Hey all,

Been awhile since I posted as vacations and, frankly, life has gotten in the way of some of my tourney playing. I had surgery on the morning of 8/6 but a buddy of mine was heading out to his first tourney and so I wanted to be there. I went despite not really being cleared by the doctors to do, well, much other than sleep. I used four cards that are part of my favorite team: Black Widow-Tsarina, Kobold-Greater Humanoid, Professor X- Recruiting Young and Wolverine- Canucklehead and just tried to build something from there but, let's be honest, that is a pretty damn great basis.

So I pulled some guys out that I hadn't used but had encountered in some nasty ways as of late: The Atom- Science Advisor, Spiderman- Webslinger, Beast- Not Your Average Pretty Face and The Hulk- Green Goliath (who I surprisingly haven't really sprung out much). I sprung a second big guy with Wolverine as our group has really started to put in a lot of work towards incorporating stoppers on each team (lots of Loki's abound) so I figure somebody can pick their poison.

My first game is against one of my best buds, Paul S. He was running one of his classic teams, really build around direct damaging the hell out of me. I got hit a lot early with an unblockable Wolverine- Canucklehead as well. We have played some tight games and he's just fun to play against as we'll both talk strategy during the game. I dropped in life VERY quickly, down to 8 before I really had much going. However, I was able, on turn 5 to spring (thanks to LOTS of spawn and PxG help) both Hulk and Wolverine. I started to hit him VERY hard, keeping Hulk back as a blocker/retaliator while running my Widows and Wolverines through (using 3 Kobolds to generate energy while leaving one in the field to keep the churn going). I finally took a lead thanks to Hulk but his field was building and he chipped me down to 2 life, with him having 5 in the field and me with just 3, but Hulk was one. He held off attacking and I had a big turn of dice with PxG, swarm and a REALLY great draw that got two Widows, 1 Hulk and 1 Wolverine into play. His blockers were going to have my end up 1 point short of a win so I had 1 extra sidekick to re-roll and took the shot: SIDEKICK!!! Our game ended 2-0 with about 25 minutes left on the 40 minute clock. Hulk really saved me through his blocking and pinging...a really nice card.

So I sat and observed the game next to me and watched Other Paul play a nasty combo of Angel, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier that I hadn't really experienced/heard of. His first swing against the guy next to me (a new player with our group, but an awesome guy named Darrius) was for something like 15 or 18 points. It was nasty and really put Darrius and his plans into a rough spot. We had enough guys that I likely wouldn't have to play every winner and after seeing that play, I was really hoping to NOT play Other Paul. Their game ended, as did the others. Our DM had the winners roll off and I got to play...Other Paul. Damn!

I can't tell you anything else he had on that team but those three cards, along with Infiltrate as a BAC, really made for a nasty team. I knew I had to ramp up as quickly as possible. So in our game, and this is a theme for my play, I had to go 2nd. In fact, no joke, I have only gone first on 22% of my matches in 7 months of tourneys. So I started behind the 8-ball as he picked up an Angel to open. I bought 2 Kobolds, used his Villainous Pact and my PXG to get dice over. He picked up a Nick Fury and an Infiltrate on his turn and I could already see where this was going. I was able to buy a Wolverine this turn and fielded a Kobold. We started churning and it was a race for a big swing. And he got a cheap unblocked Angel at me first with double damage and double damange for 12 points. I admit I was really stunned at how he was able to boost Angel. And so I had to battle back. I started pushing EVERYthing I could, ramping dice rapidly through Pact and PXG while running Wolverine through, using Swarm and buying Black Widows. It's weird to say that the 5 and 6 points that Wolverine was doing were simply chipping away at my opponent but that's what it took.

Finally, the helicarrier is out, Nick Fury is out and my opponent is rolling Infiltrate and 2 Angels...first roll: 2 energy on Infiltrate and energy on both Angels. Whew...second roll: SAME RESULT!!!! He can't get anything done and out.

I'm able to hit REALLY hard by fielding free Tsarinas (2 of them), 2 free Kobolds and a Wolverine. I can't wait sending Wolverine unblockable so I pushed 2 sidekicks, 3 Tsarinas, 2 Kobolds and Wolverine at his field of Nick Fury, Helicarrier and 2 sidekicks and NOBODY can spin down. 6 points from Tsarina's ability and he blocks what he can but it's not enough...big win just before it could've gone the other way. It was another fast game as you can imagine in that arms race.

Third and final game and I face the only other undefeated player. Thus far, Hulk won one game for me, Wolvy (with some Tsarina help) the other so what will the final bring? I face Evan in his farewell game, a student who likely won't be back to play until Christmas Break. He's running a team built around direct damage from villain teamwork (ultimately building to super rare Thanos with overcrush) as well as some big defensive help from a super rare Groot. He's running a more control and stall team and immediately puts his sights on my Wolverine with his Loki. I ramp early, he fields some Black Mantas, Cheetahs and something else but he's dying to get a Loki on Wolverine. So I buy a Wolverine as a distraction, get him out once, run him through BUT in the meantime I picked up a couple Hulks and just field them but don't push yet. He's much more concerned by Wolverine so Loki goes there and I unleash the Hulks. Two quick rounds of Hulk's destroying really hurt him. I'm up 14-8 and he goes for a very big swing with 3 KO Gamorras and Black Manta against my Widow-Tsarina and Hulks. I decide to let the lowest level Gamoorras through and block just the second level one with Widow. I go down to 6 points but look across at a field with just 1 blocker and here I sit with 2 Hulks, roll 3 Tsarinas and 2 Kobolds while getting just energy from my Wolvy (perfect!) and it's game over!!!

I win the tourney but my deck has some flaws that can easily be fixed. Right off the bat, I need to look at Nick Fury to boost my unblocked Avengers, the new Captain America to cut down on some possible big swings and maybe Wasp to ping my own Hulk (didn't quite realize I could do this). The guys that just did nothing for me are pretty obvious: Beast, Atom and Spiderman. I probably need to look at my BAC but I admit that I'm pretty neglectful of them. I had Rally and Transport here for things that could mildly help me and, more importantly, NOT help my opponents. I have to get more confident with BAC.