By Ashley Knox
The Queen is Dead
A.K.A. Intergalactic Super Championship Of Two Random Guys On The Internet To Prove A Match up Between Two Decks That Most People Agree Are Good.
The inception for this article came up with a conversation between myself and Sal D’Agostino on the Facebook Collective about the Salt 16. We both wanted to see Captain Marvel and Dark Phoenix face off in the finals but after Captain Marvel was eliminated in the first round facing down Sister Grimm. Sal and I knew we wouldn’t get the finals we wanted.
The Salt 16 has recently had its conclusion resulting in Dark Phoenix as the runner up to the eventual winner Sister Grimm – I was waiting for those results as I didn’t want to steal any of Thor… er Kirk and Eric’s thunder. Now that the Salt 16 tournament has concluded I’m ready to put this to print. So late at night a few weeks ago we reshuffled Dark Phoenix and Captain Marvel taking to Skype to play it out which resulted in a less than impressive showing from Phoenix – Sal went 5-0 and it wasn’t even close.
We both agreed during the match that Pheonix was best deck of that format, but Marvel is a prison deck with all of the disruption necessary to beat it and though she had some rough match ups against some of the tier 2-3 decks but she was tuned specifically to be able to beat all of the best decks and that is exactly what she does. Given Sal is one of the best players I know (and not only of this game) that is an excellent strategy – building your deck to specifically beat everything in the winners bracket as that is where you should be.
We didn’t feel that the match was too lopsided – we mused that it was only about 60% (though I think slightly more once you know how to play it) in Marvels favor but Sal had tested the match up extensively and knew the formula for playing it by heart.
Typically Phoenix beats up on aggro decks especially ones with lots of small units like a Deadpool build – typically Dramatic Entrance is your best card in these sorts of games but Marvel doesn’t care about that as she doesn’t need to attack until she’s able to predict what you could potentially enter into play and just get above that in terms of size. It’s very difficult to ever hit Marvels back row unless you get a turn three fatty and are able to just keep her counters down. A lot of the time it’s safe to even just play Pixie out on turn two just to pay a blue to be able to try and nip Marvel’s board a bit though in our fifth game I did this and hit a Singularity – which let me know it was probably time to go to bed.
I don’t see a bright future for Dark Phoenix and I’m glad – it was bad for our local tournament scene and was harming attendance with both sides of our player base – the spikes felt like it was just wrong not to play it and the more casual players felt like it was diminishing the value in brewing. Both sides in this argument were 100% correct
A reason why Marvel crushed the match up is due to a weakness of the Dark Phoenix deck – it’s basically a five color combo-control deck where it doesn’t have any good team attacks to take down big threats and doesn’t have much disruption apart from rushing out fat men to be able to pick your opponents synergy apart through combat. She struggled against Wasp and Miss America because they bought time and now with the advent of Jessica Jones and a return of Think Again this can only get worse – ignoring the fact Jessica turns off your ramp ability. The size advantage doesn’t even look great anymore either as from what I expect the new meta to be – I honestly don’t believe that Thanos will be the biggest thing in play on turn five, let alone turn eight. With all of these level three Main Characters not only gaining a huge size advantage but additional health too. Even the new Main Characters are all stars too, Thor can get ahead in terms of size as well as being able to stun Phoenix when she’s in the protect the Queen mode of the game – Thor has the natural counter to Dramatic Entrance in Think Again – aside from Think Again playing double duty of protecting front row Thor when you’re trying to keep his counters on.
The Guardians are back in fashion now and they have all of these bases covered – I’m not sure how bad old Cosmo got hit yet but Yondu is going to still be a big deal from anything as simple as removing Falcon before he gets Thor or Spider Man out of control to paying a red to snap off a Meggan and give your Green Goblin a free experience point.
Having free access to Even the Odds which if you can use to cut Marvel down gives you free reign to gobble up her back row and make it harder to rebuild. A more direct answer is the return of the Avengers as a team – as now Dr. Strange can be a legitimate deck inclusion instead of just a tech piece. I like that people will be back on these counters for counters !
Legacy looks great and it is going to shake up everything we thought we knew about the game I’m about 3 weeks away from the UK Nationals at Games Expo Birmingham and I can’t wait to see what everyone is going to be bringing to the table.
Sal is honestly a great guy and I appreciate that he took time out of his busy schedule to come play a few rounds with me it was fun and I’d like to make it happen again after the UK Nationals so stay tuned for the next episode of Intergalactic Super Championship Of Two Random Guys On The Internet To Prove A Match up Between Two Decks That Most People Agree Are Good !