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Subject: Megaman Block: Best Leaders, Worst Leaders, and Problem Leader rss

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Zack Sabile
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With the three Megaman boxes and accompanying promo sets out, let's take a look at what I see as the six best and worst leaders in these sets. I know there are separate BGG entries for these individual games, but since the Deluxe board seems to get the most attention, I'm posting it here.

After the list of best/worst leaders, there's a third article on how to win 2nd turn consistently with Nitro Man, so even if you don't care about my opinions, that part is worth a read.

Best Leaders, in no particular order:

-Dr. Wily
You start the game with your entire unit full, at the cost of only being able to recruit once per round, during the flank wave, meaning you're spending the first round drawing and thus have a great deal of card advantage to go along with your (in most instances) greater number of heroes. I can see him having some trouble against something that is able to apply damage to his entire force at once, but his starting card advantage is so strong that he might be able to overcome something like that (in the base game, he has a slightly less than 50% chance of having access to Roll in the first round).

-Saturn
While is stats are fairly underwhelming, his ability to clear out a very large amount of opposing heroes at once is impressive. There's probably a degree of diminishing returns with his ability depending on how many opposing heroes are on the table, but the fact that he can deal out a very high amount of damage can force your opponent to play with a smaller than desirable unit to avoid Saturn from running away with the game.

-Venus
Your corpses are now rigged with hand grenades. Hand grenades with a very wide blast radius. While this may lead opponents to avoid killing heroes that don't absolutely have to die, there aren't too many game states I can envision that don't involve at least a few casualties for Venus to take advantage of. His stats aren't bad at all, either.

-Toad Man
He probably wouldn't make the list on his action alone; it's generally weaker than the Alchemist or Saturn. However, his personal 4 Attack Strength and Ranged Attack mean he can almost always contributing meaningful damage. His life is slightly below average, but it doesn't seem to be a big issue; just shoot with him when you can and Toad Shower when the opportunity presents itself.

-Galaxy Man
This guy is an asshole. His movement ability is similar to the Planebinder with different strengths and weaknesses, one of which is coincidentally covered by his other ability, being able to place corpses in any unit into his hand. Very frustrating to watch him keep recycling a Blade Man or Tango that's protecting him, and anything short of three living bodies in your Vanguard is relatively easy for him to bypass and attack your leader. Like the Spiritualist, he has two abilities that would be strong enough by themselves but for some reason he gets both. He even has a solid 4 Attack Strength backing him up.

-Strike Man
I dislike this guy's design immensely. While you can argue that leaders like Zeus or the Artillerist are conceptually the same (not many leaders survive three rounds of shooting against either), there are ways to mitigate damage, heal, and extend life to survive, none of which matter against Strike Man. The fact that he attacks for free is just icing on the cake, and the fact that if he goes first on the kill turn you don't even get a chance to respond is nonsensical.

Worst Leaders, also in no particular order:

-Beat
All of his abilities are subpar, so the fact that he has three of them doesn't really amount to much. If they were all Limited Free Actions, or if the Ranged Attack and Intercept abilities were permanent (like the tokens handed out in the main game) maybe we're talking. It feels like the only reason he doesn't actually dish out these tokens is because they didn't want to print them just for him in these boxes. His poor stats only compound to his problems.

-Chill Man
The instant kill only works if you gang up on a single enemy, so outside of a few very specific cases this ability is weaker than even a flat +2 bonus to damage, since almost everyone in the three Megaman decks has 6 life or less and at least 1 Attack Strength. While there is some merit to being able to kill an opposing hero without retaliation when going first, his own poor attack and the fact that his ability doesn't help you against Leaders makes him pretty bad indeed.

-Flame Man
Low stats all around seem to be a hallmark of the poor leaders in this block, and Flame Man is no exception. Low attack and low life are traded for an average-power damage ability that has the tremendous cost of (no pun intended) burning the top 5 cards of your deck. If you could throw all 10 damage onto a single hero you might have something with this guy, but as you have to spread it around the cost of using the ability combined with how awful Flame Man's stats are, the whole package is pretty lackluster.

-Dive Man
Again, fairly poor stats and an underwhelming ability. If you've gone through half of the deck, your guys are on par with the Fighter or Dread Knight...even in the vacuum of the Megaman Block, this feels subpar until very late in the game. Admittedly, it looks good if you can stall until you've got 12+ cards in your discard pile, but his poor stats and lack of other abilities make that an unappealing prospect.

-Dr Light
Ugh. Stats, or lack thereof. If he only had the buff part of his Leader text, he'd still look fairly unappealing. The fact that he takes an automatic hit if his protege dies is kind of insulting. His buff isn't bad per se, it's just that it isn't especially large and it only affects a single guy. +5 attack and +5 life would be much more interesting and could possibly justify the 4 damage he'll be taking when his champion gets killed. Defeat effects are the lulz.

-Plant Man
I'm going to preface this entry with a rules question/dilemma. I don't have my Pixel Tactics 2 rule booklet anymore, but I seem to remember that Corpses "restored to life" have a single hit point remaining, as opposed to Corpses "restore to full life" that are completely healed. I don't see this anywhere in the Megaman rulebook, nor the Deluxe rulebook, though because of the specific verbiage for the Divinity leader ability and the Priestess order, I'm assuming that I am correct.

If that is the case, Plant Man is probably the worst leader in the Megaman block.

His stats aren't terrible; his attack is actually among the highest in these three sets and his life is below average but not awful. But he's one of many in the string of leaders that try to do something different with recruiting, and most of, if not all of, these abilities don't really play well. The (supposed) fact that his guys only have a single wound and that you can't use them as quick blockers for Plant Man himself (who's life is, again, below average) means you're going to churn through them at a rather startling rate in addition to taking an increased number of hits on your leader. He looks like he gains a small amount of flexibility in where his guys can be "deployed" due to the nature of his order, but that seems to be a fairly low return for what he's giving up.

If my supposition is incorrect, and corpses are now all returned equally at full life, I still don't like him very much, but he's significantly better than if it were not so, and he probably doesn't deserve to be on this list.


Problem Leader: Nitro Man

Okay, this leader is a problem, and if you've ever used Necropotence or Yawgmoth's Bargain in Magic the Gathering you understand why. He can kill any leader with less than 21 life by comboing out against them, with no attacking necessary, and this is possible even in the Bass box alone.

So Nitro Man can't use the Draw action but has Free Action: Apply 1 damage to this leader to draw a card. He starts with 20 life, so you can draw up to 19 cards (initially) using this ability.

Ballade, one of the cards in the Bass deck, has the Order "Discard your hand and deal 1 damage to a Leader for each card discarded and remove all lethal damage from that leader."

The Bass deck also has the Hornet Man's trap, which reads "Apply 1 damage to each Rival Hero and Leader." You can lay, but not activate this trap, during the Ceasefire.

So this is pretty simple. Draw into Ballade, play the Trap, play Ballade. Your opponent will take damage equal to the number of cards in your hand, which will sort of fluctuate depending on what you drew and when you drew them.

Galaxy Man in the Flank lets you discard a card to negate 3 damage to your leader, so once you draw him, you can continue to draw/discard until you get Ballade and Hornet Man.

Plug Man in the Rear takes the damage of the forerunner, so as soon as you draw him, you can move to the Rear wave, place him behind Nitro, and draw the rest of your deck because he'll take the damage for Nitro.

So. At the end of the first round, you've got your deck (mostly) drawn and Hornet Man laid as a trap. Once your next turn starts, play Ballade and deal 1 damage for each card in your hand, then spring the trap to deal the last 1 point of damage that gets healed by Ballade.

In the worst case scenario, Ballade, Hornet Man, Galaxy Man, and Plug Man are the bottom 4 cards of your deck at the start of the game. In that event, after you've drawn your deck, at the start of round 2 you can use Jewel Man's order to get the last 4 cards, so you'll be a Wave behind and kill them in the Flank wave instead of the Vanguard. This doesn't even feel particularly dangerous because Tango is largely immune to Defeat and movement effects, and has Intercept, so you can use him as a guard. Depending on if you went second and he would die, you can even use Treble's order to heal him if necessary.

It's weird because, coincidentally (?), you have exactly enough life to draw all but 4 cards of your deck on the first turn, so it is possible (albeit rather unlikely) for you to have to wait until round 2 before you lay Hornet Man.

Between playing a defender and using Plug Man, this seems to net 21 damage. If you have to use Galaxy Man to get the last card or two, it seems to deal 19 damage. This is enough to kill any leader in the Bass expansion and the overwhelming majority of the leaders in the rest of the Megaman block. Because Nitro Man also lets everyone attack for free, you can try to snag an extra few damage points from free attacks in the second round, and due to the nature of the combo you don't even have to attempt to go off until you've brought them to the appropriate life total.

Thoughts, anyone? Brad?
 
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Quote:
-Plant Man
I'm going to preface this entry with a rules question/dilemma. I don't have my Pixel Tactics 2 rule booklet anymore, but I seem to remember that Corpses "restored to life" have a single hit point remaining, as opposed to Corpses "restore to full life" that are completely healed. I don't see this anywhere in the Megaman rulebook, nor the Deluxe rulebook, though because of the specific verbiage for the Divinity leader ability and the Priestess order, I'm assuming that I am correct


Never rely on verbiage in Level99 Games as it is wildly inconsistent and doesn't prove anything. Dive Man also has an ability that reads "Attacking with this hero is a free action" while all other Heroes in the Mega Man sets have "Free Attack".

However, I need to check this out. We're playing it that corpses restored to Life have full health, but I don't know if that was always the case. It's very much possible that "restore a corpse to life" and "restore a corpse to full life" are the exact same thing. The fact that the Deluxe rulebook doesn't mention anything about it would lead me to believe that you should always restore a corpse to full life, but...

Do you have the old version or the new version of the first PT set? I'll check the older rules and the newer cards when I get home tonight.

As for Nitro Man, well, clearly, it should be "Limited Free Action". XD

 
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Joshua Van Laningham
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The phrases "restore a corpse to life" and "restore a corpse to full life" are interchangeable terms. If a Corpse is restored to life at an amount of life less than their full life, the effect will state this.
 
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Zack Sabile
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Ithry wrote:
The phrases "restore a corpse to life" and "restore a corpse to full life" are interchangeable terms. If a Corpse is restored to life at an amount of life less than their full life, the effect will state this.


Was this always the case? I only ask because I got the 1-wound remaining idea from somewhere; it isn't the sort of thing I'd come up with on my own.
 
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Ithry wrote:
The phrases "restore a corpse to life" and "restore a corpse to full life" are interchangeable terms. If a Corpse is restored to life at an amount of life less than their full life, the effect will state this.


Thank you, but what about Nitro Man?
 
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Joshua Van Laningham
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This was always the case with Corpse reviving, as far as I'm aware.

It appears Nitro Man is a little more powerful than we originally thought. We hadn't come across this combo in testing. We may be issuing some form of errata or change to his Leader ability in the future.
 
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Zack Sabile
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Ithry wrote:
It appears Nitro Man is a little more powerful than we originally thought. We hadn't come across this combo in testing. We may be issuing some form of errata or change to his Leader ability in the future.


You know, if you guys have room for a random out-of-house playtester, I'd jump at the chance...this was something I pieced together almost immediately when I looked at the Bass deck
 
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Joshua Van Laningham
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Feel free to join our playtesting forums!
You can sign up here: http://www.playtest.lvl99games.com/
and find the NDA here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wffpa813ajja5sr/LVL99NDA.pdf?dl=0

Once you've signed and scanned the NDA, feel free to email it to me at ithry@level99games.com with your username and I'll activate your account!
 
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Peter Strait
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Think it'd be enough if the damage to Nitro from drawing cards cannot be prevented or redirected? Or is it still too quick of a combo to execute?
 
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Zack Sabile
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ErsatzDragon wrote:
Think it'd be enough if the damage to Nitro from drawing cards cannot be prevented or redirected? Or is it still too quick of a combo to execute?


The issue with that is the only time you need to do any form of damage redirection is if Hornet Man and Ballade are literally the bottom two cards of the deck. If they are, and Galaxy Man and Plug Man are above them, you can still Jewel Man into these last 4 cards.

Even if you get this odd order, you can play Beat in the vanguard and Bass behind Nitro on round 1 and toss Plug Man to Jewel Man. Retrieve Jewel Man with Beat, and Bass is now a Plug Man.

You can also play Punk on turn 1 to draw a single extra card without losing life.

If the opponent has too much life for this to work at the top of the first turn, modify your strategy slightly and play Chill Man and either Enker or Punk, trading 2 cards worth of Ballade damage for 5 melee attack damage. Kill with Chill Man for action 1, Ballade for action 2, punch with Punk or Solar Man or whoever for free, spring Hornet Man for free.

Now that I think about it, that might be more efficient. Just punching means you probably don't even need Hornet Man's trap.

I don't know. It's just very strange how this all comes together. Like there seem to be multiple layers of redundancy in this scheme.

 
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Brad Talton
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I didn't notice the potential for this to break, but Nitro Man really should be "Free Action: Spend 1 life to draw a card, up to your maximum hand size." It's supposed to be a replacement draw action, and we forgot to give it the same limitation as the basic draw action. blush

Regarding the question about Plant Man, I think one of the heroes in PT1 says "restore a corpse to 1 life", but by default heroes that come back to life come back with full life. Plant Man's heroes come into play with full life.
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