Spoiler Talk – Star-Lord

A couple of days ago, Fantasy Flight Games published an article showing us the first hero pack that will be released after The Galaxy’s Most Wanted campaign expansion.  As expected, it was Star-Lord, but what wasn’t expected was how bold his game mechanics were going to be.  In this article, Tim, James, and Gareth all give their initial thoughts on the new cards.

MC Star-Lord hero & alter-ego

[Tim] He’s got a lot of abilities, but the one that is most eye-catching is “What could go wrong?”.  Reducing the cost of a card by 3 is massive, but you have to deal yourself an encounter card.  This could be relatively minor or completely catastrophic, but that’s a future Star-Lord problem.  I think this ability might cause some frowny faces around the table during a multiplayer game, but as long as you say “What could go wrong?” whenever you use it, they can’t be too angry at you, right?

Star-Lord’s other ability makes all of the allies he controls gain the Guardian trait.  The Side Scheme have already done an article showing a potentially amusing combo that can be done using this, so it definitely has some potential.  There will undoubtedly be other cards that interact with Guardians, so if nothing else it means that Maria Hill can go into space.

Without seeing what the Element Gun upgrades do, it’s hard to say how good Peter Quill’s setup ability is, but signature upgrades are normally pretty good (see Captain America’s Shield or Hawkeye’s Bow).  At the very least you can use it as a resource.

Smooth Talker could be useful if you’ve got a card you definitely don’t need this round but absolutely could do with having it next round.  It might end up being better in practice than on paper, but I’m not sold on it.

Overall, I think Star-Lord looks like he’ll be loads of fun to use!

[James] Stat-wise Quill seems fairly standard. A little squishy maybe with 10 health and 3 REC but nothing that’s too alarming. His setup ability gives him an effective starting hand size of 7 unless you draw the Element Gun as part of your mulligan, and that’s assuming there’s only one in the deck. There has been some speculation that there will be multiple Element Guns, each with a different effect, in which case you’d have to get pretty unlucky to miss out on the starting 7.

His other ability is nothing to write home about but does give you the possibility of fixing a bad draw. Unlike Carol Danvers or Tony Stark it’s not an ability you’ll want to be aiming to use mid-game though.

Star-Lord has that all important 2 THW, and thankfully does not lose out on hand size due to his ability. I’m not sure how I feel about stacking additional encounter cards yet but I can’t deny how good being able to reduce a card cost by 3 is. It’s very thematic risk vs reward but I suspect the trick will be resisting the temptation to trigger it every round to avoid being buried by the encounter deck’s tempo. 

For me the highlight is just how consistent Guardians tribal is going to be with him. The issue with the Avengers Leadership deck is being unable to run staples like Maria Hill and Nick Fury, which is not a problem Star Lord is going to have.

[Gareth] Quill has an interesting set of abilities, always having his gun to start with is nice and the ability to mulligan a card will help consistenty, it also allows you to save a card for later. I’m sure everyone has had Avengers Mansion in hand and wanted to play it but need to do something else, well now you can put it on top of the deck and use the card you drew as a resource.

I would take an encounter card every day of the week to play something for free, I think this will give Quill some serious tempo.

[Tim] Another card that deals yourself an encounter card!  If you are going for a deck build that increases your basic stats, then I could see this card being quite handy.  As we’ve seen from other cards spoiled, Star-Lord also gets some benefits depending on how many facedown encounter cards are in front of him.

However, other heroes get a less-risky way of readying themselves with cards like Spider-Woman’s Self-Propelled Glide or Quicksilver’s Always Be Running that only cost 1 and don’t have a negative.  Obviously, it’s not fair to compare hero cards out of context, but this card feels like the price might be too high except in the most dire of circumstances.  I think that this is a wait-and-see card.

[James] Ready effects are always pretty strong, especially if they are “free”. The fact that this one also replaces itself with another card is very good.  This will make state boosting effects and upgrades better than usual on Star-Lord, and it gives an additional way to stack encounter cards when trying to optimise his other plays.

[Gareth] Daring Escape is ok but will only be useful in specific instances, like if you need to get rid of that extra little bit of threat, or are lining up for a Sliding Shot.

[Tim] Another mention of the Element Gun (I honestly find it strange that they didn’t show what it does, especially when several cards reference it).  I don’t think that it’s always fair to compare every big damage-dealing event to Swinging Web Kick, but that’s where most people will go.

At its worst, Sliding Shot is an Uppercut (a card that doesn’t get much use) but has the potential to be better than the aforementioned Spider-Man event.  I could definitely see this being used to finish off a villain by stacking up as many facedown encounter cards as you can then blasting them away (Hydra Soldier would even come in handy here).  This sounds like something that I’d try and do.  I often put cards of questionable efficacy in my Iron Man decks just because they have energy resources and will lead to bigger Repulsor Blasts, so stacking a tonne of encounter cards in front of me just to do some big damage doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.

[James] Here we start to see the benefit of Star-Lord’s encounter card stockpiling. Just having two dealt to you, which doesn’t seem difficult to achieve, puts this card above Swinging Web Kick. Probably not a card you’ll play much in the early/mid game, but my knee jerk reaction is this will be the card I close out a lot of my games with after using his other nonsense to build up those encounter card draws.

[Gareth] I like this alot as you can guarantee 7 damage out of it with Star-Lord making it free to play and leans nicely into his pushing it to the limit theme, and who doesn’t like a “free” 7 damage?

[Tim] Marvel Champions Monthly recently released and article about heroic headgear, so I wonder where this will go in their rankings?  If I had to guess, I’d go for second place just behind Ant-Man’s Helmet.

If you’re playing Star-Lord like how he appears to want to be played (i.e. as reckless as possible), you’re likely going to have encounter cards in front of him fairly often.  Extra Hand Size is always nice, and for the low cost of one resource I think this will played more often than it will be used as a resource.

[James] On paper this seems good but I’m sceptical of how much use it’ll actually be. Due to the inherent risk of stacking too many encounter cards, or even just an additional card each turn, it’s not likely to be consistent. The Helmet may even be a bit of a trap, pushing you to be more and more reckless as you chase that fabled +3 hand size. The extra card(s) will be nice when you can pull it off safely as alternative resource generation is always handy.

[Gareth] Oh yes, needless to say, big fan. Anything which increase your hand size is excellent and the more cards you have the easier it is to deal with all those encounter cards you’re getting. If you have this out I would say it moves Daring Escape from being situational to must play.

[Tim] With Star-Lord’s ability to make all of his allies gain the Guardian trait, this upgrade will give all of the characters you control +1 Thwart (putting Star-Lord to 3 Thwart).  This will make the player using Star-Lord a thwarting machine!

When you compare this to something like Heroic Intuition (admittedly, a card that doesn’t see a great deal of play no matter how many copies FFG put in the hero packs), as long as you have at least one ally in play it becomes good value.  If you’re playing Leadership (incidentally, the aspect that Star-Lord comes with) then you can get lots of allies out quite easily, making this upgrade even better value.  I think that this is a good card and one that True Solo players in particular will love.

[James] This is a solid upgrade, especially for True Solo. Giving every Guardian you control +1 THW is going to mitigate a lot of your threat issues enabling you to focus on punching the villain in the face. Will perhaps be less relevant whist playing certain aspects, but even they will have interesting synergies to exploit (Wiccan from the Scarlet Witch pack comes to mind).

[Gareth] Leader of the Guardians is seriously good, I can see Quill being a one-man threat-reducing machine and you can play it for free! This will make him seriously good in Leadership though that aspect doesn’t need much help but this also means if using Protection he will actually not lose to threat (solo).

[Tim] Okay, we’re entering Magical Christmas Land here, but if we give Star-Lord this card, Honorary Avenger, The Trikelion, Avengers Tower, and Stinger, then he could have seven allies in play at once.  But will these five pieces guarantee victory just like summoning Exodia the Forbidden One?  No, probably not.  It does make Strength in Numbers pretty good though.

Venturing into more reasonable territory, I think Knowhere is quite good.  The extra ally limit can be useful, but isn’t a deal-breaker.  It’s the response that makes it interesting in my opinion.  Drawing cards is always nice, and this card draw can be used on any player that plays a Guardian ally.  Obviously, we don’t yet know how many Guardian allies there’s going to be, but I’m assuming there’s going to be a decent amount.  If nothing else, Star-Lord will get good use out of it.

[James] Feels like a better version of Avengers Tower. Draws a card instead of reduces cost, and you can give the card draw to another player, which could be handy. That’s obviously dependant on there being a decent amount of Guardian allies though so it remains to be seen how useful it ends up being. Despite that it feels like an auto-include in Star Lord’s deck at the moment due to his making every ally you play a Guardian.

[Gareth] Oh look, more support for Leadership.  Just as well, as we know it’s the least powerful aspect.  Sarcasm aside, every aspect is going to benefit from being able to have an additional ally in play.  It’s very good, but as Leadership has a larger selection of good allies I feel it benefits it more than the other aspects.  Very good for Star-Lord; more card draw is always good.

[Tim] As mentioned above, The Side Scheme article details an amusing (and potentially powerful) interaction with Star-Lord and Avengers Assemble.  With Star-Lord’s “What could go wrong?” ability, the combo should be fairly easy to afford, it’ll just require a lot of setup time to maximise.

Moving away from the ally-focused side of things, Blaze of Glory gives each Guardian character +2 Thwart and +2 Attack, not just characters you control.  In a multiplayer game where the other players are using Guardian characters, I’m sure they will appreciate +2/+2 for their heroes (and maybe allies) for the phase, especially if they have ways of readying themselves (just imagine if there is a Guardian equivalent of Honorary Avenger, Quicksilver would be bonkers!).  Since it’s a Hero Action, other players can request it from you, so timing isn’t even much of an issue either.  This card has a lot of potential!

[James] In a move that will surprise nobody the Leadership card that got revealed turns out to be pretty good. A Guardian specific Lead From The Front that is likely to be the reason you run Guardians tribal to begin with. Gives a strong boost effect to all your Guardians, and you can then flip back to Quill to protect them from the damage if they don’t have the Guardian trait themselves. Pretty cheap cost makes it easy to play, but the Max limitation prevents it from being abused. Overall I like it a lot.

[Gareth] Very nice for that last use of your allies rather than throwing them under the bus or a good “oh shit!” if main scheme is going to roll over.

So that’s our initial thoughts about the cards featured in the Star-Lord preview article.  Overall, very positive!


Tim, James, & Gareth

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