Sinestro’s Might


Tchalla previews the first card for the super-legend of our set, Sinestro.  You can read his preview article here:

This seems like as good a time as any to discuss the use of willpower in the set.  When we did the polls to determine what would be included in the set, there were three clear winners in their fileds.

Storyline – Sinestro Corp War

Super-Legend – Sinestro

Mechanic – Willpower

It seemed like the fans were sending us a pretty clear message of what they wanted to see.  So, we did our best to oblige.  The set includes all the key members of the Sinestro Corp storyline and many who only appeared in the backgrounds.  We’ve got Sinestros at every drop from 3-8.  And we’ve got two teams that use willpower in their central strategy.

As you know from last week’s Green Lantern previews, the Green Lantern refeature stays pretty true to the original version from the Green Lantern set.  But for Emerald Enemies, Guglio came up with a unique twist.  In an effort to make the EEs feel like opposites of the GLs, the Enemies would spend their willpower rather than store it up.

It was a simple idea that had a huge impact on everything we did.  There are already several ways to boost a character’s willpower, so we had to take that into consideration every time we used “pay willpower” as a cost.  We had to be exceptionally careful about balancing the cost and the effects.

Marvel Team-Up introduced the idea of paying attack.  Paying attack is definitely a cost.  It can be played around to some extent.  But attack is a valuable commodity in Vs.   When you give it up, you should get something in return.

Willpower, in and of itself, is a pretty worthless thing.  Unless you’re planning to use willpower for some other effect, you’re not giving anything up by paying willpower.  Plus, if your character is about to be stunned, you’re going to lose its willpower for the turn anyway.  We called this the “burn ’em while you got ’em” effect.

To minimize “burn ’em while you got ’em”, most effects that use willpower payment as a cost have to be played at a certain time.  That way, you have to commit to the payment before the payment becomes a moot point.  As with yesterday’s Parallax preview, a lot of these effects need to be played during the build phase.

We also tinkered with other ideas.  I actually came up with an entire draft of the Emerald Enemies where once you paid willpower, it was gone for the rest of the game.  While this made balancing costs and effects much easier, it also made for a bookkeeping nightmare. 

What we ended up with was essentially Guglio’s original design for the mechanic.  Aside from the limitations on when the effects could be played, we also built in some other uses for willpower on the Emerald Enemies team.  That way, if you choose to spend your willpower during the build phase, you’re actually giving something up.

The last (and probably most difficult) consideration was balancing a deck that teamed up the GLs with the EEs.  We had to make sure that the GLs couldn’t pump the EEs willpower to the point of being broken.

You’ll have to let us know if we succeeded or not on that last one.

Keep watching this week for more Emerald Enemies goodness.  You’ll get your first look at the super legend himself from two super-legends of the Vs. community.  Plus more innovative willpower payment effects from the blogosphere!


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