By: Eric Buckendorf
It’s the final match up of the quarter final round of the Salt 16 or as we like to call it, The Crazy 8. Kirk rolled into playing number eight seed Professor X, leaving me with first seed Dark Phoenix.
After you read, you can check out the bracket here (don’t click it now, you may spoil the ending!).
Turn 1: Kirk won the die roll and chose to play first. Kirk’s resource was a School for Gifted Youngsters. He then activated Cerebro choosing to put Singularity into his hand. He had no recruits to make and didn’t want to attack so he could gain an experience.
I laid an Academy as my first resource and skipped recruiting anyone to go to my main phase. I definitely didn’t need to but activated What Was, What Is, What Will Be. I was thinking Cosmo was in his deck but checked the deck lists after a turn to get my bearings straight for the rest of this game. I had a card enter face down along with an Academy so it wasn’t so bad.
Turn 2: Kirk played another School and recruited Wasp who targeted Dark Phoenix with Sting. His next recruit was Iceman who targeted Dark Phoenix with Freeze. Next he activated Cerebro, he had to make a tough choice here. He had already sent a Loki to the bottom of his deck and now he was staring at two more copies along with the card he was hoping to find in Hope Summers.
Kirk decided to go with Loki and ended his turn after gaining his second experience.
On my second turn: I played Arcadia and then ended my turn.
Turn 3: Kirk laid an Academy and recruited Singularity to his back row. Wasp was up front and during Kirk’s end step he sent Professor X and Iceman to the Pocket Dimension.
I added a Madripoor to my resources and went to my main phase not having any characters I wanted to recruit just yet. I activated What Was, What Is, What Will Be and put two cards from the top my deck into my resource row. One was face down card the other was a Madripoor. I had nothing else to do so I ended my turn.
Turn 4: Kirk had his characters return from the Pocket Dimension. Iceman froze Dark Phoenix and went to the back row with Professor X and Singularity. After adding a Sanctum Sanctorum to his resources Kirk recruited Nighthawk to his front row. He didn’t make any attacks to make sure he would level up this turn and had everyone but Nighthawk go to the Pocket Dimension ending his turn.
I felt like Kirk leaving Nighthawk in play was a mistake. I added a Fortress to my resources and recruited Thanos to my front row. I had him attack Nighthawk and got the knockout. After that I ended my turn.
Turn 5: First Professor X, Wasp and Iceman returned from the Pocket Dimension and Kirk targeted Dark Phoenix with Freeze. We missed the Sting trigger from Wasp this turn. Then Kirk played a Laboratory and recruited a second copy of Iceman who targeted Thanos with Freeze and went to the back row. Kirk had Wasp take the point protecting Singularity. He then had Professor X and Iceman go to the Pocket Dimension ending his turn.
I laid my second copy of Arcadia and recruited Loki to my back row. I went to my main phase and powered up Dark Phoenix by discarding a copy of Phoenix from my hand to draw three and remove a -1-1 counter. After that I ended my turn with two of my characters in need of some thermal underwear.
Turn 6: Kirk had Iceman Freeze Thanos when he appeared from the Pocket Dimension and went to his build phase. He laid a Laboratory and activated Cerebro and chose to take Iron Man.
I am pretty sure Kirk forgot to flip his Laboratory face down. But let’s just wait and see what happens from here. Kirk then chose to recruit Hope Summers and had her Freeze my Dark Phoenix. This combination of appears powers and Singularity was about to get into it’s full swing. Kirk then activated Mental Domination flipping his Academy face down to do so. Taking Thanos out of my front row exposing my Loki and Dark Phoenix to his attackers. He had Thanos go after Loki but I had a Dramatic Entrance to bring Iron Man from my hand, into play as the new defender. I also used Inventive to turn a Madripoor face up.
Iron Man was knocked out and Thanos was spared any wounds. Kirk had no more decent attacks and sent everyone but Wasp to the Pocket Dimension ending his turn.
For my sixth turn I laid a Laboratory into my resource row and recruited Pixie and Singularity. They went to the front row with everyone but Dark Phoenix who was still trying to thaw out. During my main phase I activated Hallucinogenic Dust and found a copy of Ghost Rider. He appeared in my front row and gave two -1-1 counters to Wasp with his Penance Stare for a knockout.
Then I actvated What Was, What Is, What Will Be to gain two more resources from the top of my deck one was a Madripoor the other was a Laboratory. The rich got richer. I then had Ghost Rider attack Singularity and got the knockout. Iceman froze Loki and Hope Summers froze Singularity upon their return from the Pocket Dimension. I had one attack left and had Pixie attack Iceman to hopefully shut down the Freeze engine. I got the knockout on Iceman and ended my turn sending everyone to the Pocket Dimension which would cancel out the current Freeze effects for my next turn.
Turn 7: Kirk Laid a School as a resource and activated Cerebro. He chose Valkyrie and recruited her to his front row followed by a third copy of Iceman who froze Singularity. Iceman went to the back row with Hope Summers and Professor X. Kirk then had Hope, Iceman and the Professor make a ranged, team attack on my Singularity. I had a copy of You Won’t Like Her When She’s Angry to put two +1+1 counters on my Singularity. This blanked Kirk’s attack and he had to end his turn without making any more attacks.
On my seventh turn Ghost Rider would come back from the Pocket Dimension to give his Penance Stare to Professor X for three -1-1 counters. I then laid a Laboratory which triggered the level up for Dark Phoenix. I recruited Dromammu to the front row and entered my first main phase. I activated Hallucinogenic Dust to bring a copy of Iron Man into play. He would turn a Madirpoor face up with Inventive which would conveniently allow me to activate Ravager of Worlds to destroy all of Kirk’s face down resources.
After that I had Thanos attack Valkyrie and got the stun. Then I had Ghost Rider attack Professor X and got another stun. Next Loki attacked Hope summers for the knockout and Iron Man made a ranged attack on Iceman also getting the knockout.
This turn was so nuts and I had a decision to make still. Do I activate Welcome Death to add a second wound to both of Kirk’s stunned characters also knocking Valkyrie out of the game? Or do I save the Fortress for my next turn, when I imagined being able to just attack Valkyrie one more time for her second wound. Then I could use Necromancy to bring her back into play opening the door to my discard pile. I felt the latter play was a little greedy and would extend the game further than it needed to be. I turned my Fortress faced down to activate Welcome Death and ended my turn after.
Turn 8: Kirk laid a School for Gifted Youngsters to his resources and activated Cerebro for the final time. He found Singularity but didn’t feel like dragging out the inevitable and scooped up to save some time and we went to game two.
Game 2, Turn 1: Kirk went on the play and mulliganed his first hand away while I kept my opener. He laid a Laboratory and activated Cerebro finding a copy of Hope Summers for his trouble. Then he recruited Iceman who would target Dark Phoenix with Freeze. After that Iceman when to the back row behind Professor X and Kirk ended his turn to gain an experience by not attacking.
I laid a Madripoor and ended my first turn.
Turn 2: Kirk laid a School and recruited Hope Summers who targeted Dark Phoenix with Freeze for another turn. With Professor X still on point he passed his turn.
On my second turn I laid an Academy and went to my main phase to activate What Was, What Is, What Will Be. Luckily I had two Laboratories on top and ended my turn there.
Turn 3: Kirk laid a Laboratory of his own into his resource row and activated Cerebro with it.
Valkyrie was added to Kirk’s hand and the rest were shuffled back into his deck. Next Kirk had Singularity enter the back row. Still waiting to level up, Kirk ended his turn sending Hope and Iceman to the Pocket Dimension.
Dark Phoenix finally thawed out and readied on my third turn. I laid a Fortress into my resource row and recruited both Pixie and Singularity to the front row. During my main phase I activated Hallucinogenic Dust and brought a copy of Thanos into play. Good ole Thanos, always wants to come into play as soon as possible.
For my first attack I powered up Dark Phoenix and sent her to attack Professor X. Kirk had You Won’t Like Her When She’s Angry to give the Professor two +1+1 counters. I mistakenly stunned my Dark Phoenix forgetting it was a ranged attack. I figure the old guy needed a handicap, ha ha. Just kidding of course. Next I had Thanos attack Professor X for a stun but was not able to get at his Singularity just yet. I ended my turn and sent the other face up characters to the Pocket Dimension.
Turn 4: Iceman and Hope Summers returned from the Pocket Dimension and froze Singularity and Dark Phoenix. Then Kirk added a Sanctum Sanctorum to his resource row and recruited Nighthawk on curve once again.
This time however, Kirk sent everyone except Professor X to the Pocket Dimension. Professor X leveled up and Kirk’s turn was over.
On my fourth turn I played a card face down as a resource. I added Loki to my front row characters and went to my main phase. Discarding a second copy of Thanos to power up my big guy, I got to draw three cards from triggering Power Hungry. Next I activated Hallucinogenic Dust and found a copy of Ghost Rider. He directed his Penance Stare at Professor X for one -1-1 counter and entered the front row. We forgot to track the Freeze ability on Dark Phoenix.
Thanos was first to attack Professor X and I got the stun. Next I had Ghost Rider attack Singularity and I got the knockout. Iceman and Hope would Freeze Loki and Dark Phoenix upon their return from the Pocket Dimension. My last attack was to have Pixie knock Iceman out of the game. I sent everyone to the Pocket Dimension ending my turn.
Turn 5: Kirk laid an Academy into his resource row and activated Mobilize the Team in order to have enough resources to recruit both Valkyrie and Singularity. Kirk then activated Cerebro to find another copy of Iceman for his next turn. Professor X went to the back row alone and Kirk entered his main phase. Kirk had Nighthawk and Valkyrie team attack Singularity and got the stun without consequence. Ghost Rider would appear and gave two -1-1 counters to Kirk’s Singularity with his Penance Stare. I had Thanos and Ghost Rider in the front row while Loki, Dark Phoenix and Pixie all hid in the back row. Kirk activated Mental Domination to take control of Thanos and had him attack my Ghost Rider. I had a power up and decided to use it to draw three more cards with Power Hungry on Kirk’s turn. That would allow me to do it again on my turn more than likely. Ghost Rider was then stunned and Kirk moved on to his next attack. He had his level two Professor X attack my lowly level one Dark Phoenix but I had a Dramatic Entrance along with a third copy of Thanos. Since Kirk had control of my first copy of Thanos my new copy would not cause a uniqueness violation. The attack was ranged so I could not get the stun back. I was saving the other characters I had in hand to recruit so didn’t really have any trouble with this decision.
Kirk didn’t have any more good attacks and ended his turn after sending everyone to the Pocket Dimension, that included my Mentally Dominated Thanos.
During my fifth turn I laid an Arcadia as my seventh resource. Then I recruited Dormammu and sent everyone but Pixie and Dark Phoenix to the front row. I activated Hallucinogenic Dust and found a copy of SIngularity to add to my front row. Next I powered up Dark Phoenix to draw three more cards from Power Hungry before I started my attacks. First, I had Loki attack Singularity and got the knockout. Thanos would return to my side of the table and Kirk would have Valkyrie enter the back row with Professor X while the rest of his squad entered the front. Next I had Dormammu attack Nighthawk but Kirk had the power up and Dormammu was stunned while Nighthawk stayed face up. I then had Thanos attack Nighthawk again but this time I got the knockout. Then I had my powered up Dark Phoenix attack Hope Summers and got the knockout. Now it was time to get Valkyrie off the table so I sent Ghost Rider into her for the stun. With no more good attacks I had to make a some what tough decision. I could activate Welcome Death to knock Valkyrie out while at the same time knocking my own Dormammu out. Or I could just let Kirk ready up with Valkyrie still in play. If he drew or had a source of intellect for Chooser of the Dead, he’d be able to recruit Singularity, Iceman x2 and Hope Summers to just Freeze my best attackers for turns to come. I think the clear choice is to just get Valkyrie off the table and let Dormammu get shuffled back into my deck because he is Immortal. I chose what I think is the safer play and activated Welcome Death sending Valkyrie to the discard pile while Dormammu was shuffled back into my deck.
I ended my turn sending everyone to the Pocket Dimension. With Singularity being brought into play via Hallucinogenic Dust she had to be knocked out. This would allow me to reform and give five -1-1 counters to the Professor, just for good measure.
Turn 6: Kirk added a School to his resources and recruited Wasp who gave a -1-1 counter to my Dark Phoenix with Sting. Iceman was next and he targeted Thanos with Freeze. Kirk activated Mental Domination to have my Dark Phoenix make a futile attack on my Thanos from Kirk’s front row for a stun and wound. After that Kirk ended his turn.
My sixth turn, I laid a Madripoor and recruited Singularity to the front row. Dark Phoenix was the only character in my back row and I went to the main phase. I powered Pixie up to draw three more cards from Power Hungry. Then I activated Hallucinogenic Dust by discarding a Laboratory. Dormammu must not have been done with this game because he made his glorious return and entered my front row. My first attack had Pixie going after Wasp to trip her Shrink effect. Next I had Singularity attack Wasp again and got the knockout. Ghost Rider would then attack an very enfeebled Professor X and got the stun. Loki was next and she attacked Iceman for another knockout. With all the card drawing I had done this game I was able to discard another copy of Fortress to activate Welcome Death once again. This would add another wound to Professor X bringin him to four total wounds. Loki isn’t exhausted in the photo but we sped things up quite a bit since the match was basically out of hand at this point. But you get the idea.
I sent everyone except Dark Phoenix to the Pocket Dimension ending my turn. Kirk drew his two cards and was ready to scoop if I could show him a copy of Dramatic Entrance. I had it along with a copy of You Won’t Like Her When She’s Angry to boot.
Dark Phoenix won in a very dominating fashion even with some wonky mistakes by both players. Professor X just doesn’t have what it takes to beat this deck consistently yet. You really just need to manage your copies of Singularity well. Using her to keep all your large characters from being targets of Freeze and or Mental Domination. The Fantastic Four have been named and we are ready to get down to the semi-finals of this Salt 16. Can’t wait to see you back for our next round!