As we continue trucking along in our nostalgic format, I figured I’d use another classic card from the Deadpool set that hurts so much, one might say it’s…
The Team: I have no words.
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.
The core combo is pretty simple: have Poison Ivy active, field Black Bolt targeting Ivy, and everything has to block her (and subsequently get KO’d). Important note before going further: while Poison Ivy did not have the Deadly keyword upon release, Wizkids released an official errata giving her the keyword. You may have seen that same combo run before using Medusa (which is a much more thematic combo), but I chose Poison Ivy instead since she’s less expensive to purchase and to field.
That combo, in itself, does not win me the game. However, it ties up all opposing blockers and KO’s them. I can thus try to win with combat damage from my other dice, or I can convert the KO’s to damage. To do this, I included Beholder and Wolverine Lord of Vampires. Both of them have great stat lines to deal combat damage, and Wolverine’s ability is great with Ivy and Black Bolt, allowing me to soften up my opponent if I don’t have enough attack to win in that one big swing.
Now, if I’m putting Beholder in that team, I need some globals, and I also need ramp. So let’s fill both needs. You already know Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Great discount, amazing when used for free with Beholder, and that global also allows me to get Black Bolt off the field to repeat the combo if needed. For my ramp, I decided to use the good old Ring+Resurrection trick.
I could spend a long time writing about this, but in short: using Ring to get a sidekick die out of your Used Pile just before using Resurrection’s global when your bag is empty can help you control your bag and guarantee what you draw, a very important skill in competitive play. Obviously you don’t need to use Ring’s global in every situation – but you want to have exactly 5 dice in your Used Pile when you use Resurrection’s global (1 to Prep with the global, 4 to draw on the next turn). You should do that trick starting turn 2 and on all turns after that as much as possible to control your bag.
Added note: Ring also gives me flexibility on my energy (since I get to put my sidekick die on any face per this ruling), which is great considering I will need masks, bolts or shields at any given time. It’s also a great help to make sure I have one of each energy for the Lord of Vampires.
As for the last three cards of the team, they’re control and utility. Horn of the Unicorn makes a return, giving me that global to give me an extra point or two of damage if needed. Giant Spider’s global allows me to force characters to block; this is pretty effective removal considering one of my characters has Deadly. Last but not least, I need a 2-cost, and I need control. Hello there Hellblazer, long time no see. He functionally neutralizes when fielded effects (for one character each turn anyway), and is great at stalling out the opponent just enough to allow control to set up. Seeing as I’m going to be KO’ing opposing characters regularly, neutralizing them the turn they are fielded should do enough to give me a chance to win.
And with all of that said, on to the games!
My first game of the evening was up against Ultraman. I knew my opponent had speed, so I chose violence. Got Constantine and Ivy ASAP, would name Ultraman with Constantine, then force Ultraman to block Ivy on my turn (KO’ing him), only to name Ultraman with Constantine again…essentially, unless my opponent rolled two Kryptonites (the first to blank Constantine, the second to trigger shenanigans), she had no way to win. And while this was going on, I got Beholder to get me some flexibility with his “free globals” effect so I could do some ramp and further purchases. My opponent purchased extra Kryptonite dice, but having to field Ultraman each turn took its toll and her bag was a mess. I took advantage, kept up the pressure, and on the last turn before she had a chance to cause me real damage, I got Black Bolt + Ivy going and charged in for more than enough damage. I won. Felt really dirty, but I won.
Next up, against Jocasta. That game was rough. I couldn’t get the whole Black Bolt thing going all game, but I did get some Beholders. I essentially forced all her dice except Jocasta to block so that Lord of Vampires could trigger. It was going ok, until one turn I didn’t roll any bolts and she forced my Lord of Vampires to block her Jocasta (ouch!). From that point onwards, I had to always keep a bolt handy, lest I take a Jocasta hit to the face. She started attacking with Jocasta dice and brought me down to 2 life while she was still at 12 life. On the last turn, she had one Jocasta active, and an Ultron Drone global on her team (which doesn’t just force a character to block, but rather forces that character to specifically block a die of your choice). I got to use her global, forced Jocasta to block a 1A character, and Beholder and Wolverine got through for enough damage for me to win. That was a close one to say the least.
And last up, Lantern Ring. This game was the Lord of Vampires Masterclass. I bought and Prep’d the Lord of Vampires on T3 (no joke). I didn’t even need to force his characters to block Ivy – I just had to force them to block Beholder or the Lord of Vampires himself. My opponent’s field was lots of small characters, which was great for me. He wanted to use Blue-Eyes to buy more expensive dice…and realized he’d just hurt himself because of my Wolverine. That turned into a big headache for him. He didn’t want the damage and thus avoided buying the Ring. One time he lost patience, took the damage and bought Firestorm. But he was taking damage way too quickly from Wolvie, and whatever he did to me I’d just heal right back. Eventually I set up Ivy plus Black Bolt for the finishing blow (which was massively overkill – he was at 8 and I dealt over 20). I won.
-Compared to the old version of this idea (which used Medusa instead of Ivy), this flowed so much better. The 3-cost is much easier to get to, and Ivy’s fielding costs make re-fielding her much more palatable than Medusa. Definitely a major improvement.
-“Isn’t Black Bolt + Deadly just Foetid Bloat-Drone with extra steps?” Sort of? Bloat-Drone isn’t legal in our current format. Also, Black Bolt has the added benefit of forcing everything to block the Deadly die (which Bloat-Drone doesn’t – see image below for comparison). So it’s definitely more effective than Bloat-Drone in that way at least.
-Despite all other shenanigans, Beholder is the glue that held this team together. His amazing stats were the main way I got to win, and the free globals were amazing for ramp (a big reason I got to purchase the Lord of Vampires each game).
-Speaking of which, Wolverine Lord of Vampires worked like a charm. With Beholder on the team, Wolvie bordered on “win more”, but was still the key that allowed me to keep up the pressure, notably in Game 3. The fact that he triggers on any KO (including if your opponent uses Blue-Eyes to KO their own characters!) was the cherry on top.
-Using Ivy + Force Block to KO a character each turn and name that character with Constantine was just…dirty. Effective, but just…really dirty.
So yeah, that team might’ve got me on Santa’s naughty list a little bit. People’s reaction to seeing Hellblazer again was certainly quite telling. We actually only have two more events in this format left (December 21st and 28th – we’re taking next week off). Any concepts you want me to try out in this format?
Let us know in the comments below, on our Socials (@dmNorthTV), or join the conversation on our Discord.