As we head into MetaX’s fourth set, Batman, I continue to get more and more excited for the future metagame when Organized Play kicks off. Every set continues to bring a unique and interesting variety of cards and gameplay while carefully balancing their effects with interactions from the previous sets and still providing support for the strategies developed in those sets. Although Batman is another DC based set, it does a great job of differentiating itself with new deck types that look to play very differently compared to what we have seen in previous sets, along with a great variety in art styles from the many different Batman series. In today’s article we are diving into what the six supported Traits in Batman bring to the table, and some of the interactions I’m most looking forward to. So let’s get right into it and check out what Gotham’s best and worst have to offer!
Although there are only four Characters in the GCPD trait, they are kept unique by being the only trait in the game with 3-stat, Max Rank 4 characters. They also come with a grab bag of effects ranging from discard and draw power, deck searching, repopulating their deck from the discard and negating effects from rank 5+ battle cards. A specialty of theirs is the ability to easily keep characters on the board with cards like Gotham City’s Finest and GCPD Officers that play or retrieve characters back from the discard.
GCPD may seem a little under the curve compared to some of the other trait lines but I feel their true potential is more in a supporting role. Being as there isn’t a ton of characters in the lineup there’s plenty of room to add other traits to the mix with GCPD ensuring you can always have a board presence. This will give you the freedom to be aggressive and not fear losses through attrition, or just help you defend through until your true heavy hitters come in. Building with a multi-trait lineup also mean you can run my personal favorite card, Diversity.
The Bat Family’s suite of cards comes with effects that capitalize on knowledge – what else can you expect from the World’s Greatest Detective! They have an assortment of effects that deal with revealing, discarding, and looking at the top cards of players’ decks. This can provide you with very valuable knowledge – which you can then capitalize on with a handful of effects that will provide payoff when cards are revealed, including card advantage, board control, mill potential, or sometimes making your characters unblockable under certain conditions.
Batman’s Fam has some great overall synergy with most build as looking at and controlling the tops of decks is great in any match up, and they include a handful of shutdown characters like the Ultra Rare Batman – Prepared and Terry McGinnis – Batman of the Future. However, what I am most excited for is what the new trait can do for previously explored strategies: Mill decks gain interesting new options with cards like Oracle – Barbara Gordon and Theatricality, while decks that focus on strong “When Played” effects on Rank 7 Characters now have access to Robin – Carrie Kelley paired with Dynamic Duo. Finally, decks that rely on particularly potent Battle Cards may be able to use Alfred Pennyworth – Loyal Servant to double up on some beastly effects such as 1 Intelligence (C41-GL) or 7 Intelligence (R138-AT).
In most card games, Card Advantage is a priority and the way to get a leg up on your opponent – and Arkham Inmates flip that idea on its head! This trait is one of the most interesting to me because instead of adding draw or search power, they thrive on having few cards in your hand, and sometimes even zero cards is where your going to want to be while piloting the Inmates of Arkham. Their effects allow you to trade card/hand advantage to gain some great abilities such as Mad Hatter and Poison Ivy being able to play cards straight from the discard pile, Mr. Zsasz making your characters untargetable, or Scarecrow – Scarebeast protecting your pushed characters from lethal battle cards so you can pressure your opponent without fear of losing them, and many more.
This new play style has a bunch of cross-support from all 3 of the previous sets – each set includes a number of cards that allow you to discard or spend additional cards to gain more powerful effects, like Black Adam, Wonder Woman – Amazon Princess, Meta Superiority, 3 Special (R130-AT), and 4 Strength/Special (R133-AT). These cards can become even greater in an Inmates deck where the criminals can turn their downsides into all upsides!
The Rogues Gallery may make use of basic battle cards, but they are anything but basic! From the use of basic battle cards you are rewarded with a slew of effects like pushing your opponent’s characters, a handful of searches from both deck or discard to maintain Battle Card advantage, or some high-cost, high-reward effect like Poison Ivy – Chlorokinetic‘s ability to give a VP to take control of your opponent’s characters. Also, don’t forget this set includes a new multi-stat basic – 1 Strength/Intelligence/Special – and also a spicy event Hand to Hand which make all your battle cards basic for a turn!
My immediate inclination with this new trait line is supporting the Blue Lanterns who provided most of the basic battle card effects until now. Since great characters like Mr. Freeze – King of Cold and The Joker – Romantic give general buffs to the use of basics without having trait requirements, they can splash easily into a Blue Lantern deck, or vice versa. Hand to Hand also brings massive value on its own to previous basic battle card strategies, making cards like 5 Special (C56-GL) and 7 Special (C60-GL) easier to set up for higher value by turning them into basics themselves.
In addition to the new traits, this set also brings a ton of stamped support for the Hero and Villain traits, boosting up the usability of a lot of characters from the first set, Justice League. Villains received some primo effects like the new event Infighting, which lets you KO any Villain in play for 0 MP, but allows its controller to draw 2 cards – great for clearing your own board, or sniping an opponent’s Villain – or Bat-mite, whose constant effect protects your Villain characters from “When Played” effects. They also received some really powerful new effect negation in the right matchup with 4 Strength (U95-BM).
On the Hero side, a great new Superman is added to the Superman suite and his effect brings devastating new power to older cards like 2 Strength (C35-JL) and 5 Strength/Intelligence/Special (R138-GL)
, turning simple healing effects into highly potent draw engines. One of my favorite new Heroes is Dick Grayson – Master Martial Artist, who is an absolute beast being a max rank 5 but being able to use rank 6 or lower battle cards without paying their MP costs – this makes him flexible enough to splash into any build and save you tons of MP, or let you play powerful but costly effects like 4 Special (R132-AT) even when you couldn’t normally. There’s also a new event, Heroic Charge, that grants you draw power and allows all your Heroes to prep at the end of turn, giving you the ability to full attack and still defend on the next turn! All these cards – and more – are great additions and will surely help keep the older traits relevant moving into the new metagame.
Overall, I love how this Batman was able to bring tons of unique effects and deck archetypes by simply using the only what we have seen before in a new way – in other words, without having to add any new mechanics! While I’m not against new mechanics in the game, it’s refreshing to see this clever approach to design and it makes me that much excited to see what’s still to come in the future of MetaX. With the set releasing today, I’m super excited to dig into the ever-growing list of viable decks and hopefully find even more than I had expected. Hopefully I will see you guys there!