 – There is pretty much no way I’m playing this card unless I open it in sealed and absolutely need drops of this number…

38. Basil Karlo <> Clayface, Tragedy

Sweet, a four drop Clayface! DWF brought us 5,6 & 7 drops with the recruit from KO’d pile ability this incarnation of Basil gives us another. Simply due to this first power he probably slots into the random discard decks or anything running the Usual Suspects as a tutor, he is also good with Mobilize and Slaughter Swamp type effects. He is definitely going in my “Council Approved” insanity deck.

7/6 is slightly under par stats wise, and he can be taken down by the big 3 drops (wolverine etc.) but he makes up for that by being able to take down exhausted 5 drops on the attack without needing a pump. A nice addition to any exhaust deck.

4/5


39. Batzarro, Wayne Bruce

I said quite a lot about this card in my preview article for DCN, the quick recap is that a 6/6 range is great but the limit on who he can attack is quite a big draw back, especially as some exhaust tech, like feathered friends or  Bat’s Belfry, doesn’t work with him. This guy is only playable in an exhaust deck and even then he is a risk.

2/5


40. Black Mask, The Crime King

This guy is awesome! I gain 1 endurance every time a character attacks me? – sounds good, especially against swarm. And I can draw an extra card almost every turn for 3 endurance too, sweet.

In a dedicated exhaust deck I can see this guy gaining you a lot of endurance, it seems like he might want to make friends with Spider-man or Doom as a good addition to and exhaust/stall deck, perhaps even filling the 5 drop slot with The Sensational Spider-Man on four.

Any “Free” card draw effects are also great for Beside Myself.

4/5


41. Catwoman, Princess of Plunder

I’m a little sad that Catwoman can only target hidden characters. The ability is very potent, wrecking some hidden strategies whilst enabling you exhaust trick at literally no cost. However against decks with no hidden guys her text box is essentially blank. Certainly a Silver Bullet card. She might find a home in an insanity deck or one with strong tutors.

3/5


42. Duela Dent <> Joker’s Daughter, Provisional Paternity

A reusable, tutorable, Lay Down with Dogs sound pretty good to me. Okay she doesn’t prevent reinforcement for the whole turn, but that actually subtly plays into the exhaust theme; making your opponent exhaust twice to reinforce if they really need to. The fact you can play her as a one drop and get her back when she is stunned is just an extra layer of awesome. Imagine swinging her up the curve with a beatdown or two, then picking her up to remove the vital reinforcement for you next down the curve smash!

With the team-up I can see her being good friends with Poison Ivy – Intoxicating.

4/5


43. Firefly, Arsonist

2/1 flight range is a good deal for 1 resource point. Doing an extra three points of burn against an exhausted guy makes me think he could fit into some kind of Arkham exhaust/rush deck along with KGBeast.

3/5


44. Harley Quinn, Cupid of Crime

Another card from my DCN preview article. Unfortunately I can only see myself playing this version of Harley if KGBeast isn’t also available in the format. He can attack and exhaust someone in the same turn, doesn’t need another inmate in play to use his power and is much more able to take out 3-drops when I need him to. Without range and no other benefits apart from 3 DEF Harley is definitely left sitting on the reserves bench a lot of the time.

2/5


45. Hush <> Bruce Wayne, Thomas Elliot

Hush is a solid role player, he exhausts a character when he attacks setting up your next guy, or helping himself out and on the turn he comes in he has a good chance of locking a character down next turn too. Nothing too exciting but he does what he does well and gives you the option of a concealed character, meaning you get more opportunities to attack exhausted defenders off initiative.

3.5/5


46. Jeremiah Arkham, Hippocratic Hypocrite

Jeremiah is poor quality location search, but if he does find a location for you – you get to keep the card without having to discard. I don’t think there are many Inmate decks that run a lot of locations but he might make friends with The Penguin and perhaps he could find a spot in migga-city. I think Amadeus is probably the better choice for location helping one drops if you have a choice, and Duela just seems to be much better overall.

2/5


47. Jeremiah Arkham <> Black Mask, Criminal Psychosis

Now I like this effect. The cost is perhaps a little high but really you only need to pay it once on turn 6; removing the opposing 6 drop certainly makes turn seven a lot easier. He adds to Arkhams board control theme but I guess the question is, by turn six is this power doing enough?

3/5


48. Killer Croc, King Crocodille

I’m loving the guy, on the defence he is pretty much going to be able to stun anything attacking him by activating his power (maybe not an 8+ drop but it wouldn’t be far off). On the attack against curve he is taking down seven drops all day or smashing through 5 & 6 drops for breakthrough, as long as you can get the exhaust in… A little under par against weenie, but not a huge loss because if its turn 6 the game is either ending or going your way anyway.

3/5


49. Mad Hatter, Homicidal Haberdasher

Very interesting. A smallish two drop that can’t team attack but with the potential to steal any opposing character. He is certainly a card you need to plan to support to get much out of, but even a single feathered friends gives him a good chance of being able to steal an opposing three drop, which seems like a good trade, even if you can’t recover it. Paired with some big pumps this guys power can seem really unfair.

I think we have another candidate for the Arkham Off-curve exhaust rush deck. Replaying this guy each time you have initiative and a big attack pump and proceeding to steal the biggest opposing character possible will certainly help beef up a board of weenies. Even just using him as board control could be good to, especially with Charaxes to buddy up with…

3/5 (but very valuable in the right deck)


50. Man-Bat, Dr. Kirk Langstrom

If you can exhaust the opposing 5 & 6 drops then this guy can probably take out the six drop without further need for pumps. And flight certainly is a limited commodity amongst the Inmates. At only +1 per exhausted character though the return on investment isn’t very high so I’m not too excited about this guy. Like Hush he fills the roll he needs to, but there’s not much else to say…

3/5

Well that wraps up this 13. I am on holiday next week so ‘m not sure if I will be getting an article up or not. I’ll see you the week after if not.

Until next time…

DCN set review: part 5

Greetings all. As I would like the next decent sized set review instalment to focus on one team this shorter article will finish off the remaining DCN Gotham cards. But before I jump into the reviews I’d like to draw the attention to any UK players that are reading this (or any players willing to travel to the UK to play Vs. in September), that the venus has been booked and dates finalised for the UK 2011 Vs Mega Weekend. Check out the Facebook page or .org thread for more details. Or email UKVsSystem@gmail.com.

Rating guidelines:

5/5 – If I can I’m definitely playing this card, even if it doesn’t meet the main themes of the deck, heck I might build decks specifically to abuse this.

4/5 – If I’m building with this team I’ll probably play this card, definitely if it’s on theme too. (or visa versa)

3/5 – I’ll play this card if I’m running a specific strategy, or as passable filler for a poor selection of on team drops

2/5 – I’ll play this card if I have to but I won’t be happy about it.

1/5 – There is pretty much no way I’m playing this card unless I open it in sealed and absolutely need drops of this number…

34. The Hook-Up, Team-Up
HU

The Hook-Up is great, it allows you to cycle through cards you don’t need to try to find ones you do. Coupled with a Slaughter Swamp or similar there is a good chance you can use it every turn. I have seen this run in GK decks that don’t need to team-up and even as the team-up of choice in decks that are only splashing GK. I’m certainly happy to see this reprinted!

4/5


35. Time of Need
ToN

Another Gotham tutor. The original Bat Signal and Alfred were great, now we have this and a new Alfred along with At Your Service, making a “Council Silver Age” literally flooded with GK search effects (you could play 20 in a deck). Having the equipment or character search probably makes this the best choice for the GK equipment deck I’m sure there will be, but the fact that it requires a character discard might drop it behind mobilise in some decks (especially if they are running the hook-up).

4/5


36. World’s Greatest Detective
WGD

Fizzle Plus! This card literally does everything Fizzle did and more! It seems like I’m referring to it a lot but At Your Service makes this Fizzle variant tutorable. It’s extra effect is a great boon to the detective deck and not unwelcome elsewhere – remember knowledge is power. The high number of character discards on GK’s most powerful effects might make this card fight for its place in a deck, but it is hard to imagine a game where on of these played at the right couldn’t save your bacon.

4/5


37. Bane, Venom Overdose 
Bane

We’ve wrapped up Batman and friends but I couldn’t resist taking the time for a quick look at his foes. First up is the man who broke the Bat; Bane.

Bane’s ability is pretty good, it makes him hard to attack into and ties in nicely to the Arkham exhaust theme. Unfortunately for Bane though, having an 8 in the top left corner means you need to be something really special to rate in these charts and big stats (or even Very Big Stats) just doesn’t cut it.

1/5

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget Pyrahmancy and the Bring Back Vs. System movement both have their own Facebook pages. Go and Like them if you haven’t already!

Until next time…

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