The first set brought to the Vs Community was Marvel Origins. It was released in April of 2004 and contained X-Men, Brotherhood, Doom, Fantastic Four, Sentinels, Skrull, and Negative Zone. The set contained 220 cards and plenty of diversity. As you may know, decks change with the popularity and success of other decks. This is the core concept of a metagame. With only seven teams and only 220 cards to choose from, it was very frustrating to make a team work when there weren’t as much support for that team as there would be for another. Out of the seven teams, one emerged victorious and clearly superior in the tournament scene. The team was Brotherhood and the deck was Big Brotherhood.
4 Toad, Mortimer Toynbee
4 Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff
4 Quicksilver, Speed Demon
4 Mystique, Raven Darkholme
4 Mystique, Shape-Changing Assassin
4 Sabretooth, Feral Rage
2 Sabretooth, Victor Creed
4 Blob, Fred Dukes
4 Magneto, Eric Lehnsherr
4 Magneto, Master of Magnetism
4 Acrobatic Dodge
2 Burn Rubber
4 Lost City
4 Avalon Space Station
Other decks in Vs at the time were tier 2 at best in performance. There was no synergy with other decks that compared to the synergy big brotherhood gave. Big Brotherhood stampeded the metagame. In 2004, when you played the deck it felt like you were cheating as long as you did not play the mirror matchup. Why is this you ask? Two cards, Avalon Space Station, and Lost City.
Lost City: If a Brotherhood character you control would become powered-up, that character gets +3 ATK and +3 DEF for this attack instead.
Avalon Space Station: Activate, discard a card from your hand -> Return target character card from your KO’d pile to your hand. Activate, discard a Brotherhood character card from your hand -> Return two target character cards from your KO’d pile to your hand.
Powering up is a feature in Vs that allows you to discard a character card that has the same name as a character card in play to give it +1/+1 until the end of combat. Lost City changes that to +3/+3. Avalon Space Station allows you to discard any Brotherhood character card to return two Brotherhood character cards from the graveyard to your hand. Thus, allowing you to utilize lost city up to two additional times for a total of +9/+9 to one character. There is another rule regarding locations. Unless specified on the card, all locations are unique. This means only one location with the same name can be face-up on the field at one time. Should you flip a second location that is unique face-up, the first location is sent to the graveyard. Because of this, Lost City does not stack; however, you will get an additional use out of Avalon Space Station. Let’s take a look at how the deck plays out.
Turn 1: There are no characters in this deck with a cost of 1
Turn 2: Toad, Mortimer Toynbee is your 2 drop. His ability allows you to return him to your hand when he is stunned. Toad then becomes food for Avalon Space Station, gaining pure value. Make sure you don’t return him to your hand until you’re in a situation where one of your characters will die during the recovery phase if you don’t. This allows you to maximize Toad’s value and damage. You don’t have a higher drop whose name is Toad so don’t wait around for one.
Turn 3: 4 Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff and Mystique, Raven Darkholme are your three drops. Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff has a burn ability that’s good when you’re on the defense. Be careful of Mystique, Raven Darkholme’s ability. Don’t abuse her with lost city for a damage overload as her ability will dramatically lower it. Use her strategically. Both Quicksilver and Mystique have higher cost character versions so be on the lookout for them. During combat this turn is when you will want to return Toad back to your hand and use Avalon Space Station to replenish your hand. Don’t make the mistake of dumping your hand at this point in the game. You will slowly bleed yourself out of your power-ups by turn 6.
Turn 4: 4 Sabretooth, Feral Rage and Blob, Fred Dukes are your 4 drops. Sabretooth is going to be the character that does the most damage. Although he requires you to discard a Brotherhood character card to play him, he is an 11/7 with a six cost version of him for added lost city abuse. Sabretooth is the character you will want to see on turn four. Blob should be the Character you discard to Avalon Space Station at the end of every turn. If you run into a situation where you have to use Blob on turn four that’s ok, just prepare your hand to abuse lost city on turn six when you play your higher cost Sabretooth.
Turn 5: This turn requires a lot more strategy. The problem is that all characters in Vs are unique. Just like locations, if a character with the same identity comes into play under your control, you choose which version of the character you keep and sacrifice the other. As you can imagine, if we play Quicksilver, Speed Demon on this turn, and we have kept our 3 drop Quicksilver, we are one less character. The same goes for Magneto, Eric Lehnsherr. We need to be thinking ahead in preparation for our turn seven. It’s very easy to lose track of the long term plan and bleed ourselves out of character and card advantage.
Turn 6: We have our 6 drop Mystique, Shape-Changing Assassin and Sabretooth, Victor Creed. Our lower drops will fuel lost city. You should expect the game to either end on this turn or turn 7.
Turn 7. Magneto, Master of Magnetism is your only seven drops. On this turn you will want to utilize every one of your Avalon Space Stations. Activate your existing one and flip your duplicate. This will kill your previous Avalon Space Station and allow you to get activations out of the one you just flipped. Repeat the process for each Avalon Space Station you own in your reasorce row in conjunction with your Lost City triggers.
You may be wondering why the plot twist package is the way it is in this decklist. It’s because Big Brother’s only bad matchup is Big Brother. All other decks at the time were such a good matchup that all you needed was Lost City and Avalon Space Station. This left 14 slots specifically for the Mirror Matchup. Relocations deal with your opponent’s Lost City or Avalon Space Station. Overload will stun a character that has been beefed too high with Lost City. Acrobatic Dodge negates a Lost City trigger, and Burn Rubber will deal with any reinforced character late game when it’s time to go all out.
Get Familiar with your character’s abilities. Don’t get so wrapped up with Lost City and Avalon Space Station that you forget what your characters on the board actually do.
Use Lost City Sparingly. Remember, Avalon Space Station returns two characters for an exchange of a Brotherhood character. If you power up a character twice, activate Avalon Space Station, and power up twice again in that same turn, you will have discarded three cards. Again, don’t bleed yourself.
Toad and Blob do not have as high of a power-up probability as other characters that have multiple versions of them in the deck. Refrain from Playing Blob and use Toads ability as soon as he is stunned on turn three. This lets you discard them to Avalon Space Station instead of discarding the characters you need for powering up.
Big Brotherhood wiped the first 10K tournament landing the first place slot. Even to this day, if a player isn’t familiar with how to deal with it, they will lose by turn six. For more information on updates to my blog or Vs System news, click the link below and like the facebook page.