Hunting Gene Traitors
Previewing the First Scenario and Side Missions of the Age of Apocalypse Campaign
The Apocalypse is nigh! As we approach the onset of Marvel Champions: The Card Game’s latest expansion, we want to provide a deeper look at each of the scenarios in the Age of Apocalypse campaign.
Today, we’re showcasing the first of those scenarios, as well as the new “side missions” mechanic unique to this campaign. So, without further ado, let’s start with a look at Unus!
As we said in the Age of Apocalypse announcement article, Unus (Age of Apocalypse, 59) is an unflinchingly loyal servant of Apocalypse who assaults the heroes with a massive army of Infinites. These faceless foes include the Infinite Hunters (Age of Apocalypse, 65) from Unus’s personal encounter set and the Infinite Soldiers (Age of Apocalypse, 69) from the Infinites encounter set, which is required for this scenario. Both types of Infinites—as well as Unus himself—interact with the Gene Pool (Age of Apocalypse, 71), a special permanent side scheme that gradually gains threat as your allies are defeated. If you let too much threat build up on the Gene Pool, then Unus and his soldiers become significantly tougher to deal with!
Naturally, Unus wants to add as much threat to the Gene Pool as possible, and the abilities of the rest of his encounter set reflect that. His main scheme, Hunting Gene Traitors (Age of Apocalypse, 62B), adds a bit of threat to the Gene Pool each villain phase, while his Prelate Sidearm (Age of Apocalypse, 63) and Endless Ranks (Age of Apocalypse, 68) can add threat in bursts. Once the Gene Pool is sufficiently powered up, watch out for Infinite Prelate (Age of Apocalypse, 67), a nasty treachery that can pack a real wallop.
The Infinites are no joke, either. Befitting their name, there are a lot of Infinite Soldiers in the Infinites encounter set—five of them, to be exact! With so many soldiers in the deck and the Gene Pool powering them up, the heroes can easily be overwhelmed if they don’t stay on top of things. Of course, the Infinites won’t simply sit idle during all of this; with Unus strengthening them with Genetic Experiments (Age of Apocalypse, 66) and their unending mission of Culling the Weak (Age of Apocalypse, 70), the Infinites are more than capable of keeping threat stacked on the Gene Pool.
Between Unus and the Infinites, the heroes will have their hands full. However, the Age of Apocalypse is a worldwide threat, and the tyrant’s other prelates won’t just sit and wait for you to be done with Unus before wreaking havoc. For times like these, you’ll need to call on your allies to bring the fight around the world via side missions!
As we briefly covered when we first announced Age of Apocalypse, side missions are a new mechanic that is unique to this campaign. They’re handled a bit differently from normal Marvel Champions gameplay, so let’s go over how they work.
Whenever you set up a scenario in the Age of Apocalypse campaign, you’ll also set up a “mission area” off to the side. This is a separate play area from both the player areas and the villain area, and it comes with its own set of rules. When you set up the mission area, you select a random Mission side scheme from four available options (the fifth Mission side scheme is specifically reserved for the campaign’s last scenario). You’ll also choose a random Overseer minion—such as Mister Sinister (Age of Apocalypse, 179A), The Shadow King (Age of Apocalypse, 180A), or Sugar Man (Age of Apocalypse, 182A)—who will serve as the primary obstacle for completing the side mission. Each Mission side scheme has the same amount of threat that must be removed to defeat it—five per player—but how you go about doing so is what sets these schemes apart.
Unlike most other schemes in the game, your hero can’t touch Mission side schemes. The only way to remove threat from these schemes is to send your allies off to the mission area. You can use the Mission Team (Age of Apocalypse, 171A) support to help pay for these allies, and you can have any number of allies in the mission area at any given time (as a reminder, allies in the mission area don’t count toward your ally limit). You can attach upgrades to allies in the mission area as normal, but keep in mind that these allies will have their printed text boxes blanked out (except for Traits) as long as they’re in the mission area.
Once you’ve built up a solid fighting force, you can use Mission Team to make a “mission attempt.” When you do so, you discard a card from the top of your deck for each ally at the mission, including the allies played there by other players. Most Overseer minions have a “Mission Response” that is triggered at this point. For example, Sugar Man heals 3 damage for each “physical” resource discarded for the attempt.
After discarding cards, you next assign each of the discarded cards to a different ally at the mission. If any resource icon on the ally matches any resource icon on the card assigned to it, that ally participates in the mission attempt. “Wild” resource icons can count as any type, which means a wild icon on an ally can match with any resource icon on that ally’s assigned card, and vice versa. Once you’ve determined which allies will be participating in the mission attempt, you return each of the discarded cards back to your discard pile.
Next, you deal damage to enemies at the mission equal to the combined total ATK of all participating allies, divided as you choose. You deal damage to enemies one at a time, which is important since you can’t damage the Overseer minion until all other minions at the mission are defeated. For example, in the diagram above, Randall, X-23, and Marrow have a combined ATK of 6. This means they have 6 damage to distribute among enemies at the mission. If an Agent of Apocalypse (Age of Apocalypse, 164) were at the mission, they would have to assign 3 damage to it first before they could deal any remaining damage to Sugar Man.
Once all damage has been dealt, you then remove threat from the Mission side scheme equal to the combined total THW of all participating allies. In the example above, Randall, X-23, and Marrow have a combined THW of 4, so 4 threat would be removed from the Evacuate Survivors (Age of Apocalypse, 167A) Mission side scheme. Keep in mind that, even if you remove the last threat from the scheme, you’ll have to defeat the Overseer minion before you can complete the mission, so make sure you send allies with a good mix of ATK and THW! This is especially important because you only get four attempts to defeat the mission in each game. If you haven’t succeeded after your fourth attempt, you take a mission-specific penalty and lose all player cards in the mission area for the rest of the game.
Defeating Mission side schemes can be challenging, but their rewards are worth it. For example, the Evacuate Survivors (Age of Apocalypse, 167B) mission lets you find any card of your choice from your deck or discard pile, while the Find Lost Mutants (Age of Apocalypse, 169B) scheme lets you gain Destiny (Age of Apocalypse, 172), Blink (Age of Apocalypse, 173), Morph (Age of Apocalypse, 174), or X-Man (Age of Apocalypse, 175) as a handy campaign ally. Completed missions will grant rewards for the rest of the campaign as well, representing how your allies’ efforts are gradually tipping the scales in your favor in the fight against Apocalypse.
The Battle Has Just Begun
Unus and the Infinites are formidable foes, but they are merely a prelude to the dangers yet to come. Look forward to more featurettes on the remaining Age of Apocalypse scenarios in the coming weeks!