« on: December 16, 2014, 09:49:29 AM »
Here is my first, but hopefully not my last, expansion review for Infinity Wars, for the Order expansion which was just released. With the departure of the Sleepers and major, sweeping changes to the Overseers, how does IW's 4th expansion compare with those that came before it?
*A LOT of highly creative new cards added to the game. Cards like Cavalry Paladin, Chef, Thunder Apprentice and Genesis Battlesuit complement and expand on existing strategies, others like Rite of Rage and Overcharged Bot open up new possibilities for the factions.
*Some real power on offer here. With cards like Nix, the Justiciar of Dawn, Overcharged Storm, Zuza, Angelic Siren, Agent Coyle, Divinedemonic and Omnimind (when they finally fix it) to choose from, there are a lot of toys that will have you rubbing your hands together with glee when you get your hands on them
*Long after the Star Trek mini-expansion included a unique card called 'Diplomatic Exploration', Missions finally make their full debut in Infinity Wars. While they're a bit hit and miss (Purge the Unworthy, seriously?) and somewhat unbalanced by the fact that they're currently indestructible even to global effects like Oblivion, their potential is impressive and several of them should make quite an impression on the game.
*There's a VERY small number of outright clunkers in this set, even compared to the average for an IW expansion (which is already far lower than most CCGs which treat intentionally unplayable cards as some kind of necessary evil). While there are a few which are a bit sub-par (Mecha Dragon, Prayer of the Dragon), only a few (Brute Spawn, Purge the Unworthy) are truly worthless.
*Between Eucalyptus Tree, Terror Moose and Ethereal Fusion, the guys at Lightmare were clearly having a ball designing this set. I love this game for its sense of humour as much as anything else.
*Despite all the explanations and reasons Lightmare gave for doing it, I still can't condone the phasing out of the Sleepers of Avarrach. Their only card in this set, the aptly named The Last Sleeper, was a decent (if unspectacular) sending-off present, but I feel there was still so much more potential in the faction that is going to go untapped now.
*While there are a lot of powerful cards in the set, there's nothing that has quite the same "WOW!" factor as the Titans from Ascension. That's not entirely a bad thing, the Titans were a balance nightmare (Oblivion vs Hilderic anyone?) but there aren't many cards here you'd be aiming to build your entire deck around.
*Maybe it's just my imagination, but it feels like Flame Dawn and the Cult of Verore were getting the best stuff again this time. While every faction got their own neat toys, the real power seems to have fallen into the hands of two factions who really didn't need it. Between Nix, Fiery Wish, Noble Protector, Duellist, Flashbang, Cavalry Paladin, Ablaze, Resolute Initiative, Overcharged Bolt, Overcharged Storm, Thunder Apprentice, Rubble Golem, Dark Vision, Anger of Veroria and Ritual of Summoning, they both received a BIG boost, especially compared to the likes of, say...
*Exiles got the shaft again. Only 7 cards (not including the multifaction Coyle they share with Overseers) most of which are gimmicky but not world-shaking. The change to Splat restricting it to only targeting deployed characters was particularly painful, gutting the value of what would otherwise have been one of the most useful cards they received.
*The Swarmer Broodlord. What a letdown. Combined with the ABSURDLY over-the-top nerfs to the Warped Swarmer, Swarmer decks practically LOST more than they gained from this expansion.
*Some of the bugs that came out with the set are honestly embarassing. I STILL can't use my Omnimind yet...?
7/10 - While the set lacks the "POW!" of Ascension and it loses a whole point just for removing the Sleepers, it's an eminently solid expansion with multiple tools that will breathe fresh life into the game.
TOP 5 CARDS-
5: Genesis Spy
This is a personal favourite, because nothing screws an opponent like deck manipulation. Adding dead cards to your opponent's deck really shows how IW best takes advantage of its status as a digital CCG to do things an actual cardboard CCG would find impossible. With how precious card draws are in IW, giving your opponent a load of Misinformation can hurt more than almost ANY amount of damage.
4: Noble Protector
Not only was this a sweet pre-order bonus, it was also a kickass card. The Protector's real value is the way it covers one of Flame Dawn's biggest weaknesses- the low HP of their cheap, aggressive characters that made them painfully vulnerable to the likes of Heat Wave or Yuanshi's Wrath. Now, unless your opponent can pick them off manually with direct kill effects like Death Ray (in short, unless they're playing Verore) they have to bring your guys down in direct combat- where their high damage will ensure they're going down with you. The fact that it's extremely cheap itself is just the icing on the cake.
3: Nix, the Justiciar of Dawn
Demon of Fear is back with a vengeance- minus flying, but with Charge, his old 10/10 stats and 5 cost back and a kickass new suit of armour. The Demon was largely a defensive card for Verore, which made it more irritating than anything else, but Nix plays to FD's strengths by providing that knockout blow you need to finish your opponent off. Probably the best triple-purity card available to Flame Dawn (although Fiery Wish is also really sweet).
2: Thunder Apprentice
Another personal pick that I expect most people will overlook (or at least not appreciate the same way I do), this girl is sick. For only 2 resource she's cheap as chips and her ability -spawning additional Lightning Blasts in your hand- is both easy to trigger (she only has to deal combat damage to ANYTHING) and extremely powerful. Lightning Blast is still the single most cost-efficient damage card in the game (1 resource, 4 damage to any character or 8 to any mechanical, no questions asked) and being able to generate a theoretically infinite number of copies is an ability the likes of which no CCG has ever seen before. Opponents without Vigilance or Haste characters, or who don't want to expend a kill card on a mere 3/3, may end up finding that they actually can't get any of their characters to remain in play long enough to deal with her, what with all the Lightning crashing around them! Even if she only gets 1 hit off before dying, she's still justified her existence- the card economy is impressive. And let's not even MENTION her synergy potential with Oblivion...
1: Zuza, Angelic Siren
The most powerful neutral character you can have in your command zone since Evellee, Mage Guild Recruiter, Zuza is the new Patient Zero that anyone can use. Her ability is, not to put too fine a point on it, STAGGERINGLY powerful, able to pluck any character directly off the battlefield and give them to you for the same cost that Aleta, Immortal Sorceress would take to do a mere 6 damage to them! OK, she can only control 1 character at a time, but once they're on your side of the table they're yours to dispose of as you wish- perfect to use with the likes of Blood Arrow, Splat, Descent Into Madness, Overclock, or even Evellee's 2nd ability! Or hell, just feed them to Shikana, Nysrugh, or Vasir! Sure, she's a bit easy to bump off at only 6/6, but you don't HAVE to run her in command, and if you want to deploy a replacement copy then you're in luck- she only costs a mere THREE resource! Oh, and since she's an Angel, she benefits from all the tricks Overseers players can use to buff her up- including Solace's Gate!
What a piece of drek! A 2/2 for 3 is terrible value under most circumstances, but this isn't the first character with those stats to appear in the game, or even to appear in Verore's lineup! So what makes it so much worse than Verore Death Worshipper (not even a heavily-played card as it is)? Simple- it never gets any TOUGHER. No matter how big it gets from characters taking damage (and seriously, it won't get THAT big) it'll still die when coughed on, usually without getting the chance to do anything at all! And unlike the Death Worshipper, it doesn't even buff up while hiding in the Command Zone! Rubbish...