From the Shadows

•February 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The week before last turned out to be a false start, trying to organise something designed to be a random spew didn’t enthuse me towards this most fulfilling of activities. Finishing the Bizarro articles now seems a little redundant, with the first mega-weekend out of the way, but it served its purpose in allowing me to work out just how much bloggage my life can handle. I’m sorry to have had been away, but there’s just so much work to be done in term time, with the getting ready to go to uni, and A-levels and all 😦

However, getting noticed and linked by both Brian Foley and Rian Fike has shown me that what I write does get noticed, and with blog views holding steady (even spiking) during my absence, I’ve decided it’s a duty I want to take to provide you guys with some more interesting stuff… And to start it off, here’s a little pet project I’ve started that I want to tease you with a preview from:

My Version of Marvel Universe

I’ll leave you with the card image for now, and tell you more about this blog-project tomorrow:

Points Store Update!

Yes, you heard me right. Alongside the restocking of X-Men Assemble! (and Bishop, for some strange reason) come the 6-elite series cards, and two of the expected three Points Store exclusives (wtf is up with that, lol)… Breeding Pens doesn’t look to hot, but I’m feeling some serious Holocaust love… Makes picking up those cheap DWF boxes I found even more tempting, if just for the points… Hmmm…

MEMO TO SELF: Build Doom Patrol / Holocaust deck

These new memo things are more for me than for you, and serve as reminders to give me something interesting to talk about when I’m unable to think of anything else 😛

The Mega-Weekend Concludes

Still waiting to officially hear the fallout, and see the top 8 decklists; but with over 100 players the first VS System Megaweekend of the Year has drawn to a close. Check out Carlos the Dwarf’s blog at www.vs-blog.com, www.vsrealms.com and www.vssystem.com for more information! Looked like a blast, and makes me want to make my way down to the London UK BYOS Nationals more than ever! It’s just a case of keeping the parents sweet, and willing to act as a parental taxi… Maybe I should’ve got some driving lessons instead of my playset of Mobilize… NAH 😛

BYOS Decks

Still no idea what I’m going to take, I’ve built and have been testing:

Wild Vomit
Checkmate/Villains United
Common Enemy
Brave and the Bold
Good Guys

and there’s a load more decks I want to build and test with and against:

Some sort of Squadron Supreme Varient
Avengers Reservist
Brotherhood Reservist
TNB
Faces of Evil
MKKO
Venom Burn
Sinister Syndicate Beats [MTU]
Darkseid’s Elite Substabuse [DLS]
World’s Finest
That-Fantastic-Four-Deck-That-Carlos-Uses
Punisher [MVL]
Riddler Abuse [DCL]
And they’re just the ones I can think of off the top of my head….

Hmmm…. Looks like I’ll be catchin you guys tomorrow, I need to order some singles ¬_¬”

~ TXC

 PS: Mad props to everyone who went to, and helped in running the Mega Weekend; even though there was no official coverage and I couldn’t go for obvious reasons (such as the Atlantic Ocean), it has (in conjunction with the points store update) refuelled my lust for VS! Bring on 2008 and MVU!!!!

…. or not.

•February 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’ve spent the past five hours writing biology coursework, and I’m about halfway through. As much as I’d love to write the rest of the Bizarro article tonight (an essay on something a lot more interesting than trampling and plants) I think I need to kick back for a bit and watch some Japanese cartoons. Just started watching Elfin Lied. Super graphic, but it’s awesomegood. I’ve come to the conclusion that a schedule isn’t the best plan for a one-man blog. Maybe on VS System.com, where they get one guy to do each day of the week, but not here with just lil old me churning out content.

I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone, but I really wouldn’t enjoy writing it tonight, and it would show in the article. No article with the promise of a better one starting tomorrow is a lot better than a half-baked effort imo. I think I’ll have a break each week from Fri-Sun to give me time to get work and stuff out of the way, and concentrate on the blog during the week. I’ve loved getting back into it, but it takes up time like everything in my life. I wish I had an extra hour in the day, because then the blog could always have it 😛

Anyways, just to give you some kind of VS fix, I’ll let you know what I managed to procure on eBay today:

4x Against all Odds ($4.00 each)
4x Professor Emil Hamilton <> Ruin (2 @ $4.00 each and 2 foil @ $5.00 each which is a great price imo)
aaaaand 1x Carnage, Psychopath ($3.50)

And I also won 20 metal Dark Elf Executioners for Warhammer, half price on buying them new; but that’s not what this blog is for 😛

Have fun,
Don’t give up hope, the end of the article will come,
And if you get the chance, find and watch Elfin Lied (not recommended for under 18s :P)
~ TXC

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

•February 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Had some problems with my BT Home Hub last night, so the internet was a no go 😦 Took about two hours to get to someone who could actually tell me how to work out what was wrong :S Therefore, expect part 4 of Arsenal of Bizarro tonight…. possibly with part 5 tacked onto it, dependant on time when I get the rest of this homework done.

At least I got to do some testing for the BYOS UK National tournament thing I may or may not be attending, dependant on just how poor I am at the time 😛

Catchya in about 9 hours,
~ TXC

Bizarro Week: Thurs ~ Arsenal of… Bizarro!? Part 3

•January 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

Well, I’ve just finished correcting a piece of physics coursework, so it’s that time of day again…. the time of day where I spew some VS related words onto a page, and by some miracle they form something that vaguely resembles a mildly informative article. Anyway, my creative spew is in full flow, so lets drip on down to…

MVL

Marvel Legends. The set of kings. The first set to truly introduce the concept of Legendary characters. What gems does it contain for Bizarro? Well obviously the Wolverine support set which is a very popular suite for Bizarro decks to run, but what else lurks within it’s very-limited numbers? I’m not too sure, so just let me get the list of cards I typed up in my lunch break…. Ah, there we are…. Oooo, there’s some nice ‘uns there…. But there’s quite a few of them… Looks like this will going on to four parts…. or even five, lol ¬_¬ Hold onto your hats, as here we go, for our third delve into the wonderful, wild, Bizarro World!

The first two cards on my list aren’t particularly low profile, they’re Adamantium Claws and Berserker Rage, both excellent cards taken from Wolverine’s support suite. Adamantium Claws is a straight +4 ATK pump on Bizarro, no questions asked, which is always good, but remember to look at the other character-stamped pumps before slapping it straight into your pile. However, the fact that it can interact with the six-drop Wolverine from MTU makes it a solid choice regardless. Berserker Rage is a bit of a no-brainer to be honest. Bizarro comes into with 11 ATK to begin with, so stunning opposing characters shouldn’t be a problem, and the various DEF pumps available for during combat (Fury of the Amazons, Fearless etc.) can allow the big B to survive to swing again. One big advantage Berserker Rage has over many other readying effects is that the Bizarro you target is free to swing and more importantly cause breakthrough for a second time.

Next up is Bodyslide, which can serve as an unorthodox way to save Ahmed Samsarra if you’re under threat of being kinged; or to allow you to squeeze an extra activation out of Black Thorn. However, to make it worth including for either of these purposes you would have to be runnning nearly a playset, as you will be searching out the more important utility cards with Four Freedoms Plazas. It looks exciting on paper, but in a straight Bizarro deck, its number of purposes, and thus its levels of usefulness, are strictly limited.

Cleansing Flame would be counterproductive to a deck as reliant on its support row as this…. if it actually worked. When you recruit Bizarro he’s still just Bizarro; not Bizarro Jean Grey Batman as he would be as soon as he hits the field; which leaves Cleansing Flame high and dry.

The merits of Healing Factor have been discussed in previous parts of the article, but I’ll recap it here for those of you too lazy to find the comments dispersed throughout the previous 2500+ words. It’s amazing. Put simply, a straight recover effect with no strings attached, and some bonus endurance as a thankyou is quite frankly insane in this deck. They can force their way through Bizarro the first time, but he’ll just flip back up to take some more punishment and increase you endurance total while he’s at it. Intense stuff.

Next up are a pair of support cards for the lovely Jean Grey that DO work alongside Bizarro. Splintering Consciousness is a good card drawing choice for those of you loathe to blow up your valuable resource row with Genosha. However, you have to ask yourself, do you value two random cards over a card like Healing Factor that you could be running its place? In most Bizarro builds the answer is no: a slot spent on Splintering Consciousness would be better spent on a single copy of a Silver Bullet for searching with 4FP, or a fourth copy of a must-have plot twist or character. The second card that works off our red-headed mutant Bizarro is Telepathic Suppression. It acts as another form of negation, preventing a character you control from being targetted for the duration of an attack. To be fair, despite its lower cost, you won’t be playing it until turn four when Bizarro enters play; and in most circumstances I would rather have a From the Darkness or Pathetic Attempt. However, a single copy to fetch with 4FP can’t hurt, as you can always target opposing characters with it to stop key plot twists, such as combat pumps, resolving.

Sentinel Mark VII looks good on paper with its character stunning effect, but often the smallest character will have been stunned by Bizarro already, allowing him to pinball into another character courtesy of Berseker Rage. I’d much rather have a Wolverine, Canucklehead; DWF Bizarro 6; or Dreadnought Tank on turn 6 than this purple hunk of metal.

Up next is Juggernaut’s Helmet. It’s a free Savage Beatdown on every attack he makes, with untargetability tacked onto it. It’s quite frankly one of the best pieces of equipment you could be slapping down onto Bizarro, the only problem being that it leaves him open to targetting while he’s face-down; which being equipped with a B.P.R.D Singal Device would prevent… However, with negation available on demand, it shouldn’t be much of a problem, and… well… +5 ATK!?

Genosha’s up next. Four cards is an awful lot, but again it’s the quality over quantity debate. Would you rather have a better card that you’ve hand picked, or a location that costs you a resource? I suppose any characters you control can be turned into +1/+1 pumps, as they can be used to power-up Bizarro (+2/+2 with Abe Sapien) but wouldn’t you just rather have an Indestructible or Fury of the Amazons to fix the attack in your favour outright?

A Human Juggernaut doesn’t strike me as too exciting, as I’m pretty sure we just worked out that keeping your resources intact until at least turn 5 is a good thing… A wasted slot, as it doesn’t provide much of an advantage for the deck, as KOing your own resources simply locks out portions of your Plot Twist and Location suite, which can effectively be cutting your own throat.

Iron Extraction is a great, straight KO effect; however it suffers from having to target. You could always run a few to draw out negation (KOing a character if it doesn’t) but to be honest, once Bizarro starts delivering the beats their field should be in enough of a mess already to make further damage superfluous. Metallic Assault however is interesting, but again can be a double-edged sword in a deck featuring Ahmed Samsarra; especially if your opponent can take out Black Thorn on the chain. That’s a game loss right there, unless you KO Bizarro who the deck kinda needs to function.

Unstoppable lets Bizarro multi-stun, and is definately a great card to use against decks who will be trying to hide characters from the big B. More stuns for your buck is definately a good thing, and it’s cheaper than equipping him with a Scattergun (and leaves room from Juggernaut’s helmet). Threshold of 4 means it comes online the same turn as Bizarro hits play, so there shouldn’t be any problems with it sitting in hand as a dead hand.

Finally for today, Luke Cage, Hired Hero and Iron Fist, Hired Hero pump not only each other, but Bizarro. I haven’t personally had chance to test them, but I really can’t see them being any more beneficial than the curve of Abe Sapien into a more solid 6-drop. If your a fan of Iron Fist you could always run a copy just to see him being useful for once, but apart from that the Heroes for Hire aren’t too hot in a deck with the Bizmesiter.

 …….

I’ve just hit halfway through MVL and I can see that my word count has already hit 1300…. As a package arrived for me today containing the rest of the stuff I needed to build BS Rush (Brother/Sinister Syndicate) I’m intending to take the rest of the evening off to build and have a few games with that. I hope you’ll forgive me…

I won’t be back tomorrow night, but come Saturday and Sunday evening I promise parts 4 and 5 will be bigger, badder and better…. I’m predicting that each will run to at least 2000 words for those of you who like a bit of meat in your articles, as I still have the remainder of MVL to cover, as well as DCL and MAA. Thankfully, there’s still quite a bit of time before the Mega-Weekend so my rantings will remain relevant.

Stay safe,
Have a great Friday,
~ TXC

Best Day Evar

•January 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I just wanted to thank all you guys who’ve been viewing the blog, it had its best day ever yesterday with a grand total of 54 views. It’s hardly thousands of people, but it means a lot to me 😛

I’m off to school now, and provided I can get my Physics coursework and Maths homework finished early, we’re all set for part 3 of the Bizarro article tonight (well, UK tonight anyway, I don’t know what time it is in the US :P),

Cya then,
~ TXC

Yay for UDE!

•January 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Almost forgot in all of the excitement of writing 1500+ more words on Bizarro fluff 😛

I arrived home to a white cardboard envelope, and I knew what it must contain from various reports all over the interweb. I ripped the open-tab and slid open the envelope to reveal a single foil card. Oh my beautiful points-store Magneto! How I have longed for thee! Now I just need my Rogue and X-Men Assembles to get here, and I can keep lovin’ the UDE like I should 😀

May all your points store promos arrive promptly,
~ TXC

PS: Speaking of which, apparently the WOW players are getting a sexy new action figure in the Points Store, for the bargain price of only 15000 points! No picture yet, so I’ll hold my judgement on coolness for now 😛 See for yourself at: http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/points/store/pc-106-11-illidan-stormrage-collector-figure-from-dc-direct.aspx

Bizarro Week: Wed – Arsenal of… Bizarro!? Part 2

•January 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’ve just got back from Nottingham uni and it’s been a long day, so I’m up for some VS-essay-writing therapy, and have decided to continue the article on the silver-age legend-stamped arsenal the much-hyped Bizarro decks have access too. Without further ado (read the first part if you want an introduction) let’s dive straight in with…

MTU

Marvel Team-Up featured two mini-legends, in the form of Spider-Man and to a lesser extent the magnificient mystic Dr. Strange… So what tools do these provide for our backwards antihero? Two of the Spider-Man stamped cards are Spider-Friends specific, and as such are unlikely to be featuring in any decks at the Mega-Weekend (well, Bizarro decks at least) and these are Target Practice and Trial by Jury. Spider-Man does however donate his pseudo-Mystical Paralysis, Gift Wrapped, which is quite an interesting tool for shutting down opposing rush decks on their initiative (especially useful against BS rush, which tries to set up a kill for turn four; but not so much against Quickfate/Quick<insert word/phrase/team here> as their Quicksilver is likely to be equipped with an effect that prevents targetting. The problem with both Gift Wrapped and Mystical Paralysis is that they target, and their threshold of four means that will be competing with what is likely to be the most popular generic card at the Mega-Weekend: Pathetic Attempt.

Although a Four Freedoms Plaza can search up a From the Darkness to counteract it, don’t always expect to be able to target opposing characters. Then again, using the existance of Pathetic Attempt to dismiss a card is like dismissing a great creature card in Magic the Gathering because it DtT (Dies to Terror). An example of this would be Tarmogoyf, a $40 card. Sure it dies to creature kill (imagine effects that KO characters) but if they don’t have any, he’s solid. Couple this with the fact that rush decks are unlikely to be packing any negation, and you have a way to potentially stall into turn five. I’m tempted to say Gift Wrapped is superior to Mystical Paralysis, as after turn four you won’t really be wanting to exhaust Bizarro to simply shut down an opposing attack, when Indestructible or a Fearless + Abe Sapien turns what looked like a sucessful attack into a stonewalled stun-back of a failure.

The second Spider-Man stamped card from MTU is a break from the norm in the form of a character. Wolverine, Canucklehead is especially interesting. Hitting the field on turn 6, he can’t be stunned while attacking while you control Spider-Man (or in this case, Bizarro). Not only that, he also has synergy with another part of the deck: the Wolverine legend-stamped cards that seem to be very popular inclusions, (Healing Factor, Berserker Rage and potentially Adamantium Claws) can now be thrown at Bizarro OR the late-game Canucklehead. Definately consider running a single copy for searching out with Enemy or 4FP (Four Freedoms Plaza) to break late-game stalemates against decks such as straight Checkmate/Villains United, if some players decide this to be a prudent choice when Bizarro C/VU is looking like that stronger pick, at least on paper.

Finally, Dr. Strange provides the last legend-stamped card from MTU (at least, the last legend-stamped card from MTU that doesn’t require you to be running Marvel Defenders) in the form of Eye of Agamotto. The Eye recruits for free onto Bizarro Strange, and stops your opponent’s effects targetting you. This would potentially be of more relevance in Modern Age, where Venom Burn is a very real threat; but is possibly worth including as a single copy against decks that may emerge from the murky waters of the new Silver Age format. Remember however, that Bizarro may also want to wield more aggressive equipment in the form of Juggernaut’s Helmet, or some M60s; or a B.P.R.D Signal Device for extra protection. It’s all a matter of personal preference, and despite having a common central shell there is scope for a large variety of different Bizarro decks. It’s all down to personal taste, in my opinion.

DWF

At the name of the set might suggest, World’s Finest focussed on the Best of the Best: Superman and Batman. The first legend-reliant card from World’s Finest is Lois Lane, Reporter Extraordinaire who will cost 1 less while you control a Bizarro-Superman. I’m not quite sure why the Bizarro World deck would want to run a visible, off-team 1-drop; but just in case the fancy takes you, she’s there. Soaring to New Heights is Team Superman-stamped, so we can also safely discount it as well.

Batman has two pieces of name-stamped kit, however Batmobile, Burn Rubber has an effect stamped to Gotham Knights so its uses become very limited in Bizarro.dec. Batarang, Cutting Edge is the second piece of technology Bizarro <> Batman has access too, but unfortunately compared to Gift Wrapped and Mystical Paralysis, having to pay 1 resource point for an exhaust effect isn’t great, especially as it can just be a futile Pathetic Attempt: not so much a consideration with free plot twists, but definately a problem when you’re paying 1 resource point AND exhausing the build’s main character.

While not really a legendary support card, World’s Finest also contains the 6-drop Bizarro, Bizarro World’s Finest which is incidentally non-unique with other Bizarros as a result of Bizarro world. With a 14/14 body, his drawback is negatable; especially as most of the characters you don’t want to be attacking with (Black Thorn or Ahmed) can active to make them unable to do so. Maybe run a single copy alongside Wolverine, dependant on build, and fetch to taste.

In all honesty, I almost forgot about the best Legend support in the set, because they’re lurking at the back of my DWF folder :O  At their Finest provides a +2/+2 for-the-turn pump on Bizarro which is quite nice, however Fearless beats it as a pump with Abe Sapien down; and the no-other-plot-twists stipulation dissuades you from running many copies. Perhaps run it as a 2-of alongside a pair of Fearless; and tailor your choice of pump for just how much of a boost you want, and how long you want it to last.

Best of the Best is decidely meh. I’m not quite sure why you’d want to bounce Bizarro… He has much better ways of stopping/punishing opposing characters attacking, such as Stonewalling, Indestructible, Mystical Paralysis or Gift Wrapped. And it fails to work on defense against a counterattack, as the Bizarro must be ready. Not a great use of deck slots methinks.

Finally, Brains and Brawn effectively reads: recover target Bizarro. Which is always nice. However, Healing Factor effectively reads: recover target Bizarro OR Wolverine, Canucklehead. Oh, and have some free endurance while you’re at it. The same cost seals the deal, and makes Healing Factor THE choice for recover effects (unless you’re REALLY worried about Omnipotence, in which case run a single copy of B&B over the fourth Healing Factor. But this is only if you’re paranoid they won’t shut down one of your more essential cards in favour of a recover effect. Otherwise, Healing Factor is a strictly better card.)

INTERLUDE

As I’ve completely forgotten about DCX, MAA, MCG and MEX, I shall be covering MCG and MEX these this evening and saving the mammoth task of chronicling the MVL and DCL support for tomorrow evening along with DCX and MAA; shifting the Counter-Bizarro article to Saturday evening. Many apologies for all of you who were waiting to hear all the secret Anti-Biz tech 😛

MCG

Nebulize and Obliterate! can both function by exhausing Bizarro acting as a proxy for Galactus, but with a threshold of 8 are they really worth it? The answer I can nearly safely say is no. Pathetic Attempt hower…. 😀 …. is not legend stamped, and won’t be discussed in this article 😛 But yeah, it’s a solid, solid card. And in tandem with From the Darkness and Expendable Ally (the Doom card from yesterday, I think that’s the name :S) provides the deck with a solid quasi-legend-stamped negation suite. It’s like playing Blue in Magic all over again.

You Dare? is an interesting plot twist, as it can decimate team attacks made against Bizarro after previously brickwalling on the back of an Abe Sapien-fuelled powering-up fest. It’s definately better than No Match for Darkseid, and remember after Bizarro hits the dirt you can always flip him face-up again with a copy of Healing Factor.

I’m playing with a pair of Siphon Energy in my build, (I know it’s not a legend-stamped card, but it copies them :P) as a way of re-using 1-ofs, but more often than not my resource row is full of locations Ahmed has fetched for me… It’s a quandry, as when it does go off as a result of foreplanning it’s great, but otherwise it’s pretty dead unless your opponent’s row has a particular tasty gem sitting in it. Maybe it’s worth running as a lone copy? I’ll get back to you on that.

MEX

I feel cheated. I shift my schedule for these small bonus sets, and they provide me with little to nothing. Silver Surfer’s Board is a piece of equipment that can be used to hide Bizarro if you really feel it’s necessary, but is competing with other aforementioned better pieces of equipment (see the discussion after Eye of Agamotto in MTU) for that coveted task of being attached to the mighty Bizarro. I’d like to say that the Jury’s out, but I really don’t see it proving that useful. Which is sad, because I have two copies sitting in my Bonus Set Binder. 😦

THE MIDDLE OF THE END 

Anyways, that’s all for today peeps 😛 If you feel unfulfilled as a result of the lack of MVL and DCL, take heart in the fact that this article is the longest yet for just four non-legend heavy sets. What will it be like tomorrow when THE legend sets hit, along with the Apocalypse support in MAA, and the absolutely nothing in DCX…

I’ll leave that to your imagination 😛

Join me then, and have a great day in between,
~ TXC