A Week Remembering VS System, Part 1

This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but in part due to the fantastic Comic Geek Speak Episode 700 being a close to three hour behemoth and Monday being one of my busier television nights, I’m going to throw two of these up on the blog today. In part because I want to write on this thing more (this is becoming a disturbing theme) and in part because I had a few recent discussions about the topic at hand, I’m going to spend this week talking about VS SYSTEM, the single greatest collectible card game ever made, that died quietly at the end of last year. I’m going to reminisce about my five favorite matches. First up is the very first tournament I ever played, the inaugural Random Punks hobby league.

Random Punks: Heralds of Galactus/Inhumans (Me) vs. High Voltage (Squadron Supreme/Other Stuff)

Random Punks is a format in which rares are not allowed in the game and decks must be built using only common and uncommon cards. The choice of playing a Heralds of Galactus/Inhumans team-up deck that is designed to gain endurance and stall was a simple one for a few reasons. Some of the true adages of VS System deck building is to have character search cards and oversized characters for their cost. Most of the cards that give you these advantages are rare. The Heralds of Galactus team has an uncommon search card (Kindred Sprits, which has the added bonus of searching for two characters at the detriment of limiting your draw capabilities) and at that point in time had the only non-rare 8 cost character (Tyrant, The Original Herald). There was also the added bonus of the Heralds’ life gaining abilities, and some nice card drawing choices. The Inhumans added the extra flair of using Franklin Richards, Creator of Counter-Earth to move important cosmic characters to the hidden area, and Human Torch, The Invisible Man to allow for the team to be reinforced and mitigate damage. I do not have a decklist for the deck anymore, but I can give a list that will give an idea of what the deck was trying to do.

Characters:

4x Lockjaw, Inhuman’s Best Friend

4x Franklin Richards, Creator of Counter Earth

1x Silver Surfer, Skyrider of the Spaceways

4x Frankie Raye <> Nova, Soul Searcher

4x Human Torch, The Invisible Man

1x Morg, Corrupt Destroyer

3x Air-Walker, Harbinger of Despair

1x Silver Surfer, Righteous Protector

3x Destroyer, Harbinger of Devastation

3x Galactus, The Maker

2x Tyrant, The Original Herald

Plot Twists:

3x Cosmic Necessity

3x Relentless Onslaught

4x Kindred Spirits

4x The Power Cosmic Unleashed

4x Extended Family, Team-Up

4x Cover Fire

2x A Proud Zinco Product

Locations:

3x Elemental Converters

2x World Eater Apparatus

2x Soul World

Once again, this list is most likely not accurate. A couple of specific thoughts about cards in the deck:

Cover Fire: This card is STUPID GOOD in this deck on this team. Every single character but Franklin Richards has range (Yes, even Lockjaw). If the deck is working, Franklin is sending every character into the hidden area every turn starting with three, so on turn five it would be the opponent’s initiative (the deck wants to go second because Destroyer is oversized and Tyrant wrecks people since no one else has an 8), when the 8/11 monster Air-Walker, Harbinger of Despair is the only visible character on your field and you have some Cover Fires as backup, they are going to get brick walled. This allows you to foster board presence (which is important for both Cover Fire and the exhaustion effects of World-Eater Apparatus and Cosmic Necessity) and save endurance to last until 8. Of course, the problem with choosing evens is the fact that Galactus, The Maker almost never gets a chance to activate, but that’s not a big deal.

Destroyer, Harbinger of Devastation: A common six drop that gets large enough to stun sevens? Yes, please. The Power Cosmic Unleashed loves this guy, especially because you can’t use it until combat, so it usually surprises people and leads to a six on six one-way stun. That’s often the beginning of the end.

Cosmic Necessity: Making your opponents choose can often lead to good things. The choice offered by Cosmic Necessity (either gaining five endurance or drawing two cards) directly led to every one of my wins during that tournament. The only person that made me gain endurance lost because of it (more on that later), and the cards I drew were almost always exactly what I needed to finish my opponent off. It’s the perfect card for this format.

THE MATCH

Things went well for both of us in this game. I hit my drops in concert, with Lockjaw leading to Franklin, and Franklin shipping Frankie Raye to the hidden area to get my card draw mojo going early. I also hit my team-up early, which helped immensely. Bryan took the endurance lead early thanks to the giant Melissa Gold <> Songbird, Sonic Carapace. Her effect allowed me to reuse a Cosmic Necessity for a total of ten endurance gain. This was significant, especially considering High Voltage and its outside combat endurance burn capabilities. Worldeater Apparatus was humming along, and we reached the war of attrition stage, which huge characters on each side (my Destroyer, his Albert Gaines <> Nuke, Atomic Powerhouse). We reached eight, Tyrant did his thing, and both of us were pushed into the negatives. Golden Archer was burning for six. Black Panther was using his Advanced Hardware to burn for three. I ended up winning by about two endurance (we’re talking -13 to -11, or something in that range) thanks to Worldeater and that double Cosmic Necessity, as well as Human Torch’s reinforcement. It was enough to weather the storm and come out on top thanks to the combined 49 attack of my 6, 7, and 8 drops. I ended up winning my first ever tournament and coming away with a playmat and two EA Mobilizes.

Now, I’m aware of a couple things. One, the fact that I never update this thing means that no one is going to read it. Two, the few people that might due to some self serving Twitter/Facebook links won’t care one lick about the game or understand half the things I’m talking about here.  Such is the cross to bear for niche entertainment. Do stay tuned. I should hopefully finish that story soon (it hasn’t been updated due to lack of time, not lack of interest) and talk about some other things in the (hopefully) near future.

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This post was written to the tune of MUTEMATH’s Armistice


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