Welcome back to this week’s episode of “When will Laurier run out of weird stuff to run?” (answer: not anytime soon!) With the Legacy League still going strong, I wanted to finally give a second look to the Martian Manhunter from JUS.
When he came out, Black Canary got everyone’s attention (since she works better with Danger Room, the best villain-maker in Modern), but I kept wanting to run Manhunter. Seeing as I don’t limit myself to Modern, I have the perfect excuse to do so. Which also gives me an excuse to run Ace the Bat Hound, one of my favourite cards from the Batman set. And trust me, Ace can be…
A Martian’s Best Friend
The Team: Take ’em down, Ace!
Format: Legacy League (week 8) (all cards from winning teams banned, including BACs)
The core for this one is pretty straightforward. Takedown makes things into villains. With Manhunter (see above photo) active, everything I have has Overcrush. And Ace the Bat Hound turns into a nasty little beatstick at the same time, having 4-5A depending on his level.
All I need to do is charge in and wear my opponent down for the win. Or at least that’s the plan.
I threw in Hal Jordan for removal; thanks to Takedown’s global, he can essentially target anyone. With his stats, giving him Overcrush with Manhunter makes him tempting to block, which will generally KO him, allowing me to field him again and keep triggering his “When fielded” effect.
For ramp, i decided to throw in Clayface (no, not that Clayface) and Professor X (no, not that Professor X). At this point in the legacy league, there are less and less bag management options available, so fielding sidekicks to keep them active for Clayface’s global (or similar fixers) is not a bad bag management strategy. And again, with bag management being tricky, Professor X’s global helps thin out my Used Pile a bit and gets me Manhunter quite easily.
For control, I threw in the UXM Storm because one of my local players loves to run Ultraman recently, and I thought redirecting Kryptonites to Ultraman would be hilarious. As for Ronin, he’s a fantastic way to deal with singular, large sources of damage (e.g. Fixit, Nobby, Breath Weapon), all of which are quite viable with the current ban list. And with me relying on mask globals, he’s a clear fit.
As an alternate source of damage, I threw in Katana, who was (a slightly weaker) Kree Captain before Kree Captain existed. And for the last card, I threw in Blessing…because honestly, I ran out of ideas I actually wanted to use for this team, and I thought adding a bit of damage to everyone made sense for an Overcrush-based strategy. Didn’t end up being useful at all, though.
So overall, what I have is a cohesive win condition and matching removal, with some ramp and fixing for consistency, and a couple of inexpensive control pieces. Not a typical team, but should work alright.
With all of that said, on to the games!
I started off against a Boom Boom + Shocking Grasp team (hey, with Thrown Brick banned, that’s not a bad choice!) that complements itself with various wacky forms of control. I went for Ace and Manhunter (with a lone Ronin die for defense) and charged in with reckless abandon, using Takedown’s global to make an opposing character into a villain. He tried buying Sage (the fielding tax one), hoping to stem the tide of rushing Aces, but Sage simply would not roll. With Manhunter active, and Ace dice that simply would not let up, I was dealing more damage than he could stop. I won.
I went up against a Collector team, using Nobby and Merlyn for damage, with Dwiz and Bishop as control (the latter being useless against me), and Investigation as ramp. I went for Ronin and ramp early, and bought Manhunter at first opportunity, after which I got all the Ace dice I could purchase. I timed my shots carefully, made sure to keep attacking and get Manhunter off the field before Dwiz would arrive. By the time Dwiz was fielded, no characters were available to blank. My opponent got Collector later in the game, but by that point I was too far ahead. I rushed her down before she could deal any real damage.
And time to face…a Collector team. Again. This one is a bit more aggressive, using the Canary/Kree Captain pivot from the US Nationals championship team. This time, there was no Dwarf Wizard, meaning I could keep my Manhunter on the field, as well as my Ronin, and keep a lean bag. My opponent simply could not get any damage in with Nobby because of Ronin. However, he got some big villains on the board and slowed the game down, as my Ace dice had a harder time piercing through his defences. Responding to this, I bought Hal Jordan, and when he hit the board, I got Collector KO’d, used my opponent’s Danger Room global to weaken the other villains, and swung in with tons of overcrushing characters. I won.
I finished off my evening against C Hulk + Johnny Storm. This team is pretty good, to be honest. However, mine was just faster. I had some early Ace dice which I used as Kree Cap global fodder to buy Martian Manhunter quickly. I kept a thin bag and attacked with Ace dice when I could. He tried to slow the game down and get Hulk on the table, but before Hulk could show up, my Hal Jordan did, removing his only remaining blocker by that point, and I managed to sneak in just enough damage for the win. Another turn and the game would’ve been a real headache.
-This win condition was surprisingly effective, partly because it kind of snuck up on people. Oh, ok, Ace has 5A…what do you mean, all of them have Overcrush?
-Too bad that Ultraman didn’t show up; was really hoping to see Storm cause some chaos. As it is, that was a useless slot all evening. (though I did redirect Shocking Grasp to a high-D character once so Shocking Grasp wouldn’t be prepped, which was hilarious)
-I also did not buy Katana all evening, despite going up against 2 Collector teams (with a number of villains, which would’ve made Katana quite strong). Loading up on Ace dice was simply the better play when I used Manhunter. Also, Ronin was an essential 3-cost against Collector, so when I had 3 energy to purchase stuff with, you can imagine what I preferred.
-On the other hand, Hal Jordan was a great fit. He worked exactly as I’d hoped when the game would slow down. Field him, take out a big villain, and swing in. Between his damage dealing and his stats with Overcrush, he can change the board state in a hurry, especially on his top level.
-Clayface bailed me out all evening, way more than I care to admit. Message to my sidekick dice: when I reroll 3 sidekicks, I don’t plan on getting 3 sidekick characters out of it.
So overall, this was a really fun team, and it gives me a new appreciation for that Manhunter. I should’ve run Nobby in my team, though, just to get that card banned and mess everyone else up. As it is, I guess I’ll have to figure out another way to mess with my opponents.