After largely dominating in a pair of friendly games, it was time to put the Seven Soldiers of Victory through a real test in a tournament.
Opponent: PAUL’s Avengers
Hercules (Secret Invasion)
Wasp (Universe Starter)
Spider-Woman (Armor Wars)
Ant-Man (Infinity Challenge)
Hmmmm. Yes, this team was a bit more optimized than the one he’d played last night, with a great lead hitter in Herc and solid support in Sersi (TK) and Spidey (Outwit). Plus he had a themed team and picked the Avengers map. I picked the trench side with a Kinetic Accelerator special object to give me a shot at a first strike with Bulleteer and her Meteorite.
Paul used Spidey to counter Bulleteer’s Charge and thus prevent her getting to Hercules. In the meantime, I needed to get into position for actual fighting, but in a way that wouldn’t leave anyone open to Hercules’s Charge range after being moved by Sersi’s Telekinesis. Zatanna carried Klarion to a large patch of hindering to hide in, just beyond Hercules’ Charge range.
Or so I thought. Klarion WAS in the big demigod’s reach and took both hits of a Meteorite-boosted Flurry! Only a low Meteorite roll and the witchboy’s Toughness on the 2nd hit saved him from instant KO.
Well, the bait was good and taken (though I hadn’t exactly planned it thus). I needed Bulleteer to retaliate, so I took a Running Shot with Frankenstein to ping Spider-Man off Outwit and get my Charge back. Thus re-empowered, Bulleteer would have just the boost she needed from the Kinetic Accelerator to Charge through the hindering (thanks to Unstoppable) with the Meteorite.
But first, I needed a good Regeneration roll for Klarion. Got the best, to land on his best click: Stealth + Duo Attack-granting SP + Probability Control. Nice!
Bulleteer landed her attack, which softened up Hercules considerably for Shining Knight (who’d jumped between Herc and Klarion to protect the latter) from further attack), Guardian and Klarion to finish him off. Frankenstein, for his part, was a bit tied up with Ant-Man, Wasp and Spider-Woman but someone managed to tag both ladies to send Spider-Woman running and Wasp off the board.
Paul retreated to his healing Eleha’al Vine and my forces gave chase (Miracle taxiing Guardian ahead and Zatanna carting Klarion). Bulleteer had Spider-Man cornered on his Vine when time was called. I’d lost none and KO’d Wasp, Spider-Woman and Hercules. 1-0.
Opponent: TIM’s stone-faced cosmic duo of despots
Darkseid (Crisis) + Outsmart + Protected
OK, here was a real test! I picked the Icons park map. At all costs would I avoid the vast killing field in the middle, instead planning to bunker on a rooftop and use a Kinetic Accelerator to perhaps get a first Charge in a Meteorite. But Tim decided to rush me down, basing Bulleteer (and Outwitting her Strength) before she could move.
Had to proceed very carefully here, in order to stand a chance.
1. Break Bulleteer away by plunking Shining Knight diagonally between her and Darkseid. This also would deny Darkseid an attack upon or further Outwit of Bulleteer
2. Fly Zatanna to a back edge of the roof where she can see Bulleteer’s eventual attack square —
3. — and so her passenger Klarion can see Frankenstein for Perplex.
4. Hold Frank back a little bit longer to build up one more Opportunist token.
Next turn, Bulleteer picked up the Meteorite, Charged through the hindering terrain and hit Thanos for a solid 4 with the Meteorite. Frankenstein followed with an Opportunist-boosted Running Shot to turn a Probability Control-forced miss into a hit for three damage (thanks to Klarion’s Perplex). To wrap up, I walked Klarion between Bulleteer and Darkseid so the latter couldn’t Outwit the shiny gal’s Invulnerability — the only thing that saved her from swift oblivion when Thanos punched her in the face for 7 damage (natural 5 + Close Combat Expert).
I should have taxied Klarion instead of walking him; I found myself on prime fighting clicks after Darkseid’s counterattack but unwilling to push for it. At least Darkseid took Mystic damage and burned his Outwit on countering Shining Knight’s Flurry.
Thanos got smacked to Regen and then out of the game, as did Guardian. But now it was my whole team on Darkseid, and he eventually fell. 2-0.
Opponent: LENNY’s Gotham Knights
Batman (Arkham Asylum chase #99) + Opportunist + Protected
Batman (Arkham Asylum)
Nightwing + Contingency Plan + Takedown
Batman (Justice League)
Robin (Arkham Asylum)
Captain Gordon (Arkham Asylum)
Thanks to his fielding a themed team (Gotham) Lenny won the map roll and picked the Dawn of Time. I played Rushed Assault to blunt his assault. That turned out to be a mistake, as Lenny didn’t take the bait and bided his time WAY longer than he had any need to. Meanwhile, my outgunned team simply could not afford to waste a single attack on the Rushed Assault penalty, especially knowing that then nothing would slow the Bats from whaling on me. So we literally went at least 40 minutes of the 50-minute game without making any attack rolls.
I really wanted to chide Lenny for waiting so long. With Perplex, a full Contingency Plan stock, a team nearly full of double-digit Attack Values and three theme-team Probability Controls (provided he shut off his Bat-Stealth for line of fire first), he really had little to no chance of missing that first attack. To be fair, though, I didn’t give him easy targets: Mister Miracle with 19 Defense (thanks to Loner) + Super Senses or Frankenstein with Invulnerable 19 DV (thanks to a snatched Tombstone of Lenny’s).
Finally, Lenny took a shot at Frankenstein, who I’d set up ready to attack Nightwing (having forgotten that he had Takedown). The intentional whiff took out the Tombstone, giving Watchtower Batman an easy shot for three.
I gave the game away then, when, to tie-up that Batman, I Perplexed Guardian’s speed to Charge him in a failed attempt (despite having Probability Control). Batman did not fail to Flurry Guardian for the game’s only KO, as time ran out just two minutes later.
In retrospect, then, Rushed Assault was a horrible choice with no way to counter its effects myself. Halfway through the game, I should have broken someone away to threaten Captain Gordon.
WIN/LOSS: 2-1. 4-1 total record.
This team looks like a hot mess on paper: only two team abilities, no wildcards to benefit. Only one character with greater than 6 range, and she can’t crack Invulnerability without help. The heavyweight starts with just a 9 Attack Value. Bulleteer is overcosted. At this point level, they seem plain outclassed.
What they do bring to the table is a pair of Perplexers and Probability Control to help out the low Attack Values. A few feats also bring out extra potential:
Opportunist on Frankenstein is superb…you have to hold him back early in the game, but once he starts, the Indomitable monster doesn’t have to stop and those built-up tokens make it hard for him to miss.
Shining Knight is MADE for Double-Time. While Frank’s biding his time, she can taxi either Guardian or Bulleteer in close to a target of opportunity, tying up the foe for a Charge next round. And with her Defense double-Perplexed by teammates, she might survive to push and Flurry (again, double-Perplexed) the next round to finish off or soften up whoever her fare Charges and hits.
Bulleteer + Unstoppable = a surprisingly capable attacker, either as a backup or frontliner. Twice in these games, the feat got her in position to make improbable hits. Invulnerability makes her short dial seem longer.
Loner makes the highly-mobile Perplexer Mr. Miracle nigh-untouchable. If he IS touched hard enough, he gets to take over PC duties from Zatanna.
As for the non-feated, they work out in the end, too. Klarion is a linchpin of the team; his Stealth and Mystic TA protect him from a lot of attacks while his Perplex makes the rest of the team work. He becomes a solid fighter down his dial.
Zatanna serves well to fly him around and help with Probability Control — as well as serving as bait for attacks. That worked out for me as she was able to make Frankenstein more dangerous with her Enhancement.
And Guardian truly shines on this team, as he’s the ultimate clean-up guy, Charging in after Frankenstein has softened everyone up. It’s when I failed to use him as clean-up that he fell.
And so a team I intended to play just for fun has turned out to be a true dark-horse winner. It’s not top-tier by any stretch — the final match showed that — but it’s better than you’d think!
Next post will either be a battle report on today’s “Zero-Range Brawl” — no ranged attacks allowed) or the first of a series of articles on how to build teams to play the controversial Event Dials first released in the Mutations and Monsters set of fall 2007. Keep an eye out for it!