Seeing as last week our UK friends were celebrating the Queen’s platinum jubilee, I figured I should use a Jubilee of my own this time. After all, we’re part of the Commonwealth too, so why not join in the…
The Team: Jubilee’s Lightshow.
Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)
I mean, obviously, this team’s namesake is here to deal damage. But she is helped by Plague Marine. This one started getting attention recently, as he suddenly became very useful with the launch of the Dark Phoenix Saga, and I found a funny combo with those two together. The combo is simple: have Plague Marine in Prep or Used, then field a sidekick with Jubilee active. Deal 1 damage to your opponent, 1 to the sidekick, which is KO’d, and as a result field Plague Marine, deal 1 to the opponent, one to Plague, he is KO’d and goes back to Prep. Rinse and repeat for each sidekick you field. And it works both on your turn and the opponent’s. Which is why Collector is there for the global. Pay a mask, field a sidekick, and deal your opponent 2 damage. This is Thor level damage on a 4-cost. Why not?
Knowing I want sidekicks KO’d, I added extra shenanigans. Dark Phoenix is supremely helpful. I can use her global on a sidekick can get Plague Marine on the board as early as T2 if I want. And at any given point, I can use the global to send Plague Marine to my Prep before fielding sidekicks so that he’s ready to trigger. Or if I have sidekicks already active (e.g. before fielding Jubilee), I can KO one with the global and field Plague Marine to deal some damage. The global’s extremely versatile in this build and an absolute must. But as you’ll see shortly, Dark Phoenix is not just there for the global.
For other shenanigans, I added Confront The Mighty (which is another way to KO my characters, and can take control pieces off the board as an added bonus). And this is where Dark Phoenix goes beyond the global. If she hits the field, I can use Confront to force my opponent’s character to deal her damage, which is then dealt back to my opponent. This made Dark Phoenix into a key secondary win condition for the team. And to support this win condition, I added Booker T for the global, to force my opponent’s biggest character to block.
I threw in some control pieces, namely Typhoid Mary and Lilandra. For Lilandra, I added her because I wanted to test Plague Marine/Dark Phoenix’s ability to get to a 5-cost character reliably. As for the actual characters, their abilities are self-explanatory. Lilandra functionally shuts down actions and globals for my opponent (unless my opponent pays 2 life PER action or global), and Typhoid is the best blanker in Modern right now.
The last two cards are utility. Rocket Raccoon is there because I wanted a 3-cost (with decent removal) but wanted to steer away from Hope (to calm the team down a tiny bit), and Wolverine is there for his global, which helps for bag fixing and a bit of extra ramp.
With all of that said, on to the games!
I started off against a R Dark Phoenix mirror-match. She uses Booker AND Jerry to double the damage output to the opponent. Me giving her Confront could’ve hurt…but Jubilee just started the pain really quickly. Bought the Marine on T1 and field a sidekick, buy Jubilee (with Dark Phoenix global) T2…and soon enough, Jubilee was fielded, and the shenanigans started. I rolled a fair amount of sidekicks, and the more I rolled, the more ended up in Prep (I’d KO them with Jubilee’s ability), and the higher my chance to roll more of them. I had turns where I would deal 6 damage on my turn just in Jubilee triggers (since I’d deal 2 damage per sidekick – 1 with the sidekick, 1 with Plague Marine), sometimes adding 2 on her turn by fielding a sidekick with Collector. My opponent didn’t go for her control in time, and I just pinged her down to 0 before she could get anywhere. I won.
Next up, I faced a 4-cost Becky team with Drax, Typhoid, and various shenanigans. He went for control early and Drax’d Jubilee. He got Typhoid Mary to blank Plague Marine, but before Mary hit the field, I hit a big turn where I got to use Plague Marine’s shenanigans to trigger Dark Phoenix’s global 5 times (thanks in part to Rocket Raccoon rolling double energy). 3 of those triggers served to buy Dark Phoenix for 1, and the other 2 served to buy Lilandra for 1. Yes, I bought a 7-cost AND a 5-cost on the same turn. Then my Plague Marine was blanked, but by that point, I was well in control. I got some Confront actions, fielded Dark Phoenix, and started putting on the pressure (and the damage). Using Confront to KO Drax, I forced my opponent to pay a lot of energy to refield him turn after turn. As a result, he never got his win condition, and Dark Phoenix (thanks to Confront and Booker T) just kept up the damage and I eventually won.
Next up, Overcrushing Spidey buffed by Parasite, helped by a number of nasty control pieces (Widow, R Dr Strange…). This was a weird one. Early on, I had one good turn with SR Jubilee, then he used Strange’s Energize ability to get her off the board, and even though I kept my bag thin, I couldn’t roll Jubilee for the life of me for several turns. But he also couldn’t roll anything for the longest time. Our mutual horrible rolls could only last so long, and eventually Jubilee hit the field and Plague Marine started churning and burning alongside sidekicks. I eventually emptied what field he had left and charged in for the win.
The last game of the night was against a Hope/Colossus build. This was interesting, as I could see whether Jubilee/Marine could outpace Hope/Colossus’ damage. The lesson was telling. Sure, he was getting his damage in (2 to 4 damage per turn – with what I forced him to do, he had a hard time buying too many characters), but with some 6 to 8 damage turns on my end (if I rolled 3 sidekicks and a mask), I was just plain faster. It helps that I was using Confront to get his Hope off the board (and KO my sidekick to bring Plague Marine back and trigger Jubilee, etc…). He was trying to maximize his damage, but simply couldn’t keep up. I won.
-Full credit goes to Nick (aka JackalopeSpam) for bringing that Plague Marine to my attention. Oof, that’s a nasty one.
-Whether it be for damage or for ramp, that Plague Marine was an absolute all-star. It’s a shame he only became good with Dark Phoenix Saga, but now that it’s here, he’s amazing. Even though he’s likely about to rotate out of Modern, I kind of have to add him to the Essentials List; even outside of Modern he’s going to be good enough for semi-competitive play at least.
-Still on Plague Marine, using him alongside Dark Phoenix’s global allows for ridiculous discounts if you get enough bolts. That turn in Game 2 was an absolute jaw-drop moment.
-I’m sure some people are wondering, “why didn’t you use Hope Summers to add to the damage output? Or Thor for that matter? Or the Clayface/Sinister combo?” I do need to be careful not to make my teams too rough. We’re making a conscious effort to hold back a bit. You could definitely make this meaner, as some have in the recent TTTD. But the team being this strong while holding back shows that Plague Marine is just busted. Holy moly.
-Now, if you want to see a build where that Plague Marine is used in a far, far more evil team, watch JackalopeSpam’s Thor team in this video. Yowza!
-I was not that high on the R Dark Phoenix because she has built-in anti-synergy (in that my opponent can KO their own characters before Dark Phoenix would damage them). However, having used her to win, I now see the appeal. She’s really neat. It’s too bad that Confront is likely about to rotate out of Modern, because it’s a great way to trigger her damage.
And that’s it for this one. Jubilee may have been the intended centrepiece, but Plague Marine is now the one I’m far more curious on. Outside of the obvious Thor and Jubilee builds, what would you use him with?
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