(Metagame Archive) The Avengers Preview: Panacea Potion

By Patrick Sullivan

Card previews serve several functions. First and foremost, they are supposed to entice readers with extremely powerful cards that they can build their decks around. The version of Hulk previewed by Justin Gary is an excellent example, but the previewed card can be a bit more subtle than just a gigantic monster. The other intent, hopefully, is to give the audience a sample of the themes of a certain team or the entire set. The previewed Captain America is a good example of a card that highlights the leader keyword, while Titania gave a glimpse of the Masters of Evil and their use of resource points for alternate effects. Occasionally, a card can serve both of those functions. Without further ado, here is Panacea Potion:

Try to ignore the condition for a second and focus on the effect: a free recovery, at any time, with an additional +1 ATK/+1 DEF counter to boot. In terms of power level, this would be close to the top, or perhaps the very best, of the recovery effects printed to date. Children of the Atom is considered to be the benchmark of recovery effects, and Panacea Potion blows it out of the water—same threshold cost, no additional cost, extra added effect. If you look at the card as a whole, though, a better card to compare it to might be Spin Doctoring, in that the recovery effect is extremely powerful but causes the player to make huge concessions in deck construction to play it. Or so it would seem.

The new reservist mechanic in The Avengers ties in very well with an empty-handed strategy. For those of you not in the know, a reservist can be recruited out of the resource row and then replaced in the resource row with a card from the hand. While reservists can be viewed primarily as a way to mitigate some of the disadvantage associated with drawing no plot twists or locations early on (in that you can play your reservist as a resource early on, then recruit it and replace it with a plot twist or location after you’ve drawn some later in the game), that isn’t the only function. If one was playing an empty-handed strategy, that player could lay reservists into his or her resource row while playing plot twists from the hand, reducing his or her hand size while ensuring that his or her characters are available to recruit later on in the game. You can be sure that the Squadron will have enough reservists to make this possible.

When you think about it, discarding your entire hand isn’t all that difficult. With cards like Break You and GothCorp, along with just playing your plot twists from your hand, getting to zero cards isn’t as hard as it might seem at first. The two obvious questions are, “Why would I want to?” and, “Even if I did, how would I make my drops?” Panacea Potion—and other Squadron Supreme cards that key off of having no cards in your hand—should give you plenty of incentive. As to the second question, reservists allow you to make your drops while keeping your hand empty. To further the analogy with Spin Doctoring, the Squadron will give players access to an entirely new play pattern in much the same way that the X-Statix loner build did. And, much like the X-Statix loner build, the Squadron no-hand build will reward the player who is most able to minimize the disadvantage of playing with no hand while maximizing the gains of the variety of effects. Emptying out your entire hand while maintaining a consistent game isn’t the easiest of tasks, but the reward of a free recovery with an additional bonus is more than worth the effort.

Enjoy your Sneak Previews! Card previews serve several functions. First and foremost, they are supposed to entice readers with extremely powerful cards that they can build their decks around. The version of Hulk previewed by Justin Gary is an excellent example, but the previewed card can be a bit more subtle than just a gigantic monster. The other intent, hopefully, is to give the audience a sample of the themes of a certain team or the entire set. The previewed Captain America is a good example of a card that highlights the leader keyword, while Titania gave a glimpse of the Masters of Evil and their use of resource points for alternate effects. Occasionally, a card can serve both of those functions. Without further ado, here is Panacea Potion:

 

Try to ignore the condition for a second and focus on the effect: a free recovery, at any time, with an additional +1 ATK/+1 DEF counter to boot. In terms of power level, this would be close to the top, or perhaps the very best, of the recovery effects printed to date. Children of the Atom is considered to be the benchmark of recovery effects, and Panacea Potion blows it out of the water—same threshold cost, no additional cost, extra added effect. If you look at the card as a whole, though, a better card to compare it to might be Spin Doctoring, in that the recovery effect is extremely powerful but causes the player to make huge concessions in deck construction to play it. Or so it would seem.

 

The new reservist mechanic in The Avengers ties in very well with an empty-handed strategy. For those of you not in the know, a reservist can be recruited out of the resource row and then replaced in the resource row with a card from the hand. While reservists can be viewed primarily as a way to mitigate some of the disadvantage associated with drawing no plot twists or locations early on (in that you can play your reservist as a resource early on, then recruit it and replace it with a plot twist or location after you’ve drawn some later in the game), that isn’t the only function. If one was playing an empty-handed strategy, that player could lay reservists into his or her resource row while playing plot twists from the hand, reducing his or her hand size while ensuring that his or her characters are available to recruit later on in the game. You can be sure that the Squadron will have enough reservists to make this possible.

 

When you think about it, discarding your entire hand isn’t all that difficult. With cards like Break You and GothCorp, along with just playing your plot twists from your hand, getting to zero cards isn’t as hard as it might seem at first. The two obvious questions are, “Why would I want to?” and, “Even if I did, how would I make my drops?” Panacea Potion—and other Squadron Supreme cards that key off of having no cards in your hand—should give you plenty of incentive. As to the second question, reservists allow you to make your drops while keeping your hand empty. To further the analogy with Spin Doctoring, the Squadron will give players access to an entirely new play pattern in much the same way that the X-Statix loner build did. And, much like the X-Statix loner build, the Squadron no-hand build will reward the player who is most able to minimize the disadvantage of playing with no hand while maximizing the gains of the variety of effects. Emptying out your entire hand while maintaining a consistent game isn’t the easiest of tasks, but the reward of a free recovery with an additional bonus is more than worth the effort.

 

Enjoy your Sneak Previews!
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