Editors Note: Guest Author Alex “Saturnflight” Truell has a keen mind for breaking down the MetaX TCG’s game elements in a way that newer players can better understand. Following his previous series delving into the three card types – Characters, Battle Cards, and Events, Alex has sent us this excellent starter article for approaching deck building when you’re fresh to the game with just a Batman booster box to your name!
The fourth MetaX set has received a lot of attention. Releasing just before MetaX’s second year at GenCon, it was on hand for the biggest in-person outreach opportunity of the year. And with three prior sets as back catalog, the game was no longer an upstart; MetaX offered a deep strategic pool to wade into. Along with that outreach advantage, Batman looked like a polished release, with improved card templates, exceptional art, and complex effects that experienced gamers drool over.
Oh, and it’s Batman. Need I go on?
As such, Batman was the first purchase for a LOT of new players. And that’s not a bad thing. Justice League starters are great for introducing the basics of the game, but aren’t designed to be competitive in constructed formats. Attack on Titan starters hold up better, but for some players the lack of AoT-themed depth feels isolating. Booster boxes from Justice League and Green Lantern give excellent foundations, but don’t offer much in the way of deck-building guidance – Justice League synergies aren’t as straightforward, while Green Lantern traits push you toward builds that are often too closed-off for wide competitive success.
In a Batman booster box, you’ll find Characters, Events, and Battle Cards all stamped with Traits: Bat Family, Arkham Asylum, GCPD, Rogues Gallery, along with legacy cards for the Hero and Villain traits the game began with. Simply by sorting your cards, you can start to see decks take shape. Arkham immediately makes clear its goal to aggressively burn your hand out. The GCPD have all the markings of a swarm team (though learning what a swarm deck looks like in MetaX is an eye-opening experience). The headlining Bat Family seems all about knowledge. Only the Rogues seem ill-equipped for building right out of the box- though 1 Multi Basic and Hand to Hand offer options if you want to attempt the Basic Battle Card strategy.
Beyond Trait-based builds, certain Events and Battle Cards also steer you toward character-based decks. Batman and Catwoman can headline a deck, as can Joker and Harley. Dynamic Duo supports any pairing of a key 7-stat with supportive 5-stats.
One barrier for new players is a lack of knowledge of what’s out there- but the Batman expansion offers effective blanket counters for a host of competitive cards. Conceal, UR Batman, and Red Hood – Freelance Mercenary protect your characters from targeted effects. Terry McGinnis counters low-cost Events. A reprint of Power Players shuts off powerful character effects. Confidence and 3 Intelligence/Special (the Catwoman battle card) keep damage off your characters. With a suite of these versatile answer-cards, new players can safeguard their decks against the unknown.
So you’ve got a booster box of Batman. Now where do you start?
Bat Family is an appealing first deck- though you may be building it without Batman, as his 2 Bat Family options are Rare and Ultra Rare. Feel free to stray from that Trait and include the Hero-stamped Batman – Bruce Wayne, who has one of those “defense against the unknown” abilities. I’d suggest avoiding the mill-style cards like Oracle and Theatricality in favor of the card-previewing and character-bouncing abilities of Batwoman – Kate Kane and Selfie. Most of the Bat Family shares the Intelligence stat, making Battle Cards simpler to figure out.
Despite the Basic Battle Card focus, the Rogues Gallery also provides a good starting point for a deck. Deathstroke – Expert Tactician, Harley Quinn – Skilled Gymnast, Ra’s Al Ghul – Assassin, and Two-Face all share Special and Intelligence stats while sporting generally useful abilities. The roster can be thematically expanded with Villains: Catwoman – Thief, Hush, Red Hood – Jason Todd, and if you’re fortunate enough to pull him, The Joker – Unpredictable. Crime Spree is an incredibly powerful Event that lets you dig out the Battle Cards you need from your discard pile.
The GCPD makes a great budget deck, though its reliability is greatly improved with each copy of the rare James Gordon – Commissioner you add. Even top performing GCPD decks contain few rares. With the commons GCPD Officers and 4 Special (C52-BM) at the heart of your deck, you’ll have plenty of draw power and resilience at your disposal.
From here, it’s an easy jump into the Justice League expansion, where the Hero and Villain rosters are deeply expanded. A starter deck of either kind will provide enough Basic Battle Cards to open up the full options for the Rogues Gallery cards you pulled. The Green Lantern and Attack on Titan sets will expand your horizons and open you up to the vast array of options MetaX already offers. And later this year, Teen Titans Go! will releases with a very different interpretation of the DC universe.
Welcome to the game!
(Header image background artwork by Alayna Lemmer-Danner)