By: Eric Buckendorf
DMG’s second match of March Madness is Keith McGee Jr.’s Wolverine from the recent New Jersey cash event vs. Aaron Johnson’s Luke Cage from Origins 2017 (a.k.a. Thorigins!)
Keith’s Deck can be seen here: http://vs.tcgbrowser.com/#!/deck=869
Aaron’s Deck can be seen here: http://vs.tcgbrowser.com/#!/deck=432
Check out March Madness Round 1 here, for Keith’s Comments on his deck AND the first round Wolverine vs. Luke Cage! Here are Keith’s comments about his deck:
Keith McGee Jr. – Wolverine
- Q) When did you make the deck?
A) The first version of this deck competed in VS 2PCG’ inaugural $10K Tournament at Gen Con back in 2015, where I went 6-3 and was only 1 win out of the Top 8. Since then, I have tuned it every year, and went 6-3 again in 2016, and more recently made the top 4 of the NJ Cash tournament
Q) What was the idea behind the deck?
A) When the deck was originally built, the game was brand new and I was alone in my hotel room brewing up a list. I surveyed all of the Main Characters, and picked one from each team I liked and tested some quick 30-card decks and got it down to Wolverine and Magneto. I then chose the one I thought was more consistent, which turned out to be Wolverine. Magneto was viable at the time, but there was no way for me to find an optimal list in time, where Wolverine had a more straightforward gameplan, and thus I was able to build a deck that would keep people on their heels from the very first turn. Since then, the deck has been built to out-tempo your opponent from the very first turn, focusing on wounding your opponent’s Main Character in the early and mid game, hopefully needing only a wound or two to close out the game past turn 4 or 5.
Q) What is the deck evolution (is this decks MC still relevant)?
A) Despite the fact that almost no one else plays the deck at a competitive level, I’ve had sustained success with the deck throughout VS 2PCG’s history. At first, the deck was explosive but lacked any late-game staying power other than Colossus. Since then, the Legacy Expansion has been this deck’s biggest boon, giving Wolverine both a Level 3 version as well as a Loyal Plot Twist that refills your hand, which is perfect since this deck wants to trade cards early for board advantage.
Q) What are the good matchups for the deck (what does it beat)
A) This deck beats any deck trying to win by attacking most of the time. Wolverine is usually able to outperform “fair” decks, or decks that are trying to play supporting characters and maintain a board presence.
Q) What are the bad matchups for the deck (what beats it)
A) Ramp decks have always been the Achilles’ Heel of this strategy; an early-game board advantage can be quickly negated by Dark Phoenix accelerating two resources past me and getting to their late-game plan before Wolverine can wound her enough to close it out. Luke Cage is another problematic Main Character, since both doesn’t play early supporting characters, so Wolverine doesn’t often have easy attacks, and also can prevent himself from becoming wounded with his super power while often trading with Wolverine. Timely defensive Plot Twists like Shock to the System, Baby Avengers, and Super Senses can also prevent Wolverine from leveling up as soon as he would like to, which can lead to bad things down the road.
Q) What deck do you think will win March Madness?
A) They don’t call him “The Best At What He Does” for nothin… this deck (piloted by someone who understands the game plan and how to enact it) really takes advantage of “open” metagames. If the right decks aren’t present, it will be hard to keep Wolverine from the top tables
On to the match!
Kirk Buckendorf and I played matches for DMG. Kirk played the Wolverine deck and I played Luke Cage.
Kirk won the die roll and chose to play first. He took his Mulligan in search of an Iceman. I chose to keep my opener. School for Gifted Youngsters entered Kirk’s resource and was followed by an attack on Luke Cage. This resulted in a mutual stun and one XP for Wolverine for being the Best at What he Does.
I placed a Fortess, paid one recruit point into Hero for Hire to give Luke his first XP and passed the turn.
Kirk placed a Laboratory and went straight to the main phase. He wanted to keep me from suicide attack Luke into anyone so I could keep him from leveling up. He then attacked Luke and I activated Impervious Skin to avoid the wound from another mutual stun. Wolverine still was the Best at What he Does so he gained his second XP.
I placed a Sanctum Sanctorum and spent my two recruit points on Hero for Hire to put Luke at 3 XP. Since there was no one to attack I just passed the turn.
Kirk placed another Laboratory and recruited Gambit who went to the front row with Wolverine. He then sent Wolverine into Luke and passed getting his third mutual stun. I activated Impervious Skin to avoid another wound. This would level Wolverine up but only after the stun and more importantly, his third wound.
I placed an Academy and paid two recruit points to have Luke Cage level up. I had a Hellcat in hand but didn’t want to give Wolverine any extra attacks that would give him more XP. So I kept her in hand. I had Luke attack Gambit but Kirk responded by activating Intangible Escape from Shadowcat.
Kirk placed a Training Ground and then played Gifted and Talented to draw two cards. Next he recruited Beast who went to the back row to do some research while the rest of the team took care of business. During his main phase Kirk played Loyal Soldiers to add a +1+1 counter to all his X Men. With Shadowcat and Gambit in the front row with Wolverine. Kirk had Wolverine make his fourth straight solo attack on Luke and finally got his second wound on him without getting stunned back. Wolverine at Level 2 gained one 1 XP and then Kirk passed the turn.
I placed a Training Ground of my own and recruited Stick_SC who would Mentor Luke by adding two +1+1 counters to him. Next I activated Powerman and… to put a copy of Iron Fist from my deck onto my side. During my main phase I played two copies of Reality Shift to heal two wounds from Luke. If the Wolverine wasn’t feeling the heat yet he was now. I had Iron Fist attack Wolverine and I activated Iron Fist Punch. The strike went through giving Wolverine his fourth wound while Iron Fist was KO’d. Next I had Luke attack Shadowcat and got the Knockout. I was hoping to make Kirk make a team attack on his turn to keep him from getting Wolverine to level three. So I decided to have Stick trade with Gambit so Kirk wouldn’t have more than one option to attack on his turn seeing as how Wolverine loves his X-Factor. So I ended up getting the trade and passing the turn.
Kirk got to draw and extra card from Beast being a Genius. He placed a card facedown for his fifth resource and recruited both Namor and Hope Summers. Namor went to the front row and Hope joined Beast in the back. During the main phase Kirk played another copy of Loyal Soldiers to add a +1+1 counter to all his X Men. Wolverine then attacked into Luke Cage and gained another +1+1 counter when Kirk discarded a copy of Wolverine_SC to power up. This would make Wolverine an 8/10 which was big enough to get the solo stun without and activation of Snikt. Luke would gain his first wound and Kirk would level Wolverine up to his ultimate form.
I placed a Training Ground and recruited Jessica Jones_SC and Hellcat_SC. They all went to the front row to start the team attack train on Wolverine. I sent them all into Wolverine and Kirk chose to stun Luke who gained his second wound while Wolverine gained his fifth wound putting him on the ropes for the rest of the game.
Genius drew another two cards for Kirk, one for Beast and one for Hope. Then he laid a card face down for his sixth resource and recruited Colossus who targeted Beast with Toss. Kirk then played Gifted and Talented to draw two cards, looking back he probably should have played it before placing his resource to see if he could draw a location. Kirk then had everyone move the front row to protect Wolverine who went to the back row. Beast attacked Jessica Jones who stayed down after a Ferocious stun. Then Hope Summers attacked Hellcat and got the stun.
I placed a Sanctum Sanctorum and recruited Punsher. Punisher was the only SC in the back row and he attacked Beast to start things off and he got the KO with his Lethal ranged attack. Next I had Jessica Jones attack Namor and they traded wounds. Jessica stayed face down instead of being Tough. Finally I had Luke and Hellcat attack Colossus to try get Kirk to use his School for Gifted Youngsters to activate Organic Steel. This was probably a little lose but I was holding two copies of Ghost Rider at this point and was setting up to just put counters on Wolverine on turns seven and eight to end the game before Kirk could get two more wounds on my MC by his eighth turn. Kirk did activate and chose to stun Luke who would gain his third wound.
Kirk drew two and placed a Fortress for his resource. Beast came back into play along with Iceman who targeted Luke with Freeze. Colossus knocked Hellcat out with Kirk’s first attack. Then Beast made an attempt to KO punisher but was thwarted by Super Senses. Beast was stunned and Kirk had Hope attack Punisher as a 3/5, Flight, Range, Invade, Ferocious character. Kirk and I spaced the Invade part though. I played a second copy of Super Senses to try and keep Punisher on the board. We had Hope get KO’d from the attack but she should have stayed out. Kirk then readied Colossus with X-Factor and and had him attack Punisher while also playing Squad Tactics to give Colossus a +1+1 counter making him an 8/8. I responded by discarding another copy of Punisher to power up. Kirk then activated Organic Steel to preserve his Colossal protector from a combat stun once again.
I placed a card facedown for my seventh resource and recruited Ghost Rider_SC who targeted Wolverine with Penance Stare for five -1-1 counters. This puts Wolverine within range of Jessica Jones four attack and if that failed I had the second copy of Ghost Rider in hand to end the game on the next turn any way. Next I activated Powerman and… to go get a copy of Iron Fist from my deck and put it on my side. First I had Ghost Rider attack Colossus. Kirk responded with another copy of Squad Tactics to make his Colossus a 9/9 to survive the attack. Looking back I should have just used Iron Fist to attack Colossus and use my last Training Ground to activate Iron Fist Punch to KO Colossus. But I was still okay even though I didn’t get passed Colossus. I then sent Iron Fist into Namor and got the KO. So it was down to my last attack and I sent Jessica Jones to attack Wolverine and I got the final wound to win the game.
Good times were had and we ventured on to the next match.