(Metagame Archive) Cerebro IX: Split Personality

By Paul Ross

I’m back home from Amsterdam, where I had the pleasure of meeting many of you face to face. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hi. As threatened last time I wrote, I collected a solid column’s worth of questions from the pros, but I also managed to accumulate a similar volume of questions in my inbox. So the plan is to go through the reader questions today and save the pro questions for a special edition, possibly next week. Why can’t I do both today? Because I have something else in store for you . . .

Cerebro has received its first ever preview card! And since I have no desire to torment you a moment longer than necessary, here it is in all its glory:

Behold the handsomely sized, Magneto-esque body! His ATK and DEF are commendable for a 7-drop and nothing short of jaw-droppingly astounding for this affiliation, given that the reigning Inmates titleholder is the somewhat less than daunting The Joker, The Clown Prince of Crime. Range is icing on the cake.

Needless to say, he will be a Booster Draft powerhouse, given that he can stand toe to toe with Anarchist, Man of the People. However, he has two broadly useful powers instead of a single narrow one. Let’s take a closer look at these powers.

The first is probably more useful to the Arkham affiliation than to many others, given the team’s infamous lack of deck manipulation. Simply put, if you draw Two Face in your opening hand, you may keep any number of cards and mulligan the rest. Not as clumsy or random as a standard mulligan, but rather an elegant weapon for a more civilized Inmate.

But it’s the second power that has the greater potential to brighten the maniacal glint in the eyes of Arkham fans the world over. How good would Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man be if he could swing after shutting down your opponent’s board? Well, Two Face can always take out at least half of your opponent’s characters on your initiative and then attack! That sort of brute strength is impressive enough, but the surgical strike possibilities could be even more enticing.

What do I mean by surgical? Well, how about being able to exhaust any single character your opponent controls without targeting it (and possibly bagging a few bonus characters, as well)? Or ripping apart your opponent’s reinforcement channels before your first attack?

I spoke to Kieren “Honest” Otton, local store owner, All Round Nice Guy™, and the leading exponent of Arkham Inmate technology in Sydney if not the world (he took the affiliation to a 6-4 finish at $10K LA). According to Honest, the team’s path to victory is via the constant limiting of the opponent’s board options. With that premise, Two Face seems to fit the bill nicely, since he should have little trouble exhausting anybody left over after Charaxes has done his KO’ing, Ivy has done her poisoning, and Victor has done his freezing.

The Big Question is: Is he good enough to displace the ubiquitous Magneto, Master of Magnetism from Arkham builds? Very possibly, it seems, for a bunch of little reasons that all add up. Apart from the obvious benefits of reinforcement, team attacking, and Betrayal resistance, Two Face is also more synergistic with a number of his fellow Inmates (including the aforementioned The Joker, The Clown Prince of Crime, his smaller cousin The Joker, Laughing Lunatic, and Charaxes if he manages to survive until turn 7).

The Even Bigger Question is: Will he be enough to drag the Inmates kicking and screaming into Tier 1 competition? That coin is still up in the air (groan), and it will be up to the fiendish genius of Arkham deckbuilders to provide the Even Bigger Answer over the coming months.

On the subject of questions and answers, we now return you to your scheduled programming.

Ken V., from Cape Coral, FL, USA, asks this week’s Feature Question. Ken is obviously aware of my deep, abiding, and often alarming passion for questions about the interaction of continuous modifiers, and he has skillfully parlayed that knowledge into three Marvel Knights boosters.

Let’s say I have a Revenge Squad (RS) character and a Crime Lord (CL) character. I team them up with World’s Finest, and then on the following turn, I recruit a Sinister Syndicate (SS) character. Following that, I flip up Made Men and exhaust someone to give everyone the CL affiliation for the turn. Does World’s Finest check that the SS character is now also CL and add on RS?

The character will indeed end up with all three affiliations, though I’m going to use some different terminology to explain why. For a quick introduction to said terminology, you might like to check out the first question in Section 3 of this column.

Back to your question. World’s Finest naming RS & CL depends on Made Men (since Made Men can change a non-CL character into a CL character). However, Made Men doesn’t depend on World’s Finest, because World’s Finest can’t change whether or not a character is affiliated.

So, while both modifiers apply to the SS character, the independent Made Men is applied before the dependent World’s Finest. As a result, the SS character will have all three affiliations.

If so, when the turn is over and Made Men is no longer in effect, does the SS character lose the CL and RS affiliations?

That’s correct.

Ronald R. from Manila, Philippines, asks an uber-crazy question about Mr. Fear.

I have a crazy question that came up in my regular play group. I have Teen Titans and Crime Lords teamed up. I have Beast Boy and Mr. Fear in play. My opponent attacks Mr. Fear. Can I use Mr. Fear’s power multiple times, choosing Beast Boy each time, to get an uber Beast Boy?

Mr. Fear has recently been errata’d to prevent this kind of craziness (and similarly degenerate hijinks with Carrion). The new text is:

Pay 1 endurance >>> If Mr. Fear is defending, choose another non-stunned Crime Lords character you control. If you do, remove all defenders from this attack, and that character becomes the defender this attack.

So, you can still use the power multiple times (paying 1 endurance per use), but only the first effect to resolve will do anything because Mr. Fear will no longer be defending after it resolves.

On the subject of errata, I should mention that Mr. Hyde was also changed in the lead up to PC: Amsterdam. The good news is that it now works exactly how most people thought it worked in the first place! Here’s the current text:

Characters you control named Cobra get +2 ATK and, while defending, have reinforcement.

Scott H., from Iowell, MA, USA, was not the only reader traumatized by the prospect of Sniper having an Armed Escort.

How can Sniper be equipped with Armed Escort? A question in the last Cerebro had this scenario. Did I miss something?

The concealed keyword means that a character comes into play in the hidden area, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay there. Here are some of the cards that can move a hidden character to a visible area: Deposed; Good Night, Sweet Prince; Mr. Code, Masked Malcontent; Out of the Darkness; Overexposed; and Shadow Step.

Doug, from London, UK, returns with a question about warring resources.

I flip Concrete Jungle from my resource row and pass. Can my foe activate his or her face-up Avalon Space Station, discard a Brotherhood card to get two cards back, and then reveal Avalon again to discard the two new cards (one for Jungle’s effect and one for Avalon’s cost) to get some more cards back from the KO’d pile?

Your foe can certainly activate Avalon Space Station before Concrete Jungle’s effect resolves and turns it face down.

However, if he or she does so, Avalon will be exhausted when it is turned face down and will remain exhausted if it is flipped back up during the same turn. Your foe won’t be able to activate Avalon a second time that turn unless he or she has a way of readying it.

Justin B. has a question about chain timing and target legality.

If the chain resolves in reverse order, does that mean that Overload won’t work if it is played “after” an opponent plays something to pump ATK, thereby resolving “before” his or her character has an ATK great enough to Overload?

Let’s say your opponent plays Savage Beatdown targeting Brother Voodoo.

If Overload is played “in response” to the Beatdown before it resolves, then the target is illegal and the game rewinds to the point just before Overload was played.

The legal play is to allow the Beatdown to resolve and then play Overload when you next get priority.

Chung W., from Singapore, explores the intricacies of FF equipment.

Let’s say I have Thing, Ben Grimm equipped with The Pogo Plane. My opponent has Ant Man equipped with Flamethrower and a Mr. Fantastic, Stretch on the table. If Ant Man tries to burn me for 5 endurance, can I chain Thing’s effect to stun Ant Man and stop the burn?

Nope, this is the “basketball” rule from Section 1 of my first Cerebro column.

If your opponent has priority to play Flamethrower’s effect, then you don’t get priority to do anything until after that effect is on the chain. Once an effect is on the chain, doing anything to the source of that effect won’t disrupt the effect in any way.

What if Mr. Fantastic tries to transfer the Flamethrower to himself in response to Thing’s effect? Does the Flamethrower go to the KO’d pile because Ant Man is stunned, or is it transferred to Mr. Fantastic?

So, just to clarify, the sequence is: your opponent exhausts Ant Man to play Flamethrower’s effect targeting you. Then in response, you KO The Pogo Plane to play Thing’s effect targeting Ant Man. In response, your opponent pays 2 endurance to play Stretch’s effect targeting Flamethrower.

After successive passes, Stretch’s effect resolves first, and you may transfer the Flamethrower to Stretch as long as he is unequipped on resolution. After successive passes, Thing’s effect resolves, stunning the now unequipped Ant Man. After successive passes, Flamethrower’s effect resolves, burning you for 5 endurance.

Philip H., from Manila, Philippines, kicks off a trilogy of wording-related questions to bring down the curtain on this column.

Given that Advance Recon, Black Magic, Head Shot, and Never Give Up all received the “Play <this card> only during your first attack this turn in which you control an attacker” errata, I was wondering if any cards would allow these cards to be played in the same turn twice.

Do any of the following situations allow me to play one of these cards again?

A. My opponent plays Heroic Sacrifice
B. I play Swift Escape on my attacker
C. I evade with my attacker

Would all of the above situations effectively remove the attacker characteristic?

The attacker characteristic is indeed removed when a character is stunned, bounced to hand, or otherwise removed from an attack.

However, none of these situations allow you to play Advance Recon (or similar) on a subsequent attack. If a character you control loses the attacker characteristic during an attack, then any subsequent attack that turn cannot be the “first attack this turn in which you control an attacker.”

Just so you know, the errata was necessary because the game enters an attack substep for every proposed attack, even if it fails the legality check after successive passes and no attackers exhaust. Using the original wording, if you proposed an attack with a character but that character was exhausted before the legality check, you would not be able to play Advance Recon (or similar) for the rest of that turn.

Geoff F. explores what it really means to control Dr. Doom.

Doomstadt states that you are considered to control Dr. Doom, so does that count for teaming up characters? In other words, do I have a character with the Doom affiliation for cards like Common Enemy or Unlikely Allies?

No. Doomstadt will only allow you to play cards like Faces of Doom. It won’t allow you to play cards that require you to control a character with the Doom affiliation.

Albert W., from NYC, concludes the proceedings with a question on the ever-popular subject of exhausting exhausted characters.

I have a question regarding Drive-by Shooting. Can I exhaust an already exhausted character? It is not “an additional cost” effect, nor is it an “if you do” effect.

The important words here are “this way.” You’re correct in the implication that a resolving effect may try to exhaust an already exhausted character. However, in the case of Drive-by Shooting, an already exhausted character has not been “exhausted this way,” and so will not contribute +2 to the target’s DEF bonus.

Please keep those questions coming in to vsrules@gmail.com. Enquiries about previewed Green Lantern cards are more than welcome!

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