*Creepy laugh* *Door creaking* *Wind howl* Oh, excuse me. I left my spooky sound effect tape on, which must mean it's Halloween! In honor of the spookiest holiday (maybe next year, Arbor Day), I'm here to talk to you Boils and Ghouls (I'll stop, I promise) about the addition to MPQ of the essential Marvel horror hero, Blade!
Blade's one of the coolest Marvel characters around - he's got that "too good for this party" loner vibe, he's basically the only person that can rock a leather duster and wraparounds in 2014, and he's got all of a vampire's strengths with almost none of their weaknesses. Which is lucky for him, since he's out to kill as many of the blood suckers as possible. Cool, confident and deadly, Blade is a master of martial arts, deadly weapons and mystical powers, and we tried to capture each of these in his Marvel Puzzle Quest abilities.
The first thing we considered when figuring out Blade was his, uh... blade. His sword! Representing Blade attacking you with a sword in an ability seems easy at first, but looking at the roster of Marvel Puzzle Quest characters we already have characters with two swords (Deadpool), a psychic sword (Psylocke), a big ol' battle axe (Ares), and characters with up to three tiny swords on each hand (I think you know who I'm talking about). So a big question when designing these abilities isn't about what kinds of attacks Blade can make, but HOW he makes them. The answer, for Blade, is ruthlessly. Blade's Black Nightstalker ability shows off that ruthlessness by not only dealing some damage, but also crippling the enemy, creating a Countdown tile that drains your opponent for 2 of their most valuable AP every turn. Unless your enemy gets rid of that Countdown tile, it'll be hard for them to get back in the fight.
Blade's also an incredible tactician - if he has time to prepare for you coming, you're in serious trouble. Keep Your Enemies Closer, Blade's Purple ability, represents Blade springing a trap on unsuspecting enemies - I always imagine hapless vamps wandering into what they think is a room full of delicious people only to hear the door clang shut and see Blade drawing his sword. Placing two Attack tiles to deal damage represents Blade's prey being unable to escape, while the strength of those tiles being boosted by the number of friendly Strike tiles on the board represents Blade's careful preparation. Be patient and set your trap and those Attack tiles can do some serious damage.
Finally Blade's vampiric powers are mostly an advantage in his quest to kill vampires, since he can enjoy a nice Garlic bread on a sunny day with no problems, but he is cursed in one big way - he still needs to drink blood to survive. A lot of enemies have tried to turn this against Blade in the past, but he inevitably uses that need for blood to fuel his need for revenge. We tried to tell this story in his Green ability, The Thirst. If there are more than a certain number of Red tiles on the board , Blade gets angrier and angrier, turning that rage into powerful Strike tiles.
One of my favorite things about The Thirst counting Red tiles, other than the fact that they're the color of blood (did you know that Red tiles were blood this whole time? Gross, you've been touching those), is that Blade slinks in the shadows, and Red usually represents an MPQ character making a direct attack. I imagine Blade trying to team up with characters like Iron Man who go in guns blazing, irritated that they're cramping his style. If you really want to make a lot of Strike tiles, build a team with no Red abilities around Blade. Hey, doesn't Keep Your Enemies Closer need a lot of Strike tiles? Huh, how about that.
Thanks for reading up about the design of Blade (Daywalker)! Let me know how you like Blade in the comments, and Happy Halloween!