I definitely wasn’t expecting for Card Pack 2022 to be the spoiled product that prompted me to write my next article, but here we are! In case you missed it, Atomic Mass just announced this product. We’ve known it was coming for some time; it includes all the updated character cards from the November 2021 update. What we didn’t know was the exact contents, and now we’re all collectively scratching our heads over this image in the Asmodee web store:

My initial response was, “Oh, cool, they’re including Team Tactics Cards! This will be great for people who haven’t bought all the boxes, but want to use a generic TT card from one of the boxes they haven’t picked up.”

While this motive seemed obvious at first, it fell apart after some quick analysis. Noteworthy useful cards like Field Dressing and Medpack are missing. These are staples of the game, included in most lists, so leaving them out seems odd if the idea is to help people play without collecting all the boxes.

In addition, many cards such as Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Deadly Duo are only useful if you buy the characters they come with. If their goal was saving people from buying boxes they don’t need, including these makes no sense.

Finally, there are no crisis cards. This is the final nail in the coffin that this pack is designed to save people the trouble of buying packs they don’t need. So, what is going on here?

Analysis

As usual, I immediately got to work analyzing the data, to pick out what is and isn’t there. If you want to see all the data (and check my work) you can see my spreadsheet here. Or, if you’re more interested in my conclusions, you can just read on. Here’s what I found:

  • Only cards originally printed in Set 1 are in there. No cards from Sets 2 or 3 are in there.
  • With the exception of Drop Off, every card in the core box is there. Drop Off has been banned forever, and I’ve even heard that newer printings of the core box don’t have it, so that makes sense.
  • Almost every affiliated card is there. The only one missing is Web Barrier.
  • Every card that requires a specific character is there.
  • Of the remaining cards (unaffiliated cards that don’t require a specific character and aren’t in the core box) the majority of them are missing. 18 cards in this category are absent from the pack, only 7 remain.
  • No banned cards are included. All restricted cards, except for the two in the core set, are abscent.

What does it mean??

If you were still thinking this might be a “buy the cards you’re missing” pack, the above analysis puts that idea soundly to rest. The core box is the first thing most people buy for this game, so duplicating all those cards makes no sense. Cards on the restricted list are some of the most popular cards, so leaving them out also makes no sense. If you only want to buy the characters in your affiliation, you probably already own most of the cards in this pack you would want.

To me, this leads me to only one conclusion. The cards not included in this pack will soon be excluded from play in some way. It’s possible they’re all going to be banned soon. If all the cards excluded from this pack will soon be banned, this pack becomes a “buy every TT card from set 1 that’s still in the game” which has some collector appeal.

It’s also possible there will be a less drastic “new format” on the horizon. Keep the normal banned/restricted list for one format, but have all the cards not included in this pack for a second format. This would be similar to the Timeline/Unlimited format they talk about in the Crisis Event packet (read my article about Set Symbols if you’re not familiar) but that format either allowed or restricted cards based on what pack they were in.

In either case, this list makes sense if their goal is to have more card variety between lists. By banning most of the powerful unaffiliated, non-character-specific cards, it makes affiliated and character-specific cards more appealing when compared to what’s left. For reference, here’s a quick list of all the cards that might soon be banned (or be banned in a specific format) if this theory is correct:

  • Seeing Red
  • Battle Lust
  • Web Barrier
  • Field Dressing
  • Tactical Analysis
  • Medpack
  • Rocket Boots
  • Unearthly Rage
  • Blind Obsession
  • No Escape
  • Reversal
  • Grievous Wounds
  • Acute Senses
  • Climbing Gear
  • Extreme Conditioning
  • Heavy Ordinance
  • Bitter Rivals

You can certainly argue about whether or not banning these cards is a good idea, but it is undeniable that doing so would change almost every list you’ve seen at a tournament in the past year or two.

Conclusion

Before I let you go, I should mention that there is a new set symbol. We first saw it on the downloadable PDF with the updates that this pack is bringing to print; it’s a little icon of Thor’s hammer. I’m only mentioning it as an afterthought because I don’t think it strengthens or weakens any theories I can come up with, or brings new theories to light.

With that said, let me know if there’s anything I missed! I’m typing this article only a couple hours after this information dropped, so it’s entirely possible that I overlooked something. Until next time, keep speculating!

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