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When I first sat down to write this article, I was somewhat intimidated. I was having flashbacks to when I attempted to write an article incorporating the stall tactics of Dr. Doom with the powerful burn of the Injustice Gang only days after the Justice League set was first released to the public. That article crashed and burned faster then Aaron Weils performance in Day 2 of a Pro Circuit, which gave me second thoughts about ever writing about something “new” ever again. This time however I feel a little bit more prepared. Not so much because I think my writing has improved or that the deck is better, but simply because this time around the decklist was not created by me – I'm just writing about it.
The thought to write the article didn't come until after I had play tested against the deck over and over again one night at my local card shop. The deck put up some impressive numbers against a number of the best decks in the format, which inspired me to give the deck a closer look…
The deck is Heralds of Galactus stall and what impresses me most about it is its ability to be both aggressive and control oriented. The control oriented part of it comes from the life gain the Heralds of Galactus team has, along with old school tricks like Cover Fire
. The aggressive parts of the deck really show when the deck has initiative on turn 5. Saying that the deck goes Aggro might be a bit of an overstatement; it generally makes the best number of safe attacks as possible on turn 5, which generally can give the deck a huge board advantage over the opposing deck. Without further ado, here is a copy of the decklist….
Analyzing the Deck – The Character Lineup
||Format: Golden Age
4 Air-Walker, Gabriel Lan
4 Frankie Raye <> Nova, Optimistic Youth
3 Galactus, The Maker
1 Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
4 Galan, Famished
4 Human Torch, The Invisible Man
4 Morg, Slayer
3 Silver Surfer, Righteous Protector
2 Terrax, Harbinger of Ruin
1 Tyrant, The Original Herald
1 Drops – The deck runs a total of 8 1 drops, which isn't seen to much nowadays other then in your average High Voltage build. Galan is your one drop of choice and in some cases your mulligan condition. His early game ˝ body combined with this ability to force High Voltage to go a little longer into the game makes him an automatic inclusion in the deck. High Voltage has been said to be a deck designed to “deal 54 points of damage”. Over the course of only 2 turns, Galan has made Heralds of Galactus at least a 54 endurance deck and Voltage may be forced to go a few extra turns. More on Galan / High Voltage in the matchup analysis section sometime next week. Frankie Ray is also included in the build for his extra body. The deck is loaded with 4 copies of Cover Fire
, so Frankie Ray can certainly help that out. You generally won't play Frankie Ray until around turns 3-5 when he can help you out the most. Frankie's come into play ability shouldn't be overlooked either. Drawing the two cards effectively off sets the cost of having to play him, which is always a good thing.
The 2 drop debate- The decision to run Morg or Silver Surfer to me is an easy one, but the decision is not one that many people agree on. Many players are running a list close to this, except instead of 4 Morg, they opt to run Silver Surfer. Taking Morg out of the deck and adding Silver Surfer is a terrible idea in my opinion. While the tutor ability of Silver Surfer is very tempting, Morg's ability and importance in the Golden Age metagame can not be mistaken. More about the inclusion of Morg or Silver Surfer when we get to analyzing the matchups.
3 Drop- Air-walker, to me, is your only option here. You could drop the count to 3 and splash a Firelord, but I think that Air-walker is too important to the deck not to be running 4 of him. Virtually a copy of Puppet Master, his 3/6 body can be very hard to deal with. Top it all off with flight to pick apart your opponents board if need be and range to fuel the Cover Fire
and there is no question why Air-Walker is the drop of choice in Heralds of Galactus stall.
4 Drop- This is another inclusions where there is just one character stands out above all the rest. Human Torch goes a long way in ensuring that you have the tools to stand up against High Voltage. Life gain is a much underrated tactic and is arguably the best ability any team can be given in the Vs. System. The deck used to have to run an extra 4 drop with Fiddler on the Roof in the metagame, but with that problem now taken care of, the deck can now focus on simply running 4 Human Torch. The fact that you have to gain the life often isn't a problem, considering you are going to win in the late game not the early game. The fact that he also gives reinforcement to your possibly venerable Frankie Ray and Galan is just an added bonus that he provides. No doubt a 4-of if you opt to go the Heralds of Galactus route.
5 Drop- This is the drop where you want your Silver Surfer to hit the table. Silver Surfer is the reason this deck wants the odd initiative. With a heightened Emphasis on early character disruption ( Total Anarchy
and Worldship), Silver Surfer is often used to finish the job that Total Anarchy
may not have been able to accomplish and then some by returning the 4 drop to there owners hand. With two decks in the Golden Age metagame that really benefit from having characters on the table (Good Guys and Teen Titans), Silver Surfer can really change the pace of the game.
6 Drop- This is where I think that the Heralds of Galactus team is a little weak. None of the six drops stood out to me as an auto inclusion. The first versions of the deck were running an array of six drops. The original build was running Destroyer I believe, but now is settled more on Terrax. With Silver Surfer being our only 5 drop, Terrax's ability seems to be a little irrelevant in the long run. However, this deck is meant to play in the late game and an 11/13 body is a decent way to ensure you get there. If Aggro decks were having a hard time trying to deal with your life gain, there going to have an even bigger problem dealing with an 11/13. Against many of the Aggro decks of the format, any 6 drop will do. I wouldn't be opposed if anyone wanted to run a destroyer instead, but I prefer Terrax just in case you missed your initiative and wasn't able to do damage with Silver Surfer on 4. Stunning characters outside of combat is what makes Teen Titans so good, and Terrax's ability will certainly come in handy in the game if you are able to use it….
The late game- Drops 7, 8, and 9 are all designed to beat any deck that proposes a challenge in the late game. Curve Sentinels, Glock, and Gloom all come to mind when thinking of such decks. The 3 copies of 7 drop Galactus are virtually only in the deck for Creation of a Herald reasons, with a few other cards hindering of discarding characters with a cost X or greater. The game should never, ever hit turn 9…but if it does you can drop the big daddy and seal the game right there.
Analyzing the Support Cards
Often you can look at a Plot Twist and Location lineup and judge wither the deck is a heavy control variant or a heavy Aggro variant. Because the goal of the deck is to function as a stall deck, making safe attacks here and there, our plot twist lineup should be mainly defensive – which is what we have here.
Cover Fire- Almost every card in the deck has range, so Cover Fire
seems to be an auto inclusion. Brickwalling attacks win games outright and this deck can do it better then just about every other. Bringing a Frankie Ray into play in the mid-late game goes a long way in giving you that extra punch needed to brickwall an important attack. Some versions of the deck are using 4 copies of Absorba Shield
and 0 copies of Cover Fire
, which absolutely dumbfounds me. Cover Fire
can be used in the early game if necessary and will generate +4 95% of the time anyway. I would recommend using Cover Fire
over Absorba Shield
in any Heralds of Galactus style deck, if not use both of them.
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