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Off the Meta | Iron Man, Money Corrupts

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Welcome back one and all, it's time to finish off our inquest into Iron Man and his variety of uses. This time, however, we'll be looking into his Uncanny X-Men iterations in order to round things off. Presently, I am splitting characters that come from multiple sets into two different reviews within the same week, but as always, if you have any ideas on how to improve the format of this review, I'm always open to critique. Additionally, I'll be messing around with the layout of these blogs for the time being, so let me know what works for you and what doesn't. Now, without further ado, let's talk Iron Man







Overall:
The UXM versions of Iron Man are quite a bit more... unique than the AvX versions. Gone are the days of 4- value Iron Men, and with them, Iron Man's prime. Instead we get a higher cost Iron Man with effects in the vein of heroes vs. villains. Given that the Heroic effect never really worked out with its selection of cards and the fact that villains are only now coming into their own with DC and the coming Age of Ultron, these iterations simply weren't terribly useful. At best, Iron Man was a character you brought for his global, which was one of the few ways to make villain and anti-villain setups truly work, though he has attained a lot more utility now that villains are gaining traction. That all said, there's something truly fantastic about the art and dice for this Iron Man, so at the very least he makes a nice trophy!





Iron Man - Upright
The first Iron man from UXM, he has a whopping 5- purchasing cost for the ability to slightly reduce damage from villains. This is flat out a worse effect than Iron Man - Inventor as it only applies to damage from characters and further restricts that to damage from villains. However, the saving grace of these Iron Men is their global. For a , you can make any character a villain for the rest of the turn. This is why you bring Iron Man, to manipulate both your own and your opponents characters into becoming villains for your own purposes. In Limited and Constructed, this had very limited uses as villains simply weren't a strong enough archtype to have any particularly strong interactions or demand forms of hate. The only interactions you were likely to affect with this global were Mister Sinister - Nasty Boy for a conditional trade of 1-damage for 1-energy (a bad ratio), Mystique - Raven Darkholme who gets +1/+1 per villain on both sides of the field (admittedly, a reasonable multi-pump gimmick), or anti-X-Men abilities like Scarlet Witch - Wanda Maximoff. Nowadays, on the other hand, villains have a very strong archetype in DC or Unlimited with the likes of Black Manta - Deep Sea Deviant, Katana - Outsider or Deathstroke - Weapons Master. Using Iron Man's Global, you can effectively boost the damage these characters output on a regular basis. As such, Iron Man's utility goes up directly proportional to the level of freedom you have in creating your team.








Iron Man - Superhero
As you may have guessed by the "Superhero" subtitle, this is the Heroic Iron Man. For 5-, you get the ability to give your Heroic characters protection from 2 damage a turn for one full turn. Plain and simple, this is just rubbish. Heroic abilities are already so niche in the first place, if you squander them on mediocre damage mitigation, you're essentially wasting an effect and this Iron Man's stats are not justified by his purchase/fielding cost. I fully believe that Heroic abilities can be made to work, but this is not the character for it, use someone useful like Captain America - Superhero or Red Hulk - Superhero. Speaking of which...














Iron Man - Industrialist
Now this is the kind of gimmick I'm looking for with a super rare! The final Iron Man costs a full 6-energy, but now he's bringing the game-ending capability that warrants that high cost. Normally, he's immune to damage from villains. If it stopped there, he'd be a niche pick with little real viability outside of a blind villain counter. Next, his burst face doubles his attack value when he's engaged with villains. This is a lot better, but unless you're always facing villains, you're still going to have a hard time leveraging this effect. Finally, he gets the same gimmick global from earlier that allows him to turn a character into a villain. I officially love him. Industrialist is an amalgam of gimmicks that combine with just the right amount of synergy to make him risky, but with a big payoff if it all works out. If you can get him onto his burst face, slap on some overcrush, keep a in reserve for his global, and get him blocked, you're going to be dealing some major damage! This is exactly the kind of card that appeals to the little Johhny in my heart and, boy, do I find him fantastic (out of set that is)! Do note, because UXM has no native overcrush, this Iron Man really should only be played in Unlimited. However, with that in mind, he easily puts a stop to villain teams if you can get him out. He can make himself immune to Hulk - Green Goliath for a single . He can soak the full damage of a level-3 Martian Manhunter - Jonn Jonn'z with Anger Issues. He can muster enough attack to kill any single character in terms of stats. He can clear your opponents field with the right energy and Doctor Doom - Victor. Simply put, he's a bomb, and for a 6- super rare, he's the kind of bomb I want to see more of.


Counterplay:
First way to get a leg up on the UXM Iron Man is to not bring villains. If you're not playing villains, your opponent is going to have to hold onto energy in order to activate their globals and use their effects, putting you ahead. Next, as often as it comes up, the best way to shut down globals is to bring Lord of D. Ring. There simply isn't a setup that so thoroughly shuts your opponent out of targeted globals. Then you have the option to play it tricky and bring a team of half villains. Until he's purchased, your opponent's only benefit of bringing Iron Man is his global, which you also have access to. If you can put it to better use in the early game with character synergies that rely on villains like Katana - Oustider, you're going to be ahead in team slots and in the game itself.

Conclusion:
Iron Man from the UXM set is a trick character. He's not going to give you an easy win and he's not going to be seen in the Top 8 of Nationals. That said, he has a role he can fill within a team. He allows you to manipulate the name and number of villains within the game and can set up combo's with other cards that interact with villains as well. He is the glue that can tie a villain gimmick team together. He is designed around the idea of having a reasonable character that thrives on utility. He's not here to give you raw stats, or incredible control, or any other standout feature. Instead, he teams up with other characters and abilities in order to affect the field in a positive manner. He's definitely meant to be the core of the team, so if you already have a gimmick, you'd best look elsewhere, but if you're looking for a unique team leader to build around and corrupt others into your grand villainous strategy, you've found your man.





This will be the last word on Iron Man until Age of Ultron has released and matured enough for some really in depth analysis. I can't say enough how much I really like the design behind this Iron Man, even if he isn't the absolute strongest of characters. I'm really enjoying engaging more with The Reserve Pool and I'm very glad to see the explosion of new blogs following my first analysis. The community is one of the best I've seen around a game and I can't wait to see how we grow with the coming sets!
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