JUDGE! 005: A Modest Proposal - ID Cards
When Silver Age was first announced, the notion that ID cards were going to be allowed in the format caused much consternation and gnashing of teeth. After a year of relative silence on the matter, we recently got an update to Silver Age that clarified that ALL ID cards (even those that aren't Silver Age) will be allowed. I have yet to see anyone make a case why that should have ever entered the discussion, let alone be treated as a good idea. And I intend to lay out why we already see it's actually a bad idea that no judge should allow.
But first! Let's look at the current state of ID cards in Silver Age.
You can read all of this for yourself here.
ALL ID Cards created are potentially legal.
Only the name on the ID card is legal. “Other Identities” and “Real Names” no longer have any game function.
You can't have an ID card on your force if it shares a name with another ID card already on your force.
And the following errata:
Setup - When you reveal forces, choose a character on your Sideline whose name matches the name on this ID Card and turn it to a starting line. That character is called an ID Character. You can’t have more ID characters on your Sideline than characters on your starting force. UNIQUE.
Call in Help - Friendly characters have "POWER: If no other friendly characters have been given an action to use a "Call in Help" effect this turn, and this character is equal or more points than this ID Card's character, generate the ID Character from your Sideline, then remove their ID card from the game (your opponent scores it). The ID character returns to your Sideline: at the beginning of your next turn, immediately if no square it occupies is within 5 squares of this character, or if it would be removed from the map by another effect. This game, the ID character can't: be carried, be equipped, replace, or be replaced."
(To clarify: this errata applies to all ID cards. So, this wording replaces any other wording on ID cards whether you're playing in Silver Age or not.)
Now that we're all on the same page, let's look at some key points.
There are currently five ID cards that are banned in Silver Age. They are:
- AOU AUID-103 Captain America
- NFAOS NFID-007 S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 7
- NFAOS NFID-008 S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 1
- NFAOS NFID-009 U.S. Agent
- WF WFID-103 Green Lantern
Now, we don't have any direct explanation of why they were banned. There are some good guesses and the SHIELD IDs were added after the “Other Identity/Real Name” clarification, which impacts the Level 1 card heavily. There is one thing they do all have in common, however.
They're all Golden Age. Every single banned ID card was released before Superior Foes of Spider-Man, meaning they do not fit the defined format of Silver Age. If not for the clarification, these problematic cards never would have needed to be banned. Which leads to the second point.
Silver Age is defined as “all the figures from Superior Foes of Spider-Man and newer.“ So...why are one type of game element exempt from that? And a game element that some people have been asking to be banned completely ever since the Silver Age announcement?
Some people have even said they refuse to play in any tournament that allows ID cards and the response was to...allow more than should have been?
It's not just about people that dislike ID Cards, however. Formats needs to have a clear and clean definition. We all know that you can't play something in sealed unless you pulled it or it's a “standard” game element (standard objects, maps without location bonuses). You can't generate a Golden Age element in a Modern Age tournament. But for some reason, you can play a Golden Age ID Card in a Silver Age tournament? In a time when we all are supposed to be more focused on new players than ever, that's a hard thing to explain. And it undermines everything that comes from Wizkids going forward because it's such an arbitrary decision.
And why stop at ID Cards? Why not bring back Relics? Or Resources? Or how about we bring back all Golden Age Equipment? The answer is simple: because they're not Silver. And anything that isn't released in the Silver time frame shouldn't be allowed in a Silver Age tournament. Anymore than a map from 15 years ago should be allowed in a Modern Age tournament.
They Don't Work
The last piece of the puzzle is this: a lot of the Golden Age ID Cards don't work. Twenty-six of them have no characters they can call in in Silver. Five of them are already banned for problematic interactions. And two of them (Namor/Aquaman) grant effects that haven't been in any rules documents for almost a decade. And some of the ones that do work, work in that weird Heroclix way. For instance, the Sprite ID card has 3 legal Silver Age character to call in: Sprite from Xavier's School and both Sprites from the Eternals Gravity Feed. Which just ends up creating a bit of an unintuitive mess to bring in more of a game element that not a lot of Heroclix players are happy to see return to the game.
So what's my modest proposal?
Keep Silver Age Silver. Only allow ID cards released in the Silver Age time frame to be played at Silver Age tournaments. It lessens the sting for players that don't like ID cards, it avoids a lot of problematic interactions, it avoids a lot of ID cards that have no Silver Age call ins and it still lets people that WANT to play ID cards the opportunity to play ID cards.
And whether Wizkids makes that decision or not, any judge running a Silver Age event can. As long as it is clearly stated long before the day of the tournament.
Until next time, you don't have to use a POWER to call a JUDGE!