Feature article no.7 – Dom Leon
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We finally have another instalment of the Uncanny X-Men feature articles today, and this time Dom is doing something quite different. You might remember his third feature article, where he talked about Beast, and how he was quite disappointed McCoy. It’s been nearly four months since then, and Dom’s thought on beast have changed quite a bit – I’ll let him tell you why!
Who is Beast, and what can he do?
Hank McCoy aka “Beast” is one of the founding members of Charles Xavier’s X-Men, and he’s one of the most instantly recognisable. My first experience with Beast as a character was in the 90’s X-Men Saturday morning cartoon, and he was one of my favourites. A huge blue creature with a penchant for Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, he’s certainly considered to be one of the more unique characters in the team.
With all of the updates to the Marvel Crisis Protocol, the Uncanny X-Men didn’t see any changes – So I’ll just quickly run back through Beast’s character card. Beast makes up one of the X-Men’s best three threat options. He has an above average stamina pool of eleven, with six on his Healthy side and five on his Unhealthy. He’s size three and has a Medium move, which is pretty quick considering he is on a 50mm base. Beast has a spikey defence line of four Physical, two Energy and three Mystic – Similar to everyone’s favourite Symbiote – Venom.
Beast has two attacks on his character card, and the first is called Acrobatic Strike. This is a Range three Physical attack, that throws out five dice. If you roll a “Wild” Beast gets placed within one of the target of the attack. This, as you can imagine, sometimes happens exactly when you don’t want it to happen. Now, it can be a great way to force Beast into a contesting position, but it can also drag you away from your contesting position.
His second attack is Animalistic Freestyle which is Range two Physical spender that throws six dice. This attack costs four Power and has a range of effects. The first of its special rules is that once the attack is resolved, Beast inflicts Bleed upon the target. Secondly we have Float Like a… which triggers on the roll of a Wild. Before the Damage is dealt, Beast pushes the target away small, provided that they are Size three or less. The last special condition of this attack allows Beast to move Medium once the attack has been resolved. This gives Beast another way to bounce back onto a Secure following bonking a weak target and stealing an Extract. Frankly these attacks are pretty middle of the road. The movement tricks are nice but they’ve got a real chance of messing up Beast’s placement. They’re not overwhelmingly strong, but can both be very useful for various movement shenanigans and enemy manipulation.
Beast has a few superpowers to flesh-out his card. First up we have Baser Instincts, which is a short but sweet throw. He can throw terrain, or enemies that’re size two or smaller. This can be useful for throwing a model off of a secure once you’ve ambushed them using your Acrobatic Strike.
Next up we have Stars and Garters. After Beast rolls his Defence or Dodge dice, he can spend up to 3 Power to reroll up to 3 of his Defence dice. This is pretty handy and can keep Beast alive and out of trouble a little longer than most.
The penultimate superpower for Beast is Disconcerting, Yet Provocative! Beast gains one power every time he rolls a Skull. This goes for every dice roll, so make sure you’re rolling often – Attack, Defence and Interacts. He needs this power for Stars and Garters, but it also means he can sometimes interact for free as he gets his power back when rolling a Skull.
Last but not least, we have Wall Crawler, which allows Beast to move over obstructions unabated. This really can come in quite handy, making sure that Beast is able to get where he needs to be.
Why should I be using Beast?
“Honestly, I don’t know if you should.”My answer to this question four months ago.
I’ve played quite a few more games with Beast against very competitive rosters – It’s coming up to at least thirty games. And wow, was I wrong about Hank in my initial post.
Beast is almost a must take in every X-Men roster you’ll take, he definitely is for me. The only condition against taking him is if you’re coming up against a roster with lots of low-threat Energy attack dealing characters throughout, or if you’ve got a mission like Montesi Formula.
My recent change of opinion on Beast comes from his amazing amount of leverage and speed throughout the game. The X-Men flip off Beast is handy, but Beast flipping off a Hulk, a Hulkbuster, or any other large base model is truly shocking when you look at just how much distance you gain. When you combine this with First Class, Beast is threatening your enemies objectives from turn one with a double move and a flip. When this is combined with To Me, My X-Men!, he’s quickly shuttling back into the middle of the board, with enough power to interact with another objective on the way back!
He’s a three threat character with a terrain or character throw, and boy does he get to use it. And that’s thanks to Disconcerting, yet provocative! As I explained earlier, every time you roll dice with Beast, if he gets at least one skull he gains one power. Suddenly he’s stacking up a ton of power to either use for an Animalistic Freestyle or a throw. Alongside this, his six Stamina goes a long way when matched up against a Physical opponent. Provided he’s matched to the correct enemy, he just won’t go down without a fair amount of effort or focused fire. He gets cover from outside of Range two thanks to Storm’s leadership, and the combined with his rerolls with four dice for his Physical defence and he simply stays in the game. I honestly never thought my opinion on Beast would change so much, but he has won me games and I would definitely recommend persevering with him.
That sums up the 7th of Dom’s feature articles. It took us a while, but he is finally getting use out of the big blue genius, and it’s great to see his opinion change on someone that he felt was very lack lustre. If you have a character you enjoy using but don’t feel they’re very good, make sure you persevere and try different things – You might find yourself changing your mind, just like Dom has!
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