At this point, it’s been over 2 months since the Hex Kickstarter ended, and in that time we’ve been given quite a lot of new information. On top of that, this weekend is GenCon, a major event in Hex’s pre-launch promotion – it’s the first major event at which Hex is playable, and one of the higher Kickstarter tiers included an invite to an exclusive dinner with the Cryptozoic team (more on that later!) Anyway, today I’m going to look at some of the stuff we’ve learnt over the last couple of months and take a look at what we can expect for the future.
Friday Hex Updates
Casual Hex was started a few days after the Kickstarter ended, and since then the official Hex website has updated every Friday night (or afternoon/morning depending on your time zone!) From those updates we’ve seen art, all of the PvP Champions for both the Underworld and Ardent factions, interviews and a whole bunch of card reveals.
The Royal Falconer was revealed just yesterday, and I’m a fan of it personally though it’s had a mixed reaction from the general community. By itself it may not look like much, a 2/2 and a couple of Royal Falcons for 6 resources, but since the falcons gain the ATT of the Falconer troops like the Ruby Pyromancer and actions like Evolve become a lot more effective – a single Pyromancer will give both of your Falcons 5ATT, and since they have flight that makes them a pretty big threat. Obviously the fact that the falcons only have 1 DEF, or the possibility that you won’t have a Ruby Pyromancer (or whatever other card you are using for that purpose) puts a lot of people off of this card, but if I saw it in a booster I’d be pretty happy.
The Royal Falconer is obviously just one of the many cards we’ve had revealed – with an average of 2 new cards a week on top of all the other cards we’ve had revealed to us means there has been plenty to talk about, despite what some nay-sayers would have you believe. Some of my personal favourites are the Wrathwood Colossus, the Genesis Hydra and the Endbringer – I’m a fan of big smashy monsters if you hadn’t guessed! Not that smaller, more tactical creatures like the Bombsmith and the Living Totem are without their charm, of course! As of this weekend, we’ve seen about 270 of the cards that Hex set 1 has to offer, and since we learned from the games CZE streamed a couple of weeks ago that the first set contains 411 cards (including token cards, it would seem) we’ve still got plenty left to see!
Hex at GenCon
As I mentioned earlier, this weekend is GenCon, one of the biggest conventions going for gaming and general nerdery, and Cryptozoic is there with Hex! This is the first time that Hex is available for the public at large to play and the feedback has apparently been incredibly positive, with lines of 200 or more people queueing up to play – no small feat, considering the variety of wonders available at the convention.
As you would expect, a good number of Hex community members have swarmed to GenCon for the chance to play Hex and talk to the Cryptozoic team (I wasn’t able to make it, but I’m not jealous. Nope.) In light of this there’s been quite a bit of information given out. Colin over at Hex Vault has a great interview with Cory Jones recorded directly at the con (so the background is a little noisy – it’s perfectly clear but Colin says he’ll try and clean it up after the con has ended) and it’s a good listen, as most interviews with Cory are, as it’s always interesting listening to him talk about Hex.
McKizz has a new site launched just this weekend, Hex Informer, and along with an introductory podcast he has a few great photos of the Hex gaming area, and a few people have snapped pics of previously unseen cards – the Feral Ogre and Wild Child, along with some cards that have been renamed and given new art, which you can see here! By far the biggest reveal so far though is of a Set 2 card!
Zeedu, the Sapphire Dragon! Long-time readers will know that I’m a big fan of dragons, and I’ve speculated briefly on the existence of a Zeedu card in the past based on a mention on one of the Hex story pages, and the reality certainly doesn’t disappoint. As I mentioned, this is card from Set 2 (so don’t bother looking for it in the upcoming alpha and beta), and was revealed to the people who backed Hex at the Dragon Lord tier or higher and were able to attend the special invite-only dinner with the Cryptozoic team at GenCon – a pretty select group, no doubt! Anyway, one of the goodies they were given is a USB drive that contained the above art for Zeedu, and they kindly shared it with the world. So thanks, Dragon Lord backers, and thanks Cryptozoic!
As for Zeedu himself, well, just like the other dragons he’s an absolute powerhouse. He’s got a great ability, decent stats and incredible PvE equipment. It’s tough to gauge the full extent of this power given that we haven’t even seen all of Set 1 yet, let alone any of Set 2, but the ability to duplicate multiple cards both in your hand and in play (and to create copies of opponents cards to use yourself if you have the Claws of the Overmaster) is undoubtedly a potent one. Need some backup to stick it to your opponent? Duplicate some Cloud Titans and Menacing Gralks. Running a mill deck? Duplicate some Chronic Madness and just burn away their entire deck in one go. As I said, it’s hard (and some might even say pointless) trying to judge this guy without the context of both the complete Sets 1 and 2, but I’m pretty confident this guy won’t let you down.
Also, if you look closely, the backgrounds on both Zeedu and Jadiim seem to be in the same place/time. Waiting on the large art that has the 2 of them in some epic battle!
Them Sapphire blues
As you are no doubt aware, Hex borrows heavily (putting it generously) from Magic: The Gathering, and that includes the themes and gameplay styles of each of the 5 shards, and fans of the Sapphire shard have been left wanting with few cards of note revealed compared with the other shards. That all changed over the past few weeks with a major Sapphire reveal and the release of a Sapphire deck list for GenCon that consisted almost entirely of new cards.
I’m a big fan of Sapphire, and love the idea of decks that just completely screw with an opponents plans, taking control of the entire game, so lets take a quick look at some of the cards we’ve seen!
The Ancestor’s Chosen is great because he’s 1 cost and basically a win condition by himself. If you can get a couple of them out soon enough, you’ll quickly end up with a whole bunch of Ancestral Specters, which are great because they are massively powerful when compared to their 1 cost, allowing you to flood the battlefield with them and just fly straight through your opponent. The Draw Card component to the spectres means you aren’t horribly diluting your deck either – whenever you play one of these, you get to draw the card you would have gotten if the spectre wasn’t there.
Flock of Seagulls is great for slowing down your opponent, as they are essentially invincible in normal combat. They are defensive, meaning that they can only block, but they can essentially block anything and consistently survive – the only real way to get rid of them is via an action or some damage-dealing troop ability. It also has some pretty good synergy with Air Superiority (or any other card that boosts it’s attack, really), meaning it can eliminate any 1DEF troops it blocks or help to chip away at larger targets.
The big reveal for Sapphire, and indeed the whole game, was Countermagic. A core component of control deck strategies, the ability to simply block any card is immensely powerful, and Countermagic has the added twist of making it more difficult for your opponent to play future copies of that card too by jacking up the cost.
Obviously the big thing left now is the release of the alpha, and then the beta, to the backers. Based on current information this will be at the end of September, so 4 or 5 weeks and the wait should finally be over! Current estimates put beta at about 3 or 4 weeks after that, but at this point we don’t really know what the differences are between the content of alpha and beta. We’ve been told that alpha will probably have very little PvE content, and beta might have a bit more, but anything else is speculation at this point – the switch between the two may mean nothing more to the players than a name switch.
DragonCon is in a couple of weeks in Atlanta, and a few members of the Cryptozoic team will be in attendance (though Hex won’t be playable as it is as GenCon) so the possibly of more interviews and info dumps is high, but as far as I’m aware that’s the only scheduled event between now and alpha. That leaves us nothing left to do but hunker down and wait out the next month with the Friday updates to sustain us!
That just about covers the stuff we’ve seen since the end of the Kickstarter, in the broad strokes at least. Some of it I’ve touched on before, like the dungeon spoilers we got in June or the Shin’hare art feature that was the basis for Casual Hex’s first competition, and other bits only get cursory mentions in handy wrap-up paragraphs, like the cool video panorama of a Coyotle city.
That’s all for today – GenCon is nearly over now, with just a day left to go, so it’s unlikely we’ll get any new info about Hex out of it at this point, but if you want be sure you can keep an eye on the official Hex forums – this kind of thing always ends up there first! Check back next time, when I reveal what I saw on my latest trip to the future!