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Off the Meta | Deadman Comes Alive

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Hello and welcome back everyone! I've been very distracted of late by a project that I can't say too much about just yet. However, I can assure you that when it goes public, it's going to be great for everyone involved. Because of that extra work, I was distracted from Off the Meta this week so it will be coming a couple days late. Nevertheless, lets keep the ball rolling in Justice League by looking at Deadman.

Deadman consistently has one of the worst stat-cost ratios in the game. With a hefty TFC-5, a purchasing cost that never falls below 5, and combat stats that beat The Joker by a single point, he's not quite a good investment on his own. To leverage him properly, you're going to need to examine his effects and figure out how to use them to your benefit. For the most part, Deadman is built to control your opponent's field and give you extra utility, though he makes a decent enough wall if you're in a bind. control has never been too powerful an archetype, but Deadman has the potential to make it work. The issue you'll face when playing Deadman is going to be determining when it's appropriate to purchase him and what to do with him when he rolls. Generally speaking, he's going to prove quite a thorn in your opponent's side if you can get him to stick to the field and that means he's a very "boom or bust" style character with a heavy investment that can pay dividends or fall flat.

Deadman - Boston Brand
The most common and expensive Deadman, he weighs in at a 6- purchase and will capture a single opposing character until he leaves the field. This is pretty fantastic removal if your opponent has no targetted removal of their own since you're taking away a die from your opponent and keeping it until Deadman goes away. However, this is rather difficult to make good use out of since Deadman costs so much to purchase and field in the first place. By that time, you're going to have major issues keeping up with your opponent if you're dedicating 7+ energy to capture a single die under certain circumstance. However, this ability can be incredibly powerful if used to capture an opposing high investment character with a scary while active ability. The best examples of this are characters like Magneto - Magnetic Monster or Hulk - Green Goliath, character that are taking your opponent just as much investment and they may not have had the opportunity to bring multiple dice for them. That all said, you're paying a premium to have a less restricted copy of Gelatinous Cube's effect. This can come in handy if you're opponent is full of combat tricks, but may not be the best move in the long run (except in cases such as Magneto where Cube captures would be countered). Lastly, this does combo with Ultron - New World Order, but that is far too expensive to really be viable.

Deadman - Possessive Talent
The uncommon Deadman also starts the trend of 5- purchases. For his cost, you're going to be able to stop an opposing character from blocking or attacking per die you field, essentially invoking a permanent Relentless and Kitty Pryde global on the target for as long as both characters are active. This is an interesting prospect since it works similarly to Boston Brand, but does not remove while active effects and allows your opponent to interfere in ways other than removing Deadman. A simple BEWD can spoil your fun and release the character as well as any number of other shenanigans like Polymorph or Card Crush Virus. That said, the cheaper cost only requires you prep one die in order to purchase Deadman. This makes him a much more viable option than Boston Brand, though not as universally strong. This ability is best used to counter characters that need to engage in combat to be effective, especially high cost dice or vanilla dice. Great examples of this sort of target would be: Gladiator, Red Dragon, or Wolverine. Keeping these character from fighting is going to make your opponent tear their hair out in frustration as they see their large purchases going to waste and if they do BEWD them off the field, they're going to have to pay a high cost to refield them next turn. Combined with a Magneto - Magnetic Monster of youre own, you're going to be able to heavily control your opponent's board, clearing the text of weenies and snapping up beefy characters like there's no tomorrow. It may be prudent to bring Deadman alongside a Card Crush Virus of your own in order to get him to refield if his effect in interrupted as well as add to the control element that he has going for him.

Deadman - Embracing Life
The rarest Deadman follows WizKids' usual logic by also being the most esoteric and utilitarian. When he is KO'd, you may reroll another of your characters that was also KO'd that turn and field it for free if you manage to roll a character face. This is an incredibly strange effect since it allows you to field a character on your opponent's turn, something that is largely impossible throughout the game at large. The key to using this character effectively is to pair him with another character with a very impactful "when fielded" effect. This means that with proper board manipulation and BEWD globals, you can get effects like Storm or "Gobby" to proc on both your and your opponent's turns. This effectively doubles the utility/burn you're going to be getting from these effects at the cost of a lot of energy and a bit of randomness. If you fail the roll, you're not going to be able to roll those characters the following turn since they will stay energy. That said, if you're controlling your bag or fielding heavy amounts of sidekicks, this won't be a particularly big issue and the effect acceleration may well be worth both the investment and the risk. As with all high-risk/high-reward effects, this is going to be a gamble that could backfire if you don't manage to make the rolls and it's guaranteed to eat into your energy supplies since it relies on you fielding Deadman multiple times as well as using BEWD multiple times, but it may well be worthwhile if you build around it. The less aggressive way to use this effect is simple as insurance to guarantee that a certain character isn't going to be removed by combat. If you engage both him and another character into a fight they will lose, you may BEWD your other character first and the combat damage will KO Deadman and proc his effect. This is especially strong on characters with high fielding costs, or great "while active" utility since it means your opponent is going to have a hard time removing hem with Knockouts.

Any method of removal is going to be very effective against Deadman. He constantly relies on either being active, or controlling when he is removed, so if you can use your own removal to take him out, you're going to have a much easier time of it. Cards like Storm, Solomon Grundy, Polymorph, or even Ultron Drones can interrupt his effects and keep him off the field for the key moments in which he needs to be there in order to work. Prismatic spray is another way to mess with his effects and clear your way for the entire turn, being especially useful against the common Deadman by cancelling his capture entirely. Another weakness that Deadman has is his high costs. If your opponent uses Deadman to control something low like a 3-cost character, you're already ahead in terms of efficiency. Capitalize on this fact by bringing more low cost characters to the table and trying to swarm over your opponent. Deadman can only handle so many characters and if you can beat that number or remove Deadman, you should be in the clear.

Deadman is one of the strongest characters for control, but his pricetag is... prohibitive. You can make use of him to stall out your opponent's big bruisers or keep your own characters running smoothly, but you're going to need to make a big investment, so make sure what you're getting out of Deadman is going to be worthwhile. If you can control a single 6+ cost die, you're going to be in a good spot, but you need to make sure what you're doing isn't going to leave you in a defensive lock while your opponent builds towards a win condition. Keeping your opponent down is only good if you're taking that time to build yourself up, meaning that you'll need to fin another way to edge the game out. Normally I cover characters that can be an integral part of explicit win conditions, but Deadman (outside of his rare) isn't really geared towards that, but rather enabling your other win conditions. You also need to worry about protection for him since his effects can be very sensitive to removal and keeping him running may be the difference between sitting back and ramping, or 16/15 Gladiator Hulking Out into your face. Just be sure you're investing your energy properly and keep in mind that Deadman is not always going to be the right answer to your opponents cards.

Thank you all for being patient. Make it Meta will still be on for this week, it just may have to wait til Saturday again while I get myself back on schedule. As I said earlier, I can't wait to reveal what I've been up to and I'm sure everyone else involved feels the same. Keep an eye out, and I'll see you all later this week!
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