Stealing a page from Vision's book, here's my take on the first week's schedule for the DC League. Man, this took forever. Vision, next time you post somewhere, you'll have to remind me to rep you for doing this consistently last year. I don't know how you managed it for both leagues.
CurBludgeon's Picks and Pre-season Analysis
DC League, Week 1
Batman Enemies (visitor)
Iceman's Outsiders have been bolstered by the return of their founder, Batman, providing them with the formidable outwit of the Dynamic Duo. Expect to see Black Adam and possibly G'nort here to help deal with the pesky stealthed threats from the Batman Rogues Gallery.
On the other hand, Thawmus has assembled a very nasty and thematic roster, bolstering his core of the Demon's Head and the Clown Prince of Crime with the return of Clayface from injury (although the much-dreaded E version won't be available until Game 2) and the always dangerous Prometheus. Barring an Isolation/Disbanded BFC, look for those shared 10 and 11 AVs to wear down the Outsiders on this one.
But here's a free plug for Iceman's Show, Friday Night Lights, debuting on NBC two Tuesdays from now. Check your local listings.
My pick? The Batman Enemies start terrorizing the league. And what better place to start than with Batman's team?
The Society (home)
Last year's Super Buddies return under a new name, and sans the Dark Knight. However, it's hard to count out the only DC team that went undefeated in the regular season. While the glamour and press may go to Captain Atom and the Elongated Man, GreatArelius has quietly put together a very strong supporting cast with a lot of mobility. The free move taxi-ing provided by Booster Gold and Green Flame allows the team to out-action the opponent and control the board. Sun Tzu would be proud.
However, when it comes to supporting casts, DrStrangeFate's Society is as strong as they come. Deathstroke and his daughter make a formidable pair, but they're joined by Jinx, Talia, and the uncomfortably-close-to-leveling Lex Luthor. Look for that shiny battle suit to see lots of action after the mid-season break, and possibly before, depending on DSF's whim.
My pick? JLI, where Booster Gold and Blue Beetle keep on ticking.
Fatal Five (home)
Teen Titans (visitor)
For a rookie team, Glen Quagmire's Fatal Five has a lot of folks worried. Persuader and Emerald Empress form a formidable duo, with Validus backing up in case of injury or 400 point roster builds. Perhaps the biggest relief for his opponents comes with the knowledge that only 1 OMAC shows up on the roster. Small consolation though, considering the Fatal Five have drafted not one, but two cheap Superman Enemies. Look for them to make ample use of this expensive TA.
VanceMadrox's Teen Titans counter with two heavy hitters of their own in E Green Lantern (CD) and the dreaded KC Flash. These, plus an efficient cast of players such as Hawk, Ch'p, Jesse Quick, and Speedy look highly imposing. While powers can be outwitted, numbers like Hawk's AV and Flash's 20 DV cannot.
My pick? The Titans are tired of being called a bunch of kids, and they're going to show these rookies they mean business.
Young Justice (home)
Sentinels of Magic (visitor)
Tenketsu's Young Justice made the playoffs last year with a balanced attack from Superboy, Wonder Woman, Impulse, Red Tornado, and Robin. While Wonder Woman has graduated to the JLA, Mary Marvel has stepped in with her own brand of HSS pain. Backing up the heavy hitters are a capable cast that includes Speedy, Sgt. Rock, Spoiler, Hawkman, and the dreaded Snapper Carr pog. This kind of depth shields Young Justice from the fear of injuries, while allowing them to swarm tentpole teams.
Speaking of injury-fearing tentpole teams, the Sentinels of Magic attracted a lot of attention and some wailing and gnashing of teeth with their draft-day pickup of Alan Scott, aka KC GL. Behind his 20 defense sits a diverse collection of figs led by Raven, Enchantress, and Ragman. While none of the figures alone inspires fear, the hope lies that they can gel into a cohesive whole.
My completely biased pick? I'm not going to cause a Pete Rose scandal by betting against the Sentinels of Magic.
Peers's Justice League Elite has some daunting challenges, to say the least. Although its individual parts (thanks in part to the choice of several uniques for the roster) are effective, the lack of mobility may cripple his chances of contending this season. However, they gave the defending champions a run for their money during the final pre-season game, and Adam Strange looks to be out to make a reputation for his clix version.
Chiles's BPRD (as opposed to some alternate spelling going around) similarly suffers from some mobility issues. Taking a similar draft strategy to the JLE, the team has 3 fully-leveled and dangerous characters in Manticore, Shi, and Allen the Alien. Add in the always popular Lobster Johnson and Hellboy, and this team could prove a nuisance.
My pick? JLE, by a hair
Secret 6 (home)
Injustice League (visitor)
In the Secret 6, JacinB took a team from perhaps the best-written series to come out of Infinite Crisis, and, where actual heroclix weren't available, made some very nice thematic replacement choices (e.g., Spiderman 2099 for Catman and Fury for Parademon). Despite Thawmus's proclamation that "I'm not losing sleep over [facing the Secret 6]," this team might surprise some before the season's through.
IAM138's Injustice League brings some much-needed villainy to the DC League. If they lead with Despero's 4 clicks of imperv, 12 AV and psychic blast, watch out. As with the other rookie teams, the lack of mobility may prevent them from reaching their full potential, but the always underrated Gorilla Grodd will join with Brainiac 13 and Circe (what, no alternate Injustice League TA?) to do some damage.
My pick? Catman continues to demonstrate his dislike for monkeys. Secret 6 it is.
Dark Judges (home)
Legion Of Super Heroes (visitor)
Rouge2's Dark Judges bring a lot of damage reducers but, as with most Indy figs, no taxis, meaning they'll take a lot of heat before entering the fray. Fortunately, Ghost Widow's presence may alleviate some of that pain. Look to see some of her cohort Captain Mako, aka the mini-Persuader, this season, as well.
They face another strongly thematic team in MSU's LoSH. While its owner's early draft choice of Huntress was puzzling to some, the move turned out nicely, especially with the addition of Supergirl and her X-ray vision to the team. Wild card teams depend heavily on the extra spices added to them, and in this case, the blend will give fits to even the more experienced teams, if they're not prepared to deal with massive stealth capabilities.
My pick? The 30th century's where it's at, and the Legion of Super Heroes knows it.
Green Lantern Corp (home)
With the addition of the Green Lantern Corps collector's set, Orko has taken what many have said was impossible, and turned it into reality: a Green Lantern theme team. Sure, the figs are expensive. Sure, the TA doesn't encourage Corp teamwork. But look at all that alpha strike capability! Whether or not that translates into the ability to get the last strike remains to be seen.
Da-Craig-O's Judges were a last minute addition to the league, and they uncannily mirror the Dark Judges in more ways than just the name. Think grounded figs who'll have to slog their way on foot to get into combat. Fortunately, another universe helps them in this regard, this time with Invincible's Guardians of the Globe, Atom Eve and Robot. Look to see extensive use of perplex from the latter and Judge Anderson to keep the opponent on their toes.
My pick? In brightest day, and on home turf, the Green Lanterns will take this one.
Game of the Week:
The defending champs go up against a team that finished with a better regular season record. If any game here is worthy of being called a slobberknocker, complete with a return from our resident announcing team, it should be this one. Tanis's JLA features heavy hitters in Hal Jordan, Wonder Woman, and two erstwhile JSAers in Power Girl and Hourman. Plus, the Atom and Ambush Bug offer reasonably priced support to their teammates and plenty of harassment to their opponents.
To counter this, Stepper says, "Shazam!" And as he proved game after game last year, that's usually the last word. Oh, and Doc Midnite, Mr. Terrific, and Jade will likely be making frequent guest appearances this season.
My pick? Since I'm already on the Register, I've no qualms in saying that the JLA, led by the lost city of Tanis, will pull this out in the 300 point format, quite likely setting up a grudge rematch between the two teams in the playoffs.
That's it for now. Tune in next time when I explain how I managed to go 0-9 in my predictions!