Across the Universe: A MUN Set Review, Part 4

Card Name: Speedball ~ Penance, Pain Monger
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 1
Atk/Def: 2/1
Abilities: Range
Rules Text:
Substitute
{Activate} {>} Each player loses 3 endurance. If you control four or more resources, gain 3 endurance.
Flavor Text:“I am pain.”
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-067

Lorenzo: If you’re looking to employ Sinister Syndicate-style tactics and race to finish off your opponent before you run out of endurance, Speedball 1 isn’t a bad fit, particularly for off-curve rush builds.  If you recruit him a bit later he becomes pure burn for your opponent at a minimal cost.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: For those who know the Civil War backstory, this character’s ability is a dead-on representation, as well as being a pretty effective card for its cost.  4 out of 5.

Fred: Cheap burn for rush decks whose drawback can be avoided by substituting him in for a hidden 1-drop or simply recruiting him later.  A solid option.  3 out of 5.

Card Name: Speedball ~ Penance, Repentant Masochist
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: 7/7
Abilities: Range
Rules Text:
Substitute
Whenever Speedball becomes stunned, KO him if you control fewer than five resources.
Flavor Text:“The pain, it helps me to see.”
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-068

Lorenzo: Well, he’s huge for a 3-drop, but that drawback takes a bit of working around.  Since he’s got Substitute it may be better to just sub him in on turn 5 so you won’t have to worry about losing him to a cheap combat pump.  4 out of 5 since even on turn 3 it’ll be difficult to get around his size.

Neeka: I don’t understand why Speedball-Penance 3 would be oversized.  At 7/7, though, he’s one of the largest 3-drops in the game.  3 out of 5.

Fred: Dang, that’s huge.  Speedball’s drawback is easier to work with than most – Sabbac from DCL has lower stats, and his KO for being stunned isn’t conditional.  Likewise, since he has Substitute he can come in on turn 5 as a 7/7 without any problems.  Even if he gets played earlier, the use of Thunderbolts Mountain to temporarily improve your resource row count means safety for him as early as turn 4.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: Swordsman, Andreas Von Strucker
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 2
Atk/Def: 3/2
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Substitute
{Activate} {>} Target character gets -3 DEF this turn. Use only if you control four or more resources.
Flavor Text:“What kind of psycho wraps his sword in his dead sister’s skin?”
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-069

Lorenzo: A blank box until you’ve got four or more resources, Swordsman is decent as a backup 2-drop that you can perhaps Substitute in if your 2-drop is still hanging around, since the -3 DEF penalty for the turn is quite significant.  He’s also fine for off-curve as a reusable combat trick.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: I do like the ongoing DEF penalty, which will come in handy for all sorts of DEF-reduction combo decks.  He may yet have a place in my Human Torch/Punisher/Negative Woman deck.  4 out of 5.

Fred: It’s a decent ability for later in the game when you can fulfill the resource requirement, which is as early as turn 3 with Thunderbolts Mountain.  The fact that the penalty lasts for the turn means even if one attack fails, succeeding attacks can take advantage of the reduced DEF of the target.  3 out of 5.

Card Name: Taskmaster, Super Hero Trainer
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: 4/4
Abilities: Range
Rules Text:
Substitute
When Taskmaster enters play, put a +1 / +1 counter on him for each resource you control more than three.
{Activate}, Remove a counter from Taskmaster {>} Put a +1 / +1 counter on target character.
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-070

Lorenzo: Functionally not much more than DLS Beast Boy 3, Taskmaster comes in with relatively mediocre stats.  He can spread the love around a bit, but has to activate to do so, making the ability kind of useless during your initiative since you effectively lose whatever little brawn he has to contribute.  2 out of 5.

Neeka: Compared to the niftiness that was the 6-drop Crime Lords character, this Taskmaster isn’t quite as imposing, and falls flat on actual utility.  1 out of 5.

Fred: Granted, he can come in on later turns as a bigger character, but it’ll be turn 6 before he reaches Speedball 3’s size and his counter distribution is too slow to make much of difference in the later turns.  2 out of 5.

Card Name: Venom, Faithless Monster
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 4
Atk/Def: 9/5
Abilities:
Rules Text:
{Activate} {>} KO target stunned character.
Whenever Venom attacks, if no other character you control has attacked this turn, you may ready him. If you do, he can’t attack this turn.
Rarity: Uncommon
Card #: MUN-071

Lorenzo: Though his DEF leaves much to be desired, a 9/5 attacker on your initiatives is great for attacking up the curve, and his ability helps create character advantage for you.  It’s doubtful you’ll be able to take advantage of his readying ability in Limited, unless it’s to go for a cheapshot into a weenie character, but it’s nice to know it’s there.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: Plenty of ways to keep him from getting stunned, and he’s as good as all those other “Activate-> KO stunned character” characters.  I like.  4 out of 5.

Fred: You’ll need to use DEF modifiers, recovery effects or no-stun attack tricks to fully exploit Venom, but even as a walking Finishing Move with aggressive stats he’s a solid option for the T-Bolts.  3 out of 5.

Card Name: Venom, Brain-Eater
Type: Character
Affiliation: Thunderbolts/S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cost: 7
Atk/Def: 17/14
Abilities:
Rules Text:
{Activate} {>} KO target stunned character and gain endurance equal to its cost.
Flavor Text:“Get out of my way, I’m playing super hero!”
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-072

Lorenzo: I’m not sure when his activated ability will really come in handy considering that it comes into play so late in the game.  Perhaps to save you from bottoming out on endurance, since it can be used on one of your own stunned characters in a pinch.  With such a high ATK, he won’t have much of a problem getting the stunback to keep the endurance totals in your favor.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: It’s unfortunate that such aggressive stats are paired with an activated ability.  Overall kind of meh.  2 out of 5.

Fred: 2 out of 5 for me.  His stats are fine, but his ability is counter-productive, and comes in too late to be very useful.

Card Name: The T-Wagon
Type: Equipment
Affiliation:
Cost: 0
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Exhaust The T-Wagon {>} Target [Thunderbolts] attacker or defender gets +2 ATK this attack, or +4 ATK if it’s ready.
Rarity: Uncommon
Card #: MUN-073

Lorenzo: A reusable ATK pump that can be utilized on attack or defense, with a significant bonus on defense most of the time, is golden in Limited.  Though it’s an equipment, it doesn’t exhaust the equipped character, ensuring that it doesn’t mess with your attack/defense plans.  5 out of 5.

Neeka: Another great tool for the readying T-Bolts of MAV, with a little of the new MUN T-Bolts mixed in.  4 out of 5.

Fred: The flexibility of the T-Wagon and its non-uniqueness make it an excellent reusable pump for the team.  Since only the T-Wagon exhausts, the ATK pumps can be piled on whichever way you choose for the turn.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: The Zeus, Unique
Type: Equipment
Affiliation:
Cost: 1
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
The Zeus costs 1 less if you control five or more resources.
[Thunderbolts] characters you control get +1 / +1 and have flight and range.
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-074

Lorenzo: Waiting until turn 5 to take advantage of a mediocre stat boost makes this piece of equipment fairly mediocre.  2 out of 5.

Neeka: +1/+1 global augmentations have been around for a while now, and while the Zeus is free from turn 5 onwards, it could really have been used earlier.  It’s Unique, too, so the bonus isn’t really that great.  2 out of 5.

Fred: You can cheat a bit with the other resource threshold requirements of other T-Bolt stamped cards, but not with the recruitment of equipment, so the Zeus is only seeing play by turn 5 or so, and the bonus isn’t worth the wait.  2 out of 5.

Card Name: Thunderbolts Mountain
Type: Location
Affiliation:
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Terraform
{Activate} {>} Put the top card of your deck face down into your resource row. At the start of the recovery phase this turn, KO a resource you control. Use only if you control a [Thunderbolts] character and only during the combat phase.
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-075

Lorenzo: T-Bolts Mountain is a swell enabler for all of those resource threshold requirements of the T-Bolts, so if you can get it online for you in Limited, it does make things easier.  Also, it does speed your draw up somewhat by plunking cards into your resource row, but beware of dumping non-Reservist characters.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: The T-Bolts have been waiting for a card with an effect like this for a while, since they only had Amazon to turn to before.  4 out of 5.

Fred: Considering the lot of resource threshold T-Bolts cards, Thunderbolts Mountain is the key that powers the T-Bolts engine.  A definite 4-of in that deck.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: Collect Them All!
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 2
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Play only from your hand.
Search your deck for a [Thunderbolts] character card with cost less than the number of resources you control, reveal it, and put it into your hand.
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-076

Lorenzo: The search card for the T-Bolts is slick for the fact that it doesn’t cost you an extra card to play, but will be difficult to properly utilize unless you’re playing off-curve.  Still, search is search, and in Limited an underdrop is better than no character at all.  5 out of 5.

Neeka: If you’re playing curve, Collect Them All is a poor character search card, as even with resource acceleration, unless both Amazon and T-Bolts Mountain are in play, you won’t be able to search for next turn’s drop.  In off-curve, though, as the T-Bolts weenies are quite formidable, the value of Collect Them All rises considerably.  4 out of 5.

Fred: The resource restriction on this search card makes it great if you’re playing off-curve T-Bolts, which, given the amazing strength of their low drops, may not be a bad direction to take.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: Dangerous Liason
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
To play, KO a [Thunderbolts] defender you control.
Remove all attackers from this attack.
Flavor Text:“No one needs to know.”
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-077

Lorenzo: Wow, what a costly attack negation.  Not to be used as lightly as Force Field Projection or Heroic Sacrifice, this card is there for that one turn where you need to completely nullify a huge attacker coming your way to avoid massive breakthrough endurance loss, to stay ahead.  It’s situational, but good for what it does.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: Good for stopping cheap shots and keeping your endurance level up in those critical situations where your opponent gets to counterattack.  Negating an attack completely, regardless of the cost, is a powerful effect.  4 out of 5.

Fred: I’m rather queasy about KOing my own defenders in general unless the effect is worth the cost.  Is attack negation worth it?  Yes, sometimes, like when I’ve knocked my opponent into the negatives and he’s trying to do the same to me with a hidden attacker.  Dangerous Liaisons isn’t a no-brainer card, but is a game-winner when played with finesse.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: Faith In Monsters
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
To play, stun a [Thunderbolts] character you control.
Target attacker gets +X / +X this attack, where X is the cost of the character you stunned.
Flavor Text:“They’re not exactly the nicest people.”
Rarity: Uncommon
Card #: MUN-078

Lorenzo: This is a most intriguing ATK pump, that when used properly actually preserves your field even if you have to stun a character to use it.  Say you attack an opponent’s 4-drop with your 5-drop, without stunning back.  Now, your 4-drop can attack the 5-drop, and with Faith in Monsters, receive a +5/+5 bonus while doing it.  Come recovery, you recover your 5-drop, and he loses a character.  Also, to make it slightly easier to use, the attacker doesn’t have to be a T-Bolt.  Situational, but potent.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: Interesting how it doesn’t say “target attacker you control”.  This will be fun to use in multiplayer games.  4 out of 5.

Fred: Stunning my character for a possible huge bonus may just be worth the sacrifice if an attack is pulled off properly.  I’d only ideally use it on characters that are exhausted or that have attacked already.  3 out of 5 for the fact that you must prepare to use it.

Card Name: Ruthless Agression
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 1
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Target [Thunderbolts] attacker gets +2 ATK this attack and an additional +1 ATK for each time an opposing character was stunned or KO’d this turn.
Flavor Text:“They’re paying us for this? Oh, how times have changed.”
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-079

Lorenzo: Since this pump provides additional ATK for each stun or KO, a single stunned and KOd character would turn this into a +4 pump.  Not bad, and it is a combat pump, so it will most probably find its way into your Limited deck.  4 out of 5.

Neeka: This card can get crazy in multiplayer.  In a normal game, it’s still possible to get high numbers out of this, but not as likely unless your opponent has a decent-sized board to work with on your initiative.  3 out of 5.

Fred: This plot twist has an appreciating returns effect in that you’ll almost never play it on your first couple of attacks, but every attack after that will probably net you better and better results.  If you can stun and KO characters simultaneously, you’ve got it made.  3 out of 5.

Card Name: Sanctioned Killers, Team-Up
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 2
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Play only if [Thunderbolts] and [SHIELD] are affiliations among characters you control.
Rally for a character card.
Ongoing: Crossover those affiliations.
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-080

Lorenzo: One of those very specific two-team team-ups, but since almost all of your T-Bolts are S.H.I.E.L.D. it should be very easy to team them up and then use all the T-Bolt effects for your S.H.I.E.L.D. characters.  You get a rally, too, so this is all right.  3 out of 5.

Neeka: Would be better if we simply got the usual card draw effect, or even the Titans/Doom Patrol +1/+1 counter, but since the new T-Bolts are almost all S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway, this is really more for the non-T-Bolt S.H.I.E.L.D. characters, or the old T-Bolts.  Which doesn’t make it suck any less.  1 out of 5.

Fred: This team-up isn’t as useful as most because almost all of the T-Bolts are already dual-affiliated with S.H.I.E.L.D.  You don’t even get an extra card out of it, necessarily, just a rally effect.  2 out of 5.

Card Name: Speedball Is Dead
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 2
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
To play, stun a [Thunderbolts] character you control.
At the start of the recovery phase this turn, recover that character and put two +1 / +1 counters on it.
Rarity: Uncommon
Card #: MUN-081

Lorenzo: Stun this turn for a huge character next turn?  Barring any evil KO effects, I’ll go for that.  You can get the most advantage out of it once combat is done by using it on a non-stunned character, since it will recover at the start of recovery anyway.  This is especially good with the growing T-Bolts, since their abilities will be online automatically by then.  4 out of 5.

Neeka: Talk about delayed gratification.  Best used early game for some massive empowered T-Bolts.  4 out of 5.

Fred: This card just begs to be abused with the new T-Bolts, and particularly with Radioactive Man 3, who with Speedball is Dead and a Heroic Effort basically stops all plot twists with a cost greater than 0 from being played.  4 out of 5.

Card Name: Unregistered Combatants
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 3
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Play only if you control a [Thunderbolts] character.
Target defender gets -4 / -4 this attack and then gets +1 / +1 for each character adjacent to it.
Flavor Text:“Come quietly, and we won’t kill you too badly.”
Rarity: Rare
Card #: MUN-082

Lorenzo: This would be excellent against Hulk loner or even against the exposed characters in an L-formation, functioning with as much effectiveness as a Plasma Blast or a Grand Gesture in whittling down an opposing characters stats.  Not so effective against properly positioned Leaders, but at least there’s still a minor penalty to be had.  4 out of 5.

Neeka: Of varying effectiveness depending on how you’re doing, brutal against certain decks.  Overall an evil card.  4 out of 5.

Fred: It’s not an all-purpose, all-instance -4/-4, and most days it will be a -3/-3.  Still pretty mean, but not as good as It’s Clobberin’ Time because it targets an opponent’s character, and these days there are plenty of effects that negate effects targeting opposing characters.  3 out of 5.

Card Name: The Wrong Stuff, Team-Up
Type: Plot Twist
Affiliation:
Cost: 2
Atk/Def: /
Abilities:
Rules Text:
Play only if you control a [Thunderbolts] character.
To play, discard a card.
Ongoing: Crossover [Thunderbolts] and the printed affiliations of the card you discarded.
Rarity: Common
Card #: MUN-083

Lorenzo: Two T-Bolt team-ups?  Well, this one’s much more useful, allowing you to choose affiliations from your hand and toss for the crossover that you need.  Not as card-efficient as Coercion but functionally almost as good.  4 out of 5.

Neeka: Coercion with a discard.  Excellent.  4 out of 5.

Fred: The ability to team-up so easily with any affiliation or affiliations, saving only the requirement of a T-Bolt in play, is quite strong.  4 out of 5.

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