• The Last Stand of Johnny Swarm


    My National's and World Qualifier experience... is hard to write about. I will say that once again the community was wonderful to be around and play with. I will try not go into my feelings on the current meta and will instead present what I took in the hopes of keeping things vibrant. I had an inkling of the buzzsaw I was throwing myself into, but I made a quick prayer to the patron saint of lost causes (St. Jude fyi.. had to look it up myself) and threw myself into the fire.


    For the event I did allow myself to slip back into my comfort zone somewhat, and put a new spin on Johnny Swarm. As brought up in a previous article, I loved the possibility of using Punisher with heavy Swarm. When coupled with Johnny Storm, clearing a board with Johnny Storm damage and intimidating Kobolds and Goblins was too tantalizing a possibility to pass up. Bane's global, Oracle, D-Wiz, all offered additional control elements. It was also hoped that in facing an onslaught of gigantic bard characters, the huge number of blockers offered by swarm and refielding them after KO with Johnny Storm would be enough to handle it and get a leg up in damage. It wasn't, and I will admit extreme tilt got the better of me and poor Charlie Gates got to experience me playing my most out of it and apathetic game I've ever played. I likely should have just conceded to him at the start and given myself more time to cool down (and give him time to get some food or something). I ended up 2-4, though I can take some solace in my 4 losses all qualifying for Worlds, and two of them were in top 4 (JT and Stuart). If I were to rebuild the team and go again with what I know now, Constantine was the piece I missed the most often and would ~probably~ drop Captain America in favor of it. Despite the record, I still came in at 17th due to strength of schedule.


    After how National's went and fighting off the desire to just cut my losses and go home, Friday's World Qualifier became “F*** it, I'm playing fun stuff.” I entirely stuck to my guns and after an evening of tearing things apart and rebuilding from scratch, I settled on running a couple things I've been wanting to do and never had the guts to: She-Hulk and Colossus. I did switch to the rare Kobold due to the vast number of Bard and Dwarf Wizards that force the uncommon to attack, and those as well as Elf Thief are good aligned, giving the 2 cost Kobold a +1/+1. I also added the much missed Constantine, and Elf Thief due to the prevalence of Paralax. I switched to Cap: The First Avenger due to reports of the prevalence of Vicious Struggle and Luke Cage in the previous day's World's qualifier (since his ability would also entirely negate the Luke Cage & VS damage). Clay Golem was partially to facilitate ramping into Colossus (which never actually happened) and also to redirect some Cloud Kill damage so I could always keep at least 2 blockers. Lastly there was She-Hulk: The workhorse of the team. Her coupled with Goblin Attack Force's global and Cone of Cold, and she turned into a wrecking crew. In a grueling game with Jason Evans, via some extreme use of his Parallax, I was able to pump her up to 28A against 9D of blockers and deal the exact 19 damage I needed to steal a win from a draw game. Her life gain saved me in a game against Adam Hirchak (who I also had a great game against in Nationals) and his Bard team where I was down to 2 life and kept on bubbling me back up, preventing my opponent from finishing me off with Tsarina damage, Red Dragon Global, or Magic Missile. After getting my second loss in round 5, the goal of the tournament became just getting Colossus out, which I finally did on my final game and my inability to roll him at level 2 or higher essentially lost me that game, but he did do some serious damage and put my opponent very much on the defensive. The biggest mistake of this team build was Escape Incarceration. I didn't do Anger Issues because it felt unnecessary, but would have actually won me at least 1 game. Polymorph also would have been a good option allowing me to spin Colossus or any other characters up, as well as giving me a defensive removal option that didn't fall prey to Distraction. In the end, my records was 3-3-1.


    And there are my teams. I just wanted it to be known, not everyone played “meta”, and considering what I was up against, I feel I still did alright.... just obviously not at the level of last year. I joked with everyone who switched to bard or VS waiving an imaginary bell towards them and saying “Shame!”. I gave them a hard time, but I get it and no actual disrespect was meant. Many of them traveled much further than me and wanted to come away a winner and did what they felt it took to compete... just for me, it was a step too far.
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. zeon20's Avatar
      zeon20 -
      Lol I didn't feel too bad when u gave me the "shame bell" for qualifier day 2 since the bard team is my own design so I could at least take solace that it was my baby. Qualified for worlds, but it just didn't felt right. Should've just stuck it out with my dragons or try villains or something at worlds cause it just wasn't fun anymore for me to run bard. So props to u sir for sticking to Ur guns. U may not have qualified, but Ur still THE KING OF THE KOBOLDS for me!
    1. artean's Avatar
      artean -
      Props to you sir for playing the game your way. I always say this is why I won't win anything (former magic player just beginning to look into competitive play for DM). I prefer my own decks and my own builds versus what is standard. Not to say I won't use some of the cards but not the meta teams. So again, props to you sir for being unique. No disrespect intended for those who do run the meta teams because everyone needs to play in a way that is fun for them
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Great write up man. I'm a Johnny Swarm lover too and played a version at the UK Nationals (a more traditional build than yours) . Respect & bro unity on this one. As is known - Bard dominated at the top end of the UK Nats too,
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      PS - I like the Punisher idea - I'm going to give that a go myself...
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Great write up!
      I could really feel your frustration with the bard oppression.
      I've been a big Coloussus fan for years, that team looks super fun. I don't have Constantine but I bet if I threw Goblins back in it would be more casual anyway.

      Did you at least get that Mr. Fantastic SR traded out?
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      Great write-up up trubie! I love you went with she-hulk. I think she has a lot of potential. Did you get your Punisher combo to go off?
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jwannabe View Post
      Great write-up up trubie! I love you went with she-hulk. I think she has a lot of potential. Did you get your Punisher combo to go off?
      Unfortunately I think I only got the Punisher combo off in 1 game. In 6 games with that team, I took on Bard in 4 of them and found myself concentrating on getting low cost blockers and my control pieces instead and honestly had a hard time sparing the 5 energy to buy him. I honestly wonder if I'd been better off reaching for him on turn 2 (via my opponent's pxg... EVERYONE used it), because with the She-Hulk team I did that a lot. It felt like it was going to be a disastrous mistake every time I did it, but more often than not, it worked out in my favor.
    1. Rockman's Avatar
      Rockman -
      No worries about our game Thursday, I completely understood how you were feeling. Our post game chat with Christian was a great reminder about how wonderful the community is.
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      Trubie, great write up and that was a great game. You were kind not to mention that I was playing the meta Bardsaw team that JT won Nationals with the day before (I had brought it on Day 1 and gone 4-2 with a couple of close losses and thought I could pull it off again). I keep playing it over in my head. It was a make or break game for both of us and I made several mistakes which keep glaring me in the face, and I had a ruling go against me after it was way too late to do anything about it. I want to detail them here for learning purposes, but I don't want to take away from your win. It was a solid team and you are a great player.
      1st - looking back, I didn't get some rolls that I needed early on and it wasn't until about 2/3 of the way through the game that I realized I could have fixed some of that with your Ring global
      2nd - when I couldn't get punched through early and you started building your wall, I should've grabbed a Cloudkill BAC die sooner. Instead I kept fabricating and fielding Clay Golems. By the time I bought it, I couldn't even get it in my bag before my turns were up
      3rd - On my last turn, with one more turn remaining, I should've sat there with my wall intact and made you decide to taunt me or swing at me on your last turn. Instead I cleared a couple of your blockers and swung with everything. You let my barded up golems go through (they had the biggest defense and would have been excellent blockers vs She-Hulk) and took I believe 15-16 damage to the face, then did that mighty parallax feat on your turn with She Hulk for exactly the 19 extra damage you needed (and gained 2 life). Boneheaded move on my part and you took masterful advantage of it. Strong work.
      I am still questioning the ruling and will need to formulate it properly for the WKRF. It had to do with Dwarf Wizard blanking a die and not the card, whatever that means. In our game, it meant that my Dwarf Wizard couldn't stop his Hellblazer from stopping my Bard from being fielded intact. My problem is that the ruling was announced on Thursday to the Nats players (not the World Qualifiers players) and if I had known it, I would have bought Prismatic Spray earlier. Not sure how to handle that. I guess I should have asked around to see if any rulings were announced to the group that I wasn't in. Didn't think about that. Learned lots of things for future matches. Mostly about my gameplay.
      All in all, I'm glad you swung at the end and won. If you could've only managed 18 damage, we would have tied, which would have helped neither of us, so I am glad you got another W. You deserved it.
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      @jevansfp - it's a logical extension of the existing ruling that if Constantine is KO'd, the effect still triggers because it resides in the named character. The only thing that can counter Hellblazer is a complete blanking of the card that the effect looks back at (via Prismatic Spray or ZMags). DWiz doesn't completely blank the card, so when Bard is fielded the effect triggers and since the card still has text (even though the fielded dice don't), the effect goes off.
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by jevansfp View Post
      It was a make or break game for both of us and I made several mistakes which keep glaring me in the face...
      Hope you don't mind, but one other mistake you made and several other people I played against made: forgetting to redirect damage from your characters to Clay Golem. At one point I forced your Dwiz or some other important character to block and dealt it's exact D total to it in damage. You could have redirected 2 damage to the Golem and kept the character alive.

      Also gotta again stress you were NOT the only person to make his mistake. Clay Golem isn't just a fabricate receptacle.
    1. flight602's Avatar
      flight602 -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      @jevansfp - it's a logical extension of the existing ruling that if Constantine is KO'd, the effect still triggers because it resides in the named character. The only thing that can counter Hellblazer is a complete blanking of the card that the effect looks back at (via Prismatic Spray or ZMags). DWiz doesn't completely blank the card, so when Bard is fielded the effect triggers and since the card still has text (even though the fielded dice don't), the effect goes off.
      Could you explain what the ruling here was? I use both Hellblazer and DW so I'm wondering what the interaction was here
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      Unfortunately I think I only got the Punisher combo off in 1 game. In 6 games with that team, I took on Bard in 4 of them and found myself concentrating on getting low cost blockers and my control pieces instead and honestly had a hard time sparing the 5 energy to buy him. I honestly wonder if I'd been better off reaching for him on turn 2 (via my opponent's pxg... EVERYONE used it), because with the She-Hulk team I did that a lot. It felt like it was going to be a disastrous mistake every time I did it, but more often than not, it worked out in my favor.
      I have been playing around with Punisher against some bard teams, and found that a bard team that constantly attacks helps set punisher by KOing your characters.

      Of course, that doesn't help against the control teams that swing only once.

      I've went with patch and weenie avengers to get the damage back through on my turn when I field Punisher. It is hard to outpace bard though.
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      Hope you don't mind, but one other mistake you made and several other people I played against made: forgetting to redirect damage from your characters to Clay Golem. At one point I forced your Dwiz or some other important character to block and dealt it's exact D total to it in damage. You could have redirected 2 damage to the Golem and kept the character alive.

      Also gotta again stress you were NOT the only person to make his mistake. Clay Golem isn't just a fabricate receptacle.
      Of course I don't mind. I was wanting to lay out my mistakes in that game so that others could learn from them (and hopefully I will too). You are right. I was using the golems as a elf thief/ dwarf wizard cycler, a buffer against Magic Missile, a counter to pinging Hulk/Babs in an attempted board sweep, and some beefy damage when I finally swung. But you are absolutely right. Having seen others forget to use them as a direct combat damage buffer that weekend, you hoped I would forget as well, and you were right. Thanks for reminding me of that. I played that team because it is a good team, but it needed a better pilot, which is why JT and Isaac did as well as they did with it.
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by flight602 View Post
      Could you explain what the ruling here was? I use both Hellblazer and DW so I'm wondering what the interaction was here
      I'll attempt to explain it. Hopefully this is clear.

      Background: Constantine Hellblazer. When his controller names a character at the beginning of the turn, it's an effect that is applied to the opposing player at that time. Even if he is removed from the board, the effect is already on the player. The only way (currently) to get around the ability is Prismatic Spray because it's blanks the card. So when a player fields the named character, Constantine's effect is triggered, but you check his card and the card is blank (or something to that effect).

      Now Dwarf Wizard. Dwarf Wizard blanks a DIE from having an ability, not the card. So when Dwarf Wizard enters play and targets Constantine (assuming DWiz wasn't named), the Constantine DIE is blanked, but the effect is still on the player and when the named character enters play, the Constantine CARD is still checked and it is not blanked, so the fielded character is still treated as blanked and can not attack. However, Constantine's owner would not be able to name something next turn unless DWiz is taken out.

      So, Dwiz and Kryptonite do not stop Constantine's ability.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      I think there's certainly an argument for kryptonite to work...
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      I think there's certainly an argument for kryptonite to work...
      The judge who made the ruling specifically said Kryptonite wouldn't because it targets the die when I brought it up, but looking at the card text again I'm willing to suspect he may have been mistaken (and it wasn't part of our case). DWiz makes some sense... Kryptonite, less so.
    1. flight602's Avatar
      flight602 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      I'll attempt to explain it. Hopefully this is clear.

      Background: Constantine Hellblazer. When his controller names a character at the beginning of the turn, it's an effect that is applied to the opposing player at that time. Even if he is removed from the board, the effect is already on the player. The only way (currently) to get around the ability is Prismatic Spray because it's blanks the card. So when a player fields the named character, Constantine's effect is triggered, but you check his card and the card is blank (or something to that effect).

      Now Dwarf Wizard. Dwarf Wizard blanks a DIE from having an ability, not the card. So when Dwarf Wizard enters play and targets Constantine (assuming DWiz wasn't named), the Constantine DIE is blanked, but the effect is still on the player and when the named character enters play, the Constantine CARD is still checked and it is not blanked, so the fielded character is still treated as blanked and can not attack. However, Constantine's owner would not be able to name something next turn unless DWiz is taken out.

      So, Dwiz and Kryptonite do not stop Constantine's ability.
      Got it, so nothing new. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some new ruling I missed somewhere
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      The judge who made the ruling specifically said Kryptonite wouldn't because it targets the die when I brought it up, but looking at the card text again I'm willing to suspect he may have been mistaken (and it wasn't part of our case). DWiz makes some sense... Kryptonite, less so.
      Yeah... I'm inclined to say the judge misruled in this case. Kryptonite states, "Ignore the text on target character die's character card (for each of its dice and Global Abilities)."

      Prismatic Spray states, "All of your opponent's characters lose all their card text until the end of the turn."

      To me, those are equivalent in blanking mechanism.
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by CeeQue View Post
      Did you at least get that Mr. Fantastic SR traded out?
      Sorry, missed this before. Nope, still stuck with the Mr Fantastic.