Ideaspace “I’m the X-Factor”

•October 5, 2008 • Leave a Comment


In opening, Jamie Madrox is awesome. The MadroX Mini and the X-Factor run that came out of it have been fairly consistently some of my favourite superhero comics of the past few years. I love how he’s being written, with the dupes displaying aspects of his personality and the fact that he feels his life is pointless – when you can do anything, nothing seems to matter. It’s great stuff. 


Aaand… onto the card. The first cool thing: When he gets stunned, you can simply replace him with another copy of Jamie Prime. It makes for an excellent off initiative, Nimrod-esque resilience. Because you remove him from the game, it’s not infinite, but it’s certainly a cool trick to force your opponent to go through your 5 drop a couple of times. 


I expect quite a few versions of Jamie in the set, what with him being a legend and all, and I’ll go out on a limb and say that Jamie Prime is probably as big as they get. I predict a 1,2, and 3 version. (Hopefully the 3 will be the crazy, plot derailing “X Factor” personality. Because he was awesome). How good getting Jamie Prime stunned to swarm out dupes will be of course depends on how good the support cards. If you have 5 of the MVL Multiple Man, you’re getting a net gain in ATK, and more if you have some form of blanket pump. 


Notice that Jamie Prime doesn’t have army, so before you play him on five, you’re going to want to do this: 


Refill your hand, fill the KO pile with dupes to swarm back out when Jamie Prime stuns, and gain yourself some endurance. 


What I like about Jamie Prime + Re-absorbtion is the fact that it allows a swarm deck to clear the board of the little guys for a strong defensive turn 5, where you’ll have a hard to kill visible body to soak damage, which can finally break down into the little parts for a counter attack. It’s a pretty cool, thematic way for a Madrox deck to work. 


I just wish Zazzala wasn’t rotating out of Silver with this set, because Zazzala would be awesome with Madrox and Reabsorbtion. Maybe we’ll get some  Madrox legend cards that trigger off dupes entering and leaving play…


Ideaspace: “I want that thing off my lawn”

•October 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The title, of course, is a reference to the Whedon Astonishing X-Men issue where the WIld Sentinel attacks the Mansion…  And gets the full brunt of Cyke’s power. It was an awesome moment. With gorgeous art. Which I really hope turns up on a Cyclops related card somewhere. 


Yup, you’ve guessed right, I’m joining the deluge of blog posts talking about the previews we’ve seen so far. 

And I’m going to toss chronological order out of the window and start with this:

TBS has confirmed that there will be a three drop Cyclops, which just sweetens the deal further. 


This is an immensely powerful stall card.  Unlike Mystical Paralysis, it lets the opponent choose who gets exhausted, but it gets two guys. More than a fair trade in my book, especially considering the fact that Cyke being a 3 drop means your 4 drop slot can happily be filled by Spider-Man in Silver and Dr. Doom in Modern (Assuming the X-Men/ X Factor don’t have a stall-tastic 4 drop of the same caliber… it’s a high caliber). The sheer volume of powerful off initiative exhausts that will be available in Modern and Silver is quite impressive. And I haven’t even mentioned Captain America and his Shield. And the Captain, who just keeps getting more broken as time goes on.  


Damn, ever since I wrote that article about how PA wasn’t all that good, R&D have been going out of their way to print cards that really make it more worthwhile.  Which in turn makes Omni even more of a neccesity for control decks. Which makes Death of a Dream/Have a Blast! more neccesary… Hrrrm… (I increasingly think TDB and Tommy Ashton are right about Omni being bad for the game… )

Anyway, it wouldn’t be an Ideaspace article if I didn’t throw out a half-baked janky idea for a deck using this card – Puppet Master on 2, Cyclops on 3 (Carrying the Torch to make him Doom. Or Doom on 3, Torch to make him Cyke, if you’re in Silver), Rogue on 4, exhaust absolutely everyone.  


Carrying the Torch… It’s really the most awesome card they’ve printed in ages. I really need my playset. 


As far as 8 Drops go, Cykes not completely amazing. I mean, he doesn’t say “win the game” or “skip turn 8” on him.  But at the same time, that’s looking at him in isolation.  As part of the X-Stall machine, he’ll certainly get you to turn 9. Or possibly just burn out the opponent. 


Energize is an interesting keyword as well. I’m lukewarm towards it, since it relies on your opponents actions to trigger, so you can’t strictly plan on it. It’s a keyword that’s going to be maximally useful in stall decks playing against aggro and curve decks – it’s of little use against stall decks, who don’t care if combat drifts by most of the time. Now, that negativity out of the way, it’s still potentially very exciting – after all, the opponent is going to want to attack most of the time, and if you’re playing a stall deck, and the opponent chooses not to attack, you’re laughing. Maniacally. 


Further Energize related musings as more cards emerge. 


Quick capsule review of Cyclops so far: The X-Men just became a darn good stall team in their own right again. Maybe X-Factor too, we’ll have to wait and see.

Multiplicity: Another Random Thought

•October 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Elektra Situation and Omni are likely to be the nuts in this format.

Just had the thought that a Mr Fantastic/ Iron Man equips build running Elektra Situation and Omni would be pretty solid, with the ability to shut down most opposing decks completely and field some very resilient characters, with some exhaust tech as well in the form of Iron Man, Protector of the Reality Gem, and Clandestine Ops. 

This is an idea that I’m suddenly very fond of. 

Off the top of my head curve: 

2: Mr. Fantastic, Stringbean/ Mr. Fantastic, Protector of the Power Gem

3: Iron Man, Illuminati/ Mr. Fantastic, Flexible Thinker

4: Mr. Fantastic, Critical Thinker / Iron Man, Mighty Avenger

5: Iron Man, Protector of the Reality Gem / Mr. Fantastic, Illuminati

6: Mr Fantastic, Dimensional Explorer

7: Iron Man, Director of Shield.


You’ll have Eureka for equipment search, so you’ll have plenty of access to your Extremis Uprgrades and Unstable Molecular suits, and whatever random equips you think would be useful to give you an edge in combat. New Baxter Building, Mr. Fantastic, Critical Thinker, and Mr. Fantastic, Dimensional Explorer would give you some solid card draw. 


And there’s also no need to get hung up on a strict Mr. Fantastic/ Iron Man curve, once you’ve got both on the board your Illuminati tricks can turn on, and you can fill some of the slots in the curve with some other people if you choose. (Though Iron Man on 4 and 5 is pretty awesome, maintaining your board and using it to lock down the other guy off initiative) 

The real draw, of course, is the incredible ability to shut down all those pesky Spider-Man decks completely, as well as most of the other Legend centric decks you’re likely to see.

Multiplicity: General Musings on Clone Saga

•October 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Breaking uniqueness has always been a pretty fun and powerful thing to do. And now, we have a whole format where you don’t have to worry about it. 


Now, there’s the obvious first port of call in such a format – looking at characters who have powerful drops at multiple points on the curve, and a bevy of Legend plot twists to their name. Indeed, this course of action is so obvious that many have critisized Clone Saga as basically being Build a Legend all over again, except easier and probably more broken.  


The first names that came to mind for the Legend Curve style build were, for me: 

Fantastic Four: Okay, not a “Curve O’ Legend” as such, but with 8 search cards and the Plaza, you could build a really flexible deck with lots of options to switch between aggro and defence, and not have to worry about replacement.

Spider-man: It’s simple really. There’s just a lot of wonderfully controlly Spideys all the way up the curve. 

Wolverine: Piles of options, while a solid midgame of Wolverines… but do you really ever need two? Most Wolverine decks focus on pumping one Wolvie to huge proportions. 

Worlds Finest: Not really different from the standard WF build, except you have more space for tricks and don’t have to replace your Batman. Actually, that could blow things wide open for the build. It could pack some more combat tricks, and play around with the standard curve a lot more. 


Punisher: Sniper Shot, anyone? 


But these are some of the more obvious options. In fact, the majority of Legends currently in the game scream for (ab)use in Clone Saga. But lets not forget that there are other options here. There are plenty of characters who would benefit from having multiple copies of themselves in play.


Doom, the original Legend, is likely to see play in clone saga. But I don’t think the notsoGood Doctor is actually the main beneficiary of the lack of a uniqueness rule. No, what’s caught my eye is Puppet Master, Overprotective Father. Dropping multiples of this dude is a pretty strong play, especially when you’ve got your Mystical Paralysis firing of Dr. Doom, Richards Rival (and you can still play multiple dooms, so that’s cool)… and perhaps being rebought by Black Manta?  (After teaming up with Underground Movement, which can ship a Puppet Master to the hidden)


And then there’s good old aggression. It occurs to me that off curve stands to gain an awful lot from Clone Saga. I mean, wouldn’t you love to spend all your resource points on those hugely overstatted characters who enable off curve in the first place, rather than those random guys you put in just to dodge uniqueness problems? Your Electros, Vultures, and such. Fill up the extra space you save by playing only the best characters with the best card draw you can manage, or more pumps, and see what happens. 


Oh, and I just love the idea of playing out 4 Quicksilver, House of M, to support Quicksilver, Inhuman By Marriage on the kill turn.  *ducks barrage of rotten fruit*


Other random thoughts: Multiple Valerias in a Medkit build would generate some crazy big amounts of endurance, I’m increasing liking the options available to a Human Torch Clone deck as I think about it (Burning or out of Combat Stun both), and why does it always come back to FF being awesome? Half my ideas for this format involve the Family in some form. (I also like The Big Butts curve of Mr. F/Thing/Mr. F/Thing, complete with defence pumps and unstable molecular suits and Clobberin’ Pines)


I’ve only really scratched the surface here with some random brainstorming. The crux of this post: When you’re looking at your options for Clone Saga, there’s a whole lot beyond the “curve of legend(s)” that you could do to take advantage of the format. There’s potential for some awesome decks to come out of this format, especially with the vast cardpool of Silver Age. Think outside the box, folks.

The Odd Couple

•September 26, 2008 • 2 Comments

New Birds wins again in the Summer of Love. Man, I did not see that coming. Seriously. I’ve bet against them every single time. I mean, New Gods? C’mon! 


And the fact that I’ve been wrong every time is why I love Summer of Love. It’s been very difficult to predict, and the upsets keep coming. New Birds is a simple lesson in the fact that a deck with focus is strong. The plot twist selection is brutally straight forward – pumps galore. If only I’d listened to my own advice about focus I might have spotted the potential power of the New Birds deck. Summer of Love has shown time and time again that consistency is a major issue, and having such tight focus, rather than a combo (a la the Wolverine decks) or core interaction gives the deck a power I didn’t spot at all. 


I await the remaining matches with great anticipation. Gambling on Vs is a huge amount of fun. Lord help us if the next time Lost Hemisphere runs something this awesome they decide to actually take cash bets… because I’d totally spend a fortune on it…

Stream of Consciousness.

•September 19, 2008 • 1 Comment

Well, done travelling and unpacking and sorting out stuff. After so long away from home, it was a challenge to fit all the DVDs, books, and of course Vs cards into my room. I’m pretty sure I somehow managed to pull a Timelord and make some cupboards bigger on the inside than they are on the outside.

But onto business… or at least, some comics/Vs related things that have been rattling around in my head.

Invincible is really fantastic, I’ve plowed through the first 40 issues in a couple of days. I haven’t been this hooked  on a comic book in…  a really long time. Every time I finish an issue/TPB I’m chomping at the bit to get to the next one. It’s funny, with likable characters who you get really attached to. And it handles shifts in tone so very well – it flips from being a normally light hearted book to delivering dramatic gut punches with fierce power… without seeming incongruous. And the art is gorgeous. Kudos to Kirkman for delivering an innovative, entertaining new title, and I thank the Gods in charge of consumer spending that people actually bought it when it came out of nowhere – too many new titles wither and die before they get a chance to get where they’re going, and it would have been tragic if it had happened to Invincible.

Also, mulling over Modern Age deck ideas in earnest. The big contenders were laid out in excellent fashion by TDB over on The Deranged Blog. If I default to one of those, it’ll probably be ARR, since I’m familiar with how it runs. But as ever, I’ll look around outside the box to see if there’s anything that’s been missed. MA seems to be a pretty fast format, with SHIELD, ARR, and MKKO setting a pretty tight clock. Some attention has been drawn to “Society Complex” as a deck that can outlast these decks, thanks to Messiah Complex/ Beyonder/ Death netting a huge 10 or 20 extra life. But that combo isn’t Society Team Stamped, even if they can utilize it more reliably with Black Manta – I’m wondering if there’s other builds that could benefit from that little push into the late game. Maybe even taking the life gain idea to the next level, running Med Kits too – FF were the skeleton around which a pretty solid life gain deck was built around – could adding Messiah Complex/ Beyonder to this grant it a critical mass of life gain that would make it nigh impossible to kill, before taking ownership of the late game with Surfer?

Life gain’s an interesting thing. Back when I played Magic, better players than me told me that life gain was never worth it – it’s not actively winning you the game in any way, and you could spend the same resources acheiving actual victory. That bias stuck with me and I assumed the same of Vs… But Vs has inevitability. The simple act of not dying in Vs gets you somewhere – it gets you to 8 or 9 resources, and if you’ve got a drop for that turn, you’re in a big advantageous position. So yeah, “uber life gain.dec” will be getting some thought for modern.

I’ve been tinkering too with the “Secret Invasion” raid deck idea I proposed, but I don’t want to present anything until I’m actually semi happy with the designed cards. Designing cards isn’t something I do often, so I’m taking my time. And reading all of Spud’s “How I’d do it articles”… which are gold. And responsible for me picking up Invincible.

But that’s enough of my rambling for now…

On the move

•September 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’m travelling back to Ireland tomorrow, so between packing and the necessary final party there will be no proper article until Thursday unless I find an hour at some point. Damn packing.

Just a quick post, in which I will mention that Invincible is at least seven kinds of awesome, and I have no idea why I wasn’t reading it already. Seriously, if you’re not reading it, go buy it now. It’s completely fantastic.