(Metagame Archive) X-Men Preview: Marrow, Gene Nation

By David Taylor Marks

Make no bones about it—the Morlocks are one of the most exciting teams in the new X-Men set. Morlocks cards combine a new, interesting play pattern with raw, broken power. Marrow could be their poster child.


So, who are these Morlocks, and who is Marrow? In the comics, the Morlocks have been persecuted, abused, and ostracized by society for being hideous-looking mutants. If things get too harrowing, they run and hide in the sewers. They don’t feel protective toward humanity like the X-Men do. Instead, they feel justified in taking whatever actions they deem necessary for their survival.


Lots of comic book readers will already be familiar with Marrow and her underground-dwelling teammates, but here’s a quick primer for those of you who don’t know. Marrow’s history is tied up with the Morlocks and the Gene Nation villain team, which rose from the ashes of the original group after the Morlock Massacre. Marrow has the ability to control her own bone growth. This allows her to create knives, spears, or even armor from her bone structure. The weapons erupt from her skin, and she can snap them off (gross). She even has her own fan site.


To capture the two themes of hiding and thriving despite adversity, the Morlocks have a good number of evasion characters, along with abilities that reward you for having lots of stunned characters. Marrow is a good example of a card that ties these themes together. The more her fellow characters get beat up (stunned) or hide (evade), the meaner she gets.


You’ve already seen an example of this in Mike Hummel’s article, which gave you a peek at Hump. While in some ways Marrow is similar to that huge-stat monster (being named after our lead developer has its advantages), she is more open-ended.


So, let’s take a look at her. She’s a 5-drop with range and 9 ATK / 8 DEF. That’s okay, but she starts to get scary as other characters you control get stunned. With even just one other stunned character, she is already more powerful than most other 5-drops. And her stats just balloon from there as additional characters become stunned.


Having so many evasion characters on the Morlocks team helps you to keep your early drops and provides an easy way to make sure that you have stunned characters with which to fuel Marrow. It’s quite possible to have four or five other stunned characters on turn 5. That could make Marrow as big as a 14 ATK / 13 DEF. Not too shabby for a 5-drop, eh? But wait . . . there’s more! If you act now, we’ll throw in a bunch of plot twists for the team that will help make this ability go from being simply powerful to incredibly abusive.


You’ve already seen one of these plot twists in Morlock Justice. Imagine Morlock Justice combined with Marrow. You use your five other guys to do a few team attacks. Evade the rest of them and then smash with Marrow. Even if your opponent reinforces, you play Morlock Justice and it’s Breakthrough City, baby! An extra 5 damage to your opponent’s nugget is nice, too.


And that’s just the plot twist you know about. With only two copies of another plot twist, I’ve seen Marrow with 34 ATK on turn 6! Wow, so much for Savage Beatdown! Of course, things have to work out perfectly for that scenario, and you have to go a little off-curve, but if life were easy, where would the excitement be?


Marrow herself has evasion, so if everything goes wrong somehow, you can always evade her. I know what you’re thinking—evading a 5-drop might not seem like a good idea. But trust me, it can come in handy. Having Marrow evade herself also works well with the team’s themes and other plot twists, so who knows? You might find yourself evading her in the right situation. But usually, you’ll just be beating your opponent over the head with her.


The sheer power of this card is something that you have to play with to appreciate. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll feel her power deep down in your . . . well . . . bones.

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