TURN ZER0 Character Breakdown: Mystique
Hello, and welcome to another TURN ZER0 GAMING article! Today we finish up the Brotherhood of Mutants release with Mystique. I promise we will unpack the "good guys" soon. Mystique is a master assassin who can take out primary targets, sow seeds of dissension, and topple those in positions of power. Let's take a look at how her comic persona translates to the tabletop gaming realm.
You X-Men Are Nothing But Puppets
Mystique is a unique character in the Marvel Crisis Protocol universe. Her kit is built to reflect a person who is difficult to find, and in reply devastating when she sabotages her enemy's plan. Let's unpack what this master of deception can accomplish on the battlefield.
- Mystique's fundamental attack rocks the classic range three, four dice standard just like Black Widow 2, and Punisher. Each Pistol attack has the Rapid Fire keyword, so she can drop eight dice into a single target while gaining +2 power from a single attack action.
- As mentioned in previous articles and podcasts, the Rapid Fire attacks lend themselves to our favorite explosive team comp, the "Bomb Squad". With three characters toting Rapid Fire attacks, we have a spread of threats that can "explode" and destroy an entire quadrant of the map, if positioned correctly.
- In conjunction with the natural power gained by Pistol, Magneto can help Mystique/BW2/Punisher gain additional power through his "From The Ruins" leadership ability. Now, the "Bomb Squad" will have the power they need more consistently to play Doomed Prophecy + All You've Got or use War Zone/Expert Sabotage to stick guaranteed two damage to enemies foolish enough to hide behind terrain.
- One key difference for Mystique is her Rapid Fire triggers when she rolls a hit. Her counterparts get an automatic Rapid Fire, while she does not.
- The Stun condition states: "If an effect would cause the character to gain more than 1 Power, it gains only 1 Power instead". Being able to Stun before dealing damage means a significant power blockage. The most important resource for characters in the game is power, and being able to deny or control it is impactful.
- Three power, range two, and six dice. Although this is not the best spender attack in the game (looking at you Hail To The King), sticking Stun on a model is mean. What's even better is the Stun condition is gained BEFORE she rolls her attack dice. I do like that Mystique has a close-range option if need be. I don't believe you want to be using this attack often, as she wants to be outside range three as often as possible. However, if the situation presents itself, this is not a terrible spender to throw six dice into a target.
- Other than using this attack when opponents charge into Mystique, I feel this is more or less a niche option if the opportunity presents itself. Pistol and Expert Sabotage are more likely Mystique's primary means of dealing damage. The guaranteed Stun for three power is a nice bonus.
- Whoooo boy howdy! This affiliation ability is one doozy and pretty much the most interesting thing on Mystique's card. The first part allows allied characters a refund of one power when interacting with an Extract (Red) Objective.
- Her second ability allows allied characters to interact with a Secure (Blue) Objective. Mystique's team can place one token on the field, and as long as that token remains, it counts as your team securing that objective. If an enemy character contests the token, it is removed from play.
- Essentially, Mystique's token counts as a body on an objective even if no one is physically at that objective. But, the enemy can remove the token by showing up and contesting the objective.
- Mystique's first ability is pretty easy to discuss. All of her allies can interact with Red Objectives and get a refund of one power. As we said earlier, being able to control the flow of power is strong. Using this affiliation bonus with Tactics like Hired Muscle can keep Brotherhood models powered up while grabbing objectives all over the board.
- Mystique's second ability is much more of a nuanced tool. The Criminal Syndicate was the first affiliation to use their leadership to affect how models and objectives worked together. Mystique brings a different approach to the table by allowing allies to secure objectives without needing a model physically present.
- The Brotherhood has a wide range of threat levels in their lineup. Toad at two, Mystique/Taskmaster/Winter Soldier at three, Sabretooth at four, and Magneto at six. Bringing the shell of Mystique/Taskmaster/Toad starts the team at eight threat. Adding in mobile objective scorers like Ant-Man (three threat), Black Panther (four threat), or Miles Morales (three threat) begins to form a hypermobile, objective scoring team.
- Aside from Go Team Venture! objective grabbing strategies, Mystique can also bring the "Bomb Squad" to the table. Magneto (6) | Toad (2) | Mystique (3) | Punisher (3) | Black Widow 2 (3) | You now have a 17 point list with three different targets for the DP + AYG combo. Mystique and Punisher have War Zone/Expert Sabotage ready to blow up the terrain on the field or the constructs Magnus creates each round. Mystique and Black Widow 2 have Stealth for safe approaches during early rounds. Mystique has a Long move, and Punisher can reposition Short for two power. All of these factors combine to form a very potent Bomb Squad that can strike from multiple angles. Adding in their ability to secure an objective they are not physically next to creates a threat bubble opponents will have to respect.
- Expert Sabotage is the same superpower as War Zone. For an action, Mystique can destroy size three or less terrain at range four and deal two guaranteed damage to any enemy model within range one of the explosion.
- On its own, this superpower has practical applications. Being able to destroy terrain and deal guaranteed damage reduces character longevity on the field. Mystique + Magneto creates a situation where Mystique has on-demand Sabotage terrain every round. On her own, Sabotage is a useful superpower. With Brotherhood and Magneto, Sabotage is online more often, and you can control how many enemy models are within range one of a death trap.
- Dealing two damage with no defense rolls is big. With the right team composition, this superpower can daze multiple models if timed correctly. This superpower is all about setup and planning. If you don't have Magneto, this ability is much less reliable. Building around Expert Sabotage is not only fun but devastating for squishy models. You will be able to get maximum value by using control abilities or bringing Magneto to the party. Either way, this superpower has many uses and keeps pressure on the enemy no matter where they position their models.
- Mystique is a pretty beefy package in the defense department. Being able to count blanks on defense when being attacked inside range two extends her lifespan by leaps and bounds.
- Unless you are facing off against Defenders, Mystique will be hard to take off the board with one attack. With Stealth to protect her from long-range attacks and counting blanks at range two or less, she is one tough cookie. Martial Artist + Stealth is one of the best defensive combos a three threat model could ask for.
- Martial Artist does create a strange place for Mystique when an enemy model is closer than range three but not within range two. Stealth does not protect her, and Martial Artist is not online. Top-level players will take advantage of this weakness.
- Throws are the bane of Mystique's defense. She has no bonus against or protection from throws. Keep an eye on surrounding terrain and enemy models who can throw her or things into her.
During Mystique's activation, enemy characters cannot use reactive superpowers or reactive tactics. There are a lot of different opportunities and situations to unpack here. Again, no reactive abilities and no reactive tactics, so let's look at some tricks with Mystique:
- Wakanda Forever. "Any number of allied Wakanda characters may spend (1) power to play this card. Each character that spent power may immediately perform an attack with a power cost of (0)." Since this Tactic is used during Mystique's activation, the opponent cannot use abilities like Vibranium Shield on Captain America or Dr. Strange's Hoggoth's Hoary Wisdom.
- Mystique counters Tactics like Lethal Protector, Blood To Spare, Odin's Blessing (and soon to be X-Ceptional Healing), Deal With The Devil, Mission Objective, Recalibration Matrix, and Age Of Ultron. Although they still work when she is not activated, her counterplay is immense when activated during a critical moment in a given round.
- Mystique has some unique situations where she can turn off Brace For Impact. Using Tactics like Heave Ho or Pym Particles allows herself or allied characters to throw terrain, and the opponent cannot use Brace to protect themselves.
- Bodyguard is no longer a viable defense against Mystique. Damaged models are now unable to use Captain America or Okoye (or Groot) to redirect lethal damage away from them anymore.
- Have you ever wanted to kill a model in Web Warriors, and then Gwen uses Lifesaver and pulls them to safety? Well, no more! Mystique turns off Lifesaver, and lets Gwen know who is in charge here!
- Mystique fears no counter attacks! Abilities like Photographic Reflexes, So Many Snacks, Man Without Fear, and Counter-Strike are no longer options. She can move into range and take out targets with no fear of retaliation.
- Enemy models like Crossbones and Kingpin cannot reduce the damage she deals. Inured To Pain and Intense Physical Conditioning is no longer an option to extend their presence on the map.
As you can see in the examples above, Shapeshifter is the most complex ability Mystique has on her card. Timing her activation and position can swing the pace of a round and nullify defensive tools the opponent may hope to use.
Who Am I?
Mystique is a cool character! AMG has captured the essence of a backline expert who uses sabotage and dissension to destroy her enemies. Mystique requires proper timing and positioning to push her to the limit. In the hands of an experienced pilot, she can turn off so many potential tools and disrupt strategies with her two actions.
Her greatest weakness is being thrown or having things thrown at her. Her defensive tools do not protect her from incoming terrain or models. I would expect Mystique players to have Brace For Impact in their Tactics lineup to help keep her alive. Outside of throws, her defenses are immaculate. Stealth and counting blanks within range two are the best superpowers a three threat model could ask for. Three defense across the board, in conjunction with Martial Artist, will help keep Mystique alive for a long time (with proper positioning).
In addition to a fantastic defensive kit, she can move Long around the board. Long movers for three threat are a joy to place on the tabletop. In my opinion, Mystique is one of the best pivot models in the game. In the early rounds 1-2, she can grab objectives and pressure Expert Sabotage or some Pistol shots. Once enemy models take some damage, she can pivot to assassinate threats or backline models trying to escape. With her Long move and range three Pistol shot, she can track down models and go for the kill. Those poor souls also have no way to protect themselves. No Lifesaver, no Lethal Protector, or any reactive shenanigans. Mystique is a fantastic model to hunt down and take out models with 1-2 health left and trying to run away from the fight. Not only can she close the gap, but she can withstand some close range punishment. Although she is not indestructible, if she is used properly, the opponent will have to spend more resources than they would like to shut down a three threat model.
As a leader or a team player, Mystique empowers the Bomb Squad list. We finally have three models with good movement, stealth, the ability to destroy terrain, and good Doomed Prophecy + All You've Got targets. Inside the Brotherhood, she is a wonderful teammate. Even outside of Brotherhood, she is a potent #flexthree model who can fit into so many different lists and affiliations. Mystique is one of my favorite models in this X-Men/Brotherhood wave of releases. She has good offense, good movement, defensive tools, she blows up terrain, and turns off a lot of reactive abilities many players use to gain an advantage when it's not their activation. I am excited to see how players find ways to use Mystique to push the limit and use her to disrupt and destroy their opponent's strategies.
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