WHYP: Berserker Rage

Continuing on our nostalgic format, after the return of the Bat-Bomb, I’m using a fun, forgotten combo that, when you’re on the receiving end, may induce some…

Berserker Rage

The Team:  We need a Laura Kinney (X-23) Wolverine card.

Reminder on the format:

  • Only cards from 2015 and 2016 sets are legal (YGO to DP)
  • All cards from those sets are legal other than the Bard – you know which one – and the cards that are banned in Golden Age.

So if you weren’t around 7 years ago (!), the core combo here is actually quite simple: X-23 gets stronger the more energy you roll from all players’ Prep Areas. What better way to fuel this than by using End of Days? I KO every character except for one on each side. Which is where Scarecrow comes in. Since I will choose X-23 as my character with End of Days, I’m KO’ing Scarecrow, allowing me to steal whatever my opponent chooses to keep. The hope is that all of this madness will give me enough dice to roll for X-23 to deal at least 20 damage in one swing.

Now, if you didn’t notice, I need to buy a 4-cost, a 5-cost, and a 6-cost to win, so I need a plan to get there. Enter three globals. Thousand Dragon serves to discount that 6-cost BAC (since his global isn’t limited to once per turn). However, he doesn’t help with the other dice, since they’re characters. Enter Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Also a fairly self-explanatory global, great way to ramp and discount, with the added bonus that Blue-Eyes can trigger Scarecrow’s effect during my opponent’s turn. This makes Scarecrow into amazing control. But with all of this, I still need a bit more ramp, as well as some way to either churn or bypass my dice bag. Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard should do the trick quite nicely on both fronts.

Ok, with ramp, churn, and even control well on my way, let’s build on this. First, I need a way to get extra damage. After all, what do I do if X-23 doesn’t get quite enough damage for the win? Where do I get those last few points? I put in Horn of the Unicorn and Rocket Raccoon for that purpose. Horn is there first for its global, to give me the last few points of damage I need. However, the action itself, since it gives Overcrush is a great backup plan if I can’t get an opposing character off the board (e.g. if it can’t be targeted). As for Rocket Raccoon, that direct damage can give me just the last few points I might need, on top of solid attack stats if I can’t get the End of Days shenanigans started. Horn and Rocket have the added benefit of both being 2-costs (in Horn’s case, I can purchase it for 2 by using Thousand Dragon’s global), which helps my purchase curve.

Now, there’s one big, glaring, obvious flaw in this team: it relies on one big alpha strike, which can be neutralized by Mera or by Blink-Transmutation. I already have part of a backup plan with Rocket Raccoon, so let’s throw in Nightwing as well. His ability can thin out my opponent’s field and allow me to charge with him and Rocket to deal some hopefully significant damage. And with the damage spread out among multiple characters, it makes it much harder to neutralize with Mera and the like. As for the last card on the team, well, I want another control piece so my opponent can’t just neutralize Scarecrow and be control-free. So Dwarf Wizard is the obvious fit. 3-cost (filling a gap in my purchase curve), bolt, great control…yep, not a choice I should regret.

So in short: all or nothing team, with the potential of being really awesome. With all that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

To start off, I went up against Jocasta and Merlyn. This was a weird one – I got all of the pieces I needed, but I couldn’t get the combo to roll. I ended up buying multiple Scarecrow dice to finally get one to roll. By that point, I was taking Merlyn attacks to the face, and was down to 4 life. Any force attack global forcing my X-23 to block Jocasta and I was done. But right after that last Merlyn attack, finally, Scarecrow and End of Days rolled. The combo triggered, I KO’d everything except X-23, stole my opponent’s Jocasta, charged in, and had enough energy to give X-23 +20A! Slightly overkill, but I won.

1-0

Game 2:

Next up, against Bolt Ring. He was giving me Superhero Registration Act, and with my bag usually being a mess, I went for it. My opponent recognized that the typical “build a board and charge with Ring active” strategy would be rough with End of Days around, so he was going for…Merlyn, just like my previous opponent, to keep a lean field. I managed to set up the X-23 + End of Days + Scarecrow hit earlier this time, but I was a bit unlucky. X-23 “just” dealt 14 damage. However, I had made sure to set up Horn of the Unicorn with Chalkboard, while KO’ing Rocket, just in case I didn’t get enough damage. This paid off, as on the following turn, I had Rocket, Scarecrow, and more, with Horn of the Unicorn (on burst) and plenty of bolts. This allowed me to push Overcrush damage through for the win. 

2-0

Game 3:

My last game was against Teen Titans. In theory, extremely rough for me, as my opponent used the redirecting Wonder Girl, and the Raven that essentially gives Teen Titans Regenerate. That Raven shuts down my End of Days strategy hard. I was lucky that Raven hit the field before Wonder Girl, and I thus used Dwarf Wizard to blank her. This was the key to victory. The second I had this set up, I bought my win condition and my opponent started to attack with pretty much everything every turn. No way he was going to give me X-23 fuel. He was dealing some damage too, bringing me down to 10 life. So I went for some of my complementary damage again. Took some time to set up, but I eventually rolled End of Days alongside a lvl 3 Rocket and a Nightwing. Used End of Days, THEN fielded my high attack characters. X-23 got 13A, which added to Rocket and Nightwing, was enough to win. I won, and I was really, really lucky to blank that Raven.

3-0

Post-Mortem:

-If you compare this week’s team to the last one, X-23’s not as good as Bat-Bomb. This team’s disadvantage is that the damage is unpredictable. You have to really go all-in on an attack that may or may not work, and you only know after you declare your attack. For reference, one time, 7 dice were rolled from Prep on an X-23 swing…and 3 energy symbols came up, total. But despite the all-in nature, it hits so hard that it can still win. I was lucky that my opponent in game 2 couldn’t take advantage of my empty board after my initial swing.

-One question I asked myself before tonight was whether it was worth it to include both Thousand Dragon and Blue-Eyes White Dragon. And the answer is yes. I found that it made a big difference in allowing me to reliably purchase End of Days. Otherwise, that 6-cost is really rough.

-One difficult part was that my opponents didn’t keep especially large fields, since they could see my X-23 coming. As a result, outside of the first game, X-23 never reached 20A. So going for the complementary damage from Rocket (just like the stuff from my Bat-bomb team last week) made the difference in getting me the wins tonight.

-It may look like I had a lot of ramp, but surprisingly, I kept wishing I had more ways to Prep dice (and more ways to churn dice especially). That would’ve helped me make up for my opponents’ leaner field (e.g. Power Almighty or Mimic from XFC would’ve worked well). However, with the current card pool for this format, we’re limited in options on that front.

-Important tech on this team: after you trigger X-23 + End of Days + Scarecrow, remember to use Blue-Eyes to KO the character you steal with Scarecrow to add more dice to Prep and increase X-23’s potential damage output (unless your opponent gives you a strong character to steal, which shouldn’t happen – against experienced players, expect to have a sidekick or other low-attack character).

So overall, tonight went well, more than I think I should’ve expected. I already know what I’ll be building next, and it’ll also have its fair share of shenanigans. What do you think I’ll be doing next?

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