Dark Phoenix VS Luke Cage

By: Eric Buckendorf

This is it! Our last match up before the finals. With our number one seed Dark Phoenix facing off against our number four seed Luke Cage. The winner of this match will be facing Sister Grimm in the finals.

Game 1 Turn 1: I was on the play with Dark Phoenix and chose to Mulligan as did Kirk. I laid a Madripoor and discarded another copy of Madripoor to activate What Was, What is, What Will be… on the first turn in case Kirk found his Cosmo. The first card went into my resource row face down and the other was a third copy of Madripoor.

(Note that Cosmo is still be played under his original wording, as this Bracket was set before the change, and decklists locked in)

Kirk laid a Sanctum Sanctorum and paid a resource point for Luke’s XP. He powered up and attacked Dark Phoenix with Luke Cage and got the one sided stun and she gained her first wound.

Turn 2: I laid a Fortress and Recruited Singularity. I had her hide behind Dark Phoenix because I figured the chances of Kirk having the one copy of Iron Fist were pretty slim. If he did have it, he would level up a turn later and I felt that was worth the gamble. Seems kind of like a loose play looking back, with Luke already having a +1+1 counter and Kirk’s hand being ahead by two cards.

Kirk laid his second copy of Sanctum Sanctorum and gained two more XP with his resource points. Then he had Luke attack Dark Phoenix once again. Dark Phoenix was stunned and gained her second wound ending Kirk’s turn.

Turn 3: I laid a card face down as my resource and recruited Pixie. I didn’t have any other options yet so was just doing what the deck would let me. Kirk would have Power Man and… on line this coming turn and the Dramatic Entrance I drew would be a big help in keeping my combo together.

Kirk laid an Academy and paid two of his resource points to gain two more XP and level up his Luke Cage. He then turned the Academy face down to activate Power Man and… and brought Iron Fist into play from his hand. Luke attacked Dark Phoenix and that was my queue to play Dramatic Entrance with Iron Man. When he appeared I used Inventive to turn a Madripoor face up.

Kirk followed up by having Iron Fist attack Dark Phoenix. He turned a Sanctum Santorum face down to activate Iron Fist Punch. Dark Phoenix was stunned and she gained her third wound. I had a Shock to the System but that was going to be saved for later with it being so good vs Iron Fist.

Turn 4: I laid a card face down and recruited Loki who went to the front row with Pixie. I turned both of my Madripoor face down to activate What Was, What Is, What Will Be and put two cards face down as resources. I didn’t see any attacks I wanted to make and I really wanted to draw some cards off of Loki next turn if I could draw into something. So I just ended my turn sending Pixie and Loki to the Pocket Dimension.

Kirk also laid a card face down and recruited Moon Knight who went to the front row with Luke and Iron Fist. First Kirk had Luke Cage attack Dark Phoenix and he got the stun adding a fourth wound to my main character. Then he had Iron Fist attack Singularity and he activate Iron Fist Punch turning down his remaining Sanctum Sanctorum before he passed. I played Shock to the System, Kirk responded by powering up Iron Fist twice by discarding two copies of Call. I then played my second copy of Shock to the System and the attack was nullified.

Moon Knight was next, he attacked Singularity and Kirk discarded a copy of Ghost Rider which is allowed because of Moon Knight’s Multiple Personalities. Singularity was knocked out and Pixie appeared in the front row while Loki went to the back.

Turn 5: Time for our mistaken board state of the round. Kirk took control of Loki even though she was only tied with Luke Cage with an attack of 7. I then laid an Academy so I could recruit my copy of Dormammu. He went to the front row with Pixie and Dark Phoenix stayed in the back. I had Dormammu attack Loki but Kirk had his own copy of Loki to power up with which also triggered Power Hungry for him. Dormammu was stunned and wounded leaving Loki face up. The mistake looks like it’s going to cost me this game but come on, it’s Dark Phoenix. If any deck can bounce back it’s this one.

Kirk laid a Training Ground and Recruited Punisher who went to the back row. He discarded another copy of Punisher to power up and drew three cards from Power Hungry. Kirk had his 4/6 Iron Fist attack Pixie and got the knockout. Then Luke Cage attacked Dark Phoenix for the stun and she gained her fifth wound.

I didn’t draw a location and only had the option to play Thanos or Loki. I played Thanos but looking at Kirk’s hand and him having zero wounds I decided this game was a bust and scooped up my cards to have a better game two.

 

Game 2, Turn 1: I chose to be on the play and kept my opening hand as did Kirk. I knew that meant Kirk had Cosmo but those are the breaks and my hand felt like the nuts. I laid a Madripoor went to my main phase with Dark Phoenix in the back row. That’s when I realized that I didn’t attack on my first turn last game. It’s basically free because Dark Phoenix has range and Luke doesn’t. I made the attack this time around and got the stun adding the first wound to Luke Cage. I had a copy of Dramatic Entrance along with Thanos in hand, which would allow me to set Kirk up for an attack on Cosmo during my second turn. So instead of discarding my second copy of Madripoor now in order to activate Dark Phoenix’ ramp ability, I just sat back like I didn’t have it and passed.

Kirk laid a Training Ground and recruited Cosmo targeting Dark Phoenix with Nullify. With Luke in front as the protector Kirk powered up discarding a copy of Luke Cage that he more than likely just drew. I played Dramatic Entrance putting Thanos into play as the new defender for Luke’s attack.

Luke was stunned and that was the end of Kirk’s turn.

Turn 2: I laid my second Madripoor and Dark Phoenix went to the front row to make the melee attack on Cosmo. His ability was still keeping me from using my super powers since this format is pre-legacy. I made the attack on Cosmo and wouldn’t you know it, Kirk had the power up in hand. I was holding a power up of my own back and it was for the best here. I powered up discarding a copy of Phoenix and got the knockout on Cosmo. After that I turned both of my Madripoor face down to activate What Was, What Is, What, Will be. There was an Academy and a Laboratory on top of my deck and both entered my resource row face up. This game was shaping up a whole lot better and with that thought I ended my turn.

Kirk laid a second copy of Training Ground and paid for two XP. He had Luke attack Dark Phoenix but I played a copy of Shock to the System to stun Luke once again on Kirk’s turn while leaving my main character unharmed.

Turn 3: I laid a Fortress and recruited Singularity to the back row. I now had a copy of You Won’t Like Her When She’s Angry (YWLHWSA) along with another power up for Dark Phoenix so I was thinking I could just keep the pedal to the metal and make Kirk have all the answers or just get buried in wounds. I ended my turn with these three cards and I chose to not send Dark Phoenix to the Pocket Dimension.

Kirk laid a card face down and paid for three XP to level Luke Cage up. Luke didn’t have his little buddy this game and went solo into Dark Phoenix. I discarded Phoenix to power up and played YWLHWSA to give my main character three total +1+1 counters. Kirk didn’t draw a power up and Luke Cage was stunned gaining his fourth wound.

Turn 4: I laid Ghost Rider face down and recruited Loki who went to the front row with Dark Phoenix. I didn’t like putting Ghost Rider face down here, but my two draws basically dictated my turn for me. Along with drawing Loki who is the deck’s best six drop I drew another copy of Singularity as well. I discarded my only card in Singularity to power up the copy I had in play and drew three cards from Power Hungry.

Wow, two more defensive plot twists and Pixie to boot! This game couldn’t have felt more one sided.

Kirk laid another card face down and recruited Moon Knight who went to the front row. Luke went to the back row with his four wounds. Kirk had Moon Knight attack my Dark Phoenix who was sporting four +1+1 counters making her a 7/7. Kirk discarded Loki, Miss America and Ghost Rider via Multiple Personalities to power up Moon Knight three times which made him an 8/8. I played a Shock to the System and Kirk responded with two more power ups discarding Iron Fist and Punisher to make his Moon Knight a 7/10. I used my second copy of Shock to the System to nullify his attack and end his turn with no hand.

Turn 5: Loki returned from the Pocket Dimension and she went to Kirk’s back row because of her Questionable Loyalty. At this point I didn’t really need to play out my hand because Dark Phoenix was just bigger than Luke Cage and she has flight and range. Kirk would need to have drawn at least a couple defensive plot twists like Super Senses and Shock to the System to stay alive and even then he’d just be delaying the inevitable.

We did play it out any way though. I laid another card face down and recruited Ghost Rider. He targeted Moon Knight with his Penance Stare for three -1-1 counters making him a 7/7. I did this just in case Kirk did draw the plot twist. This way Loki would return to my side of the table as long as I didn’t attack Moon Knight allowing Kirk to power him up on my turn. Ghost Rider went to the front row with Dark Phoenix and Singularity stayed in the back. I had Dark Phoenix attack Luke Cage and that’s when Kirk revealed his hand of Loki and Miss America. I got the stun and added Luke’s final wound winning game two for Dark Phoenix.

 

Game 3, Turn 1: Kirk was on the play and he used his Mulligan. Here is what he ended up with.

I kept my hand because I didn’t have the Intellect to throw away both of my power up copies of Phoenix. Cause they are real good in this match up. That and I had two copies of Singularity to make two pairs of great cards for this match up.

Kirk laid an Academy and recruited Cosmo who targeted Dark Phoenix with Nullify. He went to the back row behind Luke. Kirk then had Luke attack Dark Phoenix and he powered up discarding Call.

I discarded Phoenix to power up and Kirk responded with another power up discarding another Call. I matched his power up and both main character’s were stunned and wounded.

I laid a Fortress and went to my main phase with Dark Phoenix in the front row. I had her attack Cosmo and Kirk played Shock to the System targeting Dark Phoenix. Well that wasn’t nice, looks like this match up wasn’t going to be a cake walk for Dark Phoenix.

Turn 2: Kirk laid a Sanctum Sanctorum and paid for two XP. He then ended his turn not wanting to make any attacks. looks like he wanted to keep Cosmo around.

I laid a second Fortress and recruited Pixie who went to the back row behind Dark Phoenix. I was hoping my Shock to the System would be good against Iron Fist. Kirk already used two copies of Call so I felt good about my chances of keeping Singularity in play and I ended my turn there.

Turn 3: Kirk laid a Fortress and paid for three more XP which would level Luke Cage up. He then turned his Academy face down to activate Power Man And… to put Iron Fist into play from his hand. That was a small favor because he didn’t gain a card with this amazing power and this game felt like it was going to be close already. With Iron Fist in the front row Kirk had Luke attack Dark Phoenix and got the stun adding a second wound to my main character. Next Kirk had Iron Fist attack Pixie, he turned his Sanctum face down to activate Iron Fist Punch and passed. I played Shock to the System and the attack was nullified ending Kirk’s turn.

I laid an Arcadia and recruited Singularity who went to the front row with Pixie and Dark Phoenix. I flipped my Arcadia face down to activate Hallucinogenic Dust and Thanos appeared in my front row. He attacked Luke Cage and got the stun but Kirk turned his Fortress face down to activate Impervious Skin to prevent the second wound. Then I had Pixie and Singularity team attack Cosmo and got the knockout. Before sending all but Singularity to the Pocket Dimension, I turned one of my Fortress face down to activate Welcome Death and added a second wound to Luke.

Turn 4: Kirk laid an Academy and recruited She-Hulk who went to the back row. He then had Iron Fist and Luke make a team attack on Singularity and got the knockout. Thanos returned to the front row protecting Pixie and Dark Phoenix and that was the end of Kirk’s turn.

I laid another Arcadia and recruited Singularity who went to the back row with Dark Phoenix. Pixie was placed up front for no particular reason and I entered my main phase. I flipped the Arcadia face down to activate Hallucinogenic Dust, Ghost Rider appeared and targeted Iron Fist with his Penance Stare for three -1-1 counters. I had Dark Phoenix attack Iron Fist and got the ranged knockout. Next Thanos would attack Luke Cage, get the stun and Luke gained his third wound. Ghost Rider made his attack on She-Hulk and got the stun adding her first wound. Then I flipped my Fortress face down to activate Welcome Death and added a fourth wound to Luke Cage along with knocking She-Hulk out. Well that escalated quickly! This deck was firing off all twelve cylinders beautifully.

With two more copies of Ghost Rider, one copy of Thanos and a copy of YWLHWSA left in hand. I felt like I was sitting pretty. I sent Pixie and Ghost Rider to the Pocket Dimension ending my turn.

Turn 5: Kirk laid a card face down and recruited Miss America who went to the front row. Luke went to the back row behind Iron Fist as well. Miss America made her attack on Singularity and Played YWLHWSA to put two +1+1 counters on my defending character making her a 4/8.

Miss America was stunned and Kirk used Tough to have her recover. With no more good attacks left Kirk ended his turn.

I drew a Laboratory and laid it as my resource but I had no one to recruit. I used the same formation as last time and went to my main phase. I flipped my Laboratory face down and activated Hallucinogenic Dust to find Loki who went to the front row. I powered up my Thanos discarding the copy of him I had in hand and drew three cards via Power Hungry.

I drew a Madripoor and an Academy and discarded them to activate What Was, What Is, What Will Be. Two cards entered my resource row face down and I went for my first attack. Thanos attacked Miss America and got the stun and second wound. Kirk recovered her with Tough so I had Ghost Rider attack Miss America next and got the knockout. Dark Phoenix made an attack on Iron Fist and also got the knockout. Then my final attack was to have Loki attack Luke Cage.

Kirk didn’t draw any more plot twists again and flipped Luke Cage face down from the final stun.

This was another great few games to play out. I really enjoyed this match up even though I had a few hiccups in learning how to beat Luke game one. This is Ashley Knox’ build and he told us it was going to be a huge advantage for his Dark Phoenix build. It may taken me a game to figure out but it turns out he was right.

Number 1 seed Dark Phoenix will be taking on number 15 seed Sister Grimm in our championship round of the Salt 16. Until then have a great day and Excelsior!