Greetings True Believers! Sugi here, and in this article, I am going to talk about roster building. In our last few podcasts, we have talked about building the proper roster before the game ever starts. We discussed Crisis Cards and what kind of objectives you may experience as you play the game. And we have covered how characters function in a given scenario and where they stand in our tier list. But this article is going to focus on the aspects of figuring out which ten characters make the cut in your roster.
Before we look at how characters act on the battlefield, we need to figure out your playstyle. Similar to trading card games there are three types of playstyles: Aggro, Control, and Midrange. Although we are not using cards and decks to play this game, the archetypes matter.
Aggro styles focus on aggressive teams and strategies. Characters that favor this would include Zemo, Killmonger, and Valkyrie. Get into the opponent's face and punch as hard and fast as you can. You want early game dominance with a dazed character or two in the first few rounds. You roll a lot of dice early and often.
Control styles are much more patient and rely on tricks and pilot skills to ruin the opponent's plans. Your characters are much more squishy and have fewer attack dice on the table. But they make up for it with powerful abilities and disruption tactics to slow down the enemy. Most pilots are focused on scoring victory points and denying the opponent points instead of attacking characters. Control characters available are Shuri, MODOK and Loki.
Midrange is the hardest style to cross-pollinate from a traditional TCG. In a TCG the goal is to build your deck with big creatures and control the pace of the game until you can get those creatures into play. Once you get to that point, the opponent usually has no way to deal with your threats. In a miniatures world, that is not exactly easy to translate. But the general idea for Crisis Protocol is that you set up yourself for big plays starting turn three and moving forward. Turn one and two you get your characters into place and then strike the opponent as hard as you can. Some good characters to use for this playstyle include Thor and Hulk.
Taking these factors into consideration will help you find your favorite play style. All of these have strengths and weaknesses but being able to identify your best style will help figure out what characters to bring in your roster. It will also help you identify how to deal with bad matchups or Crisis Cards you're not comfortable with.
Knowing yourself and your style of play helps facilitate growth as a player and tactician.
Who is your favorite character in the game? Feel free to play that character. The cool thing about Crisis Protocol is that every character has a place. Some are better than others, but none of them are unplayable. If you are looking at this from a purely competitive standpoint then some characters can get cut from rosters due to better options. But in all reality, most characters can perform well with a good pilot in command.
The big factor that brings players into the game is the relationship we have with these characters. Some of us read comics as kids. Some of us played video games or watched cartoons. Everyone playing this game usually has some kind of nostalgia or memory of these characters before buying the core set. So, the best advice I always give is to play with the characters you love. Playing games over and over will help reveal where each character stands in the meta.
The reality of games is that they are designed to be fun. Competitive players might argue that games are designed to be won. But I would argue that games are here for community and friendships. Feel free to play whatever character you want. Don't let anyone tell you who to play and not play. This game is so open to creative and unique strategies. Always bring your favorite characters to the tabletop!
Prepare For Trouble
Once you have chosen your favorite characters, you now need to pick supporting roles. Each team needs to be able to handle a multitude of threats. During TURN ZER0 you have a lot of things to consider. The Crisis Cards you want to bring. The Crisis Cards you don't want to play. The Tactics you bring. The characters you don't want to play against. Good matchups versus bad matchups.
A lot of factors go into roster building. But the easiest way to break all that down is a simple question. What is my current list bad at? For example, if your favorite character is the Hulk your current weakness is mobility. Hulk has a lot of HP and can roll a lot of dice. However, Hulk cannot close the gap quickly. So, you may need to add a character that has better movement options.
Small decisions like this can help cover a lot of blind spots your roster may have. Finding a healthy mix of damage dealing and mobile characters gives you a good range of choices for any given Crisis. Looking at your character's threat points can help determine teams for 15-, 17-, 18- and 20-point games. You will never be able to answer every possible threat or matchup. But you can build a roster that can handle a wide variety of problems.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have picked your ten characters, go play with them. Playing more games of Crisis Protocol means becoming a better player. Find out what combo plays are available to you. Find out how character synergy works with the characters you picked for a given Crisis. Test out weird and interesting team compositions. Try out as much as you can before swapping out characters.
A big reason we talk about these team compositions on the show is that we play a lot of games. Practicing over and over helps players learn a lot. Learning what characters excel at certain Crisis objectives. Learning what characters work well with certain Team Tactic cards. Learning what to do and not to do during a game. Playing more games provides more data and experience, which in turn makes you a better player.
The best advice for anyone looking to become better or competitive at any game is to play more games.
Play as many games as you possibly can. The more you play, the more you will find the holes in your roster. This gives you the chance to change weaker characters or cards for more powerful options. You can discover play errors and correct them in future games. You will find good and bad matchups for your roster. You will better understand the flow of the game.
Who Is In Your Top Ten?
This is probably the most fun question to ask the players. Now that the Asgardian wave is released, we have more than twenty models available. That is going to open up the potential roster options for the community. But here is the real question. Who is in your top ten?
The answer is going to vary from player to player. But here are some tips I believe can help get you started.
Always have a beater. You NEED at least one character to dish out damage. Zemo, Killmonger, Valkyrie, Hulk, Thor. You need someone on your team to be able to throw out damage.
You need to consider a bruiser. Venom is an excellent character who can deal damage, heal and pressure the opponent. You may not use this character often but having one available can give you an advantage. Black Panther and Vision are other great examples of characters with good defense and ways to put pressure on the opponent.
Make sure to have at least two characters with mobility. I prioritize Long-range movement over flight or wallcrawler. If I can have both on my team, I take it. But you must have at least one character with good mobility.
Put a control character in your list. I know not everyone plays a control style. But you want the option for a disruption character. Shuri can push characters and create power for R&D plays. Loki can mess with the opponent's economy. MODOK is a great harassment character. You may not use them but having the option available is powerful.
Bring a 2-point character. I know the current options are only Black Widow and Okoye but they’re fantastic tools. Being able to squeeze in an extra body/activation can win games. You have more moves, more choices, and more ways to grab objectives or contest them. Plus, you can use both of those characters as great supports to help the rest of your team succeed.
All these points are my personal opinion. I have played many games over many years and these have worked very well for me. The reality is to find a team and play style that works best for you. Sometimes that looks very different from what I recommended above. If so, go for it! The beauty of miniature games is how open-ended they are. There is no right or wrong way to play if you're just having fun. Even if you play competitively, there are many different paths to success.
Trust your instincts. Pick the characters you love. Have fun. Those three steps will always make for fun games with friends.