Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MUN Preview: Annihilus and Negative Zone

Wow, I feel really lucky. Who would have thought I would get a preview? Anyway, here we go. So, I know people like looking at the cards immediately, so I'll show them to you, then go over them.

Background time! So, to hear his whole origin, you can just go to Annihilus's Wikipedia entry, which lets you in on his life. Basically, he is the self-proclaimed ruler of the Negative Zone, an alternate dimension with different forms of matter (anti-matter) and different rules and Physics and stuff. It's just weird. Anyway, on multiple occasions, Annihilus has attempted to take over this dimension starting with Earth. While Blastaar, another Negative Zone dictator, has often come to Earth and fought heroes here, Annihilus pretty much never left the Negative Zone, although tried to get out multiple times (including one time with Spider-Man and the Frightful Four, in which he was defeated by pulling the power cord out of the wall of Reed's machine). Still, he has been a persistent threat and incredibly dangerous. Recently, he gathered his armies of his bugs, and got lots of Negative Zone warriors and attempted to "conquer" the universe, as he said that it was expanding into the Negative Zone. He was able to, with his army, destroy the Kyln, a prison for cosmic level threats, kill every Nova Corps member except Richard Rider, Quasar, 90% of all the Skrull planets (pissing them off immensely), and countless billions of other people trying to fight him. Eventually, he was defeated when Thanos and Drax freed the Silver Surfer and an angry Galactus who destroyed most of Annihilus's army. Soon after, Nova confronted him and was able to kill him, although Annihilus is able to survive after death (he has done it before) and is currently waiting to be hatched as he is watched over by Ravenous, his loyal servant.

Annihilus has vast powers, which make him a dangerous opponent. Just by himself, he is able to fly, via his wings, and has a fairly invulnerable shell, along with a degree of superhuman strength. Plus, he also doesn't ever die, he just oozes away and comes back. Powerful by himself, he usually also has the Cosmic Control Rod, which is incredibly powerful, granting its wielder the ability to manipulate cosmic energies to transmute matter, fire blasts of destructive power and be totally badass. He is incredibly powerful, being able to have taken on Thor and win, and being able to take on the entire Nova force and Quasar at the same time, ultimately killing Quasar, and gaining his quantum bands, which gave Annihilus even more power, before they were taken by Phyla-Vell, the current Quasar.

Okay, so we have seen Annihilus once before in VS, in MOR, as a 7-drop with the Negative Zone affiliation, who made you lose 15 endurance if you didn't have Negative Zone, and outright stunned a front row character an opponent controlled before you attack. Combined with Blastaar from MOR, they would outright stun your largest character no matter where he was. This time around is not much different.

Let's look at the card. 10/9 with Flight and Range. Not bad for a 5-drop, right? Wait, that's not all? What else is there? When he enters play, if there is no Negative Zone, you exhaust him. Well, that could be a lot worse. It only triggers once, as opposed to every combat phase with the old one. Plus, it's not nearly as drastic. Being exhausted upon entering is annoying, but manageable. What is the other ability? "Activate -> Stun target hidden character. Use only during your attack step." Whoa, hold on there! Activate -> Stun target hidden character? That is pretty darn good, considering how popular hidden decks are currently. Limited to the attack step is kind of whatever. Basically, you can attack, or outright stun one of their guys. It is sad that you don't get both, but he is also a common, and an amazing common at that.

Of course, he is completely and utterly useless on turn 5 if you don't have Negative Zone. Now, currently, there are two versions of Negative Zone. One from MOR with a high amount of discarding cards to KO characters, the other being from MHG and disabling hidden characters opponents control or giving your NZ guys some well needed protection. That's great, but with NZ being a featured team in MUN, they get some more Negative Zones. Let's see...

It's not unique, which is very good, as it means that you can get multiple Negative Zones up and running so that a single Have a Blast! doesn't completely destroy your deck. Prison Alpha? Ooooh, a reference to Civil War and the Negative Zone prison there. Well, to flip it, you still need to discard a card (man, Negative Zone locations really don't want you to flip it for free), although this time it has to be a specific card, either a Negative Zone character card or a S.H.I.E.L.D. character card. Yes, since it is technically S.H.I.E.L.D.'s prison, they get to use it too. What is the effect of it? Wow, moving one of their characters hidden. Works great flavor wise, as when you get sent to Prison Alpha, you are put away in a place where people cannot get you and you are so hidden from the world. Plus, hey! Combo with Annihilus! Move one of their largest characters hidden to outright stun them with Annihilus, who while great by himself, is somewhat limited.

Negative Zone looks like a fun team to play. Hopefully they will get some characters below 4 who don't need Negative Zone to exist. Oh, and this is the first 5-drop Negative Zone character, previously only having a 1-drop army character, a 4-drop, 2 6-drops, a 7-drop and an 8-drop. The cards look amazing and fun, with great abilities and great art that just makes me want to get these cards in drafts and to build regular decks off of.
See you tomorrow for comics (if you want to, that is)!

EDIT: Okay, so I made the article before Monday, so I didn't see the other Annihilus or Negative Zone before I wrote this. I am a little disturbed by the fact that at least 2 out of 4 of the Negative Zones are rare, since rares are so much more difficult to get these days. Still, multiple Negative Zones sound fun. Other than the fact that Annihilus requires a Negative Zone, this doesn't necessarily fit with the Annihilus in my article, since he exhausts from the beginning without, or having it, he can't use his ability. Oh well.


Miguel said...

Nice! Sweet score and nice write-up, Pi. :)

Pi_3.14159... said...


RanmaSolo said...

Congrats on the preview, nicely done article.

Those cards are NUTS.


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