Brainiac? Solo Attack

OK, not the greatest rhyme, and the title ignores Scarecrow’s important contribution to the effort here. Still, he is the star of the show, and I had to use something as the title.

Anyhow, Single affiliation for reals this week.

What Did You Play?

The Team:  Brainiac Single Affiliation Shutdown.

I decided to begin by revisiting the card over to the right.  I’d used him once before as part of an anti X-Men team.  He should be fairly disruptive with opponents using a single affiliation.   Now, the rules for the event prohibited me from using plain Villain as the team affiliation – but he does have Legion of Doom, which I could use, so that was my affiliation choice.

Brainiac, once active, would prevent my opponents from attacking with more than a single non-Sidekick die.  So why not shut the Sidekicks down?

That’s right, the old Scarecrow OP card is LoD affiliated (hardly surprising, given its subtitle) and prevents unbuffed Sidekicks (and other low A characters) from attacking me.

With those two out, my opponent shouldn’t be able to attack with more than one die per turn.

Of course, if that character is unblockable, that would still be a problem for me.

Lex Luthor:  Kansas Native would be helpful there – if only he actually had the LoD affiliation.  (While he’s active, damage from the first character die that damages me is reduced to 1.)  Instead I went with the 5-cost Rare from Justice League which has a “when fielded” effect that allows me to choose an opposing character card from which my character cannot purchase dice while Lex is active.

Burn damage remained as a potential threat, but Legion of Doom lacks anything resembling R Bishop.  So I included the Casualties BAC.  It’s global can allow me to gain life and the affordable action allows me to create the inciting effect for the global.  And, also I have Toyman on the team.

With Toyman’s Attune, I can potentially do things like pay for the Casualties global, use the Casualties action to KO an opposing Sidekick, use Toyman’s Attune to ping out a second opposing Sidekick and gain 2 life.

We were allowed non-basic actions as long as they had a thematic connection to our chosen affiliation, so I had common Kryptonite on the team, as well as Hall of Doom: Headquarters.  The latter allowed me to field a Legion of Doom character from the Used Pile on Level 1 at the end of my turn.

Most of my characters had high D, so I wasn’t terribly worried about them coming out on Level 1.  And Hall of Doom allowed me to get an LoD character into the Field Zone on the turn it was bought, as well as bypass some fairly odious fielding costs on higher Levels of some characters.

Rare Sinestro from Justice League prevents my Villains from being targeted by opposing global abilities, so he went on the team as anti-global insurance.  Also, he has decent A on Levels 2 and 3.  Black Manta: Super-Villain from the Justice set went on mostly because I needed a 2-cost character.

How was I planning to win?  Villainous Pact.  It was my other BAC, and not just for the Prep global.  I buy and use the action, my opponent has one blocker.  Charge en masse for the win.

On to the games.

Game 1

Bye.

So far, so good.

1-0

Game 2:

Against Jourdo’s Flying Graysons Bat-Family team.

I needed to buy Lex Luthor early so he wouldn’t have unblockable Robins.  Which meant I needed to buy Sinestro early because of the stupid global on his Batman card.

It allows the user to KO a Level 1 Villain (or Team Superman) character die, unless an opponent pays 2 life.  Which makes using Hall of Doom problematic, since everything I field with it comes out on Level 1.  I did get some use out of the global myself, KO’ing Level 1 Black Mantas to spin up other Villains, but I wouldn’t call it an even trade.

Anyhow, I managed to get Lex and Sinestro purchased and into the field with some help from Hall of Doom, but my focus on that allowed him to snap up all three of his Thrown Brick dice.  Which he kept throwing at his Babs, spawning plenty of damage to throw at my characters.  Fortunately, Babs’ D isn’t that great so there were some limiting factors there.

Lex managed to prevent him from buying Bats for quite a long time, and while I got Brainiac into the field and managed to keep him there, it wasn’t quite the same story for Scarecrow.  Still, I managed to build up my field, buy a Villainous Pact die and set myself up for what I thought was going to be a lethal attack . . .

Only to be thwarted by The Joker.  I hadn’t realized he was on his Villain side (I find it thematically . . . peculiar that he gives buffs to Bat-Family characters while he has the Villain affiliation).  Anyhow, he had an extra blocker I hadn’t anticipated when I was projecting the damage, so I didn’t get to lethal.

But, I’d already committed to the attack, and he’d managed to KO Lex long enough to buy multiple Batman dice, so I was on the clock.  I figured I’d just give him a scare before I died.

What kind of world are we living in, when The Joker saves the Bat-Family’s posteriors?

1-1

P.S.  It didn’t ever occur to me at the time, but thinking about Batman’s global . . . I’m far from certain, but I think his Joker was on Level 1.  I think I had one or two points of unused energy that turn, but I have no idea now if any of it was fist or wild.  That could have made things even more interesting.

Game 3:

Against a Team Superman team.  I was running common Kryptonite.  On burst or double burst common Kryptonite prevents Superman affiliated characters from blocking.

I got the Brainiac Scarecrow tag team set up, then went for Toyman.  That was so I could use Attune with either Kryptonite or Hall of Doom to ping out his Sidekicks.

That would leave him with no blockers once I used Kryptonite.  It was just a matter of building up my field, until I had enough A.

It took a little while – this team is a little bit light on A, but eventually, with the help of his Kal-L global I got to a turn where I had lethal and rolled a Kryptonite die on double burst.

2-1

Game 4:

Against a Guardians of the Galaxy team.

I didn’t go for Lex when I should have.  Brainiac negated his Plan A, so he pivoted to uncommon Yondu and burned me to death.

Problem was his Plan A, as he related it to me, wasn’t even workable.  He was running SR Star-Lord, which gives all his other Guardians characters Call Out.  He was running the Rocket Raccoon that gets +1/+1 for each other attacking Guardians die.  He said he wanted to use his other Guardians characters to tie up blockers so he could get his buffed Rockets through unblocked.

Except, having had some time to think about it, it doesn’t work.  Rocket is a Guardian, and gains Call Out from Star-Lord like every other Guardian.  And Call Out isn’t optional.  Rocket has to Call Out something when he attacks.  Also, an attacking player cannot combine Call Out attackers to make a Call Out die unblockable – if a potential blocking die is Called Out more than once those Call Outs are broken and the defending die can block normally.

So I inadvertently forced him to switch from an unworkable plan to a much better one.

With Star-Lord active I couldn’t keep Yondu in the field, as Yondu would Call Out something that would KO him.  So I had to either KO Yondu or let him through and either way there’d be another opportunity to field him soon enough.

If I’d gone for Lex right away, I probably could have prevented him from buying any Star-Lords, if not Yondus, and that would have slowed him down greatly.

2-2

Post-Mortem:

Let me start by saying Legion of Doom has some fantastic cards which I didn’t use.  Clayface of the famous Global, Call Out-Strike Grodd, Everybody Gets Overcrush Grodd, Energy fixer quasi-unblockable Grodd, KO herself and turn into Breath Weapon Poison Ivy, Black Manta – Deep Sea Deviant.  Legion of Doom might have the highest percentage of useful/dangerous .cards of any affiliation in the game.

But this wasn’t about building the nastiest LoD team I could.  It was more of a Brainiac team where everyone else was LoD affiliated.  Or just having some fun with the Brainiac card while circumstances were aligned to maximize its effectiveness.

So, now that it’s in the rear view mirror, what are my thoughts on the team?

First thing – Casualties was a terrible choice for a BAC.  I never used the action or the global on the night – I bought one Casualties die, but the game  ended before I got it out of my bag.  When I’m up against a serious burn damage team like Yondu, life gain from Casualties is too slow and awkward to make a meaningful difference.

While I was aware this team was a bit light on A, I hadn’t realized just how much that was the case.  Using Hall of Doom to field characters probably aggravated the problem in a way, with a disproportionate number of my fielded characters being on Level 1, with their lowest A.

So when I use the Villainous Pact action, my opponent can still block by biggest attacker.   I need 20 points of damage from everybody else to get to lethal, and without any buffs, and that ended up being a LOT of character dice.

The Outsider would have been a much better choice of BAC.  There are any number of choices that would have been superior to Casualties.  Anything with a buff global or action.  Power Almighty to spin up my characters, after they enter at Level 1 from Hall of Doom.  Team-Up would have been interesting – likely useless to most of my opponents, but still would have given my characters +1/+1.  I’m still partial to The Outsider, however.  That global is great with a Villain team.

Next, it wasn’t great that Black Manta was my only character that cost less than 4.  A 3-cost somewhere would have been useful.

I was running with 4 dice on Kryptonite, and 2 on Hall of Doom, but I only bought one die of either in any game.  Cutting back on those would at least have given me a fifth die on Black Manta.  That Scarecrow card is Max 2 and I only own 2 Toyman dice, or I probably would have run more dice on him to start with.

Toyman worked well.  He was deep down in the buy order, so I didn’t get the mileage out of him I otherwise might have, but he was a useful card.  I think I forgot about his ‘when fielded’ ability in the game against the Superman team, and I think if I hadn’t if would have gone off twice for four damage.  But he was really on the team for the Attune, and he delivered once I got to him.

Hall of Doom worked great.  I wasn’t sure how useful it would be going in but it both saved on fielding costs, and helped me establish a wall quickly.  Why pay a fielding cost on a Level 1 I’m not going to attack with on the turn?  Just send it to the Used Pile at the end of the Main Step, then field it at the end of the turn.  (Hmm, I smell some synergy with Aquaman: Saving the Seven Seas there, but that’s for another time).  It’s not something you’d want to do with a character with Strike, but with this Lex Luthor or this Brainiac fielding during the Main Step as opposed to the end of the turn is an unimportant difference.

Kryptonite was very useful against the Superman team, but that was a fortuitous matchup, and it was of limited utility against the other teams.  In retrospect I’d replace it with a 3 cost character, either Parasite or Cheetah.  I’m pretty sure you know which Cheetah, and as for which Parasite – probably Consumed by What We Do.  I’ve seen the other two versions of Parasite in action, and I’m curious to see how well that one would work.

So, remembering that this was a single affiliation event, and the team was built around the Brainiac card because of that, it was a good team with a couple of serious flaws.

I expect switching Casualties for The Outsider would help a lot.  As would switching Kryptonite for Parasite.

What’s the most frustrating Legion of Doom card/team you’ve come up against?  Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rolling!

Son of L

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