• Uncanny X-Men Postmortem

    Uncanny X-Men is not dead - far from it - but it has been out for seven months now. If it was a set of Magic, it would be getting towards middle age in Standard. Time and distance give us increased clarity on these sorts of things. It's time to take a look at the set and decide what it meant and where it will sit in the pantheon of Dice Masters.

    An Impossible Task

    Let's travel through time. In the middle of last year, the game was riddled with supply issues for many different reasons. We at TRP were getting a bit confused at the direction of the game ourselves (just listen to some podcasts from that time and it'll be clear). It felt like Avengers vs. X-Men had been the only thing available for a long time, something that is pretty glaring when the meta was somewhat solved and the set of cards is relatively small. Games like these simply aren't meant to be played with only one set.

    UXM needed to knock it out of the park or the game risked capsizing before it even got started.

    Boy did it succeed.

    New Mechanisms, New Ways To Play

    This set accomplished it's goals in a few ways. First, we started to see keyword abilities work their way into the game, such as Archvillains and Heroic characters. This was something that wasn't included in the Avengers vs. X-Men set and while some of the usefulness of these abilities is in doubt (heroic, anyone?), the fact that innovation was happening this quickly was great to see.

    The obvious big include in this set was the Professor X Global, also known as PXG.

    In AvX, it wasn't uncommon to see games that were big piles of Beasts, attacking and blocking into one another in order to facilitate churn while direct damage abilities picked away at the opponent. It was so slow that WizKids eliminated "best of three" from their official tournament rules outside of the top eight, as we saw at Nationals.

    Professor X sought to change that, and boy did it. The game is now much faster and much less skewed towards the cheapest characters. Some would say that it's too fast. I see the same "first player" issues as everyone else. Certainly we talked about that at Nationals. That said, as we moved into day two, I saw far more long games, far more interactive games, than I had experienced with the acceleration of the format before. It was certainly more than I expected.

    Increased Availability

    Uncanny X-Men was available pretty much on demand. Boosters and starters were plentiful, not because hype died down from the initial release but because WizKids now knew how popular the game was and could prepare appropriately.

    It was so widely available that draft was implemented, codified, and took off like wildfire - we now knew that there would be enough packs in the wild to support such a format. To this day, draft remains my favorite way to play the game (though constructed has gained ground).

    Increased Quality

    I'm not going to say that everything was perfect. But I would say that compared to Avengers vs. X-Men, there were plenty of lessons learned in the die manufacturing process. No more duds like this awful Human Torch die, or this pathetic Beast. I know the Beast looks blurry, but it's not - that's just how poorly things were filled in on that die.

    That's not to say that AvX was completely horrid in this way. Deadpool remains an extremely good looking die, as do several of the others. Nonetheless, there were quality issues in terms of the dice that detracted a bit from that set. UXM fixed much of that.

    The move to a 90-count gravity feed also meant that the cards were far less bent. I never really noted how MUCH less until I had the chance to go through an AvX feed again. Yikes, are those cards warped. Of course, we all know that after a night under a stack of books, they're right as rain, so that doesn't really matter. There's something to be said, however, for an improvement in presentation.

    The Future

    Many cards from UXM ought to remain staples right up until the time they rotate out (if it ever comes to such a point). Professor X is a fantastic example of such a card. Psylocke - Kwannon the Assassin is another example because of her easy means of removal. Others that haven't seen wide use will nonetheless survive due to their utility, such as Scarlet Witch - Controls Probability. Iceman will likely continue to be a big driving force behind bolt-centric teams. The list goes on.

    The exciting thing will be to see what cards from UXM are made better by future sets.

    In Totality...

    The sum of all of these? The game survives and thrives. More players are coming, more sets are coming, and WizKids is giving the game phenomenal support, evidenced by the live streaming at US Nationals this year. I can only imagine what would have happened if Uncanny X-Men had been less than it was.

    Luckily, we don't need to worry.
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. AlexPezzotta's Avatar
      AlexPezzotta -
      Are there any cards that you remember being really excited about before release, but after release thought was kind of a dud or vice versa?
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by AlexPezzotta View Post
      Are there any cards that you remember being really excited about before release, but after release thought was kind of a dud or vice versa?
      Cable. After I saw his abilities I thought he would be great. That clearly wasn't the case.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      It brought me Namor! Made me so happy. Helped me get into the set.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Also, UXM brought the tone down from the absurd level of AvX into a more reasonable level. We have yet to see any more characters printed that were as far out as "Tsarina" or "Gobby" and the game has benefited from that. They did include the Professor X Global, but that's forgivable in light of how warped the initial set was due to its general lack of ramp and incredible low-cost characters. Now that even more sets have been released, it's clear that they've learned their lessons and are staying far away from the gargantuan power levels of their first runs.
    1. owLy's Avatar
      owLy -
      Great article! I finally got access to UXM today at a constructed tourney in Australia, such a fun set that really diversifies the game from it's AVX state.
    1. Razorback's Avatar
      Razorback -
      UXM is my #2 favorite set, only slightly behind Justice League. I know that Heroic needed refinement and is getting it in AoU, but it was so cool to pull off Captain America/ Wolverine heroic combos.

      Even with 5 sets out, I find myself thinking in terms of UXM and using it as my baseline.