After a forced week off, let’s get back to some Modern fun. While the last few weeks I focused on some cards that are meta-worthy contenders, this time I wanted to look at a strategy that lurks beneath the meta, yet is still a ton of fun. And trust me, this build is…
The Team: This team is action-packed!
The basic idea is that I want to benefit whenever I use an action, which, I hope, will be very often. Three cards serve that purpose: Magik, who gets permanent +1A/+1D tokens each time I use an action, Sheriff Strange, who rerolls dice when I use actions, and Jimmy Woo, who deals damage AND gains me life when I use actions. So that’s two pieces of removal (one of which also gives life gain), and a beat stick, all contingent on using actions. Magik should eventually become bigger than even the biggest beatstick, so if I can sneak a couple of those through, I should be able to win.
…With those, I kind of need actions to use, don’t I? Well, this is where two cards come in; Shocking Grasp, who serves as minor recurring removal, and Bat-Signal. Note that I didn’t want to rely solely on Shocking Grasp, in case my opponents would just buy them under my nose. Plus, Bat-Signal offers (very handy) cheap ramp. I also get a reroll global with Bat-Signal, meaning I need to watch my team building to avoid fielding villains.
To best take advantage of Bat-Signal’s cheap ramp, though, I should use Batman and Robin, shouldn’t I? Of course I should. Both of these are self-explanatory. Robin’s “When fielded” provides amazing removal (and his global is excellent), while Batman offers some fun synergy with Shocking Grasp (Shocking Grasp my own sidekick, and I hurt my opponent!). Batman’s global also allows both players to have sidekicks active, which should help make sure I have targets for Shocking Grasp (so it can go back to Prep).
The last three cards are a bit odd. First, Wolverine is there for his ramp global (of course). Then, there’s Pirate Broadcast, there to mess with any global-heavy teams (plus, the action gives me ramp and can trigger my action-loving effects). And last but not least, Phoenix Force Cyclops. I’ve been wanting to play with that common for a while, as I love the idea of messing with high-attack characters. Oh, those Goddess of Thunder dice? Yeah, that +5A buff is gone. Galactus? 5A at max level, 0 attack on all other faces.
Now, a note before going further: I don’t want to be quite as mean as the last few weeks, so I didn’t put in any Overcrush. This is by design, as if you’ve ever tried Magik, you should know she would get out of control really quickly.
And with all of that said, on to the games!
I started up against Spider-Friends…who decided to include R Pip the Troll this time. This turned out to be the deciding factor. We were both building big walls, and Magik was getting so huge she could weather 3 Spider-Gwen triggers by the end. However, my opponent was using R Spider-Man (MSW) for ramp and keeping a thin bag, so with 2 Pip the Trolls floating around, that messed up my bag and my field really bad, which hurts this team. Eventually he just emptied my field completely, charged in, and won.
I had the bye in round 2.
Next up, a team focused on cheap big stats (2-cost Doom, 2-cost Goddess of Thunder, etc.). This was a tough one for me early on, as he charged in with both his 2-cost Doom dice and I didn’t have enough characters to send those back to the card. But then Magik hit the field alongside Robin, and then all hell broke loose. Bat-Signal ramp and Shocking Grasp did their trick, Magik got progressively bigger, and then Sheriff Strange showed up and did some rerolls. Not to be outdone, Phoenix Force Cyclops made those Doom dice have 0 or 1 attack. Eventually, there was simply too much going on with my actions, and his field was too lean thanks to Strange. So I charged in and won.
For the last game, I went up against Franklin’s Galactus…which gave me Thrown Car and thus Overcrush. Welp, don’t mind if I do. What was interesting is that my opponent had Drax and Typhoid, as well as a force attack global. So as a result, it was a chess match between her control and her own Doomsday global. It was a struggle for her to decide whether to stop Robin, or Strange, or Phoenix Force Cyclops. Most of the time I had Magik active and not blanked though, which allowed her to get bigger…and bigger…and bigger. I had 17 counters on her by the time I rolled a Thrown Car. Between that and Strange rerolling stuff out, my opponent simply couldn’t stop the 40+ combined Overcrush attack of my two Magik dice (plus my other active dice). I won.
-As evidenced by game 4, Overcrush would’ve made this team extremely mean because of Magik. It was probably the right call to tone it down a bit. (Thrown Car or something similar would’ve fit instead of Pirate Broadcast)
-Magik is too busted for casual play, but she’s too slow for top competitive stuff. Still, when you have a 3-cost that can go to 20A on each die…this gets really stupid. Admittedly an optimized build would not try to get her attack that high, but this was still completely dumb.
-The team was a bit clunky because of it being two different teams in 1 (action love plus Batman and Robin)…but they still worked together decently well synergy-wise. It was really rough having to have so many different characters active for everything to fire off though.
-I’ll admit: before using him tonight I was a bit down on Phoenix Force Cyclops. I was wondering if I was wrong to put him on the Essentials…then he hit the field. He’s excellent at stopping threats that are already on the field without relying on removal (which, when dealing with Galactus, is quite important!).
-Jimmy Woo didn’t have as much impact tonight, but that’s partly because I was so focused on using a huge volume of actions that Magik and Strange were just the better choices (don’t forget that Strange’s ability is mandatory in case your opponent’s field is empty!).
-R Bat-Signal is the key to this build. If I relied on Shocking Grasp exclusively I never would have gotten to use enough actions to run this well. I wish we had more non-basic actions in Modern.
So there you have it. This didn’t go entirely smoothly, but that’s my own fault for not including Overcrush. Still, that Magik is really cool to play with. Have you tried her in Modern? What would you use her with?
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