I spent part of last weekend reviewing the TOTM submissions for April. They were all interesting, and a couple of the included ‘Team Notes/Instructions’ were very entertaining reads. The process put me in the mood to try my hand at a Loki team of my own, and also offer a rebuttal of sorts to the one or two entrants who offered their opinions that none of the Loki cards were viable win conditions.
Format: Constructed (Golden Age).
What Did You Play?
The Team: Loki’s Drinking Game
The centerpiece of this team was Loki – Illusionist, the uncommon from AvX. He has a ‘When fielded’ effect which allows him to take control of an opposing character. Then, at the end of the turn that character is KOed and deals damage equal to its A to the opponent.
Removal and damage in the same package. And, there’s no reason I can’t buff the captured character’s attack to increase the end of turn damage.
The uncommon FUS Potion looked like an attractive option. A +3/+3 buff (or +5/+5 on a double burst face) plus, as Potions are Spells I could use the Beholder global to bank them, and not have to depend on drawing them on the same turn as my Loki.
Which Beholder? Well, the plan called for me to be buying Action Dice, so why not the Beholder that lets me Prep action dice when I field it?
I’ll be wanting to buy multiple Potion dice, but paying 4 for each doesn’t sound too economical. Let’s add the Cosmic Cube that gives me a discount on buying action dice.
Now, how to get more mileage out of Loki’s effect? Loki himself is a 7-cost, so how many of his dice will I be able to buy? I considered and rejected TOA Doppelgangers – I’d need Loki in the field to be copied when I fielded my first Doppelganger, and then I’d need to keep a Doppelganger in the field. Rare Warth looked like a better option to me – the first Warth I fielded would allow me to use Loki’s ability then and there.
Helicarrier was added as another potential buff option, and Nick Fury who would add to the Helicarrier buff, and is a pretty solid blocker.
This team relies on ‘When fielded’ effects and Madame Masque exists, as do Blob and Shriek. As a form of insurance against that, I included the common Captain America from GOTG.
By any objective standard, Batgirl – Shadow of the Bat would have been a better choice. The two cards have an identical ability (and limitation), Batgirl’s purchase and fielding costs are lower, and so is her defense (which is generally preferable in a character you want to re-field and so don’t want getting stuck in your field.) I went with Cap for thematic reasons only.
I was never really a big reader of Thor comics, so most of what I know about Asgardians comes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There Asgardians have had dealings with (Dark) Elves, Frost Giants and whatever Surtur is as well as alien spacefaring civilizations,
So including other non-human denizens of Faerun like Beholder, and an alien like Warth didn’t seem like too much of a stretch for me. But, Batgirl – a street level hero who I don’t think Loki has ever had dealings with and have no reason to expect he ever will, seemed to be going a little bit too far. I doubt there will be universal agreement on that, but it’s my team, so I get final say on what does and doesn’t fit thematically.
Basic Actions were Polymorph to give me an option to get Loki out of the field, and Invulnerability for the buff global. With all the bolt actions on the team, a bolt buff looked like a superior option to a fist buff.
So how did it work?
Parallax, Old School PXG, Elf Thief, Villain Blanker Thanos, Kal-El and Transfer Power. Once
he gets going, he’s prepping all his sidekick dice every turn and drawing Elf Thieves every turn which severely limits his opponents from using PXG, He just needs one more character than I have and two more shields, which isn’t difficult with his ramp advantage. Then he bounces his highest A to his unblocked character by using the Transfer Power global twice.
He did 10 damage to me fairly early by sending Professor X through an open field and using Kal-L and buff globals.
He got Thanos out shortly after that. My only faint hope at this point was getting Loki and Cap to come out together. Thanos was alone in his field, so Loki wouldn’t have anyone to capture once Cap removed him (Thanos), but maybe I’d be able to send Loki through the empty field and flip his stats. Between the fielding costs for Cap and Loki and my opponent’s ramp advantage, this was a miniscule hope, and Loki came out without Cap anyhow. My opponent won on the next turn.
Superman, Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen and rare Nightwing.
My opponent had a miserable time rolling his Kryptonians this game, so I didn’t see a lot of those in the field. What I did see were a lot of Nightwings, and a few Jimmy Olsens and sidekicks.
I bought Beholders early, and somehow we’d regularly end up with his one Nightwing trying to attack where I had 2 sidekicks and a Level 2 (5-4) Beholder in the field. He’d generally KO the sidekicks with Nightwing’s ability damage, and Beholder would usually be KOed from blocking Nightwing. I’d wind up with extra ramp, and by the time he was ready to try again, I’d have my field restored.
I got Loki out, captured a Nightwing, fed him a Potion, and tagged my opponent for 8.
After a couple of turns of back and forth, he’d managed to build up his field where I couldn’t block all of his beefy attackers, and he buffed the ones that got through to hit me for 10.
That left him with only a Supergirl die in his field, and I drew my Loki die on the next turn. I had two Potion dice waiting on Beholder’s card, one double burst (so +8/+8 total for the two of them). Once I rolled Loki that was game.
Side note. Given that both his Superman and Supergirl had Iron Will, it would have been interesting if I’d captured one with Loki (well besides at the end of game, where the capture gave me a clear field, I had a Beholder and multiple sidekicks to also attack with, not to mention the potions.)
Given the Iron Will, Loki’s ability would not be able to KO them at end of turn if they were undamaged. Of course, I could just attack with the captured die – if unblocked it’s the same amount of damage, and if they block, it takes damage so Iron Will no longer prevent Loki’s end of turn KO. In this game, it wouldn’t have amounted to much except the opportunity for a little extra ramp for my opponent. But in other circumstances, say if somebody had Distraction, it could have been a problem for me.
Against Jourdo’s Guardians team. The highlight for me was the turn where Loki captured Jourdo’s Star-Lord, fed him two saved Potions, used a Haymaker die on him, then used my remaining ? to buff Star-Lord’s A by one more, and slammed Jourdo for 15.
It had been a fairly quiet game to that point. Rocket had been attacking regularly, KOing my characters, but Jourdo hadn’t been getting any damage through, and I’d been playing defense, and setting up for Loki’s appearance.
My last bag refill I had close to twenty dice in my Used Pile, including one Loki and one Warth. Somehow, (and very uncharacteristically for me) everything came out in the optimal order: Potions before Loki, and Loki before Warth.
Jourdo opted not to take out Loki with a Rocket attack on what proved to be his last turn, not wanting to give me the easy opportunity to refield him. What he’d forgotten was that I had a Warth in my bag, and what he probably hadn’t realized was I was down to four dice in my bag at that point, so I was going to draw Warth on my next turn.
I landed Warth, and captured one of his 5A characters for the win.
We had a couple of new players show up for the event, a father and young son. They’re quite new to the game, and it showed in the build here.
This was a Villains team with Wrecker, the R Riddler who damages opponents who use action dice, Wrecker, Sinestro, uncommon Lyssa Drak. The problem was all his cheap characters were masks, and he did not roll any masks or ?s on his early turns, This resulted in him loading up on Basic Action dice, which clogged his bag.
I never even bought Loki this game. With so many of his early buys Basic Actions, he wasn’t fielding any characters, not even sidekicks. He needed his sidekick dice on energy faces so he had the right energy types to buy characters.
I had bought a Beholder and a Captain America, along with some action dice of my own. I’d whittled him down to 11 life mostly by attacks through an invitingly empty field. Then with his field again empty I would up with a Beholder die and a Captain America die both on Level 3 at the same time. That’s 11A between them, so game.
My opponent had some pretty bad rolls at the start, but a sub-optimal build and his inexperience amplified the problem, as he didn’t realize buying too may Basic Actions early on, can make it problematic to find non-generic energy when you need to, down the road.
Wait, what? Game 5?
Yes, Game 5. It was a pretty casual night, there was an odd number of people. The father and son duo wasn’t able to arrive until more than hour after the event start time. Once they arrived it was basically if either the father or son was free and another game finished, one of those players started a game with the father or son (whichever was the available one.)
I was available to play the son and nobody else was. The only other option a) had already played a game with him and b) had to leave early.
This was against a Warriors Three team. He brought Big Entrance and Investigation as his BACs and we each bought one of those early. This was a bit of a slow game, as we both seemed to struggle to get the right amounts and kinds of energy we needed to buy the characters we wanted.
He wasn’t helped by the one Fandral die he did buy going MIA on him. It was found lodged in his chair after the game – he must have dropped it without realizing it during a bag refill. We’d both bought a lot of dice, and it must have taken him at least four turns to cycle through it and realize he’d never drawn a Fandral even though we both remembered him buying one and it wasn’t on the field or in his Used Pile or Prep Area.
Anyhow, I had managed to get a Loki out, capture a Volstagg for 5 damage, and then slip him through as part of an attack to deal four more (two from buffing him). He did get some damage through, but never enough to truly worry me.
I got in a couple attacks of my own to wear him down to 6 life, and then Loki came out again, HIs Volstagg was on Level 3 again, so that was another 5 damage, and I outnumbered him to get the one more point I needed.
I was aided by some poor dice rolls from my opponents in a couple games, but on the whole the team worked well. I managed to get Loki out in 4 of the 5 games, even if it didn’t really matter in Game 1. I wasn’t sure how well my peculiar field Beholder to Prep action dice ramp was going to work going in, but it worked well enough, even if it wasn’t exactly a model of consistency.
Loki and Potion was a pretty effective combo. The Beholder global really helps with the timing there. Not only do I get removal, I get significant damage at the same time.
What would I change? Probably increase the dice count on Beholder. I was running with only two, and there were games I was wishing for more.
I never got any real use out of Helicarrier, so I would swap it out, along with Nick Fury. Replace Helicarrier with common Prismatic Spray, which is a better option than Intimidate for dealing with Madame Masque or other opposing control pieces. It’s also a Spell, so I can bank it with the Beholder global. Too bad including that card on the team didn’t occur to me until more than 48 hours after the event.
I think I would replace Nick Fury with Black Widow – Stinger. Also, with Prismatic Spray on the team, I don’t need Captain America – “No, You Move”. I’ll stick with a Cap however, subbing in “Behind You” from the Maximum Carnage team pack.
Since the KO’d villain isn’t required to be an opposing villain, I can potentially use this ability to KO Loki and (hopefully) re-field him next turn.
As for the team I actually played, for what it was – an ersatz Team of the Month entry – I thought it worked well.
So what would you do if Loki offered you a drink? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading, and happy rolling!
-Son of L