Character review – Crossbones
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So I’m gonna start off with something I never thought I would say. Crossbones is actually pretty good – In the right team and missions. For as long as I can remember, even before I got into MCP I’d heard Crossbones was bad. A friend of mine even dubbed him ‘Proxy Bones’, and would only use him to test new models once we had their character cards revealed.
However lately I’ve started to see him pop up more and more in certain rosters – Especially Criminal Syndicate. He doesn’t bring anything ridiculously exciting, but he does have good match ups and can do a specific role extremely well.
I think that in order for him to be good – it does need to be within the Criminal Syndicate. Sure, he can go into Cabal, but there are so many better options for the Cabal now that I can rarely see him being taken there – Unless partnered with Sin in a skew Cabal build, which I’ve not seen huge amounts of yet.
In Criminal Syndicate, however, Crossbones can be extremely annoying for your opponent. When using their affiliation bonus to count as two models, Crossbones becomes a great objective holder. His raw stats are pretty average, but his Superpowers are what really makes him work in this role.
With six stamina on his healthy side, and five on his unhealthy side, he has an average health pool for a three threat character. His defences are 4/2/2, so slightly higher than usual for his Physical, and less than average for his Mystic and Energy. One of Crossbones superpowers drastically increases his survivability, which I’ll talk about later on.
Crossbones main weakness and downfall is that he is on a small base with a small move. That means he is one of the slowest characters in the game. His superpower, Aggressive, can help with this a little bit, and his Overpower attack can give him some surprising movement shenanigans.
Crossbones has two attacks on his character card, a zero cost Strike and a two cost builder called Overpower. His basic Strike is just a five dice Physical attack, that is range two. Crossbones gains power after the attack for each damage dealt.
His spender attack is Overpower, which is also only a five dice Physical attack, but it has some funky special rules. After the attack is resolved, Crossbones is placed within one of the target. If you roll a Wild and the target of the attack is size two or less, Crossbones gets to throw the target small. This attack really fixes some of Crossbones manoeuvrability issues. If attacking from exactly three away, the place within one can move Crossbones the equivalent of a long move. If he gets the throw, then when he places within one of the target Crossbones can be covering the same distance as if he placed within three of his original position, followed by a small move and then a place within one. If set up properly, this can really move Crossbones quite some distance, with or without the throw.
If your opponent has a character contesting a Secure point, Crossbones can use this attack to place within range one of them and then also contest the objective. In Criminal Syndicate it means he will snatch it straight to being under your control as he counts as two models (As long as he is on his healthy side).
Crossbones Superpowers are what really help make him into a great objective holder. His first Superpower, Haymaker, is a pretty expensive way of adding some solid damage output to his attacks. For four power, the next Strike or Overpower attack made by Crossbones that turn adds three dice to its attack roll. This can make his basic attack an impressive eight dice Physical that he gains power from, which somewhat helps mitigate the cost of the Superpower. A Haymaker boosted Overpower is also an eight dice attack, but you almost guarantee to roll at least one Wild and get the throw if the target is size two or less.
Crossbones next Superpower is Reactive, and is called Inured to Pain. For one power, whenever this character would suffer damage, he can reduce the amount of damage suffered by one – To a minimum of zero. Crossbones doesn’t really need huge amounts of power for other Superpowers and Attacks, so he should reliably have the power to use this when he needs to. This makes him very resilient to Physical attacks and Collisions, and helps with his defences against Mystic and Energy. It also makes him difficult to Daze off of an objective, but there are times where you might not want to use this Superpower in order to trigger…
Aggressive. Aggressive is a really great Superpower, and it helps to make up for Crossbones slower move. After an attack targeting Crossbones is resolved, if he suffered any damage he may advance small towards the attacking character. This can give Crossbones some free movement, and mitigate small pushes and throws. Shuri’s Panther Gauntlets push, for example, will be completely negated, as long as Crossbones suffers the one damage. It’s only worth letting the extra damage through when you need the Aggressive, as otherwise Crossbones will die to the chip damage. If its the difference between being on or off of an objective though, it’s worth not using Inured to Pain and instead getting back on the objective.
The last thing worth mentioning for Crossbones is Illicit Tech. This is a Tactics card you get in the Sin and Viper box, and can only be used by Crossbones or Sin. During either of their activations, they may spend one power to use this card. It’s a range Five Energy attack that throws six dice, but the big selling point here is that after the attack, the target and all enemy characters within two of it gain the Incinerate special condition, which is absolutely huge. For those of you who don’t know what Incinerate does, it reduces the number of dice a character rolls when defending by one, on all types of attacks. The attack can just be used to get a cheeky shot at a weak character hiding at the back of the board, or to snipe a unsuspecting Symbiote, but I definitely think its best use it to try and dish out as much incinerate as possible!
With all of this combined, I genuinely think this makes Crossbones a pretty good choice in Criminal Syndicate. He is a great character to sit on an objective and tank some damage, and can occasionally lay on the hurt when he needs to with a Haymaker attack.
In a game I had against my mate Elliot the other day, my Daredevil and Crossbones were on the far right of the board whilst the rest of the characters were fighting on the left. We were playing Spider Portals and Hammers, and I underrated Crossbones.
Daredevil couldn’t Daze Crossbones, as Crossbones was reducing all the damage by one, and Daredevil couldn’t take the Portals from Crossbones as he counted as two models, so Daredevil would need a full three out of three successes. My Baton hook couldn’t move him off, because if I spiked or he chose to not use Inured to pain, it let Crossbones just walk right back on. If I moved to try and take the other Spider Portal that was on the right, Crossbones would just move twice and take it back, rolling four Physical dice and just needing the two successes. In the end, me underestimating Crossbones actually cost me the game – I’d never really looked at what Crossbones could potentially do, I just knew he was regarded as bad and assumed that was the truth.
I’m not saying Crossbones is some phenomenal character that everyone’s been ignoring, but I do think he has a place in the Criminal Syndicate. I doubt this will change many peoples minds, but he does have some tricks you need to watch out for. If your opponent pulls out a Crossbones, you may not be in for as easy of a ride as you might think.
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I totally agree with your article! Crossbones just takes some time to figure out. If you pair him with Sin, the ability to control priority is just nasty!
Thank you for the great read!
Thankyou for reading and your kind words pal!