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Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Great Karnak!

No, not that one. This one --

See, I went over to Great Escape tonight. I was jonesing for some Supernova. It's been a couple of weeks since I've been allowed to buy anything for myself, as I wasn't supposed to ruin any of my birthday presents. However, the inept bungling idiot that SuperFiancee ordered my final gift from keeps somehow not managing to get it to us, despite the fact that he claims he's sent out two separate items by now, and at the latest, we should have gotten the second shipment today.

After a quick conference with the SuperKids, all the beautiful females in my life decided to let me off the hook. So, away I went to the local geek shop, with full intention of getting myself some Supernova. Dammit, Mike Norton has the whole set, and I don't even have a lousy rookie Thor yet. It's just wrong.

Further setbacks occurred at the shop itself, which was packed to the gunwales with holiday shoppers, and where I found no Supernova. There had been two boosters left when I'd gone in on Thursday and picked up my comics for the week, but someone had since scarpered with those, which made me sad. I nearly bought some Sinister -- I still have a sizable list of Vet figures I'm missing from that set -- but WizKid's new case distribution process makes buying random boosters, once you've gotten a majority of the figures in a set collected, a very unsatisfying process. Somehow or other, it seems as if they really don't put any of the higher numbered Veteran figures in loose boosters. I haven't figured out how they manage this, but they seem to have accomplished it nicely.

So in an act of desperation, I asked the guy at the counter if maybe they had some Supernova in a back room, or stashed away under the counter, or perhaps he had one or two boosters secreted in a secret bellybutton compartment, like the chick in that one Heinlein novel. As it turns out, there wasn't anything stashed away under the counter that he was willing to admit to without a search warrant, and he asserted no knowledge whatsoever of a secret bellybutton compartment. But he was happy to check the back room for me. Minutes later, he came back, with the last four boosters the shop had. I love it when a plan comes together. And frankly, if he actually pulled them out of a secret bellybutton compartment as soon as he was away from prying eyes, well, I'm willing to respect his privacy.

So I bought 'em, brought 'em home, and gutted them like trout. And out of the very first one, what did I pull?

Oh, yeah, you already figured that out. I kinda foreshadowed it. Sometimes I become overly enthusiastic about these things. Sorry.

So now I have ALL the Inhumans WK has issued in plastic form, and a pretty decent team they are, too. If I ever got to field them in an actual game, using the Inhumans Team Ability* I've created within my House Rules, I'd probably set them up as follows:

Black Bolt - alternate JLA TA**
Medusa - alternate JSA TA***
Maximus - Superman/Ultimates TA
Lockjaw (Vet)- Mystics TA
Crystal - Superman Enemy TA
Karnak - Skrulls/Danger Girls TA

This allows Black Bolt to start out with a +3 to his Attack Values, as long as he can keep his full family on the board. Medusa gets a similar plus to her defense, to keep her in the game a little longer. Maximus will be able to spot hiding opponents, which will come in handy with his Outwit and Mind Control abilities. Lockjaw gets something that will make opponents hesitate to take a shot at him because hitting him will always backfire. Crystal will be able to either gain Outwit herself or give it to a more powerful member of her family by moving adjacent to them. Karnak will have the ability to either avoid being attacked on a 5-6, or reduce an opponent's defense to 0 on a 5-6, which is appropriate to his abilities as the greatest living martial artist. The attack component of that will come in especially handy late in his dial, when he starts getting some cool powers but his Attack Value has sloped off dramatically.

Anyway, it's unlikely I'll ever get to actually play it, but I'm very pleased to get a Karnak.

Other nice pulls -- a rookie Super Ape, an Experienced Kang (the right dial in the right fig, this time), a Space Phantom pog, my first two of the new Kree (a Rookie and an Experienced). I also got another rookie Shi'ar. And yet, even at only 10 boosters in, I'm already finding it difficult to get new pieces from random picks. High numbered Vets are like jewels; I don't think I got a single Vet of any sort from this pull at all... no, wait, I got yet another Vet Jubilee. Whoopee.

And, unfortunately, I got yet ANOTHER Thor sculpt packaged with a rookie Vision dial. This is, apparently, not a fluke. That's a real pisser.

I've been advised that, if the dipshit from E-bay ever manages to master basic mailing skills, I'm eventually meant to receive a brick of Supernova as my final birthday gift. (Which, I should note, is a wonderfully thoughtful gift from my lovely fiancee and fabulous future step-kids, and I deeply appreciate the thought behind it, regardless of the apparent retardation of the dumbass they unfortunately ordered it from.) Should I at some point actually obtain this item, I can only hope I find within it, maybe, a Silver Surfer or a Thor, or a Veteran Ant-Man, or a Dr. Spectrum, or a Vance Astro, or a Mantis, or a Starhawk, or a Vision... you know, one of those pieces I keep being told are to be found in boosters that I've yet to see so much as a glistening illusory speck of.

I'm not even going to invest much hope in the Uniques I'll probably get. I've already gotten four Supernova Uniques -- Power Princess, Korvac, Karnak, and the Red Ghost. No doubt I'll just get duplicates of those. And as for yearning for one of the Marvel Zombies... no, best to banish that impulse entirely. The way my luck runs lately with this stuff, I could buy five cases and never catch a whiff of one.

Still, last night I got a Karnak, and for now, I am content.

Well, SuperFiancee is making biscuits and gravy along with her restaurant quality scrambled eggs for breakfast, too, which certainly helps.

But, while I'm thinking of it, I should probably do a little work on a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Team Ability, and a FLASH ROGUES Team Ability...

* * * *

*INHUMANS: At the beginning of the game, choose any Team Ability that is not a Wild Card Team Ability. Assign it to an individual Inhuman figure in your force. This TA remains for the remainder of the game. If you have more than one Inhuman on a force, you must choose a different Team Ability for each Inhuman. TAs which duplicate each other in effect (Batman/Kabuki, etc) may not be duplicated among the Inhumans on your force.

** JLA: If every member of your force is a JLA member, you may choose one JLA member on your force per turn. For the remainder of your turn, this JLA member may receive a modifier to their Attack Value equal to +1 for every 2 JLA members on your force (rounding down). This is a free action. If there are any members of your force that do not have the JLA Team Ability, you may not use this team ability. Instead, members of the JLA may move on your turn without their movements counting toward your turn's action limit.

*** JSA: If every member of your force is a JSA member, once per turn, choose a JSA member on your force. Until the beginning of your next turn, you may give this JSA member a modifier to his Defense Value equal to +1 per 2 JSA members on your force, rounding down. This is a free action. If any members of your force are not JSA members, then you may not use this TA. Instead, JSA members which are adjacent to each other may use each other's unadjusted Defense Values as a free action.


At 11:49 PM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

Congratulations on the pulls, and good luck with the brick. I've been watching (well, not so much this weekend) for word of how the brick's gone for over a week.

I briefly considered putting together an Inhumans-based team as one of this weekend's options, but I must admit it didn't occur to me to put Maximus on the team. It's an interesting, blood-linked team one isn't likely to see elsewhere due to the archenemy bases the brothers share. The complementary placements of Outwit and Perplex on their dials, along with Maximus' opening TK click would make them a potentially devastating team, especially if Black Bolt's going to give into the dark side and go with that Running Shot/Pulse Wave combination.

As for loose booster pulls, well, the gold's out there. The proportions are definitely slanted away from the higher-numbered pieces, especially experienced and vets as one climbs higher through the REVs. While there was a swath of roughly 1000 cases where horrible, wacky things happened, my cases of the three most recent sets reveal the proportions they're aiming for and mostly hitting.

Out of a case of 192 figures one can expect numbers 1-36 to be present as 3R, 3E & 2 V. From 37-60 its usually 3R, 2E & 1V. The rares, from 61-84 fall 2R, 1E & 1V. So, look at where a figure falls on a the list and that should provide an idea of what the odds are in a random pull from a single (non-mutant) case. The bizarre problems with mismatched figures and bases, though, appear to be all over the place. At the marquee I attended just before Thanksgiving several of us pulled mis-matched bits. Three of us came out with the clear, veteran Vision sculpt accompanying rookie or experienced bases, too. Then again, some of the local players who'd bought cases from the local distribution line pulled cases seemingly packed by Mr. Hyde in an especially bad mood, under the supervision of The Joker, so we may have dipped into a similar well there.

On the positive side of random pull experiences, Grant ordered five boosters as part of his comics for the month from Westfield, and received them on Black Friday.

Along with pulling the Red Ghost and the completing Super Ape he was looking for, he found a Karnak, E Surfer, E Drax, V Hyperion, an REV of the Badoon, and a zombie Hulk as the highlights.

Again, good luck! I'll continue to watch.

At 7:49 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

I'd have to get permission from any and all co-players in any such hypothetical game to set aside the A.E. rule so I could run my Inhumans theme team, yeah. I'd already thought of that. But assuming that, I think it would be a fun, and very well balanced, team... not that that's surprising; Kirby tended to design well balanced teams as easily and apparently effortlessly as Ty Pennington reaches for the mousse in the morning.

Maximus' opening TK click isn't as devastating under my House Rules, where 'no action after taxi' has been expanded to include TK. If the Inhumans won the right to move first, however, it would allow Black Bolt to be positioned in a very threatening place, protected as he would be by my No Attacks On The First Turn policy.

What I've been impressed with in this case is how Seth has made each version of the REV dials useful in and of themselves. Prior designers have pretty much simply stuck with the 'weaker-weak-YEAH BABY' sequences, allowing me to, for the most part (unless I'm looking for a particular TA) ignore the R and E versions and focus on the Vets. In this set, though, even the Rookie Thor and Vision are quite useful -- and, in fact, each of them has capacities that their E and V versions don't have. Ant-Man is similar. It's a pain when it comes to deciding which version to play, and of course makes it harder to ignore the various levels of the characters as I generally had been... but still, it's nice to have all the options.

I would think that if Mr. Hyde and the Joker were in the same room for five minutes, one or both of them wouldn't survive the interaction. Speculating as to which, if either, would walk out alive could be an interesting half hour's diversion, though...


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