01 May 2006

Vs. CARD OF THE WEEK: Bart Allen <> The Flash (DCR-173)

Take two friends who love comics. Add a superhero-themed collectible card game. Sprinkle a dash of competitiveness, and a lump of testosterone. The result? Weekly matches that turn friends into nemeses.

This is not your typical "card of the week" column. Every web site dedicated to CCGs has been there and done that. This column is all about our competition, though. Dan and I usually play two games of Vs. a week, and every Sunday, we'll feature the card that we think most influenced the outcome of the matches we played the preceding week, and the metagaming lessons we learned in the process.


Bart Allen <> The Flash (DCR-173)




It's been a while since Dan and I have been able to get a game in, so yesterday we went for the full monty, heading downtown to Neutral Ground for Day 2 of the Infinite Crisis preview. Dan's a veteran of these things, but it was my first time and, despite losing the two matches I played to kids whose brains were working much faster than mine (one even had a scientific calculator handy, pre-programmed to keep a simultaneous tally of both of our scores), I had a lot of fun. Snagged a cool Alex Ross/Captain Marvel playmat as a door prize, too, so it was worth the $25 tournament fee.

The whole event ran ridiculously late, finally kicking off after a 90-minute delay with each player being given 5 packs to open, sort, register and return, at which point they were redistributed amongst us and we proceeded to build our 30-card (minimum) decks and the tournament finally began. Oddly enough, I ended up getting Dan's set, heavy on JSA and Villains United which ended up being the setup I happily went with for my two matches, the first of which I narrowly lost before getting blown out in record time in the second match. Both teams have some great cards and interesting mechanics, most of which I didn't fully grasp until later that night as Dan and I traded to maximize our take from the event, with him focusing on Checkmate and Shadowpact, two of the more complicated but potentially kickass teams.

I selected our Card of the Week this week not for its gameplay value as neither Dan nor I came across it yesterday in-game, but for its seemingly spoilerific info revealing Bart Allen as the Flash. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's only been Impulse and Kid Flash previously, yes? Also curious are his team affiliations, Speed Force and Teen Titans. The former is new to the game, and would seem to suggest Infinite Crisis #7 or the new Flash series will include its return; the latter could either simply be UDE throwing a bone to one of DC's original killer decks, or it could mean Bart will be rejoining the newly configured, One Year Later Teen Titans.

Unlike the X-Men expansion and its botched Starter Deck that temporarily killed our interest in the game, the Infinite Crisis expansion looks amazing, adding some great new cards and mechanics to the mix and perfectly tying in to the current DCU. It almost made me want to read a couple of the lead-in IC mini-series that I skipped, and it definitely piqued my interest in the new Checkmate and Shadowpact series that I was originally planning to pass on. The JSA cards also made me wonder if we're going to be seeing the return of Earth-2 this Wednesday, and whether or not a reinvigorated JSA ongoing might be in the works.

Kudos to UDE and DC on a job well done! The official release is today and Dan and I are finally going to go half on that box we've been considering since late last year. Here's some more cards from the new set that Dan highlighted. Note the "Vengeance" mechanic that's been added, mostly to Villains United cards, a nice little bonus that'll make opponents have to think twice about who to target.

Superman Mr. Freeze

Deathstroke The Phantom Stranger

3 comments:

MichaelChauvet said...

This feature makes me want to get back into card gmaes. I used to play MTG back in the day before it became more work than fun. One question, do you constantly have to buy into new decks to keep competitive, or can you keep up with one really well ocnstructed deck?

Dan Diaz said...

If you're playing among friends one well constructed deck will last for a long time. If you want to get into competitive Vs matches, a well constucted deck will last a long time as well. The difference is it'll cost plenty of cash, buying packs and individual cards to stay on top. Some of the most successful competitive decks come from the first 2 Vs. Sets, Mavel Origins, and DC Origins.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

I think anyone getting into Vs. now wouldn't have to go too crazy to keep up. Not for the next year, I'd say.

I caught the tail end of the "golden age" with my original Gotham Knights/Arkham Asylum deck and had to upgrade once Dan pulled out his Avengers deck. All the new mechanics, the Bat-family just couldn't compete, and I think his deck is almost all commons, which was particularly galling!

IMO, anything from the JLA expansion forward should keep you in the mix for a while, though, especially amongst friends with similar buying habits.