Stranger Danger

Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)

Alright, tonight’s build is not quite as crazy as last week. But it’s a pretty fun combo I’d been discussing with people, a fun way to do strong removal while leaving them confused as to how the heck this team just won. Enter…

Stranger Danger

The Team:  Time for a mystical experience.

The main strategy, here, relies around Phantom Stranger. Getting him fielded, and then using I Want You!, results in my opponent attacking (presumably with multiple characters), and then losing most, or hopefully all, of his characters on his own turn, leaving himself open to a big attack.

However, this isn’t a win condition, it’s just removal. How do I win with this? Well, Phantom Stranger is a Mystics character, so let’s build around this. Enter Zatanna. I don’t think I need to elaborate too much: field several Mystics, use actions, deal tons of damage with Attune and win. Thrown Brick, of course, serves to be just that action and gives me tons of ramp and Attune triggers.

Since I’m running Mystics, Wong is an obvious fit: he’s the only 2-cost Mystics character, and he’s just a fantastic beatstick. This is also a perfect opportunity to try out Atlantis. Fielding any sidekick (including Wong) gives me more dice to roll, not to mention that Atlantis triggers Attune, and…yeah, this may get ugly in a hurry.

As for the rest of the team, Scarlet Witch acts as another cheap Mystics character with good stats, and her ability could allow me to pull Atlantis from my bag if I end up messing up my ramp. Mjolnir serves to give me a useful sidekick fixer, in addition to the action being fun removal and giving me further Attune triggers. Acererak serves to counter XFC Scarlet Witch and help me if I draw and roll an action on energy with Atlantis or my own Scarlet Witch. Finally, Enchantress is yet another Mystics character, who punishes my opponent for buying my BACs.

Fun fact: if all my Mystics are on the board, because of Zatanna, that is five Attune triggers per action used. Yowch.

With that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

I started off against an interesting Justice League team based around the new Green Lantern. He was relying on Strike for big Overcrush damage, Aquaman for discounts, and Green Lantern (with tons of energy) for the big finishing blow. My Zatanna dice hated me for most of that game. They. Would. Not. Roll. On the plus side though, my opponent brought Investigation. Between the Bricks, Atlantis, and Investigation, I was certainly not lacking in ramp…even if I couldn’t use Attune most of the game. Mind you, I got Phantom Stranger set up pretty fast, which made him very careful not to attack with too many characters. And then I started using “I Want You!” to force attacks. When he blanked Zatanna, I used I Want You to force Shriek to attack into my large field of characters. By that point, Zatanna finally deigned to roll on a character face, and with the sheer amount of actions I rolled, I managed to Attune my way to victory. Just in the nick of time too, because he was about to obliterate me with Green Lantern damage.


Game 2:

This time, I went up against a sort of Golden Age build with the newest Clayface and old-school PXG. As it wasn’t an extremely super player, I stopped myself from using Zatanna’s die with Clayface’s global to uber-ramp all game (see my post-mortem notes from the last article). As it is, even without that, I managed to get some serious ramp going pretty quick. Zatanna’s dice didn’t hate me this time, and I got to set up the Stranger combo pretty quick. Eventually, I managed to get Scarecrow out of the way, buy Wong, and just set up ridiculous amounts of insanity. Tons of actions (15 Attune damage in one go), a giant amount of characters, and I won.


Game 3:

Oh, hey, another Green Lantern Justice League team! He started by focusing on Strike-fueled beatsticks while I went for my actions. Neither of us had global-based ramp, so it made everything very clunky at first. Thanks to a lucky draw, he got to hit me pretty quick with a big Strike character. However, once Zatanna hit, alongside Bricks, I started to get ramp and churn going. Eventually, I bought a bunch of Wongs, and just before having to refill my bag, I rolled Atlantis, one Wong, two other sidekicks (had Zatanna active, but no other Mystics by that point). This started a massive chain reaction of drawing and fielding Wongs to draw and field more dice, and drawing other characters to build a bigger board. By the time I was done, I had four different Mystics on the board (not to mention three Wongs) and three Thrown Bricks in reserve. 12 Attune damage and a massive attack later, I won.


Game 4: 

For my final match, I went up against Hulk. My opponent went for control and removal early: Shriek, Green Devil Mask, Dreadnaught…he ended up blanking Zatanna, and putting the Mask on. Needless to say, the Stranger wasn’t an option (as Hulk would just murder me), so I just had to pump out Bricks and ping out Shriek with his Magic Missile before using them, and hope to outpace him that way. It worked. Since he’d gone for so much control early, by the time he’d bought Hulk, I was already pinging out his Shriek and using Attune to wreck him with 3 damage per action. If Hulk had hit the field, I would’ve been in trouble. But I managed to get him down to 0 before she could hit the field. Just barely.



-That Zatanna is just gross. I easily got 3 to 5 Attune damage per action thanks to her. When it’s set up, the game will end quickly.

-I was originally annoyed at the recent Spot ruling because I was hoping to try Spot with Atlantis. However, Atlantis does not need Spot. In the right build, it’s insanely fast as it is. Using Wong alongside Atlantis just made it incredibly effective, especially in Game 3. I can’t imagine how useful it would be in a more focused sidekick build.

-The Stranger + I Want You combo? It didn’t deal nearly as much damage as I wanted as tonight, people weren’t running single-energy teams. Nevertheless, it acted as fantastic removal, especially since Mystics have some pretty decent stats (Scarlet Witch and Wong in particular).

-I was really annoyed at only having one copy of Mystics again tonight, as both of my Zatanna dice hated me during my first match. Bah, it happens.

Overall, I really, seriously need a second Mystics team pack. As for the team, lots of fun for sure! Don’t expect it to be a serious competitive contender (it’s a bit slow), but definitely worth messing around with.

3 Replies to “Stranger Danger

  1. You may have to check the ruling on the Phantom Stranger. A bunch of times in the past, any damage that happens during the combat phase is considered combat damage. That would mean that you don’t get a board clear with I Want You action because they don’t deal combat damage.

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for bringing this up. Do you have any specific ruling in mind? I can’t think of any that would prevent Phantom Stranger from working.

      On the other hand, we do have a ruling that states that the old OP Iron Fist would affect Breath Weapon, even though Breath Weapon triggers during the attack step. This suggests that character ability damage does not become combat damage just because it happens during the attack step, which would mean that Phantom Stranger would still be character ability damage and not combat damage. This means that I Want You would not stop Phantom Stranger’s ability.

      Ruling here:

      Mind you, I’m perfectly willing to be proven wrong if you know of official rulings that would back your argument.

  2. It would be a “when attacks” type ability that triggers when the die is assigned to attack. This happens before combat damage is assigned. I am pretty sure “I Want You” works fine here as Phantom Stranger grants ability damage to the characters.

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