We've all been there. You're walling up nicely, you have all 20 life, and you're two turns away from being able to swarm your opponent with an insurmountable number of bodies when your worst fears are realized... Hulk makes it onto the field. In an instant, turns of preparation and fielding is lost and your opponent sits there, smugly pushing all of his untouched dice forward for all of your life and more...
More recently, Dragons have become a similar threat. Lurking in the shadows until they amass a proper field and then bursting into flight, dragon-fire scorching your entire field to ashes. In one terrifying moment, all of your efforts have been foiled and you have gone from a dominant position to a nearly unavoidable loss...
Truly this is one of the worst feelings in the game, but no longer!

From the ashes of the most recent battlefield blasting arose a savior... A shadowy figure shrouded in a mysterious cloak of dragonskin and wielding naught but a brass flute. At first the people were perplexed, who was this man who could weather the flames of dragon-fire without so much as a scratch? But soon enough they would come to revere his power. He inspired the people and imbued their protectors with immunity to the dragon's awful breath. While he never spoke, nor revealed his true nature, he soon became known throughout the land as the Lord of D. for truly he commanded a power of these awful beasts. This man, a Dragonkin himself, was to be the downfall of his evil and scaled relations.

Enough storytelling, let's get down to the real meat of the issue.

Hulk is a beast... the Green Goliath will destroy your field the moment he comes into play and not relent until you've been beaten into submission. However, Lord of D. - Dragonkin is a direct counter to that AoE damage that I have not seen considered by anyone. His effect can outright stop a level 2-3 Hulk and at least burn out the energy reserves of a player with a level 1 Hulk. In order to make this work, though, you need to support him with shield characters that can follow up on a rampaging hulk and make your opponent pay for that choice. As a neat trick, Lord of D. also shuts down the three most common breath weapons: Green, Blue, and Red Dragons from clearing your field with the rise of Dragons' popularity after their performance at Origins.

Now that we have a base for our team, we need to look at how to support him. He's already a rare, so we're fairly limited in our options, but we still have a lot to work with. First thing I want to see is an end-game, what do I use as a beatstick to close the deal with my opponent? For that, I want Silver Surfer - Silverado. He's going to provide me shield ramp, a whopping 10/9 at his best, and a global to tempt my opponent into triggering their Hulk with their life. I also want protection and there's no better shield protection than Human Paladin - Emerald Enclave, especially since we're already using Lord of D. for something else.

Now we need removal, both for big boys to prevent burn teams from whittling us down and for sidekicks when we want to swing for our own killing blow. I'd like to go purely with shields as much as possible, so we're going to take two different characters that combine to form our removal: Captain America - Special Ops alongside the OP BAC Pandora's Box for very handy targeted removal without triggering knockouts or damage and Copper Dragon - Lesser Dragon, the only "good" Dragon, for a breath weapon of our own (if you can't beat them, have them join you!). With these two combined, we should have a good deal of removal, but we're running into a problem with a lot of high fielding costs... To deal with that, we have more shields with Constantine - Con Artist. He'll allow you to field characters for free with proper manipulation of your bag (he's printed as an uncommon and I'm sticking to that. Constantine is just too good to leave out of a shield team). I would go with Sangan to add to my ramp, but the goal is to avoid getting knocked out in the first place, so he's not going to fit.

:julop1medium: (Pandora's Box, why don't we have a site image for this?)

With most of the holes in our team filled, we're still missing two very important things: multiple low cost characters and non-shields. For that, we want to go with characters that have low fielding costs and give us "when fielded" effects since we're looking to be facing heavy AoE and we won't be able to protect them with Lord of D. As such, we're going to bring Morphing Jar - All Seeing Eye and Elf Wizard - Greater Order of the Gauntlet. Morphing Jar has the ability to mess with your opponents ramp in a big way and combo'd with Captain America, can safely take a character completely off the field and into the used pile without replacing it like Polymorph does. Elf Wizard is simply the most utilitarian 3-cost Bolt character we can afford, allowing us to purchase actions for cheaper and drag them up out of used when we block as well. If we want pure stats, we could take Scarlet Witch instead, and if we repeal the only one rare stipulation we could bring her rare as well who actually has a phenomenal "when fielded" ability on a team like this, so at least consider it. That all said, we're not actually planning on buying Pandora's Box, so if we want to make use of Elf Wizard, we're going to bring Crush Card Virus. This allows us to cycle Morphing Jar, Elf Wizard, and Captain America into our prep for more fielding while also providing even more non-damage removal.

Altogether we come to this beautiful anti-meta modge-podge:

:julop1medium: (Pandora's Box)

Overall, this team's strength is against and focused teams. It can weather almost any sort of Green Goliath related strategy with ease and performs similarly against Dragon flocks. While initially it looks like we have no way to shut down overcrush strategies, we actually have a very strong wall with Copper Dragon's incredible defense with which to absorb a ton of incoming damage. Our late-game removal is very strong with Captain America and Card Crush Virus, but that belies our two main weaknesses: early game aggression and burn teams that don't really worry about what you have fielded. If we get lucky, we can get a Copper Dragon out quickly to try and stave off early pushes, but our only real ramp is the Silver Surfer Global and taking hits is the last thing you want to do against early aggression. As for burn teams, we're completely SoL until we get Crush Card Virus or Captain up and running and both of them take a while to get to.

Nonetheless, this is a fun gimmick team that takes very little investment and can yield very surprising results. If you really want to get silly, consider subbing in Iron Man - Inventor somewhere and laugh as your opponent tries to scratch away at his nearly impenetrable defense. If you have any suggestions about how to improve the team, I'd love to hear it. I just had to get this idea out of my head and now I've done it