By: Eric Buckendorf
I played Venom, while Kirk got to play the tournament favorite in Dark Phoenix. I was on the draw and kept my opener as did Kirk. On the play, Kirk resourced a Madripoor and chose to attack Venom from the back row with Dark Phoenix. I powered up Venom to gain a Level and add a +1+1 counter to my MC blanking his ranged attack. On my turn I resourced the Laboratory powered up Venom one more time to gain a second experience. He then attacked Dark Phoenix to give her wound one.
Turn 2: Kirk resourced an Academy and went straight to the Main Phase to use the What Was, What is and What Will Be super power to ramp two cards into his resource row. Laboratory came in face up conveniently setting up a turn three Pixie / Singularity combo drop with activation. He had no good attacks and passed. I resourced a Fortress and recruited Rhino. I then used Loyal Soldiers to give +1+1 counters to both Rhino and Venom giving him a third experience. I chose to have Rhino up front so he could take the first attack. The idea was to get Kirk to use a yellow resource from hand if he had it. He didn’t take the bait though and Rhino put a second wound on Dark Phoenix.
Turn 3: Kirk placed a Madripoor in his resource row. Singularity was recruited and went to the back row. He chose not to attack or use Singularity’s Pocket Dimension at the end of his turn and passed. I laid a resource face down and recruited the Green Goblin who Blasted Singularity when he appeared. I then played Fair and Balanced giving Venom his fourth +1+1 counter and experience. Singularity was the recipient of the -1-1 counter from the Plot Twist. I was forced to attack Dark Phoenix with Rhino first and he was able to get the stun for wound number two. Green Goblin was pretty much useless at this point and I should have probably realized this during my formation and placed him in the back row. I then attempted an attack on Singularity with Venom but Kirk had two copies of You Won’t Like Her When She is Angry (YWLHWSA) to negate the previous two -1-1 counters and put Singularity out of stun range with her two +1+1 counters.
Turn 4: Arcadia was Kirk’s sixth resource. Loki came into play next. I am pretty sure ASAP Rocky and 2Chainz would agree that Loki is one Bad B$*%! (that I I love) and I got a problem. Because I want to have her in every deck. Any way, Kirk had a copy of Phoenix in hand to take advantage of Loki being Power Hungry and powered up his MC while drawing three cards. Loki then ate Green Goblin with her melee attack and Dark Phoenix took Rhino out with a ranged attack. On my Turn 4, I resourced another face down card and recruited Carnage to the front row with Venom. I used another Loyal Soldiers to give Carnage and Venom a +1+1 counter. Venom was leveled up as well. I then tried to team attack Singularity adding a power up to venom to reach 14 attack. Kirk used Find Cover to give Singularity +3 defense, at the same time Venom lost six attack from two copies of Shock to the System. The YWLHWSA in the photo was thrown in for effect, he didn’t need to use it so we put it back in his hand. But the rub ins were already felt. I could see the end was nigh if I didn’t get some hot draws.
Turn 5: Kirk resourced a Laboratory and Ghost Rider made his first appearance. His Penance Stare was only able to give Venom one -1-1 counter though. Venom was still too big to make a profitable attack into and Kirk didn’t want to lose either Loki or Singularity voluntarily. So he chose to put Ghost Rider in the Pocket Dimension at the end of his turn. I think he forgot that Loki loves the team with the biggest characters and her Questionable Loyalty allowed me a window of opportunity to refill my hand. The kicker though, I would have to draw some type of power up.
I had to face down another resource in order to recruit Abomination. I had no power ups so I tried another team attack on Singularity with Venom and Carnage who were now totaling a 13 attack. I also chose to pay the green to activate Venom’s Permanent Bond to keep the +1+1 counters on Venom in case he got stunned any time in the next round. The attack resulted in a stun on Singularity. Kirk chose to strike Carnage who gained two +1+1 counters from his Maximum Carnage super power being triggered from the double stun. Ghost Rider appeared from the Pocket Dimension and gave Venom another two -1-1 counters. After that, I should have just sent Loki into Ghost Rider in anticipation of Thanos joining Kirk’s party. But I already told you, I love Bad B’s and I got a problem. So I gambled and passed with Abomination acting as a blocker.
Turn 6: Kirk laid a Fortess into his row and recruited Thanos. Not surprised, I watched as my board presence began to fade away with his following attacks. Thanos stunned Venom and Ghost Rider stunned Abomination. With all my guys face down but Loki, Kirk Welcomed Death and ended the fight for Carnage while adding a second wound to both Abomination and Venom. I drew the top two cards from my deck hitting nothing significant, I just scooped to get into the next game.
Game 2: I was on the play and Kept my hand. I added two +1+1 counters to Venom discarding two copies of Venom as power ups. I sent Venom into Dark Phoenix and gave her wound one. Kirk Played an Academy and passed.
Turn 2: I resource a face down and attacked Dark Phoenix giving her a second wound.
Things are looking good right? Kirk resourced his Madripoor and skipped to his main phase to ramp on turn two again, this time Madripoor and Arcadia came in face up. Great hits for Kirk’s side of the table.
Turn 3: I laid a face down resource and recruited Hellstrom. I put another wound on Dark Phoenix with an attack from Venom. Kirk resourced a Laboratory and recruited Pixie but there was no Singularity to join her again. Kirk activated Pixie who found Iron Man. He then turned his Academy face up with Iron Man’s Inventiveness. Iron Man attacked Venom but I had a Call in hand to power up and save my MC from the stun. Kirk finished off his Main Phase with another activation of the ramp ability. Placing two Laboratories face up in his resource row and then passed his turn.
Kirk laid a Fortress for his eighth resource and Thanos was recruited to come in and stop the bleeding. Kirk had Thanos attack Sabretooth for an easy stun. Followed up by an activation of Welcome Death to send my poor cat man to the discard pile.
Turn 5: I kept a good face on but losing Sabretooth so soon was going to make it hard to recover now that Kirk had such a huge blocker up front. I was hoping to draw a running stream of M.O.D.O.K. and or Blackheart copies to be able to fly over Thanos and give Dark Phoenix the three wounds I would need to win. Unfortunately I did not get my wish with my next draw phase. I then had to choose between recruiting Abomination or using a combination of Loyal Soldiers and discarding the Call I had just drawn, to power up Venom for his fifth experience to level him up. If I had Juggernaut in hand this decision would have been a lot harder. Since I didn’t however, I chose to remain aggressive and skipped recruiting Abomination. Sending Hellstrom to the front row for a team attack. I played Loyal Soldiers and powered up Venom to have go to level two. Then I sent them both into Thanos for a healthy fifteen point attack. Kirk gave Venom a double Shock to the System reducing his attack by six. OUCH! That hurt, now who was Kirk going to send Thanos’ strike back at? I chose to respond using my Fisk Tower to activate Permanent Bond so Venom could keep his +1+1 counters in the case Kirk chose to strike him. He didn’t though, sending his strike at Hellstrom giving him his first wound.
Kirk laid a face down resource giving me a little hope that he didn’t draw a green source for Thanos. But followed up by recruiting Iron Man so he could turn his previously used Fortress face up. He then sent Thanos into Venom giving my MC his first wound of the game. He then activated Welcome Death to add another wound to Venom, while sending Hellstrom to the discard prematurely. Thanos was just dominating the board like he always does. The picture shows we are behind by a wound but it doesn’t make a difference in how the game is played out. As you will see.
Turn 6: I wasn’t out of the fight just yet, I drew my two cards and wouldn’t you know? Juggernaut was waiting for me right on top of my deck. I activated Revenge Bond so Venom could gain another two +1+1 counters bringing Venom up to a 13/13. I placed a card face down, recruited Juggernaut to the front row and sent Venom into Thanos. Feeling a little all in I was crushed to see Kirk had a power up for Thanos. This caused me to lose all of the counters I had on Venom because Venom got stunned but it still gave Thanos his first wound. Then Juggernaut stunned Dark Phoenix adding a fifth wound to her.
Kirk’s turn six went a little better. He placed a Fortess (Ugh) and brought in Loki putting her in the back row. Thanos was happy to stay on point and keep my guys out of his beautifully populated back row. Kirk formed and then used a copy of Phoenix to power up his MC and draw three cards during his Main Phase. After that Thanos stunned Juggernaut and Welcomed Death for a third straight turn, knocking him out and adding a third wound to Venom. This couldn’t be going much worse for Venom.
Turn 7: I catch a bit of a break in drawing a copy of Blackheart along with a Fortress for my resource row. Blackheart went to the back hiding behind my Venom who now had 4 wounds on him. I had a wound to spare as long as Kirk didn’t get his hands on another green source. I sent Blackheart into Dark Phoenix and got the stun and added her sixth wound. Most deck die here, but no Dark Phoenix.
Kirk resourced an Academy followed up by recruiting both Pixie and Singularity. So far so good no Ghost Rider. Kirk set his formation and went to his Main Phase to activate Pixie. Ghost Rider made his appearance and gave Blackheart three -1-1 counters. Then Kirk discarded a Madirpoor and turned his Academy face down to activate his ramp ability one more time in the hopes of hitting a Fortess. Which he did. This is when I entered the scoop phase.
Even with a missing wound on Venom I could not over come this awesome deck but it was closer than I thought it would be. Maybe if I played with this deck a little more I might be able to turn the tides a little better. But that’s how tournaments go and I was happy to gain the experience. Time to move on the second round of the Salt 16!