Hello, folks, and welcome to the first installment of a series of articles on cards that “You Should Be Playing”! In each write up I’ll be going over 5 cards in a variety of categories that are often overlooked or undervalued, but in the right context can be total game changers! The context is always going to be king for these card choices, but you may find that in the right light these cards can direct your building a new direction, and to excellent results!
Today we are looking at the Green Lantern expansion, and in particular, the Battle Cards within it. Green Lantern is known for its cornucopia of Traits and Trait based interactions, and while some of our picks today will reflect stamped cards that can bring up underperforming archetypes, the set still had its fair share of open ended Battle Cards in which many decks can find great utility.
So, let’s get right into it!
Our first battle card is one that I feel gets glossed over pretty quickly – in a world where Trait based decks often operate on powerful interactions between Characters in the Trait, it can be easy to overlook when a Trait’s strengths come from its stamped Battle Cards. The Green Lantern Corps’ hallmark searching allows them to easily assemble and keep a force on the board to attack with, and this 6 Special allows them to keep pushing damage once they’ve made it through.
The simplest comparison is to the commonly played JL Multi 1, and in comparison to that, this will cost you the same (though the price is up front instead of only on connecting) and nets the same effect, albeit specific to the GL Corps. The difference, though, is in the application of that effect when on a much higher rank – against many decks not using rank 7+ characters, 6 Special asks the opponent if they’d like to lose a character or give you a free VP, and that threat can be worth banking on. Should you be able to bully your way into that connection, this BC allows you perpetual ammunition to finish the game even after a drawn out fight that has exhausted both players’ resources.
Thanks to the aforementioned high search potential of the Corps from cards like Green Lantern – Emerald Knight and Green Lantern’s Light, ensuring you can have a Green Lantern on board to use this card can be easy even in mixed trait decks that want to splash for characters like Wonder Woman – Amazon Princess or Mister Freeze – Victor Fries to help deal with rank 7s that can thwart the effectiveness of 6 Special, and events like Finisher can also be considered (especially in conjunction with running both this 6 Special and the classic JL Multi 1 which is more commonly block-bait). Best of all, Green Lanterns have access to the (equally underplayed) Green Lantern – Green Gladiator, who is able to tuck himself away to grab yourself a copy of one of these BCs when you’ve got the opponent in the right position to push damage.
Our next card is a low rank Strength battle card with +2 MP already built in – meaning this Battle Card should be able to slip into a massive amount of decks regardless of their max ranks or MP hunger. In fact, that’s the biggest strength of this card – as more sets are released, the value of negating the cost of a Multi Stat Battle Card continues to increase as the options for such cards grow, and decks that are delving into territory where MP is at a premium as they run more and more high-cost, high-octane Battle Cards will start to find more utility in a card that allows you to quickly string together the MP gain and cost-reduction you need to push out a critical sequence of attacks or blocks.
Within the Green Lantern set this already had several strong interactions, including the mono-trait rewarding Multi 6 and the Lantern-specific Multi 7 (which, when used in conjunction with 2 Strength, becomes an unbeatable +7 MP from a 2 Battle Card sequence), but with the release of Attack on Titan we’ve also seen the addition of a dual-stat 4 that is begging to have its cost reduced, as well as a basic Multi 7 that can enable some unique builds. And with Batman on the horizon, we’ve already seen a variety of costed Multis, not the least of which are the Bat Family multi 4 at -2 and a new Team Attack oriented multi 7 at -3, both of which are decks that can starve themselves of MP easily – the Bat Family if they enter into a stasis board state with characters they can’t afford to clear like Batman – Prepared and Terry McGinnis – Batman of the Future, and the Team Attack deck if it can’t get enough of its cost-cheating effects flowing. And of course, we’ve seen some additional support for decks high in Multi-Stat Battle Cards in the event Party Time, which makes this Strength 2 all the more juicy to run alongside.
While it might not ever be the very first Battle Card you reach for unless a Multi with an absurd cost is printed in the future, this 2 Strength is one to keep your eyes on – it’s not as flashy as other options, but it’s easily playable and enables play of your other cards – and a bunch of flashy cards in your hand that you can’t play won’t do you a whole lot of good in the end!
Next up is a card that provides direct support for the Trait with the second most Characters in Green Lantern, but yet is still a card that I don’t see making it into a lot of lists. One of the consequences of having more Characters in your Trait is that the Characters within are less focused on a singular goal – that is, more different effects creates a wider variety of build potential, and with the Sinestro Corps focus on “disruption in general”, the non-MP-denial side can sometimes get a bit more list-time than the one with characters like Lyssa Drak – Bookkeeper that tries to keep your opponent’s MP down. As mentioned above, not being able to play any of your flashy cards can be a real death knell for many decks, and it’s the case with a lot of decks that they absolutely require the ability to play their events to keep their card flow coming and assert dominance in a game. But what if you could…stop that?
While it doesn’t directly prevent Events from being played, in conjunction like the above Lyssa and Scarecrow – Jonathan Crane, and other battle cards like 7 Intelligence (R138-JL) and 4 Intelligence (C45-AT), you can develop a pretty disruptive deck that isn’t itself disrupted by its own requirements to connect with an attack like Mongul has. Your deck need only run this pile of Intelligence Battle Cards and have some Sinestro Corps characters – its worth noting that this 5 Intelligence doesn’t need to be played by one, but only requires that you have one in play. And while the MP cost addition from its effect only lasts for a turn cycle, that can often buy you enough time to get your other MP draining functions running and really slow down your opponent’s ability to get themselves stabilized and halting your plans.
As we head into the first MetaX Organized Play season, keeping deck lists like this in your back pocket can give you the edge if you can predict the Meta correctly, and just the same, the presence of decks like this can further empower card choices like the 2 Strength above! It’s just another piece of the complicated and fascinating puzzle that is MetaX!
At our number 2 slot, we have the Battle Card with the single highest cost in the game thus far – so it shouldn’t come as a massive surprise that this card doesn’t get a ton of play. As Battle Cards are crucial to even the basic interaction in the game, ones that you are costed out of being able to use can allow your opponent to walk all over you. While I’m not sure I’d advocate for a full playset of this card in decks, what it brings for -9 MP is the ability to entirely shut down an opponent’s alpha strike with a single card – and that is worth thinking about.
When you break it down, that means this card can act as a pseudo 3-for-1, preventing 3 of your opponent’s attacks for either scoring VP or draining your resources (i.e. KOing your Characters). This type of swing near the end of the game can allow you a free attack back in overtake a race, or by denying your opponent those VP, you may even prevent them from being able to finish you off at all by running them out of ammunition. A deck that can truly take advantage of this card needs to both have quantity of Intelligence 7 characters that can play it, MP generation to cover the cost, and be able to set up those scenarios where it provides the most value. And while up until now it has been difficult, with limited Intelligence 7 characters (though characters like Brainiac help tick off a few of those boxes), with the nearing release of Batman, suddenly the quantity of viable characters will be increasing drastically, and a copy or two of this card may prove clutch for scoring you the W unpredictably.
And for one more quick take, while it can be harder to set up than the other combinations, any deck that can reliably use rank 7 Battle Cards in both Strength and Intelligence can always use cute combos like 7 Strength (C57-JL) – a card likely to make its way onto future “You Should Be Playing” lists on its own – to set up a power play even without the requisite MP.
Finally, we have the common 1 Special from Green Lantern – yep, that one, with the art that looks like a drawing you’d see stuck on Geoff Johns’ fridge (and I mean that in the best way possible). A card as innocuous as its art is – but, in my opinion, possibly the single best Battle Card in the set. If you are not playing decks with this card, you should be.
As a +1 MP, rank 1 Battle Card, this is playable by an absolute truckload of Characters, and in almost any game state. It’s only a rank 1, so it’s not going to instant KO much, but decks running this usually don’t want to. The key to this card is it creates an endurance engine all on its own. When used – often on defense – this allows you to pick up a Battle Card you played earlier and play it again, and that includes copies of 1 Special. That’s where it’s at – infinite blocks. Unlimited power. As long as you can keep a stream of Characters to play it. And it works on offense too, in case the opponent doesn’t want to attack you.
Beyond just defending without using resources, though, 1 Special also lets you re-use critical Battle Card effects – whether that be cards to dig into your deck like 2 Intelligence (C38-JL), to attack the opponent’s hand like the new Joker/Harley 1 Intelligence, or anything else. And, should you ever lose the loop to your opponent’s Characters dying or you getting in successfully with one as an attack, you can also retrieve the card from the discard with 3 Intelligence (C43-JL) or, like anything else, a timely Joke’s On You.
The ability to create stasis and abuse effects is why this is my #1 Battle Card You Should Be Playing in Green Lantern, and while it may actually be played at a higher frequency than others on the list, I still feel like I don’t see this card as much as it deserves. Few Battle Cards can boast the amount of incremental resource gain provided by this card, and it does so with high consistency and without draining your deck and putting yourself at risk of losing to intentional or incidental mill decks, so I’ll say it one last time – you should be playing this card!
And that’s going to do it for our maiden voyage of You Should Be Playing. I hope this drummed up a few ideas for you – let me know your thoughts on these cards down below! Was I wrong on any of these, or are there any cards I should have included instead? Let’s hear it!
Until next time!