Jay: Today, we put an end to Baron Blade’s nefarious schemes. He begins the game as the Terralunar Implosion Beam inventor. What does this mean?
Tom: This means if you haven’t beaten the Baron’s first stage before he discards 15 cards, the ingame text explains what happens: “Baron Blade’s Terralunar Implosion Beam activates, pulling the moon into the earth. Game over.”
After the jump, will worlds collide?
Jay: I can only assume the Baron has a backup plan involving real estate near Mars. Since the heroes are fond of their coffee shops and the Megopolis city skyline — I’ll be using Megopolis as my environment for this game — they consider this a bad thing and work to stop the Baron. Baron Blade’s nemesis is America’s Finest Legacy, continuing a fight between their families that goes back generations. Kinda like Star Trek and Star Wars fans. Along for the ride in my battle are Chrono Ranger, a cowboy lost in time, and Visionary, a mysterious psychic who spent years in a secret government lab.
Tom: Where will my battle with Baron Blade take place? A roll of the ten-sided die turns up a seven, which means we’re fighting in the Ruins of Atlantis. Our rule of archnemeses means Legacy will lead my trio. Since Atlantis is underwater, I’ll bring fishman superhero Tempest. And to round out these two somewhat conventional heroes, I’m going to try the Argent Adept for the first time. He can be a handful. Narratively, he’s a bard. But in terms of gameplay, he’s a freestyle jazz musician. He gets out a bunch of cards that interact in weird and varied ways. I hate jazz.
Jay: Blade is an introductory villain. Anyone who has played Sentinels of the Multiverse has probably played against him. He makes a great demonstration villain for new players because his deck mechanics embody the ebb and flow of a Sentinels game. So every time someone wants to learn the game, you take out the Baron and play him again.
Tom: Yeah, he’s basically a starter villain whose job is to teach the beginning Sentinels player a simple lesson: don’t dawdle! Because if he cycles 15 cards, the Terralunar Implosion Beam activates. By the way, isn’t it fun to say “Terralunar Implosion Beam”? Try it. Trust me. Just try it. See? Wasn’t that fun? “Terralunar Implosion Beam”.
Jay: We are playing Blade’s advanced mode, something you wouldn’t do for a demonstration game. In advanced mode, Baron Blade does not wait around for the heroes to thwart his plan. Instead, he puts an extra card in his discard pile each turn getting him that much closer to his 15 card goal.
Tom: Frankly, I wouldn’t play Baron Blade on any mode other than “advanced”. As I’ve said before, “advanced” should be called “normal” and whatever normal is called should be called “waaah, this is the first time I’ve ever played a game with cards and I don’t even know how to hold cards in my clumsy hands”. Not that I’m judging.
Jay: My game with the Baron starts off with him floating high above the city in his Mobile Defense Platform, impervious to assaut. He has his minions, the Blade Battalion, do his dirty work for him and they pummel Legacy for a quick 5 damage. Not the worst of starts, but it did give my heroes a reminder that Baron Blade means business.
Legacy responds with an iconic Flying Smash, damaging both the Mobile Defense Platform and the Blade Battalion and then gives his team some encouraging words with his Galvanize power. It’s as if Legacy is a football coach on an afterschool special who urges his ragtag team to victory with helpful platitudes. In our case, it gives all the other heroes a +1 damage boost until Legacy’s next turn. He doesn’t get the benefit of his power but that’s the price of being a leader. Chrono Ranger does not waste time in using the bonus, though, and dispatches the Blade Battalion with a shot from his sidearm. He then puts a bounty on the Mobile Defense Platform and calls in Visionary who sends a psychic Mindspike to disable the platform (or at least its pilots).
Megopolis then serves up an interesting wrinkle to the game with Cramped Quarters Combat. This gives everyone a +1 damage bonus until the next environment turn. I guess Baron Blade had his pilots move the Mobile Defense Platform into the 42nd floor of a nearby office tower. Either way, Baron Blade takes advantage of this damage bonus with a Devious Disruption that punishes the heroes for any ongoings they have in play and does 6 damage to Legacy and 5 damage to Chrono Ranger and Visionary. Who said Baron Blade is a pushover?
Tom: Jay’s Baron Blade seems to have a little fight in him! But I feel sorry for my Baron Blade. He just can’t seem to get anything going. He gets a Blade Battalion into play for a little damage, he flails with Slash and Burn for a little more damage, and he throws up an Elemental Redistributor to reflect cold, fire, and lightning. But it’s to no avail. Legacy has in play a magic ring that allows him two actions each turn, so he’s using Galvanize to boost everyone’s damage, followed up by a Motivational Charge to handily punch past the Elemental Redistributor and apply team healing afterwards.
Jay: Legacy springs into action and lands a blow for freedom against the platform, destroying it and finally allowing the heroes to bring the fight to the Baron. As the fight continues, Chrono Ranger has to split his time fighting the Baron and rescuing innocents in the ruins of the city. Twice, the cowboy has to discard cards to save civilians in Megopolis from falling debris.
Tom: My environment is actually helping a bit. A Phosphorescent Chamber boosts damage and healing, but it drains our cards, so Tempest destroys it with a Flash Flood. An ironic fate for something we discovered in the ruins of Atlantis.
Jay: At this point, the Baron is stalling for time and summons more minions. Halfway to his plan (8 cards in his trash), he hopes that his henchmen don’t realize their health plans don’t cover “natural” disasters like moon collisions. He does have a bottom line to consider and mad inventions don’t come cheap. As the player, I am now in a race against his deck trying to ramp up my damage dealing to outpace the Baron’s card manipulation. At this point, I get lucky twice. Baron Blade has a card, Hasten Doom, that when played has him do damage and then play another villain card, doubling the number of cards put in the trash during his turn. Both of these are discarded by his advanced mode power rather than being played. This effectively buys me an extra turn to deal with his deck.
Which is critical, as Megopolis throws a serious monkey wrench into the heroes’ plans. A massive traffic pileup prevents the heroes from drawing any cards until it is dealt with. In a close game like this, distractions can spell game over for the good guys.
Thankfully, we have the Visionary on our side. She has cards that can take over minions and turn them against their master. Imagine if Michael Ironsides from Cronenberg’s Scanners was a super hero. She takes over an entire Blade Battalion and has them attack the Baron. This takes the pressure off of Chrono Ranger so that he can look in his closet (a time displaced armory) and find the perfect means of dealing with the traffic jam, temporal grenades. How many times have you wanted to blow up traffic? Well, in this game, you get that chance.
Tom: The Argent Adept has a handy combo going with his harp and a card called Inspiring Supertonic, which consists of two parts. The first part lets another hero use a power — Legacy steps in here to punch away with his Motivational Charge — and the second part applies healing. Along with the healing from Legacy’s Motivational Charge, we’re pretty much unharmed.
In fact, the most damage we’re taking is from Atlantis’ Mystical Defenses, a turret that attacks everything. This helps us shave down Baron Blade’s hit points. By the time The Kraken emerges to attack the target with the fewest hit points, Baron Blade is down to three hit points. He is “killed” by a Kraken’s tentacles. So much for the Terralunar Implosion Beam. Maybe building it in a Kraken-infested undersea ruin wasn’t such a great idea. Next time, Baron, try the Time Cataclysm or maybe Rook City.
Adding insult to injury, Baron Blade’s Flesh-Repair Nanites emerge immediately after he’s flipped and replenished his hit points. These guys would have ended up healing him for 20 hit points, but they do bupkis when he’s at full health. Great timing, nanites!
Jay: My heroes finally destroy the Terralunar Implosion Beam just minutes before the moon smashes Earth (12 cards in the trash). Chrono Ranger becomes a wrecking ball with two different bounties placed on the Baron’s head which add to his damage tremendously. By the time Baron Blade is flipped, Chrono Ranger is able to dish out 12 damage a turn. Baron Blade may be a vengeful mad scientist once you’ve destroyed his toys, but 12 damage a turn from just one hero proves too much for him and we win two turns later.
Tom: Thanks to Legacy’s Take Down card, which prevents the villain from playing any cards for one turn, my version of the Baron still can’t get anything going when he’s in his avenging mad scientist phase. We punch away mercilessly, the Atlantean defenses pepper him with turret fire, and the Kraken smacks him with its tentacles. Meanwhile, we’re healing steadily. During the final environment phase, a second Kraken comes out and kills Baron Blade. If there’s one thing worse for a villain with low hit points than a Kraken, it’s a pair of Krakens.
Next week: Abush’kootie. Abush’booty. Asush’kooby. Something like that. Basically, a giant tree. A giant angry tree!
(Click here for the previous entry.)