Puzzle Pieces #1: Not the Sonic Gun! Anything but that!

In an attempt to get content onto this site for the day without kicking my younger brother off the only computer in the house with my Kree decklist on it, I’m going to go ahead and start a new semi-regular column. Hopefully this one sticks around longer than Game of the Galaxy (which I’ll get back to eventually).

Puzzle Pieces is all about putting together a bunch of random cards in order to do something fun and/or stupid. It’s all about random jankiness and all that other cool stuff.

So, we’re going to start out Puzzle Pieces with what is probably my absolute favorite jank combo. I would call it “Growing Man” but there’s already a character named that so it’d be confusing. Instead I shall call it “Weight of the World Crushing Your Head”. I love it in ways that are difficult to comprehend. This puzzle has 4 major cards that go into it and I’ll be listing them starting… now.

Josten is the central component to this combo (and the reason this combo and article have their respective names). He gets pretty big just by himself, going from 2/2 to 3/3 to 4/4 to 6/6 on and on. None of the other Thunderbolts characters I can think of have +1/+ counters as a power> However, there is an on-team way to speed Atlas’s growth.

Yeah, everyone probably guessed this was what was coming next. Just a single copy of this card means Atlas is getting +2/+2 each turn until turn 5 when he starts getting +3/+3. With a little luck, you’ll hit at least two of these in a game making Atlas naturally grow as big as the curve each turn. But just having a character following the curve isn’t quite janky enough. Needs moar cards.

Assuming you are using two resource points on this each turn plus you have two New Identity cards inplay plus its at least turn 5, that means Atlas is gaining +6/+6 each turn. Not bad, eh? But wait! There’s a tiny bit more and it involves a non-MAV card that makes Josten even bigger.

Yes, the oil that makes War Paint shine is also what adds that last bit of wham to Atlas. Just spend all your remaining resources after Force Field Belt on these guys, kamikazi them, and put the counters on Atlas. Gnarly.

A really good day with this combo will see having odd initiatives, a hidden Infernal Minion on turn 1 and Atlas on turn 2 with two New Identity being flipped. That puts Atlas at 5/5 at the end of turn 2. Turn 3 Atlas gets a +1/+1, you equip a Force Field belt, pay 2 points for it, and recruit another hidden Minion. We’re going to say you weren’t fortunate to get a third Identity so after running the Minion into someone for the counter, Atlas is ready for combat at 9/10 on turn 3. After recovery he’ll be a whopping 11/12.

Turn 4 you gain another one, pay 2 more, and play 2 more Minions. Josten enters the combat phase at 14/15 which will require team attacks and pumps on the opponent’s part to so much as get a stun. Minions kamikazi and the New Identities activate to make Josten a whopping 18/19 2-drop on turn 4.

This can continue on all game as long as Josten doesn’t get KOed or an opponent doesn’t have something that can strip counters. Ways to keep Josten around include Project Liberator which makes him untargettable (even by yourself, though) and A Second Chance which will recover him. Other characters that help the combo are the 1-drop Dallas Riordan who can help make sure you draw decently and Ogre who gives another +1/+1 counter while Josten is attacking.

And there you have it. A simple way to get at 8-drop sized, 2-drop character going into turn 5. This deck certainly isn’t anything amazing but it sure is janky fun. Try it out and let me know if you can come up with any other cards that enables this combo. I’m all ears for more ways to makes Josten live up to the name Atlas.

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One Response to “Puzzle Pieces #1: Not the Sonic Gun! Anything but that!”

  1. Long live the massive-counter-boosted-character theme! I would mention Mendel Stromm and Tinkerer, but with all the character KO’ing you’ll do, Tinkerer probably won’t trigger often enough and Mendel Stromm needs to be unstunned to sacrifice himself and give his counter (so the Minions work better in that regard, for both guys). Counterstrike will almost certainly help…if you get Atlas pumped then the +3ATK may be irrelevant, but you’ll be pretty well assured of stunning the attacker anyway and you get a counter from it. Atlantean Trident or Mindtap Mechanism are also very good (probably the Trident moreso, since Atlas will be stunning opposing guys like crazy), bringing a big ATK pump as well as more counters. Don’t forget that the Force Field Belt is transferable, so one possibility is to move it from Atlas to another character later so that Atlas can use a Trident while character number 2 starts to beef up as well (since the only thing better than having a ridiculously-oversized character is to have two of them). Perhaps someone like Absorbing Man? At the very least, he can beef up with counters on himself through stuns and then burn those counters to pay for the Force Field Belt (whoever it’s on). Plus you can get Faces of Evil going for lil’ Atlas and the Minions, and Absorbing Man is easy to get at any time with Mystic Summons (which doesn’t look at the affiliations of your in-play characters). Not to mention the access to Stolen Power, to remove the guys Atlas beats up and get yet more counters on your side of the field. Also, if you do get out a second character with some counters (whoever that may be), you might pack some Counterterrorism to shift those onto Atlas (or onto your other character) mid-attack for a little surprise factor.

    The counter-stacking hijinks is wonderful to dream about…once upon a time I had a crazy idea for a deck with MOR’s Titania, MSM’s Devil’s Due, and a crossover with X-Statix. Build up a field of little, mostly-hidden guys, drop Titania, crossover, flip all the benefits-a-single-guy stuff, then attack with the weenies and sack them to Devil’s Due. Titania’s printed ability gives her a +1ATK every time the Devil’s Due targets her with a counter, so she gets massive between all these effects suddenly going off. I think I figured that with an amazing optimal draw, she’d end up as a 15/13 or 17/14 on turn 4, and would easily be bigger than any other character on turn 5 as well. I just realized, I haven’t made that deck yet ‘cuz I didn’t have 4 Devil’s Dues, but I got one off eBay a couple of months back and forgot! Hopefully I’ll get some time to build and try it (and maybe something with Atlas too)!

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