Mutant Equality -Feature Pt.1
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Today we have another feature article from yet another new feature writer, Jon Harris! Jon is a good friend of mine as well as a great player, and will be joining me this week on House Party Protocols too. Today though, he is talking about his Uncanny X-Men and how he got on at the last event!
“You my friend are a mutant – And I have a need of mutants – desperate need!”– Charles Xavier
How I follow the words of Charles Xavier I’m not sure- but when it came to building a list for my recent tournament experience I definitely dedicated myself to those words. X-men, more accurately mutants of any kind, have always been my favourite team/cohort within the Marvel comics so when they arrived to MCP last October I promised myself once I’d finished a run with Web Warriors they would be my next home.
However shortly after their release, we all got struck with a worldwide pandemic meaning that the ability for me to get out and play table top games disappeared for a huge chunk of time. However I took the lay-off from playing to paint everything I could and build some lists that may be able to work, all the while hearing how little the X-Men could bring to the competitive scene and that the mutant wave was all about what the Brotherhood of Evil mutants could do and how they were better placed to shake things up- and in all honesty until the recent release I would have agreed.
The initial wave of X-men didn’t give us a lot to work with from a list building perspective, as the original four (Beast, Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine) felt really heavily like they were missing something and that they were just waiting for more of their X-gene brothers and sisters to arrive. Now that a few more of them are here – they really do have some legs in tournament play and they can definitely go the distance! Domino, Cable and Jean have really helped fill some holes in the roster and all have great roles to play on the table top.
So I guess first things first, here’s the roster I took with me to Madness in the Multiverse at Board in Brum. I managed to snag second as Arun edged it out with strength of schedule, but was still super chuffed with my almost all mutant roster
Storm (L), Cyclops (L), Beast, Domino, Cable, Jean Grey, Toad, Mystique, Scarlet Witch, Medusa
Team Tactics cards
Medpack, Brace for Impact, First class, To me my X-Men, Bitter rivals, Deception, Grievous wounds and The whims of Chaos
Crisis Cards, Extract
Mutant Extremis targets U.S Senators! – 14
Struggle for the Cube continues – 17
Fear grips world as “Worthy” terrorize cities – 18
Crisis Cards, Secure
S.W.O.R.D Establishes base on moon’s blue area – 14
Riots spark over Extremis 3.0 – 17
Mutant madman turns city centre into lethal amusement park – 18
Now I made a conscious effort to try and make sure that everyone that was there was a mutant – however having managed to play some games (30+) with mutants since the world had begun to reopen, I’d been finding some great combos with the built in movement from Storms leadership and Medusa’s ability to move herself (Hair flip) alongside was too much fun to not add her to the list and the fact that she has Flurry and Push nesting doesn’t hurt either.
So here come the ramblings from my brain about how this list was put together, and ultimately how it managed to go 4-0 – And believe me, I’m as surprised as anyone reading this!
“I am a goddess and I should be loved… but if not then I’ll be Feared.”– Storm, Marvel 616
To begin with, Storms’ leadership is so good – so the whole premise of this list is to try and take advantage of that placement effect in the early rounds and then use the cover benefit it also provides as much as possible moving forward. Cyclops leadership has never really appealed to me, the X-men have struggled for power at times when I’ve played them and the ability to share power from them just doesn’t seem in any way more beneficial than a movement place and cover.
After Storm I use Beast and Domino to round out my core team for all threat values and crisis – this is just such a solid 9 points that really allows me to flex other pieces in and change the dynamic of the team for each crisis while providing some hugely constant benefits. Beast has the 50mm base – which means being within range 2 of him and then getting placed within range 1 through Storms’ leadership, can really lead to some solid ground gaining in the first round for whoever is nearby. Adding to that, he has a strong four physical defence dice, access to a throw and he generates power whenever he rolls a failure (Skull). He is solid at doing exactly what the X-men want – Playing the objective game.
Domino on the other hand, isn’t necessarily fast but she can hit from 3 with a rapid fire attack, meaning she’s still far enough away to benefit from Storms cover ability. On top of that, for one power she can hand out an incinerate to pesky targets from range four with her Grenade bounce, whilst also keeping her distance. Oh yeah, and has anyone mentioned that she’s basically a walking talking mutant hex machine, and her ability to pay to count Failures as Crits means she is tougher to deal with than people think and can hit harder than you’d imagine at times, especially if she gets a Celestial Hammer or two!
Jean and Cable are my big 5 threats – Scarlet Witch doesn’t see a lot of play, as with Jean and Cable being Uncanny X-men they just help round out my overall game plan more. At fourteen threat, one of these will see play, but who depends very much on the scenario and my opponent – if my opponent has a ton of movement shenanigans, Jean makes the team – as her ability to prevent your allied characters from being moved is superb. However, should my opponent be looking like an up close and personal brawl team, Cable is going to see the table to hit from range early and give some extra defensive dice to his fellow mutants.
Cyclops is in the team for some additional movement on top of Storms’ leadership as his ability to advance an allied character within four short with Field Leader is superb – And should my opponent pick a bunched up scenario, his Optic Devastation beam five attack is going to be making the table top for sure when those glasses come off and Scott goes to town.
Mystique serves a specific purpose, along with her tactic card Deception – But I’ll talk more about her later. Toad is my only two threat character in the roster, to add more characters to the table should I run across Sam Spam Avengers, or in a single extract game like Skrulls where it gives me the option to take the objective off a severely damaged team mate and then get out of dodge. When you add his range two interaction, his hop, Storms’ leadership placement and a double medium move, he is getting that extract right out of there.
As you can see my roster fill particular roles in certain styles of scenarios – which brings me to my Crisis selection. Ideally with an X-men list you’re looking to win priority, or more accurately, hoping too. Especially as the majority of my play is based around those first turn placements and trying to really leverage a team tactics card. In my crisis selection I’m looking to bring scenarios that allow me to keep the threat at eighteen or lower, as I’m really not looking to get into those twenty threat big game throw downs. I’m also looking to take as many combinations of pay to interact Crisis as possible – hence the fact that a lot of my crises require you to pay to interact. If I win priority I’m always looking at my opponents cards and trying to work out whether their Extract or Secure have the highest odds of drawing another pay to interact crisis, and then selecting the opposite to try and end up with a double pay to interact game. This is huge for my roster, and moving onto the tactic cards you’ll see just how the leadership and the crisis selection can really help.
Here we are at team tactic cards, the final prong in this roster build is First Class, which allows all allied Uncanny X-men to interact for free on their first interaction for the round. Playing this with priority and in the first Activation phase has always been huge for me, and forms the final part of my plan. Remember a few sentences ago when I said I want to double up on paying interactions – of course you do – and this is why! I can manage to get multiple X-men out there to grab an extract and interact with a secure on their first interaction, which in most cases really puts the pressure on my opponent from the start and gives me a decent round 1 lead.
I’ve used this on multiple Crisis combinations, such as Spider Portals and Hammers to grab a Hammer, and interact with a portal and then end my still in range one of that portal – To make it harder for my opponent to switch control. It has been used to grab Cosmic Cubes and interact with S.W.O.R.D base, while its unoccupied, generating the easy control. With multiple characters able to do this, some scenarios mean they can use Storms leadership to place within one of Beast and then they only require a single move to interact twice and run away with an extract, already giving them some distance to work from range – which I’ve already said is how the X-men work at their best.
Overall the combination of scenario and First Class can really mess with an opponent in the first round and leave them behind on points early and trying to work out how they’re going to get back some of the multiple secures. It’s a great card, and leveraging it has has given me the lead I need in a lot of games to simply tough it out and hold around until I reach that magic sixteen victory points or more!
Climbing gear is in here to simply allow for some more movement- it’s a great out of activation card that I’ve often used to move a character out of danger before their next activation, or closer to a downed extract before using the leadership ability to pop them over the character they moved closer too to interact with scenario elements and either double move away (Sword base is great for this, as you can interact with multiple bases if needed) or try and put the hurt on someone that needs to go down. My favourite roster target for this card is Cable, he can use this then let off a single Plasma rifle shot followed by an interact then a body slide and potentially an interact again if he’s managed to put out any damage and he still has an action left.
Another card that I use in a very similar way is To Me, My X-men. It allows me to move characters out of danger or into position after being thrown off secures, as long as they move towards Storm or Cyclops. 9 out of 10 times Storm is sitting on a back point holding an extract and trying hard not to die, and Cyclops is at range using those Optic Blasts to pepper the enemy, so I can usually move to exactly where I want with this. As I mentioned earlier, Deception is there simply for Mystique to try and really pull Corvus and Proxima apart in the early game or to try and stop those back-back activations that really put the hurt on my mutants.
I think the rest of the cards are self explanatory, Medpack adds some survivability while Bitter Rivals along with Domino and Cables incinerates can leave the opposition hurting if if I need to daze or damage opponents. Brace for Impact is a staple in my lists, and has been since the game began, and with the introduction of Magneto to a ton of lists it’s not going anywhere any time soon as it has saved me from being dazed so many times.
Overall I feel there wasn’t anything missing from this roster, or anything that there isn’t a plan in place to deal with it. Even so, some tweaking may occur and moving forward every game is a learning experience and gives me new things to try and new threats to try and solve.
The roster overall
So to sum this all up, I feel the X-men are in a good place right now since the most recent set of releases for them and X-Force. They now have a decent set of tools under their belt in terms of characters, especially as Domino could now be argued to be in the top few characters of her threat value and have managed to gain some more tech through Jean and Cable that helps them out a lot with either scenario play or Defensive staying power – despite these being costly. Their affiliation specific cards are good, not great, but First Class can be so strong when the scenarios align and the player has taken the time to work out how the first round revolves around this. Storms’ leadership may be one of the best in my opinion, the single round placement can be very strong and guaranteed cover on everything from outside range two is phenomenal.
This affiliation has taken time for me to try and get to work, but it really feels worth it as if we are being honest, they are only going to get better over time as we see more and more characters get released for this affiliation and their character options increase – Anyone else hoping for the MiniStravaganza to show us Colossus? Either way for the foreseeable future I’m in the mutant camp – Luckily not the kind where they burn an M in my face – and plan to keep trying to get them to work and keep trying to find new ways of getting them to shine. Marvel Crisis Protocol is just like Xavier described the world:
“Let it be known that despite appearances, no species rules the Earth and that there’s room for all of us”– Charles Xavier
I’m really grateful to Jon for taking the time to write this detailed article about his roster, so as always please leave a thumbs up if you enjoyed reading, or a thumbs down if you didn’t! Please feel free to comment with any thoughts you have, and I’ll be sure to pass them onto Jon! I’m sure he and I will meet at a tournament soon, although I don’t fancy my odds against his band of mutants!
If you’re looking to expand your roster or jump in to Marvel Crisis Protocol, Check out Board in Brums Marvel section here, for all the MCP goodness you need. Thanks once again for reading!