(Metagame Archive) The Hellboy Essential Collection

By Matt Hyra

Feast your eyes on the smorgasbord of goodies you’ll get with the first quarter 2007 release of the Hellboy Essential Collection. Based on Mike Mignola’s best-selling comic book miniseries “Hellboy,” the set is the first release of UDE’s new Essential Collection, which features highly competitive decks themed around some of today’s most notable comic icons.

The Goods

As you slide the sleeve from the collector box, you’ll find the two 60-card theme decks side-by-side, each in its own UDEck plastic storage case. The decks feature the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) and the occult forces of the Thule Society. Naturally, Hellboy leads the team of B.P.R.D. agents, including Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, Roger the Homunculus, and a supporting cast of . . . interesting . . . characters. Grigori Rasputin, the mad monk himself, is the figurehead of the sinister Thule Society, which includes Ilsa Haupstein, Hecate, the Conqueror Worm, and more than a few toadies (pun intended). The decks are well-balanced against each other, and provide enough variance to offer a ton of replay value. For the advanced player, cards in the Essential Collections are legal for Golden and Silver Age play and should find their way into testing for $10K tournaments around the globe.

The rulebook included with the decks covers the complete Vs. System rules, with the most extensive glossary we’ve printed to date—beginners and Pro Circuit players alike will want to keep this one handy to answer any rules questions they have. Players new to Vs. System will also want to check out the Quick-Start Rules for a turn walkthrough, including step-by-step graphics. Both are 5” x 7” rulebooks, so there’s no squinting required.

Also quite handy are the sturdy plastic endurance trackers, each themed to one of the two teams. They feature great art, and they’re so easy to use, they almost count down from 50 to 0 on their own. Speaking of great art, in each box you’ll find a 5” x 7” lithograph of a new Mike Mignola piece, 100 of which will be hand-signed by Mignola himself. As for the card art, it will feature original artwork by Mignola, additional top artists (many of Mike’s own choosing), and classic images from the pages of the Hellboy comics. Adding further collectibility, each box will contain an additional 5 random foil cards, bringing the total card count in each box to 125. While it will be possible to collect the full 55-card parallel foil set, it won’t be easy—a true challenge for the Hellboy collector.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Each Essential Collection will add its own unique flair to the Vs. System. The Hellboy release distinguishes itself with two artistic flourishes. On the left side of each card, a set of tentacles creeps up from the murky depths—a constant reminder that the world of Hellboy is a dark place, far from the four-color superheroics that you’re used to. Also, in the text box of each card, you’ll find a watermark of either the sword-in-hand logo of the B.P.R.D., or the Thule Society eagle standard. These touches cap off the complete Hellboy and Essential Collection experience. It’s a unique product that’s not to be missed. 

Feast your eyes on the smorgasbord of goodies you’ll get with the first quarter 2007 release of the Hellboy Essential Collection. Based on Mike Mignola’s best-selling comic book miniseries “Hellboy,” the set is the first release of UDE’s new Essential Collection, which features highly competitive decks themed around some of today’s most notable comic icons.

 

 

The Goods

 

As you slide the sleeve from the collector box, you’ll find the two 60-card theme decks side-by-side, each in its own UDEck plastic storage case. The decks feature the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) and the occult forces of the Thule Society. Naturally, Hellboy leads the team of B.P.R.D. agents, including Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, Roger the Homunculus, and a supporting cast of . . . interesting . . . characters. Grigori Rasputin, the mad monk himself, is the figurehead of the sinister Thule Society, which includes Ilsa Haupstein, Hecate, the Conqueror Worm, and more than a few toadies (pun intended). The decks are well-balanced against each other, and provide enough variance to offer a ton of replay value. For the advanced player, cards in the Essential Collections are legal for Golden and Silver Age play and should find their way into testing for $10K tournaments around the globe.

 

The rulebook included with the decks covers the complete Vs. System rules, with the most extensive glossary we’ve printed to date—beginners and Pro Circuit players alike will want to keep this one handy to answer any rules questions they have. Players new to Vs. System will also want to check out the Quick-Start Rules for a turn walkthrough, including step-by-step graphics. Both are 5” x 7” rulebooks, so there’s no squinting required.

 

Also quite handy are the sturdy plastic endurance trackers, each themed to one of the two teams. They feature great art, and they’re so easy to use, they almost count down from 50 to 0 on their own. Speaking of great art, in each box you’ll find a 5” x 7” lithograph of a new Mike Mignola piece, 100 of which will be hand-signed by Mignola himself. As for the card art, it will feature original artwork by Mignola, additional top artists (many of Mike’s own choosing), and classic images from the pages of the Hellboy comics. Adding further collectibility, each box will contain an additional 5 random foil cards, bringing the total card count in each box to 125. While it will be possible to collect the full 55-card parallel foil set, it won’t be easy—a true challenge for the Hellboy collector.

 

The fun doesn’t stop there. Each Essential Collection will add its own unique flair to the Vs. System. The Hellboy release distinguishes itself with two artistic flourishes. On the left side of each card, a set of tentacles creeps up from the murky depths—a constant reminder that the world of Hellboy is a dark place, far from the four-color superheroics that you’re used to. Also, in the text box of each card, you’ll find a watermark of either the sword-in-hand logo of the B.P.R.D., or the Thule Society eagle standard. These touches cap off the complete Hellboy and Essential Collection experience. It’s a unique product that’s not to be missed.

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