Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction
Today I have what I think is a pretty unique strategy around one specific crisis objective; Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction.
In this Extraction Crisis, both players attempt to secure a mystic Wakandan herb and run it to a vessel control point on the opposite side of the field, scoring 4 VP each round they can remain on the control point with the asset.
I began formulating this strategy when thinking of ways to use Hulk, one of my favorite characters. We had been playing Hulk across all point values and most crisis objectives since launch and had all concluded that while Hulk had high health and could be dangerous, he just wasn't tanky enough to deal with the focused onslaught of a prepared Cabal player. Most games ended with Hulk dying in a single turn to Cosmic Invigoration and/or Dark Reign -before- the introduction of Killmonger, and then Usurp the Throne/Cosmic Invigoration after that monster was released.
First things first, I must limit my opponent's available firepower. That part is easy enough – squish the threat value of the opposing team. As a bonus, in a small threat game Hulk is way above the curve. He has the health of two characters and getting to 8 dice on a basic attack isn't a huge feat for him. Of the two 15-point crisis objectives, I felt that Gamma Shelters would force me to play centrally and Hulk would still be the target. He would need to play in the back and applaud the enemy team with thunderclaps at range, run in last and try to mop up, or run in first and get focused down. It's harder for the enemy team to take him down in one shot at 15 threat but it's still possible. The idea of playing Hulk as a bank-ranker offends me so the plan quickly became to make him the most obnoxious asset carrier ever. Enter Wakanda and their pretty blue flower. "Hulk like pretty flower!" Yes, you read that right. I wanted to take all 6 of Hulk's threat and put him off on his own, preferably behind a building, where he could gaze lovingly at the pretty flower without people staring and dare my opponent to come get some.
The first iteration of this team was put together before the introduction of Wakanda or Asgard affiliations and consisted of Baron Zemo, Iron Man, Crossbones, and Hulk. Though unaffiliated, I felt like this lineup gave me the most damage reduction with Strategic Genius re-rolls on Zemo, Invincible on Iron Man, and Inured to Pain on Crossbones. Zemo and Crossbones give me the firepower I need to punch back in a team-fight and hold the opposing lineup in check while Hulk racked up points.
The lineup as of the Shuri/Okoye/Venom release includes Hulk, Baron Zemo, Iron Man, and Shuri.
The idea with this lineup is to avoid the need to engage in a straight fight while abusing movement mechanics and pushback to control the battlefield and skirt a die-heavy Cabal attack. Further adjustments may include dropping Baron Zemo for Valkyrie upon her release because of her damage potential and power generation. As you'll soon see, having power in the early game is imperative to success.
For this team I am using highly specific crisis cards, three to four are used in the first two turns to secure the asset and establish my position.
These cards are: Gamma Launch, Drop Off, Patch Up, Advanced R&D, and Mission Objective.
The initial character placement is set in stone though it is important to note that non interactable terrain may force you to adjust! I will give the optimal lineup but please note there may be some differences.
Baron Zemo is lined up on the left side of the battlefield lined up as close to straight across from your flower asset as possible. To his right Hulk is placed within 2 range of him. Immediately next to Hulk essentially touching his model is Iron Man. Shuri is within 2 range or so of Iron Man on his right.
Hulk uses his 3 starting power to throw Zemo at the objective. It is -critical- that the objective tokens are placed properly and you have lined Zemo up in as straight of a line as possible at this point, as you can see it's -very- close.
Zemo then pays 1 power to pick up the asset and uses his single long move to run back to Hulk because it's scary out there.
Iron Man has two choices here – if it appears that Zemo is in danger of being caught, Iron Man can move forward medium and play Drop Off to move him out of the kill zone. This will require using Advanced R&D somewhat early which is not ideal but it's better than Zemo getting dazed here. If an enemy is close enough to hit him though you may be able to escape with the power generated from the attack assuming it doesn't one-shot him.
Shuri moves out in response to your opponent – if they make a move for their asset, she moves out and tries to pin their asset carrier to the side of the map until backup arrives. If not needed there she can play support on the left side and keep enemies away from your team until -you- are ready to engage.
Zemo should be within two of Hulk, but as long as he made it out of harm's way will still require one power to get the 2 needed to play Mission Objective. This is where Advanced R&D comes into play, it's not an optimal time to use it in most cases but here you are just trying to get a single power onto Zemo so he can hand the flower off to Hulk before Hulk becomes impatient.
Following this, Hulk can take two easy short-ish moves (one move action and one Gamma Leap superpower) to the objective control point or hit someone on the way, but he is ready to stand tall at 20 health and laugh as the enemy tries to dislodge him. Position your team to either keep the enemy team off of Hulk or swarm the opposing team's asset carrier if they managed to slip away. Between hit-and-run Zemo attacks and long-range Shuri poke that should be easy work.
Turn Three and Forward:
From here on out you try to accumulate as much VP as possible while trying to keep your team alive. Your opponent is forced to deal with the rest of your team before they can get over to the Hulk. If they ignore your team they will definitely be killed en route. If your opponent has selected a crisis objective that involves holding control points or even pick up and carry another asset you can easily gain 5-6 VP per turn by holding other objectives.
I have won this crisis via VP, I have also won because Hulk was the only remaining character versus 2-3 of an opponent's characters and took enough damage to walk out and start rolling 11-13 dice against two targets a turn, killing everyone in one shot. If played correctly opponents very rarely have an answer for this strategy, and if they do it's likely because you tested this against your teammate Todd for a straight week and played him in the first round of a tournament and you hate him.
This strategy is always under review for improvements.
As mentioned earlier a Wakandan team might make sense here for the affiliation power, but it's hard to give up the strong unaffiliated lineup. Valkyrie helps solve the problem of generating enough power to pick up an objective and Drop Off if needed and starts the turn with 2 power for Mission Objective.
If you try this strategy out and like it please let us know! I'd love to hear how it works for you. Until next time!
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