From Starter Deck to Structure Deck: Doom and Fantastic Four

Although the majority of Vs cards now have significantly dropped in price, many of the good staples are still around $2.99 a piece. Playing a competitive Vs Deck can still set you back $50.00 – $100.00. This tends to push players away when considering starting or even getting back into the game.

From 2004 – 2006, I was at the top of my playgroup winning tournament after tournament in the local scene. I decided to “take it up a notch” by running decks that were considered to be over the top or completely unfair, decks such as Fate Squad, Deep Green, and X-Stall (the Gamma Bomb Version). I wanted to prove that I was the best beyond a shadow of a doubt. The issue with this is that everyone else in the local scene was running tier three decks like Dr. Doom (The Herald of Galactus Block Version), JSA, and Kang.

For those of you who don’t know and without going too much into detail, Fate Squad is a Squadron Supreme, Thunderbolts team affiliation with Fate Artifacts and cards to support them. If built properly and played against anything less than a tier two deck, it can win as early as turn four. For the next three months I would win first place every week, winning consistently on turn four. While i was on my winning streak, basking in the glory of being the best player, players slowly started to lose interest in Vs System saying things like; this deck is too broken, or Fate Artifacts should be banned. Our group dwindled from a solid 15 players to a measly four. Playing devil’s advocate; if the local Vs players were that concerned with Fate Squad or any other tier one deck they could actually do research and fix their deck accordingly but that didn’t stop the local players from giving up. The Vs System scene in my area died with me on top but it came with a price. The lesson I learned was that not only should i have taken the time to pass the knowledge I learned from playing to others over the years, but i shouldn’t have tried to smash such weaker decks with such a competitive one which brings me to the point of this article.

Vs System is a lot of fun. From do it yourself deck projects to fighting it out using your favorite comic book characters. Competitive play unfortunately sometimes takes the fun out of the game. Players who no longer have their collection or new players looking to have fun with the game will most likely stray due to lack of funds or fear of failure to better decks. Upper Deck released a series of Starter decks pinning famous teams against the team’s most common antagonist.box_fantasticfour
The Starter decks themselves contain one Vs System Rulebook, one Vs System Quick Start Guide, and two 26 card decks. Everything you need to get started. The decklist for this product is listed below:

FF/Doom Starter :

Fantastic Four

Characters
2 Noah Baxter, CEO Baxter Industries
2 H.E.R.B.I.E.
2 Invisible Woman, Protector
2 Luke Cage, Reserve Member
2 Medusa, Medusalith Amaquelin
2 Crystal, Elemental Princess
2 Human Torch, Hothead
1 She-Hulk, Green Jeans
2 Thing, Strongman
1 Mr. Fantastic, Leader

Plot Twist:
2 Personal Nemesis
2 No Fear
1 One-Two Punch
1 Flying Kick
1 Force Shield

Location: 4
1 Reed’s Workshop

Doom

Characters:
2 Kristoff Von Doom, Ticking Time Bomb
2 Boris, Doom’s Caretaker
2 Ovoid Mentor, Alien Mentalist
2 Titania, Big Bad Bully
2 Volcana, Raging Inferno
2 Victor Von Doom II, Doomed Heir
2 Sub-Mariner, Atlantean Monarch
1 Dragon Man, Experimental Monster
2 Darkoth, Death Demon
1 Dr. Doom, Scientific Sorcerer

Plot Twist:
2 Personal Nemesis
2 No Fear
1 Flying Kick
1 Cryonic Grenade
1 One-Two Punch

Location:
1 Doom’s Laboratory

This looks good after opening the package but the card count is only 26 cards per deck. After a couple of games you tend to get tired of playing the decks. This is an issue with any starter deck in Vs. Many times you will wind up not drawing the proper cards, miss your character drops, or have to use your characters as resources. This can be very frustrating when all you want to do is enjoy a game of Vs System with an old friend where the decks are even and the environment is lax.

Changing these decks to 60 cards is a lot easier and less expensive then you may think. You can obtain a FF/Doom Starter deck for as little as $2.30. You will need to purchase two copies of these decks. This will bring your total card count up to 52 for each deck. This will give you four copies of the majority of the commons in each deck, which adds consistency to what you are running. At this point you will be missing eight cards from each deck. The tricky part is finding cards to fill the deck slots that aren’t too powerful, goes with the theme of the deck, and won’t make your opponent rage quit the match while still keeping the integrity of the game.

MFF024MFF012
These two cards pretty much define each deck and what they do. The Doom deck is an aggressive deck that specializes in burn abilities but lack in defense while Fantastic Four is a little underpowered with excellent defense early in the game with the ability to turn the game around turns 5-7 using strong characters with great abilities. you will need to drop $1.00 at http://www.CoolStuffinc.com finishing out the play sets of the above cards. This brings your count to 54 cards in each deck.

Next we need to find six cards that go with the theme of each deck. The cards must be commonly used card and not too overpowered. We don’t want to make other cards in the deck seem completely useless.
Baxter Building Unstable Molecules
Unstable Molecules and Baxter Building work very well together and are not very expensive. by purchasing a play set of Unstable Molecules at $0.25 each and two copies of Baxter Building at $0.35 each you move your Fantastic Four deck count to 60 cards.
DoomstadtMicro-Size
The same goes for these two. Micro-Size and Doomstadt work very well together and will boost Dr. Doom out of range of an attack on turn seven, causing your opponent to team attack, possible biding you another turn. Doomstadt will give Micro-Size the ability to negate any combat boosts you opponent may use. You will need a play set of Mico-Size and two copies of Doomstadt. A total cost of $1.70. This is a total cost of approximately $11.00 for two-60 card decks, depending on whether or not you own Magic the Gathering Sleeves which I strongly suggest using since the cards are not longer being printed. After buying these cards, you new list should be as follows.

Fantastic Four

Characters
4 Noah Baxter, CEO Baxter Industries
4 H.E.R.B.I.E.
4 Invisible Woman, Protector
4 Luke Cage, Reserve Member
4 Medusa, Medusalith Amaquelin
4 Crystal, Elemental Princess
4 Human Torch, Hothead
2 She-Hulk, Green Jeans
4 Thing, Strongman
2 Mr. Fantastic, Leader

Plot Twist:
4 Force Shield
4 Personal Nemesis
4 No Fear
2 One-Two Punch
2 Flying Kick

Location: 4
2 Reed’s Workshop
2 Baxter Building

Equipment:
4 Unstable Molecules

Doom

Characters:
4 Kristoff Von Doom, Ticking Time Bomb
4 Boris, Doom’s Caretaker
4 Ovoid Mentor, Alien Mentalist
4 Titania, Big Bad Bully
4 Volcana, Raging Inferno
4 Victor Von Doom II, Doomed Heir
4 Sub-Mariner, Atlantean Monarch
2 Dragon Man, Experimental Monster
4 Darkoth, Death Demon
2 Dr. Doom, Scientific Sorcerer

Plot Twist:
4 Cryonic Grenade
4 Personal Nemesis
4 No Fear
4 Micro-Size
2 Flying Kick
2 One-Two Punch

Location: 4
2 Doom’s Laboratory
2 Doomsdadt

I could list the breakdown of how to play the two decks, the tips and tricks associated with every play. Important initiative decisions and recruiting options but that would take the fun out of it. If you wish for more information on these decks, want to request tips and tricks or just have a generic discussion about the blog, please leave a comment below.

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The History of Vs System Part 2: Common Enemy

 Common%20Enemy

With the release of DC Origins in July of 2004, Gotham Knights, Arkham Inmates, League of Assassins, Teen Titans, Fearsome Five, and Deathstroke team affiliations were added to the metagame. Up to this point the only way to deal with Big Brotherhood which still controlled the tournament scene, landing first place at every major competition, was to try and steal Avalon Space Station and Lost City with Relocation.

IMG_0246-5

The problem with this is if Big Brotherhood also ran a play set of Relocations, which they did; Big Brotherhood would just steal the location back when the time came. Players had hoped DC Origins would bring solutions to Big Brotherhood’s dominance. The Community’s prayers were answered.

Have a Blast!

Common Enemy, although not as good as Big Brotherhood prior to the release of DC Origins, was the most consistent Tier 2 deck in the metagame but fell short to Big Brotherhood due to lack of answers to Big Brotherhood’s powerful locations. With Have a Blast and a way to search for it, putting it into the player’s hand, Common Enemy quickly became Tier 1, flooding the tournament scene.

Common Enemy

Characters
4 Boris Personal Servant of Dr. Doom
4 She-Thing, Sharon Ventura
1 Luke Cage, Hero for Hire
4 She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
1 Darkoth, Major Desmund Pitt
4 Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius
1 Wolverine, New Fantastic Four
2 Thing, Heavy Hitter
1 Ghost Rider, New Fantastic Four
1 Robot Destroyer, Army
1 Hulk, New Fantastic Four
1 Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom
1 Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing
1 Sub-Mariner, Ally of Doom
1 Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria

Plot Twists
4 Signal Flare
1 Faces of Doom
4 Common Enemy
4 It’s Clobberin’ Time!
3 Savage Beatdown
4 Mystical Paralysis
3 Reign of Terror
3 Have A Blast!
2 Overload

Locations
4 Doomstadt

DoomstadtBoris, Personal Servant of Dr_ DoomHave a Blast!Dr_ Doom, Diabolic GeniusMystical Paralysis

What you see above is the package used to specifically combat Big Brotherhood. As you can see, Boris, Personal Servant of Doom, fetches out Have a Blast. Playing it from your resource row allows Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius to flip the plot twist face down, allowing for another activation. The ability to permanently get rid of Lost City or Avalon Space Station is exactly what was missing to make Tier 2 decks in the metagame Tier 1. Lets take a look at how the deck works.

Turn 1: Your decision to mulligan should be based on two factors: Do you have Boris, Personal Servant of Doom, and Doomstadt? Or do you have any two combination out of Boris, Personal Servant of Doom, She-Thing, Sharon Ventura, or Common Enemy. With this being said, Boris, Personal Servant of Doom is your only turn one play. If you have it, set down your Doomstadt as your resource that turn in preparation for turn two’s combat step. Remember, Boris’ ability lets you put him on the bottom of your deck to search for a Plot Twist and put it into your hand but only if your control Dr. Doom. This is why Doomstadt is so important.

Turn 2: She-Thing and Luke cage, Hero for Hire are your turn two plays. She-Thing has amazing stats for her cost and has an ability that KO’s equipments attached to the character she attacks. This was important for the Tier 2 Fantastic Four equipments decks floating around. If you feel both Boris and She-Thing will be stunned this turn and you have Doomstadt online, use Boris’s ability before combat.

Turn 3: She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters is a 4/4 that gets +2/+2 while untapped. As a defender, She-Hulk acts as a time walk, almost skipping combat entirely on turn three (as long as your opponent doesn’t have a 6/6 or a combat boost. Darkoth, Major Desmund Pitt is an alternative drop but should not be used unless you have no other options.

Turn 4: This is the turn that is going to do the most disruption in preparation for turn five. By this turn you should have Common Enemy online and Dr. Doom, Diabolical Genius in hand. If you don’t, use Signal Flare or Faces or Doom to search for him. Before recruiting him, activate Have a Blast from your resource row destroying your opponent’s location or team-up, allowing Dr. Doom’s ability to flip Have a Blast back face down, ready for another activation. Ideally, you should already have a copy of Reign of Terror in your hand. This plot twist allows your to return any combination of characters with a combined cost of three to the player’s hand. will want to activate Boris to search for a second copy of Reign of Terror and activate them both, clearing your opponent’s first, second, and Third drop characters. This leaves your opponent with one character and if all went well, you with three. Doomstadt active will increase Dr. Doom’s defense above any average four drop character, making it easy to deal plenty of damage that turn.

Turn 5: Depending on how the match is going so far you have three plays to make. If you need to control the board this turn you can activate a Mystical Paralysis prior to your recruit step and exhaust your Dr. Doom to exhaust your opponent’s fourth drop character then recruit a second copy of Dr. Doom, Diabolical Genius, killing your first Dr. Doom and flipping Mystical Paralysis face down. Then, activate Mystical Paralysis again when your opponent recruits their five drop character. Recruit Boris with your remaining resource point. A second board controlling option is to recuit Robot Destroyer, Army and use his ability to stun your opponent’s four drop character and use Mystical Paralysis on your opponents 5 drop character. Otherwise, Thing, Heavy Hitter is the character you will want to use. He is an 11/11 with no drawbacks, 1/1 away from being the stats of a turn six character.

Turn 6: This is the turn you will want to do the most damage. Hulk, New Fantastic Four is the character you need to recruit. you have the option of either recruiting him or Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom. If all goes well, Dr. Doom, Diabolical Genius should still be on the board resulting in him getting KO’ed if you play his counterpart instead of the Hulk. During the combat phase is when you need to unload all of your Plot Twists. This deck can stretch to turn eight if needed but if you can win the game on turn 6, do it.

Turn 7: Sub Mariner, Ally of Doom readies himself when he attacts a support row character. When you have the initiative, use him to attack each support row character so your lower drops can smash the front row. If you have the initiative, attacking the entire support row with Sub-Mariner, Ally of Doom will eliminate your opponent’s ability to re-enforce and more than likely end the game. Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing returns each character with a cost of 3 or less your opponent controls to its owner’s hand. This is the option you want to take if your still dealing with the rush deck by turn 7.

Turn 8: If the game hasent been won yet, Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria will turn a Plot Twist in your support row face down for each non-stunned character you control. Also, when he attacts you can return a Plot Twist from your graveyard to your hand. The idea is to use your Savage Beatdowns and It’s Clobberin Time!’s in your resource row so that on turn eight, they flip face down again for a second activation.

some things to keep in mind:

When facing a basic curve deck with no out of the ordinary shenanigans, the curve you want is as follows:
1. Boris, Personal Servant of Doom
2. She-Thing, Sharon Ventura
3. She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
4. Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius
5. Thing, Heavy Hitter
6. Hulk, New Fantastic Four
7. Sub-Mariner, Ally of Doom
8. Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria

When facing a low curve deck where your opponent’s majority character costs are four or less, there is no reason to stay on course curving out to Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria. Instead you will want something like this:

1. Boris, Personal Servant of Doom
2. She-Thing, Sharon Ventura
3. She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters (left untapped because you want to survive to turn four)
4. Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius, bounce your opponents board with a Reign of Terror and activate Boris, Personal Servant of Doom to search for another Reign of Terror one if needed, Otherwise select Have a Blast! to Destroy your opponent’s Team-Up Resource. Dr. Doom’s ability will flip either an already activated Have a Blast!, Signal Flare, Common Enemy, or It’s Clobberin Time!.
5. Flip Mystical Paralysis exhausting your Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius, replay another Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius flipping the Mystical Paralysis for a second activation and Play Boris, Person Servant of Doom with the remaining Resource point. Activate him to search for another Reign of Terror and use it, stalling for your turn six.
6. Underdrop your Robot Destroyer, Army and play a Boris, Personal Servant of Doom to further crush their strategy.
7. By this time the game should be so far in your favor that you won’t need your Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing but if you do, he’s there and only a Signal Flare away.
8. To add insult to injury, Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria will return your Reign of Terror to your hand and flip savage beatdown or Its Clobbering Time. If the game isn’t already won.

Don’t Activate Boris right away unless you predict your going to need a Common Enemy over the reign of Terror or Have a Blast. You will need his Search ability to deal with problems later on down the road. Remember the Reign of Terror only activates from your hand so if you have this amazing plan to use it from the resource row and flip it back face down with Dr. Dooms ability on the stack, don’t. The additional Characters in the deck are situational and should be tested depending on the situation you find yourself in. There are too many situations to list. Also, these situations further vary depending on who has the initiative. Play test different deck types and find out what works for you.