The Return of Talking Time

Go Back   The Return of Talking Time > Talking about media > Talking about meatspace games

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 04-07-2016, 10:51 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Oh no, it's today.

Insula Primalis

Checklist
  • Hero Support: No
  • Hero Disruption: Yes (Primordial Plant Life, Pterodactyl Thief, River of Lava)
  • Field Damage Modifiers: Yes (Obsidian Field)
  • Villain Acceleration: No
  • Hostile Targets: Yes (Enraged T-Rex, Pterodactyl Thief, Velociraptor Pack)
  • Indiscriminate Field Damage: Yes (Volcanic Eruption)
  • Alternate Loss Condition: No

One would think the simplest environment to start with would be not-Metropolis, but I personally consider Insula Primalis to be the easiest of the core environments. It's a very straightforward place: there's dinosaurs, there's volcanos, you're basically in Jurassic Park. Most of the time you won't even have to pay attention to the environment unless the villain is already in check.

Good Strategies:
  • Damage Boost Stacking: As it happens, most villain targets, with one exception, die a lot faster than you do. With enough Obsidian Fields in play, you'll get enough damage boosts to take down things with the efforts of a single hero rather than two or three, which leaves you more than prepared enough to deal even MORE damage to the main villain.
  • Damage Type Blocking: Many of the cards that pose a threat that aren't targets usually do so by way of damage to each hero, and not an insignificant value. If you don't take damage of the types provided (fire mostly, with a hint of toxic) then they can't scare you, even if they want to destroy your stuff. Flesh of the Sun God or an incapacitated Tempest is one of the best ways to cheat in this environment, as you chill out in the middle of a Volcanic Eruption and watch the villain deck literally melt into slag. (Put it on YouTube with circus music, why don't you.)

Bad Strategies:
  • Careless Target Destruction: Insula Primalis has plenty of dinos, but the only one that qualifies as an immediate threat is the Pterodactyl Thief, since it tries to Omnitron at you if left alive. The T-Rex will usually attack a player, but depending on villains and how far you're in, you can goad it into swinging at a villain instead. And the raptors will be more than happy to chew up minions that pop up for you.
  • Ignoring the Environment: Insula Primalis won't demand your attention the way the Ruins of Atlantis or Rook City would, but it's still a bad idea to just let it spiral out of control. If the raptors run out of tasty villain targets, they'll just have to eat the Argent Adept instead. And bring some environment destruction, if only to deal with Volcanic Eruption in a way that doesn't mean skipping a turn.

Notable Cards
  • Obsidian Field: Every damage instance gets a boost. Every single one of them. The origin of that damage doesn't matter, what does matter is that it is damage, therefore it's boosted. It's important to measure your capabilities for damage and those of the villain, and decide whether this card is worth keeping in... but it usually is.
  • Pterodactyl Thief: Fun fact: each environment deck only has 15 cards. Insula Primalis has at least two copies of everything that isn't Volcanic Eruption, so the Notable Cards list for it doesn't have much choice. Anyway Pterodactyl Thief is awful and kill it on sight, because the alternative is that it breaks all your stuff and then screams you to death.
  • Volcanic Eruption: All the best strategies for using the environment to cheat the villain depend on cards that affect both sides equally, and Volcanic Eruption is no exception. 7 damage to EVERYTHING is an insane amount, but it's fire damage, and if you have a way to block fire damage, you can cheat and just make sure the villains take that damage. If you're not going to cheat, then yeah, have someone destroy it.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-08-2016, 10:43 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Megalopolis

Checklist
  • Hero Support: Yes (Police Backup)
  • Hero Disruption: Yes (Hostage Situation, Impending Casualty, Paparazzi on the Scene, Traffic Pileup)
  • Field Damage Modifiers: Yes (Close Quarters Combat, Rooftop Combat)
  • Villain Acceleration: No
  • Hostile Targets: Yes (Plummeting Monorail, Targeting Innocents)
  • Indiscriminate Field Damage: No
  • Alternate Loss Condition: No

Megalopolis is still a pretty straightforward environment, and one I rather like thematically. It's a shame that from a mechanics standpoint, it mostly tends to limit hero abilities, to represent them keeping collateral damage to the city at a minimum. I wouldn't call it a complete walk in the park for that reason, but it's still simple enough for the fact that most of the cards that actually do scary things are effortless to destroy.

Good Strategies:
  • Drawing Cards: As you likely know, if a hero neither plays a card nor uses a power on their turn, they can draw an extra card when their card draw phase rolls around. Two cards in Megalopolis, Hostage Situation and Paparazzi on the Scene, block either card plays or power usage, and can be destroyed by each hero discarding an extra card. Yeah, giving the villain another turn to do what they want sucks, but some heroes are perfectly okay with skipping their turn to draw if they lose one of those actions anyway.
  • High Damage Output: The reason for this is twofold. First, most of the biggest, baddest cards in Megalopolis are 10 health targets, so bringing them down rapidly becomes important. The second reason is that two cards in Megalopolis increase damage across the field, and having ways to leverage that is important. It's not quite as stackable as Obsidian Field, but hey, damage is damage.

Bad Strategies:
  • Reducing Environment Damage: Cards like Mass Levitation and Mega Computer give the heroes ways to ensure the environment can't deal damage, but that's not the big threat of Megalopolis. In fact, the most helpful card in Megalopolis, Police Backup, just does constant damage to the biggest villain target. It's only 1 damage each time, but each instance adds up, especially if you have a way to amplify the damage the villain takes ("By Any Means" being the obvious choice off the top of my head).
  • Ignoring Environment Targets: It's an easy mistake to make that most Megalopolis cards are destroyed by simply discarding cards, but the targets in Megalopolis aren't so easily dismissed, and leaving them in play HURTS. If you can't field the damage to bring them down, save your environment destruction cards for these (and Paparazzi on the Scene, of course).

Notable Cards
  • Police Backup: Lots of environment decks have cards that are exclusively helpful to the players, and Police Backup is baby's first introduction to this. It's much more persistent than it looks at first glance, too: against some villains (Plague Rat being the obvious choice), Police Backup can survive until Rooftop Combat rolls around. But 1 projectile damage to the healthiest villain every turn isn't really the big bucks. And in some instances, such as against the Dreamer or villains who counter when attacked, it can be actively harmful. Not to mention that it's way easy to accidentally render them useless.
  • Close Quarters Combat: It's a one-turn damage boost across the field, not big surprise. Leverage it to hit as hard as you can. The fun part is that it sets all damage to melee damage. Heroes that care about damage type (The Wraith and Absolute Zero) suddenly really hate that they don't have the distance to do their usual cheating. And don't think Twist the Ether or Grease Monkey Fist can save you: unless the card in question changes ALL damage dealt by you rather than a single instance, it gets overridden by Close Quarters Combat. Also: melee immunity is one of the most common damage type immunities in the game. Better hope The Amazing Mable or the TCF Stalwart isn't around.
  • Rooftop Combat: The other global damage modifier, Rooftop Combat is much more persistent, and has the interesting property of being mutually exclusive with all other environment cards, since there's no monorails to plummet or casualties to impend up here (Haka can get a stupid amount of cards off of Dominion when this happens). Rooftop Combat is all about tempo: you need to figure out whether taking more villain damage or getting blocked by the environment is more dangerous, and measure out the damage you deal carefully to make the most of this.

Last edited by Kalir; 04-08-2016 at 09:57 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-09-2016, 09:43 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Wagner Mars Base

Checklist
  • Hero Support: Yes (Pervasive Red Dust)
  • Hero Disruption: Yes (Pervasive Red Dust, Fire in the Biosphere)
  • Field Damage Modifiers: Yes (Meteor Storm)
  • Villain Acceleration: Yes (Villainous Weaponry)
  • Hostile Targets: No
  • Indiscriminate Field Damage: Yes (Fire in the Biosphere, Oxygen Leak)
  • Alternate Loss Condition: Yes (Self-Destruct Sequence)

Wagner Mars Base isn't really a hard environment, but neither would I call it easy. The main feature I'd like to call attention to before anything else happens is the Self-Destruct Sequence, which if not attended to can cause a premature loss for obvious reasons. Outside of that, Wagner Mars Base features a fair bit of disruption and damage, but it's fairly even-handed about where these effect occur. It still favors the villain more than the heroes, but you can make use of what it does.

Good Strategies:
  • Heavy Setup: Any player worth their salt can tell you that you never fight Plague Rat in Wagner Mars Base, for the simple reason that if the villain can't disrupt the environment and has no other avenues for attacking than damage, Meteor Storm literally walls them. Even outside of that, having a complete break from damage is nice to get things lined up. And you can still use cards like Wrathful Gaze or Final Dive to bring down weak targets in a pinch. Just be careful not to let the villain set up too much, either.
  • Environment Destruction: While most of Wagner Mars Base is easy to destroy through the normal method of discarding cards, there are a few instances where you want to just bring an environment destruction effect. Actually disarming the Self-Destruct Sequence through the intended method is painful as hell, and you don't want to skip your entire turn to shut down the Meteor Storm when you could just throw a Grappling Hook and then come out of the gate swinging.

Bad Strategies:
  • Equipment Reliance: If you fight an already-disruptive villain in Wagner Mars Base, Pervasive Red Dust basically says that equipment cards don't get to exist. YES, it does revive them when destroyed, but it's way better at destroying than reviving. Ongoings are a little safer since the destroy effect for them, Fire in the Biosphere, is optional and also damages villains.
  • Trash Dependence: The safest way to destroy the Self-Destruct Sequence is through a card that just destroys environment cards, but if you're stuck without those, you'll turn to the Maintenance Level as an alternate method. And if the Self-Destruct Sequence isn't out, you want Maintenance Level gone, which means shuffling your trash into your deck. Tachyon isn't the only one who wants a large trash pile: Nightmist also wants a large trash pile, and some heroes like their trash-search tools more than their deck-search ones.

Notable Cards
  • Pervasive Red Dust: They could've just said "each player must destroy 1 equipment card" here, but making it a destroy effect tied to H instead makes it subtly meaner. Unless your entire team is equipment-dependent, this is going to come down hardest on the most equipment-reliant character. And while yes, destroying it does revive an equipment card for each player, that doesn't quite undo how much damage it did. Hell, depending on your team, it's barely a consolation prize.
  • Self-Destruct Sequence: If you really want to, you can destroy Self-Destruct Sequence the turn it enters play, if you're okay with having literally everybody on your team skip their turn. (You are not okay with this). More realistically, if you have anyone on their team with environment destroy effects, but they don't have them yet, you can just have one player each turn skip their turn to keep the Self-Destruct Sequence in check, instead of destroying it.
  • Meteor Swarm: Friendliest card in the deck, right here. The only instance in which you should actively worry about this is against villains with alternate win conditions, or if you're already in the lead and doing way more damage than they are. Otherwise, you can wait for the villain to destroy this themselves, or gear up and have someone destroy it with a card play.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-10-2016, 09:18 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Ruins of Atlantis

Checklist
  • Hero Support: Yes (The Pillars of Hercules, Atlantean Font of Power)
  • Hero Disruption: Yes (Leaking Room, Phosphorescent Chamber, Toxic Seaweed)
  • Field Damage Modifiers: Yes (Phosphorescent Chamber)
  • Villain Acceleration: Yes (The Pillars of Hercules, Atlantean Font of Power)
  • Hostile Targets: Yes (The Kraken, Mystical Defenses)
  • Indiscriminate Field Damage: Yes (Hallway Collapse, Mystical Defenses)
  • Alternate Loss Condition: No

As a general balancing principle, it feels like most environments are usually hostile to the heroes, but have a few cards that are helpful or ambiguous. The Ruins of Atlantis has perhaps the most overall dangerous cards in any environment deck out there, beating even the infamous Rook City for sheer threat level. The good news is that it's very indiscriminate in how it carries out this threat, so a lot of the time you can expect the villain to be on the receiving end of the punishment, too.

Good Strategies:
  • Healing: Phosphorescent Chamber is one of the few cards in the game that boosts healing power (although it also boosts damage dealt across the board). And with the many, many threats that this deck can field, to say nothing of the villain deck getting to play way more cards than is ever reasonable, as a general rule you'll want to abuse that healing strength to high hell. Motivational Charge, in particular, is amazing in this scenario.
  • Environment Deck Control: There are simply too many unpredictable threats here, and too many ways to account for all of them, to simply let the environment do its own thing indefinitely. Adhesive Foam Grenades, Prophetic Visions, whatever it takes, but you need to ensure that the Ruins of Atlantis are going to do more about killing your opponent than killing you, because it is 100% okay with either.

Bad Strategies:
  • Killing Weak Villain Targets: If they're not going to do a lot on their turn and they're low on health, just leave the little guys be. Sooner or later, the Kraken or some Mystical Defenses will roll up and ruin their day, and it's much better for the Kraken to mess up a zombie than for it to mess up Omnitron-X. Focus damage on the main villain moreso than usual and try not to get in Atlantis' way.
  • Phase Dependence: Like Megalopolis, the Ruins of Atlantis have cards to prevent or punish heroes for using their card plays or powers. Granted, Toxic Seaweed isn't a full wall like Paparazzi on the Scene, but if you're playing the Wraith it may as well be: ain't no way you're taking H minus 1 damage multiple times a turn. Try to ensure you'll have options that involve both your card play and your power usage, ideally independent of one another.

Notable Cards
  • The Pillars of Hercules: The only instance in which I have ever seen the Pillars of Hercules last past the first hero turn is if someone else blocked or plans to block the villain deck from playing cards via something like Take Down or Mistbound. Playing a villain card at the start of every turn is NEVER worth the benefits, not least because many heroes can't fully utilize the extra stuff the Pillars afford them (hey Mr. Fixer you get to use two powers oh wait oh I'm so sorry do you need a hug).
  • Phosphorescent Chamber: Ignore the Pillars and the Atlantean Font of Power (which you can't control anyway): this is the friendliest card in Atlantis. Yeah, it gives all its boosts to the enemies as well, and you're going to have to discard cards anyway, but you can effectively control when it leaves play, meaning that teams that want it in play can leave it there as long as they please, and teams that don't can dispose of it at their earliest convenience.
  • Leaking Room: Screw you, card play blocking. Nobody likes you. And yet... that damage boost to lightning is almost always overlooked. Lightning isn't the most common damage type in the game, but Tempest with an Electrical Storm out suddenly no longer cares that he can't play cards. Mr. Fixer with Grease Monkey Fist just doffs his cap and readies his Jack Handle. Expatriette is suddenly glad she bothered to load Shock Rounds for once in her life.

Oh hey, that's all the base set decks! I'll be moving onto the heroes, villains, and environments from Rook City and Infernal Relics together (as well as Unity, Ambuscade, and Silver Gulch, 1883). The sets are all pretty much married anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:30 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Mr. Fixer

Checklist
  • Reliable Damage: Yes (base power)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: No
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Grease Gun, Salvage Yard, Hoist Chain, Riveting Crane)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: No
  • Deck Control: No

There's a reason I keep listing Mr. Fixer in a ton of other descriptions, and it's because he's one of my favorites. Turns out that being a martial artist and a mechanic doesn't really make you the flashiest of heroes in a fight, but Mr. Fixer's strengths are quiet ones. Still strong, mind you.

His unique mechanic is that he has Tool cards as equipment, and Style cards as ongoings. When you play a new Tool, the old one returns to your hand, and when you play a new Style card, it destroys the existing one. So Mr. Fixer doesn't take much to get set up, but might need to change that setup to match the foe at hand.

Strengths:
  • Consistent Damage: Mr. Fixer only has the one base power in his deck, and on anyone else, a single-target 1 damage melee attack isn't worth the trouble. But Mr. Fixer has several ways to modify and increase this damage, or to make it so that even that 1 point of damage has some utility to it with things like Hoist Chain or his methods of handling damage reduction. Other damage-focused heroes might have to skip their power use or use it for not-damage purposes, but you can rely on Mr. Fixer to keep punching.
  • Low Setup Ceiling: It's okay that most of Mr. Fixer's stuff is mutually exclusive, because most of it is just really friggin' good. Sure, Harmony is hard to get, but even without that, most heroes would kill for a piece of equipment that's both a damage and defense boost (Pipe Wrench), something that turns all your attacks into non-hero spray (Jack Handle), constant irreducible damage (Alternating Tiger Claw), free damage type selection (Grease Monkey Fist), per-turn damage deflection (Driving Mantis)... again, the problem with Mr. Fixer isn't getting fully setup, but changing your setup to fight the foe you need to fight.

Weaknesses:
  • Setup Dependent: Mr. Fixer doesn't need much to do his job to the fullest, but he does need it. Harmony, in particular, gives him a much-needed damage boost, without which cards like Hoist Chain, Tire Iron, and Riveting Crane lose much, if not all, of their usefulness. But Harmony not only requires both a Tool and Style in play to be useful, but is one of the rarest cards in his deck.
  • Damage Dependent: Mr. Fixer's use comes from his ability to hit things. There's all of one card in his deck that doesn't revolve around it, Grease Gun, and it blocks card draw, which is REALLY not what he wants to do. If you need to destroy ongoings or environment cards, or heal teammates, or manage their deck, you need someone that isn't Mr. Fixer on your team.

Notable Cards
  • Overdrive: At a first glance, there's no reason for Mr. Fixer to use Overdrive when he could use Charge, which is the same thing but better. Overdrive has two things going for it, though. The first is that Salvage Yard plays a copy of Overdrive from the discards, which is obviously really nice. The second is that if Mr. Fixer gets a card play outside of his turn, he STILL gets to use his base power twice on that turn. With enough incapacitated heroes or the Argent Adept on the team, Mr. Fixer can drop Bloody Knuckles one turn and go absolutely nuts on theirs.
  • Jack Handle: In other silly rules lawyering news: Jack Handle looks very straightforward at first glance, in that it gives you a non-hero area attack. The fun comes when you realize that this applies regardless of where the original attack was aimed, ESPECIALLY if it was aimed somewhere you didn't want it to be due to things like Infection or Hapless Strike.
  • Dual Crowbars: Most players, given the chance, will never play Bloody Knuckles. And they'd be right not to do so, too, since you only have the one chance to leverage the massive damage boost (unlike some other cowboy we could name). But Dual Crowbars doesn't work like the Taiaha, as most would assume: you deal the first instance of damage normally, and then the second instance of damage is based off of that first instance. So you can hit the Blade Battalion for 5 with the first swing, and then hit Baron Blade directly for 9, since you apply all your damage boosts a second time.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:37 AM
Mightyblue's Avatar
Mightyblue Mightyblue is offline
Are You Sure About That?
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Somewhere cold. And frosty.
Posts: 19,779
Default

I can't decide if Mr. Fixer is based on McGuyver or Repairman Jack.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:42 AM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

I tend to think more Mr. Miyagi, myself.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:53 AM
Egarwaen's Avatar
Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
Inherently Stealthy
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Posts: 12,945
Default

I think one of the reasons a lot of people think Mr. Fixer is weak is because a lot of his power depends on careful reading of his cards.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 04-11-2016, 11:59 AM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
I think one of the reasons a lot of people think Mr. Fixer is weak is because a lot of his power depends on careful reading of his cards.
Well, he also has one of the lowest winrates. Out of the non-variant heroes, only Expatriette, Absolute Zero, and Bunker are lower.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 04-11-2016, 12:04 PM
Egarwaen's Avatar
Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
Inherently Stealthy
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Posts: 12,945
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsund View Post
Well, he also has one of the lowest winrates. Out of the non-variant heroes, only Expatriette, Absolute Zero, and Bunker are lower.
Again, explicable by "his cards need careful reading to be employed well".

EDIT: and remember, opinions on Mr. Fixer don't tend to be "he's terrible" or "he's fine". They tend to be "he's unplayable" or "he's overpowered".
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 04-11-2016, 12:22 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

The funny thing is, I really like playing as all four, but I liked this BEFORE I knew they were bottom-tier.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 04-11-2016, 12:32 PM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

I think the only reason Absolute Zero is low is that there really are times where you just can't get the Null-Point Calibration Unit and/or the Isothermic Transducer. Bunker's got a few issues in that direction too; I played a game a few days ago where my contribution was mostly just "I played External Combustion a few times, I guess". By the time I found a second weapon and Turret Mode, the game was over.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 04-11-2016, 12:41 PM
Egarwaen's Avatar
Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
Inherently Stealthy
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Posts: 12,945
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsund View Post
I think the only reason Absolute Zero is low is that there really are times where you just can't get the Null-Point Calibration Unit and/or the Isothermic Transducer. Bunker's got a few issues in that direction too; I played a game a few days ago where my contribution was mostly just "I played External Combustion a few times, I guess". By the time I found a second weapon and Turret Mode, the game was over.
They're also both very vulnerable to equipment hate, with a long setup time. So it's really easy for a bad run of cards to put them back at square 1 with no way to build up again. A good team can insulate them from this, but they're very composition-reliant.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 04-12-2016, 12:19 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Expatriette

Checklist
  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Tactical Shotgun, Assault Rifle)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (RPG Launcher)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Liquid Nitrogen Rounds)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Unload)
  • Deck Control: No

Speaking of bottom-tier characters, I like how two of them were introduced in the gritty Rook City expansion. Anyway, Expatriette is the Punisher, her power is guns. She is, like Ra, an excellent choice if you want little more than to shoot people until they die from it.

Her deck's mechanic is that each of her powers comes from a Gun card. Each Gun card can load one Ammo card (with the exception of her twin pistols Pride and Prejudice, which can each hold two), which modifies the power of that Gun on its next use but destroys the ammo afterwards. Much like Mr. Fixer, this in theory lets you choose the right gun and bullets for the job.

Strengths:
  • Consistent Damage: The Tactical Shotgun has the highest base damage on a single-target attack at 4 projectile damage, which is sadly usually your best option. I mean yeah, you could spend all sorts of time cooking up wacky gun/ammo combos, or you can just load the Hollow Points into the Tactical Shotgun time after time. At least Hairtrigger Reflexes is interesting, and helps keep pressure on the enemy minions, ESPECIALLY with a damage boost.
  • One-Turn Burst Damage: She's no Tachyon, but Unload lets her use as many powers as she has guns in play, which if you're doing it RIGHT means you can load up ammo into the guns that you're not using 100% of the time and fire off a massive volley of ammo and pain in one turn. You can achieve a mini-effect to this end by dumping excess ammo into Pride and Prejudice and relying on a heavy weapon most of the time, and then firing off both pistols for a higher damage or ammo effect.

Weaknesses:
  • Equipment Dependent: Expatriette needs a gun in play to be useful, arguably even more than Absolute Zero needs modules (he can, at least, do stuff like Impale or Sub-Zero Atmosphere). And while the Tactical Shotgun is boring but effective, you need lots of ammo to keep your other guns competitive. (That said, Liquid Nitrogen Rounds in a Submachine Gun is always funny.)
  • Negligible Defenses: Every other damage-focused hero I've listed so far has damage reduction or healing in their deck to keep them alive when dishing it out. The only thing Expatriette has is the Flak Jacket. A popular fan theory is that the Flak Jacket is a placebo to disguise the fact that she DOES have a superpower and it's something along the lines of resurrection or indestructibility, but in the game, it's not usually going to do much more than block one or two hits (beefy ones, by design, but still).

Notable Cards
  • Speed Loading: Don't get me wrong, this is a really strong card that lets you use ammo cards at a prodigious rate. The only problem is that both of its effects are at the start of the turn, and the trash-search option puts the card on top of your deck. Unless you either have lots of guns to load the extra ammo into, or have another source of draws, Speed Loading is a very good way to lock off the remainder of your deck from access. (The effects are both optional, of course, but why have them if you don't plan on using them, y'know?)
  • Liquid Nitrogen Rounds: Every other bullet type in Expatriette's deck increases her damage output, but Liquid Nitrogen Rounds instead just changes the damage type and reduces the damage of whatever it hits. This ammo works best on a gun meant to hit multiple targets at once, to spread around the damage reduction effect as far as you can see. Submachine Gun is a good fire and forget choice, but the Assault Rifle is even better most of the time, since you likely don't need to reduce the damage of EVERYTHING on the field, just a few key targets.
  • Arsenal Access: This is what constitutes a deck-search tool, apparently. You basically look at the top of your deck, find the first two equipment cards (could be guns, could be ammo, could be a Flak Jacket) and throw one into play. That's not bad per se, it's just that it pales in comparison to so many other heroes' options for similar. You should still use it to get a gun in play quickly, but I'm just sitting here looking at the Wraith, at Unity, at Chrono-Ranger who PREFERS things in his deck rather than his hand, at Absolute Zero of all people... and I'm just a little sad, y'know? (Yes, she has Quick Draw too. No, it's not worth it.)

Not moving right into the Rook City villains yet. I'm gonna tackle Infernal Relics heroes, since the two sets are basically married under most laws anyway.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-28-2016 at 06:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 04-12-2016, 02:55 PM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

Expatriette is a hero who I want to like, but every time I use her without someone giving her extra card draw I have to accept having none of the cards I want as a fact of life.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 04-12-2016, 03:16 PM
Egarwaen's Avatar
Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
Inherently Stealthy
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Posts: 12,945
Default

Unlike Mr. Fixer, Expatriette is a hero I will enthusiastically agree is bottom-tier. With her multi-target damage options and the reduced equipment hate, she might do better in Vengeance mode... Maybe. And sadly, her one variant card does nothing to fix her - a power for +1 damage next turn interacts interestingly with Unload, but doesn't address any of the glaring weaknesses that usually totally nullify her ability to contribute.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 04-12-2016, 04:03 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

It also interacts nicely with Hairtrigger Reflexes and Shock Rounds, making both of them actually good ideas, but yeah it doesn't really fix the problems inherent in her cards.

I won't be doing rundowns of variant cards, by the way. At least not until OblivAeon rolls in.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 04-13-2016, 11:29 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Nightmist

Checklist
  • Reliable Damage: No
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Planar Banishment)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Enlightenment, Astral Premonition, Mist-Fueled Recovery)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Oblivion)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Astral Premonition, Mistbound)

The first deck in Infernal Relics I'm gonna look at is, somehow, the hero deck I know LESS about how to play. Apparently, when designing Infernal Relics, the game devs called in assistance from the designer for some of the Arkham-style Lovecraft games, and Nightmist is a clear demonstration of this. Like Fanatic, she can do some very strong things, but her abilities can cost you a lot.

Her one-shots, which is to say her Spells, have a unique mechanic represented by the bottom corner of every card of her deck, which bears a number from 1 to 4. Many of her Spells reference the value of the top card of her deck to determine how volatile the spell is. If you're playing the Steam client and regularly run Nightmist, you may want to avoid enabling auto-drawing when safe: oftentimes, knowing the top card of your deck is better than drawing it.

Strengths:
  • Deck Control: It's hard to find a deck control specialist that can match up to the Visionary, but if there ever was one, Nightmist is it. What sets her apart from the Visionary is mainly her Astral Premonition card, which lets her look at the top cards of ANY deck and swap them around as a power. It's her answer to Mental Divergence for overall usefulness. Using this to assist unlucky heroes, set up dangerous Spells, or keep unpredictable villains in check: all in her hands.
  • Hard To Kill: She has no damage reduction and half the cards in her deck hurt her, but if played by someone who knows what they're doing, Nightmist is among the most survivable heroes in the game, and treats her health total as another resource. Master of Magic and Mist-Fueled Recovery provide stupid levels of self-healing, the Amulet of the Elder Gods lets her deflect the backlash from spells or defend from attacks, and if all else fails, Mistform can keep her alive for long enough to stage a comeback.

Weaknesses:
  • Unpredictable: The exact Spell value you want from the top of your deck varies sharply with what spell you're actually going to play. Most Spells want as high a value as you can field except for the part where Nightmist will take that damage (and redirect it with the Amulet of the Elder Gods of course). But sometimes you just won't get the kind of power you were hoping for, and your teammates will have to do even more to pick up the slack when your Planar Banishment can only hit one out of the five vampires in the field.
  • One-Shot Dependent: Get used to thinking of the Tome of Elder Magic as your actual attack power, because Nightmist doesn't have one. That's not to say she's as bad at direct battlefield influence as the Visionary, but you're playing the same kind of character when running Nightmist. Your usefulness is strictly dependent on the spells you have in your hand (and Astral Premonition if you have it). Investigation might be a base power that hurts you, but you'll need it anyway, just to keep drawing up those spells.

Notable Cards
  • Master of Magic: Oh, hi, don't play Nightmist without getting this card as fast as possible. Mist-Fueled Recovery is good at burst healing, and Starshield Necklace is good if you have more cards in your hand than you need (you do not have more cards in your hand than you need), but Master of Magic is the thing that lets Nightmist keep up with the constant stream of self-damage she is going to inflict upon herself.
  • Elder Ring: "Oh boy, a damage booster! I sure would love to have that!" This is said either by new Nightmist players who have no idea what they're doing, or veteran Nightmist players that are TERRIFYING. Remember, this boost applies to every instance of self-damage you take (or redirect), too. If all else fails, feel free to destroy it for a card draw. Nightmist loves card draw.
  • Heedless Lash: Most of Nightmist's Spell cards discard all cards revealed by the spell. Heedless Lash doesn't: it either instantly plays the revealed spell after the current one resolves, or puts it in your hand. Consider it her bread-and-butter attack spell, but don't be so quick to combo-play off of it instantly. Remember, Nightmist likes having cards in her hand as much as she likes them in play.

Also: Wrath of the Cosmos just got released in the Steam client! Get in and go to space.

Last edited by Kalir; 04-13-2016 at 04:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 04-13-2016, 08:27 PM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Apparently, when designing Infernal Relics, the game devs decided to make the heroes require spreadsheets to play at maximum effectiveness, and Nightmist is a clear demonstration of this.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 04-14-2016, 09:17 AM
Egarwaen's Avatar
Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
Inherently Stealthy
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Posts: 12,945
Default

Pffft. Nightmist doesn't require a spreadsheet. Your turn to turn decisions generally aren't very arduous - knowing what's on top of your deck is nice, but most of her reveal spells have something to make them worthwhile plays even if you flip off a 1 or a 2. And her power plus the Amulet means that, failing anything else, she can ditch a card she hates from her hand for something she wants and poke someone in the eye for two, which is pretty good as base powers go.

Argent Adept requires a spreadsheet.
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 04-14-2016, 11:52 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

The Argent Adept

Checklist
  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Scherzo of Frost and Flame)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Sarabande of Destruction)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Rhapsody of Vigor, Inspiring Supertonic, Counterpoint Bulwark, Alacritous Subdominant, Inventive Preparation, Vernal Sonata)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Cedistic Dissonant)
  • Deck Control: No

Well, I don't have a spreadsheet, but I can still help someone get the basic idea of what to expect when playing as the Argent Adept. I mean, you'll ideally want to watch someone who knows what they're doing play as him first to get an idea, but I'll do my best to lay out the details. In the absolute broadest scope: once you learn how the Argent Adept works, you will never talk shit about bards ever again.

There are three types of Ongoing in the Argent Adept's deck: Harmonies, Rhythms, and Melodies. All three have Perform texts, and everything but Melodies has Accompany texts too. Your base power lets you activate any Perform text, but your equipment, i.e. your Instruments, let you trigger both a Perform and Accompany text. So, for example, Akpunku's Drum activates a Rhythm Accompany text and a Melody Perform. Each Instrument has its own power, so you can't play more than one a turn, but you CAN trigger the same Perform or Accompany text with different Instruments.

Strengths:
  • Versatile Support: Y'know how Expatriette's Unload card lets her use as many powers as she has guns? The Argent Adept does this, but almost every single turn, once properly set up. And some of his card effects are really strong, too, even when you don't think they should be. There's a reason you don't see many heroes that can let other heroes play cards outside of being incapacitated, and that's because it's REALLY DAMN STRONG.
  • High Setup Ceiling: Most heroes eventually reach a point where they stop caring about drawing backup copies of their cards, because they're already as strong as they're going to get. That doesn't happen to the Argent Adept. There's always something you can do to give yourself even more utility. It's unlikely you'll ever actually hit your full setup in a game before your assistance has caused everyone else to trample the hell out of the villain.

Weaknesses:
  • Extreme Setup Dependence: Number one rule of the Argent Adept: start with a song. If you don't have even a single song out, you are a more fragile Absolute Zero at the start of the game, and that is a BAD place to be, especially considering the Argent Adept has the lowest base health in the game (not counting the Sentinels because they are cheaters). And while you CAN get set up decently quickly, you can't guarantee you'll get the songs for the instruments you have, or vice versa. Always expect a rocky early game.
  • Power Dependent: Polyphoric Flare is a one-shot that deals you 2 damage but also lets you use a power. Alacritous Subdominant's Accompany lets you use a power if you destroy the song in the process. This should tell you a lot about how much the Argent Adept wants more power uses. Anything that punishes or blocks powers will bring you from Virtuoso of the Void to Sir Robin's roadie in a hurry.

Notable Cards
  • Inspiring Supertonic: This is the bread and butter song for chaining the hell out of the Argent Adept's power uses. Two of his instruments, Musaragni's Harp and Telamon's Lyra, can trigger the Perform text, which lets one player use a power. Your first two power uses on a turn should be those two instruments triggering Inspiring Supertonic for free accompany effects from a Harmony and a Rhythm.
  • Inventive Preparation: Speaking of Rhythms, Inventive Preparation's Perform text is pretty much garbage. Oh boy, everyone gets to duplicate Tachyon's base power. The real prize is the Accompany text (which you can trigger as part of the chain mentioned above): someone else plays a card. This can cheat in an insane number of ways. Unity can play golems right from her hand. Mr. Fixer can Overdrive and punch twice out of turn. Legacy can bypass the end of turn damage on things like Take Down and Heroic Interception. Second best song, right after Inspiring Supertonic.
  • Cedistic Dissonant: Four out of five times, you're not even gonna bother using this. It'll get trashed or bottom-decked by Arcane Cadence or environment malevolence. But the Perform text on this is almost as good of a panic button as End of Days. You point to a card, chuck an Instrument at it, and that card dies. No saving throw. Doesn't have a keyword specified, so you can even hit otherwise-difficult targets like Progeny's Scion cards with this. (Oh, and it has Quick Insight but worse as an Accompany if you're having card draw problems as the Argent Adept for some weird reason.)

ASK DTSUND ABOUT SPREADSHEETS YA NERDS
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 04-14-2016, 02:25 PM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

Well, it's not exactly a spreadsheet...
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 04-15-2016, 12:11 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

I played Mother 3 and alt Infinitor's music is messing me up.

Unity

Checklist
  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Turret Bot, Platform Bot)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Bee Bot)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Hasty Augmentation, Stealth Bot)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Powered Shock Wave, Raptor Bot)
  • Deck Control: No

Probably the most annoying heroes/villains/environments to actively chase down are the mini-packs. Usually released to Kickstarter backers of their games, you can occasionally find them in the wild. Unity is one of the earliest examples of such a character, and one of my personal favorites. She makes robots, her sense of humor is awful, what's not to like?

Her Mechanical Golem cards are very different from most cards other heroes have. They all have health totals and can be attacked, and they can't be played on her play phase, making them seem at first glance weaker than other hero setup options. However, they do not count as Ongoing or Equipment cards, which lets them dodge conventional destroy effects like they weren't even there. Quite a few of them have passive attacks as well, and they can work together if you build them right.

Strengths:
  • Per-Turn Damage: If you can actually set up a few bots, Unity can do the kind of damage on a turn-to-turn basis most heroes do with their expensive finishing blows. Platform Bot and Turret Bot make sturdy, reliable attackers that each do 3 damage, which is already a good number, and Raptor Bot and Champion Bot take this even further. And while Unity doesn't have many ways of doing damage herself, she totally can! Or she can use Hasty Augmentation to let another hero do way more damage than is ever legal (Hey Omnitron-X got a spare plating in your hand? Yeah you do.)
  • Card Draw: If your hand isn't that good to start, don't worry: you probably won't have to skip your play/power phases for more than one turn to get something to work with. Flash Forge is the ultimate "screw this hand I want a new one" tool, and Supply Crate and Brainstorm both let her draw a ton of cards for mere one-shots. Hell, Supply Crate isn't even a one-shot, it's a Mechanical Golem that draws a card when it enters play. And like Bunker or Nightmist, her Modular Workbench lets her use that high card draw even after she has everything she wants in her hand by getting Mechanical Golems out more efficiently.

Weaknesses:
  • Fragile Setup: If Unity's Mechanical Golems actually counted as equipment, she'd be the worst hero in the game by a mile, because they are already REALLY EASY TO KILL. Any villain attack that targets everyone at once may as well be a Devastating Aurora for her. Granted, she has a few cards that are built with this assumption in mind (Bee Bot and Volatile Parts being the obvious ones, although Cryo Bot sort of counts), and Stealth Bot can and should intercept the hits from your important bots, but the better option is to just not get hit by these attacks.
  • Self-Destructive: It's a good thing Unity doesn't actually need most of the equipment in her deck, because her base power has to destroy equipment to deploy Mechanical Golems. (You can blow up allies' gear for this. Probably don't actually do it except in emergencies.) Again, most of the stuff in her deck is designed around the assumption you'll blow it up (Supply Crate, Scrap Metal) and her Modular Workbench lets her just go with a nice harmless discard instead, but the point remains that without outside help, Unity is going to have a rough setup basically every game.

Notable Cards
  • Stealth Bot: Remember back when I said Legacy's optional redirect considering his survivability was one of the strongest effects in the game? Remember how I didn't mention Smoke Bombs (a card The Wraith has) being able to do much the same thing? Stealth Bot's definition of stealth is just tanking hits for literally everybody, but ESPECIALLY your other bots. And the built-in damage reduction means that everyone becomes immune to 1 damage attacks while she's active!
  • Bee Bot: Bee Bot is playing to lose, and they play like a champ. Bee Bot is there to punish any potential cards that target the lowest health hero target with a 2 damage attack from Unity (not Bee Bot, so all those damage-nullifying attacks get countered too) and an ongoing/environment destroy. So if something's going to deal damage everywhere, make it hit all the villain and bad environment cards first, and then Bee Bot. Apostate can't start the Apocalypse if he's afraid of bees.
  • Scrap Metal: AKA that thing you always destroy to build a robot... but it's still useful in its own weird way. Remember, you're only barred from playing Mechanical Golems during your play phase, so this lets you take a bot that's guaranteed to die anyway back into your hand and throw it out later. Or if you don't really want that bot anymore, use that start of turn play for one of the bots you just drew! Or a Brainstorm or Supply Crate, so you can draw lots of cards at the start of your turn.

Right. NOW we can move onto some villains, particularly Rook City ones.
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 04-16-2016, 01:48 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Back to that other thing!

Plague Rat

Danger Levels
  • Minions: Low
  • Direct Offense: High
  • Disruption: None
  • Defenses: Low
  • Ongoings: High
  • Deck Randomness: Low
  • Nemesis: Chrono-Ranger

One of the things I really like about the Multiverse lore is that while they do have a post-apocalyptic scenario (The Final Wasteland), it's not caused by the usual factors of zombies or nukes or divine rule or climate change (why don't we have more post-apocalyptic stories set after that)... no, they chose cryptids. And it all starts with this guy, right here, and his Phazon-tier infections messing people up.

Unsurprisingly, Plague Rat's central mechanic is his Infection cards. These are Ongoings that attach to heroes and give them the Infected state, which many of his other cards key off of. He has lots of cards that search his deck for Infection cards, and even outside of those, any Infected hero starts their turn with a nice tasty dose of 1 irreducible toxic self-damage.

Plaguebearer
Most of the threat from Plague Rat comes from the cards they play rather than their innate attacks, but those are still there. First, Plague Rat starts with a Plague Locus in play, boosting their damage and the damage of every Infected hero. You CAN leverage this offensively, but be careful, because that applies to self-inflicted damage, too. The main punishers here are that his end of turn attack is irreducible (but minor), and the fact that if you destroy an Infection, he goes nuts and hits everyone for H toxic damage. So, uh, don't do that on this side (without first preventing him from dealing damage).

Advanced: Plague Locus? We don't need no stinking Plague Locus! But if you do have it out on Advanced, each hero shoots themselves for 3 damage on this side when Infected. Pretty fun, right? And of course, Plague Rat himself gets even more damage boost, because Plague Rat wasn't doing enough damage.

Filthy Vermin
Once all heroes are Infected, Plague Rat starts dealing even more damage, which isn't a thing you want to see. The good news is, no longer are you punished for destroying Infections, AND Plague Rat grants all Infected heroes some new and exciting powers! You can either cannibalize a teammate for a 3 health exchange, or deal yourself 3 toxic damage to destroy an Infection! It's okay, you were blocking all that damage to begin with, riiiiiight?

Advanced: Outside of Advanced, you can direct a bunch of attacks at a tanky target to let everyone heal up following a vicious attack by Plague Rat. But on Advanced, he heals way faster than you do, so you can't sit around and do this for everyone.

Challenge - Noxious Stench: A start of turn area attack for 1 toxic? Okay, Plague Rat does more damage, cool. However, this attack is to non-villain targets, meaning this gives Plague Rat a way to actually influence the environment (albeit by chipping it for 1 damage each turn, or 2 if on Plaguebearer's Ultimate mode). Not that this is usually what's going to kill you over Plague Rat just having more attacks, mind you. Do note that this extra attack IS reducible.

Good Strategies:
  • Damage Prevention: While Plague Rat doesn't do anything aside from raw damage, it's not enough to simply reduce the damage you take. You need to make sure that damage doesn't actually happen in the first place, whether you redirect it or prevent Plague Rat from attacking or simply render yourself immune to damage. Plague Rat simply has too many irreducible attacks to sit behind Heavy Plating or Fortitude all day.
  • Healing: If you don't have damage prevention, your next best bet is simply outpacing his constant stream of damage with healing. Cleansing Downpour can feed a team of Infected heroes for days, and even the more minor healing methods are a welcome sight here. Don't think you can flawless victory Plague Rat or anything even with using Wagner Mars Base like a CHEATER, but every little bit helps.

Bad Strategies:
  • Uncooperative Environments: The longer a fight with Plague Rat lasts, the worse for you. You don't need the environment prolonging it even more than it needs to be. And don't just expect that Plague Rat can be taken down by a Kraken or the like, because Sewer Fiend will just deflect all kinds of environmental damage at your team.
  • Damage Boosters: By that note, you might expect to find a place that boosts damage and just go ham with that... but remember, this amplifies all the self-damage you deal as well. Not to say it's impossible or anything, just be very careful. Taking upwards of 4 irreducible damage at the start of each of your turns is simply not a thing you should be doing.

Notable Cards
  • Shadowy Ambush: The 5 damage to trigger this has to be all in one shot, not spread over multiple attacks. With that in mind, Plague Rat doesn't have many ways to trigger it. Tooth and Claw, or Noxious Bite at 5 heroes can both do it without damage boosters. Still, you don't need a 5 damage attack chased with another card play.
  • Ravage: The other attack cards Plague Rat deals with search the deck for copies of Infection when played. Ravage does this for each target it damages, which is really bad if they actually deal that damage and perfectly reasonable if they don't. In related news: when Infection is played via cards like these, they go to the heroes of your choice, not necessarily the ones damaged.
  • Afflicted Frenzy: Okay, maybe you can take the self-damage, even if it's boosted. Maybe you're Tachyon with a bunch of Synaptic Interruptions, maybe you're Mr. Fixer with Driving Mantis (but not Jack Handle for some weird reason), maybe you're Fanatic with an Aegis of Resurrection. Afflicted Frenzy says that no, you are ALSO going to swing at your teammates whether any of you like it or not. This damage is reducible, but it ramps up with more Infected heroes, and Plague Rat has 3 copies of Afflicted Frenzy in his deck. You don't want to do a combo attack aimed at your team at the start of your turn.

Last edited by Kalir; 03-29-2017 at 11:18 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 04-17-2016, 11:59 AM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

Spite

Danger Levels
  • Minions: None
  • Direct Offense: Middling
  • Disruption: Low
  • Defenses: Middling
  • Ongoings: Low
  • Deck Randomness: Middling
  • Nemesis: The Wraith

Oh, Spite. Your deck has such a cool idea to it, but you're still possibly the most boring fight in all of Sentinels of the Multiverse. And you're the nemesis of the Wraith, who would probably be a popular character even if Batman wasn't the obvious inspiration! What went wrong? Why did you think preventing the villain or environment decks from doing things ever again was a good idea?

I mean, like I said, your two unique card mechanics are cool. You play Victim cards, which provide environment-like cost choices for heroes to save them, and plenty of incentive to do so. You use your Drug cards to build up increasing indestructible stat boosts for the second half of the fight. But one of your drugs consistently destroys the environment every turn, and you stop playing cards after a while... You could've been a contender, bro. You could've been amazing. But here we are, and you're just dull.

Transhuman Serial Killer
This is the only side where Spite actually plays cards, and I guess to make up for that he plays two cards a turn. He also has life-leech on all attacks he inflicts, which coupled with him healing whenever a Victim card is destroyed makes it VERY hard to kill him here. Hence, you're better served trying to save as many Victims as possible while still maintaining setup and pressure for the second phase. Spite's offense on this side isn't great on its own, but each Drug card played amplifies it a bit.

Advanced: On this side, Spite gets even more innate regen. Good luck outpacing that while still dealing with his attacks AND saving Victims. You're better off just going full hog on saving victims.

Drug-Wracked Monstrosity
On this side, the deck stops existing. All the Victims you've saved prior to this flip effectively count towards your "score", reducing Spite's current health total by a pretty significant amount. If you managed to save literally every Victim in the deck, he barely starts with more health than Baron Blade's second side. Here, it's just you, him, and the constant damage he'll be spraying instead of playing villain cards.

Advanced: First, there's the heal for H times 5 health when he flips, meaning if you didn't at least save one Victim per hero, ya goofed. And then there's the damage reduction on top of that, just because screw you. You really need that edge for saving as many Victims as you can here.

Challenge - Strung Out Maniac: Spite can heal past his max HP now. Considering he heals every time he deals damage (and he can do this a LOT if he has the right drugs out) it's very possible that you'll start the Drug-Wracked Monstrosity at well over 80 health. This goes double on Ultimate mode, where he heals when he flips to that side as well. There's no way around it, you need to intersperse the Victim-saving with actually attacking Spite. Preferably without relying on powers too much to do it, so as to dodge PL626 Compound Xi.

Good Strategies:
  • Deck Control: This stops being as useful on his second phase, but for the first phase, controlling Spite's deck is a HUGE advantage. Having Nightmist or the Visionary handling his deck and controlling what comes out lets you put Victims out and ensure they'll stay saved, while chucking all those Forced Entries and Lab Raids into the trash where they BELONG. The only reason I don't list the randomness for Spite's deck at high is solely because of the second phase. And hey, blocking villain card plays blocks attacks in the second phase anyway.
  • Damage Reduction: Spite doesn't usually do a lot of damage all at once: instead, it's issued over several smaller attacks at once, usually coming from his drugs. And as anyone who's played Fanatic or Chrono-Ranger can tell you, even a single point of damage reduction is a giant wall against that kind of offensive. This is good on either side, because as you know, Spite heals on his first side whenever he deals damage, and his card play replacement on his other side only does 1 projectile damage.

Bad Strategies:
  • One Attack A Turn: Not only does PL602 Compound Omicron reduce the first attack he takes by H minus 2 each turn, but Spite's self-healing on the first side for dealing damage and destroying Victims is high enough that you really need to keep up constant pressure. If you can do it without using a power, to dodge the effect of PL626 Compound Xi, all the better. Unity or Omnitron-X can mess this guy up in style.
  • Low Setup Ceilings: PL531 Compound Upsilon has a pretty soft disruption effect, simply bouncing cards in play to their opponent's hands, but it's enough that you don't want to rely on only having a few pieces of kit out each turn. Spite isn't very aggressive during his first phase, so you have a lot of room to build up your suite and go to town, and you want to be able to keep the stuff you need to apply constant damage and block his stuff out.

Notable Cards
  • Good Samaritan: Most of the Victims are pretty simple to save, and outside of Potential Sidekick they're all more or less no-brainers to save, but the Good Samaritan is a problem. Saving them means playing the top card of the villain deck, which might play a card like Forced Entry or Collateral Damage. Which, yes, kills a Victim before you save the Good Samaritan. And don't think you can just lock down Spite's deck and save them that way, either: that card HAS to be played for the save to count.
  • "Mind-Phyre": Whenever the heroes ask the Naturalist if he wants to join them in fighting Spite, this card right here is why he declines every time. This card destroys all environment cards, every turn, forever. And remember, Drug cards are indestructible: once Spite's taken this thing, the only thing environment cards do that matter are the thing they do when played. Be careful around environments like Dok'Thorath Capital or Time Cataclysm, which can play multiple cards and make the attack from Mind-Phyre do even more damage.
  • Lab Raid: But hey, the environment still matters during the first phase, right? Yes, it matters, in that you don't want it to exist when Spite drops a Lab Raid. Each Environment card he blows up this way gives him another Drug card. He only has the five in his deck, so if five environment cards are out and he goes for a Lab Raid? First phase over, bye kids. (Okay, you still have one turn to save all the Victims in play, but even so.)

Last edited by Kalir; 03-29-2017 at 11:21 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 04-17-2016, 12:16 PM
Destil's Avatar
Destil Destil is offline
Red Mage
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 19,868
Default

Okay, so maybe I'm not thinking about this right or perhaps it's a genera conceit I don't get (supers/comics aren't really my thing on any sort of deep level).

But what do the non-equipment ongoing cards in the hero decks represent? Is it a pure gameplay thing? Having cards that stick around and simply let you do things, but can be destroyed just really seems weird to me.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 04-17-2016, 12:34 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

It's mostly gameplay, i.e. "this thing is a trait of the hero that is persistent but isn't from their gear".

And yeah, it doesn't always narratively make sense (what do you mean you shot me with a tranquilizer and it removed my facial tattoos), but again, it's a gameplay concession that these things can be disrupted. In some instances, it makes sense (those tranquilizers could easily prevent the Wraith from counter-attacking as quickly, or prevent Legacy from commanding his team so well). But eh, you learn to roll with it when it doesn't.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 04-18-2016, 12:06 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

The Matriarch

Danger Levels
  • Minions: High
  • Direct Offense: Middling
  • Disruption: Middling
  • Defenses: High
  • Ongoings: None
  • Deck Randomness: Low
  • Nemesis: Tachyon

If you stop and actually count the villains ranked at difficulty 4, it's a pretty imposing set for the most part. A crime lord ruling over a massive city, a former hero of justice gone tyrannical, a spark of destruction heralding oblivion... and an angry teenaged poet lashing out at the world as teenagers tend to do. Don't be fooled by this, though: the Matriarch more than earns her spot alongside the rest of the toughest villains in the game.

The Matriarch's signature card type are her Fowl cards, which comprise most of the deck and her minions. Each one has only one health: it's not hard to take down a few birds. But whenever she plays a Fowl card, she then plays another card. And whenever you destroy a Fowl card, she counters. Three out of five cards in her deck are Fowl. Can you guess where the danger from fighting her might come?

Her Avian Majesty
Most important thing here is that she begins with the Mask of the Matriarch in play, which says the first time she plays a non-Fowl card, she gets another card play (which can start the Fowl spam all over again). It also heals her, so kill that first. When a Fowl dies, she attacks the highest health hero, either destroying one of their bits of gear or dealing them H minus 2 damage. Neither one is great, but it's not a huge deal unless you just walk in with Tempest screaming LEEROY JENKINS.

Advanced: The Matriarch has two Cohorts representing unique ravens, Huginn and Muninn. These guys boost her and their stats and destroy your stuff respectively, and they get even better at it if both are out at once. On Advanced, they're indestructible here. Isn't that nice?

Ruler of the Flock
The Matriarch flips whenever she shuffles her trash into her deck, which is going to happen pretty often. She retains her Fowl spam capabilities here with an addition of healing herself every time one is played. However, her counter for one dying has changed from highest to lowest health hero, albeit only for 1 damage. If your lowest health hero has a reducer, this is where you want to go ham and take out lots of Fowl at once. If they don't, uh... good luck?

Advanced: Heroes take more damage on this side, but the real prize here is that her Cohorts stop being indestructible, which means KILL THE HELL OUT OF THEM WHILE YOU CAN. Don't forget: if you don't kill both of them at once, they revive each other at the end of the villain turn.

Challenge - Carrion Wasteland: Domain cards, which is to say, the Carrion Fields, are indestructible. This isn't too bad on its own, as the Domains already had plenty of health and were usually a lesser priority than the Matriarch herself. The real issue is that it means that it's harder for you to reduce all the damage you'll be taking by just Stun Bolt spamming the Matriarch directly. That said, all the old strategies for this fight are as good as ever.

Good Strategies:
  • Damage Reduction: Remember how Spite did most of his damage not with meaty single attacks, but multiple smaller instances? The Matriarch is that taken to an insane degree. Bunker with Heavy Plating and Recharge Mode, or the Scholar, can wall off a LOT of punishment while your crew brings down as many Fowl as they can reach. Of course, the Fowl aren't your main targets for how quickly they can come back, but being able to keep them in check is crucial.
  • Selective Multitarget Attacks: You don't want to hit everything on the field at once when fighting the Matriarch unless someone dropped a Ground Pound or Heroic Interception. Instead, the thing to do is to take down a few targets each turn: not all of them, but just a few, enough to keep the worst birds in check (Kettle of Vultures and Clattering of Jackdaws are probably the meanest) without risking the Matriarch Kenshiro-ing you into the earth. And you can always use spare attacks on things like Carrion Fields or the cohorts!

Bad Strategies:
  • Field-wide Attacks: Yes, you'll kill everything you hit, and that means they don't do a start of turn attack. But that just means you transfer their attack to the Matriarch and her Carrion Fields. Don't try doing this unless literally everybody on your team has a damage reducer or, as above, someone dropped a Ground Pound. And let's not forget that she WILL eventually play Darken the Sky, so even wiping the field of Fowl is a short-term solution.
  • Low Per-Target Damage: Don't be fooled by each Fowl card only having one health. With Huginn and Muninn out, the Matriarch herself gets 2 points of damage reduction, which is legit hard for most heroes to punch through. And the cohorts both have 7 health, and taking them both down at once is easier said than done with those kinds of defenses. Either bring a source of irreducible damage like Parse or Mr. Fixer, or someone who outputs enough damage with each attack to not care about 2 defense, like Ra or Legacy.

Notable Cards
  • Mask of the Matriarch: She starts with this in play and that sucks. However, she can only use this to pick up the end of one Fowl spam chain. If her first two card plays from this are Horrid Cacophony and Darken the Sky at the start of the game, you lucked out severely. (What will actually happen is her playing eight Fowl, Huginn, four more Fowl, and Muninn.)
  • Carrion Fields: This card is here solely to tell you that no, a single Throat Jab will not solve your problems. The Fowl death counter originates from this card rather than the Matriarch, and 15 health is more than enough to ensure this sucker will be around for a while. But again, if everyone has their damage reducers up, or you have Legacy doing Lead From the Front or Stealth Bot, no big deal. It doesn't even get the damage boost from Muninn.
  • Horrid Cacophony: Much like Blinding Blast, the damage here isn't the concern, even though it's literally her only damaging one-shot and doesn't come from a Fowl death counter. The concern is losing lots of ongoing cards, which combined with the pressure from Her Avian Majesty and Huginn may be more than you can bear, costing you a lot of your damage reduction.

Last edited by Kalir; 03-29-2017 at 11:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 04-19-2016, 12:22 PM
Kalir's Avatar
Kalir Kalir is offline
Crabjörn
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 5,671
Default

The Chairman

Danger Levels
  • Minions: High
  • Direct Offense: High
  • Disruption: Low
  • Defenses: High
  • Ongoings: None
  • Deck Randomness: Low
  • Nemesis: Mr. Fixer

Crime time. Time for crime. So much crime. The Chairman is one of the most dangerous villains in the game, which says a lot for a guy whose only active contribution for 75% of any match facing him is sitting behind a poorly lit desk. Like Baron Blade, he's among my favorite villains for how well designed his deck is to showcase what he does, but unlike Baron Blade, he's no gentle tutorial to ease you into the game. The Chairman is here to run the most effective criminal organization in the book, and woe betide any heroes who happen to interrupt business as usual.

The first thing the Chairman does when he starts the game is chuck every single one of his ten Thug cards in the trash. This starts off his deck as one of the most non-diluted in the game. Meanwhile, his right-hand woman, The Operative, a second villain character card, does her best to bring Underbosses from the deck into play, which in turn bring Thugs matching their specialty from the trash. The end result is that while the Thugs themselves pose the most immediate threat, defeating each individual Thug accomplishes little overall. And whenever you defeat any villain, the Operative counterattacks and swings at your healthiest hero for H minus 2 melee damage.

Master of the Underworld
On this side, the Chairman is literally untouchable. You don't even know who he is. He still represents a target, so you can hit him with moves that can hamper his damage, like the Neuro-Toxin Dart Thrower, but he's immune to all damage. Once he flips, he becomes targetable, but until then, you need to focus on bringing down Underbosses and the Operative, to slow the constant flow of enemies you're facing. It takes three Underbosses to find out his true identity...

Advanced: Unless it only takes one. Remember, the Chairman doesn't do anything on this side, so it's easy to think you want to leave Underbosses alone. You do not want to do this, though. In this mode, this fight is like a Band-Aid: peeling it more slowly hurts even more, trust me. Oh, and did we mention the Operative gets a boost on Advanced too? She and the Chairman both get a damage reducer. Because all those Crooked Cops pointing you the wrong way were clearly so helpful.

Chairman Pike
It was Graham Pike all along! But now he's here, and we can fight him directly. Unfortunately, he fights back pretty hard. First time each turn you hit him, he counters with a H minus 2 damage punch. He also amps up the damage of all Thugs by the same number, so if you haven't been keeping the damaging ones in check, now would be an excellent time to do so. And just to let you know, you have to take down the Operative too, otherwise the Chairman just goes right into the discard. (YES THIS MEANS HE CAN BE SHUFFLED INTO THE DECK AND DEALT AGAIN.) And taking down the Operative boosts the Chairman's damage a little bit more. (It also takes the bite out of Undivided Attention, which is nice.)

Advanced: The damage boost for Thugs and the strength of his counter become H on this side, which combined with the fact that you'll get here much, MUCH faster means you need to kill him and everything else you can before he and all the crime in Rook City kills you first. And you'll be taking meaty hits every step of the way. Try not to die. And once the Operative is down, he starts actively attacking every turn for H minus 2 melee damage, because you weren't getting your legs broken enough as is.

Challenge - Chemical Immortality: The Chairman and the Operative both regenerate for H each turn. Between that, Perfect Human Specimens, and the Fence, these guys will require a seriously concentrated offensive to take down. You can't really nickel and dime them as effectively anymore in this mode, any free actions you have to spend MUST be spent on taking down the Chairman and the Operative as fast as possible.

Good Strategies:
  • Trash Shuffling: The Chairman starts with all of his weakest cards in the trash, meaning all that remains in the deck are Underbosses and One-Shots (most of which aren't too bad early on, but get meaner as time goes on). But if you throw those cards back in, suddenly the Chairman's deck isn't nearly as scary. Oh no, he played one Thief and the Fence isn't anywhere in sight! BYE NERD. Unfortunately, outside of the Visionary, many heroes don't have the capability to reasonably do this, outside of waiting out the entire deck for the shuffle.
  • All-Out Damage: So instead, you want as much damage as you can muster while getting setup done. Bring down all the Underbosses you can see, as quickly as you can (make sure to go for high priority targets first, such as the Deputy and the Broker). Yes that'll flip the Chairman faster, and a single Prison Break can set you back a long way, but having as much damage as you can lets you come back from that even faster, and the only cards that really disrupt your setup are Thieves, MAYBE Informants. And once you do take down an Underboss, feel free to bring down their Thugs as well. They can't come back once you do this (for a while). Unless a Prison Break happens, then you're right back to square one as all those Underbosses re-enter play. If you have someone who can control the deck but not trash shuffle, dodge those Prison Breaks!

Bad Strategies:
  • Killing Every Thug: End of turn is when the Underbosses pull a new Thug from the trash. While they individually have low health, you're wasting your time if you're trying to fight off every single one that enters play. Yes, they might disrupt your stuff or attack you. Doesn't matter. If you just kill off all the Thugs, you end up making zero progress as they all get revived immediately after, the Operative bops you on the nose for each one you kill, and the Chairman gets to throw out another card to potentially ruin your day.
  • Villain Accelerating Environments: Fighting the Chairman anywhere is bad news, but in their home turf of Rook City, it's a death sentence. Remember, they've already thrown out all of their useless cards into the trash. Anything the environment lets them play is bad, bad news. And "Rook City is Mine!" only makes this better for him, with the Chairman dropping two more environment cards, which in turn can make him play even more cards on the environment turn.

Notable Cards
  • The Broker: Target number one to bring down. Lowest health out of all the Underbosses, and she CANNOT be allowed to act at the start of the villain turn, because GUESS WHAT MORE CARD PLAYS. The good news is that her Informants are also very fragile at only 2 health apiece, but they play a villain card any time you play a hero card. The first hero in the turn, if their power is good enough, might want to attack the Informant just to keep the Chairman from accelerating too badly. Yes, this is an established bad idea going by everything I've said up top. There aren't many good ideas when facing the Chairman.
  • The Deputy: Second most important target to bring down. You need to throw as much damage as you possibly can, and that's really hard with a bunch of healing Crooked Cops walling for all the Underbosses. If you have irreducible damage, here's a great place to use it. And just to make life more difficult, the Deputy has the highest health out of all the Underbosses, and as soon as he hits the field, he's getting a damage reducer.
  • The Muscle: It's a hard call whether the Contract or the Fence is more dangerous following the above two, but I can safely say that the Muscle is the least dangerous of the Underbosses. His Enforcers are beefy and do a lot of damage, but only to a single target (lowest HP) and they can be mollified with a single discard. This means your lowest health hero will probably have to take some punishment for the team with two Enforcers out, but focus on any other Underboss before you deal with the Muscle.

Last edited by Kalir; 03-29-2017 at 11:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 04-19-2016, 01:06 PM
dtsund's Avatar
dtsund dtsund is offline
Set phasers to hug
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4,954
Default

I'm afraid I must object to the absence of Prison Break from the list of notable cards. A Prison Break popping up at exactly the wrong time is terrifying in roughly the same way as seeing Citizen Blood, Citizen Sweat, and Citizen Tears all in play at the same time, and a heck of a lot more likely to boot.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
heroes , mega heroes , super heroes , ultra heroes

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Your posts ©you, 2007