Rocket Man

Format: Theme Night

This week, we went back to the theme format. As a reminder, the rules 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 decided to revisit Guardians. I did run this affiliation in a theme night before (which worked out quite nicely), but with all of the new Guardians we recently got, I wanted a second go at it. And so, I decided to channel my inner…

Rocket Man

The Team:  Guardians, take 2

I made it clear that I wanted a completely different strategy if I’d revisit this affiliation. So, I went with two clear pieces to build around: Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon. Star-Lord gives me great ramp, Rocket gives me crazy damage. In theory, that’s all you really need to win, right?

For both of these to work, I need large amounts of characters attacking. I thus went with the only decent 2-cost Guardians character not named Rocket Raccoon: of course, I’m talking about Cosmo. I went with the uncommon for one simple reason: I figured Dragons would show up, and so the rare would likely be useless. The uncommon is great utility for what it is, but let’s be honest here: I just really needed a 2-cost.

Which is also why I added Hulk Out. Ok, I was also feeling a bit nostalgic and wanted to run some Golden Age. This action serves to give my characters Overcrush, which, considering Rocket can get huge, can get very useful.

Groot is there for the global, but the character itself is no slouch; I’ve used Stone Golem (which has that same ability) before, and I find it’s easy to underestimate. Add the global, which allows for some interesting bag control, and it makes for an easy choice.

As for the rest of the team, Mantis is there to counter Overcrush, Yondu serves for some burn, Moondragon is there because she was so awesome last time, Resurrection for ramp and churn, and Gamora is there as an additional offensive weapon that’s hard to block and fits with the more aggressive theme of the team.

With that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

I started off against an Asgard-themed team. Warriors Three, Immortals, and all that nastiness. He went for an odd approach; he got Jane Foster, bought an Immortal character, then loaded his bag with Get Thee Hence dice to try to burn me down. While he was setting this up, I got Star-Lord, all my Cosmos, and started attacking and ramping like crazy, buying Rockets along the way. After a while, Star-Lord allowed me to get crazy ramp going, and Rocket just wore my opponent’s board down. A couple of Hulk Outs later, I attacked with everything, used Hulk Out on the characters with the weakest blockers, and I won.

1-0

Game 2:

Oh boy, here come the Dragons. Same as last week, this is a Ring of Winter + Dragons team (using Artus Cimber, wielder of the ring, for it to fit the theme). This is a matchup Dragons win 9 times out of 10…but not today! She had bad luck with the Ring (drawing it at the worst time), and I kept attacking with Rockets and Cosmos with Star-Lord active. I also got Groot on the field to keep blocking her huge Gold Dragon. My Rockets were eventually huge enough that I was, seriously, KO’ing her Dragons and forcing her to re-field them. That took too much of her energy for her to get everything set up. I took advantage of the opportunity and kept attacking and attacking, using Hulk Out to deal the final blow with a Rocket. I won.

2-0

Game 3:

For my final match of the night, a rematch against last week’s Thunderbolts team. He made some interesting tweaks, including using Black Widow: Widowmaker (who KO’s opposing characters with a fielding cost of 0) for removal and using the 5-cost Songbird for massive removal. I took the same strategy as before. Buy Star-Lord, Cosmos, keep attacking while purchasing Rockets, take advantage of massive ramp, wear the opponent down, buy Hulk Outs and give Overcrush to the most advantageous characters. He and I traded blows most of the game (his Songbird is nasty!), but I managed to get the win thanks to Hulk Out+Rocket. I really like his team.

3-0

Post-Mortem:

-Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon are pretty crazy! Sure, the team takes a while to set up, but once it’s ready, it escalates to ludicrous levels of both ramp and damage. The fact that I was using Rocket to KO Dragons (!) should give you a good idea of how ridiculous this got.

-Moondragon ended up not being useful this time; it hardly matters if Rocket’s at level 1 or level 3 when his ability buffs him so darn much.

-Groot’s global is…ok? I thought I’d use it more, but with the ramp I was using, it was hardly ever relevant.

-To be clear: both R Starhawk and Raised Shields would’ve made this team stronger and crazier. I passed on them to make the team a bit less broken. It still ended up pretty strong as is.

Overall, I didn’t think I’d be able to make a second Guardians team that, while having a different core, could be as viable. I was wrong; this was pretty strong, and very fun to run. Not “I beat Yuan-ti” kind of strong, but very impressive in more casual settings.

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