Aliens Preview Roundtable 01

Kirk – Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to be a part of this Round Table about the Aliens cards previewed so far. We’re going to talk about the new cards and give our first impressions, but First I’ll ask you to introduce yourselves and little bit about your experience playing card games.

John – Hi, I’m John Tatta! Just a little about me, my gaming experience spans about two decades. I started with Magic, like many people my age, and in my teens I discovered other games existed. I’ve played probably close to a dozen games competitively and many professionally over the years including original VS System, WoW TCG, Magic, and many more. I would consider myself a spike player but enjoy other aspects of gaming as well and especially the social aspect of it at my age.

Tim – Hi, I’m Tim Rivera. I’ve played Collectible Card Games since I turned 15 about 20 years ago. John and I have pretty much have the same past. I started playing Magic the Gathering, Vs System, WoW TCG and then back to Magic and the new Vs System 2PCG. I tend to focus on whatever the highest level tournament play is for each game and have been successful when doing so.

Eric – Hello, I’m Eric Buckendorf. I was gifted a box of magic cards in 1996 by my friend James Dye. I brought this 500 count box of great magic cards to my brother’s chess club and that was the end of Chess club as I remember it. I have been playing Magic ever since. Also had a few years making day twos in Old VS system. Then the WOW TCG came out and I was able to play that game successfully for its entirety. I am very excited to get to play the new VS 2PCG and I can’t wait to see what Aliens has in store for the Gen Con metagame.

Kirk – I have pretty much the same story, I’ve been playing card games since Eric introduced me to Magic in 1996. I had a Comic and Game store for a couple years in 1997-1999. I got into many other card and board games and played original VS. for a couple years. I played a lot of Magic Grand Prixs and Qualifiers back in the day, but didn’t get competitive again until we all got into the WoW TCG and did pretty well overall as a team, during which time Tim also started up Daily Metagame and recruited me in to help with that. I was excited to see VS. come back!

The first couple cards previewed revealed that they are adding two new Resources to the game, Humanity and Alien:

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What are your thoughts on introducing more resources and Basic Locations to the game?

John- Since these two locations are in a small-ish set and seemingly only for the new factions I’m not sure how they will affect the old cards retroactively. They’re going to be tough to “splash” as you only get 4 uses total out of them unless the new Wild locations for the two new factions also allow you to use it on Earth or Space. That long winded statement aside, the cards that use these new locations will have to be extremely powerful in order to justify their inclusion into the game. The first power that we’ve seen straight up heals a wound from a main character so that’s definitely on the right track to power creep. I’m curious to see some of the other powers, particularly on the new main characters that use Earth and Space.

Tim- I’m curious on how adding new locations will impact the new set. When you look at the Marvel Universe we have so far all the sets use the same locations. When you add in new locations, none of those old cards can use them so I would expect that the new cards will have some sort of power creep to make it more enticing to play with a smaller base of cards.

Eric- I am curious to see what powers these locations are going to fuel. Seems like it will be a bit harder to build with the new set locations unless the new cards have enough characters to support adding these resources to their decks. Maybe we will have a very competitive Xenomorph deck that does not need to mix that many locations together for success.

Kirk – I like the idea of expanding the available resources in the game. I have a lot of questions, but oddly enough the first question won’t be answered until around September or so which is: will future Marvel sets adapt these locations into their design? Thanos, Guardians, Silver Surfer and hopefully Fantastic Four could all potentially use Space as a resource and I’d love to see who gets to use Earth as well. That said, I imagine as you guys have said already, that to make them viable with a smaller card pool that there will be more powerful effects that The Company and the Xenomorphs have access. The good thing is, that I imagine most of the really good cards using these locations won’t be able to be abused in Thanos, as he is over-stuffed with locations as it is.

For our First Supporting Characters we get to see what the new teams are, The Company and the Xenomorphs:

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Kirk – Seeing both of these, I wonder if we’re being told what the two teams will specialize in. The Ferocious Xenomorph is very aggressive and CMO Clemens is very defensive introducing Healing as a Skill (Red) to the game, instead of Energy (Blue) like Angel, or Intellect (Yellow) like Phoenix_L1. But the next few cards revealed, showed that the Humans of The Company will be able to get just as aggressive by using Equipment, so I’ll be curious what other themes are introduced to the Xenomorphs. We’d all guessed that Swarm was going to be a major Keyword for Aliens, and I’m excited to see how many characters actually have Swarm; and if it’s prevalent, what new abilities will be introduced to take advantage of Swarm.

Tim – Time will tell if these cards are good or not, right? It will all depend on what other supporting characters are available to each team. If The Company has good multi health supporting characters, CMO Clemens can be very powerful as a later drop in the game. I have a feeling that the Xenomorphs are going to have cards that interact with the Swarm ability, so Ferocious Xenomorph could have a huge upside.

John – Neither of these cards really excite me but I don’t think either is bad. CMO Clemens is certainly the better of the two though. I think that Clemens is going to be underrated early on and probably for a while. Six defense on a 3-drop is pretty great, as anyone trying to stun a Singularity can attest to, and both of his abilities are going to be super annoying to work around, particularly if a Miss America is involved. His Earth power is going to make killing Luke Cage or Wolverine even more difficult and probably make a few of the easier to KO main characters a little bit more potent.

The Xenomorph on the other hand shows us that Swarm is going to be a thing as the most exciting part of the card. This is essentially a Black Panther that trades 1 HP for the Swarm keyword power and Black Panther has never been particularly exciting. The creature keyword keeps it from holding an equipment which also holds it back a bit. Time will tell how good this little Xenomorph is but I’m not super excited about it. The 1 HP really turns me off.

Eric – CMO Clemens is great spoiler card. His stats are great at 2/6, much like Singularity. Medical Attention is the third time we have seen healing now. Is this the card that starts to bring more healing to decks? So far I have not run into Angel or very many Wolverines or Light Phoenix for that matter. And Do you trust me with a Needle? is really cool! I like that the double cost is used to balance such a powerful ability. The second ability makes this card a much better late game draw than it already was. This card will be great on curve to keep your Ronan in play for another turn and late game to keep your Main Character in the fight. I can just imagine giving this guy a M41A Pulse Rifle and letting him do work as a 5/6 ranged attacking healer that can shoot a grenade at that nasty Cosmo that’s been holding you back.

Ferocious Xenomorph is interesting, we see the Creature designation again but this time we have been told the definition. Creatures can’t wield guns or any other fun equipment – got it. It seems like they will be ferocious and dominating melee combat as a compensation though. And Swarm is the other power that seems like it will be appearing quite often when it comes to Xenomorphs. I feel like these guys could get some plot twists that allow you to generate little swarms much like a Murloc deck that was played in the WOW TCG. Something like Summon the Swarm for aliens where you reveal the top 7 cards from your deck and you may recruit up to X? cost of Xenomorphs with swarm and put those into play under your control. This guy’s stats seem good enough and ferocious will make attacking with this guy and your The Perfect Organism Main Character a total of 8 attack that beats all those slow characters without ferocious. That means most characters are going down before they even get to pull the trigger. We could see a card like Vigilante Justice become a staple in decks to help keep these Ferocious monsters from dominating combat.

Kirk – Since my favorite thing to do with cards is turn them sideways and bash, I’m actually more excited about Ferocious Xenomorph and the possibilities of swarming the board with lots of aggressive characters. I too, want to see some really great abilities and Plot Twists that put Swarm over the top like revealing X cards from the top of your deck and putting all Swarm guys that cost 2 or less into play or something similar. Cards that make you build your deck differently than a smooth curve are always fun. Also, I think the Xenomporhs will make players favor a more on-team deck that encourages team attacks to get the job done. Save wimpy healing for puny humans!

Our first glimpse at a Main Character is more of a tease. Do you guys have any thoughts on The Perfect Organism, or is it too soon to tell without knowing the Level 2?

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Eric – I really enjoy the fact that we got a Main Character early. I am hoping we see the level 2 soon. Along with a Company Main Character if that is going to happen. This guy gives us a lot to work with. Seeing this guy along with Ferocious Xenomorph leads me to believe the Aliens are going to be great at Melee Combat. Which makes total sense. Creature means the character can’t wield equipment. It’s Structural Perfection… looks pretty great here. This guy can take out most existing Main Characters without help and if you have a Space location hanging around he won’t even get stunned back when you are attacking.

John – I want to like this card mainly because I want to see new main characters that can compete with Thanos and Luke Cage. I don’t think that this MC is going to cut it though. Five attack is pretty amazing but two defense makes it extremely vulnerable to literally everything later in the game. Also, if you don’t have the right locations it’s tough to even attack profitably. Another strike is that Cosmo really hurts The Perfect Organism pretty badly. I won’t write it off yet until we get to see the level two super power but it’s going to have to be really something else for me to reconsider a subpar rating.

Tim – Without level 2 it is really hard to evaluate the power of this Main Character. The 2 defense is a real concern. The Perfect Organism does not have flight or range either making it already a lot weaker than other main characters. If the level 2 power is something like bringing back Swarm supporting characters, I can see being more excited about it, but for now I think this main character doesn’t look great.

Kirk – The Perfect Organism has Super Ferocious for a Space Resource, which is great to help him survive combats and get those XP, but you’re going to need to be really creative to keep him alive on your opponent’s turn. The ability to Level Up quickly can make or break a Main Character and if this character’s Level 2 is worth it, he could level up very quickly. Opening hand with access to 2 Space resources means he’s going to get 2 XP for sure in two turns. If you have one Defensive Plot Twist that helps him survive just 1 combat on your opponent’s turn, it could be game over man! That 2 Defense is just too tempting for your opponent not to try to attack into, especially if they have any ranged guys at all.

And finally, the card that has most everyone excited, the introduction of Equipment to the game! What do you think about M41A Pulse Rifle?

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Tim – It is nice to finally see some equipment back in the new VS System. On top of that we get a good one. When I first saw this card I thought of Mystique and Ghost Rider. Two main characters with high health, that both can benefit from having additional attack. With Mystique it is insane right? Every time she range attacks she will gain 3 experience. It won’t take long for her to level up.

Right now the assumption is that the Character gains the powers from the rifle, so Cosmo still shuts them down. So if you’re going to use the Rifle as an answer you’ll need to put it on a character that is not already Nullified. I was hoping that Equipment kept the abilities, as anything to keep that dog in check is needed.

Eric – This card is my favorite so far! Go figure, it’s the first equipment of the game and it’s a big one. I love that you can get so much value from this all on the turn it comes into play. You are going to have to play off curve a bit, but the +3 ranged attack easily makes this card able to negate the card disadvantage right away if you can stun an opposing supporting character without a stun back. The added bonus M-40 Grenades just puts this card over the top for me. I can shoot a ton of important back row characters for even more value. I’m looking at you Cosmo, Moonstone and Punisher just to name a few.

John – I share most of the same thoughts as Eric for the Pulse Rifle. I love this card and think that equipment is going to be pretty powerful as a whole. I’m not sure if people will play fewer characters, plot twists, or locations to fit them in but plot twists seem like the obvious choice. Eric pointed out the fact that this can pick off a Cosmo for a blue which is really nice not to mention the plethora of other great characters that like to hide behind Miss America, Captain Marvel, and other walls. Losing equipment on stuns means they need to be really good to be played. I foresee Find Cover seeing play again alongside Shock to the System to ensure that characters stick around. Really looking forward to seeing more equipment previewed.

Kirk – Again I love cards that encourage you to build decks outside the basic curve norm. The value that this card gives for 1 Resource Point is balanced by its weakness to going away when a character is stunned or leaves play, but it really works hard to make sure you get some value out of it. Tim, Eric and John said most of what I wanted to say about it, but I’m most excited to see what other Equipment the set has to offer.

Thanks for reading our Round Table discussion, and stick around as we’ll do more next week as more cards are spoiled! Help support our site and pick up some Versus Dice counters if you haevn’t already:

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