The Shadow Organization
Welcome back to the TURN ZER0 GAMING blog! The Criminal Syndicate is the newest affiliation to be released into the wild. We already discussed what the Criminal Syndicate is and how it functions. But this article is going to dissect some of the new Tactics cards in the Syndicate releases.
Shadow Organization is probably one of my favorite cards in the Syndicate release. For two power, any Criminal Syndicate character can force the enemy to be in range two to target them with attacks that round. The only "downside" of this card is committing to playing it in the Power Phase. Otherwise, this card has a lot of significant benefits for the Criminal Syndicate.
- This Tactic can turn off long-range meta characters like Shuri and Hawkeye. Shuri wants to shoot models at range five to push them off points. Using this card at a crucial round can force her to move towards your Syndicate characters or target non-affiliated characters with her push. Combining the Syndicate ability to count as two characters when healthy, this Tactic can bully opponents from scoring specific objectives without the Syndicate overcommitting additional resources. Hawkeye wants to sit in the back and pepper enemies with attacks. This Tactic forces him to either get in range of nasty attacks or reposition to target non-Syndicate models.
- Adjusting Syndicate target priorities. When playing the game, players usually have the freedom to target models of their choice. Shadow Organization allows the Syndicate to shift the availability of Syndicate targets in a given round. The opponent now has to either move into range two or less to attack or throw attacks into less than desirable targets. Either way, the Syndicate can use this Tactic as a weapon to disrupt action economy and extend the life of Syndicate characters of their choice.
- Protect back point holders. Back position characters now have a tool to extend their elusiveness for two power. Sitting a low threat Syndicate model on a back point and playing the Shadow Organization Tactic round three almost gives you a free round to score. Your opponent has to either run into the backfield or leave you alone. Either scenario puts the opponent in a rough board state and all you had to do was pay two power.
Shadow Organization is a fantastic tool for the Criminal Syndicate. When used effectively, it can disrupt the opponent's long-range options or protect your backfield objective holders. This Tactic can also disrupt the opponent's positioning strategy for a given round. Forcing enemy models into close-range against the Syndicate can be a deadly error. Either way, this Tactic should see play in Syndicate lists once released.
During our podcast recording, we discussed if Acute Senses was better than Marked For Death. Acute Senses is an on-demand Tactic where you pay one power to turn off Stealth and ignore Line Of Sight for attacks. Here are some of our thoughts on this Tactic.
- The value of this Tactic fluctuates based on the meta. Miles Morales is currently the most likely candidate to be affected by this Tactic. Black Widow 1 is also another target to turn off Stealth. However, if characters without Stealth are more popular, then this card will see less play.
- Marked For Death is arguably the better Tactic. Although it costs more power and requires two characters to be in range five of the same enemy character. The overall effect of Marked For Death is much more impactful.
- Acute Senses may look like a simplistic card effect, but it can have an impact on the pace of the game. Miles Morales is probably the most likely character you want to use this card to remove his Stealth. He likes to run in, Vemon Blast, steal your token, and run away. Being able to turn off his Stealth allows you to land damage and potentially daze/KO and get your token back. Characters who want to hide from you and score victory points are no longer safe if you're running Acute Senses.
- Although the card has applications at the low cost of one power, it might not see much play due to more impactful options available.
Have you ever wanted to move MODOK Long? Remember that one-time Crossbones needed to get into combat with a Long move? How about that time you needed to charge Long and then attack? Extreme Conditioning might be one of the most empowering Tactic cards we have ever seen printed.
For two power, a character may advance Long instead of its printed movement. Our team had a lot of thoughts on this card during the podcast, and we want to share some here.
- As an unaffiliated Tactic for two power, this will likely see a lot of play. Movement cards have always been part of making characters better and breaking Crisis's wide open. Todd helped tweak and refine BDT into the meta shaking list it was by using Gamma Launch to get Thor into combat faster. Long movement is powerful, and being able to give any character an on-demand Long move is nuts.
- Slow characters now have a powerful tool. If you look at characters with a Short movement, they usually have strong offensive abilities. Limiting movement is one way to help balance out aggressive models in Marvel Crisis Protocol. Extreme Conditioning allows players to take off the gloves for one move and get maximum distance for two power. If this card is utilized at the right time, threats can get into position for critical attacks or impactful superpowers.
- Threatening big plays. This card is powerful when it gets used, but it is also problematic when it's just waiting to get played. Giving any character on your team a Long move increases their threat bubble by a pretty wide margin. Opponents have to consider a lot more potential outcomes with this card waiting in the wings. Characters with low health are more vulnerable, models in the backfield can now move to contest or score back objectives.
- Combo plays. Extreme Conditioning has some synergy with other game mechanics that can extend its value during games. Charge states: "This character immediately makes a move action followed by an attack action." At this point, you can play Extreme Conditioning to make your move action Long and then attack.
Extreme Conditioning is one of the most interesting Tactics coming in the Syndicate releases. If you have ever played with or against Ghost Rider, you have most likely seen how impactful Hell On Wheels can be during a round. For one less power, any character in your list can gain the same Long movement. Granted, Ghost Rider uses three power for an out of action move, but it is still powerful to move Long when you need to.
The meta will have to pan out after the Syndicate launches. But we believe Extreme Conditioning has a lot of merit and viability in many rosters once it becomes available.
This new wave of releases is exciting! The Criminal Syndicate is shaping up to be one of the most flexible affiliations we have ever seen. Todd put it best when he said the Syndicate was Plug-and-play. If you look at the characters inside the affiliation you have a spread of aggressive, control, tanky, and mid-range options. Add in all these powerful Tactics like All According To Plan, Shadow Organization, and Extreme Conditioning for a nasty roster.
The other thing Syndicate can benefit from is the ability to have hybrid list building options with a single affiliation roster. The Syndicate may be the first affiliation that can bring ten characters and threaten aggro/control/midrange with the ability to pivot playstyle mid-game! All According To Plan can shift gears into aggro setups for a pivotal round. Extreme Conditioning can pressure board control mid or late game. The Syndicate has so many options for roster selection, list building, and piloting during the game.
These new Tactics showcase the fluidity of the Criminal Syndicate. I believe this is one of the most unique and thematic affiliations we have seen to date. And the ability to Plug-and-Play however you want is rewarding to players of all skills and play styles. I am personally very excited to see how the community embraces the Syndicate and finds creative ways to make them shine on the tabletop.
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