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AMG revealed Wolverine and Sabretooth on their Facebook page, and our team was very excited to see these characters and what tools they had to offer. Our first article covered Wolverine and everything he brought to the table (Wolverine character breakdown). This article is going to dissect his counterpart, Sabretooth, and how he fits into the mixture of Marvel Crisis Protocol.
I'm Also Canadian!
Victor Creed, similar to Logan, has above-average health with six HP on each side of his card. His defenses are the standard 3/3/3 across the board. Sabretooth is also sporting the new Healing Factor  in his defensive kit.
Right off the bat, we can see a difference in the design space where Wolverine and Sabretooth live. Wolverine is brazenly the AD Carry/assassin of your team composition. He wants to run down the field, get into close-range, and assassinate models as fast as he can.
Sabretooth is much closer to a midrange/jungle position (in MOBA/League of Legends terms). Unlike Wolverine, Victor isn't as tanky or as aggressive compared to Wolverine. Sabretooth's kit is much more focused on movement and constant damage over time.
Looking at his movement options, Long movement and Aggressive lend themselves to a more mobile character. Although he cannot charge, Sabretooth can setup on objectives quickly and wait to destroy any enemy who dares to challenge him. In the midrange/jungle position, Sabretooth wants to score points and defend critical board positions. Wolverine is going to be the model running down the field and attacking as fast as he can. Victor is more interested in posting on the middle objective and forcing you to get in his face to take it away. The problem for his enemies is that he can use Healing Factor  to stabilize his health after activates, while advancing Short towards those foolish enough to attack him. Being able to use Healing Factor  defensively in conjunction with Aggressive offensively keeps Sabretooth on the field longer while pressuring the enemy frontline. Even without a charge superpower, his movement options setup Victor to be an equally frightening threat if ignored.
Another reason Sabretooth lends himself to a midrange position is his Untamed Force and No Mercy superpower package. No Mercy adds +1 die to his attack roll for each damage on the target, to a maximum of three. Untamed Force is effectively a superior counterstrike ability that allows Sabretooth to use Claw Slash as the return attack. Both of these superpowers are ways for Sabretooth to increase his damage output on both his turn and his opponent's turn. Wolverine is a burst damage character, he wants to run up, roll dice and force a daze/KO as fast as possible. Sabretooth is completely satisfied with defending middle objectives or hunting down squishy targets in the backfield. If the opponent dares to attack into Sabretooth, he has the option to either move closer towards the enemy or return fire with Untamed Force. Both of these situations create a tough decision for players because of how tanky Sabretooth can become with his Healing Factor and other Tactics that can keep him running on all cylinders.
AMG revealed the tactic cards that come with Wolverine and Sabretooth, and X-Ceptional Healing is going to keep Victor alive for a long time. The transmission from AMG states:
"This unaffiliated tactic is reactive, triggered by a character with the Healing Factor rule suffering damage from an enemy effect. For 3 Power, X-Ceptional Healing reduces the amount of damage suffered to a single point."
We have a card like this in Asgard called Odin's Blessing. If you have ever played against Asgard, you know how impactful it can be when used at the right moment. Being able to negate a massive burst of damage that would have dazed/KO'd your Sabretooth for three power is a game-changer. The second Tactic that will give Sabretooth more mobility and increase his threat bubble is Weapon X Program.
"For 3 Power, either Wolverine or Sabretooth can use this tactic to hurl themselves Short Range—usually toward their preferred target. The character does not suffer damage if it collides with another character during the throw. "
Both of these cards lend themselves to the midrange/jungle position incredibly well. For those of you who have not played a MOBA, the jungle position is supposed to roam between lanes and pressure enemies who are out of position or overextend themselves. If you look at how objectives are laid out on the map, they usually create a left/middle/right lane of play. This leads to a parallel with MOBAS in how your characters can interact with the map and play specific positions within a team. Although the term jungler isn't the most precise, it still represents how Sabretooth can operate on the battlefield. Using his Long movement, he can post into the middle of the map and move laterally to protect or bully enemy models off objectives. He can use Weapon X to either get closer to his target or deal extra damage via collision. Then he can use his actions to roll Claw Slash or Savage Predator attacks into whoever is unlucky enough to smell his breath.
It'll Take More Than That To Stop Me
Assessing Sabretooth's attack options is a pretty fun discussion. Similar to Wolverine, he rolls five dice at range two for zero power. His attack charges his power battery and triggers Bleed and Pierce on a single Wild. This is one of the most efficient basic attacks in the game due to its ability to turn off defensive symbols AND apply Bleed at the same time. Other than characters who count blanks as defensive successes, Sabretooth can prey on most of the models in the game. Sticking a Bleed token on enemy models also creates a difficult crossroad for players to confront. Do they take damage at the end of their activation or shake the Bleed for one action? Neither of those options feels great, and making the wrong decision can lead to disastrous results.
Savage Predator throws out seven dice at range two for four power. I despise how limiting this attack is compared to other cheaper attacks like Hail To The King at three power. I understand the special ability might allow a second attack if Sabretooth rolls a Hit and Wild symbol. But I would have LOVED to see an attack similar to Venom's "We Are Venom". Paying three power for seven dice and healing damage would have been marvelous for Victor, but alas, this dream will never be. Range two and four power turn this attack into a pretty significant power sink with the opportunity for minimal return. If you do land the second attack, this will feel good, but on average, it won't fire off a free Claw Slash.
All these attacks and Tactics are useful tools for Sabretooth to utilize, but they cost power. Even though Sabretooth is not a natural power generator, he has a few ways to get what he needs to pay for his cards/attacks. AMG revealed Magneto's affiliation bonus for The Brotherhood of Mutants in one of their transmission articles.
"His leadership ability From the Ruins benefits the Brotherhood of Mutants affiliation. When a terrain feature is destroyed, a number of Magneto’s allies equal to its Size immediately gain 1 Power… which makes his ability to place and destroy terrain at his discretion even more powerful!"
If Sabretooth is inside the BoM affiliation, he can gain power when his teammates destroy terrain. Here are some other ideas for affiliations he may fit into:
- Cabal likes seeing models with Long-range movement and the ability to prey on outliers. Sabretooth can roam the battlefield with allies like Zemo and Bullseye to either rush objectives from across the map or stick damage and use Bullseye to finish off wounded models.
- Avengers can help discount both of Sabretooth's superpowers. Being able to pay one power to counter-attack or two power to add dice is wonderful. Sabretooth wants to have these abilities online as frequently as possible. Using his Claw Slash to charge his battery keeps his powers ready at any moment to strike.
- X-Men Gold can be another affiliation Sabretooth fits into incredibly well. "...allowing a character to be placed within Range 1 of a nearby ally once per turn, as well as granting cover in the form of mists and fog to any character targeted from more than Range 2 away." Sabretooth can run down the field and position himself so that a Slow ally can teleport to him and now you have two offensive threats in their face.
- Asgard is another place where Healing Factor  and the Asgard healing affiliation keep Sabretooth alive a lot longer. Adding in X-Ceptional Healing, Odin's Blessing, Medpack, Field Dressing, and Weapon X Program keep the Asgardians and Mutants alive longer. Both Asgardians and Mutants can negate a killing attack with their "counterspell" Tactic. And between Medpack, Field Dressing, Healing Factor , and Prince of Asgard, it will be incredibly hard to bring down some of the stoutest models in the game.
- Spider Friends might be able to use Sabretooth's Long movement to help roam around the battlefield and jump unsuspecting models. The Spiders can always use Long movers who can dish out damage and sustain damage in return. But this is a model that can slot into a "drive-by" build quite well. Peter Parker and Gwen can roam and Web Line models off objectives while Miles and Victor show up and jump those unlucky fools. I mean look at his artwork, he is literally in a midair attack.
Stop Squealing And Die
Sabretooth is a very fascinating model, especially when compared to his counterpart, Wolverine. Logan is very clearly given the tools and means to run into combat, attack, heal and stick to enemy models all game. Victor has the option to be aggressive if he wants to be, but he can also be used to pick off squishy targets or models trying to stay out of combat. He also has better movement options to sit on objectives and bounce around the field if he needs to.
I believe Sabretooth is much better at the objective game while Wolverine is better at the daze/KO game. Both models can take the frontline and survive the enemy onslaught. But, I feel like Sabretooth is a more nuanced model compared to Wolvie.
Looking at Sabretooth's weaknesses shore up a surprising problem. Victor is action economy starved. Without a natural way to get into combat and attack in the same action/superpower, he has to spend one action to move and one action to attack. He can use Aggressive to move closer but, you don't want to give your opponent the opportunity to get free shots with no return fire. Sabretooth can get into position but at the cost of attacks. However, once he gets in, you better start sweating.
His other weakness is a lack of impactful attacks. His Claw Slash is a fantastic strike attack. But his Savage Predator is very underwhelming compared to many three power attacks on other characters in the game. I don't really like the attack or its stat line, and I feel like it may not be used frequently. I admit I could be wrong about this, but I do not like the return on investment from this attack at all.
Sabretooth is a solid model, and I feel that he will find a place in people's lists. He has a lot of tools to keep moving around the map, and his offensive output has to be feared. He has the support of Tactics like X-Ceptional Healing, Medpack, and Field Dressing to stay healthy for longer than his allies. In the right hands, this model can plug-and-play into many different affiliations with an excellent return on investment. I do believe Sabretooth will require some nuance in pilot skill for maximum efficiency each round. But this should not discourage you from putting him on the table. Sabretooth is a well-rounded midrange character, and I am excited to see how his release impacts the game.
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