The Letters Page: Episode 88
When the heroes are down and out, what's going on?
Run Time: 2:34:06
We're talking about every single hero character card twice over, plus every Vengeance/VotM villain character card, so we have a lot to cover today. As a result, we get right down to business!
Just before the 2 hour mark, we finally get to the villain character cards. Whew! So many cards!
At around two hours and 13 minutes in, we answer some questions! Your questions, in fact!
We've got an important Editor's Note coming up in two days - this Thursday, we do our OblivAeon follow-up Editor's Note, in which we also talk about how the Letters Page (and the associated Patreon) is changing! See you then!
- Every SotM Hero
- Baron Blade
- Fright Train
- La Capitan
- Citizens Hammer and Anvil
- Greazer Clutch
- Miss Information
- Plague Rat
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Doctor Demikahv
- Cold Shoulder
- Henry Goodman
- Iron Legacy
- Sara Scott
- Eduardo López
- Mayor Overbrook
- Dark Mind
- Zhu Long
- Citizen Dawn
- Judge Mental
- The Hippo
- The Idolater
- Blood Countess Bathory
- The Dreamer
- Professor Pollution
- Count Barzakh
- Nixious the Chosen
- Wager Master
- Aeon Master
- Green Grosser
- They’re going to go through every character card with an incapacitated side. This means All Hero characters as well as the Team villains. Additionally, they’re going to start with describing what’s going on with the art (i.e. what the story is for what’s depicted) for both the original art and the anniversary versions and then getting into the whys of the incapacitated abilities.
- A note [from slightly later in the podcast, but works better here] on incapacitated abilities. Most of the time these things aren’t indicative of things the hero is still actively doing (because they’re incapacitated, naturally), but are how the remaining heroes are reacting to their comrade being taken out of the fight. For the most part hero cards will have 2 “standard” things and a unique one (there are exceptions when there’s some specific gimmick the hero gets that is further reflected in the incap).
- Original: A battered/defeated Legacy being cradled by his daughter. This was the “Death of Legacy” scene from the Voss invasion story [presumably FF #440 from what we’ve been told] which prompts Felicia to put on the costume as Legacy while her father is out of commission.
- Anniversary: Legacy covered in Regression Serum with Baron Blade menacing him. This is an early encounter where Blade uses the serum to incapacitate (but not kill, obviously) Legacy.
- Mechanics: Unique ability that reduces damage from Environment. If Legacy’s down, the rest of the heroes have to focus more on the Villain and ignore what’s going on in the environment [I’m not sure this entirely follows, but I can see a case where they don’t get sidetracked to deal with environment stuff and so aren’t around for the additional hazards present].
- Original: her being cradled by her father, this is from the Iron Legacy timeline. Environment looks like space because they’re at the Wagner Mars Base when she is killed.
- Anniversary: Her being stabbed by Baron Blade. This is the event that preceded the Original art.
- Mechanics: Unique ability increases hero damage (the same effect as Legacy’s Galvanize power). With her loss, everybody pulls out the stops.
America’s Greatest Legacy
- Original: Him lying dead/dying on the steps of city hall [original story from JC #101, but this could be a more modern revisit/flashback to the story].
- Anniversary: Baron Blade killing him as part of that same event. The tech that Blade is using here is a precursor to the Regression Serum.
- Mechanics: Unique ability is to allow somebody to discard the top of a deck. This represents him still calling out advice if he’s down but not totally unconscious (or of heroes focusing on advice given before he was out).
Freedom Five Legacy
- Original: Luminary and OblivAeon-powered Voss standing over him. This is the double-cross moment during the end stages of the OblivAeon event.
- Anniversary: OblivAeon destroying Freedom Tower from near the beginning of that event. The art evokes the idea of Legacy not being defeated individually, but of his defeat as a leader.
- Mechanics: The gimmick here is that he has 3 “standard” abilities, but with a clause that allows them to occur even if some other effect would normally prevent them. The chips are down and you’re powering through whatever is in your way.
- Original: the Bunker suit’s face all shot up and dented.
- Anniversary: Tyler Vance climbing out of the wreckage of the suit. Neither of these are calling out any specific story moment as both of these happened to him frequently. However, the Anniversary art is a callback to the original 1st Edition incapacitated art for Bunker.
- Mechanics: Two specials. Reduce the next damage a specific hero takes and taking a card from a players trash into their hand. The first represents somebody picking up a chunk of the armor plating from the wrecked suit to use as protection. The latter is a suitless Tyler Vance running around doing helpful stuff.
Freedom Six Bunker
- Original: Steven Graves looking into a mirror and seeing Fright Train. He’s dealing with his inner demons and the memory of the things he did.
- Anniversary: Graves tied up on a railroad track as a train approaches. Iron Legacy did this to him.
- Mechanics: While the “Destroy an Ongoing Card” ability is a fairly common one, they call it out here as representing the hero having succeeded in one final act as they were being defeated that may have gone unnoticed by the Villain. Like, the Villain has continued with their plot only to find that once they go to do whatever that it doesn’t work because the downed hero’s last conscious act somehow thwarted it (pulled some wiring out of a device, scratched out a magic rune, etc.). His unique “put a card from a hero trash on top of the deck” is similar to when Vance is down - Graves is out of the suit but still doing stuff.
- Original: Vernon Carter is being shot at as his suit is locking up/failing/about to explode. He’s tearing the suit off of himself while simultaneously shooting at some Nazis.
- Anniversary: Carter, out of the suit, hiding from an enemy patrol (presumably Nazis).
- Mechanics: Destroy an Environment Card is him sneaking around out of the suit eliminating environmental threats. Similarly, destroy a target with 1 HP is him out of the suit and so unable to effectively take on Villain-level threats, but he can still do something.
- Original: Omnitron scanning a piece of the ceramic, modular Bunker Suit. This feeds into the Vertex line version of Omnitron V that incorporates some of this modularity.
- Anniversary: Part of the Chokepoint fight with her in the background causing chaos with Vance in his suit that’s about to blow, but he’s got a look of determination as he’s preparing one last EMP-style blast.
- Mechanics: Three uniques to reflect the oddity/extreme nature of the Termi-Nation event in general. Put a Deck in its Trash - just throwing everything out the window. One Player may discard two cards to draw two cards - it’s taking the opportunity to grab new resources that have become available, but you’ve got to drop what you’re doing first to take advantage of it (notable in that in this case they make the player discard before drawing, which is backwards from most similar effects). Destroy a hero Ongoing or Equipment and play the top two cards of that hero’s deck - rather than giving up resources in some way, you’re giving up some existing power/advantage to get some more. All three of these are on the theme of changing things up in drastic ways, always shifting.
Freedom Five Bunker
- Original: Highbrow holding up the suit helmet, about to put it on. This is one of the brief post-OblivAeon events shown in the wrap up issues. This iteration of Highbrow had been encountered in the Fort Adamant events as one of Doctor Demikahv’s test subjects. The various subjects escape after that. During the course of the OblivAeon event this suit got pretty well wrecked and afterwards Highbrow finds the helmet. It’s a tease of “Highbrow is still around and is up to something”.
- Anniversary: Vance standing in the suit bay with all of the various Bunker suits exploding. This is one of the many “Bunker suits exploding” scenes from over the years.
- Mechanics: One unique is the same as the armor ability from the original version, only it’s preventing 1 damage but continuously for a turn - same kind of deal story-wise. The other unique is one environment target dealing a target 2 fire damage - this is the suitless Vance hijacking something in the environment and turning it to his own use.
- Original: She’s up against a late-’90s/early-’00s team that’s not really talked about. They’re a one-time group that showed up in her Lightspeed series and are Tachyon-specific foes [that series is one that we don’t have a specific date for, but I pegged it generally to be sometime in ’95]. They’re a trio of elemental-themed villains, two of whom appear here with the third elsewhere in her deck (on “Synaptic Interruption” we see the fire-based guy named Thermos - pronounced with a long-o like the first two syllables of “thermodynamics” with an s after it, this doesn’t prevent the jokes about the brand of insulated food storage devices). In this art she’s had her feet frozen to the ground by Cold Shoulder (the daughter of the Golden Age Absolute Zero) and the wind-vortex villain is Current. These are fairly light-hearted/tongue-in-cheek stories and the villains fit that theme. [In the Tachyon Episode the two characters on shown in her incap art were said to have been Leviathan and one of his followers, so we’ve got a retcon here.]
- Anniversary: Glamour captures Tachyon and takes her place for a time.
- Mechanics: These are about doing stuff fast. Play a card and draw a card are standard, but recovering a card from the trash is meant to evoke that too.
- Original: She’s trying to replicate the event that gave her powers as those powers are currently on the fritz. Fun note for those who don’t know is that this promo was not specifically planned for from the beginning, but was made as a promotional item for when the video game was released. They had plenty of story that they could use for it, though.
- Anniversary: Showing her powers being on the fritz as her powers are tearing her apart.
- Mechanics: Unique of putting the bottom card of a deck on top of the deck is related to the experimentation she’d been doing originally (as it’s related to the power on the active side of this card).
Freedom Six Tachyon
- Original: She’s been shot in the knee by the Iron Hand, Ambuscade as Iron Legacy’s enforcer. This immediately follows the Anniversary art situation.
- Anniversary: Iron Hand has captured her and is aiming at her head. [Here they say that he doesn’t kill her here, but this is at odds with what we were told in the Tachyon Episode itself, so another retcon.]
- Mechanics: Shuffling a trash into its deck is a “quick reset” of the situation.
Freedom Five Tachyon
- Original: She’s pushed herself too far past her limits and is going too fast (especially here at the end of the Multiverse era where she’s been injured) and is starting to be torn apart.
- Anniversary: This still happens with the gold Progeny grabbing her before Benchmark can swoop in to save her, but they made a mistake that they noticed during their timeline project - she shouldn’t be in this costume at this point.
- Mechanics: Similar to Freedom Five Legacy, we’re looking at some variations on standard things as we’re going all out - she lets a player play or draw an extra card or take the top card from trash into their hand.
- Original: Shows Wraith at her own grave. As mentioned previously, this is taken from a cover of an issue where she’s faked her own death. She’s “incapacitated” in that she has to lay low to maintain the ruse.
- Anniversary: She stands over the bodies of her friends Sara Scott and Eduardo López after Spite kills them.
- Mechanics: Regaining 2 HP is somebody picking up her utility belt and using some bandages or whatnot.
Rook City Wraith
- Original: It’s a symbolic thing of her dealing with her past problems/inner turmoil/failures as manifested by the outlines of Spite, Equity, Mayor Overbrook, and Ermine.
- Anniversary: She’s being arrested. It’s Ambuscade posing as a cop.
- Mechanics: Move an equipment from trash into play is her recovering something, gaining HP is same as the original, destroy an environment card is her removing something from the scene.
Freedom Six Wraith
- Original: One of the (many) Spite clones about to throw her into some hazard.
- Anniversary: It’s her having taken the place of the Chairman (with Operative and Equity in the background). The “incapacitation” here is that she’s really no longer a hero at this point.
- Mechanics: The new one is to put an Ongoing in play on top of its deck - using her influence to set back some plot (or to help set up a hero).
Freedom Five Wraith
- Original: She’s watching the chronal-bubble (presumably the Chrono-Ranger/Setback event) enveloping Rook City.
- Anniversary: She’s digging through rubble looking for heroes during the OblivAeon fight.
- Mechanics: Pulling out the stops again - like her front-side power she can continue to funding of allowing extra draw (with a discard), a hero using some of her gear to help defend themselves once she’s down to reduce the next instance of damage they take, and more utility-belt kind of stuff to help get their equipment in hand.
- Original: His cryo-chamber is failing and he’s trying to get to his suit (this is an occasion when Freedom Tower loses power).
- Anniversary: Getting hit in the faceplate with a hammer - this is Proletariat.
- Mechanics: Increasing the next damage a hero does is summed up as “ice fists”, so it’s a downed AZ augmenting his ally. Destroying a low-HP target is similar to Bunker - he can make the environment too cold for a weakened target to stay up.
Freedom Six Absolute Zero
- Original: He’s encased in a giant wall of ice. This is more of a fear that he has than anything that actually happens - the heat death of the world where everything is ice and he’s trapped inside of it in his suit.
- Anniversary: He’s got an icicle driven through his chest - courtesy of Iron Legacy.
- Mechanics: A target dealing itself 1 cold damage is them getting too close to AZ. Preventing Environment plays is his cold getting out of control and freezing things.
Termi-Nation Absolute Zero
- Original: Chokepoint ripping his standard suit off of him (and so actually showing part of the setup for this variant itself).
- Anniversary: Miss Information using his fear of fire against him.
- Mechanics: Reducing non-cold damage is due to his uncontained cold [presumably just making everything else hard to do].
Freedom Five Absolute Zero
- Original: He’s trying to talk Cosmic Inventor Writhe out of his attempts to replace his shadow cloak after the events of OblivAeon.
- Anniversary: He’s helping Tachyon after they’ve both taken a beating during the fight with the OblivAeon-powered Voss.
- Mechanics: They’re all just because of the cold. The Environment is frozen in place. People near him are hurt by the cold. The damage taken/dealt being increased is like how it hurts more if you, say, stub your toe while it’s cold.
- Original: She’s in a plastic/glass, specifically non-metal prison. She’s been captured by F.I.L.T.E.R. and is having tests done on her - this is an early story showing the organization going after heroes/powered people generally rather than aliens.
- Anniversary: She’s down and surrounded by her destroyed Champion bot. She’s got a dire-looking abdominal injury, but she pulls through. This is during “Vengeance: Revisited” [in FFA #27].
- Mechanics: HP gain represented by some nanobots or something repairing things.
Freedom Six Unity
- Original: All of the fleshy bits torn away, showing just her robot parts. This is when she’s defeated in the Iron Legacy universe.
- Anniversary: The earlier scene where Golem Unity is looking at the grave of the original, learning that she’s just a robot.
- Mechanics: Destroy a non-character-card Device is her co-opting the machine as her ability as a machine.
- Original: The teaser from a Biomancer story where he’s trying to make a Golem Unity (as this happened after the Iron Legacy story, it’s a nice piece of dramatic irony for the audience).
- Anniversary: Chokepoint taking control of Champion Bot and Swift Bot.
- Mechanics: Reducing damage to non-character targets is her using her powers to defend the various minions or whatnot. She’s down, so it’s rather indiscriminate in its application.
- Original: As part of the original Omnitron story, Omnitron-X being assimilated into it.
- Anniversary: Unity holding the head of Omnitron-X after its destruction
- Mechanics: Protection ability is another armor plating effect similar to others we’ve seen.
- Original: He’s sitting alone in some dust while rather beat up. This is another post-OblivAeon wrap-up event where we see it trying to understand what this “sentience” that its acquired is all about. Like a “Who am I? Am I a person?” kind of thing. This is leading into stuff they’ll get into with the RPG.
- Anniversary: This indicates the “mental” battle between all the various Omnitrons during the Omnitron-IV event.
- Mechanics: Destroy an equipment to do damage is Omni having futzed with it prior to this point so it has a “volatile wiring” situation like his own power. Recovering/repairing the equipment from trash to hand is modeling a similar effect to the second half of his power.
- Original: The Dark Visionary personality having won the mental battle and taking control.
- Anniversary: Showing the mental battle in progress.
- Mechanics: All three are “standard” effects, but are all focused on destruction where her deck really wasn’t - it’s this backlash of psychic energy as she goes down.
- Original: It’s a bit of a weird story - this is during the “Citizens Imperative” era of Hammer and Anvil going off on their own. During that we have Dark Visionary fighting with Hammer on the psychic plane (which we’ll get to on his card) and the good Visionary gets free and will attempt to retake control of the body. Dark Visionary gives Hammer the opportunity to avoid being put in a coma for the rest of his life in exchange for him fire-blasting the good Visionary there in the psychic realm.
- Anniversary: Her as Dark Mind blasting Visionary.
- Mechanics: All positive stuff in contrast to what’s going on for the base character. Visionary is getting some control back here.
- Original: She’s fighting Empyreon who is tearing through her psychic shields, which she can’t maintain forever.
- Anniversary: She’s fighting a psychic manifestation of Miss Information - this is another post-OblivAeon thing that leads to Miss Info regaining some level of control as well as pushing Visionary to where we’ll see her in the RPG.
- Mechanics: The damage effect is her getting in the target’s head, the discard to draw 2 is her helping characters learn something new at the cost of forgetting something, and the damage type increase is her amplifying things even while she’s down and out.
- Original: Her getting the code upload that leads into her Fugue State.
- Anniversary: Another shot from that same event. The glowing OblivAeon markings are an abstraction, but are another indication of what’s going on here.
- Mechanics: Her abilities are all about how she knows things.
Fugue State Parse
- Original: She’s hooked into Sanction as mentioned in the second OblivAeon episode.
- Anniversary: Her observing OblivAeon to find flaws and finding him flawless.
- Mechanics: Allowing a hero to shuffle up their phases is her seeing how the hero needs to change their behavior to maximize effectiveness.
- Original: An ink drawing of his hat. Kind of a tribute image. The Japanese 終わり is owari and is used like “The End” at the end of a story.
- Anniversary: The same thing, just updated. It was the perfect image so why change things up?
- Mechanics: The pulling of an equipment from trash into play is because “Of course you can get something out of the junkyard.”
Dark Watch Mr. Fixer
- Original: Heartbreaker stabbing him through the chest, which is when we find out that he’s not really alive again in this iteration.
- Anniversary: This is from the second volume of Dark Watch, but pre-OblivAeon. He’s covered in rats as the team is tracking what they think is Plague Rat through the Rook City sewers, but it turns out to be some gnarled, wizardy servants of Zhu Long who are trying to destabilize the area for some reason.
- Mechanics: Moving a card from trash to the bottom of the deck is his efforts to forestall something. Destroying an Environment card is also kind of on-point for this version of the character.
- Original: A cover image. She’s out of ammo, defeated by the Citizens of the Sun.
- Anniversary: She’s failed in her assault on the Citadel of the Sun and is at the mercy of Hammer - right before the backup she brought this time breaks in to save the day.
- Mechanics: Destroying a weak target is her still being able to tack pot-shots at stuff while down. Adding a projectile damage effect to another hero is them picking up one of her guns to use.
Dark Watch Expatriette
- Original: Her taking a shot intended for Setback.
- Anniversary: During the long-form story we got in an episode where she’s sighting in on Setback under the control of Zhu Long.
- Mechanics: [The damage reduction is the only semi-non-standard one, but they don’t really explain it. I assume she’s providing some covering fire or they pick up a flak jacket or something.]
- Original: As mentioned in his episode, this is when he’s given up the hero gig and thrown away his costume after getting Freedom Five janitor Larry Hillburn injured during a fight.
- Anniversary: He’s in a lab and is balancing various beakers of chemicals while a device is shocking him. Just a slapstick scene.
- Mechanics: Discarding the top card of every deck is him just making a general mess of everything.
Dark Watch Setback
- Original: Both of these are tied to DW Expat’s. This is him cradling her body after she took that hit for him and he’s out of the fight due to his guilt over this.
- Anniversary: This is when Zhu Long takes control of him.
- Mechanics: Revealing a card and putting it in trash or the bottom of the deck represents his unluck messing with you.
- Original: Her getting sealed in the Realm of Discord by one of her own spells gone awry.
- Anniversary: As part of that same event, GloomWeaver taunting her with the bead made of her grandfather’s soul. This is one of those iconic NightMist vs. GloomWeaver battle shots that we don’t really get too many of.
- Mechanics: HP regen due to a hero taking up some of the mist. Ongoing destruction pointed out here as also being a mist effect.
Dark Watch NightMist
- Original: She stands before GW, looking to bargain (which is not a good move).
- Anniversary: Part of the story told in the ARG where NightMist overexerts herself in the attempt to fight Progeny and winds up stuck in mist form and forced to watch, helpless.
- Mechanics: Moving top of trash to top of deck is something being recovered from the mists.
- Original: This is him inside the philosopher’s stone in the story where…
- Anniversary: Hermetic is corrupting the stone and begins the process where he has to go into the stone and do the ley line things that get him into the variant version.
- Mechanics: HP regen because he’s revitalizing them.
Scholar of the Infinite
- Original: He’s beginning to fade from reality with Guise melting in the background. This is immediately followed by…
- Anniversary: Scholar fusing the stone with Guise to sacrifice himself to save his fried before it’s too late for both of them.
- Mechanics: Discarding 3 cards is something you’d only use in very particular situations, but we’re looking at loss here. Healing everybody is one last burst of revitalizing energy as he goes out.
- Original: Energy-based K.N.Y.F.E. tried to go up against energy-manipulating Citizen Dawn and this did not go well for her.
- Anniversary: Part of the brawl she has with the first version of Progeny.
- Mechanics: All are “standard” ones - Play a Card, Use a Power, Destroy an Ongoing [I can see all of them being tactical advice, though.]
Rogue Agent K.N.Y.F.E.
- Original: She’s been captured by the Steel Squadron and is in a medical tank until Sky-Scraper busts her out.
- Anniversary: Sergeant Steel capturing her preceding the original art.
- Mechanics: Use a power, Everybody regaining HP, and Reveal the top of a deck and then play or discard are all meant to represent the grab-bag nature of what she’s ready for.
- Original: He’s kind of crucified on a hill of skulls. This is a cover from the event when he’s defeated by Akash'Bhuta [so, in theory this would be the cover of VotV #182 from December ’85 - the last issue of the first volume of that title]. Covers lie, so this isn’t literally what happens to him.
- Anniversary: The actual thing that happens to him where Akash'Bhuta buries him under earth.
- Mechanics: HP regen and granting a power use “because Argent Adept”, the damage boost for hero targets is him amplifying things.
Prime Wardens Argent Adept
- Original: He’s fighting multiple Balarian in the RoD.
- Anniversary: From the Cosmic Contest when he’s battling Dark Visionary in the mental battle.
- Mechanics: All of these are still him just doing his Argent Adept thing to do small effects while down.
Dark Conductor Argent Adept
- Original: On the front of the card he’s got Vogel’s Baton and he’s in control, on the incap side he’s using its blood magic stuff and it’s in control.
- Anniversary: The same. The original original of this variant is the Kvothe tie-in card, so they just reused the art twice for this one. [The Kvothe card has him playing his lute on the front side and in his dejected “Kote” alias tending bar on the incap side.]
- Mechanics: Play and Draw are standard AA things, destroying a target with 2 HP is a slightly stronger “weak target elimination” ability than we’ve seen so far and is due to his dark/edginess.
XTREME Prime Wardens Argent Adept
- Original: Him facing off against a dark version of himself in the RoD.
- Anniversary: Ruin with the electric guitar getting ready for that epic guitar duel we’ve been told about.
- Mechanics: Damage power by getting more people involved in the epic guitar battle thing.
- Original: A comic cover with him held in OblivAeon’s hand. Doesn’t happen, but is indicative of things to come.
- Anniversary: Defeated at the hands of Infinitor.
- Mechanics: Global damage reduction due to reflexively throwing out shields arbitrarily.
Prime Wardens Captain Cosmic
- Original: Captured by the Celestial Tribunal - the gold color is just the stasis thing they use to bring you in.
- Anniversary: Being drained by the newly empowered Empyreon during the return from Dok’Thorath.
- Mechanics: Options for sacrifice or renewal.
Requital Captain Cosmic
- Original: Galactra draining his powers when she finds him out in space after OblivAeon.
- Anniversary: He’s built a giant construct/manifestation armor form to fight OblivAeon, but OblivAeon eye-blasts him anyway.
- Mechanics: Entirely unique - once he’s down, the Infinitor side kind of takes over as his Constructs operate independently.
XTREME Prime Wardens Captain Cosmic
- Original: Facing off against a Lazer Shark.
- Anniversary: Encounter with Judge Mental.
- Mechanics: The ability keyed on Energy damage is based around the idea of somebody else taking up one of his constructs once he’s down.
- Original: He’s under some rubble with radiation all around him. This is the same story as in his Haka of Battle card where he’s fighting the Radioactivist in a power plant and winds up collapsing the whole place.
- Anniversary: The story told in his episode where the Hippo had taken a school bus of children hostage.
- Mechanics: Damage reduction due to the fact that a downed Haka still provides adequate cover.
- Original: He’s alone on some cliff. Forever alone as he’s outlived everything.
- Anniversary: Leading up to that, we see the Mongolian Death Worm destroy his library.
- Mechanics: HP regen due to taking some of his vitality (?). Damage reduction due to everybody taking a moment to be sad.
Prime Wardens Haka
- Original: Ambuscade has him chained to a wall with some restraint gizmos.
- Anniversary: Defeated in the Bloodsworn Arena.
- Mechanics: Damage boost because that Arena loss was him taking a dive to help set up a fellow hero.
XTREME Prime Wardens Haka
- Original: The fight with the XTREME Hippo mentioned in the Xtremeverse episode.
- Anniversary: Ambuscade thinks he can defeat Haka by throwing him into lava for some reason. He may actually be right as this is the last appearance of XTREME Haka before the whole La Comodora thing is revealed.
- Mechanics: HP due to XTREME Baking. Him operating as 0 HP target is him still tanking for the team while down. Nobody can gain HP because the baked goods were actually poisoned.
- Original: His arm is torn off [leading to the Freedom Six iteration].
- Anniversary: Being captured by F.I.L.T.E.R.
- Mechanics: Damage type immunity is tied to his Elemental Subwave Inducer. Ongoing recovery is related to his retrieval stuff (“Reclaim from the Deep”?).
Freedom Six Tempest
- Original: He’s left out in a desert by Iron Legacy and being dehydrated.
- Anniversary: After he gets out of the desert he finds the Maerynian Refuge razed and his people killed. This is not meant to be Plavu’Col and is more like some kind of internment camp.
- Mechanics: Discarding the top of each deck is a weather effect.
Prime Wardens Tempest
- Original: Attacked by Leviathan.
- Anniversary: Tortured by Vyktor.
- Mechanics: Putting an Environment or Villain card from trash into play is him sneaking around doing stuff while he’s out of the fight proper.
XTREME Prime Wardens Tempest
- Original: He’s in the Bloodsworn Colosseum getting ready for a big fight.
- Anniversary: Having more trouble with Leviathan.
- Mechanics: Increase lightning damage is appropriate for Tempest. Having the Environment do some lightning damage is also on-point. Ditto for wiping out part of the Environment.
- Original: Wings pinned to a wall by the Court of Blood.
- Anniversary: Burning a church and burning a cross into the Idolater’s face. These stories were both told in her episode.
- Mechanics: [They skip this as they were talking about how Metal! she is in pretty much all variants - presumably healing because Fanatic and increase damage somebody does by imbuing them with holy fire or something?]
- Original: Both sort of abstract cover art. First has her down in the background with the broken mask in the foreground. She loses in this issue.
- Anniversary: Her sword is broken while she looms above the viewer in silhouette. In this one the story is about whether she might turn on the heroes. She’s often used as a loose-cannon character.
- Mechanics: Healing because Fanatic. Damage reduction by grabbing a piece of her armor.
Prime Wardens Fanatic
- Original: Fighting vampires being overwhelmed prior to…
- Anniversary: Blood Countess feeding on her.
- Mechanics: [No explanation given for the discard ability.]
XTREME Prime Wardens Fanatic
- Original: Both from that very first Xtremeverse story. This is from right at the end as she takes up Condemnation.
- Anniversary: From earlier in the issue when XTREME Apostate has her crucified.
- Mechanics: Mirroring her power, she can cause all damage to be redirected to one target - like once she goes down and croaks out an “Avenge me” or similar everybody focuses on that one jerk.
- Original: Follow up to a fight with Anubis shown on “Scorched Earth”.
- Anniversary: Follow up to the fight with the Ennead that he lost - better version of this is the Baptism by Fire cover we have now.
- Mechanics: Removing the Environment card because Fire.
Horus of Two Horizons Ra
- Original: Precursor to the base version’s anniversary art where Set is still watching over him.
- Anniversary: Making his deal with Ammit that the Ra episode talked about.
- Mechanics: The Villain deck manipulation is part of his journey he’s undergoing here.
Setting Sun Ra
- Original: Being blasted by the backlash from OblivAeon when he and the other gods broke OblivAeon’s shield.
- Anniversary: Fanatic mourning his death after the above happens.
- Mechanics: The Draw or Play option is there to make up for the fact that the other two options are so final. The damage ones are him getting out one last blast before dying (either a big hit to one target or clearing the field of the weaker targets).
- Original: He’s trapped outside time after sparing Ambuscade on Mars.
- Anniversary: Infected by Plague Rat as he begins to turn.
- Mechanics: Damage power as somebody has picked up his six-gun.
Best of Times Chrono-Ranger
- Original: Giant green blast of energy as he’s standing at ground zero when OblivAeon destroys Rook City.
- Anniversary: Being stuck in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupts.
- Mechanics: Extra discard to play due to time shenanigans he set up.
- Original: Normal - Chained back up in the Bloodsworn Colosseum in the latter Hero in the Arena story. Huge - captured by Baron Blade and Fright train during Vengeance and about to be buried alive. Tiny - Dreamer making her into a doll, an abstraction from a cover.
- Anniversary: Normal - Tempest, back from being replaced by Biomancer, telling her off regarding what her people did to his people. Huge - fighting in the Colosseum again. Tiny - trapped in Greazer’s containment bottle terrarium thing.
- Mechanics: Normal - play, power, or draw as the Normal version gets the three standard incap options. Huge - Environment destruction [I guess as she struggles and/or falls down on it]. Tanking even when down similar to XTREME Haka. Tiny - weak target destruction as she’s infiltrated.
- Original: Normal - She’s falling into Orbo’s mouth. This is another OblivAeon wrap-up thing. Slamara wasn’t the only Endling to leave the Enclave, but he’s a jerk and stayed for his selfish hungry reasons. Huge - She lifts up that last big OblivAeon Engine so that she can dispose of it as discussed in the second OblivAeon episode. Tiny - OblivAeon-powered Voss about to crush her.
- Anniversary: Normal - Her bracers going haywire, proving Tachyon right to have been wary of messing with her powers like this. Huge - OblivAeon grabbing her and lifting her by the throat. This nicely showcases how big she is in this version - he’s still bigger, but not by all that much. Tiny - swimming around inside Benchmark’s bloodstream and being attacked by their immune system. This is from a side-story during OblivAeon in RevoCorp Presents where she’s trying to undo some of the residual RevoCorp badness that is still messing with him.
- Mechanics: All sizes have the ability to swap to another size as part of the gimmick. Normal - variations on the Draw and Play standard options in that you draw from the bottom of your deck and “put a card into play” which is mechanically distinct from “playing a card”. Huge - manipulating Environment effects, she’s either tanking damage globally by being in the way or locking down one particular target. Tiny - recover from trash due to her intel. Toxic damage because she’s done something to their blood.
- Original: Deadline has defeated him.
- Anniversary: As a rhino he’s stuck in some sewers getting toxic stuff dumped on him. This is part of a Professor Pollution story.
- Mechanics: Protection from environment targets because Naturalist.
- Original: Going into a weird form after a loss of control - in Vertex this is what leads to him becoming Chimera.
- Anniversary: Related, Akash'Bhuta turns him into a hyena (talked about in the Naturalist episode).
- Mechanics: Getting the environment to rampage because Naturalist.
- Mechanics: The team gets a shared set of mechanics and there are 4 options, related to the team members. Healing because of Dr. Medico, naturally.
- Original: Dr. Medico - dissolved to a pile of dust, this happens when he’s defeated. Mainstay - tied to La Capitan’s ship. Idealist - fragmenting as she has trouble with her sense of self/identity (is she even a person?). Writhe - Lasers taking him apart, showing just how much of his form is shadow energy rather than a normal human body. This is him fighting F.I.L.T.E.R. but they’re just generic villains for the excuse of him questioning his own humanity.
- Anniversary: Dr. Medico - Also dissolved, but this is a cover from the Quetzalcoatl story. Mainstay - thrown overboard with a bunch of weights during one of the many La Capitan encounters. Idealist - on a psychiatry couch talking to a Freudian Wager Master. Writhe - Pirate Writhe as a fake-out of questioning if he’s going to go over to the other side.
The Adamant Sentinels
- Mechanics: Same as the base versions.
- Original: Many of the art for these are tied to a Miss Information story where she’s messing with them. Dr. Medico - being sucked into a black hole (Miss Info exploiting his fears based on his status as an energy being). Mainstay - Poisoned by the Operative. Idealist - another cover, from the Miss Info story where she’s freaking out about if she or the world is even real. Writhe - our first view of Voidsoul during their fight.
- Anniversary: Dr. Medico - Baron Blade has captured him and is using him as something like a battery. Mainstay - in Termi-Nation, a cover that shows Chokepoint encasing him in steel. Idealist - After the Miss Info stuff, Fort Adamant doing more testing, this is one of the first indication of Doctor Demikahv and that something is not quite right at Fort Adamant. Writhe - that same encounter with Voidsoul, but more abstract showing the connection of their shadow powers.
- Anniversary: The view of his funeral from the heroes’ perspective with a shadowy figure in the background. We’ve reached the point where Adam drew the Anniversary cards first so we’re swapping the order from here on.
- Original: The view of his funeral from his perspective showing for sure that he faked his death.
- Mechanics: Discard to draw is a standard trade-off kind of thing. Destroy an ongoing to destroy two ongoing is him able to do some really helpful stuff, but you have to sacrifice for it.
- Anniversary: Legacy of Destruction busting in to surprise her.
- Original: Legacy of Destruction’s evil team, either a cover or at least a splash page.
- Mechanics: She’s a very “standard” hero, so she gets a few of the standard abilities plus a broad healing ability (based on a device) to showcase that heroism.
- Anniversary: She’s in the warehouse as Matriarch losing her mind when Tachyon finds her to help.
- Original: Abstraction/cover image of her mourning NightMist.
- Mechanics: Environment does damage because birds.
Dark Watch Harpy
- Anniversary: She’s reading some book in NightMist’s sanctum and the spell is getting away from her.
- Original: Facing Skinwalker GloomWeaver, just before Lifeline shows up.
- Mechanics: This is all about the Dark Watch team - she encourages a hero to get in the fight (imagine a set-up DW Fixer or a High-Risk Behavior Setback getting a free hit in), getting to play two equipment cards can help either Fixer (say a tool box and a tool) or Expat get set up. Moving a card from trash to the top of the deck can benefit Setback. They point out that there isn’t an ability there for NightMist (y’know, because she’s busy Being the Gate), but I would point out that playing two equipment cards or knowing what the top card of your deck is are both beneficial for her.
- Anniversary: Her getting really messed up by Professor Pollution.
- Original: Her facing Voidsoul and slowly becoming the Spirit of the Void, as mentioned in the OblivAeon episode.
- Mechanics: Various environment manipulation effects, because Akash.
Spirit of the Void Akash'Thriya
- Anniversary: She dissipates into Void energy, which leads into…
- Original: That Void energy swirling around Akash'Flora.
- Mechanics: Various other environment manipulation effects, because Akash.
- Anniversary: Standing on her ship, looking at the end of time that gets her moving on the whole OblivAeon thing.
- Original: Watching as realities collapse into one another.
- Mechanics: Bottom of deck stuff due to time shenanigans.
Curse of the Black Spot La Comodora
- Anniversary: This version of Maria Helena isn’t a time traveler but a Void holder-backer and is an ally of her world’s Virtuoso. Here at the Nexus of the Void she’s deconstituted into Void energy.
- Original: She reconstitutes into herself at the cost of her friend the Virtuoso.
- Mechanics: Abilities here are due to “weird Void stuff.”
- Anniversary: The death of Bloogo when the Enclave was attacked.
- Original: At the Court of Blood, making the choice to ally with Blood Countess Bathory.
- Mechanics: Healing and if at max HP grant a power as he gives what’s left of his own energy to his allies.
Blood Mage Lifeline
- Anniversary: The ritual of him becoming the Blood Mage version.
- Original: The post-OblivAeon scene where Slamara comes to him to get him to give up the power he’s acquired.
- Mechanics: These are all “stuff at a cost”. Discard 2 to play 1. Destroy one of your Ongoings to draw 5. Everybody can take some damage to use a power.
- Anniversary: After he’s blown up by Borr.
- Original: Borr is about to explode.
- Mechanics: Another “somebody took one of his guns” damage ability.
Action Hero Stuntman
- Anniversary: He’s in a prison.
- Original: Being attacked by a Biomancer version of himself (which happens to look a lot more like the main reality’s version of him).
- Mechanics: Environment thing is him doing a prison break kind of thing where he attacks a guard and takes their gun.
- Anniversary: He’s being forced, by his RevoCorp programming, to target Setback and Parse.
- Original: The follow through where he (or at least his suit) attacks them.
- Mechanics: [The New] Standard options of Play, Power, and Draw.
Supply and Demand Benchmark
- Anniversary: The villains from that reality (Baron Blade, Operative, Highbrow, and Fright Train) celebrating over his defeated body.
- Original: Count Barzakh, only recently named in the Mist Storm Universe episode (although this is a different version of him), attacking him.
- Mechanics: Other semi-standard options here of healing or Ongoing/Environment destruction.
Void Guard Dr. Medico
- Anniversary: Nixious the Chosen releasing the GloomWeaver corruption within his OblivAeon shard.
- Original: An alternate-reality K.N.Y.F.E. slashing at him.
- Mechanics: Two different healing options because Dr. Medico.
Malpractice Void Guard Dr. Medico
- Anniversary: Idealist stopping the rampaging Medico by hitting him with a wrecking ball.
- Original: The follow-up to the Nixious bit on the other card showing GloomWeaver within his OblivAeon Shard.
- Mechanics: Standard stuff, but notable that Medico has a “destroy a weak target” ability at all.
Void Guard Mainstay
- Anniversary: He’s got Borr in a headlock right before the latter explodes. This is followed up by the events on Stuntman’s cards where he pushes his friend aside and then the aftermath of Stuntman’s Anniversary card where he’s all messed up.
- Original: Mainstay seeing the aftermath with the crater where Borr was and what’s left of Stuntman.
- Mechanics: He’s got a targeted tank ability.
Road Warrior Void Guard Mainstay
- Anniversary: Greazer dragging Mainstay away by wrapping a chain around his neck and then flying off in the Pink Lady. This is a teaser that at least some of the Void Guard “space stuff” post-OblivAeon will involve Greazer.
- Original: A reprise of the Miss Information story where he’s in his stone form and he’s crumbling due to her influence.
- Mechanics: Healing due to his Shard energy.
Void Guard Idealist
- Anniversary: Faultless talking to her about how her Shard is bad news and that he will try to protect her from it for a time.
- Original: Her succumbing to her Monster of Id.
- Mechanics: Moving ongoing from trash to deck is part of her psychic weirdness.
Super Sentai Void Guard Idealist
- Anniversary: One of her robot concepts, kind of a practice thing for the Mecha-knight, fighting a Wager Master Godzilla. This is from a side story just prior to OblivAeon.
- Original: As part of that same story, she’s fighting a giant Biomancer fleshmonster kaiju thing. Kaiju Biomancer/Wager Master - the team-up that nobody asked for.
- Mechanics: Kind of standard fare by now. [Environment destruction likely due to the kaiju battle.]
Void Guard Writhe
- Anniversary: He’s about to be branded as a Bloodsworn just before Lifeline saves them.
- Original: Voidsoul ripping the shadow cloak from him.
- Mechanics: Damage reduction to a hero target due to shadow-stuff getting on them.
Cosmic Inventor Void Guard Writhe
- Anniversary: Aeon Master has blasted a hole through him as part of the fight.
- Original: He’s succumbing to the whispers of OblivAeon and he’s built some kind of creepy OblivAeon mannequin that he talks to.
- Mechanics: damage boost/armor option replicates the shadow cloak somewhat, the equipment thing is related to his inventor status.
- Original: He’s being crushed beneath the big text box.
- Anniversary: Him at a typewriter. These are both meta-jokes given just how long and convoluted the mechanics are.
- Mechanics: Kind of ridiculous abilities, made more ridiculous by the way they’re worded, because Guise.
- Original: The big Christmas Spectacular issue had the villains representing other holidays. This card shows Green Grosser in a Pilgrim outfit on a giant cornicopia holding an eggplant bomb - Thanksgiving is making war on Christmas.
- Anniversary: All of the villains from that issue (GG, Wager Master as Baby New Year, Cueball as an Easter Egg, Argentium in an Uncle Sam getup for July 4th).
- Mechanics: Still worded funny (because Guise), but two of the abilities are to deal with the fact that it’s possible for Santa Guise to have left face-down cards out in play in other play areas.
- All three (yes, three) versions of this are the same with only minute differences (if the symbol on his chest on the front side is a checked box, an x-ed box, or a scratched off box; which comic he’s holding on the front of the card; and what he says to the comic shop staff on the incap side).
- Mechanics: His base power allows him to swap hero character cards in play with unused variants and then put the swapped version under his own card. All of his incap abilities key off of his collection - you can swap a card in his collection back out into play, you can remove a card from his collection to grant the active variant of that hero a power use, or you can remove all variants of a single hero from your collection to grant that hero’s player a full turn right now.
Vengeance Baron Blade
- Original: Being confronted by a bunch of heroes.
- Anniversary: Him “doing drugs” while Legacy points this out to Proletariat who’s shocked [For those who don’t know, this is an homage to a famous Green Arrow comic cover where his sidekick was revealed to be an addict.]
- Mechanics: Hero self damage models left over Regression Serum.
- Original: He’s crushed into the ground. Who knocked him out? [This is a reference to a ’90s X-Men comic cover asking who stopped the Juggernaut.]
- Anniversary: Tyler Vance in the Bunker suit tearing the cow-catcher off of him.
- Mechanics: Hero deals themselves toxic damage - this is after effects of all of the experimentation done on him.
- Original: The end of the Vengeance: Revisited story where she’s burning herself out.
- Anniversary: Her getting beat up by Tachyon.
- Mechanics: Ongoing/Equipment destruction due to her equipment shorting out.
- Original: Her mugshot.
- Anniversary: Her tied up and left for the police by Wraith.
- Mechanics: Discarding from hero decks as she’s still stealing stuff.
- Original: Frozen in the stasis tube again.
- Anniversary: Frozen by Absolute Zero.
- Mechanics: Shuffle a trash into the deck to keep the numbers down.
- Original: The reveal of his horrible disfigured face with the tiny little scar on his cheek. Neither of these incap arts give away the gimmick that this version of Ambuscade is an illusion created by Glamour and are from stories disconnected from the events of the deck itself.
- Anniversary: The beginning of the Road Warriors story with him and Mainstay in the bar.
- Mechanics: Any Slaughter-house Six members still left in his deck are brought into play and act on his turn.
- Original: Legacy holding a Biomancer Fleshchild that’s broken. Every time you think you’ve defeated him, you haven’t.
- Anniversary: Another beat up Biomancer Fleshchild.
- Mechanics: Heroes targets deal each other more damage because you can never be sure who’s real.
- Original: Bound by, but still menacing, DW NightMist before she banishes him out of reality.
- Anniversary: K.N.Y.F.E. brain-spiking him.
- Mechanics: HP gain as villains draw on his energy.
VotM La Capitan
- Original: La Capitan about to get a talking to from La Comodora. This was the first reveal of that version of the character.
- Anniversary: While the La Capitan decks represent “our” version of Maria Helena, there are alternate versions that even appear in this deck, so they feel its ok to use alternate reality versions of her here too. This is the Curse of the Black Spot La Comodora again and an event that incapacitates her.
- Mechanics: The destruction or discard effect is due to time shenanigans.
- Original: Hammer - as discussed in the Dark Visionary section above, this is him being having it out with the various Visionaries on the psychic plane. Anvil - Expat has shotgunned him in the face with stun ammo.
- Anniversary: Hammer - Ra Horus of Two Horizons showing this jerk who’s really the “fire guy” around here. Anvil - Fanatic showing Anvil what she thinks of his “armor and radiance” shtick by breaking through his shield. They have these two heroes involved here partly because they are C&A’s power couple and
they just want them to be happybecause Hammer and Anvil are kind of the poseur versions of these two.
- Mechanics: Hammer - increasing fire damage because fire. Anvil - does some healing due to left over radiant energy.
- Original: Flying off in the Pink Lady while giving a thumbs up. In Adam’s original art for this it was a different hand gesture.
- Anniversary: Also in his car/spaceship, this time pushing down his shades. Both of these are meant to indicate that he’s no longer interested in this nonsense and is simply leaving - the Original because he captured his bounty and is leaving to collect and this one as a “I’m not getting paid enough for this”.
- Mechanics: Once he leaves, the other villains have to step up their game, so we get an extra card play for one of them.
VotM Miss Information
- Original: She’s in an asylum creating an illusion of herself having subdued/defeated the Freedom Five.
- Anniversary: This one showing her scarred face beneath her mask with some alternate versions behind her (her original look, a heroic version, a tech version, a full-mask version). Are they real or is this just in her head?
- Mechanics: The effect here is her having really messed with things.
- Original: She’s lying in the snow, bleeding with a shadowy figure above her (it’s Zhu Long).
- Anniversary: She’s on her knees in the snow having just been defeated by the other figure before her (it’s DW Mr. Fixer).
- Mechanics: Reducing healing due to the residual poisons in your system.
VotM Plague Rat
- Original: In the sewer, a RevoCorp handler is splattered against a wall, the harness is broken and discarded, and we see Plague Rat’s tail as he has just rounded a corner as he runs away. Freedom!
- Anniversary: The capture of Plague Rat by Benchmark. He’s a hero.
- Mechanics: Destroying an Environment target as he’s still out there hunting.
- Original: This is the scene from where he’d had the future Becky Blast set up a bomb, but now there’s no way to turn it off. Whoops.
- Anniversary: This is the aftermath - he’s lost an arm and is covered in burns. He’s not dead, though.
- Mechanics: Somebody gets to do some projectile damage because, like with other characters, somebody has picked up the guns that he’s dropped.
- So are the “standard” incap abilities (play, power, draw, etc.) just meant to represent the remaining heroes focusing and increasing their efforts as their friends go down? In most cases, yes. These things aren’t necessarily meant to represent a single thing, though, as they really want you to be able to “tell stories at your table”, so while they imply certain things based on the character, they aren’t meant to be limiting. “Play a card” will imply different things in the story whether it’s an ongoing, equipment, or one-shot.
- For destruction effects, what do those mean? Many specific cases have been discussed, but a lot of it can be down to things like “they sabotaged it earlier” or “they’re out of the fight proper, but can still do stuff on the sidelines”.
- Are these “story” explanations for the unique incap abilities accurate [lists several pages of them]? That’s what they did in the overview. Great job realizing that there were story reasons, though.
- At what point did you realize that incap abilities were going to play a role in OblivAeon battles? Did that have an effect on how you designed them (as some of them seem particularly potent in that context)? They didn’t intend it from the start. They knew that heroes would be downed in the process, but having access to all of the incap abilities wasn’t in the design for a while. They don’t mind how potent they are in the fight, though - it’s good to show how everybody sacrifices and pulls out all the stops in the fight (plus you need all the help you can get). If you find it too easy with all of these things, try Advanced mode (and there is Challenge mode in the works).
- In MindWanderer’s experience, players with incapped heroes often either wind up doing the same thing every turn or leave the table to let the remaining players choose what to do - did they consider alternate designs to keep the those players more engaged? No - C&A’s experience doesn’t match that. They also don’t see a frequent occurrence when one player is out a long time before the end of the game.
- Were abilities that allow for essentially locking down the villains intended? The presence of loops like this weren’t planned for intentionally. Again, they don’t plan on there being many rounds of multiple incapacitated heroes. They assume players are engaging with the theme of the game and aren’t metagaming to the point where they’re planning a strategy around everybody’s incap abilities. You do you, though.
- How does Adam get into the mood to do incap art? Do you need a certain mentality to get into before you can draw your characters’ low points? He actually likes doing the incap art more than most other things (they’re very tied to story and also get to be bigger pieces). A lot of the best teases or character moments/growth comes from these.
- What incap art makes you saddest? Death of Bloogo. The end of Scholar. Some of the saddest ones aren’t even incap, though (e.g. “Galvanized” from Iron Legacy where he’s dropping his family ring into his daughter’s grave or “Former Allies” with the barbecue photo abandoned in the rain).
- What is your favorite incap art? A lot of these were pointed out in the Overview, but maybe the Hammer & Anvil anniversary incaps.
- What are your favorite incap abilities? Same with them pointing stuff out as they went. They like the ones that get really unique like Setting Sun Ra or Requital Captain Cosmic.
- What type of drugs do you need to be on to write Guise’s? When Christopher is writing Guise stuff in general he’s got to get into the right mindset, but once he’s there he can just go. He’s kind of a “method writer” and once he gets into a certain voice he likes to stay in that for as long as possible. They mention Chrono-Ranger as another character he does this with - and it’s related to writing those character’s stories even if there’s not character dialogue (see CR’s bio). Adam does the same kind of thing when drawing (say, putting on Westerns in the background while drawing CR’s stuff or Back to the Future while doing Omnitron-X).
- How can incapacitated La Comodora do anything!? It’s not that she’s doing anything (other than her having already done them via time shenanigans as setup for later), but the other heroes reacting to her loss. There’s also the standard Multiverse thing about her being incapped at your table might not be the same thing as her having crashed her ship into OblivAeon and getting trapped outside time and space.
- How can you play NightMist in OblivAeon? She is around for the early parts, so if you’re playing thematically just have her as a starting hero who’s likely to get knocked out soon enough. They’re also not going to put it in the rules that you can’t use her in the fight or that Ra can only be around until the shields are taken out or specific story cases like that.