April 22, 2009

Errata Discussion

Here's my first-ever joint article! Thanks to Scott Mooney for providing counter-point to my ramblings.

Following the release of Marvel Universe and Marvel Evolution there has been a lot of discussion among our player group (and online) about the powers of certain cards, both in terms of sheer power and in terms of wording. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the debate brought on by the 3-cost, Exiles-affiliated Blink. We'll not be discussing that particular card today, but rather some other combinations you may or may not have thought of.

Scott has built a very deadly Starjammers/X-Factor/X-Men deck that takes advantage of discard effects and Energize to lead to an amazing turn 7 combo using Cyclops, Astonishing X-Man and Havok, Proud Son. This combo can stun an opponent's board if they are unable to pay the discard required by Havok's ability. It is especially dangerous in a multi-player format and brought up some thoughts on designer intent versus the actual wording on the cards.

Personally, I can’t come up with a way that either card could be reworded to make it not screw over both of those cards. You can’t make Havok’s power only work once per turn because he has Energize. Cyclop’s power could be once per turn but then he’s not really ‘rare’ powerful anymore. The only thing I thought of was adding text to Havok that read something like “If your opponent cannot discard a card Havok may not ready again until the recovery phase”. But again, that nerfs his Energize ability if you’re defending. I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be as killer as it is...but I still think it’s too powerful.

Scott disagrees. "really it’s just an effective turn-seven win condition, and there are lots of those out there." Further adding that, "it takes a lot to make it fire, including:

1. Controlling the other person’s hand-size (usually means I’m not attacking with my 5-drop Rachel in order to use her power twice, which leaves me vulnerable to attack and breakthrough, and gives my opponent board advantage);
2. Keeping Cyclops on the six turn (vulnerable to KO effects);
3. Making it to the seven turn in the first place, which is next to impossible vs. nearly every other Evolution deck;
4. Having initiative on turn seven (Havok’s still good on defense, but the combo with Cyclops only triggers if you attack)."

All are good and valid points, most of which I'm forced to agree with. And as it is a turn-seven combo, I think that his argument wins out over any I might be able to make. Scott does concede a little ground me though:

"My suggestion would be to remove Energize from Havok – that way, if the opponent has the initiative, Havok can only stun one character instead of two, making turn eight (and its inevitable win conditions) more likely. Unfortunately though, this errata wouldn’t break the combo if Cyclops is able to attack on any turn, since it’s Cyclops’ ability that allows Havok to ready, not the Energize."

Again very true...which makes me take a closer look at Cyclops. What if his text were amended instead? By adding a line that read "Use this power only once per turn per character" his effect would still be be useful and effective, but it would stop any kind of abuse like that available to the Cyclops/Havok duo. Now keep in mind that there are only musings, and I'm not proposing an in-house errata for either card, yet.

Some other food for thought in the realm of errata would be:

- Armed Escort (infinite life gain equipped to Energize char adjacent to Red Skull)
- Blink 3-drop Exiles character (free resource points for everyone [shifted])
- Blink! (my characters attack any of yours OR reinforce any of mine...on ONE card?!)
- Pathetic Attempt (too powerful for zero cost other than waiting until turn 4?)
- Warp Shards (control Blink and fuck over your opponent's chances to survive)

Weigh in with your comments!


Jon said...

I think the 7 drop Havok should only be during your attack step (I dont think he is unless he was changed).

Scott said...

That could work Jon - it limits the power to attack step only, which means if I have evens, I'd either have to wait to play Havok on turn eight, or risk losing Havok and/or Cyclops due to stun/KO effects.

Another suggestion (which I really like) is to give Havok Loyalty, so he can't be splashed in to other teams. He's that good, on attack or defense.

Still, if we're questioning the creator's intent - these are the guys who gave us a consistent turn-4 kill team (Exiles) and a curve-jumping 7-cost character who can attack at least twice on turn 5 (Deadpool). I think they probably intended Havok to be as deadly as he is, considering everything else they threw into Evolutions.

Roy said...

I'd say it's a valid combo... you just have to KO Cyclops on 6 and Havok isn't so bad on 7! :)

Jon said...

the problem I have with Havok is because he has energize if your opponent cannot discard a card (its easy with starjammers or future foes to force your opponent to have no hand) he cannot be attacked... his effect to me makes him invincible. I think though with other cards like press the attack and x-factor readying cards in combo is ok, but the fact that he can easily destroy a whole bored off initiative makes him deadly.

dark121 said...

c-c-c-combo breaker?

i hate Blink!... just wanted to put that out there, the fact that not only does it do ALL that on one card but that the only condition to play it is to have a blink on the field. if there was more of a cost to it or something...

back to havok. i agree with loyalty, possibly even dual loyalty, which might be a bit much... also the "use only during your attack step" does help push it back to turn 8 if he doesn't have the initative,but if even just that was added i'd say it's valid combo too, cause there are lots of conditions that need to be met. my other thought was that havok can't use his effect on a attacker, but that doesn't colve the problem cause if he wasn't exhausted there would only be a "proposed attacker" so it wouldn't help.... just random thoughts though.

Anonymous said...

Blink is cute and little. Why can't you just leave her be?

Harry said...

Because we are the opposite of cute and little. We are buff and large... Except me.

Jon said...

I'm starting to think that most of the cards from MEV are difficult to fix with out re-designing a good portion of the set.

Obsidian3D said...

I think the appropriate term for a lot of MEV is b-b-b-broken! :P Actually most of the stuff isn't broken, just ridiculously overpowered in relation to the older sets. I think it takes a lot more skill and finesse (or luck) to make something using anything Legends or earlier than can compete with MUN / MEV. It's not stopping me from trying though.