Courting Death – Road to the UK $2.5k

By; Ashley Knox

At the end of the weekends 10K tournament we had a top 8 filled with five Thanos, one Ripley #8, one Sister Ripley and one The Dragon. It’s still unclear whether Aliens will be legal for the UK tournament but it’s looking like a no, these results still confirmed to me something that I was thinking. If you can activate the Infinity Gauntlet in a sanctioned match, you probably should.

ALN-011The Thanos decks didn’t look too dissimilar from the current controlling builds of that deck pre-aliens with the main inclusions being Kane as a sweet Singularity piece to be flickering every turn giving you a straight up card advantage engine instead of built in virtual card advantage that we’ve been used to so far.

Though the UK $2.5k tournament is 99% to not have Aliens legal due to availability in my country, this gives me the information that Thanos is probably the best thing to be doing as even though new decks should have emerged and old decks should have had plenty of new tools, Thanos decks with one new card crushed everything. Kane allows the controlling builds of Thanos to be able to gauntlet multiple times a game through a combination of Iron Man and Kane appear abilities which are happening every turn when you’re living the dream with Singularity.

I’ve been testing four different decks which are pretty level one but felt very powerful, they are – Control Thanos, Combo Thanos, Dark Pheonix, and Kirk’s Magneto.

I’ve tested with Combo Thanos the most – though admittedly with a few different people as not many want to sit there whilst you go off and gauntlet them early and often and it’s not fun when you sit there for the games you don’t feel like you get to do anything either. This deck I believe has a lot of raw power, it’s very linear but doesn’t feel as consistent as you’re not interacting very much and feel like a dog when playing against Magneto – those matches don’t even feel close.

Control Thanos; I’ve not played this as much as the other decks but I really liked Singularity in this deck flickering Iceman it was great at shutting down the one threat your opponent has that has them capable of taking down your singularity or stunning your MC. Having Cosmo in this deck makes you feel like much less of a dog in the Thanos mirror and gives you an edge against Dark Phoenix. Interestingly Wasp has been the MVP in the deck, I found in the mirror it really messes up the opponent’s Goblin Queen match and can force situations where they don’t get to level up on their turn then you ready and gauntlet them first. Aside from this, Wasp is great at just buying you a load of time against some of the beat down decks – the single -1/-1 counter isn’t completely back breaking nor is it irrelevant but I’ve found it to have some relevance in letting your MC get in there for some damage or killing off a Rocket against Ms. Marvel.

I would say that I’ve played the Dark Phoenix deck nearly as much as combo Thanos and the deck is ridiculous, it feels like some sort of Oath of Druids / Sneak Attack / Show and Tell deck from Magic: The Gathering. When everything is going right you feel unstoppable and the games are over on turn three when you used the double yellow ability on turn two and make and activate a Pixie and Singularity on turn 3 hitting something like Thanos which then crushes the opponents board. Cosmo is pretty tough to beat and against decks with Cosmo you may want to use the level one ability on turn one so you don’t fall too far behind and die before your fatty boom booms can save you. If you “combo” plan doesn’t work, you can always just try and ramp as the 7 wounds can really buy you a bunch off time.

The last deck I tried was Kirk’s Magneto, and though it absolutely crushes the above decks as it has the perfect pieces – hand and location disruption, early leveling, perfect information, multiple wound team attackers and a healthy amount of ranged it didn’t click with me – I found it quite difficult to play and perhaps the near perfect information and the synergy over power approach wasn’t exactly for me.

I do prefer the fact that Magneto and Control Thanos are super interactive with the opponent  as that is something I felt was lacking with Combo Thanos as your opponent will very likely be impacting the board in some way every single turn and you should be doing something to match it or to counter it.

Though Thanos is clearly the most busted MC we can currently play with there are some problems with playing it. The mirror match is something I don’t really have time to test as I’ve only got about two days a week and from what I’ve seen it looks fairly miserable – even if getting to choose to draw is one of my favorite things in a match up. The second issue is that there has been somewhat of a backlash from our community in light of the past few tournaments and Thanos’ dominance.
I can appreciate this as we are at the point with the game where we should be focusing on acquisition of new players and I can only imagine how put off a new player would be if they’ve turned up with their favorite character deck only to feel the Infinity Gauntlet on turn four as this was something that reportedly happened this weekend.

Selfishly I’ve usually taken the stance that if you’re playing casually – feel free to house rules but when you’re playing at a tournament for prizes you play the best deck – though this isn’t about me, this is about the game and it’s about the community. It sounds to me that UDE will be considering their options, whether to ban or errata each option with its own problems but I believe that something very likely will be done that will help us grow as a community.

Not wanting to end on a down note, if I didn’t play any of these decks I really want to play with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Think Again, maybe it’s time to call the friendly neighborhood spider about my goblin problem or maybe it’s just time to Hulk smash ?

Thanks for reading,

you can find me on @Thatresolves on twitter, or casually rioting in the Facebook VS2PCG Collective group..