A Syndicate more Sinister


After Marvel’s Secret Invasion, it seems that the current trend in the Marvel Universe is to allow the Bad Guys to actually Rule the World. I think it started off with Thunderbolts, it was a good idea and it still is up to now. (This is of course Marvel we are talking about. DC had Suicide Squad way before Marvel had T-bolts). So, with that in mind, I looked around for the two teams that would have people most likely to end up as your boss, should they take over the world.

I’m a fan of the Classic Super-villain team-up, so I had to use Sinister Syndicate. They are easy enough to use, straight foward in their purpose of defeating the Spider and taking over New York. But which team would be able to support this team’s knack for violence and destruction. Enter…

Crime Lords.

Sure enough, it wasn’t too long ago that they already joined forces “Honor Among Thieves” and all that, this time around, let’s see if we can do something a little more tricky than straightforward strongarm tactics. Both teams received a bunch of new cards recently. Sinister Syndicate during Marvel Teamup and Crime Lords in Marvel Universe. Their upgrades pretty much meant new headaches for their opponents as they shifted their tactics. Crime Lords are now a little more offensive and Sinister Syndicate got a lot more offensive. So what makes them any different from before?

They got a lot trickier in their attacks. They have replaced the full frontal assault to attacks coming from any direction and catching your opponents offguard. In fact, they can now punish opponents who try to attack them, thinking they would be weak defensively. The question now is, can you handle them?

“The Other Crime Syndicate”


3x Basilisk, Basil Elks

2x Slyde, Jalome Beacher

2x Doctor Faustus, Johann Fennhoff

3x Trapster, Peter Petruski

3 x Black Tarantula, Carlos Lamuerto

4 x Red Skull, Aleksander Lukin

2x Albert Malik <> Red Skull, Axis of Evil

2x Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius

3x Kingpin, War Profiteer

3x Green Goblin, Norman Osborn

2x Red Skull, Johann Shmidt

2x Venom, Eddie Brock

1x Taskmaster, Mnemonic Assassin

2x Hulk, Joe Fixit


2x Doc Ock’s Lab

Plot Twist:

3x Flying Kick

3x Crackshot

3x Nasty Surprise

3x What are Friends For?

3x Planet of the Symbiotes

3x No Man Escapes the Manhunters

3x Assault on Hellicarrier 13

3x The Contract, Team-up

Total: 60 cards

How this deck works:

It’s pretty much a basic attack deck, look for an opening and stick it to your opponent. However, the deck shines when you need to take out your opponent’s characters. From hidden hate to exhaust tricks, to KO, this deck pretty much has it all. To counter hidden characters, use Slyde and Basilisk in conjunction. For control of characters, you have Basilisk and Trapster early on. Then Doc Ock 4 and Assault on Hellicarrier 13 for the later turns. Character KO comes in the form of Kingpin on 4, Green goblin on 5, Venom on 6. All of them forces your opponent to think twice about their formation. Defensive tricks are in the form of 3 and 5 drop Red Skull, and Joe Fixit. Taskmaster will provide extra muscle as he copies the numbers of a chunky 7 drop. All the Plot Twists are combat plot twists, allowing the player to simply keep up the pressure, and using the lower cost characters to take out the bigger characters or those that shield the bigger characters, you give your own characters the chance to pull off their tricks.

After that, the deck pretty much runs itself. There’s really not much to do about, just make sure that you can control your opponent’s moves.

Let’s see what the next week brings in.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Revenge of the Comeback’s Vengeance

 After a few months of twiddling and fiddling with my cards, I finally decided to make one deck that’s Golden Age legal using pretty much all the cards I have. I decided on using Revenge Squad.  The rationale? Underrated, underused and tricky bunch of characters. So keeping that in mind, I chose most of the characters that had something to do with ongoing Plot Twists and General mayhem. (Again… non-rare restriction applies of course.) Unfortunately, without any kind of playtesting done on it, I expect a lot of holes and problems to pop up soon enough. But for now, this is the deck I’m working with:

 “Ongoing Revenge”

Characters: 33

3 x Prankster, Oswald Loomis

3 x Winslow Schott <> Toyman, Child’s Play

2 x Mr. Mxyzptlk, Fifth Dimension Imp 

3 x Atomic Skull, Joe Martin

2 x Terra Man, Toby Manning

3x Silver Banshee, Siobahn McDougal

2 x Ultraman, Despot of Kandor

3 x Metallo, Kryptonite Heart

2 x Livewire, Leslie Willis

4 x Preus, Citizen’s Patrol

2 x Eradicator, Dr. David Connor

1 x Doomsday, Evolution Advanced

2 x Brainiac 13, B-13


3 x Graveyard of Solitude

Plot Twists:

3 x Standoff

3 x Bizarro Ray

3 x In Evil Star’s Evil Clutches

3 x Trapped in the Sci-cells

3 x Spirit of Nabu

3 x Battle for Metropolis

3 x Future Shock

3 x Generic Combat pump (Nasty, Flying Kick, etc)

Total: 60 cards


    This would have been better if I included rares, ir if I was able to score some of the DCX cards. Of course, comparing Braniac 13 Mental Giant, to Atomic Skull or Terra-man might be underwhelming. Main downside of Mental Giant is that you are required to Activate, while the other two don’t. Ruin would’ve made searching for Ongoing PTs really fast. But I got hooked to Silver Banshee’s KO ability. With IESEC, you can make sure they can’t hurt Banshee as she stays in the support row, behind a Terra-man.

     Admittedly, the next few drops make me want to use rares. Between the 4 drop Maxima and the Atomic Skull, they push for great reasons to use the rares. Either get a growing Maxima or stun outside combat, they really punish your oppnents. But Metallo is nice for extra burn and Livewire can hopefully make up as a smaller Maxima. 5 drop is tempting to just use Henshaw and take out  card after card. But Preus excels, he gets a +2 ATK for each Battle for Metropolis in play. It’s tempting just to see how big these growers can get. At 6, I went more for meta than anything. Brainiac of course is the primary 6 drop here, but he is rare. So I dealt with Meta, Location hate, from Eradictor, and Chunk, from Doomsday. Darkseid is a contender, and if you are looking for fun (and a lot of surprised looks), throw in Satannus (yes, he is 6 cost for 6/6…).

    At 7 drop, B-13 is a larger version of Mental Giant with the same ability. Gog with his burn tricks would be nice, but he’s too underpowered to be useful in the current power levels. Solaris at 8 should be ideal, but unless you can somehow reach the 8th turn, we’re looking at a dead card.

    Ongoing PTs were pretty much chosen either for combat, or utility. IESEC is a useful card to control opposing fliers, and makes sure that resource row into a “Reservist” resource row. Not many combat pumps though, so I’m considering that I might be in trouble when it comes to good old fashioned beating down.

     Will try out a few games later, see what else I can tweak.

Published in: on August 16, 2008 at 1:09 am  Comments (1)  

On Being Cheap and Redesigning Classics

Again, we look at VS, since this is the game I’m currently neck deep in attention to. With trying to manage and help the new players. (As of last count, they were 3, rumors have it that they are 5…) , and coming up with decks to keep myself out of ennui, since we’ve returned to the land of Golden Age, it means that all my cards are practically fair game. So before we start to making Golden Age decks, the first I always check is budget. As far as I can tell, we have a decent gaming population among the student body here. So monetary consideration is a big thing here. (Well, fine… it is to me.) Until lately, I numbered among the throng of students, with no steady income, I couldn’t get a lot of cards. (Up till now, my parents still have no idea how I get cards and how much they cost.) So a shoestring budget is pretty much hurt by expensive rares. Back when I was still playing Magic: The Gathering, I decided to make a deck purely out of commons and uncommons, just for the heck of it. Of course, it had a theme, each creature in the deck could deal exactly 1 point of damage to either a player or one of his creatures. The rest were mana sources and countering spells. At the time, I had only one rare in that deck. I calculated the cost. It was around 150 pesos for 60 cards. That’s roughly, $5. (back then, it was 30 pesos to $1). I had fun with that deck. Sure it didn’t win tourneys, but it was enough to annoy, and beat the top decks at the time. From then on, I started to make decks that were less and less rare intensive. As long as I had fun, I keep the deck.

That habit crossed over to a lot of other card games, and it is the primary reason why I stop playing other card games, if the game becomes, “What expensive rare can you pull out to stop my expensive rare?” then it automatically gets a thumbs down from me. I believe I dropped at least 5 CCGs due to that philosophy. Most people would say that I have an unrealistic belief. Maybe, but if you want players to play your game, your game should not be painful on the wallet for them to have fun. If everyone has to have that rare in their deck, then it starts to get out of hand. It doesn’t hurt if it’s a useful common. But understanding market economy and the Laws of Supply and Demand. You know it will drive prices up the wall, and it becomes “Who has the deeper wallet?” Not a good idea. VS came around years back, I never wanted to play it. After Overpower, and the X-men card game fiasco (yep, tried it… thankfully didn’t buy that game), I had low expectations with VS. Plus, the teams in Marvel Origins did not suit my taste. Then they announced the release of Spider-man. The Sinister Syndicate took my interest. And when the set came out. I started to make a deck.

Again, the commons and uncommons saved the game. I was hooked on VS, ignoring the rares, I tried to make the best deck possible. Admittedly, it was challenging to see a Savage Beatdown slapped down on you from the other side of the table. But hey… creativity comes in adversity. (Or so they keep telling me.) So over the years of playing VS, all I try to do is look at the commons and uncommons.

So now, as I go back to the beginning. (Yes, Marvel Origins and all the teams) I start making decks that will hopefully integrate all the new and fun cards that have been released over the years.

So first project is an X-men deck, and a Fantastic Four deck… But for my Hobby League, I need to get my Revenge Squad up and running again. I’ll try to update as often as I can, and maybe link to articles that I write from time to time.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

New players are important

There’s something to be happy about these days.

Our VS group is getting new players. I didn’t realize that card games eventually have their own ways of celebrating the arrival of new players. Much like real life rejoices each new birth, the CCG community gather to welcome new players.

Of course, at this point in time, I have to ask the older players to tone down most of their decks. I know this might be considered as a condescending type attitude, but not all players are competitive, some (like me) are more casual, and would much rather have fun playing a game that deals with superheroes and supervillains. So what do I expect today?

I’m hoping that everyone just has plain old fun. Admittedly, I’m getting stuck in deck building because I’m not having just as much fun as before. It used to be that I had fun looking at the combos of the game, right now, I can feel it starting to get a little stale. Plus, not getting cards due to print run shortages was kind of a downer. Ah well, this time, the influx of new players who want to play got me back up again. Of course, I’ll still be using my old decks. Heck, I’m reconstructing an old deck at 3 in the morning…

So what do I have for our new players? I have my basic “Jungle” deck (a mix of Spider-Friends and Sinister Syndicate), my Titans-Legion deck, my Juggernaut-Fatal 5 deck, and maybe either a basic Revenge Squad deck or something.

Why do I even bother telling people to moderate and not let them play full force? Shock Value. Dropping a Super deck in front of people who are just starting to play the game can be disheartening or a challenge. Very few people would see it as a challenge, most get scared and stop altogether. I’ve seen it happen at least once already. The Hobby League of that area was just starting out, and we have a lot of new players, mostly college students, just starting to play the game. Then you have a bunch of players from another locale come in with Top Tier decks. They won pretty much every hobby league, giving the new players no chance. That was enough for them, they packed up, didn’t buy anymore cards and shifted to other pursuits.

I learned a lot from that experience. If you want a game to flourish, you must as a player and as a tournament organizer know how to keep the new players interested. Having their decks crushed week after week is not a good way to keep new players happy, let them get a chance to win. Help them with their decks, it won’t kill you.

A few weeks ago (maybe close to two months), I met one of the players from that league. He still plays VS, that I’m thankful for. And he told me one thing, that made me proud that I did the right thing. “I still remember your deck, it had a janky combo, but it made me think and it surprised me enough that I kept playing, hoping that I get to meet you again.” We did battle that night in the hobby league. I lost and he was not “Welcomed into the Jungle”, but all the while, he kept telling me… “I want to fight your old deck. Update it and I want to see what new tricks you can come up with.”

So at 3 AM, I want to update an old deck. But the new players come first. I need to get my Titans-Legion rebuilt. After all, if they want to learn how to play, I should lend them a deck that can easily be played, and still be surprising to play against.

As to why I am cheap when it comes to deck building?

That is another blog entry.

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 3:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hello world!

Well, after that welcome from the regular Hello World, I guess we do have to fix this up a little. Not really into intros and all that, but I guess a little knowledge never hurt anyone.

I’ve been a gamer for most of my life, my earliest recollection was actually playing on the Apple IIc. then shifted to the IBM PC for several years and then to pen and paper RPGs, made the leap to CCGs around M:TG Revised. Up til now, I’m still a fan of all three mediums, and add consoles and handhelds to that mix.

I’ll most likely be talking about CCGs (Collectible Card Games) at least 75% of the time here, with the most common topic being VS by UDE. Other card games that might get mentioned or discussed are Bleach, Overpower, L5R, etc. From time to time, I might suddenly discuss other games, PCs, PS2, NDS, Tabletops, etc…

Not that it’s a crime or anything.

I’ll get started, like all good things… Tomorrow.

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment