The top 8s from the last two Silver events in Chicago:
Checkmate VU: 2
Checkmate MK: 2
Mono Checkmate: 1
Mono Society: 1
X-Men Morlocks: 1
IG Beats: 1
Checkmate Heralds: 1
(One deck is missing, unfortunately I could not find out what it was)
Just by straight numbers, I think the gauntlet for New York should look something like:
Some Deadshot variant should likely be considered too, as it is a natural response to Checkmate MK which is going to be popular. I'd probably put Bringing Mxyback - the version Tim Rivera played at MegaWeekend LA - slightly over Wondershot - which Michael Brenden played at the same event - simply because the former is considerably easier to assemble then the latter.
Just some thoughts from what I've read:
The Demise of Aggro:
Recently, I was playing against an Deadshot deck with Syndiquick. On turn three I was ready to kill my opponent with a juiced up Quicks, but my opponent Deadshotted him. Turn four was followed by a fated up Wonder Woman swinging into Quicksilver - he had the Contract but not enough to out pump Wonder Woman's ability. Turn five, I was ready to make a go for it again, but my opponent simply played Talia, pooped out another Deadshot and took my Quicksilver for the game.
This is no slight to Todd Carlson's IG deck, but I believe rush decks are underpowered right now. Reading through Todd's report, most of the decks he played in the swiss seemed like they were mostly Modern Age decks, with his two losses being against what we would consider more Silver Age decks. Another likely possibility is that Todd outplayed his opposition. Nonetheless in both cases, six and a half decks in the top 8 being combat-centric decks would seem to indicate that it's a bad time to be playing rush presently.
The reason I feel rush decks are in so much trouble is two fold: First, your cards aren't as 'awesome' as the cards control decks play: While Savage Beatdown and Big Leagues are very powerful, they're not nearly as domineering as cards like Ahmed Samsarra or the Fate Artifacts. The latter which is a huge speed bump that is quite easy to assemble and not team stapmed.
The other aspect is character control: Most of the top decks in the format have a fairly large element of it: Checkmate VU and Checkmate MK all have access to varying forms of it ranging from Annihilation Protocol, Punisher, Checkmate Safe House and even the Talia Sarge Steel combo. 'Brickseid' - the Darkseid Gotham Knights build Patrick Yapjoco played - relies on power-ups, the Fate Artifacts, and eight 'Shrinks' in order to force brickwalls.
Then we have Moloids: That deck is actually quite 'controlly'. If you sense blood in the water, you can go Mr. Fantastic into double Moloids with Doomed Earth, and that's all she wrote. Or... you can play Divinity and just contain your opponent's board - and his Fate Artifacts - and make profitable stunbacks with Unthinkable and Doomed Earth while still putting them on a relatively quick clock. I was pretty surprised at the flexibility this archetype offers.
This trend creates a vulnerability in the metagame that can be exploited: Namely, the need to win by dominating combat. Consequently, it is my belief that the time is ripe for a pure control deck that eschews combat to take centerplace. Something like Spider-Heralds or Venom Burn, which don’t interact with the combat phase trumps other decks whose game plan is to dominate characters with size.
Certainly the prevalence of negation is a deterrent- although I think there's likely less negation then we’d imagine - but chances are good they'll be drawing dead from all their pumps.
This similarity in decks has also made me wonder if the time has come for Dr Doom, Diabolic Genius to dominate the metagame. So many of these top decks have lots of card drawing effects, but are also forced to row specific cards. These two factors make the good doctor very good, especially with Mystical Paralysis being such a great answer against Punisher and Divinity.
There's also Clash of the Words for some hot Doomstadt beats.
One thing that's been bothering me is that lack of Deadshot. It’s an archetype so good Brian Eugenio had pegged it for half the top eight.
Yet it simply failed to appear. Not just in the top 8; scouring the various blogs and what not, I saw absolutely no mention of anyone fating up a four drop after Deadshoting the opponent on three.
I started thinking about it, and I think it has to do with the coolness factor:
It's hard to actually articulate what coolness actually is. It's like porn - you know it when you see it. In general things that break the fundamental rules of the game tend to be cool - drawing extra cards, making large characters or just repeatedly recovering them - are all cool.
While Deadshot decks do these things, they aren’t necessarily as direct: When you Bat Got Your Tongue an opponent’s play, there’s that fist pump moment. Not so much when you’re applying Riddler trickery. The deck really has no flavor which makes it somewhat ‘cold’ if that term makes any sense, and not very appealing beyond it being a metagame call in my opinion.
Even you fated-up Punisher – which is loads of awesome - is not as fun as Checkmate MK - which can back it up with huge pumps.
Chris 'taemkm' Park has a different outlook, and feels that the lack of Deadshot is due to the lack of negation. I'm sure that archetype’s situational vulnerability to pretty every form of hate - replacement, equipment, negation – did make it less attractive - although Riddlers and Wonder Woman reduce these problems significantly – I think the biggest part might’ve been that people just didn’t really want to play it.
This is a very subjective opinion which I am basing mostly on the large amounts of ‘Modern Age’ decks in various Silver Age tournaments, and I am eager to see if Deadshot gets more popular for New York as a reaction to Checkmate MK.
I'm not sure if Miguel's worked out the specifics yet, but I would like to run a tournament report competition. Basically, [CENSORED BY CARLOS] your reports and [CENSORED BY CARLOS] wins an Extended Art Enemy of my Enemy [CENSORED BY CARLOS] Miguel adds more rares as prizes [CENSORED BY CARLOS] incentive to write a tournament report!
If we get at least [CENSORED BY CARLOS] tournament reports I'll throw in something else bustanutlicious too like a playmat or another Enemy!
Anyhow, that's it for this week.
Look at that Bear - trying to spill the beans on a fantabulous vs-blog contest that has yet to be announced! How dare he!