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SINISTER SYNDICATE is the 55 card deck that can, and does, drastically change the way you may play VS SYSTEM 2PCG games. The VS 2PCG now delivers a new specific themed deck called an 'Arc' every three months. Already there have been 'Arcs' for Spider-Man and the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and this latest (Sinister Syndicate) deck is part of the current (Spider-Man) 'Arc'. The previous Spider-Man deck brought forth his friends and allies whereas this is an 'evil villain' deck directed at the player who believes that the 'bad guys' are always the most interesting.

The renovation of the VS SYSTEM has already begun in earnest with new decks coming out every month. These are going to continually be 55 cards in a regular 'playing-card' style box and most likely in the stores and online at around the same price per release. There will be notable exceptions, currently named as 'Giant-Sized' which will be larger boxes with two-hundred cards in each, progressively continuing the game.   

This deck gives you your first six members of the 'Mad Pumpkin' icon, all of them are major villains and enemies of Spider-Man; they are (in alphabetical order) Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, and Vulture and with the 'Crossover' set you can add Green Goblin and Venom to the mix thus increasing the possibilities of creating many different 6 card permutations.

A Sinister Six deck contains SIX main Characters but each with just a Level of 1. Seven of the eight Sinister Syndicate cards have a Health of just 1 whereas Venom has a Health of 2. Although you have six main characters you may only have one in play at a time, select one and leave the other five to one side from where you can select another when the first falls; thus you have six 'lives' although they are quite weak.

To play a Sinister Six deck you have to be cunning and you need skill and not a little luck, it also serves to have a good sense of humour for they are a good gimmicky band of brethren melded together by their evil thoughts and actions as well as the fact that they simply do not like Spidey. Your aim with a Sinister Six deck against a regular deck (okay 'regular' isn't the best word to use because not many decks are regular as each deck is built to the standards and designs of its owner) is to wear down your opponent before your sixth main character is KO'd. The Sinister Syndicate cards are NOT in a deck, they are a set aside number of cards (beginning with 5 as one will already have been chosen to start) that you get to select from until they are gone and then your hopes of a victory are blowing like tiny grains of sand along a windy promenade.

Sinister Six decks also bring more fun to the actual game play, but before this you have the deck-building. To create a Sinister Six deck, a good Sinister Six deck you need Supporting characters that augment the specifically chosen main characters. These supports need not be of the same characters, in fact if you select a main character with the same name as the supporting character then that supporting character will be KO'd. There are ten sets of four Supporting characters in this deck. One set for each of the six main characters, one set for each of Venom and Green Goblin and one set for each Kraven the Hunter and Doctor Octopus. 

There is very little difference between the rules you already know for VS 2PCG, in fact apart from the Six-for-One main character change the game itself doesn't change, only the way you play it. It is never a good idea (and so I had to try it) to use just one of the Sinister Syndicate main character cards as your main character when you build a deck to play; their miniscule Health value is decidedly against them having success no matter which cards you surround it with.

If there are Plot twists without team affiliations in the game they can be played whatever the team icons are visible on your face up characters thus of the Sinister cards which means that Mysterio’s power will let you play any plot twist in your hand as if affiliated to one of your characters.

Note that when you play a plot twist as a copy of one of these plot twists, you ignore everything on the card you play (including team affiliation, timing restriction, etc.). So with Mysterio face up on your side, you could play a Combat plot twist from another team during your Build Phase as a copy of Putting the Team Together. And also note that he says “once per turn” not “once on your turn”, so you can use his power on your turns and your opponent’s turns.

The rules sheet carries extra game text for Mysterio, Electro, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter and Chameleon because they have Keywords (such as 'Sinister Six' and 'Reaction') which are by their nature similar but not exactly the same as the Super Powers of other Characters and Support.

This is not really a good deck to play in itself so being new to the game it is not truly a pre-determined deck which you can just pick up and play and lern the game. Like any of the more recent VS SYSTEM 2PCG decks this is a number of cards that you just add on to the pre-existing game,  a set of 55 cards from which you can build a good fun deck using cards from previous sets. Using cards from the Spider-Man and the MCU sets will keep you in the same story 'Arc', but if you have cards from other sets you can make a myriad of power and/or fun decks. This is a game (not just this deck) that is entertaining, amusing, fascinating and captivating.

Sinister Syndicate is available from your local games store for £12.00 - £15.00. You can find it online but where possible please support brick & mortar stores before they disappear.




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015