Legendary X-men has finally been announced. The expansion that I prayed for but fully expected to never see the light is finally going to be gracing our tables. As a child of the 90's I grew up with the X-men TV show, you know the one with the amazing opening which I have never been able to remove from my memory, so X-men does have a special place in my heart and this was only bolstered by the years of comic book reading that followed, however this does come with a consequence. I have high expectations.
So what do we know so far? 394 cards will make up this set, making it the largest to date and it will feature several new card types. Several new card types sounds interesting, so let's take a look at these.
What will be in the box?
Horror cards will be a new way to increase the game's difficulty which is certainly a welcome addition. How these are introduced will be interesting, will they come into play after being drawn? Or perhaps a permanent effect on the table? Judging by the name I think it can be assumed that they will draw effects like scheme twists and master strikes, however if these are going in the villain deck it will lower the chances of drawing one of the previous cards and therefore decrease the chances of some of those thematic moments. Moving them into the hero deck could certainly be interesting, as up until now we haven't had any negatives coming from here and it would certainly ramp up the difficulty, but we shall see.
Next up we have Heroic Bystanders. We know where they are going and this seems like a great way to add some low tier heroes into the game without them having a full card set. The X-Men expansion also feels like a very logical place for them to come in since there are so many of our beloved mutants out there. Characters like Goldballs certainly belong in here and to be honest its also where I would have expected to find Speedball, at least before he becomes Penance.
Least but not least we have Epic Masterminds! Now this is an exciting addition! They are really trying to improve the game's difficulty level with this expansion. As if Apocalypse,Legacy virus wasn't hard enough, each mastermind will now be double sided with a regular difficulty and Epic difficulty side enabling players to increase the challenge at the start of the game.
The three masterminds that have been announced, Dark Phoenix, Onslaught and Shadow King, will easily fit the bill as Epic and as any comic book reader knows these are some of the greatest challenges that the X-Men ever faced so I expect that even in their 'standard form' they will be a challenge. Here is to hoping that Magneto gets a new version, just an epic level with another under powered Mastermind on the other side would work perfectly for me.
For those who aren't familiar with these three, Onslaught is the merging of Charles Xavier's suppressed thoughts and Magneto's negative emotions as a psychic entity. As you can imagine this made him a rather powerful individual but he also captured Franklin Richards and Nate Grey making him a force to be reckoned with possessing the abilities of all four individuals. Uncanny X-Men #322 is where he first made his appearance if you wish to prepare yourself for the Onslaught (see what I did there?)
The Shadow King is the original evil mutant. Feeding on hatred and violence, he is one of the universes most powerful telepaths and regularly tries to take over the world, though he has been thwarted each time by the X-men. If you have watched Legion (and you should have), then you will be familiar with this character. We can certainly thank Legion for at least one of this sets heroes. Shadow King first appeared in X-Men #117 if you want to read up.
Dark Phoenix is the most well known of these three as you may remember her from X-men 3. The Phoenix Force is a cosmic entity who most famously entered Jean Grey and created a being of near infinite potential, the Dark Phoenix being the most violent aspect of this individual. As the Dark Phoenix nothing is truly beyond her reach and destroying entire worlds is but child's play. Personally I am rather tired of this story arch being played out over and over but I am excited to see her enter Legendary, defeating her will most certainly be quite the challenge. X-Men #101 is the start of the Phoenix Saga.
So that leaves two masterminds unnamed, judging from what has been announced all the content will be in line with the X-Men theme so that does limit us a little more... Bolivar Trask would be a rather great Mastermind, of course he would be accompanied by an army of sentinels and perhaps he would have some sort of bodyguard system to stop him from getting crushed too early?
I think its about time that Mystique was made a mastermind, I mean she would certainly be lower tier than the other masterminds announced and she is a major villain for a lot of the X-men comics. Mastermind could also make for a great uh Mastermind and Dark Beast could also be a fun new entry with a villain group that is yet to see the light of day. This ties nicely into the six new villain groups and the four new henchmen groups that will be present. That's right four new henchmen groups and man did they need it, I presume at least one of these will tie into a mastermind but with so many options on the table its hard to pinpoint anything. Though I will say that I would like to see the morlocks, perhaps with Caliban or Marrow as their leader? They would probably be low tier but fun none the less.
The new schemes also promise to be interesting as I'm sure they will focus on many of the current story lines which promises to provide an interesting ride. No numbers for these yet but between 5-10 seems a safe bet.
Phew... that's everything right? Nope now on to the real meat, the heroes.
Legendary X-Men - The Heroes
There will be 15 heroes in this expansion and only six have been announced so far, so there is plenty of room here. Especially since the Solicitations have been wrong before. So far we have Psylocke, Beast, Banshee, Cannonball, Legion and Dazzler with all characters in this set being X-men affiliated. Dazzler has a lot of people excited and to be honest I am rather impressed with the list so far, a great mix with some real surprises though I guess Legion wasn't too unexpected after the show.
Beast is the only duplicate so far and he needed an X-Men affiliation version anyway so no problems there, especially with his metamorphosis through the comics. I am really hoping that he is one of the few copies in this set, though I wouldn't mind a new Colossus or a new version of Cyclops.
It would be rather unfortunate for this set to contain another Wolverine, when there are so many mutants that haven't had their time to shine, however if the box art is anything to go by then we are getting one. With Logan recently dropping perhaps this is a for gone conclusion but I would prefer just X-23(who I am sure we will see).
So who else is going to make the roster? Well it would seem that it could be nearly anyone, Scarlet Witch is always a popular mutant but I would be surprised to see her as X-men affiliated, especially before we see an Avengers version. Havoc is kinda in a similar situation however he is more on the X-men side of things, so hopefully he will be making an entry into Legendary. I do believe that the recent X-Men movies would also help his case.
Jubilee seems like a sure bet judging by her popularity within the community and I would be content with her addition. Sunspot is another character I would love to see in Legendary and he also has quite a following so lets hope!
In terms of mechanics I hope they make use of some of the previously introduced ones, instead of a swath of new ones. Versatile for example is certainly missing some much needed love. Upper Deck are rather hard to predict when it comes to these things especially with the amount of duplicates they have already introduced and how many new mechanics they have introduced so it is really all to play for.
Let's just hope they think outside the box on this one. Upper Deck are yet to truly disappoint me with an expansion though there have been a few roopy ones and I think Legendary X-Men could shape up to be one of the best, rivalling the great Dark City expansion.