Format: Theme Night
We decided to return to a format we did a few times in the past: Theme Night. The rules of this format are as follows:
- All characters and non-basic actions must follow a specific theme. Single-affiliation is allowed, but non-affiliated characters can be allowed if they fit within the theme (e.g. Casey Jones in a Turtles team).
- Basic actions are exempted from the theme.
- Golden Age cards are allowed, with the same restrictions as usual (no Bard, Thief or Oracle; you know which ones)
- If choosing to make a villain team, you are required to choose villains that normally have a common foe (so no putting Shriek, Hush, Collector and Foot Ninja in the same team, for example).
This week, I ran a control team based around Batman villains, and in the end, I…
Almost Got ‘Im
The Team: It was a big rock…
This isn’t a team with a set core, but I knew I wanted Bat-Villains. I started with a ramp engine, where I used the trusty Hush + Catwoman combo. Put Catwoman on her Bat-Family side, field Hush, Hush is KO’d, Prep a die, rinse and repeat. It’s really good ramp and churn and it made sure I was rolling a fair amount of dice. On top of this, Catwoman’s ability, on either side, can lead to my opponent’s life going down, which is always helpful.
I could’ve put Harley Quinn: New Queen of Crime to add more ramp to this (it just gets ludicrous in a hurry when you add Harley to Hush ramp), but this just seemed a bit too crazy. I decided to play the rare Harley instead; the combination of life loss and life gain is fun.
With that decided on, though, what do I do with the ramp I put in? Well, this strategy means I can have some 5+ costs and get to them reliably. Enter The Joker. A classic control piece that’s the precursor to the Blob we see a lot of today.
I also added The Riddler. This one is silly, for sure, but I figured that if I was up against Avengers and they would draw tons of Black Widow dice, I might burn them a bit more than they’d like. Silliest of all, though, was Killer Croc. Yeah, that’s anti-synergy and can KO my own stuff, but I really wanted to experiment with him. To diminish the harm, I put in Outsider; that way, I can buff my stuff before fielding Croc and thus save my own characters from his effect.
Poison Ivy is one where I knew I would use her, I just didn’t know which version. I decided on the OP version, which I never actually played with and found very intriguing (note that she fits the theme, even though she doesn’t have the villain affiliation). Remember that you can sacrifice any character, not just plant tokens, meaning she can put the game on a clock if it walls up.
And then I realized I didn’t have a win condition. So I put in Villainous Pact, crossing my fingers that no one else would run villains (plus, the early ramp is nice). As for Clayface, he’s there for the global; I need a fair bit of masks on this team after all.
With that said, on to the games!
I started off against a really fun Thunderbolts team. He used the CW Venom that deals burn damage when fielding sidekicks. He hurt me a fair bit with that one. Meanwhile, I was setting up Hush ramp, Harley and Riddler for burn, and Joker to stop his worst threats. In the end, we both took a lot of burn damage and he attacked with some big bruisers. Harley’s life gain kept me afloat, though, and I ended up getting enough characters on the board to swing in for the win (just barely though).
And now, Dragons. Yeah, seriously. (protip: Ring of Winter fits the theme if you run Artus Cimber) A slow slog of a Villains team versus fast-hitting Dragons. Plus, my Joker’s useless against Dragons. I think you can guess how this went: I was run over by tons of dragons with excessive amounts of Breath Weapon and my opponent won before I could set up any serious defense.
This game, I went up against the team I was supposed to run: Stark Industries (someone forgot to bring a theme team, and this was easier to learn on the fly than villain control). It’s a fun aggressive team relying on Iron Manor, tons of Stark characters, C Pepper and R Iron Man for ramp…tons of fun. This was a bad matchup for me, as there are too many threats to stop at once. The hidden gem here was Poison Ivy; my opponent would use Raised Shields to give Overcrush to his stuff, and he’d give me a character token to make it easier for me to stop his stuff the next time. Likewise, fielding a sidekick and sacrificing it with Ivy’s ability allowed me to deal some surprising damage this game. In the end, though, a nasty roll left my field nearly empty, and he managed to squeak in just enough damage for the win before I could hit him hard. He won.
For the last game of the night, I was up against X-men. This was a really interesting matchup; he was using U Jubilee (the one that spins up when my characters get KO’d and burns the opponent when she spins up). With me using Hush ramp, well, Jubilee was always at level 3, let’s just say, and I took a fair amount of burn. However, once Jubilee was at level 3, she stayed there; my opponent didn’t have a way to spin her down (good thing too, because I was using all 4 Hush dice). Also, I dealt some burn of my own with Catwoman, primarily on her Bat Family side. Since my opponent’s strategy was to attack early and often, that Aftershock worked beautifully. We just traded blows for a while and wore each other down, until I bought Villainous Pact, switched Catwoman to her Villain side, fielded tons of Villains (including my Hush dice), used Pact, and swung in for tons of damage. I won.
-I was debating putting some version of Mr. Freeze in this, and in the end, that would probably have been better than The Riddler. Sure, Riddler was fun to play with, but I was not winning very fast with him. I know just which Freeze I would’ve used, too. Ah well; some other time.
-Poison Ivy’s double whammy of token spamming and direct damage is really interesting. This is a card I’d definitely like to revisit sometime.
-Killer Croc was funny to put in there, sure, but having to roll fists to save my Joker and Riddler dice when fielding Croc was annoying. Not something I’d do again.
-Harley’s ability is really cool, but the fact that I relied heavily on Catwoman’s Bat-Family side meant it was sometimes hard to have 2 Villains on the field at the start of my turn (Joker refused to roll a character face during some games). Maybe I should’ve gone for New Queen of Crime instead?
-Whoever designed that level 3 face on Catwoman: I glare at you through the depths of the abyss generated by my bad rolls. Catwoman loved that level 3 face way too much tonight.
Overall, definitely not my best build, but it was fun to try this kind of slow burn approach.