WHYP: Apocalyptic Mayhem

So after my crazy Terrax/Sinister team from last week, you’d think I would settle down a bit, right? Take it easy for one week? Nah, not yet. Too many shenanigans in this set to take advantage of. This week, let’s unleash…

Apocalyptic Mayhem

The Team:  I’ll be Baron my fangs here.

I’d like to give credit to Shadowmeld. His enthusiasm for that Apocalypse encouraged me to give him a go.

The obvious centrepiece of the team is Apocalypse. His ability can allow me to field sidekicks and clean up my bag and/or used pile. It’s a unique ability and, in the right context, it can completely change the pace of the game by giving me instantaneous, significant board presence. Important note: Wizkids recently ruled that when you use his ability, you can field sidekicks from your Used Pile or bag in any order of your choice. This makes him not only powerful, but flexible enough to help you manage your bag.

Since Apocalypse says “field”, time to enable some fielding shenanigans. Enter Jubilee and Harley Quinn. Both do removal upon fielding sidekicks, and Harley makes my sidekicks bigger, while Jubilee deals damage to my opponent as a bonus.

Apocalypse does his best when I don’t have sidekicks active though, so I need to get my sidekicks off the field. Enter Dark Phoenix (whose global makes it easier to afford Apocalypse) and The Maker. Maker allows me to get sidekicks off my Field and on energy faces of my choice. And on top of that, I can get rid of my opponent’s best characters. Not to mention I can KO Maker with Dark Phoenix to re-field him later. Since Apocalypse’s ability is not on a global, my opponent can’t turn around and use it against me either. This should work well.

With that said, I need some tools to help my consistency. First, Molecule Man. His global should help me field Maker and Apocalypse (as well as Jubilee), and the character is no slouch for the cost if I go there. As a different type of contingency, I added Madelyne Pryor so that if Apocalypse doesn’t work, I can field sidekicks with her global to trigger Harley and Jubilee. Plus, if she hits the field, my sidekicks have just a bit more oomph.

The last 3 cards are utility. Storm is a 2-cost bolt that’s mostly there to give me cheap energy and decent attack stats. Invulnerability gives me a different use for my bolts. And Villainous Pact gives me a bit of additional ramp to get to Apocalypse easier, and the action serves an alternative strategy if my removal can’t get my opponent’s characters off the field.

And with all of that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

I started the evening against a Goddess of Thunder (2-cost) team using Namor and UC Deathbird to punish blocking. My first turn, I rolled 2 sidekicks and a mask. Sounds horrible, right? Well…it actually helped. T2, I bought Harley. T3, I bought Apocalypse. T4, I fielded both and used Apocalypse’s ability on my opponent’s turn, KO’ing every character my opponent had (had to get Apocalypse to take some damage from Harley triggers to keep my sidekicks). T5, I added another sidekick to my field and attacked in for the win.

1-0

Game 2:

Next up, against Fantastic Four with some control pieces added. She brought Investigation, so I got one of those early, and other than that, on to the big guns again. My opponent was buying a lot of smaller dice, but I quickly got Harley, Apocalypse, and The Maker. By the time Apocalypse fired off with Harley active, my opponent’s entire field emptied on her turn. Then on my turn, I rolled Maker but didn’t field him (kept him in case my opponent would use Madelyn Pryor’s global). I then charged in and had just enough damage for the win (thanks to Invulnerability’s global). 

2-0

Game 3:

Time to go up against Spider-Friends. This was interesting; in theory, his Gwen Stacy + Dazzler can KO Apocalypse and/or Harley pretty easily. And they did. I could still keep his field lean with Harley, but emptying his field on his turn was harder. So I had to control my bag and coordinate one big turn. Which I did: on one turn, I rolled 2 sidekick characters and enough energy to trigger Apocalypse…with 4 sidekicks in my Used Pile and Harley active. So I fielded 4 sidekicks with Apocalypse, then the 2 sidekick characters I rolled. 12 damage to opposing characters, empty board, charge. I won. 

3-0

Game 4: 

My last game of the evening against another 2-cost Goddess of Thunder team. I took an early gamble and left an empty field to afford my Harley. My opponent drew both Goddess of Thunder dice…and missed. This is the only game where I didn’t buy Apocalypse. I simply never got to 6 energy. So I went for Harley + Jubilee instead, and that turned out to be enough; my opponent’s field was lean and by fielding sidekicks, Jubilee + Harley made quick work of whatever showed up. By keeping up the pressure, I won before Goddess of Thunder could deal any serious damage.

4-0

Post-Mortem:

-I truly, SEVERELY underestimated that Apocalypse. The damage output resulting from Harley, Apocalypse plus four sidekicks is enough to get really close to winning by itself, especially if I deal a bit of early damage to soften my opponent up.

-Instead of removing my sidekicks with Dark Phoenix or Maker (to re-trigger Apocalypse), I found that attacking with them was generally more efficient. It also helped soften up my opponent and bring them in range of a finishing blow.

-One important point: I often skipped my low-cost characters and went straight for the big guns. This feels like I should’ve had another Prep global to get to Apocalypse more reliably. I was lucky to get to him when I did for my first 3 games.

-The one semi-disappointment in the team is The Maker. Really the games never stalled, so his removal was never crucial (other than the time I held him to neutralize a potential blocker). If my opponents ever got to blank or neutralize Apocalypse or Harley, he would’ve been the key to get the team rolling again though.

-I think this team shines brighter in casual settings. There is a lot of removal in Modern right now (especially removal that spins to energy), so keeping Harley and Apocalypse on the field together would be rough against a fully optimized competitive team. But if you aren’t prepared, this team can be thoroughly destructive.

And there you have it. Shadowmeld was right, this Apocalypse is a mean one. What would you use to make the best use of him?

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