We are taking a look at Drax: The Pacifist, the rare from Infinity Gauntlet. Drax has been a staple control piece since his release in 2020. Drax reads, “When fielded, choose an opposing card, canceling all previous choices. Your opponent may not purchase or field that character until Drax leaves the Field Zone.”
So, the way Drax works is you get him into the Field Zone early and prevent your Opponent from bringing one of the key pieces of their Team into the game. You name one of the opposing cards, and that character cannot be fielded while Drax is in the Field. He is a very effective character in what he does. His decent stats make him harder to KO, so he should be sticking around fairly easily.
We all know how he works, but how do you stop him? Your Opponent just needs to remove Drax from the Field Zone. Let’s look at the ways to do this:
- KO Drax with combat damage. Pretty simple. As long as you have the stats to do so, this might be the most uncomplicated way to remove Drax.
- KO Drax with ability damage. Superrare Robin (Superman Kryptonite Crisis) is a recent example of this. Deal enough damage to Drax so that he’s KO’d, ideally during your main step so that you’re immediately able to purchase or field whatever he was targeting.
- Force attack Global. There are lots of choices here in Modern. Pick your favourite poison. Force Drax to attack and let him go through unblocked. Drax’s attack stats are not very high, so taking his damage is not that bad.
- Spin to energy. Rare Spider-man (Infinity Gauntlet), Superrare Mystique (Dark Phoenix Saga)… choose your tool of choice. These flat out take Drax from the Field Zone and turn him into energy that has to cycle back through the Used Pile and bag.
Even though Drax is an effective control piece, there are ways to get around him. In all of these examples, your Opponent has to cycle back to Drax in order to have him perform his ability again.
Let’s look a little closer at the exact wording of Drax though and consider some other options.
“When fielded, choose an opposing card, canceling all previous choices. Your opponent may not purchase or field that character until Drax leaves the Field Zone.”
So what happens if Drax is Intimidated from the Field Zone?
- Drax is fielded and names a character. Preventing you from purchasing or fielding that character die.
- You field your Intimidate character to remove Drax from the Field Zone temporarily. You are now able to purchase or field that character die for the turn.
- Drax returns to the Field Zone at the end of the turn.
Of note here, is that there is no text on Drax’s card that says that he retains his ability after being removed from the Field Zone. If this is correct, simply Intimidating Drax out of the Field Zone turns off his ability permanently, even when he returns at the end of the turn. In order for your Opponent to reactivate Drax, they now need to refield him.
Rare Blob (Appetite for Destruction) from X-men First Class has a very similar wording, reading:
“When fielded, choose an opposing card, canceling all previous choices. Your opponent may not purchase or field that card’s dice until Blob leaves the Field Zone.”
Huh. It looks like Blob works EXACTLY the same as Drax, with the exception of not being limited to character dice. In theory, the whole Intimidate ability should permanently shut down Blob’s ability, until he is refielded.
Have we been playing these characters wrong all this time? How do they compare to the original cards that had this type of ability? The Joker and Lex Luthor (from Justice League), as well as Loki (from AVX) all did something similar. They either prevented the fielding or purchasing of characters (not both like Blob or Drax).
“When fielded, choose an opponent’s character card, cancelling all previous choices. Your opponent cannot purchase that die while Lex Luthor is active.”
Notice the key difference between Lex and Drax. Your Opponent cannot purchase that dice while Lex is active VS Your opponent may not purchase or field that character until Drax leaves the Field Zone.
If Lex is intimidated, he comes back and he retains his ability because he has that ability “while active”. Drax is missing that key text. The Joker and Loki are worded exactly the same as Lex Luthor, and would have the same retention of the ability.
So, I present this question to you… the Players. Have we played Drax and Blob incorrectly all this time? Does Intimidate permanently shut off their abilities? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
No matter what we think, this is definitely something that needs to be ruled by the official Rules Lawyers at Wizkids. I encourage everyone to post this question to the Rules Forum, as it definitely has some implications for the 2022 Modern meta.
Thanks for watching!