At long last, it is my distinct honor to be allowed to officially kick off the previews for the Final Crisis set. For those of you who don’t know me, I was the lead designer on the DC Universe set that came out a while back.
At the time DCU was wrapping up, we knew we wanted to do a follow-up. The set had been a lot of work, but the community’s reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that it all seemed worthwhile. Also, we had all learned so much from the experience. We knew we could do better and we wanted to top ourselves.
There was no debate (at first) about what the subject of our follow-up would be. Final Crisis was the biggest thing at DC at the time. And it seemed like it would feature several teams we wanted to refeature. Everyone agreed, Final Crisis would be our next set.
Ironically, Final Crisis presented a lot of unforeseen challenges as far as the set line-up was concerned. One of the reasons we wanted to do Final Crisis was that we had left the New Gods out of DCU for space reasons. But as we read the Final Crisis comics, the New Gods never showed up in force. And the handful of New Gods who did make appearances weren’t exactly key players.
Over the course of developing the set, the team line-up changed a few times. Each new issue sparked a new debate about which teams should be included. (Sadly, the New Gods got dropped again.) But the one thing we all agreed on from day one was that the main team would be Darkseid’s Elite.
Final Crisis was Grant Morrison’s epic tale of “The Day Evil Won”. And the evil in this case was Darkseid. If you’re a Grant Morrison fan, you’ve probably come to expect the unexpected. That was definitely true of Final Crisis. This was not your father’s Darkseid.
As Final Crisis begins, Darkseid and his followers are beings of energy (or something) who inhabit host bodies. The host bodies decay over time. But they have ways of prolonging their usefulness or finding replacements when needed. The design team came up with a very inventive way to represent the gradual decay in game terms.
Let’s check the big man out:
That brings us to the first new keyword of the set. Before I go any further, here’s the FAQ entry for Charge:
Some cards in this set have the keyword “Charge [X]“.
- A card with Charge has the text, “At the start of the combat phase, put a charge counter on this card.”
- A card with “Charge [X]: (charge text)” has “(charge text)” while it has X or more charge counters. X can be a fixed number, or the variable X.
- A card without charge can still have charge counters.
- A charged card is a card with one or more charge counters.
If a card’s Charge effect would trigger at the same time as its gaining of a charge counter, its controller chooses the order that the effects are put on the chain, and so decides whether the Charge effect triggers before or after the gaining of a new counter.
- A card can have more charge counters than it needs to have its charge text be active.
I see some of you scratching your heads. Allow me to simplify. Charge is designed to be a very versatile keyword. In some form or another, it represents the passing of time. Some things will improve over time. Others (like the decaying Darkseid’s Elite) will get worse. And some things will trigger once a big enough charge is built up. You’ll definitely see more uses of Charge as some of the other teams are previewed.
So, how about the new Darkseid? The first thing that jumps out at me is his cost. Now, Darkseid legend decks have options from drops 3-8. Crazy, huh? Well, it gets crazier. But you’ll find out what I mean by that when you see the whole set. In the meanwhile, let’s focus on Dan Turpin.
In the comics, Dan Turpin was a good man who got became Darkseid’s host body. In the comics, Dan Turpin resisted Darkseid’s influence longer than any other human. But eventually, he lost and Darkseid incarnated within him. This version of Dan Turpin attempts to resist Darkseid’s power too. But as long as you’re able to keep two charge counters off of him, Darkseid will win.
(Hint: Darkseid’s Elite will have ways to remove charge counters!)
Like most Darkseids, Dan Turpin is skewed towards defense statistically (he has a “big butt” as they say). And that substitute is sure to come in handy. Let’s say you have another three-drop on the field who’s decayed past the point of usefulness. Sub in a fresh Darkseid, Dan Turpin and you’re good to go.
Let’s continue with that scenario. Say you have another character who has decayed past his or her expiration date. Stun the useless minion to Darkseid’s power and remove a useful character from your opponent’s board. Sounds like a good trade to me!
Hungry for more? Let’s take a look at Darkseid’s kid:
I’ll say he’s brutal! First, you have to love the stats. The first power probably looks familiar. It comes word-for-word from Scarlet Witch, Mistress of Magic. “But she was a three-drop!” you say. Yes, she was an under-statted three drop who needed a lot of help to make use of her power. Kalibak, on the other hand, will be lowering endurance levels like crazy.
Which brings me to the second half of the card. Kalibak, like a lot of the Darkseid’s Elite, gets worse over time. He’ll still be a beast every turn. But he’s going to start eating your endurance as well. If Kalibak attacks during the first combat phase, he’ll cost you two endurance. And each turn after that, he’ll cost you an additional two. That is, unless you find a way to reverse the process.
One of the team themes of Darkseid’s Elite has always been across-the-board endurance loss. As you can see from Kalibak, that theme continues in this incarnation of the team. In fact, your opponent just might burn up their endurance on their own thanks to cards like this one:
Let’s check in with the FAQ for the second new keyword in the set:
Some cards in this set have the Flaw keyword followed by a payment power.
- A Flaw payment power can be used by all opponents, and cannot be used by its controller.
- A Flaw payment power with a usage restriction (ie, “Use only once per turn.”) can be used up to its restriction by each opponent.
- No effect or modifier you control can restrict an opponent from using the flaw powers of cards you control. For example, if you control Lex Luthor, Metropolis Mogul and a character with a flaw power, your opponents may still use that flaw power even though Lex Luthor would ordinarily restrict them from using the payment powers of characters and equipment.
- No effect or modifier you control can explicitly negate an effect created by a flaw power on a card you control. (Effects you control can still indirectly negate Flaw powers on cards you control by invalidating their targets).
So, Flaw is basically a payment power that your opponents can use against you. For Darkseid’s Elite, Flaw is mostly found on the Justifiers. The Justifiers force your opponent to choose between allowing you to keep a very good power or slowly bleeding away their endurance. (Then there’s also the matter of that Anti-Life affiliation. More on that when I get done talking about Black Lightning.)
First of all, Kalibak is going to love Black Lightning. (And if you’re worried that BL won’t last till turn 6, the team has other ways to prevent reinforcement.) Plus, no team attacking? Pretty good for a team that has a lot of big butts on it.
But realistically, the odds are your opponent is going to pay that one endurance to keep you from using this power. Don’t you think? Well, don’t be so sure. First of all, there’s the obvious endurance issues. Endurance is going to be in short supply when Darkseid’s Elite is on the field. But then there’s that Anti-Life affiliation.
What’s that all about?
In Final Crisis, anyone who was exposed to the Anti-Life Equation was infected by it. The Justifiers were generally heroes and villains who had been infected by Anti-Life and who went on to expose others to the equation.
Being infected by Anti-Life is not a good thing. For example check out:
Mary Marvel is Kalibak’s best friend! Like Kalibak, Mary Marvel has a great body… I mean stats… I mean… her ATK and DEF are both higher than average. And she has a power that cuts both ways. If you’re playing Darkseid’s Elite, the odds are pretty good you’ll control some Anti-Life characters. Obviously Mary Marvel’s power affects herself.
But if you have done your job and spread Anti-Life across your opponent’s board, Mary Marvel + Kalibak should make for a good turn 6.
That should just about do it for today’s team preview.
What? Four cards wasn’t enough for you? Well, in that case, be on the lookout for the other Darkseid’s Elite preview scheduled for today brought to you by the Baldman. Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up Darkseid’s Elite before moving on to a team that will finally get a chance to reign (vague hint!)
Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the previews!