Taking Guardians To The Top
Hello everyone, and welcome to a TURN ZER0 GAMING article! Our castmate Sooner5 recently went 5-1 in the TTS League Season 3 using Guardians of the Galaxy to get into the top cut. We are very blessed to query his brain and discuss some of the decisions made during his TTS journey over the last six weeks.
Welcome to the frickin’ Guardians of the Galaxy. Only he didn’t use ‘frickin’
Guardians of the Galaxy are a fun affiliation. I am very fond of them in the movies, comics, and Marvel Crisis Protocol. Unfortunately, they are not valued to be one of the better affiliations competitively. If you look at their stats, a lot of their models are low threat, low health, and average or under-average defenses. The benefit of running Guardians is a significantly larger model and activation count.
In wargaming, the Guardians are considered a swarm list. You trade quality for quantity. In a game focused on controlling objectives and scoring tokens, having an abundance of models should be considered as advantageous. However, the affiliation bonus and sub-par stats make the Guardians fight an uphill battle against top tier affiliations like Cabal and Wakanda.
Knowing this information, I had to ask Sooner5 what I figured was the most common question, why did you decide to use Guardians in Season Three?
"I’m a big fan of the characters and made a personal challenge to try to qualify for the top cut with Guardians who are thought of as one of the lower-tier affiliations."
Ok. That is a pretty big challenge. I appreciate the fact Sooner5 not only placed a personal challenge on himself but stuck through all six weeks!
Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.
Now that we know what inspired Sooner5 to pick Guardians for six weeks, we should look at what he brought with him.
Sooner5's character selection at week six was:
- Black Widow 1
If you look at this roster, you might notice he is running four characters at two threat. Marvel Crisis Protocol only has five two threat options, Wong being the last one. His roster is 40% two threat characters, and he was able to pilot them to a 5-1 top cut.
I think Sooner5 was able to showcase one of my favorite factors of gaming. Pilot skill matters. Sooner5 was able to take Guardians to a new level we haven't quite seen before. And, his list was full of low threat models that could be perceived as not very threatening or impactful. The next question I had for Sooner5 was, what strategies did you use to help push the Guardians to a 5-1 top cut?
"The main strategy was a lot of characters. I utilize the cheap characters in GOTG to play a lot of characters. The characters are all good damage dealers so I play to that strength and use my numbers for an advantage on a scenario."
Although this is a simple answer, Sooner5 shows the power of their attacks in his week six game. We were able to stream the game in full, and I highly recommend you watch how he moves and uses his models for maximum efficiency (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/76698764)
Looking at the models chosen, we can see some pretty powerful attacks on his field.
- Rocket has a range five, five dice energy attack. With Venom and Web Warriors being extremely popular in season three, Rocket is one of the best counters to Venom at half his cost. Even attacking into non Web Warriors teams, Rocket can put a lot of pressure on the board with All You've Got and Deadly Duo. With Sooner5 also keeping Rocket next to Groot, Rocket can roll dice while Groot soaks the damage. Groot protecting Rocket keeps the five die pressure online much longer than what your opponent wants.
- Nebula is one of the best low threat objective assassins in the game. Her attacks may not have long ranges or lots of dice. But she can reroll any number of dice when attacking enemy models holding tokens or contesting objectives. She can also reroll her defense dice and heal herself. She is a strong bully who can pressure objectives and force dazes if the opponent ignores her.
- Star-Lord is another energy weapon to counter Venom and dish out long-range attacks with five dice. Star-Lord can fly, use Drop Off with Rocket, and throw out Element Gun or Full Auto attacks. Star-Lord and Rocket can kite enemy models around the board and force the opponent to either commit or retreat to/from objectives.
- Drax was designed to engage in close-range combat, and his attacks are either four or five dice base. Drax can then enhance his offensive options with rerolls if the target has Bleed, he can apply Bleed, he can Stun, he can Push size three models of less, and he can add three additional dice with Driven By Vengeance. If you add the Winging It tokens on top of all those abilities, Drax can hit hard and consistently.
What should we do next? Something good, something bad? Bit of both?
The shell of Sooner5's strategy is utilizing low threat models with good attacks. He can swarm the board and pressure lanes of play with multiple threats that can roll lots of dice as their comrades go down. He can also use his extra activations to steal objectives or assassinate damaged enemy models depending on the given situation.
The second layer of Sooner5's gameplan was the Tactic lineup he brought with him. Our next question for Sooner5 was, what Tactics did you bring with you, and why?
"Most of my cards were for maximizing damage. I took Follow Me, All You’ve Got, Drop Off, Deadly Duo, Brace For Impact, Medpack, Field Dressing, Blind Obsession. Although I did not play Medpack one game."
Once again, I highly recommend watching the game we just streamed with Sooner5 showcasing how impactful these Tactics are when used correctly. Here are some of the highlights of the game.
- In round 1, Sooner5 used Drop Off to use Star-Lord as the delivery driver to move Rocket and throw five dice into Venom.
- Talking after the game, Sooner5 spoke about the benefit of having more models than his opponent. If he sees Venom or a target he wants to pressure, he can always place Star-Lord and Rocket on the same side and throw shots into them with a round 1 Drop Off. Unfortunately, this is no longer a legal play with the new B/R List. But this was one of the tools Sooner5 used to take the Guardians to a 5-1 record.
- Early in the round, Sooner5 would position Groot mid-field in a given lane. Once Star-Lord repositioned Rocket, he would be close enough to Groot to bring Deadly Duo online. If you haven't seen or used this Tactic, Rocket pays two power for three shots on three different targets. Between Drop Off, Deadly Duo, and Rocket's actions, you can see upwards of three-four attacks turn two. Taking a two threat model and paying one power to reposition turn one and two power for three-four attacks round two (With five dice per attack) is a LOT of dice getting rolled into your lineup.
- We have discussed the power of All You've Got + Doomed Prophecy in the Widow/Punisher Bomb lineup. All You've Got is still powerful when you can use it on a low threat model that is pumping out lots of dice into the enemy field. Sooner5 used All You've Got on Nebula in week six to KO Venom and Okoye. Okoye had one health left, and Venom had five health left when All You've Got hit the table. Nebula was able to roll the one hit to KO Okoye with a basic attack. Sooner5 did get lucky with his Shock Sword Assault rolling five damage, and Venom rolled zero blocks. However, even if Nebula was unable to KO Vemon, using a two threat model to KO Okoye and pepper Venom with additional damage is a phenomenal value.
- The Guardians Winging It ability can be incredibly valuable on four-five dice attacks like Rocket or Nebula. Sooner5 decided to remove Brace for the three tokens before Rocket's activation in round two. Rocket moved up and shot Venom, Ghost-Spider, and Okoye (playing Deadly Duo). Then he was able to use Hadron Enforcer on the grouped models. I understand this is a dream situation, but even if Rocket shot two models instead of three, he can pump-out 10-17 dice in a single activation + Deadly Duo. Adding in the rerolls from Winging It tokens creates a lot of pressure and consistency from a two threat model.
- Sooner5 also spoke on why he brought Blind Obsession in his eight Tactics. Sooner5 was afraid of MODOK and brought Blind Obsession as a tool to counter MODOK and attempt to burst him down. For those who don't know what Blind Obsession does, you pay three power to target a model. You add two dice to your attacks and defense against the target and lose two defense dice from attacks from non-target enemies. With so many models rolling great attacks like Rocket, Nebula, Drax, and Valkyrie, there are multiple options to use Blind Obsession into MODOK.
We Are Groot
Sooner5 built a very specialized list and was able to pilot it with great success. However, even with his skills and abilities, there are always difficult situations. We asked Sooner5, what was your worst matchup?
"Well, my one loss was to avengers. Due to the nature of the list, I’m not sure there is one affiliation I am weaker to than another."
After watching Sooner5 play this list, that statement makes a lot of sense. Guardians are not a meta powerhouse. Guardians need a lot of things to go right. Guardians have very squishy models who can get burst down in one activation. All these factors lead to a place where Guardians might not have any rough matchups because all matchups are equally hard. If that is the case, we want to give Sooner5 a lot of props for doing so well with Guardians and repping those of us who enjoy the affiliation.
With so many factors to account for, we had to ask Sooner who the MVP of the team was.
"I’d say Rocket and Nebula. Since I play so many characters they all had good games at one point or another, but Nebula and Rocket were my most consistent damage dealers. Also, my Tactics cards kind of lend themselves to those characters"
Looking back at how Sooner5 used Star-Lord to Drop Off Rocket, then use Deadly Duo. Adding in All You've Got to give Rocket or Nebula a back-to-back activation on top of three Winging It tokens, it makes sense they were able to punch above the curve.
The scary thing is how Groot, Star-Lord, Okoye, MODOK, and Valkyrie were not brought up in conversation. We know those models have good attacks/superpowers, and some of them are considered Tier 0 by our team. But Sooner5 was able to use all of the tools in his toolbox to find gaps in the opponent's strategy and pressure objectives with swarming little bodies. I am very impressed he was able to not only use Guardians with great success but show that pilot skill and good fundamentals matter.
Unfortunately, losing Drop Off was a big blow to Guardians players around the world. They will no longer be able to use Star-Lord + Rocket to pressure enemy targets early game. I do not know what the fate of the Guardians affiliation will be after the B/R List, but I hope we as a community can solve this riddle.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our Facebook page, TURN ZER0 podcast, YouTube channel, and Discord. We are always talking Marvel Crisis Protocol somewhere, and we want you to be a part of that conversation. Until next time...
Keep on rollin'