Archive for the ‘DCU Preview Articles’ Category

The Rogues: Design

August 7, 2008

SeventhSoldier here, with a design article for the team you’ve been watching for the last few days: The Rogues.  When it was first decided that the Speed Force would finally get a full-team feature, we thought about things for a little while, and we realized that we just couldn’t have The Flash show up without giving due to his villains.

The Rogues were a tough team to design.  What do they have in common?  Well…they don’t like the Flash.  But, some of them do.  Some of them have powers from tech, some have natural powers.  They’re all in it for different reasons, they all do things different ways.  How do you design a team that seems to have no unifying theme?

Well, the first thing I did was do a little research.  Specifically, one of the most Rogue-rich stories in recent memory, I looked at Rogue War, by Geoff Johns.  This is the first time I realized, though I saw it in Countdown as well, just how divided the Rogues were.  When Captain Cold was in charge, there were rules – no drugs, no killing speedsters.  Blacksmith and her Rogues, on the other hand, were a little more ruthless.  On either side?  James Jesse and a few others, Rogues who reformed and helped the police track down and deal with the remaining Rogues – and Inertia, Zoom, and other evil speedsters known for wanton brutality.  

All this under my belt, I began to revise my character list.  There are some characters I wanted in there because they were Names – like Gorilla Grodd – who I realized didn’t fit well on any of these groups.  There are some characters on there I just thought would be amusing – Folded Man, or Dr. Alchemy.  Again, these Rogues didn’t have a particular affiliation.  I dropped them.

Most of the Rogues didn’t want to kill the Flash.  They wanted to beat him, they wanted to slow him down, they wanted to make money, but they didn’t want to kill the Flash.  But how would that come out?  I ended up deciding that they were stalling.  They didn’t know how to end things.  Either they’d get caught, or they’d kill the Flash, right?  Wrong.  Instead, they just kept the game going as long as they could, and eventually the situation resolved itself when the Flash ran afoul of someone else – like, say, the Black Flash.

So, I began to build them as a stall team, and I realized that, for Cold’s crew, it worked, and I felt like Cold’s crew was important enough to the legend of the Flash to receive a legendary support card, and they built themselves like that.

But I’ve mentioned before how important version was – and Cold’s Rogues operated quite differently from Blacksmith’s Rogues, a slightly more straightforward group focused on causing damage as quickly as possible.

As I said, there are essentially four small teams within the Rogues.  The Speedsters are brutal, but they hurt you almost as much as they hurt your opponents.  Blacksmith’s Rogues are thugs, heavy and simple.  Cold’s Rogues keep things going as long as possible.  The Reformed Rogues wait until the fight starts before they unleash their full powers.

The goal, and the hardest part, was to make sure that they worked great both within and without their specific group.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide how well we succeeded, but I think that they work well together.  In the face of a common enemy, the Rogues will unite, despite their differences, and I hope that this comes out when you see the finalized team.

Tomorrow brings a more morally ambiguous team to the table, and enjoy that, and I hope you all keep enjoying the unofficial DC Universe.


Weather Wizard, Cold’s Rogues

August 5, 2008


















Yesterday, we saw Sudden Storm, the legendary plot twist for one of the Rogues – Weather Wizard.  Now, as you might guess, there’ll be more than one Weather Wizard in the set, and one was scheduled to preview that day.  However, we haven’t seen it pop up, and I think that it’s important, when judging a legendary support card, to see at least an example of the character it supports.

Bad weather can be a hassle, as we all know.  It rarely lasts long, but it just slows everything down.  Traffic comes to a crawl, runners stay at home, walkers have to push through rain, wind, and snow.  So, the Weather Wizard does pretty much the same thing – he may not kill you, but he’ll certainly slow you down.

Weather Wizard, Cold’s Rogues certainly won’t be stunning anybody else without some outside aid.  When you drop him, you’re dedicating him to NOT attacking, because all that’ll net you is an exhausted character.  But he’s an impressive wall for your opponents, sitting at what is essentially a 0/5.  Most 3-drops can stun him unaided, but there are a few that can – and perhaps more importantly, he can force the pump if a single Sudden Storm pops up.

So that’s the preview for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed, and we’ll be back tomorrow to talk about who the Rogues are and how they came to be.

Blacksmith, Blacksmith’s Rogues

August 3, 2008

Well, there are still a few Rogues left that are dual-affiliated with Speed Force – including The Rogues finisher, and bonus points to whoever guesses that one.  But, yesterday I mentioned the importance of version to The Rogues, and I thought today I’d give you a card that went along with that theme more directly.

When things got bad for the Rogues, they split.  Some reformed willingly, others were brainwashed, but the Rogues as we knew it were gone.  Still, all was not well for the Flash, because a new villain took it upon herself to make his life a living hell.

Blacksmith has the ability to reshape and merge with metal, making her a tough lady to bring down.  But the Rogues had more than enough firepower behind them – what they needed was a focus.  Blacksmith provided that focus.

She began her career running The Network, a black market/hide-away for the more villainous elements of Central and Keystone cities, but she moved on from there to dreams of conquest.  To those ends she gathered together remaining Rogues, some old hands, others still new to the game, and formed them into a cohesive unit.

Blacksmith’s card here – and apologies about the text-boxes, we’ve only recently found a decent picture of her that wasn’t loaded down with them – is meant to demonstrate that portion of Blacksmith’s career, as she forms her own group of Rogues, creating new alliances.  You can drop Blacksmith on 2 if you want to, but her real power comes as a plot twist, allowing you to remove her from the game and discard another character card to fetch a character, from any team, that shares a version with your discard.

Blacksmith isn’t The Rogues only tutor, though she just might be the best, and the fact that she is herself easily searchable by cards such as Mobilize make her a useful card.

And join me tomorrow as I replace (not for long, I hope) lebeau to discuss a little bit more about the design behind the Rogues.  ‘Til then, enjoy!

Inertia, Rogue Leader

August 2, 2008

  Remember yesterday, when I said that we weren’t quite done with the Speed Force previews?  I wasn’t lying.  The Rogues have a lot of history with the various Flashes – some of them even share the Flash’s speed.

  One of those dastardly speedsters is Inertia, an evil clone of Bart Allen – once Impulse, then Kid Flash, then Flash, now dead – and it was Inertia who led the Rogues to break their one rule: never kill a speedster.

  This Inertia isn’t huge.  He isn’t a Leader as we know it.  But this Inertia comes out early and runs away as soon as he convinces one of his allies to kill one of your characters.  Unlike most Finishing Moves, this not only doesn’t cost you any cards, but it actually nets you a card as Inertia comes back to hand as part of the cost.

  But Inertia is important for another reason. He isn’t the only character with the version Rogue Leader, and one Rogue we’ve seen already, over at Carebugger’s excellent blog, has the version Cold’s Rogues.  One story that influenced the design of this set heavily was Geoff John’s The Flash: Rogue War, and you’ll see that more and more as the previews continue this week, and one theme of The Rogues is revealed: the importance of a character’s version.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend preview for today.  Inertia doesn’t hit hard, but he does hit you where it hurts, and he doesn’t like to stick around for punishment, either.  Keep checking back for updates, and have a great weekend!


July 23, 2008

WHAT????? – Are you serious? A terraform location that allows me to play different versions of my printed JSA characters . . . And with Earth-22, perhaps signaling the coming of Kingdom Come/JSA characters and of course more JSA characters than we can shake a stick at.

-from StaticCat at

Power Girl, Sole Survivor

July 23, 2008

It’s the best day of the year today.  Yep, Power Girl day.  All kinds of PG goodness.  And comic book fans know, nothing beats PG goodness.

If you don’t know Power Girl’s back-story, I’m not even going to attempt to explain it.  Your head would explode.  Let’s just say she’s the last survivor of the Krypron of Earth-2.  If that doesn’t make any sense to you, nothing I can say is going to fix that.

To capture the importance of these locations (Krypton and Earth-2) all of the Power Girl-related cards in the set deal with locations.  Here’s an example:

I sense you’re not that impressed.  Sure, replacing resources can be a good thing.  But it can also bite you if you wind up burying an important character in your resource row.

MUN gave us the Super Hero Registration Act and way back in MOR we got Night Vision.  Both cards can help you know when to use Power Girl’s power and when not to.  Plus there are ways to stack the top of your deck like Poseidonis or Asgard.  The JSA is going to have quite a few ways of their own.

With apologies to ChaosExile489 at tcgplayer, I’m going to run the risk of stealing his thunder a little.  He’s supposed to preview 2 PG cards today, but I haven’t got a confirm that his article will go up today.  So, I’m going to let you see one of the cards here.  When I get an address for his article, I’ll be sure to post it so you can enjoy his Power Girl previews.

I’m not going to comment a lot on this card since there is another preview article being written on it.  But you can see how this would help make Power Girl, Sole Survivor a very useful card.  Survivor of Another World will have other uses, as you will see. 

If everything goes according to my preview calendar, you should see some more uses sooner rather than later.

Enjoy the rest of your Power Girl preview day!

JSA Team Design

July 22, 2008

Disclaimer: JSA is the one team that I did the initial designs for.

Way back at the dawn of time when we first started work on this project, everyone picked a team to start working on.  Guglio picked Emerald Enemies.  But because he’s super fast, he did the Green Lanterns too.  Seventh Soldier started working on . . . a team I can’t say yet.  And I started working on my favorite team in the set (and my second favorite team of all time) the JSA.

The challenge for me in desiging the JSA was to keep the flavor of the original team while still doing something new and different.  Originally, I tried to flesh out the “identity” theme.  But it didn’t work well with the roster I wanted to use.  (More on the roster later.)  I focused my attention on exhausted characters and attacking up curve.

To try to differentiate the new JSA cards from the old ones, I incorporated the keyword “boost”.  My original design had a lot of boost effects.  I figured that this would work well with the little guys attacking up curve strategy.  However, all that changed when the MUN previews started.

Here’s the thing about designing a fan-created set.  Upper Deck doesn’t tell us what they are doing.  I try not to be offended, but frankly this would be a whole lot easier if they would just keep us in the loop. 

(Incidentally, if anyone in R&D would send me a full explanation of the keywords that will be featured in Marvel: Evolution, it would be greatly appreciated!)

You may recall that the first MUN preview card was Captain America, Secret Avenger.  It showcased the new keyword “rally”.  Immediately, I knew we needed to include “rally” in our set.  More than that, I knew “rally” needed to be on my team.  Who rallies better than the JSA?  No one. 

While I was re-working the team to incorporate the new keyword, I also started fine-tuning the roster.  Characters who had been included solely for their identity got dropped.  I decided to focus on the line-up from the current series.  It took a lot of work, but we managed to squeeze in almost* every member from Justice Society of America #1 to current.  (*Sorry, Lance.)

One of the themes in the book since its relaunch has been the swelling of the ranks in the JSA.  It’s getting tough to keep all of these characters straight!  As I was reviewing the roster, it occurred to me that some of these guys had to be reservists.  Before I knew what I was doing, the JSA had a minor reservist theme as well.

So, yeah, the JSA is going to work very well with the Avengers.  Since the Avengers are my favorite Marvel team, I guess I can live with that.

What else can you expect from the JSA?  We’ve got a few legends.  It was tough squeezing them in given the size of the team.  A couple of them spilled over into other teams like Alan Scott in the Green Lanterns.  And there’s some cards designed to work well with the old team themes from Infinite Crisis.

I hope you guys enjoy the refeature as much as I enjoyed doing it.  If not, the good news is I didn’t have time to do any others.*

*And honestly, the other guys are better designers than me anyway.

Be sure to check out today’s JSA preview artcicles and keep coming back all week for more!

Thunderbolt, Cei-U

July 22, 2008

Today’s previews got posted early!  I’m not used to having two previews to share before noon.

Anyway, here’s the second of today’s JSA previews:

Ferris Aircraft

July 13, 2008

The Green Lantern comic book stories play out in a cosmic setting.  There are lots of alien planets and space sectors.  But ever since Geoff Johns started his run with the rebirth of Hal Jordan, there have been a couple of key terrestrial locations as well.  One of those locations is definitely Ferris Aircraft.

For those of you who don’t follow Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is a test pilot for Ferris Air.  He’s had a rocky relationship with the company as well as its owner, Carol Ferris.  When they were children, Hal and Carol were friends.  That ended when young Hal watched his father die in an accident at Ferris Aircraft.

In the current “Secret Origin” story running through the Green Lantern title, Geoff Johns really deatils Hal’s history with the company.  How he swore never to return to Ferris Aircraft and what ultimately brought him back.  As the flavor text says, Ferris Aircraft is where Hal’s hopes and fears were realized.  We couldn’t do a Green Lantern set covering the Geoff Johns run on the book without including this key locations.

So, without further ado, here’s the card:

Filtering locations have been around since Cerebro way back in MOR.  I think a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with these kinds of cards.  Yes, they can help you hit your curve.  But most people would rather just dig into their deck with a good tutor.  (Don’t worry, the Green Lanterns get one of those too.)

Ferris Aircraft doesn’t let you dig too far into your deck.  You just get to see the top card.  If it’s a Green Lantern character card, it’s yours free and clear.  If not, you’ve got some choices to make.  If it’s not something you want to draw into, you can bury it at the bottom of your deck.  But if it’s a card you want, things get a little more interesting.

If you choose to leave the card on top of your deck, there are plenty of ways to get to it.  The easiest is to play some kind of card draw effect.  (The Green Lantern team has a few available including the already previewed Hal Jordan, Rebirth” 

Assuming you don’t have a card draw effect handy, there’s also rally.  Since you know what the top card of your deck is, something like Alias Investigation from MUN will fetch it for you.  But, we also build in an emergency failsafe to keep our “test pilots” safe.  If you absolutely need to have the top card of your deck in your resource row, all you need to do is discard a card and replace Ferris Aircraft.

If you excerise this failsafe option, you’ll be “grounded” unless you draw into another Ferris Aircraft.  (Just like Hal Jordan, there’s always a chance you’ll be back.)  But it offers you the peace of mind to know you won’t be burying a critical card the way some filtering locations do.

Starting tomorrow, we’re going to increase the number of previews per day.  So, keep checking back with us for all the DCU excitement.  Things will be getting scary as we shine a spotlight on the frightful Sinestro Corps!

Thirst For Revenge

July 10, 2008

So far this week, we’ve been looking at the Emerald Enemies refeature and their new twist on willpower.  Today’s preview card continues that trend with a powerful search card…

Like most of the “pay willpower” effects we’ve seen so far, this one is restricted to the build phase.  However, unlike previous effects, you can pay this cost off of any number of characters you control.

You can see how these willpower payments can start to add up.  During the build phase, you’re going to be facing some tough choices.  What effects do you want to spend your willpower on?  Obviously, if you’re missing an important drop, Thirst for Revenge is going to be a pretty high priority for you.  But it might mean you won’t have the willpower to spend on another flashy effect you wanted to play.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pay all your willpower from just one character.  That gives you some flexibility.  But you’ll need to be careful if you want to get the most bang for your buck.

Also, it’s a tutor that does not require a discard.  It doesn’t require an exhaustion.  And you don’t even have to control another Emerald Enemies character.  Obviously, this is going to be a very useful card!

The downsides are that it is limited to the build phase.  So, you can’t use it to fetch a timely power-up or discard.  Also, you’ve got to control some characters with combined willpower of 3 or more.  Of course, that shouldn’t be hard to pull off at all.

We’ve got more Emerald Enemies action coming this week including a few more community previews.  And starting next week, we’ll be doubling up with extra previews across the blogosphere.

If you have a blog and you’re interested in previewing a card in the coming weeks, post here or here: and we’ll get something set up.