So recently, after a team that was probably a bit much, I was told, unequivocally, that I needed to tone things down a notch. So I took this opportunity to look at C Sinister, a card that intrigued me for a while. And with him as a starting point, I ended up with nasty shenanigans that may leave you thinking I’m…
The Team: One might say my plans were…Sinister.
Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)
Ok, let’s start with the card I wanted to build around: Mr. Sinister. Specifically, the common, that doesn’t see much play since his other versions (especially the rare!) are amazing. His global can give any non-sidekick Deadly. I therefore looked at cards that benefit from you KO’ing characters. I specifically had to look at cards that would trigger upon KO’s, and not on combat damage (since triggering Deadly doesn’t count as combat damage). I found two cards that looked like great fits: Bret “Hit Man” Hart and Ronda Rousey. Bret, when given Deadly, can reliably send opposing characters to the Used Pile, and Ronda brings the pain (as life loss!) for each character KO’d.
But that’s not all. Who else triggers upon KO’ing characters and deals a mountain of damage? Deathbird, of course! This, however, led to the issue of reliability. How can I ensure opposing characters have at least 3D upon KO? Enter my friend Eddie. He has Tag Out, giving +2A and (more importantly) +2D to a character, that can be yours or your opponent’s. That +2D brings any character within range of Deathbird’s ability, adding 3 damage to my opponent per KO! Full credit to Gord, aka Son_of_L, for the idea (sorry I didn’t go for your full suggestion though!).
None of this is useful if my opponents don’t block me though. Both my BACs would help with that. First up, Booker T. That global is handy, we love it, and it’s great to pick off individual characters. But while I could also use the BAC to trigger mass blocking, I wanted a bit more. So I also put in Doom Lance. The Lance forced everything to block, and gave me the added bonus of my opponent losing life for each KO (which stacks with Ronda and Deathbird!). I didn’t love putting two BACs for one role, but I couldn’t see myself passing up either of them.
With all of this, I don’t have any ramp yet. Enter Grell and Dark Phoenix. This Grell is really fun ramp with Nihiloor (which I used to great effect in Two-Team Takedown events), so I could only imagine how much better it would be with Dark Phoenix. After all, Dark Phoenix’s discount would help me get to Ronda, Doom Lance and Bret Hart. But I had a slight concern with purchasing multiple cheap characters. Ideally, I want multiple Eddie dice to trigger Tag Out, possibly multiple Grells for ramp, etc. I would’ve used Big Entrance, but with no free BAC slots, I went with Yawning Portal instead. Since Grell gives you amazing churn on top of ramp, I wasn’t too concerned with overloading my bag with dice.
And with all of that said, on to the games!
I started against a C Lilandra + U Gladiator team. That team has a slow buildup, and I took advantage to really put my win condition together. It didn’t look like much until Doom Lance rolled with Ronda and Deathbird active. Then, even though my opponent had only 2 characters active, he went down 8 life between damage and life loss. (2 from Ronda, 3 from double burst Doom Lance, 3 from Deathbird) From there, I just kept up the pressure and even though my opponent did get a Gladiator, he never got him big enough to be a serious threat (especially since I used Doom Lance with Bret Hart to send his whole board to Used). Late game, I bought Dark Phoenix, and she landed just as my opponent had an X-men on the board; that gave me the last offensive push I needed to win.
For this game, my opponent had a team that was entirely control…and Colossus (no Hope though). My opponent went Drax and Typhoid Mary early. I went for Grell, Deathbird, then built towards my win con. After a couple of hits with Doom Lance, my opponent put Typhoid Mary on Sinister, and that stopped me all game; I had no character with built-in Deadly, and my stats weren’t high enough to get all of the control out of the way. I was still chipping away (using Eddie’s Tag Out to bring my A high enough to KO some stuff and trigger Deathbird), but it just wasn’t quite enough. I got her to 2 life, but she won with Colossus damage.
I finished my evening against a mask-based team that focuses on spinning stuff to energy and burning you to death with Noxious Blightbringer. He didn’t get the chance to do much, as he simply would not roll masks early game. So I put the foot on the gas and didn’t stop. My strategy had a hard time working, as he had few characters on the board. But I chipped away, primarily with Ronda, but Bret got some hits in too. By the time my opponent got some damage in with his combo, it was too little too late, and Grell’s ramp and churn allowed me to recover quickly from characters spun to energy. I kept it up and won.
-Grell with the Dark Phoenix global is absolutely amazing. I get to ramp, churn AND discount my next purchase all at once. I used this all game, every game, and it was the key to the team’s pace. All-star of the night for sure.
-That led to Yawning Portal being…a bit unnecessary. It felt like a “win more” card on this team, as I could easily buy anything in my team without the portal. Don’t get me wrong, I bought the Portal and got more stuff thanks to it, but I could’ve done without it.
-I really needed a character with Deadly “built in” so to speak to use with Doom Lance. Otherwise, shutting down Sinister just meant I was dead in the water. Poison Ivy: Red would likely have been a great fit (probably instead of the Portal).
-Speaking of Sinister, I didn’t have too much trouble having two bolts when I needed them, but I really had to go out of my way to have that energy aside, especially since bolts are so useful in general for this team.
-With Sinister’s global, Ronda felt useful when she fired off, but Bret Hart…when I fired off Doom Lance + Bret + Sinister…it just felt dirty. Sending all of my opponent’s characters to the Used Pile is devastating and fundamentally breaks the game’s balance.
-I never got the Tag Out/Deathbird combo to fire off. Funny idea, but never materialized.
This team was very, very slow compared to what I built recently. But we all comparatively toned it down a bit this time. If people had kept up the power level we saw a couple of weeks ago (Becky’s, Hope/Colossus, etc.), this team would not have been on that level in my opinion. But it was fun. For me anyway. My opponents would probably disagree. But what do you think? Would you have tackled that concept differently? What would YOU use with the common Mr. Sinister?
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