ORIGIN STORIES: The Origin of Barnacle, Chair Decks and Other Tales of Silly, Part 1 – Taking it to the “D” Street!

Last time  I gave you a pretty comprehensive breakdown of the Easter eggs in Marvel Universe. I thought about going further back in time and doing the same for Marvel Legends, Marvel Team-Up and Heralds of Galactus… but, it felt like too much of a “phone in”. So, I decided that this week, I’d still make that apathetic phone call, but in a less obvious way. I hope. Crap, telling you kind of defeats the purpose…

Inside jokes, or “skill testers” as some of you like to call them, are about the most fun thing to design when thinking up set skeletons. There are plenty of skill testers in MUN that are all very obvioys, so I want to rewind back and point out some of my favorites from my time in Vs. design. Let’s start with one of the most infamous:

The Chair Deck

The “what” deck? Some of you may remember a little 10K in LA where yours truly made his feature match coverage debut. If not, click the links. Since that was a lifetime ago, I guess it’s finally time to come clean on one of our lamest inside jokes ever. “The Chair Deck” was an idea that kind of blew up into nothing if you were a casual player, or something if you were a Pro Circuit player around that time. The joke began well before that 10K, but it was at that 10K where the joke spread throughout the community. I remember multiple threads about the deck popping up on VsSystem.com the weekend of that 10K. Why all the hysteria? How did it happen? How did we do it? I’ll tell you! Patrick, Antonio and I began seeding the 10K coverage with references to the mysterious and powerful “Chair Deck” on Day 1. What was in the chair deck? None of the players could figure it out, and we sure as hell weren’t telling. The only thing they did know was that it was very powerful and if anyone managed to figure out its intricacies, that person would be well on their way to winning the next PC!

The Chair Deck was promoted as the best, most broken deck to ever come out of R&D… unfortunately, as some would soon discover, it was the exact opposite. It was total BS. The chair deck was actually the derisive name given to one of the worst decks ever created in R&D, or so I’ve been told by the paragon of honesty, Patrick Sullivan. The deck’s creator? None other than “The” Ben Seck! Hey guys, this was back when TBS was first hired by UDE, when he still sucked and long before he was good enough to dominate players in Super Crossover Sealed at Vs. Worlds. So we know who created the deck, but who was originally responsible for spreading the hoax? As I said, the chair deck as a concept first broke through to the mainstream player community when the unlikely combination of myself, Ant and Sully were tossed together for some 10K coverage. I was still relatively new to this UDE scene, so that weekend was definitely a “get to know you” event for me. Sully, Ant and I hit it off right away. We hated the same things and laughed at the same kind of inappropriate “Nazi” jokes that we snuck into the coverage which were later removed by our crafty editors. Anyway, it was during this meeting of minds that Sully and Ant told me about TBS’s ridiculous creation.

We had so many laughs at his expense that we just couldn’t help ourselves, and despite calls from editing for us to “cut it out”, the chair deck jokes made it into the coverage. Now, to be clear, we never intended these jokes to develop into the hoax that some of you accused us of. We were just being immature and cliquey, taking advantage of our responsibilities as writers to poke fun at a colleague. We never thought it would be such a big deal… it it even was. The mind loses track. Anyway–

Now that I think I’ve pretty much covered all the explanations, maybe it’s time I told you what was in the chair deck and how it got its name. The deck is designed around the much-maligned Mobius Chair.

Yes, that POS New Gods legacy card from the Justice League expansion. For some reason, TBS thought this was a good card to build a deck around. I remember how earnestly he tried to explain the deck’s endgame to me after the 10K. Unfortunately, I don’t recall exactly what that endgame was. If you’re interested, be sure to ask TBS about it at Gen-Con next month.

Wait, that’s not all! The chair deck wasn’t just about the Mobius Chair, the joke was also all about cards with art that depicted characters sitting… in chairs! Cards like: Thanos, Protector of the Reality Gem and Cosmic Order and later, Darkseid, Apokoliptian Oppressor, Ancient Throne and Curse of Darkness (TBS loves him some chairs!). There are literally hundreds of cards in Vs. that fit this description. I dare you to research it and name them all!

Okay, to explain even further, chair in this case doesn’t actually mean “chair”. The use of the word chair is a synonym for another word or words, depending on the scope of your vulgar vocabulary. Look at the art on Cosmic Order:

What does it really look like The Living Tribunal is doing? Now read the flavor text. Who or what do you think he is really addressing with the statement, “Final judgment is upon thee.” You remember that scene from the first Austin Powers, the scene with Mike Meyers and Tom Arnold?

“Who does number two work for!”Mike Meyers

…exactly! That, in truth, is the heart of the “chair deck” joke… or, at least what it ultimately transformed into. I kick myself everyday for not including D-Man in the Marvel Universe release.


I had planned on writing about three other topics like my disdain for the New Defenders, cards based on TCG personalities and other nonsense, but we’re sitting at about a thousand words, plus pictures, and my lunch is getting cold. I’ll be back next Friday (the new home of ORIGIN STORIES!) with Part 2 (I SWEAR!!!). Until then, crack open those dusty DJL boxes and build a deck around everyone’s favorite latrine.


As a special treat, a piece of unused art starring Rick Jones taking a #### in the Negative Zone.

11 thoughts on “ORIGIN STORIES: The Origin of Barnacle, Chair Decks and Other Tales of Silly, Part 1 – Taking it to the “D” Street!

  1. You know, I do want to see a 20 drop Living Tribunal character card at some point…even though I know he’d only be used for shotgunning and Shape Change purposes. Still, a man can dream.

  2. i assume the “HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAA” was for the Rick Jones piece. that would make me laugh the most.

    20-drop? JEEZ! maybe if he had an ability like Death or Beyonder. i think that’s the only way the players would swallow a 20-drop rare.

  3. btw, promo set after Ultimates is way cooler than LIFE!

    maybe a Living Tribunal raid deck, where you put your opponent on trial and then argue your case to the Tribunal player? yes/yes?

  4. That Rick Jones art is way cool. You guys should have used it!

    And the Mobius Chair isn’t a complete piece of junk. It got me my only win at EdgeWorld’s first BYOT event. New Gods ftw!

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