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Kalir 03-20-2016 12:18 PM

Sentinels of the Multiverse: True heroes throw knives into traffic.
So this game is pretty fun. It's a co-op card game about a team of superheroes fighting the supervillain of the day. Each character has their own deck, villains and heroes alike, and they handle kind of like taking on an MMO raid boss. There's also an environment deck, because comic book superheroes never fight in a bland 20x20 room.

I'm making this thread for two reasons: to see if there's enough people interested in (or that own) the Steam version of the game and who want people to play with, and if interest is high enough, for me to do rundowns of the decks for the heroes. Y'know, give people an idea for what to expect when they pick up not-Superman or whatever.

Haka best hero though.

Hero Writeups:
Villain Write-Ups:
Vengeance Mode WriteUps:
Environment Write Ups:

Trar 03-20-2016 12:27 PM

Do it.

(Fixer true best hero that isn't Guise)

Paul le Fou 03-20-2016 01:18 PM


Egarwaen 03-20-2016 02:51 PM

The strategy guides linked off the fan wiki are usually pretty good.

I love this game a lot. I especially love the setting an art. Has anyone here not heard about the tabletop RPG?

Googleshng 03-20-2016 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by Egarwaen (Post 2106184)
The strategy guides linked off the fan wiki are usually pretty good.

I love this game a lot. I especially love the setting an art. Has anyone here not heard about the tabletop RPG?

I haven't! Unless by RPG you mean card game. Care to elaborate?

Kalir 03-20-2016 10:06 PM


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Motivational Charge)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: No
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (base power, Lead From The Front, Inspiring Presence, Motivational Charge, Bolster Allies, Heroic Interception)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: No
  • Deck Control: Yes (Take Down)

Of course we're going to start with not-Superman. Legacy is the flagship character of Sentinels of the Multiverse, but a common mistake I find a lot of people expecting when they pick him up is that he'll be able to do loads of damage. I mean, he CAN, but that's not his best usage. Like Superman, Legacy is at his best when he's helping his teammates, and he is very, very good at this job.

  • Offensive support: Legacy's base power, Galvanize, is one of the best base powers in the game. Especially among base set heroes, base powers of "deal something damage" are very common, and any attacker worth their salt, once set up, will deal damage with their card play and their power use. Galvanize amps up every instance of damage heroes deal until Legacy's next turn, which assuming your teammates are regularly throwing damage, adds up quick, and he has more where that came from. And while Legacy himself doesn't do a lot of damage, he DOES have enough one-shots that pack a kick that if the situation calls for it, he CAN do damage.
  • Tanking: Even aside from having some of the highest health in the game, Legacy packs a lot of cards that mitigate damage, not just for himself, but for other heroes as well. Legacy has more than one way to guarantee everyone else is safe from damage, and between Fortitude, Danger Sense, or Superhuman Durability, it's hard to bring down Legacy either with chip damage or meaty hits. Oh, and did we mention Legacy can also heal his teammates? Not very quickly, but with him reducing how much punishment the team takes as a whole, even a little bit of healing goes a long way.

  • Ongoing Dependency: He's not really a setup-intensive character like many other heroes, but Legacy relies a lot on having lots of ongoing cards out that make him better at his job. Anything that destroys hero ongoing cards en masse is bad news for Legacy, doubly so if it also deals damage and he's caught with his pants down after losing all his stuff.
  • Backlash Potential: Oh man, so many hero damage boosts! Wait what do you mean I have to deal myself damage? NO I'M NOT OKAY WITH FIGHTING PLAGUE RAT. The potential here isn't as bad as with Nightmist or Chrono-Ranger, but you still want to be careful about your teammates doing self-damage if Legacy's around.

Notable Cards
  • Inspiring Presence: It's your base power! Except constant! And it also stacks with Galvanize! YES EVERY HERO DAMAGE INSTANCE NEEDS A +2 MODIFIER OF COURSE THEY DO.
  • Lead From The Front: Redirecting damage in Sentinels is usually an avenue for cheating as hard as you possibly can. Optional redirects are even better (hi Stealth Bot). Ongoing optional redirects to one of the most survivable characters in the game are insane.
  • The Legacy Ring: Legacy doesn't have that many other cards that grant him extra powers, so getting an extra power use each turn isn't that exciting at first. But Galvanize is so good that it's hard to imagine a turn where you wouldn't want to use it, so his ring ends up being an essential piece of kit to keep your team happy while also letting you do more tangible things. Plus, it's equipment instead of an ongoing card, so it dies to a completely different set of keywords.

Variant Strategies:
As you might know, each of the hero characters in the game has access to variant hero cards, used to represent that same hero at a different point in their story (or a different character taking the mantle of that hero, as is the case with Legacy's variants). Since all this changes is their max HP, base power, and incap powers, I'm not going to go over each one as thoroughly as I might a villain variant. I will, however, indicate how they handle differently from their vanilla mode.

America's Newest Legacy
Also known as Young Legacy, Pauline Felicia Parsons is a great indicator of what to expect from a lot of variants. The first thing any variant has to do is weigh their new base power (and health totals) against the original. While classic America's Finest Legacy has an extremely powerful Galvanize ability, it loses a bit of its edge if you don't have a team equipped to make the most of the damage boosts, or if self-damage is a constant threat. Young Legacy, with her exceptionally beefy Atomic Glare, drops the damage support mantle in favor of being an excellent fighter herself. Once she gets Motivational Charge, the Legacy Ring and her own damage boosters out, she'll provide enough offense to ride with the big dogs, no problem. That said, she has the lowest health total of the Legacies, and so won't be nearly as good at tanking (although she can still do so in a pinch).

America's Greatest Legacy
On the other end of things, Grandpa Legacy, who fought in World War II, drops a lot of the offense support in favor of being an incredibly durable tank. Gung-Ho lets him use the other two powers in his deck freely while also providing him some regeneration, OR you can use it on another teammate to keep them alive and slinging the best power they can bring to the table. Combined with another reliable support character like Tempest or the Argent Adept, Grandpa Legacy is generally considered one of the most blatantly overpowered characters in the game, able to keep entire teams standing where anyone else would have died ages ago. Again, though, this (in theory) comes with the downside that your team will not be hitting as hard as they would be with any other Legacy variant on the team. But again, Gung-Ho is basically "what is the best power our team has? I wanna use that." You could totally do things like double down on Grievous Hail Storm, Mr. Fixer's Strikes, Compound Bow, Extrasensory Awareness, and so on.

Freedom Five Legacy
HE'S THE LEADER OF THE BUNCH, YOU KNOW HIM WELL, HE'S FINALLY BACK, TO move environment cards to the bottom of the deck, I guess. While this power looks a little underwhelming at first, bear in mind that even a weak environment-destroy effect is still an environment-destroy effect. Moreover, Overwatch isn't actually a destroy effect, so any bad stuff that would happen when such a card IS destroyed, like the Explosives Wagon vomiting shrapnel everywhere, doesn't happen! Of course, this is all assuming you don't just use this power to let someone play a card like a jerk powergamer, because out-of-turn card plays are still really good and definitely worth a power use, even from Legacy.

Egarwaen 03-21-2016 08:03 AM

The Legacy Ring is so good that it's sometimes worth spending your first two turns while everyone else is setting up passing and drawing twice to boost your chances of picking it up ever so slightly.

Kalir 03-21-2016 11:36 PM

I take it you approve, then.

The Wraith

  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Razor Ordnance, Throwing Knives)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Grappling Hook)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Stun Bolt, Smoke Bombs, Mega Computer)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Inventory Barrage)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Infrared Eyepiece)

And the next on the list is obviously not-Batman. It's kind of funny, too: Legacy's backstory is unique enough to be its own thing while still being an obvious Superman, but the Wraith is just Batman with some mad libs. Not that anyone's complaining, of course. The Wraith is a really handy person to have on just about any team, because it's not a question of what she can do, but what she can't.

  • Multipurpose utility: The Wraith probably has the highest amount of cards in her deck (or is at the very least a major contender) that give her alternate powers. She has some for damage, some for support, some for defense... and she doesn't just have to rely on those either. A lot of vanilla card plays just give her some really nice options in addition to this. It's honestly hard to find a situation where the Wraith can't contribute SOMEHOW.
  • Quick setup: A common thing to consider for SotM heroes is their setup: how much stuff do they need for a full kit? Can they function well at half capacity, or on empty? How quickly can they get things up and running? The Wraith is a character who wants a lot of setup but can answer all three of those questions at least favorably. You might not get your entire suite up at once, but you'll get what you need, and it'll serve you well.

  • Equipment Dependency: Way more so than Legacy, The Wraith needs her kit to contribute. Unlike Legacy, her base power, while not really bad per se... isn't going to do a whole lot on its own. (Okay, you can stack the damage reduction of Stealth over several uses if she doesn't get hit, but it all vanishes once she is hit.) She needs her gear, pretty badly.
  • Deck Dilution: For the most part, there's two kinds of cards in the Wraith's deck: equipment-related cards, and garbage. That's a bit of an oversimplification, and she can work around the problem to a degree, but in the event she doesn't get any equipment to work with, expect to skip play/power on your turns a lot.

Notable Cards
  • Impromptu Invention: Hello, best card in her deck. Drawing a card, getting an equipment card from your deck into play, and then playing another card is completely ridiculous on any character, but for the Wraith, if that card is in your hand, you play it, end of story.
  • Micro Targeting Computer: At first glance, the Wraith's damage potential seems minor. But if you're playing her right, you have a lot of equipment out that deals projectile damage specifically. Micro Targeting Computer lets her obsolete Bunker in style.
  • Stun Bolt: A lot of equipment/ongoing cards in hero decks are limited, which means you can only have one copy of that card in play at a time. You're also prohibited from using any one card's power twice in a turn, even if you have multiple power uses. Stun Bolt isn't limited. This is a very, very good thing.

Variant Strategies:
Rook City Wraith
While classic Wraith represents her while actively on the hunt for crime, Rook City Wraith represents her during investigations. Generally speaking, the Wraith barely uses her base power once she has enough gear to wield offensively, and she mostly just uses it to stay alive and contribute while she sets up. Sleuth, however, trades that away, but lets her function as a pretty excellent deck control character, particularly when used in conjunction with the Infrared Eyepiece. However, it's not perfect, as it doesn't let you tell what's coming from the environment deck, it just gets through it faster and more favorably. If you're playing in somewhere like the Ruins of Atlantis, where the wrong card at the wrong time can blindside your entire operation, you might still want someone else who can reasonably handle the environment deck. Most other environments, though? You could easily use Sleuth right up through the end of the game alongside her other powers.

Freedom Six Wraith
The Freedom Six characters come from the Iron Legacy timeline, a much overall darker era, and their power balance is all across the board. Freedom Six Wraith, despite assassinating and taking the spot of the Chairman, is considerably weaker than her vanilla iteration. Being able to fight from the word go is nice, but at 1 damage, Last Stand is really not going to break the bank when it comes to emergency combat, and you won't be able to boost that damage with the Micro Targeting Computer, either. And Freedom Six Wraith has even less health than normal! I guess you could use her if you really want to play the Wraith in a scenario where you can't afford to take your time setting up (but even then, that only works against enemies without any damage reduction) or if your damage types are being modified somehow.

Freedom Five Wraith
Hey cool, now the Wraith is the Visionary! Or Freedom Six Tachyon, if you prefer. Still, pretty much what Clandestine Funding does is just give your team better card draw. The Wraith's innate card draw isn't actually that bad, especially if you stack Infrared Eyepiece, and it makes Trust Fund a much better option to play. It's pretty much just the Wraith but with faster setup, so I'd call this her strongest variant overall unless you really need to not take damage or control the environment.

Egarwaen 03-22-2016 09:35 AM

Best card in Wraith's deck for my money: Infrared Eyepiece. Against a villain that's only playing one card a turn - and that's a lot of them - it means you always know what they're going to do. Probably loses some value in Vengeance mode, though.

dtsund 03-22-2016 06:05 PM


Originally Posted by Kalir (Post 2106988)
  • Impromptu Invention: Hello, best card in her deck. Drawing a card, getting an equipment card from your deck into play, and then playing another card is completely ridiculous on any character, but for the Wraith, if that card is in your hand, you play it, end of story.

Unless you're fighting Omnitron or something. Then you might want to sit on it to have a means to get back on your feet quickly after a Technological Singularity.

Stun Bolt and Infrared Eyepiece are both great cards; last time I played Wraith, I used double Stun Bolt to completely defang both copies of Maria Helena's Revenge that La Capitan had out. Smoke Bombs might just be better than either of them, though.

Kalir 03-23-2016 09:36 AM

Let's go with someone a bit more straightforward now.


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (base power, Mere, Taiaha)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: No
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Ground Pound, Enduring Intercession)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Haka of Battle, Savage Mana, Rampage)
  • Deck Control: No

Even though he's, mechanically and at first glance, a clean analogy for the Hulk, I give the devs a lot of credit for having Haka basically halfway between E. Honda and the Highlander as a character. But we're not here to talk about his character, we're here to talk about how he can take a beating and dish it out in kind.

  • Bulk: Haka has the highest base health in the game and plenty of ways to keep that health total up high, which is a considerable boon in a game that targets players based on relative HP. The longer Haka keeps his his health up, the longer the other players can go without starting to worry. And he's not bulky in defense only: while he's not exactly a dedicated striker, Haka can swing a punch with the best if he needs to.
  • Card Draw: Haka's signature card type are his Haka cards, which draw 2 cards, then discard at least 1 card to give a massive numeric effect. Between those, his Mere, Vitality Surge, and Dominion, Haka will have no problem keeping his hand fully stocked with more or less anything he needs. And if he doesn't need it? More fuel for a Haka!

  • Limited Utility: Haka doesn't do a whole lot besides land and take hits. If that's all you're looking to do, that's fine and he's good at it. But your ability to assist other heroes, destroy villain ongoing cards, and so forth? Doesn't really exist. It's not quite D&D bad, but playing Haka means picking the fighter.
  • Double-Edged Swords: Quite a few of Haka's cards can be just as damaging to the heroes as to the villains if played incorrectly. Rampage takes that quite literally. Punish the Weak can muffle your strikes if the situation doesn't call for it. Against the wrong environment, Enduring Intercession straight up kills you.

Notable Cards
  • Dominion: All three of the cards listed here seem weaker at first glance than they actually are. Dominion is a key example for two reasons. First, the environment doesn't have one-shots, ever. If it plays a card that does an immediate effect, that card usually destroys itself shortly afterward. And second, Dominion isn't limited.
  • Savage Mana: The real draw of this isn't having one giant hadoken to finish off the boss, that's Tachyon's job. (I mean, it CAN do that, and being toxic rather than melee is nice.) No, the draw is that you remove villain or environment cards from any places that might search for them. Cards "eaten" this way can still be destroyed, as we learned during an extremely painful Kismet game, but it's a really strong denial effect.
  • Punish the Weak: The downside on this card can be a pretty big disincentive, but you can leverage it in your favor more easily than you'd think. It acts as a safety buffer against any damage you might deal an unintended target, which combos with Rampage at minimum and helps against certain other villains that force heroes to damage each other immensely.

Variant Strategies:
The Eternal Haka
Even though this apocalypse-dwelling scholar is by far my favorite iteration of Haka, this guy is undeniably weaker than basically every other iteration. Haka wasn't really hurting for card draw in the first place, and half the reason he wants to draw cards at all is to fuel those very Hakas you're discarding. I guess it means you can reliably Ground Pound since you're more likely to draw it up, and you won't be as lacking for an actual attack since you'll draw your Mere and Taiaha faster than the others. I recommend palling around with someone with a good method of trash recovery, to really capitalize on those Ground Pounds.

Prime Wardens Haka
By comparison, this version of Haka actually has card draw problems, which is WEIRD. Being able to play a card with your power phase isn't quite as great as it sounds at first, as we all already know with Expatriette, since you'll need boosted card draw to keep up with it. That said, Haka's innate card draw is good enough that it can offset how fast he'll play cards, and he has enough oneshots and need to set up that it works out all right. Being able to redirect the benefits of your hakas is also nice, but it's not really that critical since you don't have that many, and other characters can't really use most benefits. It's best used to either give someone a tiny bit of ablative with Shielding, or to spot heal a damaged glass cannon with Restoration.

Xtreme Prime Wardens Haka
Oh hey we finally have a very literal tanking base power. And it's a pretty good one too: every single instance of damage a target takes gets aimed right at Big McLargehuge himself, and he also gets reactive regen whenever damaged. That said, it's not flawless: Haka doesn't have THAT good of defenses, and this will absolutely destroy any heroes that rely on self-damage to activate their effects. On the other hand, heroes who self-damage but aren't contingent on that to do what they do, like Nightmist or Setback, can make for great Die Hard targets.

This seems different somehow. Or maybe not.

Egarwaen 03-23-2016 09:46 AM

Savage Mana is especially brutal in certain match-ups because cards under other cards lose their text but retain their type. This means that effects on other cards that trigger because of the destruction of cards or types of cards trip when Haka triggers Savage Mana. Versus the Dreamer, for example, Haka can build up a collection of Projections and then toss them all under her when she flips.

EDIT: Or apparently not, because a card's keywords are game text that modify its "hero/villain/environment from (deck)" type, and are nulled when under another card. That seems like a bizarre ruling created to eliminate bizarre Savage Mana interactions with Dreamer and Matriarch.

Kalir 03-24-2016 10:10 AM

Yeah, they still count as hero/villain/environment cards, but they have no text and aren't in any easily-searched play area while under Savage Mana (so for example, Ambuscade's Personal Cloaking Device or Apostate's relic chain of annoyance can't be brought out from there).


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (base power, Blazing Tornado)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: No
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Flesh Of The Sun God, Imbued Fire)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Solar Flare, Fire Blast)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Excavation)

So you want a hero similar to Thor, but obviously you can't really just do Thor since they're already a real world concept. So you go for the next best thing and switch pantheons! Ra is a very straightforward character to grab and pick up: if you want to shoot things with fire until they die, you pick Ra.

  • Damage Output: A lot of heroes have cards that increase the damage they personally deal, but nobody can get theirs as easily as Ra can get his signature staff. With 4 copies in the deck and 4 copies of a Summon Staff card, you WILL have it out in the first few turns. And you have lots of opportunities to make use of it, since your deck is chock full of damaging one-shots. Few characters can reliably put out 5+ damage a turn, but Ra can.
  • Damage Type Support: Ra doesn't just wield fire directly. Against decks that have wide-scale fire damage (Grand Warlord Voss or Silver Gulch, for example) Flesh of the Sun God makes for a very helpful way to keep your team standing where they really shouldn't be. And if you're not facing that kind of deck, bring out Imbued Fire and pretend to be Legacy for a while. (Just be gentle around Absolute Zero.)

  • Single-Target: Ra's damage output is incredible, but it's hard for him to hit multiple targets at once. Drawn to the Flame only works against certain villain decks, and Scorched Earth requires the environment to play nice for a while. Inferno CAN work, but unless you've got a few damage boosters don't expect it to do much.
  • Awkward Combo Setup: If you want to play a hero that has a well-oiled card machine in front of them, Ra is not for you. Solar Flare is a card Ra really wants to have out... unless he has Flame Barrier, in which case he shoots himself for 4 and 4 every turn to maintain it. But hey, Imbued Fire and Flesh of the Sun God should fix that right? Nope, if it doesn't deal damage it doesn't stay out. And if you're against a fire-immune foe, get used to chucking your staffs at an alarming rate.

Notable Cards
  • Summon Staff: Obviously you want your staff and a few backup copies in your hand at all times. But Summon Staff makes for a pretty good option even if that's not the case solely for being another card with "draw a card, play a card" written on it. It's not quite Impromptu Invention good, but that doesn't mean it's bad.
  • Flame Spike: This card looks weak to start off, but hold onto it. Using this when you have Blazing Tornado out lets you fire off three attacks, each hopefully with a damage boost from the Staff of Ra. You can also use it to support the team via Flesh of the Sun God, get rid of Imbued Fire if it's becoming a liability... Ra doesn't really need to use all his powers all the time, but an extra power use is still good.
  • Wrathful Gaze: This one's mostly notable because 9 times out of 10 it's a useless card, but knowing how it's useful can save your neck. Against decks where targets can reduce damage to high degrees (Apostate), decks where targets can redirect damage, or decks where they can become immune to damage, having some way of landing the finishing blow reliably can come in handy. Try fighting Matriarch in Wagner Mars Base with this! (Do not do this.)

Variant Strategies:
Ra: Horus of Two Horizons
After his defeat by the Ennead, Ra wandered into the wilderness, severed from his powers, and kind of did... stuff. But now he's back! And he has... Quick Insight as a base power? Huh. That's not too bad for Ra, since he rarely needs all of the cards in his hand at once, and selectively drawing up 3 more cards is a pretty cool deal for him. But remember, all variants come at a cost of losing their base power, and in this case, that means Ra will have trouble dealing damage until he draws and plays either Blazing Tornado or Living Conflagration. It also makes it even tougher to safely use Flame Spike, because that was necessary.

Ra: Setting Sun
Spoilers: Ra dies. But honestly, if you look at this power, you can already tell that Ra is going to get himself killed, really hard and really fast. But that's okay, because in the process he will most likely annihilate every single enemy in play. Make sure you have a very good handle on setting Ra up before you try playing this, or you may burn out too early. Also: it's worth recognizing what the incapacitated powers are for this variant, because they are extremely good and ridiculous, at the cost that if you use some of these powers, that is the last thing you are going to be able to do all game.

gahitsu 03-24-2016 07:45 PM

I've only played this game a couple of times but I really loved it.

Kalir 03-25-2016 12:42 PM


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Grievous Hail Storm)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Flash Flood, Ball Lightning)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Cleansing Downpour, Shielding Winds, Reclaim From The Deep)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Lightning Slash)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Into The Stratosphere)

The last of the core set complexity 1 heroes, Tempest manages to be the game's most original creation out of the lot by virtue of being something halfway between Storm and Goku. It's easy to look at their base power and go "oh hey it's the AoE" and while that's technically true, it's more accurate to think of them as a jack-of-all-trades like the Wraith, but with a much more support-focused angle.

  • Area Damage: Right out of the box, Tempest's base power, Squall, gives them a useful way to hit multiple targets at once. But they also have Grievous Hail Storm to amp up that base damage further, a few oneshots to help them deal with beefier foes, and even Localized Hurricane or Vicious Cyclone to deal with the more persistent single targets in times where not many minions are around.
  • Defensive Support: Tempest isn't quite a dedicated tank, but they can do a lot to keep their team standing. Cleansing Downpour is an area heal and I don't even have to say anything else about that. Shielding Winds keeps everyone still standing in the event of sudden novas. Reclaim From The Deep can get key cards out of the trash for everyone. And if tanking is necessary, Tempest is surprisingly hardy with Otherworldly Resilience and Elemental Sub-Wave Inducer.

  • Indiscriminate: It's not common, but there are a few instances where you don't actually want to hit every target you can see (The Dreamer being the obvious one). Squall and Grievous Hail Storm don't pick and choose here, so you'll need to be careful in those situations. I mean, you could use Localized Hurricane, but be careful with it.
  • Ongoing Dependent: Most of Tempest's usefulness comes from the powers granted by their ongoing cards. Lose those, and you lose your usefulness. Tempest's card draw is good enough that you can afford to keep a few backup copies of the important things, but it's awful tempting to look at an environment discard effect and go "eh, I already have a copy of Cleansing Downpour in play".

Notable Cards
  • Vicious Cyclone: Hey kids, it's your introduction to cards you attach to targets (and by targets we mean the villain character card)! Vicious Cyclone is a great way to start using up all those extra cards you have in your hand for extra chip damage, ESPECIALLY if you have Gene-Bound Shackles in play. After all, each discard is a separate damage instance. Who doesn't want a start of turn 3, 3, 3 attack?
  • Into The Stratosphere: A lot of destroy effects specify certain card types, usually things like Ongoing, Environment, or "target with 2 or fewer HP". Into The Stratosphere is powerful for its inclusivity: did it come from the villain deck? Congrats, go throw it back in! This gets especially stupid with, say, The Wraith or Visionary providing deck control. Punch the TCF Stalwart back into the galaxy it came from!

Variant Strategies:
Freedom Six Tempest
As mentioned before, Tempest's base power is already pretty good, if a bit diluted thanks to Grievous Hail Storm existing. So in theory, Freedom Six Tempest helps to turn them into a speedier setup character, where every piece of gear they have is a Glacial Structure. The only problem is: Tempest mostly wants all of their stuff around! At best, you have a slightly more efficient way to destroy a Localized Hurricane. At worst, you're blowing up Otherworldly Resilience and Gene-Bound Shackles just to get to the cards in your deck that provide alternate powers. And, of course, you have less health. Generally considered one of the weaker Tempest variants, which I agree with.

Prime Wardens Tempest
On the other end of things, we have a version of Tempest that only wants to use their base power once they're fully set up to use their non-power cards. Do note that the power does not specify an environment card, so Mass Levitation, Enduring Intercession, and Environmental Allies don't do a dang ol' thing to help offset the cost of using the power. That said, Tempest has a lot of really nice one-shots, and very little incentive to use them in favor of speedy setup most of the time, so if you want to go all out slinging Lightning Slashes and what have you, this is the way to go. I recommend trying to find Otherworldly Resilience and the Elemental Sub-Wave Inducer, as well as palling up with tanky teammates who can protect you.

Xtreme Prime Wardens Tempest
This is the only variant aside from vanilla that isn't a weird "speed setup except jank" combo. Thunderstruck is incredibly useful from the word go, especially against villains that begin with dangerous auxiliary targets out like La Capitán or The Chairman. Then again, would you rather disable one target for a while, or damage all targets? At least this version doesn't have their base power obsoleted by a card in their deck, so if you always want the option to disable dudes, have fun.

Kalir 03-27-2016 11:40 AM


  • Reliable Damage: No
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Blinding Speed)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Fleet of Foot, Hypersonic Assault)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Lightspeed Barrage, Sonic Vortex)
  • Deck Control: No

While it's not quite Netrunner, SotM does a pretty okay job at merging flavor and gameplay with its hero selection. I find that complexity 2 heroes tend to do this most elegantly, and Tachyon is a prime example of it. Her deck plays exactly like a speedster should: just throw out lots of cards, draw lots of cards, who cares if individual cards are weak because YOU'VE GOT MORE

She's also the first character who has a unique deck mechanic. A lot of her cards have the Burst keyword. Two of her most famous cards, Lightspeed Barrage and Sonic Vortex, use the number of Burst cards in your discard as a variable. The more you've discarded, the stronger they get, and you have a LOT of Burst cards.

  • Rapid Card Play: Playing three cards a turn is an impossible task for most heroes, but once Tachyon is properly set up she'll be able to do this with ease. Yeah, they might not individually do much, but when you play three cards a turn, every little bit adds up, and it adds up quicker than you'd expect.
  • Minimal Setup: Tachyon is one of the few heroes in the game who barely needs a system setup to do her job to its full capacity. Her deck has only one equipment and three ongoings, two of which are conditionally temporary. If you're facing Omnitron, Citizen Dawn, or anyone else who can reliably blow up everything you've worked so hard to achieve, Tachyon can run right through the wreckage and not even stop to catch her breath.

  • Individually Weak Cards: If you weren't running Tachyon, you wouldn't bother using a one-shot card that hits every non-hero for 1, or that destroys a target with 2 or fewer HP. Sure, she has her fair share of home-run cards, but most of her deck, by design, is going to be relatively useless compared to everyone else. The good news is that you have ways to bypass these cards for the real meat of the deck with her powers, but that doesn't change that these cards suck.
  • Minimal Combat Capability: While Tachyon has a lot of damaging or offensive one-shots, she has some honest trouble doing damage to most enemies. Her strongest option that is burst independent is Supersonic Response, a one-shot that attacks one target for 2 melee with a possible 2 sonic follow-up. Congrats, this is the pinnacle of Tachyon power until mid-lategame.

Notable Cards
  • Lightspeed Barrage: Tachyon's deck has 22 cards (out of 40) with the Burst keyword. In practice, most games won't get all of those in the discard before you start needing to play Lightspeed Barrage, but who cares? If you hold onto a couple of these for the end of the game, you can burn through the villain's second half of their lifebar before you can say "Tales of Symphonia".
  • Pushing the Limits: There are a few cards that heroes have to self-damage to sustain, but Pushing the Limits is one of the few I've seen stick around for a long time even with that limit. The extra card play is nice, yeah, but the extra card draw is the real strong point. Turns out Tachyon really likes to draw cards, guys.
  • Hypersonic Assault: Telling the entire enemy field that no, they can't hurt you, is REALLY REALLY GOOD. But as good as it is, it won't ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that your weakest heroes still live. New targets can be played by the villain deck, and if Hypersonic Assault doesn't deal damage, it can't prevent the target from attacking.

Variant Strategies:
Freedom Six Tachyon
Up until Tachyon, all of the variants we've seen so far are pretty much rebalanced around the existing base power. Sure, some of them are weaker or stronger, but their new health totals and base powers are usually "close" to their normal power. Tachyon's normal base power is, by design, quite weak, in order to focus on her strong card play. Freedom Six Tachyon does not give a damn about that and is quite possibly one of the strongest characters in the game, with Team Leader just constantly amping up every single other player's card draw. There is no reason whatsoever to use vanilla Tachyon while Team Leader is out: it's not going to go through your deck more slowly, and having more Bursts in your discard is easily solved by actually playing all the cards you're drawing.

The Super-Scientific Tachyon
This variant is a LITTLE more in-tune with vanilla Tachyon, while still being completely ridiculously good. A lower health total also helps to offset the stronger Experiment power, as does its unreliability. Tachyon's own deck is very well-suited to using Experiment, being loaded as it is with tons of one-shots, but you can also use it on other characters with very focused decks that need or want plenty of setup, like Legacy, Expatriette, or Captain Cosmic. This power can work pretty well with Parse's Updated Intel card, letting you get more of an idea what an Experiment will produce. And of course: this variant is even better for throwing Burst cards into your discards.

Freedom Five Tachyon
And one last variant that might be completely above the power level of the original, but not by that much! If you already burned your Lightspeed Barrages early on to take down key enemies, Blitz makes for a great way to contribute to damage in the meantime. But there's a catch there: putting all those Burst cards on the bottom of your deck means you're going to get to them even faster, which is a problem since Tachyon has oneshots like Hypersonic Assault that aren't Bursts, but which she still wants to get back quickly. Just be careful when using it, all right?

CaptBlasto 03-27-2016 06:03 PM

Today I got to play a pretty interesting game of sentinels. We fought Omnitron on Omnitron IV. I played as Omnitron X and was joined by Guise and Sky-Scraper. Omnitron X has some fun interactions with his past iterations. The card Self-Sabotage has you destroy component cards in order to deal damage. Normally this is used to sacrifice your board state to deal damage, but in this instance the card will also apply to Omnitron's component cards as well as the component cards in the Omnitron IV environment deck! It came in handy a couple of times to clear out some of Omnitron's nastier components.

Kalir 03-28-2016 11:54 AM

See when I did the Three-Omnitron Ante I just died. Turns out the environment and the villain cooperate really damn hard in that one!


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (base power, Absolution)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Consecrated Ground, End Of Days)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (Embolden, Holy Nova, Divine Sacrifice, Chastise, Zealous Offense)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Wrathful Retribution, Divine Focus, End of Days)
  • Deck Control: No

Tachyon takes the prize for best integration of flavor and mechanics, but Fanatic is no slouch either. Fanatic waits for a miracle in the same way you or I might wait for the bus. She's not the easiest in the world to pick up, especially for those who lack faith (or confidence whatever) but if you know what you're doing, you can blaze through opponents so quickly they won't know what hit them.

  • Strong Immediate Effects: Whether it's oneshots or ongoings that require an effect to sustain, Fanatic hits the battlefield like a bolt of lightning. Drawing up to 6 cards, wiping the field, getting the attention of exactly the enemies you need to draw away from fragile teammates, granting teammates extra power uses... there's no shortage of options for Fanatic to change up the game.
  • Survivability: While Fanatic's defense is technically nonexistent, she can take a lot of punishment where others can't in a number of ways. All of her gear is Relics, which is a keyword that specifically dodges effects like End of Days that would otherwise clear the field. This lets her walk through (or engineer) stuff like that without a care in the world. Oh, and she has the Aegis of Resurrection as one of these relics, which does exactly what you think it does.

  • High Card Cost: Most of her cards tend to have an additional cost besides just playing the card to keep them useful. Ongoing cards often have some kind of sustain cost, and Wrathful Retribution, which can kill the hell out of things, requires you to discard 3 cards to get it out of your hand at all. Because of all of this, Fanatic is one of the characters most likely to skip her card play.
  • Damage Boost Dependent: Fanatic does a lot of damage, but the bulk of that damage is split over several small hits. Even a single point of defense on an ordinary enemy represents a massive obstacle for her. Worse yet, she has no damage boosting cards in her deck and precious few that give her alternate attacks. You'll want someone on her team that can help her deal more damage per attack, Legacy being the obvious choice.

Notable Cards
  • End Of Days: The nuclear option. When everything has just gone to hell and you don't have a good way out of what you see except to just raze it all to the ground and salt the earth, End Of Days kills the field, guaranteed. Your Relics stay in play, but your other stuff (and your teammates' stuff, of course) doesn't, so use only as a last resort.
  • Wrathful Retribution: If you're playing Fanatic as you SHOULD be, you'll be self-damaging yourself left and right. Your goal in doing so is to have enough cards in hand to drop a Wrathful Retribution at just the right time (with an Aegis of Resurrection in play, of course). My friend playing this game for the first time managed to get herself down to 3 health and basically instantly clown Baron Blade's second form.
  • Divine Focus: One important rule here that a lot of players miss their first time is that Divine Focus lets you discard at the start of EVERY turn. So when Fanatic's turn ends and we move on to Unity? Discard again. Environment turn right after? Discard. Villain turn? Discard. If you have a hand full of cards you don't want to play (because you're playing Fanatic) Divine Focus is an excellent way to turn them all into a very useful source of damage. Played right, you can basically ignore the sustain cost.

Variant Strategies:
Redeemer Fanatic
Sure, Haka and Ra's variants notice that they lack their basic attack power when they're played, but Fanatic's deck only has the one reliable attack power in it (Sacrosanct Martyr does not count) and her oneshots do very little damage unless the stars align. Redeem makes her incredibly tanky and gives her enough card draw to sift through most of her deck (and fuel Divine Focus), but you cannot depend on Redeemer Fanatic to be a consistent attacker in the same way you can count on regular Fanatic. Instead, play to defend your team, relying on your constant stream of healing, ability to revive, and Divine Sacrifice to keep the focus off of your teammates and on you.

Prime Wardens Fanatic
I've compared Fanatic to Setback before, or rather, I've compared Setback to Fanatic for his wildly inconsistent and occasionally harmful deck. Prime Wardens Fanatic really goes hogwild with this, though. Remember, you don't always want the top card of your deck played (and especially not if you have to take 3 damage to do it)! Aside from that, Resolute is still a strong power for the same reason Grandpa Legacy is ridiculously good: you can either use the best power you have on your team, or synergize with your own cards for extra powers. Sacrosanct Martyr, in particular, can use this for pretty strong spike damage, since it uses all radiant damage you've taken during the turn to calculate how hard it hits!

Xtreme Prime Wardens Fanatic
In a vacuum, this is a weaker card than the normal one, if only because Kill The Spirit deals less damage than usual unless fueled by other damage effects. But that's the kicker: there are a LOT of potential damage sources Fanatic can get. Divine Focus is the obvious one, but the uses of this power are pretty incredible: alternate it with Sacrosanct Martyr for 1 damage on one turn and 5 the next, redirect forced self-damage from villains like Miss Information or Plague Rat, and so forth.

Kalir 03-29-2016 12:55 PM

Played a game with Trar and Epithet last night against the Dreamer in Silver Gulch and we accidentally speedran the boss. Matthew Hayes finished off the last projection and flipped her early, but our party was something dumb like Chrono-Ranger, Expatriette, and Bunker so we didn't have ongoings to destroy. Speaking of...


  • Reliable Damage: Yes (Flak Cannon, Grenade Launcher)
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: No
  • Team Support Abilities: No
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Omni-Cannon, Turret Mode, External Combustion)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Adhesive Foam Grenade)

If you've already learned the game by familiarizing yourself with Haka, Bunker is a natural step to learn next. He takes a bit more technical setup work to get up and running, but once you know how to handle him he can put out a surprising amount of damage or take a ridiculous amount of punishment.

Bunker's signature keyword is his Mode cards, three mutually-exclusive Ongoings. Depending on his mode, he might get some stat changes and the ability to double down on one of playing a card, using a power, or drawing a card, at the expense of losing his other options there. Learning when to use each of his modes, or no mode at all, is very important.

  • Card Draw And Efficiency: Bunker can get cards in his hand just as effectively as Haka can, but he's got even more ways to use them than Haka does, ways that don't require him playing a one-shot to use. Which means you can supplement his firepower even when locked out of playing new cards via Turret Mode. And speaking of firepower...
  • Firepower: Haka has Bunker beat for toughness, but Bunker is the clear winner for hitting dudes harder. Sure, his powers granted by cards are slightly weaker, but Turret Mode granting an extra power use and a damage boost (which applies to Gatling Gun's start of turn auto-attack!) lets him put forth a constant stream of damage. Or you can play defensive and charge up the Omni-Cannon for attack values that have Tachyon looking for alternative work options.

  • Self-Limiting: The only reason Bunker can get away with having cards in his deck that let him double up on card plays, powers, or draws is by ensuring that they're all VERY mutually exclusive. Once fully set up, the Wraith can match Bunker for damage, and she doesn't sacrifice her card play or draw to do it.
  • Slow Start: Bunker's base power, Initialize, lets him draw a card. You'd think with a power like that, he'd be pretty resistant to being screwed over by his deck, but he needs quite a few things for any given setup, and he needs them in a specific order (even outside of the ideal Mode cycle of Recharge --> Upgrade --> Turret). More than anyone else, Bunker needs to know when to cut his losses and actually play the game, lest he miss out on doing anything whatsoever even if his team wins. It's not whether you win or lose, but whether you have fun doing it, y'know?

Notable Cards
  • Recharge Mode: If you get Heavy Plating out before this, Recharge Mode grants you 2 defense against every attack in the game, which is already really good. But it gets better: if you skip your card play and power use on your turn, voluntarily or not, you get to draw two cards. (Never mind that the Visionary and Nightmist both have a better version of this card.)
  • Upgrade Mode: Commonly viewed as Bunker's weakest mode, I personally think it's much stronger than it appears at first glance. Upgrade Mode should always be played one turn before you think you'll need it, and it can still throw oneshots like Decommissioned Hardware or External Combustion juuust fine. Plus, this lets Bunker get back in the game after having lots of his stuff trashed, and if you wanna get really cheeky, use your last card play to switch instantly to Turret Mode.
  • Ammo Drop: The stipulation on Ammo Drop saying it bypasses Mode restrictions isn't very important given that it only works on Turret Mode... but you REALLY want Ammo Drop out before you throw Turret Mode. Assuming you kill one target (or an ally takes down an ongoing) each turn, that reloads your Gatling Gun for that turn. And if you're not doing Turret Mode, this helps charge the Omni-Cannon even faster.

Variant Strategies:
G.I. Bunker
Fittingly for Bunker, each of his variant cards is mostly intended to be used to fit the situation at hand. For example, the Panzer-Buster really only excels if you're fighting a deck with lots of damage reducers: if they don't have any, you can't do anything about it. What's nice here is that this is one of the only ways to reliably obtain irreducible damage in the game, and that it applies for every attack dealt to the target until Bunker's next turn. It's effectively a better Riveting Crane, or a more reliable Reveal the Flaws. Really solid choice.

Freedom Six Bunker
Meanwhile, Fright Train gets his shot at being a hero by providing Bunker with a method of ongoing destruction as a base power. While it does require you to discard a Mode card, that's hardly an expensive cost since you still have pretty respectable card draw. Also, I dunno if you noticed, but this lets you destroy ongoings as a BASE POWER, which means that you can even handle stuff like Hour of Reckoning with ease. Freedom Six Bunker definitely skews towards the higher end of the Freedom Six abilities.

Termi-Nation Bunker
At first glance, the Modulize power seems like what it sounds like: you can turn cards you no longer need into extra resources, making it great for fights when you might need to get back on your feet quickly after a gearwipe. And, to an extent, it is. I find this variant REALLY shines, though, after Bunker is all the way set up. Check it: in Turret Mode, destroy an Auxiliary Power Source at the start of your turn. Use your first two powers to, say, fire the Flak Cannon and Grenade Launcher, then use Modulize to trash Turret Mode and effectively take another turn. I don't know if playing a second Turret Mode as part of this would grant you a FOURTH power use, but the fact that you can even get that close says a lot about the potential here.

Freedom Five Bunker
And finally, we have the team support version of Bunker, who helps with accelerating card play for his team! Tactical Uplink has a sliiiiight drawback in that it forces any Mode card you reveal into play, but that's more a strength than anything. Revealing Turret Mode if you're not already in it is great, since it means you get another power use. Recharge Mode is literally the best possible result since it provides damage reduction and switches to it right as you can leverage its benefit. Upgrade Mode is kind of less good, but eh. This variant also works great with characters who care about the top card of their deck, like Nightmist or Setback.

Kalir 03-30-2016 09:37 AM

The Visionary

  • Reliable Damage: No
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Mental Divergence)
  • Team Support Abilities: Yes (base power, Mass Levitation, Mental Divergence, Twist the Ether, Wrest the Mind)
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: No
  • Deck Control: Yes (Precognition, Prophetic Vision, Suggestion, Brain Burn)

Did you make a mill deck in Magic: the Gathering? Do you just hate random chance to high hell? Are you okay with not being able to hit things? Congrats, the Visionary is for you. Turns out in a game where the future is more or less set but veiled, designing a psychic character is just a matter of fiddling with the deck.

  • Deck Control: Sure, lots of heroes can block decks from playing cards or look at cards in a deck, but the Visionary is who you REALLY turn to when you want that deck stacked in your favor. She has plenty of one-shots that let her look at the cards on top of a deck or put cards from the trash on top of a deck. Against villains with some lone dangerous cards in a sea of nothing, like Kismet, Omnitron or Ambuscade, the Visionary is better than an entire team of armed-to-the-teeth murderhobos.
  • Team Support: Fixing the deck isn't all she does, though. Mental Divergence is one of the best powers in the game, letting you destroy ongoing cards with a glance OR recover hero ongoings that have been destroyed. And then you have Twist the Ether, which in conjunction with heroes that care about damage type (Legacy, Ra, Absolute Zero) lets you cheat to phenomenal levels.

  • Negligible Offense: The Visionary has exactly one card that hits dudes and isn't a one-shot, and it's Demoralization, a start-of-turn spray for 1 psychic. Everything else is her one-shots that deal a bit of psychic damage, and when compared to most other fighters' decks, they're some pretty weak instances of damage. Honestly, I'd usually throw those away and let your teammates that actually intend to do damage cover for you, and work on just supporting them.
  • One-Shot Dependent: If the Visionary could rearrange the decks literally every turn with a power, that'd be completely hilarious. (She CAN arrange her own deck and let teammates draw cards, but that's about it.) Most of the time you'll be relying on your one-shots and sustained ongoings to contribute. The good news is that you don't have much setup you need to do as a result, but you're no Tachyon.

Notable Cards
  • Mental Divergence: Destroying an ongoing card as a power is completely ridiculous on its own. But one commonly-overlooked feature of Mental Divergence is its ability to restore hero ongoing cards. It doesn't do so very quickly, it'll be a few turns before that card sees play again unless boosted via shenanigans, but pulling a key card from the trash, especially when that hero has no backup copies and no trash-search, is pretty good.
  • Wrest the Mind: The backlash on this card is pretty scary, but that's what your Telekinetic Cocoon is for. Throw this on something big, beefy, and murderous, like Char or one of Grand Warlord Voss' ships, cocoon up, and go on a joyride killing everything you can see.
  • Brain Burn: You can't pull that same nonsense against Brain Burn's backlash cost. Which is just as well, since against most villains you don't care about Brain Burn at all. But there are some villains who either have ways to make use of their trash (The Chairman being one notable example) or are Baron Blade. Against these villains, Brain Burn is either worth the cost or good enough that you may want to ask a teammate to assist you with mitigating the damage. (This is easier said than done, outside of Heroic Interception there's not many ways for teammates to block self-inflicted damage on other teammates.)

Variant Strategies:
Dark Visionary
Oh, remember how I said the Visionary having rearranging the villain deck as a power would be ridiculously good? (This was before I knew that Parse had Extrasensory Awareness.) Anyway, Dark Visionary's base power is a deck control power, about on par with the Infrared Eyepiece. Which is really good, because deck control as a base power is really good. Don't forget that this means you have less ability to sift through ally decks and get certain allies the cards they need faster, though. The nice part is that this means you have less pressure to use Precognition to keep the villain deck in check, and also that you can literally filter through the villain deck every turn. The bad news is that this competes with your other powers, which the Visionary does really like having around.

The Visionary Unleashed
So you don't want to run team support with draws, and don't want to control the deck? Okay. Here's the version of the Visionary you play if you want to also be a damage character. Not, y'know, a GREAT damage character, but if you miss playing Parse because of her attacks for some weird reason, this is for you. Crushing Lucidity scales in power with how many ongoings you have out, but remember that many of the Visionary's ongoings give her alternate powers, or are sometimes foods (Wrest the Mind, Demoralization). Not bad, just don't go expecting her to replace characters like Ra for damage.

Also I need to decide: am I also going to run through villains and/or environments here? If not, after AZ I'll just move on to the Rook City expansion and Unity.

Mogri 03-30-2016 10:21 AM

I'd vote "yes, but run through the expansion heroes first."

Egarwaen 03-30-2016 10:27 AM

I'd say yes - there's lots of hero guides floating around, but precious few guides to villains or environments that are any good

Kalir 03-31-2016 11:22 AM

I'll move on to villain/environment for base set, then. Main tiebreaker for me is that I legit don't have all the cards for this game on me. I gained more from buying the steam version than I did with picking up promos a month or so ago (only thing I currently have that Steam doesn't is Omnitron IV).

Absolute Zero

  • Reliable Damage: No
  • Ongoing/Environment Destruction: Yes (Fueled Freeze)
  • Team Support Abilities: No
  • Big-Ass Attack Option: Yes (Thermal Shockwave, Cryo Chamber, Coolant Blast)
  • Deck Control: Yes (Sub-Zero Atmosphere)

Absolute Zero is the only hero in the base set that clocks in at difficulty 3, but he's not really a hard character to get the hang of, honestly. The difficulty from playing him more comes from the fact that he needs some very specific tools to get going. If he has them, great, he's awesome, but if not, you're looking at a blank slot on your team inflating the value of H. (Also, for a good sad time, read his backstory in full.)

The main thing to understand about him is his Module cards. Null-Point Calibration Unit and Isothermic Transducer are essential to his playstyle. In SMT terms, this gives him Drain Cold and Repel Fire (in the latter case he still takes the actual damage). Most villains don't traffic in these damage types much, but Absolute Zero can deal himself these damage types very easily.

  • Self-Healing: There's two main ways to play Absolute Zero, and the first and most straightforward is to rely on his Null-Point Calibration Unit's ability to turn cold damage into healing. With that, Focused Apertures, and a Cryo Chamber, his base power can self-heal for 3 every turn, which is more than enough to keep Absolute Zero ahead of the pack in terms of highest HP.
  • All-Out Damage: When you use the Cryo Chamber's power to destroy it, it deals Absolute Zero 5 (which is actually 4 because of it) fire damage. Most of his one-shots and his Thermal Shockwave power deal himself damage as well. With the Isothermic Transducer in play, you can basically milk each of these instances for another shot of cold damage, either directed at your unfortunate enemies or at yourself for an emergency self-heal. And the damage boosts he has, either from Focused Apertures or another source, ramp up each instance of reflection from the Isothermic Transducer too. Absolute Zero can put out scary levels of damage at the cost of his own life.

  • Extreme Deck Dependence: Absolute Zero doesn't have a power in his DECK that lets him do damage without first taking damage in some way. He has 4 copies of both of his modules, his deck search card Onboard Module Installation, and his trash search card Modular Realignment, and Glacial Structure lets him draw 3 cards, and in some games that's STILL not enough, and he just doesn't do anything useful for the whole game.
  • Damage Modifier Dependent: Most heroes would accept a damage reduction effect on themselves without thinking twice. For Absolute Zero, lowering the damage he takes limits his ability to self-heal or reflect. And while increasing the damage he takes lets him cheat even harder with self-healing, that sort of thing can backfire in a hurry.

Notable Cards
  • Modular Realignment: Onboard Module Installation is only about as good as Summon Staff but for modules. Modular Realignment, on the other hand, looks through the trash for any equipment, which is already really good, but it also deals Absolute Zero 1 damage each of fire and cold. For maximum stupid, use this to bounce a Cryo Chamber in and out of play!
  • Sub-Zero Atmosphere: One of the few cards that gives Absolute Zero a way to do things to the field without relying on damage types. It effectively shunts the attack most minions do as they enter play to the next turn, giving you a free turn to whale on them without repercussion. Be very careful around villain decks with powerful start-of-turn attacking minions or villains with a chance to play cards at the end of their turn somehow.
  • Coolant Blast: This is a hard one to work with, but worth investigating. The safest way to utilize it is via Frost-Bound Drain, which shoots one target for 3 cold and Absolute Zero for 3 fire as a one-shot. Chase that with a 3 damage cold attack, easy peasy. But if you have a teammate with easy access to multi-target fire damage (Ra, Mr. Fixer) you can use this to ridiculous means. I mean, if you really want a giant attack, you can do that without depending on other heroes, but Absolute Zero with teammates shooting him and Coolant Blast ready gets pretty damn scary.

Variant Strategies:
Freedom Six Absolute Zero
Really nice that the first Absolute Zero variant managed to address the problem most people have when playing Absolute Zero: namely, that he has to damage himself all the time to do things, making him very unreliable. Elemental Wrath solves that problem quite handily, just giving him a basic 2 damage attack like everyone else. It's good for playing AZ with training wheels, but someone who's experienced at playing Absolute Zero will start to really miss the inability to capitalize on self-damage. Also worth noting: out of all the variants, only vanilla Absolute Zero can really capitalize on the Null-Point Calibration Unit very easily. Most variants should probably prioritize the Isothermic Transducer instead.

Termi-Nation Absolute Zero
On the complete other end of the scale, you have Termi-Nation Absolute Zero, who is ONLY INTENDED FOR PROFESSIONAL USAGE. Don't get me wrong, they are stupidly strong if you know what you are doing, but they'll have to rely on skipping their play/power and drawing two more than any other variant, AND you'll need good prediction or protection from your team to avoid getting killed by Violent Shivers. Once you've got yourself set up, though... well, remember that Coolant Blast example up top? Let's do some extra addition: Frost-Bound Drain now deals 5 damage to an opponent and 7 damage to AZ, which in turn deals either 9 damage to an opponent or lets AZ heal for 11 (making any fire damage you redirect at yourself a heal for 4). And then you can use a Coolant Blast for another 9. TERRIFYING.

Freedom Five Absolute Zero
And then this variant exists for a nice middle ground between the two. Pilot Light deals 2 fire damage, which means your self-heal isn't as good until you get damage boosters out, but it also searches the deck for the ongoing card you want the most, which is really, really, REALLY good. Y'know how many heroes get decksearch as a base power? Not many! Y'know how many heroes with decksearch as a base power are high-tier characters? Basically all of them! This is an excellent variant for abusing Coolant Blast, since you can get it out by turn 2 and put all of those one-shots in your hand to immediate, high-offensive use.

Kalir 04-02-2016 09:24 AM

Villain decks, go!

Baron Blade

Danger Levels
  • Minions: Middling
  • Direct Offense: Low
  • Disruption: Low
  • Defenses: High
  • Ongoings: Middling
  • Deck Randomness: Middling
  • Nemesis: Legacy

Even outside of Lex Luthor being a clear nemesis to Superman, it's hard to find a more villainous archetype from the comics era than the mad scientist, so it goes without saying that the core game has Baron Blade right there as the first difficulty 1 villain. And honestly, his deck is probably one of the best designed in the game for that purpose. Baron Blade will spend much of his time doing nothing but building his plans, slowly enough to give you time to prepare, but quickly enough to get new heroes to mobilize into actually doing things.

TerraLunar Impulsion Beam Inventor
Baron Blade's initial side doesn't honestly do much of anything. The game gives him a target that extends his health total in ways, and an alternate win condition that just tells the heroes not to dick around, but honestly Baron Blade's first side is just there to provide a nice attractive target for the heroes, and to teach them that while tempting targets do pop up (basically all of his minions represent a pretty decent threat) you should still sling damage at the main villain regularly.

Advanced: Every villain has an "advanced" mode for an optional, much harder, and not exactly balanced version of the fight. Baron Blade suddenly turns from a Rancho Relaxo into someone who is speedrunning Majora's Mask with the intent to lose. You need to pile on an insane amount of damage in a VERY short amount of time.

Vengeful Mad Scientist
Only once you flip to his other side does Baron Blade actively fight the heroes, which is a shame because depending on your heroes (even in the base set, Tachyon, Bunker and Fanatic can all easily do this) they might just put out enough damage that he doesn't get a turn. And even outside of this, Baron Blade only attacks the highest HP hero (albeit for H damage, which is a lot as-is).

Advanced: Reducing damage he takes by 1 isn't much (although it can stack with his Living Force Field). The real danger is having him actively fighting you way earlier than you might be ready for it, especially if you've left minions alive as is entirely possible here. A 30 health foe that reduces damage by 1 and swings for H is still a decent threat.

Challenge - Decoy Impulsion Beam: Oh hey, new stuff. Challenge mode is basically another layer on top of Advanced for extra pain, but one not usually contingent on the flip condition for the villain. In Baron Blade's case, the instant loss condition from the first side remains through the second. On its own, this still isn't too bad since he waits for Vengeful Mad Scientist to fight you, but it's still pressure to finish faster. Ultimate Mode, by the way, is Challenge and Advanced at the same time. Good luck loser, I've told you everything I can to help there.

Good Strategies:
  • Hitting Him Really Hard: Without any source of direct attack, Baron Blade is wholly reliant on minions and one-shots to harm you, so there will be several turns where nobody takes damage from villains. So hey, all the more reason to go as recklessly offensive as you can field. This also lets you keep his minions in check as they come out. Sure, Blade Battalion and Powered Remote Turret hit as hard as the Ruins of Atlantis, but they also die after one or two turns.
  • Building Up Finishers: You'd be surprised at how quickly some characters can get their gear set up when not pressured. I had a dude thinking Bunker was one of the best heroes in the game the other day against Grand Warlord Voss. ("Okay, and then I draw 7 cards.") But for real, Baron Blade provides a very convenient checkpoint for you to say "kay now we start clowning him", which is a very valuable lesson to learn.

Bad Strategies:
  • Turtling: As the esteemed Dr. Patrick McNinja would put it: A doy. Even outside of the risk of GAME OVER MAJORA END, Baron Blade simply doesn't put out enough damage to warrant gearing up with defensive options or putting your entire array in play. Which is another good thing to teach newbie players. Have I mentioned I really like how well-designed Baron Blade's deck is?
  • Building Your Character: This one bears mention for a second time for one main reason, and that reason is Devious Disruption (this will see mention in the next section). But again, this is here to teach players that no, it's okay, you won't get your entire rig set up against villains most of the time, and that's okay. Take what you can get and use it well, and that'll be what you win with.

Notable Cards
  • Hasten Doom: Just like with hero decks, anything that gives the villain another card play is really good... for them. "Consider the price of victory!", Devious Disruption, and Slash And Burn are all pretty scary, but they're even more so as chasers to a 2 damage spray at everyone.
  • Devious Disruption: The only reason this card gets away with existing in a difficulty 1 villain deck (and still actually earning that title, OMNITRON) is because it's a soft disruption card. You don't have to destroy anything if you really want to (say, if he was Throat Jabbed or Hypersonic Assaulted)! And against Baron Blade, who knows, maybe your team can afford to leave everything in. It has to be the team's call whether their money or their life is more worth it, because honestly, against Baron Blade, you can afford to lose either.
  • Living Force Field: Hello, lesson about ongoing cards. Many villains will have ongoing cards out that you simply can't afford to leave out there, which necessitates having and hanging onto ongoing destruction cards (THIS IS LIKE HALF THE REASON THE VISIONARY IS SO GOOD). Living Force Field is elegant in its simplicity: you deal less damage to Baron Blade. Deal with it. Some heroes can afford to just punch right through anyway, while others (Chrono-Ranger and Fanatic come to mind) suddenly have an actual problem on their hands.

Variant Strategies:

Mad Bomber Blade

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

This is all basically Mogri's writing here. Offered to do a write-up of this version of Baron Blade for me, so here we are. I'm only adding a few things here or there, but most of this is him.

Baron Blade is Baby's First Villain. How do you take the easiest villain deck in the game and turn it into something threatening? Mad Bomber Blade is the answer to that question. The easiest villain in the game is now difficulty 3. This doesn't turn him into the game's most threatening villain, but it is a pretty clever repurposing of the flagship villain's forgettable mechanics.

Mad Bomber Blade separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak: anytime he would play a villain target (read: something with HP), it gets thrown out and another card gets played instead. Oh, and he gets stronger every time that happens. The result: just one-shots and ongoings and pain.

Mad Bomber
"Baron Blade's initial side doesn't honestly do much of anything," Kalir says of the original villain. Not so with Mad Bomber Blade: he's functionally little different from one side to the next. Both sides deal damage to every hero target for each of those targets he's skipped playing. (Kalir also says that he doesn't start with a Mobile Defense Platform, which is VERY NICE.)

Advanced: Mad Bomber's damage accelerates. It's not flashy, but it gets the job done.

Maniacal Death Ray Wielder
The flow of the fight is very similar to Baron Blade: killing the first side flips him. Whereas Baron Blade's first form is basically "insert setup here," Mad Bomber Blade more or less resets the board on flip. The upshot is that unless you kill him really quickly, say goodbye to your setup. The only good news is that Blade's damage is also reset. Where Baron Blade's health is 40/30, though, Mad Bomber Blade's is 30/40, so if you're half-dead going into this phase, you'd better step up your game.

Advanced: Blade gets an extra card play, effectively doubling his damage acceleration on top of the already-threatening extra action. This is much worse for you than it would be for the average villain.

Challenge - Nanobot Power Armor: Mad Bomber Blade gets 2 damage resistance in both phases, on top of what he might already have from Living Force Field. That's pretty bad on its own, but this is one battle you don't want to drag on, so again, this is much more dangerous on Mad Bomber Blade than it would be for the average villain.

Good Strategies:
  • Hitting Him Really Hard: This tip hasn't changed from Baron Blade, but the motivation behind it has: the longer the game lasts, the more damage Blade is dealing to your entire side of the field every turn. Besides, as mentioned, if you manage to kill the first phase really quickly, there's a good chance you won't have to wipe your entire board.
  • Damage Immunity: Because Mad Bomber Blade is the only villain target that will ever show up in this match, you can shut him down completely with any sort of damage immunity plus Twist the Ether. If you're not fielding Visionary, then you can still shut down the doom clock if you can find a way to be immune to fire (Mad Bomber) and energy (Maniacal Death Ray Wielder) damage.

Bad Strategies:
  • Anything that Wouldn't Work Against Normal Baron Blade: Baron Blade's relatively benign countdown to doom is one thing, but Mad Bomber Blade is actively killing you more each turn. This is a damage race, and it doesn't stop on the other side, it just changes to picking you off one by one (and has a higher cap).
  • Minion Dependence: Unity is basically useless against Mad Bomber Blade: her bots won't last two rounds. Likewise, any hero that wants to put more targets into play will be similarly disappointed. Something something this guy can legitimately start his turn with an 11 damage spray every turn if you let him.

Notable Cards
  • Blade Battalion, Elemental Redistributor, Mobile Defense Platform, Powered Remote Turret: The targets that were mere annoyances in Baron Blade's deck have been eliminated. 11 of the 25 cards in Blade's deck are going straight towards boosting the damage he deals to all hero targets each turn.
  • Hasten Doom: Of the remaining 14 cards, four of those give Mad Bomber Blade another card play. And an area attack on top of it that's not fire-typed, so Ra can't just laugh it off.
  • Flesh-Repair Nanites: There's a single copy of this in the deck, and it's notable for being basically the only card that you'll really be glad to see Mad Bomber Blade play. Healing for 10 is really awful, but if it ever sees play, you haven't been dealing damage and it's the least of your worries, or you're dealing enough damage that it's not the make-or-break difference.

Kalir 04-03-2016 10:39 AM


Danger Levels
  • Minions: Middling
  • Direct Offense: Middling
  • Disruption: Middling
  • Defenses: Low
  • Ongoings: Middling
  • Deck Randomness: High
  • Nemesis: Omnitron-X

Omnitron is billed as the other difficulty 1 villain, something you could easily tackle after learning the basics of the vanilla game. Unfortunately, that's really not remotely true. Omnitron has one of the swingiest decks in the game: sometimes it does nothing but pop out inoffensive minions and components that die instantly. Sometimes it wipes the field.

Omnitron's unique mechanic is its Component cards, a specific class of Ongoing card. These devices afford Omnitron some very powerful direct attacks at the start of its turn (or in the case of the Interpolation Beam, whenever a hero draws a card) but break if the heroes can deal enough damage before its next turn. This is really not hard to do, and I'm sure the intent was for this to be a central mechanic and part of the threat as per Baron Blade, but Omnitron has way better ways of winning.

Self-Aware Robotics Factory
Most of the time, Omnitron's flipping mechanic doesn't actually mean a whole lot. Either way, it's still going to be playing two cards every turn, which is bad on any deck, but in Omnitron's deck just provides even more opportunity for the deck to be stacked in exactly the wrong way. This side doesn't get bonus plays of anything dangerous, mind you, but still, two cards a turn.

Advanced: The every-turn flip gets a little more interactive on Advanced mode, where Omnitron and all its minions get a stat boost depending on the side. You ideally want to match the offensive on this side, breaking components and drones before they get the damage boost.

Rampaging Robot
The other side is more or less the same as the first side. The only difference is that the robotics factory side revives certain cards from the trash, while the rampaging side just plays two cards. So I'd personally rate this side as the more dangerous of the two. Even if drones can work together, they usually don't live long enough to do so.

Advanced: Turns out that when Omnitron takes less damage, it's harder to deal it damage [citation needed]. Which means components are more likely to do things, and drones are more likely to build up and actually team up. If you don't have a good way of dealing with that defense boost, use this side to try to build up for when Omnitron flips.

Challenge - Redundant Systems: Oh hey, Omnitron only breaks one component per 7 damage now. That's... okay, kind of annoying? You might actually consider bringing a bit of extra ongoing-destruction just to clean up the really painful ones, and damage reduction effects aimed at Omnitron become more valuable. This goes double in Ultimate mode, where Omnitron also cycles between defense boosting and raw damage.

Good Strategies:
  • Deck Control: A single Infrared Eyepiece is worth more than all the DPS in the world against Omnitron. The fastest way of handling Electro-Pulse Explosives, Technological Singularities, and Sedative Flechettes is simply to not have them in play, ever. This doesn't just apply to Omnitron, either: it's a good idea to keep the environment deck from spiraling out of control, lest Terraforming pops up and gives Omnitron even MORE card plays.
  • Minimal Setup: You won't really need to go for the giant killing blows against Omnitron. As long as you can just keep up a simple attack pattern and supplement it with steady oneshots, that's usually better than a giant suite that's vulnerable to being exploded at any time. Mr. Fixer and Tachyon are WAY more comfortable fighting Omnitron than the Wraith or the Argent Adept.

Bad Strategies:
  • Fewer Heroes: Many of Omnitron's effects key off of H, so it's an oft-considered idea to play Omnitron with the minimum of 3 heroes to offset how much damage you take as a group. This is not nearly as good an idea as it seems, because one thing that DOESN'T key off of H is the threshold for Omnitron's components breaking. And let's not forget that there ARE still drones and environment cards, and the more time a hero devotes to taking those down, the less they devote to Omnitron itself.
  • Ignoring Other Targets: Even outside of that, Omnitron's drones, while not threatening at first glance, need to be kept in check, lest enough of them build up to actually represent enough of a threat. And again, the longer you leave environment targets, even helpful ones, alive, the more likely Omnitron pulls Terraforming and drops a train on you.

Notable Cards
  • Adaptive Plating Subroutine: This is one of the few cards in Omnitron's deck I legit like. Villains that play with damage types defensively are rare (Grand Warlord Voss is the only one that really does anything with it off the top of my head) which is understandable given how few damage types any given hero gets. Still, it's nice to see a card like this providing an interesting challenge.
  • Sedative Flechettes: Anything that says "deal everyone H+1 damage" is already a monstrously painful card, and has no business in a difficulty 1 villain deck. The interesting there isn't just that it also destroys ongoings, but that it does so AFTER the damage, which means things like Ground Pound, Heroic Interception, and all your defensive stuff can mitigate the damage before it dies. So that's nice.
  • Technological Singularity: This one is just as technically interesting as its counterpart above while still being way too mean for a difficulty 1 villain deck, for the sole reason that it deals a separate 2 damage instance for each equipment cards it destroys. The Visionary just feels a mild tingle. Mr. Fixer drops his wrench and winces (or throws the damage right back at Omnitron with Driving Mantis). Bunker EXPLODES.

Variant Strategies:

Cosmic Omnitron

Danger Levels
  • Minions: High
  • Direct Offense: Middling
  • Disruption: High
  • Defenses: Middling
  • Ongoings: Middling
  • Deck Randomness: Middling
  • Nemesis: Omnitron-X

So, Mad Bomber Blade is a pretty drastic reworking of the villain's mechanics while using (parts of) the same deck. Omnitron II, or Cosmic Omnitron, doesn't really feel like that, though! They ARE harder than the normal, markedly so, but honestly this fight just feels like another version of an Advanced Omnitron, one that values tempo management like the Dreamer more than they originally did (where going balls-to-the-wall on offense was ideal).

Cosmic-Powered Exterminator
Still a device, still has 100 health, that hasn't changed. What HAS changed is that Omnitron II starts with H minus 2 Components in play already, meaning they're already going to have built in attacks. Which, y'know, isn't too bad on the surface. They still play an extra card a turn like a JERK, and you don't have to kill everything else to beat Omnitron II. However, the devil is in the details: namely, their flip condition. You need to be careful with parceling out your damage to avoid breaking all of their components and flipping them until you're ready.

Advanced: Good news: this will be easier here, where all devices take less damage! Of course, that means you have the other problem, where Omnitron II has a bunch of components already out and you need to destroy them but can't. Here, I could possibly ramping up your offensive to flip them to the other side if you can, as long as you're actually ready for it.

Sentient Dropship
So remember the Matriarch's gimmick of how any time she plays a card, it's going to be more like five cards? Same deal here. Any time a Drone enters play (from any source, DO NOT FIGHT THIS ONE IN OMNITRON IV) they get another card play. Oh, and remember how Drones aren't 1 health start-of-turn attackers, and how they get stronger the more drones are out? Congratulations, Omnitron II has made all of their deck deadly, not just the weird outliers like Electro-Pulse Explosive and Sedative Flechettes. Hope you brought some wide-ranging area attacks. Oh, and Omnitron II also attacks directly and only flips back if it gets to keep a component to its next turn (which may happen naturally if you have to focus single-target moves onto drones).

Advanced: Devices get a damage boost. And don't forget, being on this side means that there are going to be a LOT of Devices. But you're also in a good position to deal damage now that they're reducer is gone. These abilities aren't any different from classic Omnitron, but their positioning makes them harder to work with.

Challenge - Cosmic Overdrive: H is doubled. What? H is doubled. What? H is doubled. What? H is doubled. What? Yeah Omnitron II clearly needs multiple ways to deal upwards of 10 damage to everything else in its deck. And this also scales up its end of turn attack in Sentient Dropship mode. This is an excellent way to die, and just like Fright Train, a great reason to bring those "if you take 5 or more damage" cards along.

Good Strategies:
  • Tempo Management: Like the Dreamer, you're going to need to pace yourself in this fight. The components and two card plays are as awful as they've ever been, but flipping Omnitron II is something you absolutely need to be ready for. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done in a deck with Technological Singularity and Sedative Flechettes. As with classic Omnitron, minimal setup is the way to go. Also, if you have ongoing destruction, consider using them to trim down the meaner Components rather than going for the 7 damage break effect.
  • Area Attacks: Sure, the Drones are way meaner than the Matriarch's birds, but unlike that fight (or the Chairman), Omnitron II doesn't punish you for destroying them. Your path is obvious: bring as many wide-scale attacks as you can to this fight and wreck every single one that appears. If you can be selective about it, that's nice since it means you can let a component come out and buy you a bit of time, but honestly you may be better off just swinging for the fences and leaving a heap of scrap.

Bad Strategies:
  • Deck Control: Against normal Omnitron, deck control was a good idea even with the double card-play, solely because their deck was so swingy in value. Now, though, the mean cards vastly outnumber the palatable ones, and there's going to somehow be even more card plays. Unless that deck control is literally locking the villain deck, just don't bother here.
  • Heavy Setup: Just like normal Omnitron, your setup is vulnerable to being wiped to the ground at any time. If you need a giant pile of cards in play before you to function, do not fight Omnitron II. You'll have to learn for yourself what a good balance is between setting up and attacking enough to break Components is.

Notable Cards
  • S-83 Assault Drone: Remember these guys? No? Me neither. Well, now they're back, and they are a LOT meaner. Their attack keys off of the number of drones in play, and any time a drone enters play on the Sentient Dropship side, Omnitron II plays another card. This can snowball into all three of these guys being played for a base attack of 4 from each of them, most likely more. They don't have much health, but they don't need much to be a huge threat of Omnitron II.
  • S-85 Repair Drone: Also bad for similar reasons. If you're pacing yourselves in fighting Omnitron II, not a huge deal any more so than in the old deck. But again, their healing gets better with more drones, and you could very easily see a bunch of them come out at once and heal Omnitron II for far more than is remotely reasonable.
  • Disintegration Ray: Generally, this is the largest threat out of Omnitron's components. Normally, again, you'd never see it, but now there's not only a chance they'll start with one in play, but it's very easy they could build one up while their Drones cover for them. This, of course, varies with a lot of things, but in a vacuum I'd say destroying this one before any others is a solid plan.

Egarwaen 04-03-2016 10:47 AM

I'd still honestly rank Omnitron as D1, because even with SF and TS, he's not a threat to players who've fought Baron Blade once or twice. And practically he's not THAT much more random than Blade, who can pop out an extra Mobile Defense platform and/or Hasten Doom and turn "cakewalk" into "well uh we just lost..."

Kalir 04-03-2016 10:58 AM

I'd almost agree, except that Omnitron is still going to play two cards a turn. Baron Blade can chain Hasten Doom, but he can only do that twice. Omnitron can chain card plays literally every turn, and sometimes he can do something like Sedative Flechettes, Terraforming, Electro-Pulse Explosive, Interpolation Beam, and Technological Singularity in ONE turn. Not to mention, Baron Blade has less health to burn through than Omnitron (even counting his flipping and Mobile Defense Platforms, because Omnitron doesn't die until all its drones are also dead).

Kalir 04-04-2016 12:10 PM

Citizen Dawn

Danger Levels
  • Minions: High
  • Direct Offense: Low
  • Disruption: High
  • Defenses: Middling
  • Ongoings: Middling
  • Deck Randomness: Middling
  • Nemesis: Expatriette

If you asked me, the most notorious comics villain, after Lex Luthor and the Joker, would probably have to be Magneto. Citizen Dawn follows that archetype, but with light-based powers rather than magnetism, and just as much stretching of exactly how powerful that is. The real danger isn't from her, but from the faction of villainous supers she leads, although she's no slouch in a fight herself. Well, no, the real danger is that sometimes she says you don't get things, ever. She has a high number of discard and destroy effects, and if those all combo together, you're gonna have a bad time.

Leader of the Citizens of the Sun
Citizen Dawn spends most of her time on this side, which isn't really a bad thing. Sure, she begins play with a bunch of citizens out, but personally she barely does things. H minus 2 damage to the highest health hero? Please. The real issue is that she WILL eventually flip, and your time is best spent ensuring that that doesn't happen until you can cheat it.

Advanced: A boring, but effective, boost to her and her Citizens' capabilities. Not every Citizen attacks directly, but many of them do, and some quite viciously at that. And when you consider that some Citizens can team up in their own right, it gets even scarier.

Merged with the Power of the Sun
Okay, she's invincible and plays two cards a turn. That's bad, yes. But it's possible to skip this phase entirely by fulfilling both conditions for her flipping at once. She flips to this side upon the death of 5 or more Citizens, and flips back when there's H minus 1 Citizens in play at the start of the turn. These are not mutually exclusive, so if you pace yourselves with taking down only the most dangerous Citizens, you can avoid this phase entirely.

Advanced: This is MUCH harder on advanced, where the condition for her to flip back to normal is H plus 1 Citizens. That's a lot, a lot, a lot!!! It's highly unlikely you'll be able to manage this just by pacing your offensive normally, and you may have to just take some time to hold back and gear up for a field-clear.

Challenge - Solar Retribution: Citizen Dawn brings in a bit of the Chairman with her new auto-counter when you destroy a Citizen. 3 fire damage isn't too bad though, even in Ultimate mode, and really this just drives home the message that you can pace yourselves and choose which Citizens are important to leave alive. Deck control also becomes more valuable here, so you can avoid having the worst Citizens hit the field and be a threat even when beaten.

Good Strategies:
  • Deck Control: Devastating Aurora is always a thing you need to keep an eye on, and it alone warrants having someone on the team to keep an eye on the deck, but even outside of that there's a big difference between Citizen Spring entering the field solo and a Blinding Blast when Citizen Sweat's being guarded by Citizen Truth. And needless to say, the fewer ongoings Citizen Dawn fields, the better, because they can stack up way faster than you'd expect.
  • Backup Copies: Citizen Dawn only has the two copies of Devastating Aurora, though, so as long as you keep something on hand to get your setup back underway again, you're probably good. This could be literal backup copies, speed-drawing, or just deck/trash search tools like Impromptu Invention or Modular Realignment, so long as it lets you get back on your feet quickly. Once you've been hit by both, nothing's really stopping you from going ham in rebuilding.

Bad Strategies:
  • Disruptive Environments: Having a combo of strong destroy and discard effects is bad enough. Fighting Citizen Dawn in somewhere like, oh, fully half of the environments in the base game (Megalopolis, Wagner Mars Base) where there's even more potential for your stuff to be broken or where you can be locked out of your capabilities really easily? That's a recipe for not getting to do things ever. Kind of clever that they tacitly suggest fighting her in Insula Primalis, being the homebase of the Citizens of the Sun.
  • Reckless Offense: Again, the fact that you can skip Citizen Dawn's second phase forces players to learn which targets they can afford to kill and which ones they can leave alive. Citizen Tears and Citizen Hammer both need to instantly die. Citizen Spring and Citizen Assault? Probably more manageable. Don't just kill targets solely because they're there. Go for the ones that need to be brought down and leave the rest alone.

Notable Cards
  • Blinding Blast: This is the only direct attack card Citizen Dawn has in her deck, and it's not even notable for that. Hit everyone for 2 energy damage? Whatever. Everyone discards 2 cards? NO. NOT OKAY. GO TO THE DEATH IGLOO. This gets even worse early on, where you might not even have a full hand to begin with if Citizen Tears started in play.
  • Devastating Aurora: Scorched Earth. Wrath of God. Exodia, the Forbidden One. Hello friends, it is me, the kill everything card. Two things here: first, the mere presence of this card in her deck forces you to contour your strategy around it, and it's far better to see it earlier than later. And second, it hits a lot of things, but hero cards that are neither ongoings nor equipment (Unity's mechanical golems) don't get destroyed. There's maybe like two decks that have anything in this category, but still.
  • Channel The Eclipse: Ordinarily, this is a bit of a double-edged sword for Citizen Dawn. She deals herself damage but plays more cards if it stays out, which is... eh, you might want to destroy it anyway. But if she ever flips to her invincible side and has this or gets it out, much less both copies, kiss your survival odds goodbye.

Beta Metroid 04-04-2016 02:08 PM

Thanks for these! A friend recently introduced me to the card game, and I snapped up the Steam version shortly afterward. Things have been really hectic for me lately, but I should be able to participate in online games during some evenings/late afternoons. My handle is Rodanguirus.

I love how balanced this game feels, at least in my experience. Nightmist is the only hero I've gotten to try that didn't really intrigue me, and I may owe her another shot. As for the villains, the only one I don't enjoy fighting is the appropriately-named Spite.

Kalir 04-05-2016 12:51 PM

Grand Warlord Voss

Danger Levels
  • Minions: High
  • Direct Offense: Middling
  • Disruption: Low
  • Defenses: High
  • Ongoings: Middling
  • Deck Randomness: Middling
  • Nemesis: Tempest

Okay, we got mad scientist, we got killer robot, we got villainous supers... all that's left is an interstellar conqueror. Grand Warlord Voss is almost as well-designed a deck as Baron Blade, with the fact that they're actually actively threatening, either with their alternate win of just having all the minions, or just concentrated damage output.

To clarify: his Minions all represent members of his genetic playground of an army. If he has 10 in play at the start of his turn, he instantly wins for having overrun the earth. Each Minion is individually simple, having a meager 3 health and favoring a damage type for their own attack and for a personal immunity. But a horde of minions attacking together in concert? Now that's a threat.

Conquering Alien Warlord
This side represents Voss leading from the rear, where his minions pose an actual threat and you can't reach him directly. Well... you CAN, if you have access to irreducible damage, but that's not as effective as just killing your way past all his minions. Note that he doesn't directly attack heroes in this phase, but then again, he doesn't really NEED to. This is also the only side where his instant win condition is allowed, but if you let 10 minions survive for that long, you're honestly dead either way.

Advanced: 3 damage is enough that most heroes can feasibly drop at least one minion a turn. But if all damage dealt by heroes is reduced, suddenly you have to work together a lot more to bring down any given minion, especially if a Gene-Bound Guard is already in play.

Super-Thoratian Warrior
Voss still gets his meatshield effect in this form, but it's sharply limited. This only makes sense: in this phase, he's forced into fighting you up close and personal. And Voss fights dirty: out of everyone in the base set, he's the only one who attacks the LOWEST HP hero. Granted, it's fire damage he hits them with, which more than a few heroes can handle easily, but you still need to be careful not to overextend against this guy. I've seen a lot of squishy heroes end the fight against Voss incapacitated or close enough to it. One last thing: killing minions flips to this side. Spaceships, translocators, and lieutenants don't count.

Advanced: It's another card play. Don't give villains more card plays! The obvious danger is him speed-playing enough minions to go back to his other side, but there are some really dangerous potential cards here he could throw even outside of that. And let's not forget the good ol' Quark-Drive Translocator that already accelerates his card play! Once he gets here, PILE IT ON.

Challenge - Hostile Take Over: Whenever Voss flips, he plays a card. Again, this is going to make getting to his Super-Thorathian Warrior side and keeping him there kind of difficult. What's more, it makes it much easier for him to recover if he ever does flip back from that side. Be ready to handle whatever hits the field, especially in Ultimate mode where his deck acceleration is already going to run at top speed once you get him flipped. If you have card play block effects, time them for when he flips if at all possible!

Good Strategies:
  • Area Damage: Again, this one's a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. There's a huge difference between Haka bringing down two dudes with a Taiaha, and Tempest clearing the field. (Okay, he can't really do that without outside help, but still.) There's a few beefy, high-profile targets to go for, but you're way better off hitting lots of dudes for small damage than one small dude for lots of damage.
  • Protecting the Little Guy: Voss has a lot of ways to inflict area damage and to hit lowest HP heroes, so it's important to make sure your defenses and tanking capabilities are up to snuff. Smoke Bombs and Lead From the Front are both good options, but Unity can also do a weird reverse-tanking thing with her bots, particularly Platform Bots. After all, what's lower HP: a Platform Bot, or Tempest in the middle of his Localized Hurricane?

Bad Strategies:
  • Turtling: Protecting the weak teammates is all well and good, but you shouldn't neglect your offense for your defense. Voss' deck isn't all sunshine and minions, and if the TCF Conqueror or Stalwart rears its head, you need to bring all the firepower you can muster to bring it down, to say nothing of a Forced Deployment.
  • Low Base Damage: If you're running Chrono-Ranger or Fanatic, do bear in mind that Voss has a lot of ways to get damage reducers, what with two Gene-Bound Guards and Field Lieutenant Tamar. Get your higher base damage powers or boosters in play as soon as you can, lest you find yourself unable to bring down even a single minion.

Notable Cards
  • Forced Deployment: This is the closest thing the base set has to a raid boss' giant telegraphed "screw you I win" attack. (Devastating Aurora isn't telegraphed and doesn't count.) The best way to handle that is to destroy it as early as possible with an ongoing-destroy, to get a headstart on killing off the ensuing minions. But if you can't get a lot of minions down before Voss' next turn, just ignore it, weather the attack, and come back after.
  • Quark-Drive Translocator: This card plays another villain card the first time a minion enters play. By volume, Voss' deck is over 50% minions. As long as this thing is out, assume that it WILL make Voss play two cards a turn. And what do we do to things that play two cards a turn for the villain? That's right, we destroy them, fatally, until they are dead. Don't fully ignore the minions for this, but if they're at a sustainable level (i.e. no more than 4 or 5 or so)? Go nuts.
  • TCF Conqueror: This is the only thing in Voss' deck that kills hero cards. The good news is, it's only one hero ongoing that dies. The bad news is that it happens literally every turn, and it turns out that spaceships have a lot of health. The fact that it consistently attacks for 3 fire damage every turn isn't helping matters. (But that also means that Ra can do some very efficient tanking for his team.) Like the Translocator, bring this one down quickly, but don't ignore the minions for it.

Hooray! Now we'll look at environments from the base set, and after that it's on to Rook City.

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