Design Spotlight – Echo
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!