TURN ZER0 Character Breakdown: Toad
Welcome back to another TURN ZER0 GAMING article! Atomic Mass Games revealed our next two threat mutant, and we are very excited to unpack where this little coward will fit into the meta.
Hop To It
Mortimer may not look like much, but as they say: "great things come in small packages" or something like that. Toad's kit is nothing unique in the statistics department. With five health on the front and three health on the back, he is right where a two threat model should be in terms of health. Having the extra +1 on the front side does give him a little bit more range for survivability, and that matters. His defenses are the standard 3/3/3, so nothing to write home about. In all reality, his best feature is the five health on the front. It may not seem like it, but five health is the standard for many three threat models. Although he does suffer from three health on his injured side, that extra health does extend his range to survive attacks and keep moving around the field. I like how deceptive this small adjustment can be when trying to daze Toad.
Toad's attacks are very intriguing. Tongue Lash is a range three, four dice attack. If damage is dealt to a target, Toad gains that much power. If he rolls a Wild, he may push a size two or smaller model away from him. Spit Acid is a range two, five dice attack for two power. The special ability is a guaranteed Incinerate condition. Although Toad wants to stay in the backfield, he has some of the most useful attacks on a two threat model in terms of utility.
Having the opportunity to push a model from range three is pretty decent. Toad may not be a frontline model, but he can impact the board if he has to. Spit Acid is another powerful tool where Toad can apply Incinerate for two power. Incinerate is a devastating status to have if you activated early in a round. Losing a defense dice can turn into a quickly dazed or KO'd model if applied at the proper time. Toad is not going to be doing much in the killing department, but he can support his team by handing out low power Incinerate tokens or trying to push enemies off objectives.
Moving into his superpower kit, we begin to see what defines Toad as a token mover. Finders Keepers allows Toad to use an action to grab an Asset or Civilian token from an ally at range two and hold it himself. We are beginning to see the power of Criminal Syndicate lists moving tokens around the field. Toad can do the same thing but outside of the Syndicate. He does lose an action, but being able to reposition tokens off other allied models is powerful. We have seen many games on TTS where you need to reposition your team, but you don't want to run your objectives straight to the enemy. Toad can become your token manager by hopping up, using Finders Keepers, and then keeping away from the front lines. Toad gives your team the flexibility to pivot and not accidentally deliver victory points to your opponent. If you have watched the top cut of TTS Season 3, many of these top players rotate models round 2-3 to score or deny objectives. Toad can move in, Finders Keepers a token, and run to the back objective safely. A setup like this allows you to pressure objectives without the fear of feeding your opponent Victory Points. You also force opponents to commit models into your backfield to stop Toad from scoring 2+ points each round (depending on the objectives).
Finders Keepers is Toad's primary tool as a backfield VP battery. However, Toad still needs additional tools to stay mobile and pressure objective control. His next ability, Hop, allows Toad to be placed within range two of his current position for two power. Similar to other abilities like this, movement outside of spending actions is always powerful. Range two may be a little short, but it is still mobility to help keep Toad out of range of the enemy.
Toad's next maneuverability tool is called Slippery. After an attack is resolved, and he took damage (and survived), Toad advances Medium. Ok, what?! Let us take a moment and think about this ability. For two power, Toad can advance Medium if he survives an attack. Slippery can guarantee Toad is safe from a range two follow-up attack. Close quarters attackers like Valkyrie, Wolverine, and Drax will have to spend another move action to get into range for a second attack. If Toad survives an attack from range two beaters, he will not be in range for a second attack. Slippery could very well be the BEST defensive movement superpower in the game. And for the low low cost of two power. WOW!
But wait! There's more! Toad also has the Innate ability Prehensile Tongue. Toad can interact with objective tokens at range two instead of range one. Ok, this is pretty good.
Having a character who can interact with tokens at triple the distance of everyone else is solid.
Yes, range two is not excessively different from range one, but it does matter. No longer can your opponent surround a point and try to block you from interacting. Toad can also interact then move Medium + Hop to stay far away from potential assassins. Prehensile Tongue may be a simple ability, but it makes Toad a very flexible point grabber. On top of all these fantastic abilities, Toad has Wall Crawler.
It's Mine! It Belongs To Me!
Toad is a pretty strong two threat model. I have already seen people in the community loving and hating Toad. How can he be any good? Does interacting at range two matter? He doesn't deal any damage!
Toad is a utility position model. His kit is focused on mobility and objective control. With a little extra health on his healthy side, Toad should be able to stay on the field for a very long time. His Slippery superpower is also a very deceptive escape trick. Early game, if Toad is attacked and is not one shot, he can use the power he gained and move away Medium. Toad can make some aggressive plays into the backfield if he wants and make it out alive if luck allows. Even without making aggressive plays, Toad can always position himself at the edge of incoming attacks to guarantee escape if they do not one-shot him.
As Toad takes damage, he is less likely to survive/escape. But in the early game, he can make both aggressive and conservative plays if need be.
In round one, most models are advancing towards objectives. To attack Toad, every model will have to use a move action followed by an attack action. The average basic attack is five dice, and Toad rolls three defense dice. Even if Toad rolls nothing, the odds of the opponent rolling five hits on five dice are astronomically low. As long as the opponent deals more than one damage, Toad can use Slippery to retreat Medium. Now, Toad is out of range for a follow-up attack and most likely in range one of a back objective. I understand this is a theoretical scenario, but the odds are in Toad's favor to survive one basic attack. As the rounds go on, models gain more power and can lean into Toad. But, early in the game, he can play aggressively with pretty good odds of surviving. Slippery is by far the best defensive ability on his card. It could be the best defensive superpower for any model in the game.
The next best thing about Toad is Finders Keepers. I am not a fan of this superpower using an action, but I understand why it does. Toad has insane mobility and survivability for a two threat model. Being able to grab allied objectives and double move would be broken. Finders Keepers is what is going to make Toad the best #flextwo model for a majority of affiliations. Here are some team compositions he can slot into:
- Spider Friends! Spiders are all about mobility, pulling models off points and pivoting around all game. One of the weaknesses of Spiders is holding objectives while brawling. Miles and Peter often run into combat, daze a model, and grab the token. However, they usually have to leave the point if they want to survive and soak VP's the next few rounds. Toad can slot into the team and grab tokens and run away while Spiders continue to reposition the enemy around the board.
- Avengers! Todd said it on the podcast, and I agree, using Toad's abilities for one power is stupid. Using Slippery for one power, online at the start of the game. Toad can pressure almost any token he wants, and if the opponent doesn't deal five damage in one attack he uses Slippery to escape. Nasty! He can also use Hop and Finders Keepers more frequently. Avengers allows a power-starved Toad to be more impactful throughout six rounds.
- Asgardians, heal this Toad! Toad's biggest weakness is his injured side. Three health is a death sentence with no defensive re-rolls or counting blanks as successes. The Asguard heal gives Toad more range to survive and keep scoring VP's all game. He also supports the Asgard affiliation with a much needed low-cost model to help fill in low point Crisis objectives.
- Guardians of the Galaxy. Sooner has proved that Guardians can make waves in the competitive scene. The main feature for GOTG is always going last. With so many low threat bodies, they can guarantee the last actions of each round. They also can punch above their weight with Rocket and Nebula. Adding in another two threat model gives them the option to pressure back-field objectives early game. Toad can run down the field and interact at range two. Then if he isn't one-shot, he can use Slippery to move safely where his allies can run interference. Now Rocket can throw attacks into models who dare to walk into range. Nebula and Drax can move to midfield positions and brawl while Toad sits in the back and scores points.
- Wakanda's defense re-rolls can help Toad survive. Wakanda has a lot of control built into their affiliation. Black Panther and Shuri can push models off points. Okoye can bodyguard and use her above-average defensive tools. Toad can use the Wakandan control to move up to open positions, interact, or grab an allied token and escape. Shuri can keep attackers away while he sits on the back objective. Again, he adds in a low threat model to help swarm the field and give Wakanda the tools to go last and guarantee board control.
I know this article has a lot of hype for Toad, but he also has some glaring weaknesses.
- Five health on his healthy side is great for round one when enemy models can only spend one action to attack. Once the enemy gains power, he is open season for hunting. Toad can use Slippery to escape, but the moment he has 1-2 damage, he in range of being vaporized by a single attack. You can to either heal Toad or find a way to protect him from getting wiped off the field.
- Once Toad flips to three health, he is practically dead. Three damage is not hard to stick on a model, especially if the enemy has throws, explosive damage, or Bullseye.
- Toad is susceptible to a throw and a follow-up attack. Throws do not trigger Slippery. Superpowers that deal damage like Booby Traps also do not trigger Slippery. Toad has to respect and avoid models that can deal damage outside of attacks.
- Toad lives and dies with positioning. If you make an error in positioning Toad, he can be trapped in a place where Slippery will not move him out of range. Good players can extend Toad's survivability through superior positioning and avoiding multiple attacks from the same target.
- Toad has no defense tools for his dice. For two threat, Toad has no re-rolls, no "count blanks" no bonuses within X range. Toad lives and dies by rolling three dice. This is not a fantastic means of defense after the first few attacks thrown into Toad. His survivability comes from his ability to stay out of range of attacks. If the opponent can roll dice into Toad over and over, he will die.
- Toad is power-hungry. This model is NOT going to run into combat and attack to gain power. That means he will be able to use his superpowers every two rounds on average. You have to balance his Hop + Finders Keepers with the limited power he generates on his own.
I'm Hopping Mad
Toad is a very unique model being introduced into marvel Crisis Protocol. He can make aggressive objective plays, but he is squishy. Toad can reposition where allied tokens are located. He can hop around the map and support the team with objective control or giving out Incinerate if need be.
Toad is an excellent example of a model that gains or loses value based on how he is utilized. Great pilots will be able to push this two threat model to do amazing things in a game. His kit has the tools to make big plays but finding the opportunity to capitalize on them is where Toad can shine. On his own, Toad is an average two threat model. With patience and strong fundamentals, Toad can easily become an above-average model.
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