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    MetaX Q&A: Deckbuilding with Dan Green!

    Welcome back, everyone!  SDCC was a crazy flood of information on the MetaX front.  Not only did we get our first peak at the product, via early release packs and decks, it was also announced that the next set, releasing this winter, is Green Lantern, focusing on the Lantern spectrums of DC Comics and set 3, set for Spring 2018, would be our first foray into the world of anime with the huge hit, Attack on Titan!  With today’s blog post, we also learned that OP is on the way, as early as next month!  Lots to unpack there in the future, but for now, we turn our eyes to the set 1.
     
    The premier set of MetaX, Justice League, is just around the corner.  One of the biggest quandaries coming into a new game, particularly one with unique elements like MetaX, is deckbuilding.  Type ratios, combos, themes, what goes into a good deck?  We (virtually) sat down with playtester Dan Green to get some insight into where to start and what to look for when building your MetaX deck.  But before we get into that, here’s a quick primer on card types and deck construction limitations:
     
    Deck size: 40cards, no more no less
    Card Limit: 3 copies of any card (see specific rules on Battle cards below)
    Card Types:
    Character Cards – These will be your main vessel of attack.  Cards have between 1 and 3 stat types (Strength, Intelligence and/or Special), and each stat will have a rank from 1-7.  Stat types and ranks dictate what Battle Cards that character can use to attack.  Character cards also generate Meta Points (MP), which is your currency for playing most Battle Cards and Event cards.
    Event Cards – These are single use effects, usable generally on your own turn, to try and turn the tide of the game in your favor.
    Battle Cards – While Characters are your main attacking force, they cannot do so without a Battle card.  These are used to attack and defend and, like Characters, contain 1 or more stats of rank 1-7.  There are 2 types of character cards, with their own deckbuilding rules:
    Single Stat – These have only ONE stat type on them.  You may include 3 copies of each stat/rank combination in your deck. (Ex., you could use 2 copies of STR2 card # C35 and 1 of STR2 card # C36, but you could not use 3 of C35 and then 2 more of C36)
    Multi Stat – These have 2 or 3 stat types on them as well as a single rank (1-7).  This means they may be used as any of the different types at any time.  You may include a maximum of 3 copies of each RANK VALUE in multi stat BCs in your deck. (ex. You could have 2 copies of a STR/INT 3 cards and 1 STR/SPL 3 card, but if you run those three you may not run ANY other rank 3 multi stat BCs, regardless of their stat combination.
     
    So now that you know the basics, let’s get down into some details with Dan.
     
    Question: Striking a balance between card types in a deck is a VERY delicate process in many constructed deck games.  In general, do you think there is an average breakdown of Character:Event:Battle Card when starting out?
     
    Dan:  There are certainly some numbers we tend to gravitate towards. When players first crack a starter deck, they will get a good idea of roughly where they should be aiming in their deck design - 12 characters is fine, your battle cards should probably be in the high teens for a standard deck, and just handful - 6-9 maybe - of events. That's kind of the surface level look at things. Deck building goes much deeper in MX than that, though - there are some concepts that would be ripe for their own articles, so I'm just going to touch on them quickly. First is the concept of "gaining full MP value" - each character stocks you up with some value of MP, and a well built MX deck doesn't have MP going unused without reason. Events are the common way to use it, but you can also gear your deck towards getting value from stronger BCs that cost you MP as well. On the other hand, you can play BCs that gain MP and make that value back by playing MORE events. So the basic numbers will fluctuate to some degree based on how you intend to make your MP valuable. Second looks at "psuedo-BCs" - this stems from the idea of each deck needing some number of Attacks in order to win (outside of potential combo or mill strategies). Your deck doesn't necessarily need to create those attacks by playing a high number of BCs, and by constructing it with using your MP correctly in mind, you can also play certain events or effects to make up for not having as many BCs. There's obvious things like Joke's On You, Superboy, and Strength/Intelligence/Special 1, which literally just put BCs back in your hand, but then there's slightly less obvious things like Harley Quinn - Harleen Quinzel or Nightwing. Their effects allow you to score VPs outside of using BCs to attack, which theoretically reduces the total number you need and frees up more slots for Events or other effects.
     
    Re: Character Cards:
     
    Q: Having limited space in a deck (40 card max, 3 card playsets) can often dictate how many of a card you use for specific combos, but a lot of times some cards can work well as a “one-of tech” to provide an out against other strategies or possibly change up your own.  Do you see there being strategic value in running a “one-of” of some utility characters?  Any examples of one that would be useful in this way?
     
    D: Absolutely. A combination of factors - 40 card decks, the "dig-deeper" mulligan style, and the high emphasis on card draw and card quantity definitely creates viability for singletons. Decks can focus on them as a feature - such as a deck that runs 3x Alfred and then a smattering of one-of, silver-bullet characters to search out - but some decks will just run singleton Characters or Events with niche utility but critical vs a certain deck.

    Characters like Atom, Mr Freeze, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman - Princess Diana have long lasting effects where you may only need one to take over the game vs the right deck. Characters like Firestorm and Deathstroke may also be teched in as a singleton just to have the effect at the right moment (like to shut down one of the former cards!).

    On the Event side of things, the massive effects like Unexpected Turnaround and Evil Parade could easily make it in as a one-of, as could something like Absence of Fear if a common deck likes to keep a massive hand size. 
     
    Q: So all that in mind, on average, how many different characters do you think would run in an average deck?
     
    D: This is going to completely vary from deck to deck, but an average would probably be...5? Some decks will use a Starter Deck layout of 4 three-ofs. You can completely change the tone and playstyle of that deck by swapping out 2 of the characters for 3 two-ofs. And some decks, like previously mentioned, may decide to run a host of singletons and ways to tutor them!
     
    Q: Regarding combos, do you think it better to run a smaller number of character to play to a certain combo, and then fill in other spots as support, or could larger combos be just as viable?
     
    D: I think the former will be a common way of building decks, but it's also sort of the path of least resistance. The three character limit on board tends to reign in the allowed complexity of the board state, making larger combination strategies harder to make sense of.  But, with the amount of ways of clearing the board, I won't count such strategies out - I just think you have to plan a way to pull it off and make sure it's worth it.
     
    Re: Battle Cards:
     
    Q: Multi Stat cards could be seen as more versatile than single stat battle cards, given that they can make a TKO more likely and can often be used by multiple characters.  Granted they usually have higher MP cost and their effects could seem inferior to some single stat BCs.  How important do you think it will be for decks to balance what types and ranks they use in their BCs?
     
    D: It's hugely important! Your deck’s kill potential is directly related to that, and actually you can go in multiple directions with it as well. In MetaX, it's not always correct to TRY to kill your opponent's characters, which is always a fun "learning moment" I leave into a first demo game with someone. Some decks will opt to attrition their opponent out of Characters (typically a control deck strategy), while others will try to run the opponent out of options for playing BCs - which can often be done by clogging their board so they can no longer gain MP or switch out characters. In order to achieve those ends, you need to think about which ranks and stats your BC lineup is (in addition to which effects you want to play). A deck that uses just a single stat will almost never TKO - is that what your deck wants? Repeat the same question for a low rank deck. On the other hand, a deck that diversifies into all 3 stats will TKO easily, but may have trouble playing with certain character lineups. Do you have a plan for that? Smart deck building will certainly account for these things.
     
    Q: Simple strategies can be assumed going into the game, such as low rank BC decks which lean toward easy requirements and focus on TKO or high rank BC decks that risk more difficult requirements for the reward of better effects and single hit HPKOs. Do you prefer one or the other?  Would you say it could depend on the playstyle of the players themselves?
     
    D: It absolutely depends on the playstyle, and as I mentioned above, you may not even want to KO your opponent's characters! Personally, I think I've had the most fun playing Rank 7 focused decks that have resiliency in combat along with options for board declogging (Shazam and Brainiac are two of my favorites). But I've played and played against many low rank decks that are equally interesting and distinct ways to play.
     
    Re: Event cards:
     
    Q: Event cards seem like they could play a pivotal role in some decks.  While character and battle cards are the bread and butter of gaining VPs and MP, Event cards almost exclusively COST MP to play.
    Do you think an argument could be made for including events as part of a heavy combo deck?
     
    D: Events are critical to certain combo decks. Cards like Rebirth and Sleight of Hand greatly grow in value in a combo deck, where the ability to return important cards or retrieve them from your opponent's VP pile (respectively) is one of the few ways you can continue using your combo. And obviously a combo deck needs ways to draw cards or tutor for the right ones to get their combo to work, and events provide some of the strongest ways of doing that.
     
    Q: Conversely, do you think decks that forego Event cards for the most part could still be competitive?
     
    D: Absolutely. Back at the start I mentioned that a deeper level of deck building involves figuring out how to best use your MP - Events are the easiest way of spending it so your characters are providing "full value", but they are not the only way. Funneling MP into great Battle Card effects can give you an equally strong gameplan. I think most decks will still contain a few events - some are just so good in a particular strategy that you might be shooting yourself in the foot to forsake them just to say you play no events - but low, or no, event decks are very possible, and open you up to the best use of extremely strong effects like Supergirl.
     
    Q: With that, I think we’re done for now.  Thank you for your time and insight into the deckbuilding process for MetaX.  There is definitely a lot of information here to delve into so players have a bit of a leg up when they crack their packs in the coming weeks.
     
    D: Thanks so much for the questions - hope they provide you with some good material and food for thought and happy deck building!
     
     
    MetaX Justice League releases on 8/4/17.  Keep an eye out at your local retailer and stay tuned to TCGTopTier next week for an unboxing of packs from the SDCC presale!
     
    ~Stryyder out

    SDCC2017 - Set 2 announced, set 3 rumors are at the wall

    Greetings fellow faithful.  Big news out of San Diego Comic Con.  Not only can you pick up 4 exclusive foil promos from their booth, as well as buying early boosters ($4ea) and starters ($15ea), but they have dropped the bomb on MetaX set 2 and rumors are FLYING about set 3!
    MetaX has been billed as a Crossover TCG, meaning they are planning on mixing many different titles into this game.  However, it looks like we are going to be staying in the DC universe for set 2, coming this fall:

    (Photo courtesy of Trent Betts/TAK games)
     
    Set 2 – Titled “Green Lantern” will release in winter of 2017 and will apparently be a booster only set. (as shown on the poster)
     
    So what does this mean for the game?  We can possibly extrapolate a few things here:
    Starter+Booster 2 set IP blocks?  While not a NECESSITY, new starters would probably be a good idea with each IP.  Could we see blocks of “Starter/Booster” set releases with each new IP?
    While many were excited to branch out into a new IP, staying within the DC-verse for one more set could be a smart play.  They really haven’t even scratched the surface on the property and delving into the Lantern spectrums promises LOADS of potential for both new characters and revamped characters from Set 1.
    “Winter” release?  Pure speculation, but much of what we have seen so far in the structure Panini has used for MetaX comes from similar practices on PanZ.  PanZ releases generally went Oct/Mar/July(early), repeat.  Being that MetaX releases in early August, a month later than normal PanZ sets used to, does that mean we’ll be seeing this set come November?
     
    Finally, there are some WILD rumors going around the Facebook MetaX community about the next IP, supposedly in set 3, next year’s spring set.  Rumors of brutal new ATTACKs.  Some might even say of TITANic proportions.  But who would I be to push those rumors here?  For now why don’t we just put a wall (or 3) around that topic. 
     
    Update: no sooner than this is posted, Richie confirms the rumors on the blog.
    https://paninigames.com/2017/07/20/panini-games-at-san-diego-comic-con/

    MetaX Previews #4: The (Dooms)Day has Come

    Well, we are still a little over 2 weeks from the August 4th release date, but if you've been keeping track, there will be some early sales at San Diego Comic Con starting tonight.  While I'm quite sad that I won't be able to make the trek to San Diego this year, I am working with some people to get a box, hopefully I can put together an unboxing video.  But since those packs will start hitting the net shortly, let's push through with the rest of our spoilers before that happens!

    A light start, good size INT attack with a bit of a prying ability.  Using this as your first attack on the turn can give you insight on whether or not to consider extra attacks that turn and how strong they need to be.

    Next another good utility card. Hand filtering can be extremely handy.  Particularly if you run Ra's Al Ghul the Demon's Head and you have a bit of luck up your sleeve.  Just don't do it TOO many times or you might deck yourself out.

    Here's another quality battle card.  It is strange that this effect wasn't made a straight attack power, it serves no purpose on defense, but you still have a moderately sized STR BC that can fit into a lot of decks for some easy evasion.

    Aquaman has caught some flack over the years, but it definitely takes a badass to take a swing on Grodd.  As for the effect, -8 to bounce ALL characters this is a powerhouse late game card, particularly handy with Ra's (again) and Blue Beetle.

    Here's another nice draw source.  Straight 3 for 3 swap, unless you ditch a 7 drop.  Hmmm....maybe Atom can lend a hand?

    Winding down, just one more card after this one.  And here is a beast.  Want to save that big beater that's about to be KO'd?  Here's your answer.  The 7SPL is daunting, but there are ways(J'onn J'onzz) around(Combat Mastery) that...

    Last but never least is the killer of Kryptonian's himself, Doomsday.  Boasting a huge 7STR, but very much on the intellectual low end, this can be a mainstay of a STR aggro deck with his continuous effect to blank ALL battle card effects.
     
    Well, that's it guys and gals.  Keep your eyes on the interwebs as more and more spoilers pop up throughout this week!
     
    ~Stryyder

    Early product and promos this week at SDCC!

    Panini Blog posts from last Friday and today have outlined their offerings at SDCC, starting tomorrow night.
    First on Friday they revealed the final XR, Wonder Woman Princess Diana of Themyscira, and revealed the first 4 promos for Set 1: Wonder Woman Amazon Princess, Lex Luthor CEO of LexCorp, Paralysis and STR/INT/SPL 5 Battle Card, all alt art foils of rare and uncommon cards from set 1.  Each day a new promo will be debuted at the Panini booth.  Players can get the promos by downloading either the Panini Direct, NFL Gridiron or NBA Dunk apps and showing the staff at the booth.  As well, the foil pattern is recognizable as the same crosshatch pattern used in PanZ Perfection, which was in turn inspired by the pattern from ScoreZ Android Saga.
    Today's post revealed the final 2 URs, Harley Quinn Dr. Harleen Quinzel and The Joker Certifiably Insane.  They also announced that a limited amount of Starter Decks and Booster Packs will be available for purchase at Comic Con, starting on preview night.  No details were given on limits or price, but it is likely that MSRP will be observed (3.99/pack, 18.75/starter).
     
    Given the availability of product that will start hitting the internet tomorrow night we'll be revealing our last 7 spoilers tomorrow morning, stay tuned!
    ~Stryyder

    MetaX Previews #3: Does size really matter?

    So I posted up a little Cipher on Facebook yesterday to see if anyone could figure out Atom's power.  The Cipher Key was METAX.  How'd you do?  No more dilly-dally, on with the spoilers!

    Atom may be tiny, but he's got big power.  Able to bounce a 7 rank to its owner's hand could be devastating, whether you are pushing your opponent's fighter back to see if they want to waste a turn playing it again or pulling your own to reuse their Triangle power next turn.  However, this comes at a price as pretty much ANY hit on Atom will lead to an HPKO.

    Consequently, if you'd like to block Atom for a turn (or another more threatening opponent) here's a low rank SP battle card that could do that and supply you with an MP for your troubles.

    To continue this chain of thought, how about pulling that Battle card back up so you can use it again, or just heal up a bit.

    Finally, here's another juicy target, a bit rough to play with that Str7 rank but it opens you up to playing a heavy hitting battle card on your next attack (or defense) for FREE!
     
    That's all for today, stay tuned next week for some more spoilers and stay tuned to the Panini Blog tomorrow, for supposed details on how to get your hands on some early product at SDCC next week.
    ~Stryyder

    MetaX Previews #2: Injustice, Superiority and a heavy case of the blues

    Welcome back, faithful followers!  Today's post was a bit delayed due to preoccupation with the Marvel-verse (seriously, go see Spider-Man Homecoming), but we're back on track for some great spoilers today.  We'll start at the back end and move up this time.

    One of the big questions going in was "What kind of defensive effects can we expect on battle cards?".  If this card is any indication, we should be happily surprised.  The INT6 limits the playability somewhat, but for -3 you get to push a threat off the board so you can push a little harder on your next turn.

    We heard you like some aggro in your games.  How about limiting your opponent's options until the end of your turn and a bit of draw power for a mere -1?  Seems like a deal to me.

    This card has SO much potential.  Your opponent has blockers trying to scare you out of attacking?  Why not pick one of them off or maybe wound one so they'll think twice before blocking?  Even more intriguing, you know that Harley Quinn you just played?  Why not give her a wound so that next turn she can block, get KOd and give you a VP?  Versatility abounds.

    SO much to unpack.  STR3/INT5, not GREAT but fair.  +4MP, definitely above average.  But the huge strength here is character ramp.  So far this is the first effect that lets us play more than 1 character per turn.  Definitely seems a huge deal, especially early game.  Will there be an archetype to build around this?  Suicide characters like Harley and Dr Fate?  Only time shall tell.
    ~Stryyder

    MetaX Previews #1! - Fear and Disgrace

     MetaX info is dropping daily and TCGTopTier is in the game.  Stay tuned Thursdays for exclusive spoilers and check out our other discussion, including a continuously updating card list.
    Today we'll be discussing a new villain card as well as some utility

     
    MP is the lifeblood of MetaX.  Scarecrow can quickly drain that, making it difficult to play good battle cards, events, even team attack.  Combine that with 3/5 INT/SPL and supplementing your own MP by 2 and this card is a versatile addition to any control deck.

    On the other side of the coin (vague Two-Face reference intended) if you CAN manage to scrape up enough MP against Scarecrow, Disgrace can be a decent weapon to combat him. The MP cost is hefty, but removal/card draw in a pinch is worth a lot.

    This card will be a BIG hit.  Defensive powers seem like they will be well worth playing, to give yourself a boost going into your turn.  You won't win the war with this card, but using it to 1-shot an attacking single stat character, or even to finish off a multistat character for an extra 2MP (on top of the MP+2 just for playing it) will be a great boost.  The fact that it can be used by nearly ANY character with a STR stat is just icing.

    If you've had a chance to peruse the rulebook you may have noticed this card.  And what a card it is.  Yeah, you have to dump a single MP to play it, but that's little sacrifice considering it replaces itself in your hand, plus lets you filter with 3 new cards and ANY character with an INT stat can use it.  HUGE playability here.
     
    So remember, check back next Thursday for more spoilers!  For now, discuss these cards in the comments, or check out the growing checklist and discussion thread.
    ~Stryyder

    MetaX Now Live on TCG Top Tier

    The MetaX Trading Card Game by Panini Games now has its own dedicated section on TCGTopTier.com. In the coming months, we hope to be your number one source for the new game, with forums, articles, decks, videos, and other content.
    In addition we are looking for Content Writer(s) for the game as well.
    The content writer positions are strictly volunteer positions, but writing for this game is a great way to get known in the community. In addition, there are other perks thrown your way occasionally.
    Interested individuals should:
    Be active in the community.
    Passionate about the game.
    Willing to submit content on a regular basis.
    Possess adequate writing skills, in addition to proper grammar.
    If you are interested, please message me via Private Message, or message us on Facebook.
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