Ideaspace: An overview of the X-Factor Previews

Well, X-Factor seem pretty nuts good. 


Cyclops is looking like an awesome Legend to build a deck around. I’m very happy to see Cyke get his due – I’ve always been a fan of Cyclops, despite all the negative press he gets for being “boring”. In Morrison’s New X-Men run, and Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, Cyclops has really become a great leading character. I particularly loved the developing animosity towards Professor X and his increasing badassery. This guy’s been training since day one, so it stands to reason that he would be very, very effective in using his powers. Highlights included him disarming many, many of Magneto’s followers in Genosha’s sewers in a single panel, and getting that Sentinel of the Mansion’s lawn. 


And Cyke’s newfound awesomeness has definately translated into cardboard awesomeness. We’ve seen his 4, 6 and 8 drop cards, and each of them has a powerful ability. Out of combat stuns on 4 if you can maintain board in the early turns, and a strong finisher for a stall deck that will either win on 8 or garuantee that you see turn 9. The 6 drop has an interesting effect, which suggests an X-Factor deck that is more than simply locking the opponent out of combat – the ability suggests the use of X-Factor’s powerful activated abilities to disrupt the opponent’s defences on initiative, while still getting to attack with your characters, or alternately get multiple swings out of a character.  Combing the Astonishing X-Man with Fearless Leader will also be very powerful. The potential combos with Cyclops, Astoning X-Men are many and potentially massively powerful, especially with To Me, My X-Men as additional support. I see a good control-aggro X-Factor build which makes the opponent’s attack step a nightmare while simultaeneously being able to mount a formidable offence in the mid-late turns. 


Then we have the Multiple Man legend cards, which I am totally smitten with.  Madrox offers a slightly different style of play from Cyclops, being less stall focused, while still offering off initiative control via Multiplicty and Sleeper Cells, great stunback potential via the HYDRA one drop’s activated ability, and a really solid defensive Turn 5 thanks to Jamie Prime potentially being Nimrod on steroids. One Man Army also lets you maintain huge numbers of dupes to fuel the madness. Strong Guy is the obvious finisher here – he could get really massive with a board full of dupes. 


The rest of X-Factor’s previews show some more great stall potential, with Polaris, Iceman, and Jean Grey. Jean will make it very hard for the opponent to impact your board at all, especially with First Class recovering and readying her. (Anyone else thinking Netherworld gift would be janktastic with her?)


Having seen quite a bit of energize at this point, I think it’s a pretty interesting keyword. Clearly, it seeks to increase the value of activated powers on (mostly) larger characters, and makes brickwalling a very powerful strategy for X-Factor, allowing for either multiple activations or attacks back off initiative. The way I’d like to see X-Factor play is a sort of ebb and flow of attack and defence (I love how Jamie Prime and Reabsorbtion interact to produce this “ebb and flow” feel). I do expect that there will be a strong X-Stall deck as well, with Rogue and Mimic certainly making appearances. Expect your combat step to be very difficult in the coming Modern Age. 


The off initiative control power of X-Factor is significant, and people have expressed worry that X-Factor might make the combat step entirely irrelevant in the coming meta – but let’s not forget that we’ve yet to see what else the set has to offer, and many folks expressed worry that Warbound were broken and that X-Men/Negative Zone would dominate during the MUN previews. 


In completely tangential news, I just started reading the Warren Ellis Thunderbolts run, and it’s awesome.


~ by Anthony on October 13, 2008.

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