(Metagame Archive) Infinite Crisis Preview: Shazam, The Sorcerer

By Dave Humpherys

The Shadowpact team excels at fine tuning its endurance total. When playing them, you will often find your endurance total plummeting precariously. As you start putting yourself at this deficit, many of the Shadowpact team’s powers start working their best; the Shadowpact flirts with disaster. Many of the team’s cards help them to survive while on the brink, while others, like today’s preview card, pull an opponent down into the hole with them.

Shazam is the second team Champion you’ve had a chance to see from the Infinite Crisis set (the first was Deathstroke, previewed in Justin Gary’s article). Shazam has loyalty—reveal. In case you missed an explanation of this keyword in Antonino De Rosa’s preview of Ahmed Samsarra, it is a new take on the loyalty keyword where you can meet the condition of loyalty as you’ve known it, or you can meet the condition of revealing a character with the same affiliation from your hand or resource row (like you’ve seen on Kang, Kang Kong or Karla Sofen ◊ Meteorite, Celestial Power). It is a new level of team-stamping on characters, and you’re likely to see a lot more of it. Loyalty—reveal has the rules text, “If you don’t control a character that shares an affiliation with this card, then as an additional cost to recruit this card, reveal a character card from your hand or resource row that shares an affiliation with this card.”

Now, back to today’s preview card. Shazam can turn around some blowout games like nobody’s business. There are decks, like the recently emerging endurance-burning “High Voltage” deck, that can put you so far behind in a game that it is nearly impossible to make a comeback even if you’ve gained a huge advantage on the board. Once you’ve figured out how to design your deck to survive until turn 7, Shazam can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And he can do it in a hurry! Even cards like Imperiex might take a couple of turns to finish off an opponent you left hanging out around 50 endurance, but Shazam can see to it that you end things here and now. There aren’t many characters that can effectively deal 50 or more endurance loss to an opponent in a single turn, and Shazam can do it without even breaking a sweat. He does so without attacking or even exhausting. If you like the feeling of a nice comeback, Shadowpact may be your team of choice.

In searching for preview cards, you might have run across Zatanna, Showstopper. Since she is a 6-cost character that turns endurance into cards, she can not only help you find a copy of Shazam if you haven’t drawn him, but she also makes sure your opponent won’t be happy with the new endurance total that Shazam hands out.

If you use Shazam’s power, your inability to play plot twists on turn 7 (or later) in the game is a legitimate concern. Fortunately, you will find that Shadowpact can draw off the powers of a number of characters and locations to provide many of the answers you’ll need at this point in the game. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve planned ahead for this turn, though. On turn 6 or sooner, make sure you play your Team-Ups and any other plot twists to search for characters such as Shazam or any power-ups you’ll want. Also be sure that you are using your powers and plot twists to stay alive and maintain a good board position, rather than worrying about your opponent’s endurance total in the least.

That’s it for my preview of Shazam. Before I go, I want to clear up a rules point you may have been wondering about for yesterday’s card, Katar Hol ◊ Hawkman, Eternal Hero. Katar Hol allows you to power-up a character by discarding a character card that shares an identity with an attacker or defender you control. The Infinite Crisis set is the first to make a character’s identity matter, so we’ve clarified the rules concerning identity. Here’s an excerpt from the Infinite Crisis FAQ:

A character’s printed identity follows the diamond after its name. Starting with this expansion, if a character’s name isn’t followed by a diamond, its printed name is also its identity in all zones. This rule also applies to cards from past expansions.

That means you can power-up Batman, Avatar of Justice with Azrael ◊ Batman, for example. You’ll see even more possibilities for exploiting a character’s identity with the rest of the Infinite Crisis expansion. Have fun at the Sneak Previews!

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