Fantasy Smash Up

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I used to play Fantasy Baseball before realizing how much of a daily commitment it was; however, the draft was always exciting. Not only did each player need to evaluate players at their respective positions and order them accordingly, but also in the context of other players. Was drafting the best shortstop better than drafting the second-best pitcher? Which positions have draft sleepers that can provide value in later rounds? Preparing for the draft was a game in and of itself, tense but always entertaining. One of the great features of Smash Up is that the decks are already constructed; one must only pick two factions to play; there are no agonizing construction decisions. However, I find the idea of Fantasy Smash Up to be very intriguing, particularly now that the All-Star faction has been released.

The minions and actions chosen from each set were designed to synergize and provide easy access to the best cards. In Fantasy Smash Up, however, all players are constructing their own decks by drafting the best cards in turn order. Under such a scenario, there would be constraints that must be met by all players continuously, but players would be free to choose whichever cards fit these constraints.

So, what would Fantasy Smash Up look like?

I could envision two formats, which are mostly the same but with one key difference. Each follows the same structure as the typical 2-2-2-2 (henceforth referred to as Tier 4), 3-3-3 (Tier 3), 4-4 (Tier 2) and King Minion (Tier 1). There would be two sets of slots to match the total twenty minions. The differentiating factor would be whether, for each slot, the minions for Tiers 2-4 would be repeated (as in normal Smash Up) or whether a different minion would occupy each slot (similar to the All-Star faction). I will refer to these formats as Group and Solo, respectively. Each minion category may have its own additional restrictions for who qualifies for that category. For actions, each set would have two actions that appear twice and six actions that appear once, reflecting normal Smash Up factions.

Note that for each category, the following factions are excluded: Elder Things, Minions of Cthulhu, Dwarves, Mages, Thieves and Warriors because of mechanical issues (Madness, Monsters and Treasures). To date, I have not played with the Big in Japan expansion, so those factions are not considered currently.

I have established some evaluation criteria for minions and actions to rank them appropriately, which is no easy task. First, each selection must be in a black box for the general case; I cannot assume that any previous selections or specific cards exist in the deck. The general case does allow for abilities such as movement, destruction, power counters etc. based on their overall availability, although specific cards are not considered such as Abduction or Assassination. Second, I placed great emphasis on how much value they can deliver over the course of the game or different VP they can offer, particularly in two player games. Third, I am not assuming any reshuffles or returns other than provided by the cards themselves, so these cards are played once. Finally, for Tier 4 minions, I evaluated how well they worked as a pack versus standalone.

Part 1 - Tier 4 Minions

Tier 4 minions may be the weakest in power but they make excellent starting minions. These minions generally appear four times in a faction.

Part 2 - Tier 3 Minions

Tier 3 Minions have the versatility of being good starting minions and mild base finishers. Some of them have very interesting abilities to direct your gameplay.

Part 3 - Tier 2 Minions

Some of these minions are better than their Tier 1 counterparts. Some factions have two different minions; which ones should you draft?