Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marvel Evolution Preview: Five In One! That's right... FIVE in ONE!

It sounds like a cheesy infomercial pitch.

"The amazing, stupendous, fabulous, fantastic, Five In One solution for all your problems! Need to draw a card? Five In One. Need to change who you're attacking with? Five In One! Need to remove powers and keywords from a character? Five In One! Need to recover an extra character this turn? Five In One! Need to negate an effect from a non-ongoing Plot Twist during the combat phase? Five! In! One! And if you call now, we'll give you not one... Not two... Not THREE! Not even FOUR copies of this amazing card... But FIVE copies of Five In One!"

So, one thing that really excited me about this set immediately after Deadpool, was the Exiles. I'm a huge fan of that book. Well. I don't know about Claremont's stuff. He kinda scared me off of it. But before then? Absolutely brilliant. And my favorite character was definitely Mimic. The heroic leader figure, part Cyclops, part Wolverine, part Colossus, part Beast and for a while part Angel. He's like Rogue only he can keep his abilities. However, he can only keep five at a time. So Mimic Legend was easily one of my top five picks when Ben Seck asked what I'd be interested in previewing.

This card gives you five chances to swap your Mimic's abilities around, taking whatever utility you have access to. Though, sadly, he only keeps this power for the turn. I really enjoy when cards do something that breaks the rules of the game. Like the Royal Flush Gang before it, this card isn't limited to just four copies. Thematically speaking, that's a very good way to represent Mimic. Traditionally he doesn't have powers of his own, but instead is given abilities that let him take other powers from around the field.

This has allows Mimic to play an important role in versions of the powerful X-Stall. His first version, Calvin Rankin gained flight if there was a flyer around, gained range if someone with range was in play and was granted one character's activated effects at the start of the combat phase each turn. Puppet Master was quite pleased with this. As was The World's Most Powerful Telepath version of Professor X. The ability was quite a bit like an early way of breaking uniqueness. Instead of playing multiples of the same character, you could just make multiple characters do the same thing. This as I said, proved to be a very strong strategy. It's also been the basis of many a jankfully jubilant deck.

After Calvin came another 6-drop. This one a bit of an upgrade in terms of ability. While the stats can often be less than stellar, he has flight and range without relying on any other characters to gain it. And for two endurance he gains any character's payment powers. This is any power with an arrow in it, which includes all activated effects and quite a few others! Plus he can gain this ability at any time, all be it just once per turn.

I haven't seen Mimic, Exile breaking any decks or burning up the tournaments, but his utility is dangerous. If your opponent is trying to burn you with activated effects you can still take those and fight fire with fire, but if he's doing something else like playing Raven, Daughter of Trigon (I'm just saying...) you can gain her "Pay 1 endurance -> Characters and locations target player controls can't ready this turn. Use only during the recovery phase." power and prevent him from readying too.

How about stealing Dark Beast's ability to solve that stat problem, "Discard a card -> Put a +1/+1 counter on Dark Beast. Use only once per turn." Remember any instance of a character's own name in their effect technically means, "[this card]" so when you steal the power the name is changed to Mimic.

Well, you could only do that once per turn. Not anymore. With Five In One, you could do it six times in one turn. Kind of crazy. The thing is since Mimic is a Legend in this set, you know he's getting multiple drops. I've seen a four and a six- Oops. Well, I don't think that's saying too much. Hehe. You'll see them soon enough anyway.

Besides the obvious use of copying your own effects, after all if one use is good, two are better, I think the ability to steal your opponent's thunder can have an unexpected effect. Much like the potential bluff of letting your opponent choose what resource to replace with the new Super Skrull, you can perhaps hinder an opponent from playing characters with powerful payment effects.

Many decks have their main drop and backups in the early game and a suite of Silver Bullets at five and up. Payment powers are one of the most prevalent in the game. While it might not hurt to let your opponent copy Barbara Gorden, Hacker Elite's effect, "Free -> Draw a card. Use only once per turn." It might be another story to give them access to something like... "Pay 2 endurance -> Target player moves his characters until none are adjacent to each other. Use only while Radioactive Man is in combat." or "[Activate] -> Rally for a plot twist card. If you're successful, ready Mr. Fantastic. Use only once per turn." or "[Activate], Remove The Sentry from the game -> Remove target character from the game. At the start of the recovery phase this turn, return The Sentry to play." or "Stun Wolverine -> Stun all opposing attackers and defenders. Use only if Wolverine is in combat and only if you recruited another Wolverine this game." or "Discard a card -> Whenever Luke Cage stuns another character this turn, draw two cards. Use only once per turn and only during the build phase." or... Well... You get the idea.

If you want a better idea what kind of options you have with Five In One go to DocX's search engine and type "->" into the Card Text line and select characters from the card type drop box. There are a LOT of cards there. And if Mimic having their effect may do more harm to your opponent, then your opponent could do to you or even equal harm... Then they might not even play their optimum drop, instead hoping to beat you with their backup plan.

In a Mimic legend deck, I expect the best use will be to double up on your own effects though. Pick a pack of characters with very useful effects and then turn Mimic into the second copy without the hassle of playing Clash of Worlds. Mimic isn't so much his own man, but instead he's every man. Whatever you want him to be, he can. Ahmed the second. Another Quicksilver. Random, Marshall Evan Stone III plays well with Human Torch's various abilities, throw Mimic in and you can copy the enabler OR the payoff.

At first pass Mimic seems like a less exciting legend than others. He doesn't do something new and shocking. He doesn't exhaust everyone or replace himself with smaller copies of himself. He doesn't recover and attack again, he doesn't become invulnerable or unstunnable or anything like that. He just becomes... Whatever you want him too.



Pi_3.14159... said...

What I love is it works exactly the way Mimic's powers work in the comic. Basically, he can copy a power temporarily while he is nearby them, or permanently if he spends enough time near them. Now, he can have a max of five powers, which means he had to lose Angel's to get Dark Phoenix's, but he could only keep them for a limited time. I think this works well in representing that. Nice preview.