I open this article with a new philosophy on battle reports. I’ve spent many a column whining about various FAIL moments in this game. But an audiobook chapter of “The One-Minute Millionaire” persuaded me to stop brooding on my failures in the game or to blaming others, the dice, or even myself. No, instead, I simply treat every game, win or lose, as a learning experience and become a better player — and person — as a result.
Now. Let’s lock and load, ‘clixers!
For many months I shelved pretty much the entire Guardians line-up. (It’s not as though they’re underused or anything. :D) But with the revamped Alternate Team Abilities now in play, I thought it was time to see what the new Guardians of the Galaxy team ability could do for me.
- At 5 points per character, it costs a bit more, making it harder to fit on the team.
- But it no longer overrides their natural team abilities, making it a real boon to most of its members.
- It can’t be wildcarded, so it’s better on pure GotG teams anyway.
Here’s the team I built:
Rocket Raccoon 65
R Aleta 51
+ Guardians of the Galaxy 35
= 599 points. (0 in feats). BFCs: Assembled, Wasteland.
I got to the venue early, so I tried this out against the judge in a friendly game. Well, “friendly” being a bit relative as Thomas fielded all three Batman figures from the Arkham Asylum set (the 208-point Sinestro Corps one, the 120-point “Lamppost” and 64-point “Batman Beyond” version), the Out of the Shadows Batman and the Crisis “AzBats” Batman. I won the map roll and picked the Space map and theme-cancelled Thomas’s Deep Shadows BFC.
The Space map’s unique rules would cut into Sinestro Batman’s Running Shot + 10 range advantage, and the lack of hindering terrain would leave the Bats little room to hide. Or, at least, that would have worked if not for Sinestro Batman’s free-action Smoke Cloud Special Power. With that, Thomas was able to thoroughly nullify the majority of my offensive ability, and every time I attempted to fight, he was able to concentrate multiple attacks per turn while I was limited usually to only one. Consequently, despite his rolling 2 0r 3 critical misses, he lost only AzBats and wiped my whole team out. 0-1.
It wasn’t quite as lopsided a game as it looked (and often felt) like, though. The new Guardians of the Galaxy team ability made the Outwit that four of the five Batmen wielded almost completely useless. And my team’s ability to chain defense values with Defenders TA helped them last a lot longer than they might’ve otherwise. If I hadn’t accidentally blocked the Telekinesis lane Aleta needed to move Phyla-Vell into a much-needed first strike up Sinestro Corps Batman…if I could have thus gotten rid of that free Smoke Cloud and thus opened up the Bats to the full firepower of the Guardians of the Galaxy…who knows what the end result may have been?
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t block my TK lanes!
Fortunately, that was only a bye-round match of the tournament, which officially began while Thomas and I finished our match. That meant I got a 0-point win and still retained my once-per-themed-team’s BFC cancel ability.
NEXT OPPONENT: Andy and his mighty Avengers:
Thor (Hammer of Thor), Thorbuster, War Machine (Hammer of Thor) and Captain America (Hammer of Thor). He picked the Graveyard map and tried to use the Disbanded BFC. Thankfully, I was able theme-cancel that team-killing card.
Things didn’t go well for him from the start, as his first-strike single-target Pulse Wave attempt on Bug critically failed. Thor landed a massive hit on Yondu way back in the starting area, but Aleta’s Barrier slowed down the coming assault, forcing War Machine to fly over the makeshift wall and deep into my territory to press the attack. Multiple uses of Probability Control (both natural and theme-team versions) made it a wasted attempt.
I concentrated all my efforts on Thor first with Star-Lord’s Galactic Marksman ability to deal 4+ damage when targeting multiple foes, eventually wearing the god of thunder down and out of the game. By the time Captain America made it into the fray, I was able to keep him tied down with Rocket Raccoon (who was well-defended with Super Senses). I then followed with a KO of War Machine and finally, a last attack on Thorbuster with Bug’s Exploit Weakness — the armored Avenger’s early miss on my cheapest character truly coming back to haunt. I lost no characters. 1-1 (2-0, officially)
LESSON LEARNED: I tried to use this map’s special “Open Graves” terrain, which blocks lines of fire to the character occupying it, to my advantage. But my opponent reminded me that ALL lines of fire, including friendly ones, are blocked, preventing a couple of attack opportunities. This could’ve been disastrous…and would be for certain opponents in future games.
FINAL OPPONENT: Zach and his Sinestro Corps
Superman Prime (borrowed from me, actually), Arkillo, Lyssa Drak and a Manhunter (Arkham Asylum).
The 11-year-old picked the Castle map, but I used my Wasteland BFC to turn much of it into rubble, leaving Prime nowhere to run and hide but also giving the Hypersonically Speedy, super-strong beast a very long “swing” range when coupled with Lyssa’s TK.
Fortunately, that first strike missed, and I was able to get Star-Lord into the fight properly by first using Galactic Marksman’s AV bonus to ping Superbrat off his Invincible click (which reduces all damage to 1) and then using it to lay down 4+ damage on the bruiser thereafter. Prime was sent running to the opposite end of the field.
Manhunter laid a critical hit on Star-Lord, but not enough to KO him, so he was able to help shoot down Arkillo (who’d Charged in on Bug and Rocket). One-Who-Knows tangled with Lyssa Drak and Phyla-Vell pursued Superman Prime, who got a perfect Regeneration roll to become a renewed threat.
In the end, though, the tide was too much against the Corps. I’d lost Bug but got the wipeout.
FINAL: 2-1 (3-0 officially)
LESSON LEARNED: Guardians of the Galaxy work best together when multiple pieces can make attacks each turn. Because there’s currently no starting or early Outwit on the team, they really have to dig through enemy defenses. That also means they’ve got to expose themselves to the enemy in turn.
This is why the new ATA is so excellent for them. Bug, Rocket Raccoon, Yondu and One-Who-Knows are much better when they don’t have to fret about their Super Senses or Energy Shield/Deflection being countered, and their ability to share their solid 17 DV helps the normally 16-or-less DV Star-Lord immensely. The big gun of the team, Phyla-Vell, can push freely as her Power Cosmic team ability allows — something she couldn’t do with the old GotG feat. And fragile little Aleta, who’s such a linchpin for this team due to her TK, holds up just a little better under fire.
My only regrets are that the ATA left absolutely no room for feats and that this build can’t be used in Modern Age. Perhaps the upcoming member Groot in the soon-to-be-released Web of Spider-Man set will help the team out!