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Why I Like UXM Super Rares

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For most of the life cycle of the Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters set, Black Widow: Tsarina and Green Goblin: Gobby dominated the conversation when dealing with most aspects of the game. How not? The two of them were parts of many successful decks. Their ability to get direct damage through coupled with their cheap costs made them cornerstones. The only problem was their rarity.

Individual copies of these cards went for upwards of $40 or more on auction sites like eBay or
gaming sites like CoolStuffINC. Players needed to pay a pretty penny in order to add them to their collections - unless they were lucky enough to pull one from a gravity feed. These cards were dangerous and were win-conditions all on their own.

But this new set brings something different with the super rares, and I'm a fan.

Instead of finding abilities that are essential to victory, we're seeing abilities that simply act as a player aid or a means of control. Consider:

[u][*]Iron Man - Industrialist - Cancel all damage that Villains deal to Iron Man. Burst: Double Iron Man's attack value while he is engaged with a Villain. Global: Pay [1 Shield] . Target character gains the Villain affiliation.[*]Scarlet Witch - Controls Probability -While Scarlet Witch is active, you may reroll any or all of your dice one additional time during the roll and reroll step.[*]Spider-Man - Superhero - Heroic: When fielded, Spider-Man may pair up with a different Heroic character until the start of your next turn. While Spider-Man is paired up, when he and/or his partner are knocked out, each may deal its attack in damage to a [Bolt] or [Mask] character.[*]Emma Frost - Hellfire Club -Whenever Emma Frost is damaged by a [Fist] character, redirect the first 1 damage from her to your opponent.[/list]None of these abilities are of the same ilk as those in the last set. I can guarantee that all will be in demand for one reason or another. I myself like Scarlet Witch quite a lot, and surely most others do too, but all of them have an obvious drawback.

Iron Man needs villains to work. He can make people into villains, but then you're possibly giving your opponent the means to avoid the negative end of one of your Archvillains.

Scarlet Witch's ability gives you one more chance to roll, and that's fantastic. Just ask anyone who has played HeroClix how nice the Probability Control ability is to have. However, she doesn't help you win on her own. You need to purchase her and then keep her in the field to gain any benefit, potentially delaying your purchase and field of whatever winning combination you've chosen.

Spider-Man needs another Heroic character, and then can only impact a bolt or mask character. Not that this is bad - in fact it could be quite useful - it's just that they put limits on the ability.

Emma Frost is similarly limited to just fist characters. Now, plenty of fists are brawny, but the fact remains that your opponent has to attack with fists for you to get any use out of her.

All of these are useful, and yet all of them have clear limits placed on what they can and can't do. They seem to have ways that they can fit into larger character combinations, but none provide a victory condition by themselves.

It's a nice step forward for the game, where super rares become nice-to-haves and not must-haves.
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  1. Marvel Sutantio imported's Avatar
    Personally I think they're all bordering on the niche zone. WK probably were too horrified by all the Gobby & Tsarinas so they toned down UXM's super rares way too much. I can see Control Probability & Industrialist being used in some competitive builds, but Superhero Spidey is too niche, Heroic doesn't reward us enough, IMO Cap, Storm & the can only be blocked by 2 chars Wolverine are the only worth using Hero characters. Mask and bolt are two of the most used energy types too, KOing them is usually a bad idea, since that means the opponent can get their Gobby, Wind Rider, Johnny Storm, 666, etc in the prep area, roll, field and usually trigger their when fielded abilities all over again, not to mention puny parker has sub-par stats too.

    As good as Emma's body is (pun intended), her ability is almost blank when facing off against mask, bolt, and shield characters (again, with mask and bolt being the most used energy type).

    WK should really do some more playtesting and research to find that fine line between overused aka too powerful and niche aka almost unplayable
  2. Stephen Mitchell imported's Avatar
    Okay, maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I have Tsarina and I can't get her to 'work' the way everyone claims she does. Quick kill? Not really. I'll buy her up and my opponent has no issue with spinning a character down to block her and take no damage, then I need to pray she rolls up as a character on the next turn. Doesn't always work, but even if it does my opponent knows I'm using Tsarina so he loads up on characters to ensure he has some that can spin down.

    I've had such little luck with her...I took her off my team. I'd sell her but my gf LOVES Black Widow lol. She won't let me do it.
  3. Horatio imported's Avatar
    Tsarina can be countered but the other player has to work hard to do it. That's why she's great really, just having her out there is permanent pressure on your opponent and they can never really take their eye off that ball. Genetic Expert works great, but the problem is not rolling your Beasts is a disaster, whereas not rolling your Black Widows just means you buy a big character or do something else. Tsarina works best when you are relentless with her, like buy 4 on the first 2 turns, then field and attack on 3, use Silver Surfer and field SKs to thin your bag, and keep coming. But a huge bonus for Tsarina is you can afford to be flexible and not force anything - sort of like basketball - you pass it around and when you see an open shot, take it. Tsarina is like a crossbow that is fully drawn and knocked with an arrow. No need to fire when not ready, but you better believe your opponent is thinking about it constantly. When you see 2 Tsarina's bought on turn 1, you really do NEED to buy 2 beasts. Fielding a sidekick really isn't an option. When they buy 2 more, you need to keep pace. In that example, there has yet to be a turn in that game where the play wasn't completely dictated by the Tsarina player.
  4. Horatio imported's Avatar
    With UXM in the mix, I think there is now a strong bias in this game to energy type strength / weakness, die stats (especially defense), having a field comprised of different characters and managing SKs. To me all of this is very good for a vibrant metagame where any one team is easily countered. So there's the push and pull of wanting to focus and diversify. Do you get your heroics going? That probably means you don't have a Villain in the field and will be susceptible to Archvillains. Do you go for all one cheap character early? That's going to be susceptible to Inprisoned, Pyslocke, Cerebro, any energy-type effects on your opponents team as well as not allow certain effects of your own to fire. The Prof X global is great of course, but that doesn't play well with all the cards that buff Sidekicks. Play a Johnny Storm based game? Easily countered with Cable. Fist characters are a huge part of the game now and there are just tons of very powerful Fist strategies with She Hulk, Falcon, Antman, Toad, Black Panther and X-23. Not to mention Black Widow who is still pretty great (even though her best card now is probably Killer Instinct). Gobby is still tempting but is just destroyed by Cerebro and Feedback and Quicksilver. Want to play Power Bolts and Angel Soaring? I will redirect the damage with Ironman Inventor, channel to Storm and then zap you right back! The superrares in this game are niche, but there is such more narrow band of card usefulness in UXM (meaning every card is closer to mean usefulness) that the word "niche" is not quite as meaningful as it was with AvX. The fact is that there are so many strategies now that almost everything is more or less niche at this point.
  5. Horatio imported's Avatar
    On Spiderman, it's really a pretty good ability if you make sure Heroic will work on your team. Only one of the two needs to be knocked out for BOTH teamed up characters to do their damage on a character. This is a really good way to KO a troublesome defender like Bishop or Vision.
  6. Paul Atreides imported's Avatar
    Hi Stephen. Try teaming Tsarina up with Spiderman Webslinger and Hulk (Green Goliath?) with Nick Fury to field Avengers for free. The fists you generate when not rolling character faces mean that you can easily build up to getting one or two hulks out. Then when your wall of characters is substantial enough.... pay one fist energy to activate "everyone blocks Spidey" and barge through with 20-plus damage. I've faced this team a few times, and won occasionally with Gobby decks, but the only times I've felt able to confidently counter it is with a mostly mask-based team, with Distraction Basic Action, and with Loki Gem Keeper locking down Webslinger. Storm (Wind Rider) also slows down this team's progress but it can be a formidable sight: three/four Tsarinas coupled with one/two Hulks and a Spidey. You know on the turn previously that you are one "Fist" away from a smacking.....

    I'd keep her for now until the new UXM set makes her less intimidating; give the Fists of Fun team a go!! Paul.
  7. Werekin imported's Avatar
    Bad players with super rares don't usually beat good players with commons. Thank Stan Lee for spoiling us for choice!
  8. Paul Atreides imported's Avatar
    Ho Ho! From this point on: if myself and other bad players could kindly go and comment on other blogs; these sections will be less cluttered with things that good players have no need to read.
  9. Stephen Mitchell imported's Avatar
    Thanks Paul, not a bad idea. I've been contemplating a team that takes advantage of Thrown Car and Tsarina would definitely work there. Spinning characters down would be a 'plan B' of sorts so either way it's a win/win scenario for me.