Man, I remember this one. Exactly three years ago I wrote this and Upper Deck published it. Good times.
Risk Vs. Reward: Suspended Animation—A Scrapbook
April 30, 2006
It feels like time is standing still. As I write this, there are only four days left until the Infinite Crisis Sneak Preview tournaments. In less than six weeks, Pro Circuit San Francisco will lift the curtains on the first-ever Silver Age PC. There are only a few weeks left until summer vacation for all us teachers and students. The anxious anticipation is holding me in mid-air like Magneto on Betrayal.
What’s a man to do when such unbearable desire is unable to be quenched? Make a scrapbook. There are so many different funfests going on in the world of Vs. System that I could occupy myself for weeks just thinking about them. Time to share.
The first of our Pleasant Distractions comes straight from the Midwest. Ohio, to be exact. Ohio is just so strange. I had an art professor once who insisted that Ohio should be on interstellar tourist maps as a “must-see” for any alien species that wants to be entertained by the sheer weirdness of the human race. Vs. System’s premier events have uncovered yet another example.
Once upon a time in Ohio, two Pro Circuit players traveled across the river to Kentucky to participate in a Saturday/Sunday PCQ twin tournament road trip. While practicing Justice League of America Draft in the hotel, they began imagining themselves to be actual Insectoid Troopers. Amidst the hijinks that followed, one of them began channeling the spirit of an actual fallen mosquito. The spirit-bug filled his body with insect wisdom and he was given the ancient speech of the Insectoid Troopers.
“We’re bugs!” he said.
The players in question were none other than Loren Nolen and Alec Ruden. Loren was the one who became possessed by an ancestral arthropod. These two had been partners in Pro Circuit success in the past. Now they had a name. Fast-forward the scrapbook a couple months or so, and they also had a second $10K trophy for their clubhouse.
“We’re Bugs, and we win one $10K per year!” became their new motto.
Alec Ruden took home the big check from $10K Minneapolis exactly eleven months after Loren Nolen was crowned champion of $10K Detroit. The best buggy bonus of their latest Insectoid immortality was this: Alec Ruden had to substitute two copies of Secret Origins for two missing Enemy of My Enemys in his High Voltage deck that day in Minnesota. He still played his way to the top of the ant-pile!
We’re Bugs is a team whose wackiness runs deep. They proudly count Keebler Powell as one of their main attractions. They also have a phantom multiplayer madman called “Savage Tofu.” That is legendary in itself. We’re Bugs can boast one thing that most other teams will never admit to—one of their members is their fashion consultant. Scott Cozzolino not only dresses flashier than you would ever want to in your life, but the other day on the forums, he wondered in public: “Should I be called ‘Posh Bug’?” That did it for me; when Spice Girl selection comes up in any conversation, I am like a nuclear laser beam. I claimed the name “Sporty Bug” immediately, if not sooner. I guess that means I should start saying “our” when I talk about We’re Bugs. Watch out for us. We may be jank with a bunch of little legs . . . but we do bite.
Secret Six and Slippery Sanity
Okay, I think I might be starting to recover from my own preview card. Mockingbird madness can slowly be transmuted into a healthy regimen of brain exercise, I think. With so many vistas opening up for risky romps through the card lists, it is imperative that you keep your alternate recruitment fantasies focused. If you can, that is.
Friends like Jason “Korinthe” Steel can sometimes help in situations like this. Sometimes they just make things crazier. Here is his personal wish list for Mockingbird’s alternately recruited uniqueness-bending targets:
· Having two, oh, I dunno . . . Lex Luthor, Nefarious Philanthropists out at the same time seems pretty devastating for a few different reasons.
· Two Harlequins up and running very early will shred an opponent’s hand in no time flat.
· How about two copies of Dr. Light, Master of Holograms out simultaneously? Yes, please.
· Watch your opponent explode in pain as you get out two Ratcatchers in the early game.
· A pair of Pranksters for a The Joker, Emperor Joker deck?
· Double Desaads torturing your opponent, along with Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (since teaming-up is getting easier and easier).
· Getting out more than one Franklin Richards and/or Alicia Masters on a single key turn could easily be “GG.”
· Or how about two copies of Cyclops, Slim for some insane “+4 ATK / +4 DEF while team attacking” action?
All of this is actually possible in a day and age of Vs. System where both teaming-up and searching for toolbox style characters is getting much easier. We have some interesting days ahead.
Yes, Jason, we do. And we are not even done with this little scrapbook.
The Big Bomb Format
I got this note in my mailbox last week:
Hi. I’ve been a reader of your column for a while now, and since you’re always asking for ideas for articles, I was wondering if maybe you’d like to return to something you mentioned a while back—alternate formats for the game. I’m the epitome of the casual player. I’m in the game because I like the characters, so I really don’t mind if I pull three Mageddons in a Sneak Preview (true story). However, I would like to get my money’s worth out of my high drops. I think it would be interesting to explore some other formats that make the higher drops not only viable, but also necessary (more endurance handed out initially, only breakthrough endurance loss counts, and so forth). Sometimes it’s cool to blow up planets with the Anti-Monitor instead of just burning a few points of endurance with a Flamethrower. It’s a topic that sort of opposes your love of weenies, but I figured you might be up to the challenge. Let me know what you think.
—Adam “bendrix” Hall
I already told Adam that I love the idea, and I sent him off to help us develop it further. If anyone else out there can contribute to the creation of an alternate format that assures the ability to play big bombs that cost 8 or more, drop me a line. I will keep us updated in future columns.
The Ladies Like It, Too
All good scrapbooks contain pretty pictures of gorgeous girls, and I saved mine for last. Infinite Crisis has the favorite female in my life smiling like there is no tomorrow.
Sneak Previews are my wife Nina’s favorite time of the year. She loves seeing all the new artwork and abilities that we get to play with next. Both of us are lifelong comic myth addicts, and each new expansion takes us back in time to our favorite characters and situations. Even better, we are introduced to funky obscure names and costumes that we never knew existed. With Infinite Crisis, there is a special brand of excitement in our house; we have always been huge Dr. Fate fans. We get to play the game we love in a fresh way with the good doctor himself, and it feels like Christmas all over again. As soon as the Sneak Preview tournament is over, each of us will pick our favorite new team affiliation, and we will play a seven-game series. Then we’ll switch.
Speaking of switching, I would like to end this article with one of the most intriguing concepts I have ever had the pleasure to discover. The Infinite Crisis storylines in DC Comics’ continuing series are taking us to places I thought we would never go. In Superman/Batman #24, it was revealed that part of the identity mix-up that has everyone giddy and guessing what will come next is—believe it or not—a parallel universe in which our beloved superheroes have their genders reversed. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a female Batman and a female Superman. And, even more thrilling than that, there is a Miss Miracle:
I am not crazy enough to think that we will actually find a Miss Miracle character card in our packs when we bust open our latest toy surprises at the Sneak Preview, but you know I will be dreaming about it. And the fact that it is now actually possible (although highly unlikely) to see a future “Felicia Faust” or a feminine Dr. Light turning sideways on my kitchen table has my mind spinning faster than ever.
I thought this was supposed to calm me down.