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Subject: Adelphophage's Archives rss

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Michael Hunter
New Zealand
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All my creations are on google drive.

Bear with me while I put all the villain promos up, there are a fair few!

I've done quite a bit of stuff on this board over the past year, so I figured it would be prudent to have it all indexed in one place - for my own convenience as much as anything else! The main impetus to doing this thread is my range of villain promos. As I started going back through a bunch of them and retuning with H in mind, in the original thread it became unclear which versions were updated and which were not, so anything that appears here is the version 2, with better H-tuning and generally better developed play. Also, the original post got pretttttty long, so it seemed more user friendly to break it up into sections. As I have all that here, I figured I'd also put in my other creations (custom heroes, custom villain, promos, reference cards) as well.

Anyway, I should probably take this place to discuss why I did my villain promos in the first place. Originally I guess it was Spite - in about the twentieth game of Sentinels I played (so, eight or so hours after my friend bought the game and seven and a half hours after I was irretrievably hooked). I looked at the villain - a cool Bane/Zsasz hybrid, looked at his cards and their nifty names. Got all excited, started playing and... it sucked. Front side you were apparently supposed to be saving these victims but it didn't take much analysis to realize there wasn't that much point, particularly when Forced Entry came down. So we just sat around twiddling our thumbs. Then he eventually flipped and... boy, every turn is exactly the same, even the environment gets destroyed in case it was threatening to make things interesting. Plus, a ton of little triggers that all interacted in wierd ways. Oh, plus on top of boring it was all way too hard.


This annoyed me. Spite can do better. I can do better.

And many months later here I am, about two thirds of the way through.
With that experience behind me, here are some of my observations and principles about the villain promos.


Not all promos are equal: Spite is a villain who I would pretty much never play in his original state, along with Iron Legacy, Miss Information and the Matriarch but not all my promos are so severe. Some are just designed to bring villains up from trivially easy to challenging (Ambuscade, Baron Blade), and in others the base villain is 100% fine (Apostate, Omnitron, Deadline, Progeny), I just prefer a slightly returned challenge or some cool flavour, hence my promo. In each promo I mention the issues I had with the original, but I'm not saying 100% of the original villains are useless or terribly designed. I'm saying, like... 20%?

Rock paper scissors is not fun: There are several villains who are beatable, but require very specific team setups to have a prayer. A good example is Matriarch vs Tempest, or Iron Legacy vs tons of multitarget ongoing destruction, or Spite without someway to give the villain -1 damage. Some people may enjoy the puzzle-like nature of this, taking the right hero for the right villain, but I do not. When my players pick a villain they like the look of, I want them to play who they wanna play, not have me say "Okay, if you want a prayer, you be that, you be that, you be that."

Advanced is for Advanced: Some official villains are quite over (Legacy, Progeny, Kaargra) or under (Deadline, Blade, Ambuscade) tuned. Again, some people enjoy the fact you have to take a finely honed unit to beat Progeny. I don't really, I like the idea that the average team has a chance (not necessarily a huge one, not necessarily the same chance villain to villain) to beat anyone and lose to anyone. Fun games are those where you had to work for it, not those where you get annihilated on turn 3 because you got unlucky with your starting hand, or won without breaking a sweat.

It is fine for people to want to pick a super team and squeeze every ounce of performance out of it, but in my mind that is what Advanced Mode is for. My promos are made on that basis, against the normal mode a randomly chosen team should have a decent chance to win and a decent chance to lose. Generally speaking, when I say that a villain is too hard, and someone says "It's easy, you just get Galvanize+Inspiring Presence+Imbued Flame and then use Suggestion three turns running..." I stop listening pretty fast.

Scaling: It's not a secret that pretty much everything gets easier with H=5 and harder with H=3. I don't like that. Sometimes I only have two friends to play with and I don't want to tell those two buddies (who clearly I need to keep happy if I'm down to 2 friends in the world) that they just can't play against those nine villains 'cos they'll get annihilated. Ideally, a villain would be about as hard on each H. Generally speaking, the damage output of villains scales okay with H based damage and they can kill the heroes in about the same number of turns at any H, but their own HP does not - it takes far longer to kill on H=3 than H=5 making it so very much harder, and it gets worse when they're playing a lot of high HP targets. As a result, the main trick I have used is basing villain HP on H - although some other villains use alternate tricks to scale properly. I'm not claiming the scaling is absolutely perfect, but it's based on a lot of play testing so it's in the ballpark and it's a hell of a lot better than the original!

Card Changes: Many of my villain promos have card changes printed on them, which is controversial. Some people find them inelegant and also inconsistent with official promos. For example, Spite, Agent of Gloom effectively has a card change for Lab Raid, but it is buried in the text, I prefer to have it clearly separated for easy reading. I appreciate those who don't like Card Changes for their clunkiness, and aesthetically I'm not a massive fan myself - but sometimes the gameplay requires it and for these gameplay generally trumps aesthetics.

Generally, I have tried to keep the changes fairly small and keeping with the original card, mostly just tweaking numbers or adding small effects that make sense with the original, but sometimes it is cruder. Ultimately, it may not be to people's tastes but they give me so much more power to make the villain better. As an example, it is stunning how much taking Profane summons from H-1 to H-2 lessens the swingy, random-luck-killed-me sometimes unfun gameplay of Apostate.

Randomness: Randomness obviously is GOOD. I hated original Spite because he always did exactly the same thing. The villain playing random cards every turn, some strong, some weak, always different is a bit part of what keeps the game interesting, and I absolutely didn't want to make the game predictable. Having said that, some villains are just TOO random, with certain game-breaking cards. A good example was a game where I was showing some of my friends Chairman. They managed to bring down all the underbosses and were facing off against the Chairman. They asked me what else he could do with his minions dead, and to boil down a long conversation, it was essentially "Well, he could play Undivided Attention/Perfect Human Specimens/Rook City is mine, none of which do much, or he could play Jailbreak and... well, it's complicated, but in short you all die.". THAT is too random for my taste. By the same token, The majority of Apostate's deck is not strong and he can be steamrolled easily EXCEPT when he gets Orb of Delirium + Runes of Malediction and it's a whole different ballgame. Not impossible to deal with, but so much harder that without it throws the balancing miles off.

Tempo: This is a more personal one, but I generally don't like villains who reward success and punish failure. La Capitan is a good example, a bunch of her cards get better the more crew she has, so if she has lots of crew out (and is already kicking your butt) her attacks get even stronger. If she doesn't have crew out (and is dying) she can't do anything to get out of the hole. Generally speaking, some kind of catchup mechanism that keeps the villain from getting too far ahead of too far behind is in order to keep the game interesting. Obviously, you shouldn't overdo the catchup mechanism to the point where it becames tactical to try and lose, but it can smooth things out and keep the game fun.

On the same lines, I generally don't like bosses that frontload their stuff too much. The players get stronger as the game goes on, so if the boss starts strong and gets weak the gameplay is odd. You want to boss to ramp up as you get stronger to handle it, like... every RPG ever. Not the biggest deal, but some villains (Ambuscade, La Capitan, Legacy) start with all their best stuff out and rarely get up to that level again.

Nothing is set: Before I post anything here, it will have been a dozen or so plays with me, but nothing is sacred - if there is something that will improve it however mildly I'm happy to include it, so feedback is very valued! This could be wording suggestions, typos or gameplay stuff, all contributions are welcomed!

On that note, I should point out that many of these have involved a lot of feedback from this board, for which I am very thankful to all involved!
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Michael Hunter
New Zealand
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Base Game Villains




Baron Blade works great as a starter villain, but for one of the main storyline baddies of Sentinels he is, frankly, a bit of a pushover. Mad Bomber Blade is tougher, but still not what you'd call difficult. Both official versions also have the problem that while their front sides are reasonably dangerous with a race against time (a pretty leisurely one with TerraLunar and a high pressure one with Mad Bomber), the flip sides both have pretty insignificant damage - the game tends to end with a whimper rather than a bang. Design wise, a lot of deck is quite defensive, so the villain card itself needs to be a pretty major threat. With that in mind...

On the front side, this Blade is building up to his Black Hole Generator. Unlike the all or nothing of TerraLunar, this version ramps up into increasingly powerful effects, making every turn count. In addition to his regular play each turn, this Blade either calls on an extra Target to defend him or accelerates his experiment.

On the flip side, Blade's plans lie in ruin and he takes his vengeance with Experiment Omega - a gauntlet harnessing a naked singularity. Beginning at H damage, this usually ramps up by 2-3 damage each turn, meaning the heroes are under a lot of pressure to kill Blade before he annihilates them! The opposite of the target heavy front side, the Experiment Omega Blade does not play targets, meaning you are more likely to encounter heavy hitters like Devious Disruption, Consider the Price of Victory and Backlash Field.

While difficulty has been substantially increased, this Blade is still on the easy side and quite suitable as a low difficulty intro villain if you think you players can handle something a bit tougher than original Blade.






Grand Warlord Voss has excellent flavour as commander of a genetically engineered army, but the gameplay can be a bit suboptimal. Firstly, Voss's hordes of minions require reliable AoE (Tempest, more or less) to take down which limits team selection. Secondly, Voss has a pattern where his initial swarm of minions get burned down and he just sits there on his flip side, playing a single weak minion/Thorathian with no one to buff/Translocator that won't last long enough to do anything. Every now and then he plays a ship which is challenging, or a Forced Deployment - and although there are a few ways around Forced deployment it often just makes you lose the game in a rather random, unfun way. I wanted a version where his minions were the focus of the deck, rather than AoE bait.

In this version, Minions engage the hero they deal damage to. They sit by this hero and basically become that hero in particulars problem. That hero cannot effectively attack Voss while they are engaged, and other heroes cannot effectively attack a minion they are not fighting. This moves responsibility for the minion to the hero they are by, rather than having one hero with strong AoE who does all the work for the team. Minions also now come in small packs, and make the minion turns the interesting meat and potatoes of the game, rather than filler. On a minion turn you take a decent bit of damage and have to make some interesting decisions about how various players deal with their minions rather than always focusing on Voss.

The Forced deployment side has also changed quite significantly. Voss sits back (doesn't attack and can't be attacked) while raining a LOT of minions down on you. Crucially, these minions don't attack as they come in, but if you can't knock them out as fast as they come in then you are losing ground to Voss in the long run.

This Voss is medium difficulty, and in my opinion avoids some significant mechanical issues of original Voss - I can't say I've played the official one in some time.





Much like the Baron blade promo, this is not a fix - the regular Omnitron works absolutely fine. This is just a variant for a higher challenge and a more interesting fight. The normal Omnitron doesn't have a hugely interesting flip effect, just playing cards a bit differently and I wanted more of a narrative. Also, Component cards are cool in theory but in practice don't do a hell of a lot, it's pretty trivial to deal 7 damage to Omnitron when you were probably doing that anyway so they never tend to last long enough to do anything. Finally, as usual I wanted to fix the scaling on different H numbers.

The basic idea is that on the Impending Doom side Omnitron is being assembled by his Drones. As well as the normal 3 drones, there are 4 gun drones also possible - Rail Gun, Disintegration, Electro Pulse and Interpolation. The heroes have to hack their way through these as fast as possible. Normally fighting a bunch of low HP targets is an AoE party, but to make that less of an overpowered strategy the drones heal one another when they die, making it more of a challenge. The way he plays drones in this phase gives some balancing - he will play H drones, but can never play a copy of one that is already in play. This way if the heroes have a bad turn and don't kill much the flow of drones will slow a little too.

When the drone swarms are destroyed, Omnitron starts destroying everything. Here it starts with two components but crucially these are indestructible. This converts them to a sizable threat and gives the heroes a pretty short timer to finish Omnitron off. While he only plays one card a turn, all the normal drones have been removed and components (now a permanent increase to his damage) as a bigger deal, so that card is guaranteed to be impactful.

Other minor changes include toning down Sedative Flechettes and Singularity to only destroy H cards (still a pretty substantial disruption!), and scaling the deadly Electro Pulse explosive to be more reasonable on H=3.




Citizen Dawn
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Michael Hunter
New Zealand
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Rook City Villains





The Chairman is very very difficult, an unforgiving boss who constantly drops high HP targets on the board, and if you ever fall behind for a turn they flood even more targets on the board making it even harder to keep it in what one of my crasser friends termed an "exponential enema". Jailbreak is also my go to example of a random "You lose" card - in late game this card is almost unbeatable, yet without it the Chairman doesn't do much of anything once his underbosses have been slain.

On the other hand, if the Chairman DOES manage to get a ton of targets on the board, while you have probably lost it will take a long time for that to happen. Of the underbosses, only one (Contract) does serious damage, one dealing fairly low damage (Muscle) and the other three just disrupting the players, and the Operative only deals damage when underbosses go down. So on turn 3 I could be staring down 60 HP of underbosses/thugs, have two ongoings destroyed each turn and not be able to play cards yet still be on fairly high HP. The game needs to move towards a conclusion, not just make you stall out, so the villain deck needs more reliable damage dealing in my mind.

So, mission one was to change this tempo. Now, the Underbosses are not in the deck proper, one is played automatically a turn, and any dead ones are shuffled back in. Firstly, this stops the Chairman getting lucky and playing two underbosses in a single turn (which is very hard to come back from on turn 1). Secondly, this reins in the power of Jailbreak - it's still a very strong card, but will generally just bring back whatever Underboss went down last turn as any from previous turns will have been shuffled back in. Also, note only one of each thug is put into the trash. This means if you do fall behind on Underboss killing, they at least can't put a second thug out - it's still bad, but not a virtual game-over if you slip for a turn. This also means that there are thugs in the villain deck, making the Chairman's plays a bit more interesting.

As many of the underboss/thugs (Fence/Thief, Broker/Informer, Deputy/Cop) are just meatshields, the Chairman needs a way to reliably deal damage so the game moves towards its conclusion. When the Operative is out she just deals high damage to two targets (instead of her reactive damage, which was a bit overcomplicated for what it did), and once she is dead, the Chairman pulls out a Hired Gun every turn to keep the pressure on. Also, the Operative will have stung one of your team with a deadly poison on the way out, adding to the time pressure.

The scaling of the Chairman before was impossible - there is so much pressure to keep up high damage each turn, a small team would inevitably fall behind. I have based underboss HP on H, giving H=3 teams a decent chance to keep pace with underbosses, while H=5 times have a meaningful challenge.

Finally, to make sure the heroes actually deal with the underbosses rather than ignoring them for the fairly low HP Chairman/Operative, the mooks give their bosses damage reduction.

Overall, the Chairman is still a tough fight, and still rewards having good AoE, but is much more reasonable for an average team to have a go at - plus doesn't tend to sprawl into long games that don't go anywhere. Plus, Jailbreak isn't insta-death. Given how unfun Chairman could be normally, I'm quite happy with this smoothed version.

















There is nothing particular wrong with Plague Rat, he is one of the villains that works absolutely fine as is. However, being the perfectionist I am, there were a few rough edges I thought could use work. Searching for infections over and over is a bit of a pain, the Plague Locus is a cool card, but one that doesn't tend to last more than a turn, and the flip side is a bit of a mess, with a few random effects and giving you a few random powers. Also, the deck can be a smidge too swingy, something like Sewer Fiend being almost a blank card and Ravage being a hell of a beating. Finally, like all official heroes, scaling with H is a mess.

Firstly, I moved the infection cards under Plague Rat so you don't have to search for them each time as well as meaning he won't play them directly from his deck (a very weak turn!). Whenever Plague Rat doesn't deal damage via one of his one-shots, he does a fairly strong end of turn attack that might infect, keeping him a consistent offensive threat turn to turn. The flip side is quite simplified, basically Plague Rat just consumes the infections to deal those heroes big damage and also disrupt them by destroying either ongoing/equipments or cards in hand - although this is tuned to only be strong when the heroes are already well set up.

Ravage was toned down in power (it's still pretty strong, especially in H=5) and some significant changes were made to Plague Locus to make this interesting card not be something that dies in turn 1. Firstly, it can only be damaged by infected heroes, so it's bound to last a few turns and gives an interesting decision (the more infected heroes you have the more of a bonus it gives you, but the easier it is to destroy) and Shadowy Ambush (a wierd ongoing that often did nothing) not just gets the Plague Locus back, meaning it sees much more play.

Plague Rat is probably a shade below average difficulty, and despite his high HP tends to go down relatively quickly given the lack of targets in his deck. I particularly like how all the self damage of infections punish heroes who rely excessively on damage boosting.







The original Matriarch is one of the most difficult villains, playing grotesque quantities of cards every turn, including several very high HP targets and the cohorts (a pair with very sizable damage reduction for a total of 14 HP!), putting the heroes under almost unreal pressure from the get go. If you do have a team overpowered enough to have a chance, she is also a bit paper scissors rock, the fowl come in such quantity you can only really deal with them with an AoE hero (Tempest, generally), giving the rest of the team minimal interaction. She could also be very fiddly, when you have half a dozen fowl out, her reaction damage + Carrion fields could result in 20-30 individual instances of damage you have to figure out the targets for.

Similar to what I did with Voss, here the fowl move on to individual heroes, making them that heroes problem - they cannot kill fowl on other heroes, and the they can't hurt the matriarch till they get rid of the birds. This also stops one hero with good AoE from killing all the birds by themselves (although it is still useful!).

The Matriarch switches between two sides. On Raven Queen her fowl swarm you, generally not dealing much damage but also making it very difficult for you to hurt her. On the Fly My Pretties side her fowl essentially become damaging one-shots, leaving the heroes with an open shot at the Matriarch. She has DR on this side, giving some balance in hero choice - lots of small damage is good against the Raven Queen to kill fowl, but single big hits are good against Fly My Pretties to get through her armour.

The Matriarch has been bought down to a medium difficulty team, at least attemptable by most teams without needing to specifically get reliable AoE - but if you want an old school murderous Matriarch give the advanced mode a go!






Spite is the original, the first villain so horrendously unfun to play that I decided to try and fix him, leading to me tinkering with almost every hero in the game. Spite is a short essay on bad design, but let's start at the start.

The front side of Spite is in theory cool with you saving victims, but in practice there's not much point, as Forced Entry (a fairly common card) is likely to undo all your work. Additionally, as he has such amazing life gain, there's usually not much point damaging him, as he will heal up to full health no matter what you do. So on the front side, there is no point dealing damage, and no point saving victims, a rather boring time. I have made victims much safer from Forced Entry to give you a reason to save them, and adjusted Spite so that he can exceed his maximum HP, so unless you want him to flip on 130 HP, you better do your best!

The flip side of originally Spite is a combination of confusing (five drugs make for a lot of triggered effects) and boring (exactly the same very turn, every game, with Mind-Phyre even destroying the environment every turn in case it threatens to do something interesting. Instead of always having 5 drugs, this Spite only has 2, giving each more focus and making each game play differently depending on the combination. To make up for the loss of power and add some randomness, he now uses one of four special attacks each turn (determined by revealing the top card of his deck), which all deal very high damage, making the Apex Predator a high damage race, in contrast to the slow, considered front side.

Spite is a higher difficult villain, and occasionally prone to bouts of unconscionable luck (If he kills a few victims early on before you can save them, his HP can get scary-high), but is a fast, intense, and above all more interesting fight.
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Michael Hunter
New Zealand
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Infernal Relics Villains




Apostate is an interesting and thematic villain, but I found his gameplay a bit too inconsistent. He has some extremely powerful combos, but also a lot of junk - one turn he Profanely Summons Orb of Delirium + Runes of Malediction for 24 HP with -2 damage dealt, the next he creates a 5HP target that does 1 damage a turn. His flip side is odd, basically boiling down to "Don't kill him while he has relics", I can't say I've ever seen him flip. Finally, a lot of his cards are defensive and his actual offense can be a bit low, making the game slow.

This version has a different flip side. Basically, Apostate is protected by his relics, when he has even one out he is almost immune to damage. When he flips however he spends a turn in his vulnerable true form, taking extra damage before he manages to resummon Condemndation again and restarts the cycle. It usually takes about 2 cycles to finish off Apostate, as you can save up your best stuff for his brief window of vulnerability.

The fact he has Condemnation out the vast majority of the time does a lot for his damage output, but his basic damage has become irreducible, as otherwise he was pretty easy to tank with a highest HP Ta Moko/Heavy plating/what have you.

To smooth his card plays, I brought Profane Summons down to H-2, but made his various weak plays (Demons, Gauntlets, the fairly toothless tome now that Condemnation is never in the trash) play an extra card, making his output more consistent and less likely to have a bad turn just annihilate you. In particular, Apostate has one combo, Orb + Runes that is incredibly hard to get past. It is not impossible, but if I tune the boss so that the combo is likely, if he ever doesn't get it, he's a pushover. If I tune him so that he doesn't need the combo to be dangerous, if he ever does get it he is unstoppable.

I opted for making the combo very unlikely and tuning him to be dangerous without it. With Profane summons being H-2 he is less likely to play both in one turn, and Cursed Effigy crucially now gets Periapt of Woe, a more fun cad that boosts his offense as well as defense, and unlike Runes, if you don't have a way to get past -2 damage doesn't completely stall the game. As Profane summons only plays 2 cards (on H=4), and you have to find those two specific cards (no Effigy doing double duty for Runes) the combo is pretty rare. It ocassionally happens on H=5, but they have the numbers to handle it a bit more easily.




Firstly, I want to fight all 9 Ennead members, but the game doesn't easily let me. Secondly, Rise to Power and Taste of Immortality are good at H=5, but incredible at H=3, 25-30 HP is a lot to take down. Thirdly, the incapacitated effects are cool, but late game when you have to do six of them every tun they reallllly become a drag - especially Set.

The biggest change is the flow of Demigods. Basically, there are normally 3, if they ever drop below 3 they play another. Rise to Power/Taste of Immortality gets a new one making them more dangerous, but you can kill them, drop to 3, kill another and only then get a replacement. The incapacitated effects still happen, but essentially only the last 2 Demigods out do their thing. This gives each one more focus while they're out and makes sure they don't overstay their welcome *cough*Set*cough*.

The original Ennead were turned to be easier for smaller groups by having to fight less members, but I want to fight all nine, so instead I've reduced their HP based on H. Taking down 9 x 18ish HP villains for H=3 is quite doable, where 9 x 28ish was really, really not.

Finally, the old flip I really didn't like - if the entire Ennead is out, you're clearly already playing a marathon game and it isn't going that well. So, now you're even more screwed! My version has the last three members all start hitting and healing better, but dying faster in their rage. The Ennead are a long fight and this helps speed it up, as well as making the end quite climatic - you really don't want to see Elemental Storm here.

This Ennead gives you a taste of the whole Pantheon that scales well with any H, and doesn't overwhelm you with book keeping on incapacitated effects.







The main issue for Gloomweaver is extreme easiness - he is really something of a pushover. Most of his plays are quite weak (pins and zombies especially) and his HP is nothing special either. The relics are great, but unlikely to come out at the same time. He also has sort of cool flavour with the relics summoning him, but in truth he's unlikely to every get all three together - plus if he's summoned when the three relics combine, how exactly can we beat him up before the relics come out?

This variant has moved the win condition - basically you fight the three relics one after the other (disrupting the ritual to summon Gloomweaver). On the third relic Gloomweaver begins to manifest and theoretically can be attacked, but you're much wiser to finish off the third relic.

Always having a relic out already substantially increases his offense, but in addition he now plays cards faster. Each turn you shuffle the trash and look at the top H-2 cards, playing the first that matches the current relic (Drum = Pins, Grimoire = Cultists, Pouch = Zombies). Combined with Vast Following this means he is a very minion heavy boss, putting quite a lot of muscle onto the board each turn. It also makes each relic play differently, swarming you with a different type of target. Voodoo pins have also been tweaked a little - before they had high HP and not particularly nasty effects so were often ignored. Now they have lower HP but increase all damage dealt to that player by 1, making them higher priority to remove and more interesting in general.

Gloomweaver has ascended dramatically from his old strength and is now one of the tougher villain, as befits a God!









Akash'Bhuta
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Michael Hunter
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Shattered Timelines Villains




Obviously, Iron Legacy is way way too hard for an average team. Also, the way to beat him is about as rock paper scissors as it gets - Iron Legacy starts with a swarm of amazing ongoings, and if you can't take them out, you're dead. So basically, if you have a bunch of good ongoing removal on turn 1, you've got a chance. If you don't, bye.

The kernel for this came from a particular game where we were lucky enough (i.e restarted the video game enough times) to get some good ongoing destruction at the start and took him down to 2, and by random chance throughout the game he kept playing ongoings as fast as we blew them up, staying at around 2. It was tough, but beatable and interesting. So, the idea was to mimic that.

Basically, Iron Legacy always has H-2 ongoings. If he ever drops below, he just plays another! This means you have to deal with them, and each gets more focused than just being ongoing-destruction bait. If he has say Galvanized and Vigilance it is a very different animal to Fortitude and Final Evolution. I should point out ongoing destruction is still very valuable against him, if he plays more than H-2 from his deck you can destroy the extra safely, or if there is a particularly worrying card you can destroy it - sure, it'll get replaced, but that might be worth it.

Other than that big change, he is mostly just tuned down a bit with lower damage output (don't worry, he can still kill everyone by turn 5 fairly reliably) so the average team has some kind of chance. He is still very very hard, but within the range of a normal team, and doesn't have an absolute requirement for ongoing destruction to beat. I'm very happy with this promo, a relatively small change that still lets the cards do the talking and opens him up to a much wider range of teams.




La Capitan is kind of the poster child for dodgy tempo - she starts with a very high HP must-kill target, her cards have enormous variance, Raiding party can dump 30 HP on you while say Walk the Plank does almost nothing, and some of her cards (Plunder and All Together Now) punish you for being already losing.

So first order is consistency with crew numbers. Raiding Party is down to H-2 (still a very strong card!) and Motley Crew isn't as good as the flip effect shuffles the trash back in, meaning it's less likely there will be crew to return. On the other hand, if she has NO crew in play she will play an extra card, so generally she will have at least one. This steadies the crew numbers and thus her output. Some of her weaker cards, Walk the Plank and Temporal Thief have also gotten a boost.

With steadying crew numbers, it becomes clear that Cap was quite reliant on them to deal damage, her main way to win was swarming with a bunch of them. I upped her end of turn damage (especially on high H), but her flip effect was working to slow the game, giving her healing and defenses, but not bringing the game any closer to being over. Now her flip effect brings out La Paradoja with a deadly volley, and an interesting turn where the heroes have to try and burn it down fast before it does them in! I like in particular how you can choose to have it shoot at your tougher heroes first, but as the round goes on if it's not dead you have to start taking hits on your more fragile heroes.

Speaking of, note that La Paradoja starts in the trash not in play, stopping her high pressure first turn while still being accessible to All together Now. The flip effect also plays La Paradoja (while turning off its extra play for that turn), meaning the ship will see a fair bit of action, as her prized vessel should.

La Capitan is still pretty spikey and random in output, but has been smoothed to the point where I find her fun rather than frustratingly easy or hard depending on the whim of the fates.





Once again, there is nothing especially wrong with Kismet, but there were a few points I wanted improved for gameplay reasons. Firstly, she is pretty easy overall. Secondly, the Talisman gameplay is odd. Basically, she is quite a lot stronger when she has it, and it's really easy to take it off her so... she just spends the entire game on her flip side and the entire mechanic of her front side never really comes up! Also, Inconceivable Obstruction is kind of annoying, and with Lady Luck out as well it's obscene.

The change her is about the talisman and the way she flips. Essentially on her front side she plays an extra card every turn and deals everyone psychic damage. As she gets more and more jinxes out, that stacking psychic damage gets bigger and bigger to the point where you need to flip her. Then she does a Karmic Catastrophe, dealing big random damage to the team but loses her ongoings, and flips back. There is a cycle here, she builds up to the point where you have to make the call to flip her, so both sides matter and the challenge of the Talisman is about timing, rather than just being able to deal a meager seven damage.

The fact she can be induced to get rid of her ongoings (even if it hurts you a fair bit) means that Inconceivable instruction isn't a game ender if you don't have ongoing removal. Overall, she is one of my most minor changes, but I think a substantially improved experience. Still not an especially difficult villain, but much more of a challenge than the original.


The Dreamer
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Michael Hunter
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Wrath of the Cosmos Villains




There's not much to complain about with Deadline. The mechanics are solid, make sense with his destroying the world powers and a lot of the individual cards are cool. My problems were 1: Deadline is pretty damn easy and 2: He never really feels like he's fighting you that much directly, he's just trying to blow up the world while you fling stuff at him.

So, now Deadline basically always has a Device. If you destroy one, he replaces it in his turn. If he gets two out, you can destroy one safely. This has several effects - firstly it makes Deadline feel like he's trying to defend himself, secondly it makes him quite a bit harder (which he can use) and thirdly it gives interesting tactical decisions - rather than just mowing everything down you have to think about if this Device is one you can live with.

Speaking of, the Devices have been retuned so they're all roughly equal in power, making that decision interesting. Atomic End-Glaive and Ataxia Sphere have both had their damage upped considerably. End Glaive lays on the hurt, but if you're gonna die via environment deck depletion, that might be fine. Ataxia sphere doesn't do that much raw damage, but in hitting your lowest HP over and over (combined with Deadline's AoE) it can be a problem. The Pandeomnium key speeds up his plays, and can be innocuous or incredible depending on the environment, while the armor caster stops every SECOND hit from a player - it can be played around if you're clever but protects him fairly well.

Other than some minor tuning to his HP based on H and making Severed Ley Line do something interesting rather than a boring chore, Deadline is not changed a great deal, but is now a tougher and more tactically interesting villain than just "Beat on that guy while he does attacks we can't really do much of anything about!"






Kaargra is... interesting. The flavour is great, the gladiators are all really cool, but her deck has some structural problems. Firstly, she is way way too hard - worse even than Iron Legacy. She reliably drops 30ish HP a turn and if you can't deal with them they just stack up and up and up... Secondly, she is far too complicated. A few turns in you have four gladiators who do wierd things, five titles that attach to a target when a random thing happens, and then do something when a second random thing happens, plus you're constantly watching for whenever someone does a certain amount of damage, or a certain amount of damage to a certain number of people for favour...

Firstly, victory condition is changed. The heroes get Favour to win, but the villains get favour to have the arena wipe out the players with projectile damage. Still gives both sides a reason to get favour, and the baddies ramp up, but it's more interactive and fun than "We're all on 20 HP, but we lose a popularity contest with some asshole aliens, so we all die?". Secondly, favour triggers are simplified. No deal X damage to Y dudes, far too hard to keep track of. Now it is killing someone (not that common and noticeable when it happens), getting a title (not that common and noticeable when it happens) and for baddies having guys on the board (trigger at the same turn every turn, easy to count).

However, rather than winning at a certain favour, the heroes get Kaargra jumping down, and beating her wins. Should the heroes kill all the gladiators before being at max favour, Kaargra still comes down but beating her just gives a big favour boost. This smooths the play a bit, if there are no Gladiators the heroes always have something to do, but Kaargra hits HARD so a team that is finding it easy enough to kill all the Gladiators will be challenged.

Title flow is also slowed down, rather than another annoying trigger when something happens, there is just a certain amount of each turn, and the heroes can discard some to get others. When a titled target is killed, the title goes back in the deck, so there are never too many in play for it to get too complicated or focus to be lost.

Oh, also she doesn't get a second play each turn, because boy does she not need it. I'm really proud of this Kaargra, she goes from being an impossible, trigger filled book keeping chore (a friend of mine described it as doing your taxes and then having someone punch you in the face) to a fun and quite fast game that lets the cool titles and gladiators shine rather than get overshadowed by numbers of complex triggers.






Progeny is a beater and no mistake. For me, he is just too strong for an average team to have a reasonable chance of defeating, with serious offense and Scions that can have an enormous effect (try attacking past two Scions of Frost some time). His offense is also quite unusual, all his attacks being all hero targets, which makes him particularly vulnerable to stun bolts/hoist chain/what have you. This makes him more of a puzzle boss who can be beaten with specific lineups, but my goal was to make him accessible to an average team. His Cosmic Annihilator side is also a bit odd, he becomes substantially weaker when the heroes are being beaten down.

The Messenger only has one Scion out at a time making him substantially easier (as well as less complicated), and his end of turn attack rather than dealing 2 damage to each hero deals a mighty twice H to a single one. This ends up being the same total damage but being focused in one massive hit makes him much less vulnerable to stun bolts (all his cards deal multiple small hits, so they're still good but not quite as broken as before).

To compensate, once he gets below half health he activates Doomsday effects based on his current Scion (or gets a new one if he doesn't have one), giving him extra power when he is almost dead. The Doomsday effects are tied into the Scion, Flame dealing damage, Frost healing, Blight disrupting.

The Messenger is not as strong as before, but is still a high difficulty villain. I enjoy him as a fairly simple but high powered enemy who can be approached with a mixed team rather than one focused on abusing damage reduction/prevention.









Infinitor
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Michael Hunter
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Mini Expansion Villains




It is no secret that Ambuscade is a walk down easy street, stopping in at the corner of simple boulevard and sipping from their famed trivial cocktails. Basically, he doesn't have much HP, only plays one card a turn, and a bunch of his cards are duds. A 5 HP target that deals 2 damage, a 1 HP target that does nothing unless you hit it, and worst of all the traps that MIGHT at some point later in game do not a great deal of damage.

So, for this Ambuscade I decided to keep the HP relatively low but up the damage output substantially, firstly, Ambuscade plays cards fast, H-1 in a turn unless he plays one of his few heavy hitters - Cloaking Device, Plating or Explosive Launcher. Several of the cards have improve in power, Armed and Dangerous now deals damage and destroys cards, Sonic Mines must be blown up before his turn or he will do it (and stop you all dealing damage for a turn) and traps start face up and will detonate the second he finds them. His end of turn of damage is increased a bit on his front side and whole darn lot on his back side.

Ambuscade has quite fun scaling, his HP doesn't increase much, but his damage output gets very big very fast (try two Snatch and Grabs in a row!), actually taking out H=5 teams faster than H=3 ones. He is generally a pretty short but pretty frantic game and one I'm quite proud of.














Chokepoint was another extremely easy villain, but had problems beyond this. Chokepoint is very good at destroying equipment (and benefiting from destroying them) to the point where it is tactical to not play equipment at all (or choose equipment-less heroes), which leads to neither her nor the players doing much interesting. She also theoretically builds up into a strong Armored Animus, but in reality she rarely gets into this form, and even when she does it's not amazing.

Chokepoint now plays two cards a turn, substantially improving her output and making her flip more frequently. Tweaks to Kinetic Looter and Shocking Animation now mean playing equipment against her isn't a dumb move.

What has been changed more significantly are the cards she takes from her opponent (now called Absorbed cards), which she revolves around. These cards protect her from attacks, and when she absorbs enough power she will unleash it on her Deus Ex Machina side as a powerful AoE attack. As her double plays let her take cards quickly but Deus Ex Machina uses them up and the heroes can strip them off her by playing cleverly she fluctuates much more rapidly, and the game is much more about keeping track of what she has absorbed, how you can get them back off her and what she is likely to do with them!

Chokepoint is still a fairly easy villain, but not the cakewalk she once was. I enjoy her defensive style, although she has low HP for a boss, she is constantly using absorbed cards to give herself damage reduction, as well as frequently playing force fields or healing herself making her play quite dynamically. The Deus Ex Machina art is also fantastic, but I can't take credit for that.











The original Miss Information is certainly difficult, but also commits a far greater sin. She is just no damn fun to play against! On the front side there is often nothing you can do other than beat up the odd Diversion, and sit on your hands while she whittles away your HP, makes you discard large chunks of your hand, and extraordinarily efficiently destroys every ongoing/equipment card you try to play. Anyway who has sat there for a few turns knowing you can do nothing to make her flip but wait, and knows that anything you play to set up is likely to get destroyed, knows the definition of boredom. Her flip side is certainly intense, but also fairly complex (a lot of different interlocking sources of damage) and quite shot.

On the front side, the flip trigger has been changed from something the heroes can do nothing about (clues) to something they can work towards (diversions), making it much more interactive. This works well, but I am most proud of her Twisted Mastermind side. Before she used the power of... putting on a jumpsuit (I guess?) to deal energy and sonic damage for various reasons. Now the evil genius uses an environment card to trap the heroes, throwing them into volcanos, collapsing hallways, exploding chemicals and so on, which is rather exciting and thematic.

Miss Information is quite a difficult villain overall, but the balancing is a little less tight than I normally like - because of her trap mechanic she is very sensitive to what the environment deck is, some make her quite achievable, others incredibly hard. While she may not be the most consistently balanced villain I've made, she is definitely a HELL of a lot more fun than the original!







Wager Master
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Michael Hunter
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Custom Heroes






(Special thanks to Flatonhisface for helping to develop this one)


The inscrutable Zhu Long has been both enemy and ally to the heroes of the Multiverse. He has concerns far beyond the material plane or the fragile beings that inhabit it, and thinks little of crushing those who interfere with his grand designs. However the Dragon is a subtle tactician, and his arcane tasks often require a gentler touch than dragonflame. For that, he has the Executor. Rescued from death and trained in his ways, on occasion she has had cause to align herself with the heroes. This is one of those times.

The Executor is designed to play entirely out of her hand, her innate power (and her scant other powers) all merely serve to get her the quantity and quality of cards she needs to be effective. The key cards in her deck are the three Student cards, each of which accentuates a different part of her deck.

Student of the Tyrant follows the way of the Chairman, allowing her to play two Ninjitsu cards a turn. Ninjitu cards are all individually fairly weak, but at two a turn become a major threat. A mixture of offense like Hidden Needle and Toxic mist, defense like Kusari-Gama or Stealthy Recon and mixtures like Choking Cloud and Shuriken Volley, Ninjitu cards keep the enemy off balance and the Executor safe.

Student of the Dragon plays into her poison cards. These are ongoings that can be played on enemies from her hand, but while following the Dragon can also be played from her hand whenever she strikes a target, allowing her to play them at a ferocious pace - as long as the supply in her hand holds out. Some of her poisons weaken, some of them kill, but all are devastating under the shadow of the dragon.

Finally, Student of the Sensei harkens back to her first teacher, Mister Fixer. This allows her to move cards from her deck to her trash, fueling one of her three strikes. These strikes require you to shuffle cards from the Executors trash back into her deck, and the more cards shuffled the more devastating the effect.



















Custom Hero(es): The Pantheon
Development here and here.


With the coming of OblivAeon, Ra made peace with some of his ancient enemies, and now the fabled Ennead of Heliopolis marches to war for the world itself!

The Pantheon are a very unconventional hero, and one I am particularly proud of. I wanted to have a group of three demigods fighting together, but I strongly dislike the mechanic of the Sentinels, which is gimmicky and has some strange interactions, as well as being catastrophically vulnerable to AoE damage.

As a result, the Pantheon is treated as one hero card, with the three Demigods not being targets themselves. Rather they are just markers, with each being either Empowered or not. When Empowered, they can use up that energy to perform a strong ability, like Atum's "The Creator" to the right. Several cards in the deck also play into this, Empowering them on top of other effects, or allowing them to use up their Empowerment to make an already powerful effect truly godlike.

When you decide to play the Pantheon, you have an important choice to make - which of the nine will you take? The gods you choose have a major effect, each of the three bringing 7 unique cards into your deck to join 19 basic cards, for a total of 40 cards as normal. Each god has their own specialty and there are several interesting combinations and synergies between them. To make sure you don't get cards mixed up, each Demigods cards have a unique icon in the top corner to identify the god they are from.

Atum specialises in helping the team play ongoings and equipment cards.
Geb is an effective AoE damage dealer with a major talent for environment destruction.
Osiris is a visionary-like deck manipulator and controller.
Nuit guards her children by absorbing damage and healing the team.
Set is a chaotic force of nature who deals massive damage to everything - sometimes even to the opponents.
Tefnut works as a devoted damage dealer specializing in many small attacks.
Isis contrasts to Tefnut, a damage dealer who focuses on powerful single target strikes.
Shu is a support player who focuses on supporting the other two members of the Ennead he is with.
Nepthys drains life to hurt the foe and heal your friends.
Anubis is still under development...

The Pantheon are a particularly large deck, between 19 basic cards, the Pantheon card and 9 x 8 Demigod cards they clock in at 92, a fair commitment to print. However, if you wish you can simply print the basic cards and your 3 favorite Demigods for a normal 40 card deck, which you can add to later if you wish. Also, if you wish to play 3 copies of the Pantheon for the complete Ennead, there are versions of basic cards available with 1,2 or 3 in the corner so you don't mix up the basic cards.







Samson, Brock. Born Omaha, Nebraska to a single mother. Half Swedish, quarter Polish, quarter Winnebago! You lost your virginity at fourteen and have one brother and you enjoy motorcross. The Brock Samson you knew and were is dead! Happy birthday, Frankenstein! You're OSI's baby now. Are you prepared to do whatever your country asks of you?

Brock Samson is a character from the Venture Brothers, a highly trained secret agent for various covert organization. He is a combination of various masculine cliches (cigarettes, muscle cars, extravagant shoulder width, promiscuity...) and an extoordinarily efficient murdering machine. He enjoys his work, some would argue a little too much. This character I mostly made for a friend of mine who loves Brock, but thought I'd share it with you.

Mechanically, he is intended to be fairly straightforward (an intro hero, rather than one of my normal montrosities). The main part of his theme is that he has several things that discard cards for advantage, either one at a time (Terror Tactics, Gruesome murder) or all at once (Creative Violence, Bloodbath). These are matched with cards that give him very strong card draw, but only if he is low on cards (Cigarette break, OSI training). He is somewhat comparable to Haka in that he tends to build up and then discard cards for effect, but while Haka usually builds up a gigantic hand for one massive hit in the late game, Brock more often goes up and down over the game.

Other than that, the deck is quite straightforward, mostly damage dealing and some control cards to destroy environment/ongoing cards. One key player is Swedish Murder Machine, which lets you use multiple powers in a turn (sort of like Unload), encouraging you to get several of his powers into play, Bowie Knife particularly.

Brock overall is a pretty straight forward damage dealer - much like the character!
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Michael Hunter
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Custom Villains and Environments






Custom Villain: Legion
(Thanks to Tosx for letting me use Cauldron characters during development)


The shadowy "Project Cocoon" is known for its greatest success, the heroic Visionary. Less well publicized is its greatest failure - Legion. When the Longs gave the newborn Vanessa to Project Cocoon, unbeknownst to the young hero, they also gave the scientists her identical twin sister, Julia.

The government was not willing to wait the proposed twenty years for the girls to reach physical and psychic maturity, so they launched another experiment. Julia was removed from Vanessa and subjected to growth acceleration drugs, aiming to bring her to adulthood within two years. However, while the chemicals accelerated her physically, her psyche remained that of a infant - and this infant was also one of world's most powerful telepaths. Julia's child-mind roamed through the Project Cocoon complex, reading the psychotics, sociopaths and messiah complexes who were the psychological institute's research subjects. Lacking an adult ego to fend them off, her mind absorbed parts of their extreme personalities, leaving a fragmented, schizoid mess of conflicting ego's the scientists dubbed Legion - For She Was Many.

Whatever was once Julia is long gone, but the thousand-faced, infinite psychic entity that is Legion begins to blossom, spreading from mind to mind and driving them mad. The body of Julia Long is a mere shell, and before long Legion will transcend physical form entirely. In the meantime the mercurial, schizophrenic psyche begins to lash out at the world and those around her, reacting to fears and hatreds from a thousand twisted minds it absorbed. Can Visionary put down what she so unwisely released?



Legion is a twisted version of the Visionary, accompanied into battle by those she has driven mad, her Lunatics. Each Lunatic is based off a hero from Sentinels (or the Cauldron). Ra has become the Pyromaniac, Fanatic the Messianic, Doc Havoc the Mysophobe and so on. On her front side Legion attacks alongside these minions with her apocalyptic psychic powers, but the real danger starts once her physical vessel is destroyed.

Legions parasitic mind flees into her Lunatics, possessing them and granting them incredible strength and powerful defenses. When each Lunatic is knocked out Legion flees to another granting them her essence, so each of the Lunatics must be defeated to deny her a hiding place and win the battle.

Legion was my first custom deck, but I think she stands up pretty well as a medium difficulty villain, and the Lunatics were all very fun to design and more fun to fight against. Note that this is an unusually large villain deck, with 25 normal cards in addition to 16 Lunatics.






The Mobile Defense Platform is an extremely weak environment, centered on the playing and protection of minions who are all not really worht playing or protecting. It is the next best thing to playing with no environment deck at all, which I thought I could do better than, particularly for the hideout of one of the game's most important villains. Hence the upgraded Mobile Assault Platform.

A key player in the deck are the three MAP turbolifts, which take you to a new room and get you a group of new minions. This gets the minions out in the numbers they need to be effective, and also has a nice balancing effect, if you wrecked the environment cards this gets a fresh set of threats, on the other hand if your old room was very full, this gets you away from them.

The minions are now a more significant threat mostly because of the Battalion Mechanic who boosts the damage of his buddies to reasonable levels. The minions are unremarkable by themselves, but in groups become quite dangerous. Most of the rooms have been tweaked while keeping their original flavour - I'm particularly happy with the new Bridge and Sky Deck. Overall, the MAP is a much greater threat than the MDP, but still is a mid range difficulty environment (the minions still go down fast!).

Thanks to Mastermind93 for his help with the card back on this one, and Takewalker for suggesting the deck name!






Polar opposite to the Mobile Defense Platform, Rook City is the worst. More than half the deck is just horrific for the heroes, with extra villain plays, extra environment plays, damage boosts for the baddies, damage reduction for you and crazy damage (5 to all from toxic sludge is a particular lowlight).

So, I wanted a derivative of Rook City that kept much of the cool flavour, but where the difficult was at a level where we actually ever, ever wanted to play there. The basic idea was inspired by a variant from Pepe, which keeps the horrible cards, but at least rewards you for dealing with them. With that in mind,the Old Town of Rook City features a range of rough targets (Street Gangs, Hired Guns, a Spite Clone...) that all do various unpleasant things but when you deal with them you get some kind of reward for cleaning up the town.

Although many of the environment cards are still tough an benefit the villain, this changes the way the deck feels a lot. Sure, it might take half of your heroes to knock out Hearbreaker, but as you get something for your trouble the dangerous environment doesn't make you automatically lose the game by diverting so much of your efforts.

Other minor changes include making Toxic Sludge mutate your heroes (this is a comic book, everyone knows the quickest route to super powers is dunking yourself in glowing liquid) and tweaking how Dr Tremata and Tony Taurus are dealt damage.

This deck keeps the flavour of Rook City (or this particular suburb, at least) being a dangerous scumhole full of criminals and danger, but lowers the difficulty from "Insane" to "Tough". You do generally have to deal with the environment targets, but you are rewarded for doing so.
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Michael Hunter
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Hero promos




Cold as Ice Absolute Zero

Power: You may play an Equipment. Absolute Zero deals himself 1 cold damage or draws a card.

It's no secret AZ has issues - while he can do fun things with Thermal Shockwave, Hoarfire and so on, he is cripplingly slow to get started, massively vulnerable to equipment destruction and in general is fairly weak without a lot of damage boosting.

This version gives him a free equipment play each turn. This means little late game, but helps him get his modules out fast early on while still contributing, or bounce back from destruction - normally when he is at his weakest. This also gives him either cold damage for self healing or (unlike normal AZ, whose power is useless if he has no module) draws to find various other tricks. Still not amazing, but is more capable of becoming a useful player before the game is over one way or another!


Dark Pact Nightmist

Power: Reveal your deck's top card. Either discard it and Nightmist gains 2HP or Nightmist deals herself X infernal damage, then play it.

Normal Nightmist is heavily based around Investigate - she sacrifices life for cards but between Amulet of the Elder Gods and Starshield, she can quite easily turn cards back into life. This is all well and good, but my friend desired a version that was a more straight up spell casting machine rather than fiddly damage redirection shennanigans.

This version has two options - either gain HP (to more or less balance the HP she constantly loses by casting her spells) or get extra plays, but at the cost of her fairly precious life. Note that given the magic number of the card being variable, this is quite an interesting decision. Playing Starshield for 1 is a no-brainer, but what is Oblivion is exactly what you need, but it'll cost her 4 life? This version is more straightforward than normal Nightmist or Dark Watch and recommended for less experienced players.



Omnitron-VI

Power: Use the start of turn effect of a component in your hand OR Use the start of turn effect of a component in play three times, then destroy it.

A lot of Omnitron-X's cards are based around defense or helping himself play cards, his only major offensive powers are Defensive Blast (powerful but unreliable) and Components, which lead to boom-bust gameplay I dislike - he builds up and up and then gets hit for 5 and sucks for the rest of the game.

So, Omnitron-VI (from the Freedom 6) shoots from the hip. His power greatly incentivizes using components, either in your hand to give your base power more options, or with a play and a power you can go for a very powerful triple shot, at the cost of losing the component permanently. Plays quite differently to normal to Omnitron-X, mostly a one-shot machine rather than a builder-upper.


Field Officer Bunker


Power: Play a mode from your hand or trash. If you play Upgrade mode, play a card. If you played the mode from your trash, destroy it at the end of your turn.

Lets be honest, Bunker is a pretty weak hero. He only has two really decent strategies, Turret mode + Flak and Grenade launcher of Omni-cannon. His modes, which are supposed to be his key mechanic are really not - Recharge mode is an okay card drawer, Turret mode tends to mean "The rest of your game is just shooting twice, never drawing or playing" - good, but not fun and Upgrade mode straight up sucks.

So, this Bunker increases all round flexibility by letting you play modes without giving up your play, as well as from the trash. When all three modes are in the trash, you basically have Power: Draw a card (Recharge), Power: Play a card (Upgrade) and Power: Increase damage by 1, use a power, skip your draw (Turret). Note that you have to play it from your hand to get full value (2 powers for Turret mode, the -1 damage of Recharge) meaning drawing new modes still has value. HP also quite substantially increased for The "Indestructible" Bunker to make him a bit more balanced.



Robobuddy Unity

Power: Move a mechanical golem from your hand into play. At the end of your turn, if you have more than 1 mechanical golem in play, return 1 to your hand.

Unity plays a bit feast or famine, rather like Omnitron-X. She slowly and laboriously plays these golems, all of whom do cool things. She builds up and up with steadily more awesome end of turn effects, then someone does 5 damage to all hero targets, all her stuff is dead and she has little chance of contributing meaningfully as all her good cards have been used.

This version aims to smooth that a bit, making it harder for her to get to 4+ bots, but easier to get to 1-2 bots for setup or bouncing back from destruction. Basically, her first bot is free, no destroying equipment or taking 4 damage - but only her first bot, and unlike the other Unity's she has no way of playing more bots without Modular Workbench or Construction Pylon, so if she doesn't have one of those she just tends to switch in a second bot (note, it gets its end of turn before being bounced back to her hand). This version plays a lot more reliably and smoothly, and I can honestly say I've never gone back to regular Unity since.

Setback: The Gambler

Power: Reveal your deck’s top card. Either put two tokens in the unlucky pool & play it or discard it and play the top card of your deck.

This one isn't the most complex change in the world, I just found regular Setback a little too random for my taste, it's a really bad feeling when some of his cards are played and you, say, deal yourself 6 psychic damage to destroy an ongoing that doesn't exist. Some randomness is kept, but it's a bit more controllable.

The base power is substantially better, you can just play the top card like normal Setback and get 2 tokens instead of 1 OR you can wave it off and play the next card (albeit with no tokens). Gives a fun little game of pushing your luck and makes you less likely to get randomly screwed. In compensation, his HP is quite a bit down, much less tanky. Not much too say about this one, just a little quality of life change my group enjoys.


Crusader Fanatic

Power: Fanatic deals herself 1 radiant damage. Then draw a card, discard a card and you may play a one-shot.

With normal Fanatic having Exorcise and other ways to do lots of little pings of damage (Divine Focus, Holy Nova) she is very reliant on big damage bonuses to be effective, so I tried to push her in the other direction and make her a bit of an all rounder. I also didn't like that cards like Sanctifying Strike and Brutal censure didn't see much as mediocre one-shots, so...

The base power now basically lets you use one of Fanatics variable but fairly respectable One-Shots. Wanting to have one of these ready to play affects the way you play a fair bit, and the draw/discard helps you get enough to fuel the base power. She can run out of cards reasonably fast, but a well timed Prayer of Desperation (which is brilliant as a power) sorts that out fairly well. Note the self damage which Aushes her away from excessive damage boosts and B:Gives the normally poor Undaunted a little boost.

Evolving Naturalist

Setup: Put 1 form in play and other 2 under this card face up.
End of your turn: Destroy all forms, then put a face up form from under this card into play.
When a form is destroyed: Move it under this card face down. Then if all cards under this are face down, flip them all face up.

Normal Naturalist has his forms, but as his powers are all quite good he is fairly strongly disincentivized from changing them any more than absolutely nessecary (generally when you run out of good card from that form). This variant is designed to make change a constant - which is both good and bad.

Radically, this is a set up card rather than a power, but it plays cleanly. Basically, at the end of every turn you automatically HAVE to get rid of your current form and play a new one. You have to use each form once (hello, poor gazelle) before you can use a form a second time, you have to use each a second before you use one a third and so on. The wording on this took a LOT of work, but the play is good. Generally, he is less reliant on powers (as he isn't reliably in the right form) but better with one-shots (as he's bound to be in the appropriate form to play that cool card at some point).


Berserk Haka

Power: Haka deals up to 2 targets X+1 melee damage each. X is the number of cards you have drawn since the end of your last turn.

Normal Haka is very tanky with an enormous HP, but doesn't have the best damage output. In particular, Haka is quite reliant on Taiaha for steady damage, with it he is a beater, without it he is mostly reliant on weak/drawback heavy one offs (Elbow Smash, Savage Mana, Rampage). This variant is designed to make Haka more offensive than defensive, with a stronger power and much less HP.

The base power now triggers off cards drawn - by itself 2 x 1 damage is okay, but with a Haka is is now as good as Taiaha. Vitality Surge also gets a boost, and every now and then Dominion and a lucky environment turn can cause a big attack. It also means that Haka is less reliant on having Taiaha to contribute offensively, and gives his cool but not especially strong Haka's a boost, now Haka-ing is more than just modest card filtering and a small effect.

Scholar-Thaumaturgy

Power: The Scholar deals himself 2 energy damage. If he takes damage this way, he gains 1 HP, then gains 1 HP.

Scholar is built around his interesting forms, but there's no getting away from the fact that Flesh to Iron is the best. It can make him (and with the right cards, your team) nigh invulnerable, soaking up double digit damage each turn. Compare this to gaining another couple of HP or dealing 1-2 energy damage a turn and there's no contest. Scholar of the Infinite even more strongly incentivized flesh to iron. Energy and Liquid both can be useful when you have several together, but I wanted a way to incentivize this play rather than having it be an unreliable, every now and then occurrence.

With no forms in play, Thaumaturgy basically does nothing, dealing 2 and healing 2. It also doesn't really work when you Flesh into Iron as (in the absence of other damage boosters) you won't deal damage to yourself, hence no HP gain. Where it does come into it's own is when you have Liquid (as you get the bonus heal TWICE) and Energy (as you are gaining a fair bit of HP, even if you don't heal overall). With only 1 of energy/liquid in play this ability is on par with the base scholar's ability, but at 2 it is strong, and 3+ is awesome (although hard to keep up with that discarding...). This just pulls the Scholar towards Liquid/Energy - not the hugest change, but weakens one of his overpowered cards and improves a couple that it overshadows.


Bullestorm Expatriette

Power: Play an ammo card. If you do, draw a card and use a power.

This promo was designed by Pepe, I just used different art for it so we could easily tell it from regular Expatriette. Normal Expatriette is on the weak side overall and could us a boost, plus her ammo cards are not great. The idea is interesting in theory, but in practice they mostly play out like pretty junky one-shots. Shock rounds is deal 1 damage to all baddies, Incendiary can be +1 damage, even on something like Assault Rifle it's still nothing special. Liquid Nitrogen can be okay, only Hollow points have serious potential.

This variant just basically makes ammo cards a free play - they refund both the card and the power, making them weak but cheap buffs (think Chrono-Rangers Eyes on the Prize) that give the deck some more power, and also mean Expatriette can spend her plays doing something else, such as stacking up guns for Unload, getting Hairtrigger reflexes and so on. This one is definitely stronger than base Expatriette, but given the original's weakness is nowhere near broken, a simple and fun damage dealer.

Zen Mister Fixer

Power: Mister Fixer deals 1 target 1 melee damage.
Power: Mister Fixer deals 1 target 3 melee damage. Destroy one of your non-character cards.

For quite a while I used Zeal's Mister Fixer, which allows choosing between normal Fixer (1 damage) and Dark Watch (3 damage, destroy a hero card). This worked well, but was probably a shade too strong, plus it always irked me how it was clearly better than either official fixer (I'm fine with him being stronger as both of those two are below par, but I don't like it being so obviously superior when you read the card).

So, after much tweaking, settled on the second ability only being able to destroy one of FIXER's cards. This weakens the ability as you can no longer feed off the teams crap (Wrathful gaze, I'm looking at you. Ironically). I was initially worried that this could be abused by Fixer just having no ongoings/equipments in play and getting the 3 damage for free, but after testing this is not a common thing. Almost all of Fixer's plays are ongoings/equipments, with the exception of Salvage Yard (a very niche card that could use the boost), Meditation (which gets an ongoing, so...) and Charge/Overdrive. Playing one of these last two gives you 2+3 or 3+3 damage as your entire turn (play + power) which is fine, but not broken, given they can't easily be buffed by Crowbars/Grease Monkey/What have you without the cost of losing these buff cards afterwards. This Fixer is more self sufficient than Dark Watch, but can make use of Tool Box/Bloody Knuckles/Tire Iron/Riveting Crane and so on unlike normal Fixer.


Armored Guise

Power: Choose one of your ongoing. The next time it would be destroyed, prevent its destruction.
Power: Draw 3 cards, discard 3 cards, guise deals 1 target 3 melee damage and destroy a hero ongoing.

Thanks to Revkev for the art & card name on this one! Okay, so Guise is a very interesting, funny character, but boy can his deck suck sometimes. Guise is really gimmicky, a bunch of his cards do very very little (Say Cheese, Lemme See that, Gimmicky character), and a bunch of his cards do very little the majority of the time except in really specific circumstances (Kawaii, Selling out, Blatant Reference). Basically, Guise twiddles his thumbs trying to draw a bunch of cards, maybe throwing out the odd Retcon or Best Card Ever to justify this existence, then hopes to get a single turn with a mad combo of Selling Out/Kawaii/Guise the Barbarian/Blatant Reference/Best Card Ever, does 90 damage in one turn and rides home in the tickertape parade. A lot of games he never gets this combo and does more or less nothing. So, I can do steadier and more consistently fun than that!

The first power lets him use one of his great ongoings (Beefcake, Gritty Reboot, Guise the Barbarian, potentially Yeah, I'm that guy) as something more than a combo piece turn after turn (at the cost of his power each turn), throwing some of his decent one shots as the play.

The second option is basically there to allow you to do something if you get one of Guise's patented rubbish opening hands (Imagine Kawaii, Selling Out, Say Cheese, Gimmicky Character - yay, I can use the cards I don't have to play cards faster - if only one of the cards I could hypothetically play actually DID something!). The most common use is play some junky ongoing and blow it up to deal okay damage and more importantly filter your hand, dumping the Gimmicky Characters for something good. You usually destroy your own ongoing, as Guise has a lot of junk to destroy, but if the circumstances warrant you can destroy a friends like DW Fixer. Also note that you only destroy the card after the damage, so playing say Xtreeeme or Lemme See that might have added use under the right circumstances, even if it doesn't last till the end of your turn.

It's difficult to describe how the flow is so different to normal Guise's boom-bust, but in our experience it's a much improved experience, letting Guise's cool ongoings and one-shots shine, while allowing you to filter past the gimmicky, situational useless junk. Also note that by design regular Guise's combos (Kawaii/Selling Out/Reference) all key on him having tons of cards. This version has good card filtering, but not good card draw so this avenue is less viable (unless you get a few good Gritty Reboot turns), instead letting you focus on his steady output.




I don't like the gameplay of the original Sentinels as it is too swingy. On the one hand, they have some of the most powerful cards in the game, such as draw 4 + play a card, dealing 3 to one and 2 to all, finding and playing a specific card, THEN draw and play a card, and so on. On the other hand, they are wierdly fragile, although they have a lot of total HP, essentially all AoE does 4 x as much as damage against them.

This I could forgive, but their key mechanic about needing specific sentinels to use specific cards doesn't really play well. As they all have quite similar HP and all tend to take damage at the same time (AoE), they all tend to die very close together. As a result, you will generally have 4 or so turns where they're all up and giving hell, then they all die in a turn or two more, so you never really have many turns saying "Well, I have Mainstay down, so I can't use THAT, maybe I should prioritize keeping Writhe alive so I can use that next turn..."

My version is designed to play up the caring about which Sentinels are active to optimize their cards, while not getting so massively decimated by AoE. The end result wound up playing quite similarly to The Pantheon (not a coincidence, as I really like the way the Pantheon works), the individual Sentinels don't have HP per se, they instead serve as markers as to if you can use their abilities/boost their one-shots.

The Pantheon becomes empowered by playing certain cards or using the base power, and loses their power by boosting cards or using their innate. These options aren't possible for the Sentinels, so instead they are flipped to active by Doctor Medico's power (and a few cards that used to un-incapacitate... recapacitate?), and are flipped down by getting hit. This means you tend to fluctuate around 1-3 heroes active, so meaningful decisions are made about which hero needs to be active next turn, who will take the hit and become inactive, and when you need to use Doc Medico to reset the team rather than using one of the other base powers. I find the gameplay more fun and more balanced than the outrageously strong original Sentinels, plus less catastrophically vulnerable to AoE.
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Michael Hunter
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I initially made these for use with the supremely complex Argent Adept to summarize the interactions of all his various instruments and ongoings. Then I made one to explain to one of my friends what Malichae was supposed to do, and another who was taking forever as Echelon to choose a tactic and then...

These are normal sized cards, designed to be put with the associated deck (we usually keep them under the hero card) and allow quick reference when you have a search effect. For some I have also included information about other sets of equipment even when there is no search for them, mostly just to do something interesting with the other side of the card. For example, Mister Fixer has one side showing his Styles (which he can search for with Meditation) and the other showing his tools (just for interest's sake if one of my players asks, as there is no search for them). All in all, we have available...

Official Heroes

Absolute Zero: Modules and Ongoings (for F5 Absolute Zero)
Argent Adept: Instruments and Ongoings
Chrono Ranger: Bounties and Equipment
Mister Fixer: Styles and Tools
The Naturalist: Forms
Omnitron-X: Components and Platings
Scholar: Elemental cards
The Sentinels: Signatures
Unity: Mechanical Golems and Equipment
Wraith: Equipment


Malichae: Djinn
Echelon: Tactics
The Knight: One handed equipment and Plate armor
Lady of the Wood: Seasons and Equipment
Cypher: Augments
Necro: Rituals and Undead
The Executor: Strikes and Students
The Pantheon: Relics









Probably my most controversial of projects, here I am attempting to smooth out some of most powerful heroes/cards, the ones where winning with them feels a little bit like cheating. Some argue that abusing these are the only way to beat some of the more insane villains (Kaargra, Iron Legacy, etcetera), but I personally prefer those bosses to be toned down so that most heroes can have a go at them, likewise to have the strongest heroes to be toned down a bit too. Note that almost all of these are from the base game, where Greater Than Games wasn't quite as experienced with the balancing.

Of course, these are just something I prefer, if you'd rather play the game as the Lord intended then more power to you. Although in that case, why are you in this thread/forum at all?

The cards I have considered to be too strong mostly fall into these camps...

- Total invulnerability for the team (Heroic Interception, Ground Pound, Grease Gun, Hypersonic Assault, Throat Jab in the right cirumstances)

- Stopping villain cards being played (Take Down, Mistbound)

- Excessive villain deck manipulation (Infrared Eyepiece)

- Global, permanent damage boosting (Inspiring Presence, Imbued Fire, By Any Means)

As a good rule of thumb, it became fairly obvious to me that a card was overpowered when I could remove a great deal of it's power and it was still a card that you are happy to see. Inspiring Presence, for example, here only affects one target, making it 1/3 to 1/5th as good as it was before. And it's still pretty amazing!

The complete list is...

Legacy (Take Down, Inspiring Presence, Heroic Interception)
Visionary (Brain Burn)
Ra (Imbued Fire)
Tempest (Cleansing Downpour, Gene-Bound Shackles)
Wraith (Throat Jab, Smoke Bombs, Micro Targeting Computer, Infrared Eyepiece)
Tachyon (Hypersonic Assault)
Haka (Ground Pound)
Mr. Fixer (Grease Gun)
Nightmist (Mistbound, the other Mistbound)
Unity (Flash Forge)
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Take Walker
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I like how there's essentially one villain from each expansion that works as-is, in your opinion. Gives me some faith in the overall thing.

Really glad to see this thread, I had no idea some of those hero variants existed!!
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Christopher Webb
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I've seen your variants and I'm a fan of all of them but, I just noticed something that could potentially be game breaking in Iron Legacy.

If cards cannot be played by the villain deck (i.e. for some reason you have Legacy playing against Iron Legs and he has Take Down in play) then you could end up with an infinite loop of IL trying to play an ongoing but can't because cards can't be played by the villain deck, but there are fewer than H-2 Ongoings in play so he has to play an Ongoing etc. etc.

Perhaps changing the wording to "put it into play" would be better in that case.

Edit: Also while your Bunker alternate is great, I personally prefer just swapping out the Mode cards for the ones I made (pretty sure you posted and helped to work on them). It actually brings Bunker up to a pretty decent power level. Somewhere a little under Wraith, but with potential to be really nasty (If he gets fully built with the External Combustions going around he deals quite a bit of damage per turn).
 
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Michael Hunter
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Rosgath wrote:
Perhaps changing the wording to "put it into play" would be better in that case.


Good call - I'll make that change, thanks!

Having said that, I think if he was Taken Down, the interaction would be "A card has left play, I have less than H-2, so find a card, oh damn, I can't play it, end of trigger" which would permanently put him 1 ongoing down - which is not good so still very worth making it put into play to avoid Takedown/Mistbound/etcetera (which don't need the help).

I remember your Bunker promo, but I was going to have a look at it to refresh my memory and I can't find it on the board - possible you could give me a link?
 
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Christopher Webb
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Adelphophage wrote:
Rosgath wrote:
Perhaps changing the wording to "put it into play" would be better in that case.


Good call - I'll make that change, thanks!

Having said that, I think if he was Taken Down, the interaction would be "A card has left play, I have less than H-2, so find a card, oh damn, I can't play it, end of trigger" which would permanently put him 1 ongoing down - which is not good so still very worth making it put into play to avoid Takedown/Mistbound/etcetera (which don't need the help).

I remember your Bunker promo, but I was going to have a look at it to refresh my memory and I can't find it on the board - possible you could give me a link?


https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1634607/making-bunker-solid...

It's not actually a promo, but a revision of his Mode Cards. Instead of outright prohibiting him from doing everything but what the mode in play does it just forces him to skip 1 of his phases to double up on another.

It does this because one of the previous issues with his mode cards is it requires a larger sacrifice than a gain (2 phases to make 1 phase doubled. Net less of 1 'phase' or as I personally refer to it 'action'). The old modes also prevented him from benefiting from allied bonus draws/powers/plays so it made it next to impossible to pair him with someone who could buff him up to be strong. (only really bonus damages or rare cases like Zealotry which lets you use an extra power during your power phase.)
 
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Michael Hunter
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Update 11-12-16

Added Hero Promos...
-Bulletstorm Expatriette
-Zen Mr Fixer
-Scholar: Thaumaturgy
-Berserk Haka
-Armored Guise

Villain Promos...
-Plague Rat: The New Breed
 
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Ryan Valdez
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I'm just now stumbling upon this, but I LOVE this. I have the same issues with villains (proper scaling with number of players, having them be viably beatable against any hero team comp, etc.) and I can't wait to give these all a try.

I would also love to play test anything else you might come up with!

One quick thing though. Why is it that the Oversized version of Baron Blade has the dark orb around his fist on his flipped side, while the regular-sized one doesn't?
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Michael Hunter
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Nayr090 wrote:
I'm just now stumbling upon this, but I LOVE this. I have the same issues with villains (proper scaling with number of players, having them be viably beatable against any hero team comp, etc.) and I can't wait to give these all a try.

I would also love to play test anything else you might come up with!

One quick thing though. Why is it that the Oversized version of Baron Blade has the dark orb around his fist on his flipped side, while the regular-sized one doesn't?


Thanks for the compliments! I do really enjoy making and testing the promos, but glad to hear other people extract value from it too.

Regarding Blade, short answer is I screwed up and forgot to transfer the effect to the small card I shall correct it, thanks for spotting the mistake!
 
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Michael Hunter
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Update 22-12-16

Hero Promos
The Sentinels

Villain Promos
Chokepoint - Ruthless Technopath
Progeny - The Messenger
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Ryan Valdez
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Sorry if I'm being a real stickler, but I love playing with the original-sized villain cards vs. the oversized villain cards, and your cards really make villains more interesting. That being said, I printed all up-to-date ones on your drive, and noticed some errors
-----
Baron Blade, front: It says "X-Ray Burst! The environment all targets other than Baron Blade..." I'm assuming it's missing the word "deals"

Grand Warlord Voss, back: Maybe I'm just confused, but the top says Voss is invulnerable, and the bottom says that damage dealt to him by engaged targets is reduced by 2. If he's invulnerable, why would damage dealt to him matter?

Apostate, front: Under card changes, it lists "Cursed Effigy". The actual card in the deck is named "Corrupted Effigy".

La Capitan: The art card's front and back are named "Angel of Extinction" and "Man the Guns!" respectively, while the rule card's front and back have "Paradoxical Pirate" and "Temporal Broadside". IE, they don't match.
-----
Anyways, again, not trying to be a stickler, just making sure your stuff is top-notch. Will let you know if I run into anything else.
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Michael Hunter
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Sorry about delay in replying, have been out of the land of internet over new years...

Thanks for noticing these mistakes, I shall correct them in the google drive. My small cards tend to patchier than the oversized ones - when I'm actually designing I just fiddle with the oversized card, only once all playtesting is done do I copy it over to the small card, which means it doesn't get looked at as many times and is likely to have issues.

With La Cap, she should be "Paradoxial Pirate" and "Man the Guns!", as she shall be momentarily...

With Voss I'm not quite sure what is the best way to go. You're right that the deal 2 less damage is basically meaningless when he is invulnerable anyway, but I like that the text for "Engaged" is the same on both sides of the card (and it still matters for the 2 less damage to other minions). Either way it's a bit confusing (-2 damage to invulnerable VS This rule is written differently, but... is still the same?). Not sure if I'll change this one.

You're bang on for Blade and Apostate, and I appreciate any more typos you might catch - I have a bad track record with these.
 
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Michael Hunter
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Update 9-1-17

Added Omnitron-Omnitron V
Added Matriarch-Raven Queen
 
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Steven Babel
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On Zen Mister Fixer your character card is a hero card, so if you used his second power without anything in play he would have to destroy himself.
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Take Walker
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Given that Sacrifice Tempest can't destroy himself with his power, I don't think that needs to be specified.
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Bill Stull
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Just noticed Scholar-Thaumaturgy and just goes to show that different people have different play styles. I rarely use Flesh to Iron playing either version. I focus on Mortal Form to Energy and will then pick up a second one or Solid to Liquid depending upon the situation. If I have the card draw then I'll use two Mortal Form to Energy and one Solid to Liquid. The power isn't overpowered but with my play style I'd take it over base Scholar without much thought.
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