TURN ZER0 Character Breakdown: Magneto
Welcome back everyone to another TURN ZER0 GAMING article. Atomic Mass Games has been hyping up the X-Men release to celebrate the first anniversary of this phenomenal game. We recently had Toad's card revealed, and now we get to see the master of magnetism himself, Magneto.
Magneto is one hefty boy. With so many different things to unpack, we are going to approach his breakdown a little differently in this article.
- Reverse Polarity at range three and six dice is a fantastic attack. Not only does it roll above-average dice, but it has two special abilities.
- If the target is within range two or less, Magneto can re-roll any number of his attack dice. Our in house mathematician, Menion, brings up the fact that a six die attack with re-rolls is equivalent to an attack with 8-9 dice with no re-rolls in terms of damage output.
- Our resident control players are excited that Magneto can also push ANY SIZE character Short in any direction if they are outside range two. Magneto also does not need to roll Wilds or deal damage to trigger either of these effects.
- Reverse Polarity is all about adaptability. If you need to stick damage to a target, get within range two. If you need to reposition enemy models, keep them outside of range two and push them off objectives.
- It is possible to attack a model at range three and push them into your second attack, which now has rerolls. Magneto can force models into his "kill zone" and either attack a second time to finish the job or throw terrain to daze/KO. This technique is a great way to soften targets like Taskmaster/Okoye with your first attack and then use throws to negate their defensive bonuses from attacks within range two.
- This attack is going to be the bread and butter of Magneto's attack actions. He can choose to take an offensive or defensive strategy based on the distance from his targets.
- Shrapnel Blast is the spender attack for Magneto. At the cost of five power, he can roll six dice with an AOE range of two. Although these stats are not special, the targeting ability is what makes this a frightening attack. "When measuring the range and LOS for this attack, you may choose to measure range and LOS from a Metal Construst within range 3 of this character instead from this character. If you do, after all of the attacks are resolved, the Metal Construct is destroyed."
- Some people may remember the Professor X model from Heroclix (Giant-Size X-Men) that changed the entire meta. Prof X could draw LOS for attacks and abilities from any ally on the field. Although this is not nearly as powerful, being able to draw LOS from other items on the field is powerful. Magneto can deal damage or pressure zones on the field without being close to enemy models. Since Magneto can place his Metal Construct tokens at the start of each round, these tokens are not only terrain/power generators but range three turrets for Magneto to activate.
- After each attack is resolved, the target character is Stunned. Stun is a very nasty status effect to suffer. Big battery models or Gem holders want to attack and power up. Being able to turn off power-hungry models is always useful in Marvel Crisis Protocol.
- Unfortunately, due to the high power cost of this attack, it will be unlikely to see it used often. Magneto can output so much damage between Reverse Polarity and throwing terrain over and over. Shrapnel Blast might be used for long-range snipes or if the opponent foolishly groups around a Metal Construct.
From The Ruins
- When it comes to affiliation bonuses, this is one of the most versatile. Although it only does one thing, it works on the entire map, and when EITHER player destroys terrain. Having an affiliation bonus online during either player's turn is automatically good (looking at you Avengers). Magneto allowing his team to gain power once any terrain gets destroyed is incredibly unique. Since throws and terrain destruction (Punisher, Mystique) are becoming more commonplace, this forces players to consider the recourse of their choices. Throwing terrain against the Brotherhood comes at a cost. You may not get the daze/KO and feed their models power to counterattack. At critical moments, this affiliation bonus may very well dissuade players from using terrain for fear of the repercussions.
- The synergy options for Brotherhood just got significantly more interesting. If you listen to a lot of the top players in the game, they focus on synergy in their roster. Taking models, tactics, superpowers, and affiliation bonuses and finding a way to harmonize them together creates a sweet melody of destruction. Brotherhood players have one of the best ways to deal damage and gain power with From The Ruins. Todd spoke about this on the TURN ZER0 podcast, but throwing terrain is rolling free attack damage. In a normal attack, rolling three damage on five dice is significantly harder than throwing a size two model (terrain or character). The Brotherhood can not only throw terrain for guaranteed incoming attack damage, but they gain power for their team at the same time. Models who can use terrain as an offensive tool will be some of the first models to slot into a Brotherhood list I believe.
- Magneto can create Metal Constructs at the start of each power phase. In conjunction with From The Ruins, Magneto has power generation (Master of Magnetism), free terrain to throw (Fatal Attraction), and essentially, Advanced R&D lite built into his kit. From The Ruins is a phenomenal affiliation bonus, and I can't wait to see how players unlock its potential.
NOTE! This ability can only give one character +1 power per turn. So you cannot stack +2 or +3 power on the same model. Sorry.
- WOW! Fatal Attraction lets you pay 1-4 power to throw terrain the same size as the power spent. Picking terrain within range three and throwing it Long is rude. If you have enough power, you can use this superpower as many times as you can afford it. Each time you use Fatal Attraction (after the first), the power cost is increased by +1. If you throw size one terrain first, you pay one power. The next piece of terrain is now +1 power in addition to its size. So, throwing a size three terrain piece would now cost four power (size 3 = 3 power + 1 power for the second throw).
- Magneto can throw terrain at a -1 discount if he gives himself the power when they are destroyed. Size one terrain is essentially a free throw now! With so much potential power generation, Magneto could be the model that can deal the most damage in the game. Between Reverse Polarity and throwing terrain over and over, Magneto has the potential to clear out multiple models in a single activation.
- Fatal Attraction is Magneto's answer to defensive abilities on models like Taskmaster, Okoye, Daredevil, Black Panther, and so on. He can use his throws to finish off damaged targets, and they have to roll honestly. Fatal Attraction is a phenomenal killing blow and should be set up as such.
- Ebony Maw, eat your heart out. For two power, Magneto can use his six Mystic defense against attacks or dodge rolls. He also becomes immune to pushes and throws when using this superpower. Models like Black Panther, Thor, and Kingpin are going to hate facing off against Magneto. Two power not only gives him a massive defense boost but keeps him right where he wants to be. No longer can Black Panther push you off the objective you're scoring. Thor can't use Magneto like a rag doll for free damage. Kingpin might have to bend his knee to the new master. The additional bonus of being immune to movement gives Magneto the edge he needs to be a defensive threat.
Master of Magnetism
- During the power phase, if there are fewer than two Metal Constructs in play, Magneto places one within range three of his position. Then, Magneto gains +1 power for each Metal Construct in play.
- Metal Constructs are size two interactive terrain features.
- These little punks are going to be the defining feature of Magneto players. Although terrain cannot move and has no health or power, they can influence the board and pace of the game, just like characters do. At the start of the power phase, Magento will place one Metal Construct and will gain at least +1 power each round. Being able to place Metal Constructs anywhere within range three is the flexibility Magneto players will learn to abuse.
- On offense, Magneto can place these Metal Constructs on top of objectives or in ways that block approach vectors. Since characters may never overlap a Metal Construct, Magneto can place them in chokepoints to restrict movement or to create chokepoints. Using Metal Constructs on Blue Secure objectives can turn into a nightmare for medium or large base models. Forcing the enemy to attempt securing Inheritor Portals (Portals Overrun City) from certain angles could force them to double move and forego attacking. Magneto can also place the Metal Construct in the middle of the enemy lineup to combo with Mystique/Punisher's War Zone or use his Shrapnel Blast to attack multiple targets with one action.
- On defense, Magneto can place a Metal Construct behind himself or an ally to deny pushes from characters like Shuri. With Magneto being size two, he can use Metal Constructs as on-demand cover during the power phase. He can also provide cover for allies in his range three bubble if need be.
- Metal Constructs are by far going to be the thing Magneto players will have to practice over and over to master their potential. Although the ability is simple, the application is unlimited. Each game, each map, each round shifts how and where to use the Metal Constructs.
They Wish To Cure Us...
Atomic Mass Games, well done! Magneto, similar to Thanos, is a nuanced model. He has a lot of tools and a lot of options for players to unpack and figure out how to use. Magneto has so many unique abilities and applications that I feel players will have a lot of fun testing him on the tabletop.
Similar to Thanos, it may take more than a few games to get the hang of Magneto and a Brotherhood roster. I love the work and design space Magneto sits inside. He can do many things well, but his effectiveness increases based on the pilot skill and strategy implemented in each game. Magneto rewards creative and skilled players with powerful and dangerous abilities we have never seen before. His sculpt is beautiful, and his character card oozes with thematic nostalgia from the comics and TV show.
Magneto, like all the other characters in the game, has weaknesses. But I believe his biggest weakness is piloting misplay. With so many different tools, attacks, powers, and Metal Constructs, it is easy for players to make a critical mistake and leave Magneto out in the open. Nuance is the best way to describe Magneto's playstyle. He can be an aggressive model, or he can pivot to control. He can spread out Metal Constructs for allies to throw or destroy. He can block movement toward or away from objectives. He can dish out damage with the best of them and even go toe to toe against MODOK.
Similar to MODOK, Magneto suffers from throws and pushes. As a size two Short mover, getting pushed/thrown off objectives makes Magneto significantly less effective. As we have said in previous articles, short movers suffer from being out of position. Valkyrie + Dr. Strange can turn Magneto into a wet noodle if they keep moving him out of critical spots over and over. Using Metal Constructs is the best way to limit their throw/push angles and keep Magneto in range of targets he wants to kill. Moving and then attacking is essentially a Stagger on Magneto. He needs to move into range early game and stay in the opponent's face as long as he can.
Magneto is a monster, both in character and in the game's design space. His six threat feels like a weight you have to address. Magneto refuses to be ignored, and his threat bubble can impact a large portion of the map. I am excited to see how AMG transitions Marvel Crisis Protocol out of its infancy. In one year, we have seen many different shifts in meta, roster building, banned cards, and now X-Men/Brotherhood. With so much to unpack with just Magneto's card, we will dive into rosters, out-of-affiliation characters, and whatnot in a future article. But today, I wanted to give Magneto the time and space he deserves.
There is no way to understate that Magneto is a game-changer. The theme, design, adaptability, and tools in his kit are fascinating. Is he an assassin? Is he a bruiser? How well does he fit inside other affiliations? Who counters his kit? Who does he counter? Will AMG make Gambit a reality? Once he is released, I cannot wait to see how the community uses him. Magneto is one of the best characters who feel like a blank canvas. His limits are only affected by the imagination of the pilot. And that is a pretty exciting start to the second year of Marvel Crisis Protocol.
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