My Vs. Experience

After looking over my blog for what to do next and whatnot, I realized that I hadn’t talked about how I got into Vs. I think it’s actually a relatively unique story. I went ahead and put it after the jump for two reasons. One, I want to keep Resolution #3 right on top so quick viewers can see it. Two, because it starts with a confession. If you’re a Vs. player and easily upset, don’t keep reading.

It’s time to admit something. A lot of things, actually, that build up to one, big Vs. something.

I’ve never played Vs. at a tournament. I also haven’t played in a Hobby League. Never played it at a brick-and-mortar shop either. In fact, I’ve never play Vs. System in the comfort of my own home. I’ve never built a physical deck of Vs. cards. Never bought a single case, box, or pack. I own exactly one Vs. System card.

None of this is by choice. The nearest Hobby League is 2.5+ hours from my location. I don’t even know if there’s a card game/comic shop within half an hour. I also don’t have a car to drive there or the money to spend there and start investing in the game. If I did, I probably would.

You see, I got into Vs. differently than most people. About a year and a half ago, I was perusing my Nintendo Power magazine when I spotted a preview for the upcoming Marvel Trading Card Game for the Nintendo DS. It was advertised as having online tournaments, lots of sets, being portable, and it just looked cool. I’d already been moderately interested in Vs. so I decided I would buy the game when it came out. I figured that $30 for access to entire sets worth of Vs. with online play and handheld portability was worth the investment. The game had a scheduled release date of November.

Or something to that effect. All I remember is that it got delayed… again… and again. It was May when I finally got my mitts on that game. Played it to death, even though it only had the first four sets worth of Marvel cards. Probably played well into the triple digits worth of games on that thing. A few months afterwards I ended up shelling out an extra $20 on a cheating device for the DS that let me hack myself 64 copies of every card in the game. That both made and killed the game for me. I could finally build any deck I wanted and yet I know longer had any reason to keep playing the game to earn boosters. It also hurt that the online tournaments were taken out of the final game and replaced by only “single games” and there was never anyone on anyways.

A few months ago, I wandered onto TCGplayer and joined the forum there. My first post was my Atlas deck that I was so proud of. I could get Atlas up to 25+ attack by turn 6 and thought it was great. I think I still have a modified version of that deck in my MWS folder but modified with the newer cards that MTCG for the DS didn’t have. Anyways, it was on TCGplayer that I found MWS and instantly fell in love. It was just like MTCG but with all the cards and with actual online play where you didn’t find one person every month.

I’ve been a pure online player ever since. The adjustment to “Silver Age” was slow, no one really play Golden online and that was all I knew. I think my first SA deck was Heralds of Galactus or something like that. I’ve played some really cool people on MWS and played decks I never could have dreamed of building when all I had was the DS game.

That’s how I got into Vs. System and how I play. On screens and online. I’m planning on eventually starting an actual card collection. After I get a job and after I get a car. By then the prices of old Vs. boxes will have dropped even more. I’ll start by getting reacquainted with my old GA friends and then slowly build up the ladder, picking up scraps as their tossed into Golden Age and doing what I do now: play casually.

That’s the biggest thing that I think my pure online Vs. upbringing has instilled in me. On the DS game where you only played against the computer, you could build anything and have a chance at winning. With MWS, there is no competitiveness, it’s purely casual since there isn’t any scoreboard or anything else of that ilk.

The other thing my experience has given me? A love of the mono. With MTCG on the DS, you didn’t have Enemy of my Enemy. You didn’t have Mobilize or any generic search at all (other than Weapon of Choice which is a horrible card). You had to build decks that were consistent without search and team-ups were never as consistent as needed.

I seriously think you can draw all my Vs. deckbuilding preferences back to that little fact that I started with the limited options of Marvel Origins, Spider-Man, Marvel Knights, and Avengers and it was all in a casual environment. There weren’t any particularly great team attack or weenie swarm decks (other than Wild Sentinels and Masters of Evil, both of which I loved) so Curve was strongest. There weren’t generic tutors so you learned to live with what you drew and since you always wanted to draw something good and useful, mono was usually the best choice. Finally, there wasn’t any downside to losing. Not even a smirking opponent. So you could build the dumbest deck in the world and it was still fun and worth doing.

Yup. I think that maybe Vs. System would be better if everyone started just with MWS. That “you must win” drive isn’t quite there and instead is replaced with a “let’s have as much fun as humanly possible by building crazy decks” drive.

And I love it.

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2 Responses to “My Vs. Experience”

  1. Fascinating confession, very interesting spin on things. Your input in the community is already very valuable, and this twist makes it even more so. Maybe we will see a new generation of players from just this angle. If even a few of them are as dedicated and entertaining as you are, the game will be healthy and fun for a good long time.

    Thanks for this, I really enjoyed it.

  2. Well, I’ve never played the online games but I’m right with you on the “fun” over “victory” being beneficial for the game. And my deckbuilding preferences seem to take the same trends as you, for similar reasons.
    I have only ever played casually, and while I’ve spent plenty of cash on buying boxes of cards I’ve never been motivated to drop a bunch of money on getting one or two copies of the sought-after rares (notably, Enemy). I’d rather spend $60 on a whole box of cards, or even on a few dozen lesser-sought rares rather than an Enemy or two. I play with what I own, and so I tend to stay away from decks that rely on rares I don’t have…and as luck would have it, I’ve pulled a total of 4 Mobilize out of DLS and MVL so that, even though I’ve liked mono-team for a while, they’re even more attractive to me now.
    And I play with my friends, which not only adds to the desire to play a fun game rather than a competitive one, but it also means that we all get together and play a (sometimes very) multiplayer game. You just can’t get as much mileage out of a swarm deck or out of a tech-y control/stall deck as in duels…that leaves curve as the best option, and that’s the way I usually want to play anyway, building things up to a spectacular finish.

    Thanks for the insight into your gaming experience, it’s interesting to see where someone’s deckbuilding perspective/mindset comes from.

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