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Champions Series

Season 1, Article 2
By Josh “The Locksmith” Alexander


What Does It Take To Be An OverPower Champion, Lockout Edition


Since I was the wiener…I mean winner of the OkC Shootout OverPower tournament, I was asked to write up a lil’ ditty about what it takes to be an OverPower Champion.  In the following I’ll discuss why I decided to play the deck I chose, how I went about playing the deck during the event and I’ll even give a breakdown of what cards I included…a little, I can’t give away all my secrets! I also want to say that this deck design and play style aren’t new player friendly, so don’t get discouraged if you try to copy and paste this deck and don’t get the same results.  I’ve played a version of this deck for YEARS and was finally able to tweak it enough to pull off the victory and become an OverPower Champion!

During the process of determining which deck I wanted to play, there were a few things I knew for sure:

1) I wanted to prove that you could indeed compete and win without the use of The Marvels or MoE.

2) I wanted to prove that you didn’t have to play several draw mechanics to win.

3) I wanted to prove that you don’t have to play the traditional 5 or 6 characters to win.

With that in mind, I had two decks that I wanted to play. The first included Captain America, Beast, Mr. Fantastic and Sabretooth (R), with The Crossing mission set (using the ‘KO’ and ‘no energy power cards’ events). This would also be a deck using a lot of Teamworks but a low total number of Special cards. A version of this deck had previously gone undefeated in the swiss of a tournament,  but lost in a great match vs Ty Bertrand during the top 8. The deck at face value seems very simplistic and in all honesty it is. However, it is also a fun deck that has so much spectrum KO pressure. On more than one occasion I’ve had my opponent down to one frontline hero, and even had that hero painted with 2 out of 3 icons needed for spectrum KO. All while I’m still firing off full Teamwork chains like I’m Two-Face shooting his Tommy Gun, lol. 

The other deck option, and the one I decided to run, was my ‘Battle for Boston’ winning deck. This deck is a “lockout deck.” For those who don’t know what this means, a lockout deck is a deck that has multiple ways to make characters on your team unable to be attacked by the Opponent. Generally, this is done with Specials from your main team or your battlesite, or in fringe cases with the help of an event. Locking out all your characters is one of the most powerful win conditions in OverPower if you can pull it off. This particular deck runs The Reavers, Fairchild, Heroes For Hire, and Thing (R). This deck, unlike my Penguin lockout deck that has full lockout for every hero, is a deck that has several other win conditions built in, in addition to being able to lock out as one of the major win conditions.  This deck is just so fast and crunchy even if the lockout condition never comes up, I still feel very confident that I can pull out wins. I feel like that a big difference between a tournament winning deck and a deck that is fun, is having more than one victory condition. 

Leading up to the OkC event I knew that I wanted to make a few changes to my deck since I had a few games in Boston when the deck was sluggish, and my opponent was able to find speed over me…which is a very very bad thing for this deck. My Boston version was 64 cards, and for a traditional lockout deck 64 cards is 8 too many…and I quickly found that out during my first match vs Greg Costa when he simply got his cards way before I got mine, and he was able to keep the pressure on me. In a lockout deck you’ve really got 2-3 battles in which to take advantage of your gimmick, and if you swing and miss then you are on your heels reeling (as seen in my notorious loss vs Nick in Columbus’ OP Cup event).  So, after shaving 8 cards from my deck and making some other minor changes, mostly to my battle-site, I was pleased and decided it was the deck to use. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test my revamped deck vs anyone prior the event, but through test draws I was pleased with the results. 

About the deck

Heroes For Hire is the only character that doesn’t have a lockout so for that reason I chose to keep the Specials slim in case they were somehow KO’d early it wouldn’t be so damning to the deck. Someone argued that my deck wouldn’t work if H4H goes down.  Well, I know that in most cases they are the target and for that reason they have 6 total cards that are unique to them and them only.  Everyone knows how good H4H are with a level 11 attack, The Black Knight special we call JW’s, a level 6 attack that if successful forces the Opponent to discard two cards, and being a character with an 8 Strength (Brute Force) stat and a backup 7 Fighting (Combat) stat! That makes them the powerhouse on the deck but also makes them the main target. 

The Reavers have a full lockout card, a negate, a 7 energy attack Special card, and a 2 MultiPower Special card attack that is hard to defend. Plus, their 7 Fighting (Combat) and 6 Strength (Brute Force) stats matched up well with H4H. Knowing the theme of this deck was going to be lockout, I knew the only other possible choice here would have been Beast: the Brute, but his lockout is very situational so in the end I chose Reavers. 

Next, I wanted a backup 8 stat character for the Reserve spot, and generally you’ll want one that gives you some sort of advantage while in reserve. Since there aren’t any strength (Brute Force) characters that fit the advantage role from Reserve, I looked at Hawkeye and thought he would be a great fit with his attacks and full heal venture tuck from reserve. After pulling the cards for Hawkeye and setting him to the side I realized that although he is a great character, he just brought too many cards to the deck and I would have to sacrifice my site and all its tricks or trim down negates and JW’s which I was just unwilling to do…so back to the box he went and out came The Thing! The next thought was, do I even play Clobberin’ Time? Do I really want to lose the card count by placing it on him while in reserve? While debating whether or not to play his 10, a lightbulb went off….freaking Fairchild! How could I forget about her? Being only 17 points and she brings all the versatility I need, she was the only choice in my opinion.

Fairchild brings everything to the table, and an extra placement slot for universe cards. She has a full lockout Special card, a full teamwork defense that ends the turn, that sneaky Super Smarts that gets defended every time I throw it, her special card “fist full of danger” (FFOD) that now gave me a way to play ANY of her teammate’s Special card attacks, including Things level 10 One Per Deck, even though he is in Reserve.

Thing backed up H4H 8 Strength (Brute Force) stat and gave Fairchild some juice to be able to throw his 10 attack as a follow up to her FFoD special. Both Fairchild and Thing being only 17 points made them the perfect final two characters for the deck.

I chose the mission set ‘Might over Mind’ and played the event that locked out a character and another event that only allowed Strength teamworks to be played. It’s obvious why I chose the lockout event, but I was questioned as to why I used the ‘only strength teamworks may be played’ event, since I had two characters that could use 7 Fighting (Combat)and 6 Fighting (Combat) teamworks. The answer was to try and slow down energy-based decks, as I knew in Boston the top players don’t really get away from energy-based decks. If I could get that event into play and my opponent had a couple teamworks, the event would make the teamworks unplayable and it would give me card advantage; letting me then bet more aggressively. But also….in my site I play the Beast Special card, ‘Acrobatics,’ which locks out a character from all attacks that aren’t made with a Universe card. That means the event could possibly make Acrobatics a complete lockout, giving me two full lockouts from the site, thus increasing my chances to lockout the entire team and fulfill my victory condition.

The Onslaught Citadel battle site was my chosen site. This was the first time I had ever used Citadel, and boy let me tell you I’ve been missing out. This site brings so much to a deck that isn’t afraid to take hits and sacrifice characters. Nearly every card in Citadel is annoying to play against, which made it super hard when I built it. At first, I had like 4 Post Activator cards and 3 of every other Activator.  It was way too much. So, I had to do some trimming and it was not easy figuring out which cards were more important than the others.  I left out really good cards that other sites would use without question, because this site has so many great options.

How did I play the deck? Well my strategy was very simple; on the first battle venture enough to make my opponent stay so that I could soak up a couple hits without using any lockouts and paint up my opponents characters so that for the rest of the game they would have to deal with defending every attack I threw or lose their precious Spawn, Starjammers, Mr. Fantastic or whoever was the main threat on their team. I knew that with all the sneaky attacks my deck had, my opponent couldn’t afford to take too many hits before the KO pressure was too much and they would concede. In the next battles I was hoping to just stay aggressive and be able to defend just enough to keep whoever I needed alive. Fairchild being so versatile and choosing to play a low number of Special cards for each of my characters meant that losing a character wasn’t as devastating as it would be for the average opponent. This also meant, if I needed to, I could trade character for character if my opponent wanted; because most decks can’t survive if they lose their main guy early. 

My overall advice to players is this. At the end of the day find a deck that you like and play it until you’ve mastered the deck. There are so many tweaks that are made to a championship deck that if you’re constantly scraping decks and moving to the next one you might miss out. You never know, one small tweak could make the difference in becoming an OverPower Champion or missing the top 8.

Until next time my fellow nerds, venture well!

Josh “The Locksmith” Alexander