Uncanny X-Men – Feature pt.5 – Cyclops

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Today we have the fifth article from Dom! Over the weekend he came with us to sanctuary, trying out X-Force for the first time. Today though he is going to be breaking down the commonly overlooked second leader for the Uncanny X-Men – Cyclops!

Who is Cyclops, and what can he do?

Cyclops is the de-facto leader of the X-Men team that we all know and love. He was the first member of the team back in the 60’s comic books, which are where it all began. Throughout his various incarnations he’s had a notoriously tumultuous relationship with Jean Grey, and as a result of his relationship with Jean he became the father of another member of the X-Men, the man from out of time, Nathan Summers – Also known as Cable

Cyclops character card by Atomic Mass Games

A deeply ingrained character throughout the comics, cartoons, films and video games, Scott is one of the most popular and recognisable members of the team. It made absolute sense that he was one of the first Uncanny X-Men released in Marvel Crisis Protocol alongside Storm back in November 2020, in turn, becoming the first expansion featuring two faction-leaders.

I’ve found that Cyclops slots very nicely into my X-Men roster, and brings an interesting tool-box that I’m really able to leverage alongside the other X-Men in my roster, especially due to the recent addition of Jean. I’m certain that the upcoming releases of Gambit, Rogue, Magik, and Colossus will see a resurgence in X-Men players across the competitive scene and that Scott will have a key place in that.  

Why is Scott so useful for an Uncanny X-Men player?  

Scott brings an average 4-threat stat line to the table, featuring four Physical defence, and 3’s elsewhere. That’s on-par with Wolverine, and is the highest affiliated Physical defence in the roster. Alongside his six stamina, Scott can be your surprisingly mobile tank. For two Power, he can make an attack action, followed immediately by a move action once per turn with Hit and Run. Anything that allows you to make progress on the board whilst maintaining a reasonable damage output is fantastic. When combined with Storm’s leadership, and Jean Grey’s Matter Transportation, Scott can absolutely fly across the board and wreak havoc with your opponents plans.

Speaking of maintaining damage output while moving across the board, Scott can pay three Power to tell another allied character to get a move on, allowing the selected character to immediately make a Small advance with Field Leader. This is a really great superpower for helping pull other models up the field, or get your other mutants into position.

As an already reasonably tanky character, Scott also brings a unique ability to the table called Quick Draw. This drastically increases his ability to survive, and works against all damage types. For two power, when Scott is attacked from outside of Range two, instead of rolling dice equal to his Defence, Scott gets to roll five defence dice. After the attack is resolved, if he didn’t take any damage from the attack, then the attacker immediately suffers two damage. Bear in mind, if you’re playing him under Storm’s leadership, he automatically is turning one of these dice into a Block thanks to cover from X-Men Gold. Suddenly no one wants to even bother attacking Scott unless they’re close to him, save risking taking two damage in return. You do still have to remember to keep your distance with Scott when playing – He is not a mid board tank – Once enemy characters are in Range two he can die pretty fast. 

What about his attacks? Clearly we need to really start building Scott’s power in order to do all of the things we’d like to do with him… So how can we do that?

Scott has two attacks, a Builder and a Spender. His builder, Optic blast, is a range four, five dice energy attack that costs zero power. It can push size two characters on a Wild, but generally doesn’t have enough oomph to really start growing the Power battery you’re going to need in order to do all of the things you’d like. By picking careful targets though, Scott can still slowly build the power he needs.

Fortunately, as an Uncanny X-Men player you’re almost always taking the tactics card “First Class”. The card allows you to interact without needing to spend a power for the first time you interact in the round. This means that, provided you don’t commit to interacting twice in round one you should go into round 2 with a minimum of 2 Power, if not a little more. That allows you to go into the round knowing you’ve successfully gained the Quick Draw ability if you need it. 

If you ever do find yourself with spare power, you can try out an Optic Devastation. For four power, this is a beam five energy attack that rolls seven dice. It only has one special rule, Concussive Force, which means that on the roll of a Wild, after each attack is resolved, the target character loses one power. This isn’t anything too fancy, but if you can line up three or four targets then this can be well worth the power investment.

In my opinion, if he has enough power, Scott should be one of your first activations as he’s able to bring other Characters along with him using his Field Leader ability. You can use this to counter the previous round’s pushes that’ve messed up your positioning and put your damage dealers back within Storm’s leadership’s placement range. It is important to mention that Field Leader is not a once per turn ability, and can be used to move multiple characters around the map provided you have the power. Daisy-chaining Scott alongside Jean’s Matter Transportation ability means you can drag Scott along with the rest of your force while never actually needing to make a standard move action. This allows Scott to fire-off two Optic Blasts, and hopefully generate some of the power he desperately wants.

This is what I really love about the Uncanny X-Men in this game; used correctly they really reward players that use their team, like a team. The Uncanny X-Men aren’t going to want to run off and act independently, but when fighting together they’re a force to be reckoned with!

They work super well together as a team!

Didn’t you mention that Scott is the de-facto leader of the X-Men, so why haven’t you written about his leadership ability?

Oh no, the elephant in the room has barged it’s way into the article like a bull in a china-shop and smashed all of the lovely crockery inside. Yes, Cyclops has a leadership ability. Have I ever used it? No. 

I’m sure that it might be a bit better once the roster is fully fleshed out but currently it’s just not as flexible as Storm’s leadership ability. X-Men Blue can be used once per turn when an allied character declares an attack action, but before they choose what attack to use. Any number of allied characters within range three of the attacking character may spend one power. For each power spent in this way, you can reduce the Power cost of the attacking characters attack by one, to a minimum of one, for this attack action.

In practice this leadership just isn’t very good. If you want to be able to pass power between your team, then the Inhumans leadership is great for that. Maybe once the X-Men have some absolute power batteries like Rogue this leadership might see some play, but right now it’s just better to go for Gold.

As always please leave a thumbs up if you enjoyed reading, or a thumbs down if you didn’t! Please comment with any thoughts you have and I’m sure we will be hearing from Dom again soon! Board in Brum still currently has some sales on, including the Uncanny X-Men leaders Storm and Cyclops, which you can find here!

If you’re looking to expand your roster with some new Heroes for Hire, or take the dive into Marvel Crisis Protocol – Check out Board in Brums Marvel section here, for all the MCP goodness you need! Thanks again for reading!

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