Squad Building

Posted by Todd Rowe on

So after our most recent couple of podcasts where we ranked all of the characters(Congrats if you made it all the way through that), I decided I wanted to take a look at actually building my roster using the tier system we agreed upon during the podcast. While looking at the list, I came to a conclusion which might differ from how some folks are building their rosters. So let's start with the actual rankings.

Tier 0
Shuri
Thor
Vision

Tier 1
Red Skull
M.O.D.O.K.
Captain America
Black Panther
Killmonger

Tier 1.5

Baron Zemo

Valkyrie

Tier 2
Everybody other than Spider-man & Crossbones

Tier 3
Spider-man

Tier 4
Poor old Crossbones

So it's possible to look at a ranking and just say " Cool, I'll just take the top 10 characters and I win right?". Not necessarily, and based on our own rankings I don't think the top 10 is the way to do it. We mentioned this during the past 2 shows and I reiterate it here, these list should not, and in my opinion can not be the end all, be all. Firstly, these are strictly opinions. Secondly, if you really look at the top 10, what character pairing really look playable or even more, look competitively viable? Not many. So if the tier list is not playable, what's the point? Simply put, I feel its a basic guide to gauge character strengths to flesh out your rosters. This game is objective based... but personally, I want to turn it into a street fight and make you have to play my game if possible. So where do I start when building a roster designed for fighting in the basement of a seedy bar, if not with my own tier list? I'm glad you asked.

Insert Fight Club reference.

 

Extraction & Secure Objectives

Here's where I start. The basic point of the game is objectives and how to control them. Now we cant exactly control which objective we get to play on every game, but we get to decide half of them. First things first, we got to pick 3 extraction and 3 secure objectives. For myself, I'm personally going to narrow it down a step further. Im looking for 2 Extraction and 2 Secure objectives I want to play. The third is effectively a throw away objective. This can also be used as a bluff spot. How so? Lets say I take the 15 point Wakandan herb objective but I have no intention of playing it. My opponent may either expect i want that objective and take red to keep me from selecting it, or hope that’s the one I’m after and allow me to pick from red objectives. That objective tends to be fairly polarizing, love it or hate it. The point is, early in the game is forcing the other player to make a decision about it, even though I know, its not getting played by me.

So now that I've explained the basic idea for my objectives, now come the decision part of the roster build. Whats your play style? I like to compare them to fighting styles. Are you a control/submission player looking for positioning, and angles of attack like Sugi? Or possibly a counter puncher like Mike? Always looking for the ways to counter play your opponents to keep them off balance and make them guess your moves. The third option is the technical fighter, Like Chris. The fighter who always lays his plan of attack out before the match even starts. Myself... I’m a ground & pound player. I want to limit your options, make you have to come to me and then cut off escape routes. So with that out of the way, now we can talk about my objectives.


So we've discussed my style. Now which objectives fit my play style? I want to limit the field of play and make you play on my terms, so the best objectives for that are at 15 points, "Gamma Wave Sweeps Across the Midwest" & at 17 points, "Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians". The reason for these 2 in specific is they limit the field of play. By drawing my opponent into the center line of the field, either vertically or horizontally, I'm able to dictate a portion of where this game has to take place. These 2 objectives also are solid point scoring objectives as well, with minimal control points. Side benefit is they are both "Secure" objectives, and as I stated prior, we want 2 solid options out each color objective. The third objective in blue at this point could be a bait card. An objective like "Spider Infected" could go in the 3rd slot just to make people have to decide if they want to play on it or, the one I chose in this spot, the 17 point "Infinity Formula Goes Missing". Every character needs power, and this objective is an easy slot as a bait card because this is seen as the lesser of the evils and a benefit to both players. I have no intentions of picking it, but if they expect i might pick it, That may get me to the blue objective i want.

For the extraction objectives, things get a little tricky for my play style. All of the red objective require running around and grabbing stuff and that’s not where we want this fight to take place, as much as we can help it. So these need to impact play once they are picked up, aside from just scoring points. My 2 Primary choices out of red are at 17 points "Struggle for the Cube Continues" & at 18 points "Fear Grips World as "Worthy" Terrorize Cities". These 2 may seem like odd choices for my style, but hear me out. I do not want to penalize movement with my objectives, but I do want to cause issues with resource management. "Hammers" increase the cost of team cards for the character holding the hammer and they give an extra attack die per hammer held. Its also a newer objective, at a different point cost, which can lead to some benefit if you have put in the reps on this point total. Our other objective "Struggle", awards a victory points and deals a damage to the character holding the fragment. I personally like free damage, & I'll take it where I can get it. And my third objective is the 15 point objective "Mystic Wakandan Herbs:Fact or Fiction". This one is also a bait card. It is very polarizing and it can definitely make people choose red, if they do not want to play on the objective. I have also found in my games, most people who win priority, like to choose the red objectives anyway. Or at least more often than blue. All of this to FINALLY get to the actual roster building. So lets do it.

ROSTER BUILDING FROM THE OBJECTIVES


We've established the guidelines for my squad, with my play style and my objectives. So which characters fit those parameters? Behold!!
My 10 character roster! Broken down by our Tier list.
Tier 0
Shuri
Thor (personally still tier 1 for me)
Vision

Tier 1
Captain America
Black Panther
Killmonger

Tier 1.5
Valkyrie
Winter Soldier

Tier 2
Hulk
Okeye

Ok... so maybe our tier list matches my play style a little better than I first initially thought when I looked at it. I guess all that drinking during the show didn't cloud our judgement.

The first thing you might notice about this roster is we are missing 2 of the "Tier 1" characters. Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K., & we put in 2 "tier 2" characters. This is what we discussed during the drunken 4 hour podcast. These tier 2 characters will round out your line ups and fill the gaps you perceive in your teams. For me, I wanted extra protection in Okeye, and a BIG GREEN GUY.... the ultimate ground & pounder... Hulk. Also Red skull and M.O.D.O.K. do not fit with the factions I'm primarily looking to play.

Speaking of factions. This list give me 3 factions I can play (Avengers, Wakanda, or Asgard) and its a very "tanky" list. With heavy hitters and bodyguards to back them up. Perfect for fighting and controlling objectives in a confined area. It is a little weak on pulling or moving a character into its strike zone, but every character line up I have made for this list, carries at least one character with a charge mechanic and in some cases, 2 characters. The main faction out of this list is clearly Avengers, with Wakanda being the secondary list. I really don't see a situation in which I would choose to play Asgard, but if I wanted to, I have the option. I will add the last character i added to this list, was Valkyrie. That spot has been somewhat of a flex spot for me, and Ive bounced back and forth between Valkyrie, Baron Zemo, & Iron Man. Valkyrie seems to be the best option for my personal Strategy, but Zemo offers some serious mobility and flexibility in that 10 slot, especially if i get stuck on some spread out objectives.

Team Tactics Cards
So now we have objectives & we have our roster... we have to decide on our Team Tactics cards. Here's the 8 I decided on, in no particular order.
Advanced R&D (great card that has so many plays with both Vision and Shuri)
Brace for impact (people like to throw sh!t, might as well stop one of them)
Drop Off ( great offensive card and even better off a Thor "For Asgard")
Patch Up (healing... enough said)
Usurp the Throne (if played correctly, extra dice & free VPs)
Gamma Launch (Hulk + Thor + Gamma Launch = FUN!)
Field Dressing (more healing, in aggressive line ups, I'll take all the heals I can get)
Avengers Assemble (I have a lot of avenger lineups out of this list, it makes sense)

So that's the roster for me right now. And by no means do i think this list is going to walk into a tourney and win me 90% of my games, but i do think it gives me a solid chance with my play style. I'll hold off on actually giving out some of the teams I have built out of this roster for the different objectives. If you have any interest in those, just hit me up & I'll be happy to share. Next week, I'll probably be trying to figure out how to slow down some of the Thor shenanigans we've been seeing lately at the shop.

UPDATE
After writing this article and building this list, I took it to a tournament this past weekend. We had 22 players show up for the event which was an amazing turn out and thank you so much to Huzzah Hobbies for running the event and the amazing local community they have started up there. Overall I ended up going 3-1 during the event, finishing 5th on the standings, however they did not use SoS(Strength of Schedule) as a tie breaker & my only loss was to the winner of the tournament. So after playing in the event, I'll go over a couple things I discussed in the article above and a couple I didn't.

- I was correct in what I expected of the priority rolls. If my opponent won the roll (half of my games), they opted to pick an Extraction(Red) objective. leaving me the option to pick from my Secure(Blue) objectives. This meant i was able to pick one of the objectives i felt the strongest on. This may not always be the case, but for this event my theory held up.

- The questionable choice to bring Valkyrie over Zemo was a very big part of my only loss of the day. While Valkyrie did a bit of damage, the missing rerolls were key in that match. If one or two die rolls go a different way, the outcome could have been very different. The game was very tight( final score was 14 - 16), even with some very bad die rolls early in the game.

- I did not mention it in the article, but I had been playing with the idea of changing out "Field Dressing" for "Recalibration Matrix" in my team tactics cards. I decided to stick with Field Dressing.... and i did not play it in any game. However, in each game, i looked at that card and said to myself "you shouldn't be in here". In every game, I would have benefitted from one good reroll more than that card in my list.

Other Take Aways
- So I've got a bad habit. I can go on tilt pretty easy.... and game 2(my loss) that definitely happened. When I go on tilt, I pressure myself to make up for missed opportunities or mistakes by taking bigger risks, and that is not the way you want to play this game. After round 2, I was able to reign myself back in a bit, but I know I was still making sub optimal decisions that definitely impacted the outcome of that game.

- REMEMBER YOUR ABILITIES AND TRIGGERED ABILITIES!!! So a second issue with going on tilt... you miss things.... Like the stagger effect on Thor's "For Asgard" ability.... which I'm pretty sure i missed round 2 - round 4. You can also make some misplays, like not timing the use of your team tactics cards effectively. I almost got my own Hulk killed by not using "Patch Up" before attacking Venom who had the power to counter attack even before Hulk's damage was dealt. These small mistakes can lead to huge blow out turns if you are not careful, and I personally will remember these next time for sure.

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