• Pretending to Know Stuff Vol.3

    Attachment 3621 Welcome back for another edition of Pretending to Know Stuff. The unlimited or constructed ďMetaĒ Ė what is in RIGHT NOW. Whatís still in the Meta, what joined the Meta from the most recent set, and what from the most recent set can help combat the Meta. This column will be full of bias. I canít help it. I will favor stuff you donít, and I will inexplicably fail to mention something you think is amazing. The comments are a place to politely point out where you disagree and let me know what I might have missed.

    Sometimes the most obvious answer isnít the right answer. Sometimes the context of a problem must be evaluated in order to come to the best solution. I donít know about you, but I have seen a plethora of bolt Lantern Ring teams, Big Entrance Guy Gardner teams, and even a few control teams with an awful lot in common with Indy Monís SLCC Regional Championship winning team recently. In a way, Indy Monís team is a big part of what this series of articles is about. Seeing the threats that are out and about right now and designing a team that beats those and fits your play style. I would say the most notable additions to the Meta from WoL are aggressive elements in nature, rather than control elements, and so if your preferred play style is aggro Ė you have to do it better than the teams youíll see in competition. If your preferred style of play is control, you have a pretty decent blue-print to work from. Letís look at a few of the most common Meta cards from previous sets and Iíll identify a few that I think stand out now that might not have before.

    Clearly Zombie Magneto and Hulk Green Goliath are alive and well. Because the Lantern Ring imparts an ability to characters, Zombie Magneto can wipe that ability right off. Or, who needs to worry about what abilities might give you headaches if there are no characters in the field to have abilities to begin with? Just use the best board clear in the game to clear it all away. This brings me to the first card that I want to discuss, C Prismatic Spray. While a few stellar players made waves at Worldís this summer running Prismatic Spray to steal PXG from their opponents (this happened to me, and it was painful - Mr. Le thank you for the lesson), I want to discuss Spray for an entirely different reason. Protect your win condition by taking away controlling elements. Now obviously there are control elements which do not require characters (Millennium Puzzle, for example), but Spray can provide an extra layer of protection against the most common control elements. If your opponent brings the characters you didn't want to see for your win condition, Spray can help you fight through virtually any of them.

    For my money, R Grundy plus BEWD is the best anti-Hulk threat in the game. Polymorph is great, but it requires your opponent not manage their used pile (no character to swap in means you canít Poly Hulk out). If you Hulk my Grundy, Iíll Grundy your Hulk. If you donít Hulk my Grundy, Iíll use BEWD to Grundy your Hulk anyway. And it doesnít matter if you bring Green Goliath or Jade Giant, Grundy has equal hate for both. So expect that as Hulk goes, so will go Grundy.

    For direct damage of any kind, expect the Captains America and Iron Fist to make an appearance or two. Despite the fact that Super Soldier is the Human Paladin Global on legs, I maintain that HP gains experience with each set and gets better with each release. Donít expect to see him fade anytime soon. If you missed it, there's a really good piece at Sidekicks and Shields about action hate - and since I certainly can't do it any better, be sure to check it out if you're having trouble dealing with the Lantern Ring.

    For those exceptionally creative types, you might see some combinations like R Swamp Thing or a couple Vampire options and R Lantern Ring. Swamp Thing will damage the opponent when he attacks and then get to resolve KOing an opposing character before blockers are declared. Vampires get life-gain out of the deal. If you're running this with distraction, you have the masks to pull these characters back.

    For those Guy Gardner teams who swing with 2 cost characters with 8A, why not block with Jocasta? Are you worried about her getting targeted with a taunt global or Relentless? Use the JL R Sinestro. Having both in the field by your third turn is not unreasonable. From a strictly deckbuilding point of view, throw Mera on the team in case you go second (Iíll leave the DCK global discussions to the rest of you for the comments section).

    Venom Ė Angelo Fortunado to continually clear whatever pumping attackers your opponent has available may be another viable strategy, despite the fact that he doesnít affect Guy himself. Reducing the pump may be a meaningful way to sustain life until you gain board control.

    Now more than ever it is critical to know what your opponentís plan is, how they plan to win and how to respond. I cannot stress this enough Ė you need to know how to play against your opponentís win condition. I donít just mean you should bring an answer to a bunch of different threats, I mean you need to know how to play your team against each team you sit across from. I played a game against Shadowmeld recently where my third purchase cost me any chance I had to win the game. While it is possible I stood no chance from the beginning based on the composition of the teams, the reality is that purchase (and maybe my second purchase, too) really set me back. Know that if the other team is better at aggro, your best chance is to use the control elements you brought until you can seize the advantage. Know how to change gears.

    I would love to know what you all are seeing in your local scenes. I think the newness of some options for aggro and direct damage from this set drew a lot of attention. Look, these are terrific options, but there are answers. And there are answers to the answers. And answers to those. I think I read it first in Indy Monís post mortem of the SLCC Regional, but the Meta is absolutely vibrant and alive. And while Rock beats Scissors beats Paper beats Rock, sometimes Scissors can outplay Rock. Know your team, know how to play against the biggest threats across from you, and best of luck to all of you. Maybe everything changes next week, weíll see.

    Cheers!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Changing gears is something I truly struggle with. If anyone can offer some pointers in that space I'm all ears.

      I can put together a pretty reasonable team and have a good clear picture of my win con, but go to pot when I can run my first couple of turns the way I planned it out.

      Or I get all scatty and flustered and make dumb, DUMB decisions on the fly.

      To some extent is just a matter of time - my noobiness will surely subside as I become increasingly familiar with other teams and build more experience!

      Surely?
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrueMisterSix View Post
      Changing gears is something I truly struggle with. If anyone can offer some pointers in that space I'm all ears.

      I can put together a pretty reasonable team and have a good clear picture of my win con, but go to pot when I can run my first couple of turns the way I planned it out.

      Or I get all scatty and flustered and make dumb, DUMB decisions on the fly.

      To some extent is just a matter of time - my noobiness will surely subside as I become increasingly familiar with other teams and build more experience!

      Surely?
      Definitely. Playing midrange is my suggestion if you want to practice. What do I mean by midrange? Something that can swap from aggro to control on a dime to adjust to whatever is placed in front of it. I liked the article @Isaavbv wrote recently about confidence because it's something I often see players in my locals struggle with. I know that they have what it takes because I've seen them show me what they can do before, but time and time again, getting flustered will do a better job of beating them than whatever team they are facing. Stay calm and play on!
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Useful comments man, cheers.

      I'll put some thought into playing more "mid-range". I didn't see @IsaacBV 's article so I'll track that down too.
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      It's right here for anyone interested: http://www.thereservepool.com/conten...one-Confidence

      I`m pretty critical at the best of times, so trust me people, this one is definitely worth a read. Even if you have tons of confidence already, it can help you to understand the mindsets of other players, especially if you are trying to teach them how to get better.