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I have only moderate enthusiasm for the upcoming wave. Apocalypse tends to look like a big clown, and has just never impressed me as a quality villain. His Four Horsemen look excessively brutal in the preview cards, which contributes to my ongoing concern of power creep in this game making some of the Avenger decks obsolete. Magik is an interesting character, and hopefully she will have a lot more than two spells in her deck. Bishop doesn't interest me, as he always just seemed like a shouty exposition guy with a big gun fetish and a mullet. Unus the Untouchable is more like Unus the Unrecognizable.
These campaign sets always get launched with a silhouette promo image previewing the individual hero decks that will be in the same product wave. It appears that we will be getting Iceman, Jubilee, Nightcrawler, and um, some guy. In terms of popularity, given that this is the last X-wave for the forseeable future, it should be Beast or Emma Frost. But the silhouette doesn't match either character. Maybe it's Havok. Anyway, Iceman and Nightcrawler are certainly popular characters who could inspire a deck worth of cards. Jubilee? Not so much. She fires flashy energy blasts and is immune to telepathy or mutant-tracking tech, and that's it. I realize she has a fan base, mostly from the X-Men cartoon of the early '90s, but I just think she is too thin of a character to deserve more than an ally card in this game. However, Beast would have been a difficult design, since he is just a genius with superhuman strength and agility. I think that the relatively new hero side schemes are a great to thematically express comic-book genius, with an investment of thwarting paying off with a powerful upgrade or event effect. Emma Frost would have been a really easy deck to do. In MC terms, she would have three forms: alter-ego, psychic, and diamond form. But maybe it would have been like a diluted cross between the Phoenix and Colossus decks in implementation.
Shellhead wrote: Standard III looks like a good solution for players who complain that they rarely face their nemesis. Those are probably players who play true solo and have highly-tuned decks, which are both ways to keep the game short and swingy and nemesis-free.
I think it's more a solution to Standard 2 being really bad than anything else. A different set of Standard cards to shake up the baseline, without them all having Surge for literally no reason.
I have been experiencing malaise about this game lately. I think that the fundamentals are still very solid, but I am just not enjoying three consecutive waves of mutant sets. I went all in on Cycle 6, because they were mostly favorites, though I only recently finally got Mojo. But all that I really want from Cycle 7 is Angel, Deadpool, and the Juggernaut scenario. The rest of the characters are from a '90s grim-dark phase that I didn't enjoy. I'm not even a Deadpool fan, but I did like his movies and the cards in his set are both outrageous and thematic. Cycle 8? I just want Magik, Iceman, and Nightcrawler, and maybe the scenario pack depending on who is in it.
But I am still looking forward to a Fantastic Four wave and some kind of street-level wave. This game won't be a full Marvel experience to me unless we get the Fantastic Four, Namor, Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, and Daredevil. There are custom fan decks for all of those characters, but they all feel a bit off except maybe the Namor deck and the Rainy version of the Daredevil deck. Historically, Marvel has had nine specific titles that have constantly been in print, though sometimes dropping to bi-monthly and/or reprint status (X-Men): Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men, Spider-man, Daredevil, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. And since around 1990, Wolverine. We have gotten hero decks for all of these major heroes except for Daredevil and the Fantastic Four.
I'm slowly playing through NeXt Evolution using the bundled heroes of Cable and Domino. Only on the second scenario but I dig how they've connected it so strongly to the first. I've lost a few times so need to tinker with the pre-cons but am yet to get around to it. The player side schemes are a neat idea and I'll be happy to see more of them come through.
I really hope that when Mutants finishes we get to the street-level heroes.
@Shellhead - I hear you about the malaise. I still enjoy the game but am not as fanatical about it as I was a year ago. The other day I realised I have 5 or 6 heroes still in shrink that I haven't got to yet. Most were bought on sale but I think I've reached the point of being more selective rather than being "all in".
@Ah_Pook - Can I ask why you're selling up?
I also didn't like the Mojo pack so far. It's thematic and novel, but the game show theme is not one that excites me, and the setup instructions for the Spiral scenario seem quite complex for such a small campaign.
But my excitement for this game has been rekindled due to two new acquisitions. First, I picked up the new Deadpool deck, and it's wild. Deadpool is a fourth-wall-breaking weirdo who has an extreme ability to regenerate, so he careens through his adventures with reckless abandon. In this game, some of his cards are really powerful, but balanced by either causing him damage or introducing dangerous icons into the game, especially acceleration tokens on the main scheme. And some of his other cards become more powerful when these dangerous icons are in play.
This Deadpool pack takes up a release slot that would normally be used for a scenario pack like Mojo, so it is somewhat larger and slightly pricier than a normal hero deck, because it includes a whole new aspect. The base game introduced four aspects: Aggression, Justice, Leadership, and Protection. This pack introduces a fifth aspect called 'Pool, which is more Deadpool-style nonsense, like allies who don't take consequential damage (because they regenerate) and fourth-wall-breaking game with game stuff, including a card that incorporates a mini-game of Tic Tac Toe in a fun way.
So I pitted Deadpool/'pool against standard Rhino, only I went with A Mess of Things (Scorpion) instead of Bomb Threat for the modular set. It almost felt like cheating, but I soon got into the reckless spirit of things. By the end of the game, Rhino was defeated and his main scheme only had two threat on it, along with four (!) acceleration tokens on it. Normally, a pile of acceleration tokens on the main scheme is a symptom of long game, most likely due to inefficient hero decks. But this was actually a fairly quick game, and Rhino didn't even get through his deck once.
I also printed and sleeved a fun custom deck for Hyperion, who is basically Marvel's version of Superman. You can see the cards here:
Normally I don't enjoy deck building, but it seemed clear that Hyperion wants to increase his ATK and hit things hard and untap again. His hero ability is that his ATK is *, where * equals the number of cards currently in his hand. However, he can't play any cards after making a basic ATK attack. He also enjoys certain advantages when engaged by multiple minions. So I went heavy on aggression cards like Quick Strike, The Best Defense, Bring It!, and Smash the Problem. He uses a lot of superpower cards, so I included a Deft Focus to help pay for them, and he has a similar card in his hero card set.
To test out Hyperion, I put him against standard Ultron with the usual Under Attack modular set. Hyperion couldn't stop Ultron from speeding through the first stage of the main scheme, but held the line on the second of three stages. It was good game early on, but in the endgame, Hyperion went wild with the cards draws and loaded up his hand with 15(!) cards and then just wrecked Ultron and his drones. I think this Hyperion deck isn't broken, but is definitely expert-level. Still, it was a fun game.
Yesterday, I played Vision/protection and Hawkeye/leadership against the Kang mini-campaign, with the Wrecking Crew modular set in place of Temporal. It was a really fun game, with the heroes dominating the first two stages and then things getting tight in the final stage. To keep Kang from scheming out, the heroes stuck it out in hero form near the end, with Hawkeye getting picked off. Vision had a shot at the win, but was hampered by obligations and then got hosed by indirect damage for a loss to Kang. If not for that final encounter card, Vision would have beaten Kang on his next turn.
Today, I played Brother Voodoo/leadership, Ant-Man/leadership, and Valkyrie/aggression against Mandarin plus the Enchanteress modular set. Since Enchanteress is also Valkyrie's nemesis, there was potential for a great deal of hassle from Enchanteress this game. In reality, she only showed up once and seduced Ant-Man, and his hordes of ants got rid of her in two turns. Brother Voodoo struggled to pull his kit together and alternated between effective turns and somewhat useless turns, though it came together nicely in the endgame. Valkyrie also struggled to get her act together, and not many minions showed up, so she focused quite a few attacks on Mandarin himself. Mandarin had a good game, piling on the rings and wreaking much havoc, but somehow the heroes managed to pull off a win with probably one turn to spare.
I'm still not excited about the upcoming third and last wave of X-stuff, but I am enjoying the overall game at this point with help from various custom materials plus the randomizer. Though they haven't been announced yet, the general expectation among fans is that we will get a Fantastic Four wave (YES!!!) and at least one street-level wave with should include Daredevil. Assuming that Namor and Silver Surfer decks are part of the FF wave, I will consider the game reasonably complete for my purposes, though there are still so many good villains that haven't got scenarios yet.
Maybe one of these days I will learn how to make my own custom cards. Although the Scourge wasn't one of my favorite villains (or even in my top 50), I have an idea for a Scourge scenario. The Scourge (of the Underworld) was an evil vigilante who murdered (lame) villains, until Captain America finally stopped him.
In my scenario, Scourge would have an unusual win condition where he wins if he defeats and places X number of villain minions in the Victory zone, where X is number of players +3. His scenario deck would be a normal mixture of attacking and scheming, except that his attacks would be focused on minions in play. His scenario would also come with a custom modular set featuring a variety of lame villains like Stiltman, Commander Kraken, Ringer, and Steeplejack. The heroes would need to defend the villains and/or defeat them to get them at least temporarily out of harm's way. Scourge would probably need some treachery cards that cause players to discard encounter cards until a villain is revealed, to keep him with a steady flow of targets even as he eliminates some from play.
The first turn, Deadpool did 16 damage to the Hood, while the other two heroes got set up and did minor attacking or thwarting. Two turns later, Deadpool dropped a big bomb on the Hood for another 10 points of damage, plus 1 damage to everybody else including the heroes. Then the game turned into an agonizing slog. All three of the modular villains bring attachments into the mix, leading to some surprising and very nasty combinations, especially after Dreadpool also entered the game. At one point, the Hood was doing a base attack of 4 (plus the usual flip) while also ignoring the text on the target's card. Hyperion tended to get dogpiled, especially after MODOK engaged him and got his own enhancement card twice (the second one just after the first one left play).
At least Deadpool was having fun. He took down Armadillo in one turn, even though Armadillo had two toughness cards (Deadpool had two katanas, though). At another point, his ally Lady Deadpool turned against him, but she got killed almost immediately afterwards due to another card that target Deadpool Corps members. Meanwhile, Deadpool himself evaded the damage because he was in alter ego at the time.
The Hood schemed his way to victory, with six acceleration icons in play near the end. Jane was supposed to be doing the serious thwarting, but just wasn't drawing into her good justice cards. Hyperion got tripped up by his own weakness card, twice. Still, it was all exciting, so I may try this setup again tomorrow.