Posted by: thederangedbear | September 24, 2008

Whose Side Are You On?

I recently asked Brian about his thoughts on the Spidernati – not what I call it but just easier summation of what it is – and he gave my list a pretty good thrashing but it was also very insightful. His insights also reaffirm my belief that Illuminati is so awkward to customize because you really only have thirty slots to toggle with.

One suggestion Brian made was that I make the transition to Underground Movement instead of Superhuman Registration Act as in OSM’s original list. Brian brings up the point that the Underground Movement often acts as a reinforcement effect, allowing you to move characters who do not have a normal reinforcement channel next to a concealed ready character.

Definitely a reasonable concern.

Anyways, it’s in my mind that SRA or UM decks are probably going to define all the VS metagames for a long time. So I thought some type of comparison between these two would make a good discussion:

Underground Movement – Team-Up has no drawback at all. It provides you a single option that is very powerful no doubt. It will never backfire on you, other then in situations where you suddenly want to move guys back visible to tank.

In constrast, Superhuman Registration Act does have a drawback: Your opponent knows all the draws you have for the rest of your game. There are definitely disadvantages to this, for example Omnipotence being a definite hit as opposed to an educated guess is certainly one that needs to be considered.

In addition, Superhuman Registration Act’s benefit is also considerably less tangible. You know what’s the top card of your deck, but unless it’s a guy there’s only so much the card you can do. I can count on one hand, actually maybe even one finger, the amount of times I’ve recruited a guy from my deck in control builds.

CaptainSpud – le awesome! -once said that 90% of the time Underground Movement is better then and given my rationale his assessment is correct, right?

Not quite-

I’m a Futurist

The reality is the ability to know the top card of your library is deceptively powerful. Most control decks have some amount of draw and shuffle effects, and the ability to properly time these is huge since you’re always digging toward your endgame.

Let me add this: If you’re dedicating slots to playing the team-up and the appropriate search you are probably control…

I used the manual vs automatic transmission on vs-blog last week and I think it fits here too. SRAgives it’s controller more information, which allows the player’s skill and assessment to influence the flow of the game even more.

Underground Movement doesn’t allow this.

Isn’t that advantage negated by your opponent knowing what you have?

Surprisingly, for a lot of decks… you really don’t care that your opposition knows what you have. These decks typically have a higher bandwidth of power and tend to be proactive.

It’s one thing if your opponent is playing around negation. It’s another if your deck is trying to force your game plan on them. In these situations, your opponent – if they’re any good – is probably already playing around whatever tricks you are telegraphing – such as Gift Wrapped and consequently you’re not really losing anything.

So am I going to switch to Underground Movement? Like I said before, no point asking for advice if you’re not going to try it…





  1. SHRA is only better in a very narrow swathe of decks– ones that use draw/rally, and have ways to “reset” the top card with lots of search; and also, swarm decks that use the “free recruits”.

    Most decks can’t manipulate their top card, and most decks aren’t “blindly” swarming with whatever they pick up, so for any other “pile of good character” decks, I’d really recommend UM over SHRA. Hiding guys is awesome in a combat deck because it lets you swing off-init and build up board advantage; it’s awesome in control because it hides your harassers (Puppet Master) and lockdown characters (Ronan), letting them use their power over more turns of the game than they’d ordinarily manage; it’s awesome in combo because it keeps your combo pieces safe, giving you more time to assemble your kill.

    Just about ANY deck can benefit from the ability to hide people, whereas SHRA is only really helpful if you’re swarming or playing an insane amount of draw AND search… and to be honest, I don’t really find “smart draw” to be much more helpful than “brute force draw”, especially when the slots that made it “smart” can simply be rededicated to more draw.

    So, yeah. I still stand by my statement.

  2. SRA takes away alot of your ability to bluff, which i think is important with control decks. Also giving your opponents a hint on what to Omnipotence can cost games.

    If you really want to see what your own top card is, you do have Prof X. But i think in a deck full of 1 ofs, the odds you’ll see something on top you wont want to shuffle away is pretty slim, and most of your other cards are 4 ofs.

  3. @Spud: I think I phrased my point somewhat badly… but yeah: In general, I agree with you that those with draw and shuffle effects will be able to use SRA better. However, aren’t those all control decks? It’s a narrow archetype with a large range I think is what I’m trying to get at.

    @ Jon: What exactly are you trying to bluff though? That you have a Gift Wrapped? In both cases your opponent is going to swing regardless so the knowledge of that is meaningless, as your opponent is going to react the exact same way. The same goes for all your on-board exhaustion tricks.

    The only card that has only value in bluffing is Pathetic Attempt and Death of the Dream, most especially in Omni fights. However, in Omni fights SRA is very helpful in letting you shuffle to the parts you need.

    Keep in mind your opponent doesn’t get to see the second card of ESU so there’s still some hidden knowledge there too. In general, I prefer raw power over trickery though, and my opponent knowing what I have is rarely an issue for me as I’m not looking to trap them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: