Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keywords and their impact

I don't know about you, but when I read the keywords on a figure's card, I feel like I'm sometimes seeing a preview of things to come. For example, Technet: we only have one character for the Technet so far, but seeing a keyword almost seems like an unspoken promise that you are going to see more of these guys.

Now, the company has gotten better about this, but they really should reign in that keyword use and consider what they are saying when that word is printed. As it is, there is an armada of keywords out there. I know there pretty much has to be that many in order for there to be a good range of themed teams to build. But how do they decide on what the keywords will be? Sometimes it's hard to follow.

Sometimes, it looks like keywords on done on a character by character basis without much thought to the future. Well, it used to really look like that, I admit it's a little less that way now. And just to show I'm not talking out my ear, check these out:

(Remember: in order to have a themed team ALL of the characters on your force must share the keyword AND there must be the acceptable number of figures on your team. For a 300 point team that's 3 figures for generic and two for non-generic. Remember those numbers)

NG means Non-Generic and I'm pretty much just doing those because that's as much as I could fit here, ha ha.

Agency X (NG): Two characters have been given this keyword. In current format they come to 298. They are Taskmaster and Deadpool. Problem: While you can make a team now (that will die a horrible death), this keyword needs more figures to make it viable in games. From Avengers to Web of Spiderman (from when Keywords officially started) only two people is just not enough. If you use older pieces or dupes (that most venues make rules against now to avoid over cheesiness) you can go to back to Xplosion and use extras. Yes, I have the fifty page printout with keywords given all the way back to the very first set.

Badoon (NG): The only saving grace for this group (having the Skrull team ability) is that they are a "minion type" generic figure that you can use as many of that you want to. I've seen a few Skrull teams with them, but now they lose the theme. Why? Because they DON'T get the Skrull keyword. And I sorely doubt anyone wants to make a Badoon army. The enhancement is cute, but the team will likely die. So, Badoon is pretty much useless. Especially to the Skrulls. Look it up.

Beast (NG): Why??? Why is this listed as a non-generic for one? And why oh why is there only ONE character? Yep, just one. Marrina from Armor Wars. Look, this one was redundant. Give her the animal keyword and have done with it. Or monster if you really want, that's another type of beast isn't it? Better yet, if they are going to go back and assign keywords to figures that didn't have any at first... omit the useless keywords. This one is a prime example.

Beta Flight (NG): Marrina and Vindicator only. Two people and not even two hundred points. 143 to be exact. There hasn't been another since Supernova. Sorry Beta Flight fans (if there are any).

Big Hero 6 (NG): Another that got slapped in there with just two guys, Silver Samurai and LE Shiro Yoshida. Did the person making this list use wishful thinking? And why not Vet Sunfire? I realize this list may not have been made entirely by the company, but...

Black Hole Sons (NG): Currently only the Mindless Ones from Giant Sized Xmen have this keyword. Okay, so, are Starstalker and characters from his storyline coming? If not, why even have this keyword? Aren't brute, monster and mystical enough? Is it just to look cool? How about the Mind? Well, this is a point I'm trying to make. When I see a new keyword (since the purpose of a keyword is to build a team around it) it suggests to me that, in upcoming sets, I'm going to see more of them. If I don't, it will be a disappointment and poor planning in my opinion.

Captain Britain Corps (NG): There are only two for this one since Avengers. They can reach 300 points if you pile some cards on. If you don't and you play them in a 300 (and they have to be the only ones you play for that in order to be themed), you will be squashed. I actually don't know of that many of the Capt. Britain Corps that are even viable. I personally find the group redundant. Still, if you are going to give out the keyword, let's use some proper planning and make it usable.

And it goes on and on: Circus of Crime, Coast City, Conglomerate, Deadpool Corps (JUST ONE GUY!), Emissaries of Evil, Enforcers, External, European Defense Initiative (WHAT?), Excelsior (oh brother), Exemplars, Eternals, Factor Three, Fawcett City (look, it worked for Gotham but that was about it okay?), Gene Nation, Great Lakes Avengers, H.A.M.M.E.R. (Why?), Heavy Metal (I better see more of this one ha ha), Hive, Intergang, and don't even get me started on all the Justice League craziness and confusion. Seriously, isn't JLA the same as Justice League America? I realize there's competition with having as many or more than Avengers, but aren't we trying just a little too hard? Oh and there are still more, but I'm stopping now (aren't you grateful?).

There are plenty of great keyword teams to build. I'm just saying that there are places some better planning could be considered. It will make for less questions and confusion. It also makes for less spoiled expectations. Just my thoughts.

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