(Metagame Archive) Finishing Move

By Danny Mandel

Don’t you people ever die?!

You’ve seen it time and time again—the Green Goblin back from the grave, Magneto surviving a cataclysmic explosion, or Phoenix rising from the ashes. The fact is that comic book characters never die . . . at least not for long. 

In the Marvel TCG, it’s no different. After the smoke clears during the combat phase, there are often one or more stunned characters in play. But during the recovery phase, each player gets to choose one of his or her stunned characters to recover. This “free” recovery keeps things from getting too bloody in the early game, allowing players to keep their characters around until the later turns so there can be some massive showdowns.

Feelin’ a Little Woozy

Of course, sometimes one free recovery isn’t enough. If a player has two or more stunned characters, he or she only gets to recover one of them. The rest are sent to the KO’d pile. Usually, if you really want to hurt a team, you try to take out several of its characters at once, but there are card effects and powers that can shake things up. One of these is the featured preview card of the day. 

 

The Plot Thickens

Let’s get the basics of this card out of the way so we can look at the types of decks it will best fit into. First of all, it’s a plot twist. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to look at the Marvel Rulebook, here’s a quick summary of how plot twists work.

A plot twist is a cool trick you can play from your hand or resource row at any time, as long as you have at least as many resources as its threshold cost (the silver number in the upper left-hand corner). Unlike characters and equipment, plot twists do not cost you any resource points to play. You just show the card to your opponent, pay any additional costs in the text box, and choose any targets. If you played it from your resource row, just leave it there face up—it no longer has any game effects, but it still counts as a resource.

Now that we’ve gotten the rules part out of the way, let’s get back to Finishing Move. This card’s application is pretty straightforward: your opponent has a stunned character, and you want it to go away before it can recover. However, there are really two situations you should consider.

Situation 1: Your opponent has exactly one stunned character that he or she will probably choose to recover during the recovery phase. In this situation, Finishing Move is very exciting because it gets rid of the character, effectively nullifying your opponent’s free recovery.

Situation 2: Your opponent has two or more stunned characters, only one of which is recoverable. In this situation, if you use Finishing Move to KO one of those characters, your opponent will recover one of the other ones that are left. All you’ve really done is eliminated the option of recovering the character you KO’d. The trick is deciding whether or not it’s worth spending the Finishing Move now, or holding onto it until later turns. Of course, sometimes it’s a no-brainer. If you opponent’s two stunned characters are Magneto and Toad, it’s probably a good idea to finish off Magneto.

Someone to do the Dirty Work

Finishing Move has a threshold cost of 2, meaning you can’t play it until you control at least two resources. It  also has an additional cost: You have to exhaust a character you control to play it. Flavor-wise, this represents that character running (or flying, or swimming . . . ) up to the stunned character to deliver a knockout blow. In game terms, this means you’d better have some extra warm bodies around if you don’t want to get stuck with an unplayable Finishing Move in your hand.

 

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place.

Finishing Move is a generic plot twist. That means it fits into any deck regardless of what team affiliations you’re playing. (The opposite of generic is team-specific. For example, Danger Room is a team-specific card. Technically any deck can play it, but only a deck with a lot of X-Men will really benefit from it.) However, a deck is not defined solely by the affiliations of its characters, but also by the strategy it employs. There are beatdown decks (which try to win really quickly by rushing out characters), stall decks (which tend to play lots of defense, hoping to bring out larger, more powerful characters), combination decks (which try to set up cool synergies between several cards to benefit your team), and so on.

The deck type that Finishing Move seems most at home in is control. While a beatdown deck wants to win by ramming lots of damage through with cards like Charge! and Savage Beatdown, a control-style deck is more interested in gaining an advantage by surgically removing opponents’ threats. Some typical control maneuvers might be exhausting an opposing character before it has a chance to attack or forcing an opponent to discard. A card that denies an opponent a recovery, or at least worsens the quality of his or her recovery, will fit right in.

Finishing Up

 

That’s all for today’s preview. Tune in tomorrow when we take a look at the fourth and final card type in the Origins set.

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