Dev Diary – Designing Izuku Midoriya (IV)

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  • Hello everyone!  Shane Duckworth here from the game design team, putting the spotlight on Izuku Midoriya from the upcoming My Hero Academia set, Undaunted Raid!  In this article I want to cover how this version of Midoriya came to be and highlight some cool things you can do with him.

    The first step in our creative card design process is figuring out how to properly translate a character’s fighting style and themes to the UniVersus game engine.  UniVersus is a character-driven collectable card game that has a heavy emphasis on combat.  Thematics are extremely important as we want you to feel like you are playing as the character from the TV show, video game, or whichever content they are native to.  

    Midoriya’s Quirk is “One For All” which allows him to stockpile unbelievable power. He inherited this Quirk from All Might, but his body was not strong enough to handle it. Because of this, Midoriya’s bones would break with each use of his Quirk.  This is demonstrated with Izuku Midoriya (I) from the very first My Hero Academia set, as he can pay a very steep cost of discarding his entire hand (breaking his arm) to give a Punch attack +10 damage.

    As he continues his training, Midoriya ends up developing some control over his Quirk.  He is able to focus his energy into 1 finger at a time, spreading out his power by breaking individual fingers rather than his entire arm.  This is showcased with Izuku Midoriya (II) from the second My Hero Academia set, Crimson Rampage.  Instead of discarding his entire hand for a huge damage bonus, he is able to discard 1 card at a time and make multiple attacks threatening rather than going all in on just one.

    Undaunted Raid is the fifth My Hero Academia booster set of UniVersus and focuses on the Shie Hassaikai arc.  Midoriya is assisted by Eri during his fight with Overhaul.  Eri’s Quirk “Rewind” allows her to reset an individual’s body to a previous state, effectively healing their injuries.  This allows Midoriya to unleash his full power with no consequence.   This theme is translated into Izuku Midoriya (IV) from Undaunted Raid!

    This version of Midoriya continues his trend of discarding cards from his hand to increase the damage of his Punch attacks.  If you watched his fight against Overhaul, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that he is able to work with Fury attacks as well! Midoriya’s enhance gives his attack Powerful: 4 and allows him to use 1 card from his hand to help pay for the cost.  This means that he can have 0 momentum and still get +4 damage from Powerful: 4 by discarding 1 card.  He can of course further increase the damage bonus by spending any extra cards he has in his momentum! 

    Eri’s power is showcased via Midoriya’s response ability, refilling his energy after he expends it.  Whether he is building foundations or creating massive attacks with Powerful: 4, he is allowed to overextend and still have cards in hand to block and defend with on his rival’s turn.  This character provides a very comfortable safety net to fall back on.  You can enjoy a nice amount of freedom while playing this character, especially with how common Fury and Punch attacks are.

    It’s worthwhile to note that when your rival begins the game going first, you can use Midoriya’s response to draw 3 cards and then discard back down to 5.  This effectively serves as an “additional mulligan“ allowing you to see more cards and further curate your opening hand for your first turn!

    Check out Tamren Cardwell’s YouTube video for a look at most of Midoriya’s kit!

    THE BEST DEKU YET!!! | My Hero Academia CCG | Preview

    Discarding cards from your hand is a steep cost, and although Eri’s Quirk allows Midoriya to replenish them, there are some great cards you can use to further capitalize on discarding cards.  Body Rejuvenation is from his own kit in Undaunted Raid, showcasing more of Eri’s power by restoring your health.  Any Means Necessary straight up replaces the card you discard for Powerful: 4, serving as card filter which is very important for 5 handsize characters.

    Wind Up Punch and Tetsutetsu Fist are also great additions as they offer bonuses if you have discarded cards from your hand, which you are always able to do thanks to Midoriya’s enhance ability!

    If you decide to try Midoriya off of the Void symbol, there are two nice little 1 difficulty spam foundations that offer tiny bonuses that can help add numbers up.  All Worked Up has an additional use of making your next attack easier to play.  Late Riser is worth keeping in the back of your head as more Void Combo attacks come out that are paired with Fury or Punch.

    Next up, let’s take a look at Midoriya’s Ultra Rare attack from Undaunted Raid, Rejuvenating Smash!

    Here we get to see Eri displaying more of her power.  When it is played as your second card of the turn, you draw 2 cards and gain 2 health.  This helps Midoriya refuel his hand and decide whether he wants to keep attacking or build more foundations.  Getting 1 free momentum with the enhance is an extra cherry on top!

    Veterans of the UniVersus game engine may notice a striking similarity between Midoriya (IV) and Jacqui Briggs from the Mortal Kombat set released back in 2018.  There were a handful of initial drafts as we were designing Midoriya with Eri’s Rewind Quirk, but the one that made the most sense thematically ended up looking a lot like Jacqui Briggs.  Her Ultra Rare attack, Air Ground Smash, was pretty necessary for her competitive viability, so we decided to remodel it so Midoriya could enjoy a similar play pattern that felt rewarding.  

    We wanted Rejuvenating Smash to work on defense too.  Some players may remember a promo card called “Templar” that was handed out as a top cut prize during the Standard Sunset side event at US Nationals 2022.  The fusion of Air Ground Smash and Templar felt very nice and made its way onto Rejuvenating Smash.

    Here is a look at some previous initial designs of Midoriya (IV) that we were not as happy with or weren’t quite there.

    The first Midoriya had a static ability that created a pause condition where he would immediately lose the game if he cycled his deck, but got to continually put cards from his discard pile back into his deck to help prevent that.  The lose condition was representative of Eri’s Rewind Quirk, capable of rewinding someone to before they existed.  Lose conditions aren’t necessarily fun on paper, especially for a protagonist like Midoriya.  That combined with having to memorize the cards you put back into your deck didn’t seem to make for an enjoyable gaming experience, so we transitioned to the second Midoriya you see above.  This one was more straightforward, drawing 1 card every time your Fury or Punch attack connected.  His support kit was also envisioned with every attack having the Powerful keyword and abilities that synergized with Powerful attacks.  Ultimately we decided to reshape him into what you know will be releasing in Undaunted Raid.

    Rejuvenating Smash always had Air Ground Smash in mind as its predecessor, and our goal was to tune the card to be less egregious, but still powerful.  We still wanted it to be played on a 6 difficulty like Air Ground Smash, so at first we tried a Combo approach.  It used to only work with 5 handsize characters, but as an Ultra Rare we preferred if it were more applicable to a wider range of characters.  We decided to let up on the restrictions and make it playable on defense for a much more attractive card.

    I hope this article gave some valuable insight on nailing down thematics during the design process. Midoriya was really fun to design and is a total blast to play.  The design team is excited for everyone to enjoy what we have cooked up in Undaunted Raid.  Thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you all next time!

    Design Spotlight – Echo

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  • Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished you had ONE more attack to finish your rival off? 

    Hello everyone!  My name is Shane Duckworth from the Universus game design team, here to talk about the Echo keyword, a brand new ability introduced in MHA Set 4: League of Villains. Echo attacks have the ability to function as 2-for-1 attacks, giving players additional ways to attack their opponents!

    Echo grants the ability:

    Response Discard 1 momentum: After this attack resolves, you may play it as your next form. If you do, after it resolves, flip it.”

    Veterans of the UVS game engine may find a striking similarity to a keyword ability from previous sets, known as Multiple.  Echo and Multiple: 1 are very similar in how you spend a momentum to generate an extra copy of the attack.

    Let’s look at Spinning Necro Driver, one of the participation prizes from the Standard Event at US Nationals 2022.

    Multiple currently grants the ability:

    Enhance Discard X momentum (minimum 1, maximum the Multiple rating): Add X cards from the top of your discard pile to your card pool face down as multiple copies of this attack. Add those attacks to the attack stack.”

    While the functionality between the two is comparable, there are many gameplay differences and rules intricacies.  

    With Echo, you need to pass the check again in order to play it again.  With Multiple, the extra attack is spawned without making a check. Competitively, Multiple attacks were usually played at the end of an attack string since the multiple copies do not care about progressive difficulty, and also contribute to progressive difficulty because they take up spots in the card pool.  Echo on the other hand usually wants to be played early to avoid progressive difficulty.  This also means that Breaker is a very effective keyword against Echo attacks!

    Multiple copies come in with the printed speed, zone, and damage of the original attack, and they do not carry over any keyword traits or abilities.  In the case of Spinning Necro Driver above, the multiple copy does not have the Throw keyword.   Since an Echo “copy” is always played face up, it retains its keywords, giving you synergy with any effects that look to buff attacks with its keywords!

    Echo being a response ability is also noteworthy since abilities that cancel enhances are more common than abilities that cancel responses.  Also, since multiple attack copies are face down, any effect that returns to printed speed or damage will put those values to 0 (face down cards have no printed values, therefore defaulting to 0). 

    A single Echo attack in your hand counts as two attacks as long as you have momentum to pay the cost of playing it again.  This is especially helpful for low-handsize characters who might struggle to find attacks mid-game.  Nomu with Resolute Rushdown is a perfect example of this, making him capable of threatening 24 total damage with just his enhance and 1 momentum!

    One of the side events at the Hero League Championship earlier this year was “gunslinging”, where players could challenge different members of the design team for rewards, such as promos or prize wall points.  I built a [Fire] Dabi (II) deck for this event with the intent on showcasing the power of the new Echo keyword.  The idea was to use Cremation and Blue Flame Spiral to hypercharge momentum for Echo attacks.

    Two momentum and two copies of Winged Nomu in my hand creates 4 total attacks, each which I can give +3 damage to with Dabi’s enhance.  If my rival has momentum, I can “steal” it with Capture Evil-Doers to fuel my Echo attacks a turn earlier than usual!  Capture Evil-Doers also shares two symbols with Dabi, meaning I can easily access it from my discard pile with his other enhance.  Since Echo attacks flip face down after they are played for their second time, there is a neat interaction with Forcing Surrender, allowing me to mitigate progressive difficulty and continue attacking efficiently!

    You can watch the Dabi deck in action via an exhibition game I played with Ty’s House of Cards: My Hero Academia CCG Gameplay: League of Villains Ft. Dabi V2

    An attack that uses its Echo ability will flip face down after resolving, meaning it will not go to momentum during the End Phase, even if it dealt damage.  There are other safeguards to this as well, such as no longer being able to follow up with a Combo attack that looks for specific keywords, and most importantly not being able to use Echo repeatedly.  

    There is a very interesting case with DLC Ochaco (II) whose response allows her to add her attack to her hand if it deals damage.  Since her response activates during the Damage Step (which is right before attack resolution), she can add the Echo attack to her hand before it resolves and flips face down.  This effectively means she can create a total of 4 separate attacks with just 1 Echo attack, provided she has the momentum to do so.  With Ochaco’s built in speed bonus and both enhances on Winged Nomu for example, you might find this strategy to be very effective!  Keep Ochaco (II) in mind as more Echo attacks are released in the future!

    While Multiple has been in the game since the very first set in 2006, we decided to introduce Echo with My Hero Academia.  This does not mean that Multiple is retired, and you may see it again in future sets!

    Echo in Retro play

    With plans to support Retro events in the future, it’s worthwhile to look back at the history of the game and find some cool and powerful interactions with the new Echo keyword.  Here are some examples to get started with!

    It goes without saying that Multiple: 2 is vastly more powerful than Multiple: 1.  Fun fact, the very first National Championship in 2006 was won by Wess Victory, using a Cassandra deck utilizing a Multiple: 2 attack, Ryu’s Tatsumaki!

    A single attack card that generates an extra attack is very powerful.  Echo does just that, and moving forward I expect to see many players using Echo attacks to create powerful strategies and devastating attack turns!  You will definitely see Echo in future sets as well.  In the meantime, try out some Echo attacks at your next local event!