(Metagame Archive) X-Men Preview: Firestar, Hellion

By Andrew Yip

Today’s preview highlights the Hellfire Club. Originally created as a European society for the wealthy elite, the Hellfire Club quickly became a highly regarded status symbol; membership was rarely offered and nearly never rejected. Despite the Club’s public celebrity, the innermost circle of the Hellfire Club protected many dark secrets. Unbeknownst to most Hellfire members, the Inner Circle used its collected wealth and power to influence corporations, governments, and individuals to further its own ends. At one point, the Hellfire Club’s influence reached a small private school named the Massachusetts Academy. There, the White Queen Emma Frost established a school not dissimilar to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the mutant group known as the Hellions, a youthful team whose purpose was to serve the interests of the Inner Circle. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as intended.

 

 

 

Firestar demonstrates exactly what the Hellfire Club and the Hellions are about. The Club uses its members as game pieces, moving them when appropriate and killing them off once they’ve served their purpose. Unfortunately, the Hellions fall rather low in the Hellfire Club hierarchy, so they find themselves being manipulated more than they manipulate. Players can KO Hellion characters for a good effect whenever they become stunned—in this case, for an extra 5 endurance loss. Firestar’s wording is a little different than past similar effects; Firestar does not actually have to be KO’d for the effect to resolve successfully. In fact, you can KO Firestar with her effect on the chain to pay the cost of another effect and still do the extra endurance loss to your opponent.

 

Not only does the Hellions’ sacrifice theme give them an extra bang on the turn that they would get KO’d anyway, but it also complements the main goal of the Hellfire Club, which is to keep exactly one character visible. The Inner Circle operates from the hidden area, backing its members in secret and springing on unsuspecting opponents when the time is right. Similar to the X-Statix, the Hellfire Club attempts to keep all but one character hidden at any given time. In this fashion, they can limit the opponent’s attacks during his or her initiative and ensure that important members of the team can survive to the next turn or attack when necessary.

 

In addition to sacrificing Hellions, the Hellfire Club can move its characters between areas quite easily. Some effects even allow the Club to move an opponent’s characters to the hidden area—it’s surprising how many things money can buy. Though moving between the hidden and the visible areas is a more subtle way to get exactly one character visible, the Hellions provide another efficient (and violent) way of getting to that state.

 

Besides being a Hellfire character, Firestar rounds out the endurance burn theme of the Energy Mutants. Of the three traits, Energy has some of the best means of endurance and character manipulation, including draining opponents’ characters for endurance and draining opponents. Firestar easily fits into an aggressive Energy beatdown deck; even in multiples, you can KO her turn after turn to ensure that the game ends before an opponent’s late game curve gets him or her back into the game. Firestar creates a difficult decision for your opponent because she guarantees 5 (or very possibly 10) endurance loss for the turn.

         

Between the Energy Mutants, the Hellfire Club, and the Hellions, there are plenty of places for Firestar. One of the more interesting aspects of the Mutant mechanic being layered on top of team affiliations and themes is finding the overlap of synergies between characters on different teams. In Draft, for example, Firestar may be most valuable to an Energy player but only a middling pick for a Hellfire Club player who has easier ways of manipulating his or her characters to get a single one visible. Mutant is just one of the many ways that the X-Men set has to explore character synergies and break the barriers of team-only drafting.
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