The week Cliff and Squire Talk (Cliff kinda rants) about Thanksgiving. Then its a Battle of Wills for Nextwave. Look forward to Cliff cursing, and hurling insults, go Elsa Bloodstone!
Monthly archives for November, 2009
The week Cliff and Squire Talk (Cliff kinda rants) about Thanksgiving. Then its a Battle of Wills for Nextwave. Look forward to Cliff cursing, and hurling insults, go Elsa Bloodstone!
Richard Vaughn of Fallout Shelter fame joins Cliff for a tangent filled Bonus episode of The Ring Has Chosen.
Thank Granny Goodness that DCF has been keeping us all distracted lately. It’s my hopes that subsequently no one has noticed how long it’s been since we’ve had a 100 Ideas update! But here it is. Five more matches to wet your lips over. This means there are five more matches to go in Round 1. I for one am getting pretty excited to start Round 2 (but that’s largely because I’m a DC man and am going through withdrawals!).
Gambit07 starts us off… READ MORE »
This week its Dr. Fate vs Dr. Strange in a Battle of Wills. Look for episode 80a also to be released this weekend, and a DFC preview 11/14/09 on Cliffs blog.
When we first began designing Checkmate, we had a challenge before us. Checkmate was an age defining team – a game defining team, in many ways. Checkmate was absolutely vital to the Final Crisis storyline – the organized and led the entire resistance against Darkside, after all, uniting all of Earth’s heroes under Article X (I wonder if that’s a card? hmmmm….) – but we talked long and hard about including them. Once the decision was made, they went through a number of themes, with a roster ranging from a full 30 characters to roughly 10, having a lot of trouble deciding how we wanted to balance this vital team with their (overly?) powerful predecessors.
Obviously, we couldn’t leave them out, but something had to change. Where Checkmate had previously had access to all the world’s resources as the legal metahuman resource of the United Nations, Final Crisis put them on the edge of destruction. A loose conglomeration of heroes with nothing left to unite under, Checkmate’s operatives were forced to hiding in Watchtowers spread across the world, desperately afraid of becoming one of Darkseid’s Justifiers.
However, they did manage to call together the armies of man to confront the Justifiers – and then later, a new extradimensional enemy awakened during the conflict – in a few massive battles. This was in part thanks to one of their newest recruits…
Renee hopped from dimension to dimension summoning the Superman of each dimension to the defense of this one. Her power here is representative of this – yes, you have to hide your 3-drop. And yes, you have to exhaust her, essentially taking her out of the fight. But in return, you not only get a card, but a little life back as well. Renee’s power isn’t nearly as mindblowing as Checkmate’s former staple 3-drop, Ahmed Samsarra, but as a power that offers card advantage and endurance, it’s an invaluable ability nonetheless.
Renee isn’t the only team-member focuses on armies. August General in Iron, head superfunctionary for the Chinese government, is a good example of a character who combines both of the team’s main themes in DFC.
That’s right – Checkmate is given the ultimate underdog theme here: resource self-destruction. But making him hidden makes him hard to hurt, and a board-wide +1/+1 on both attack and defense is a powerful incentive to play him. Reservist gives him a little versatility, but August General in Iron specializes in making all your little guys big enough to pack a formidable punch. At 3/3, though, he’s no slouch – if you need a two-drop to swing with, you could do worse than to be stuck with him.
But with few resources and small characters, Checkmate needs a way to resist the more powerful, harder-hitting characters of their opponents….
Resist is a powerful, powerful pump. Even a standard +4 pump to attack, usable on either attack or defense, is a versatile, useful plot twist that would probably see some play. Resist takes it a step further, offering a +4 to defense if you’re down a resource. A +4/+4 on either attack or defense can change the tide of an entire turn. Don’t dismiss Checkmate – even when most of their resources have been taken from them, they’ll still fight back with everything they have.
As I said, Checkmate was very, very hard for us. It’s impossible to avoid comparisons to the game-changing original roster, but we think that their new style offers a lot of variation to the team without utterly abandoning their first iteration. Hopefully, you’ll find new uses for those old, underused Checkmate cards as you see some of the team’s new tricks. Checkmate’s powerful team-based combat focus is a force to be reckoned with, here.
With this, the DFC previews begin to wind down. Throughout the weekend, you’ll see a few more of Checkmate’s key cards, starting today as VS Savant brings you the newest OMAC. Finally, Sunday will see a few choice legacy and generic cards, and then you’ve only a brief wait before the set is in your hands.
For the past couple of days, the DFC previews have focused on the Gotham Knights re-feature. Most of the new GK content was inspired by the Batman RIP storyline. So naturally, the set includes the villains from that story, the Black Glove.
The Black Glove was a secret organization not unlike Marvel’s Hellfire Club. They were rich. They were powerful. And they had an off fashion sense. The leader of the club, Dr. Simon Hurt, may or may not have been the devil himself. (What do you expect from Grant Morrison?)
Like any good secret organization, the Black Glove has minions. Armies of them. That’s where our first preview card comes in:
In the comics, Le Bossu didn’t see a lot of action. Instead, he stayed hidden in the shadows while his Gargoyle henchmen did his dirty work. Like his comic book counterpart, this version of Le Bossu will want to hide in the shadows while his henchmen go in swinging. However, when they are all done, Le Bossu can get in on the fun as well.
(Wouldn’t it be great if some Black Glove Army characters had some kind of synergy with Le Bossu? Like maybe a power that triggers upon becoming stunned? Yeah, that would sure be awesome.)
The Black Glove have a couple of themes running through them. One, they have a lot of concealed characters. Two, they like to rally. I mean, these guys rally a lot! And three… we’ll get to three. Let’s stick with two for a minute.
A free rally per turn is pretty good in and of itself. Yeah, he can only rally while you have a Black Glove attacker. But given all the hidden, it shouldn’t be too hard to have at least one Black Glove attacker per turn.
Rallying for the card type of your choice? Better still. If you had a way to know what was on top of your deck, you could always be successful. And if you are successful, you don’t just get the card. You get to force your opponent to discard a card as well. It’s not unreasonable to assume Swagman will net you a 4 card advantage over your opponent in any game. More if he sticks around longer.
Okay, time for the third theme. The Black Glove liked to gamble. They rigged the game in their favor, but they gambled nonetheless. And the stakes were high. Life and death stuff. So when they rally, the Black Glove likes to place some bets.
See what I mean about life and death? If your opponent loses the game, he dies.
But like I said before, the Black Glove stack the deck in their favor. Even if your opponent wins, he loses. Getting burned for X points of endurance only feels like a win when the alternative is losing your character completely. (And sometimes, you’d probably rather lose the character.)
The Black Glove rally a lot themselves. But they also let their opponents get in on the action. There’s no telling what the outcome will be. Will you get that card you really needed or will you bury it? Burn for 7 or KO a character?
The only thing that’s certain is that the stakes are high and the game has probably been rigged in the Black Glove’s favor. Place your bets!
I’m getting to old for this. These young bucks keep making these amazing fan sets, and I’m constantly forced to come out of retirement and write preview articles! Coincidentally, today’s card title implies retirement and a ‘carrying of the torch’ of sorts. Batman ‘died’ a death that will be as permanent as all comic book deaths, and a whole slew of his proteges duked it out to become the new ‘symbol of the night’. I present their Battle for the Cowl…
How does this card represent the battle for the cowl? It’s actually quite clever if you think about it. Batman, Cape and Cowl from the DWF set negated payment powers. This card allows other Gotham Knights characters you control to emulate that power. Almost as if other Gotham Knights were trying to be Batman. If this were a coincidence I would be flabbergasted (yes I’m trying to justify my opening statement by using dated vocabulary!).
Negation is nothing new to the Gotham playbook. They have cards that negate ongoing plot twists, non-ongoing plot twists, payment effects, and more. But that doesn’t mean that this card doesn’t have a place in the Gotham arsenal; far from it. Sure Utility Belt already did the same thing, but if you lost the character equipped with it, you lost its glorious effect. You were also limited by Utility Belt to only being able to exhaust the equipped character.
That’s not to say that this new card doesn’t also have its limitations. Like all balanced cards, when you’re given advantages, you’re also given drawbacks. You have to gather 2 Charge counters before you can start using this bad boy, which means that if you need reliable payment power protection before turn 4, you’d better stick with Utility Belt (though you could technically use this card before turn 4 thanks to cards like Bat-Radia).
But the thing that really gets me excited about this card is that it can make other cards in your deck more powerful in addition to its crazy effect. Cards like Batman, Zur en Arrh burn your opponent for each face-up resource containing charge counters. It kind of reminds me of the face-up mini-theme that Gotham Knights had in DWF. Cards like Kate Kane and Renee Montoya feel like they’ve almost gotten legacy treatment. I’ve very excited to see what other Ongoings are in this set so I can start ‘charging’ things up myself. That is if I stay out of retirement long enough
On a side note, I want to point out that our site (vssystem.org) just broke the 100,000 hits milestone yesterday. By the time you’re reading this it will probably be a much higher number. This is a monumental achievement for our community, and I hope we’re coming back here years from now to see what new fantasy sets are still be unleashed upon the world. To celebrate this occasion, I’m leaking another card from the set (with Spud’s permission of course). Enjoy this celebratory bonus. No tidbits or insights from me. I’ll leave it all up to your imagination…
The REAL Kryptonite Ring
We’ve all experienced the fabled “Batman versus Superman” nerd debate. In fact, we had one on these very forums. It involved a lot of heated back and forth keywords, including, but not limited to, “the first superhero,” “no weaknesses,” “his villain is a guy,” and the big one: “Preparation.” It is the crux of the infrastructure that holds the Pro-Batman argument together like super glue. You’ve all heard the term every now and then – Batman using his super computer to gather information on his foes, his master plans that allow him to win every fight regardless of power levels, etc. When the Design team went into our own Batcave to develop some cards for this here Final Crisis set, things started to happen.
First, Batman R.I.P. is not directly tied to Final Crisis. While it’s true that the actual “death” of Batman occurs in its pages, the story line really takes him back to his old friends and new enemies. At first the Gotham Knights were a small team, consisting of 20 cards to rival the size of another affiliation in the set. Then, as the New Gods and other less important teams were shipped out, the size started to increase. We found we couldn’t just rely on old Gotham Knights themes to coast us through the team. We needed something bigger, better, and to match the comics, something that really fit Batman’s mantra.
I’m sure you’ve seen the previous cards by now. In Darkseid’s Elite, the Charge keyword was used to represent the gradual decay of the Apokoliptian host bodies. While they were more less being “charged” by negative powers, Batman laughs at Darkseid when he usurps the keyword for his own purposes (mirroring an event that takes place in Final Crisis #6, except with a certain weapon). Confused, bewildered and excited? I hope so.
Batman R.I.P. takes the reader through a bizarre journey when the Black Glove attempts to destroy Batman through mind and body mutilation. They believe the concoction of a special keyword and crystal meth can stop The Dark Knight. But they were wrong. Batman takes to the streets armed with a “back-up personality” designed specifically for events like this and his trusty (?) partner Bat-Mite to stop the Black Glove in its tracks. Clearly, Batman has prepared for everything. I present the Batman of Zur En Arrh!
And boom goes the dynamite! Thought Batman was mean before? This card has clear ties to the DOR Batman, Caped Crusader, who could “double stun” opposing characters. Batman, Zur En Arrh accomplished a similar feat. The Gotham Knights player will aim to have a completely face-up row of plot twist or location cards with charge counters. Even one charge counter counts as a “charged” resource, meaning Batman’s hitting for around 4-5 extra endurance whenever he strikes. There are a few differences, though. Unlike the Caped Crusader, Zur En Arrh is concealed, meaning you can plan your attacks a bit better on off initiative. He also has 2 more points of ATK and 1 less of DEF, because he’s so aggressive. But wait, wasn’t I talking about preparation?
Straight up negation is a thing of the past for Batman. Now he plans to stop you before you even play the cards! Worried your opponent might bust out a Savage Beatdown? Lock it down! Pathetic Attempt? Lock it down! Mobilize? LAWK IT DOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWN! “But wait Guglio” you say, “You can’t Lock Down any of those cards. See, Lock Down has a threshold cost of 2, which means the earliest you can play it is turn two! And all three cards can be played before you’ll have enough counters to stop it!” If this is you, I pat back you on the back because ordinarily you’d be true. But not this time, because Batman was able to lock down things with this handy tool:
See? Batman comes prepared. His trusty tool, the Bat-Radia (which really actually didn’t have a use until that very moment in time in the story) can give your well laid plans a bit of a boost. Also, because a card without the charge keyword can have charge counters anyways, you can always stick a counter on a card without Charge to make your perfect row.
As you can see, the Gotham Knights come well equipped this time around to fight off the hordes of Apokolips and other villains in the Final Crisis set. Lay the ground work, assemble your team and then let the fireworks go as you soar into battle with Batman and his contingency plans! But wait, look to the skies for the Bat-Signal of more preview cards coming to you via way of Shadowtrooper Express, and enjoy the rest of previews for the Day Evil Won!
Zip lining Away,
“He’s going to lose. They all will. Trust me, Superman. I was there!”
Time travel is fun, wouldn’t you agree? You see, I’ve been exerting my power over time for awhile now, casually peering into the future to see what is waiting for me. Among the millions of dollars I will one day possess, one thing caught my eye in particular. It was this preview article. You will be reading this article on November 7th, but by that point I will already have seen it on front page of Vssystem.org and all the comments. I would tell you the number of comments, but that may change the future just a little bit, so I withhold that information for now.
Just like all things, time travel has a flaw. It has one thing that takes an already otherwise perfect object or event just a little worse. For time travel, it is the ability to change the future. For the card I am about to show you, it will be something else entirely.
RAWR is what I say to you, reader. I can already see you scratching your heads. You see, the Future Foes have seen the future of every game they play in, and know exactly what to do. In DLS, the Foes were what Ben Seck described as a “grief team.” They had effects that were moderately powerful, and then got drastically better unless an opponent discarded a card. While a great concept and a lot of fun, the team really never took off. This is was always because players could figure out what to discard to, and what not to discard to, and the Foes lost their edge. But no more.
The Future Foes still love to make you discard. In fact, they strive for nothing else, because a player with no hand has no options, and no ways to stop them. However, as perfect a plan it is, it still has a flaw. That flaw is requiring the opponent to actually pitch the cards. Like all good plans, the Foes have a way to do that.
Each Future Foes character with a Flaw power has an absurdly good effect and, in rare cases, large stats. This allows them to easily overpower any opposing character, which is fitting of their statures as Future war criminals. The opposing player can use the flaw power to “turn off” that character in one way or another for the turn. These flaw powers all have the cost of discarding a card. At any given moment, you could be facing down two or three characters, each with a good ability and a flaw power. This is where the true problems arise.
You have the option of discarding to all of them, making your opponent’s characters just regular guys, but that puts a serious drain on your hand. You could discard to none of them, and then get your face smashed in. You could only discard to the strongest guy, keep your hand manageable and at least shave off one threat. The choice is yours, but be careful in choosing the discard.
There is one temporal anomaly left, though. When Superman-Prime busted the Legion of Super-Villains out of the prison planet of Takron-Galtos, he brought along some other friends who have their own time powers going on. They were called the Fatal Five. One of my stipulations for work on the DFC set was that my favourite Legion villain, Mano, had to be purely awesome. I think we achieved this.
Much like their DLS incarnations, each member of the Fatal Five (plus the Emerald Eye) have the exact same text template. They are all characters with stats that jump the curve, they all effects that remove them from the game for a turn and they all have effects that fire once they’ve been removed. For Mano, the sting caused by a punch from his Anti-Matter hand leaves a lasting impression during the recovery phase, when the character he hit takes more endurance loss. Then, when combat rolls around again, he flies back in.
Thus brings in two interesting points. First, this allows the Fatal Five to be non-unique in a sense. Because they will be removed from the game and returning during the recovery phase, you can recruit a new Mano next turn, and the original would come back. This is not unlike the time The Persuader used his Atomic Axe to cut dimensions and recruited the Fatal Five Hundred. Second, the balancing factor of the Fatal Five allows an opponent to send a low drop into them and have them fly away. Send your 2 drop into Mano and the 2 drop will stun, sending Mano into the removed from game zone for the turn.
Regardless of what way you play them, the Future Foes have seen the future. And I can tell you that this future includes many people enjoying the DFC set on Magic Workstation or in real life. Other things of course happen, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise . If you have any questions, call the Time Trapper, and he will get back to you (note: Guglio is NOT the current Time Trapper).
Travelling to your nearest future,
This week, Cliff & Squire FINALLY complete their match. Its Alpha Force vs The Avengers!