Saturday, April 25, 2009

Giving thanks

No, I know it isn't the 4th Thursday of November, but I still feel thankful. I don't know why, but today, I just want to be thankful. This is specifically about VS.

As you may know, as VS was coming to an end, they had more interactions with the fan community than ever before. Part of that consisted of them having longer preview periods before sets with more cards revealed, plus they gave preview cards to some of the people in the blogosphere, me included. Late March of last year, Ben Seck PM'd me on VS Realms, letting me know that he wanted me to preview cards for Marvel Universe on my blog. As you can imagine, that was a big surprise and I was ecstatic. I know my blog hasn't been the biggest or most popular for VS. I mostly started it to rant about my comics that I picked up as otherwise, I had nowhere to direct complaints or appreciations. Since there were other VS blogs going up, though, I made mine have VS also. Anyway, I got picked to preview Annihilus's 5-drop incarnation and the Negative Zone location based off of the prison from Civil War. I did so, using my specific writing and personal skills, going over the comics and Annihilus's history, which amuses me. If you can't remember, the article is here. I loved the Annihilation storyline a lot. It was spectacular, sensational and amazing. Getting to preview Annihilus was awesome. Sure, I would have preferred a Skrull card (like the Kl'rt from that set), but Annihilus was a great character, and my MUN deck was based off of him. When the time came around for MEV, well, I knew Deadpool was in it, and I desperately wanted Deadpool. When TBS game me Blink to preview, I was incredibly disappointed, as while the Exiles are cool, and has been a good series from time to time, I mean, come on! I love Deadpool more than I like certain friends of mine. Not just people, but actually friends. Heck, even some family members I like less than Deadpool. Sure, writing about Blink was fun, and it is a cool card. You can see my preview for Blink here. I started to get my hopes up, though, when I saw other people were getting to preview two cards. So, yes, when Weapon X was previewed, I got to preview a Deadpool card. Extended Monologue is an awesome card and I am so happy that I got to preview it. The card itself is a perfect tribute to Deadpool and perfectly encapsulates a Deadpool fight. He may not be the biggest threat ever, but he'll be the person you go after first, even if there are more powerful people to deal with, just because he is so darn annoying. Plus, with his healing factor, that makes him even more deadly. So, being able to only target Deadpool makes perfect sense. Oh, and you can find that article here. So, to sum up this long paragraph, I want to thank UDE and VS for allowing me to preview cards (probably one of my favorite aspects of the TCG world) and especially for allowing me to preview a Deadpool card.

What else? Well, there have been great community forums for VS. When I started paying attention to VS online, I got accounts at VS Realms, VS Universe (TCGPlayer) and VS Paradise, probably the largest of sites (well, maybe not as much Paradise). Paradise was where I spent most of my time originally, because, well, the people there were less often mean, and they also had less annoyances. I got my first experience with fan cards there, which was fun (and something I took over to TCGPlayer) and had a great time talking with the people there (who were almost all from Australia). Even at TCGPlayer, in the fantasy card section, I made a little name for myself, mostly being one of the people who was more critical than most, trying to make everything make more sense and fit into the game. So, I'd criticize 3/3 Army 1-drops with no drawbacks, whereas other people might get really excited about them. Still, it was fun and I hung out there some too. Eventually, for reasons I forget, I left TCGPlayer (still have the account, just didn't do anything), and Paradise kind of fell apart after they got no support in Australia, so I hung out on Realms, and there were lots of cool people there as well, once you got past some of the more annoying people. I still haven't migrated to Dot Org, and might, but I'm not sure. Either way, the point I'm trying to make is that VS allowed me to meet lots of interesting people, some of whom I met in person, others not so much, but still, the community, for all its faults, was a great place, and I am thankful that I was part of it, while it was still bigger.

In general, VS was a really fun game. It still is, although it is sad that there aren't any more cards being made. I have always loved being able to control characters I love. It is part of why I play TCGs and video games. After enjoying OverPower and HeroClix, VS was, well, better. It is a more balanced, better game that allows for lots of craziness, silliness and lots of characters to do lots of things. OverPower was weak in that you had 4 characters max, and lots were just outright better than others, both in terms of stats and abilities. Also, the Strength, Fighting and Energy cards as attacks were kind of lame. Yay, I get to attack you from Spider-Man using Sauron. Wait, what? HeroClix worked better to an extent. First off, it was cool to have figures of characters although some of them were kind of awkward (paint-wise or sculpt-wise). Still, you could have lots of people, and your amount depended upon how powerful the people you chose were. So, Superman or the Hulk would take more points than Black Cat or Catwoman. Also, while there were teams involved, very few teams were so good that the best strategy was to pick that team, so you get horrible team-ups. Plus, power levels made things tricky. Sure, if my opponent has Superman, it would be hard to fight him. But, well, I want to actually be able to fight him. Sure, I might get a Critical hit on a 12 (two 6-sided dice for attacks), but with his invulnerability, I am doing jack squat. It got awkward and frustrating. VS isn't perfect, but it is the best collectable game out there with superheroes. You can include anybody, but teams make things better, by getting more powerful team-specific cards and being able to team attack with and reinforce teammates. Plus, there get to be so many more characters. Also, while Superman might do well, you can also do well with an army of characters, which makes lots of different strategies viable and fun. VS was a fun game with a lot of different ways to play and, well, had good Deadpool and Kl'rt stuff. So, I give thanks to VS for being a good superhero game that let me use Deadpool and others effectively.

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