Edit 17th May 2020 – this list has been updated by recent releases, but runs largely the same.
Recently my main strategy has been to try and force Gamma Shelters. It’s a popular scenario, but my approach is a little different to a lot of people’s.
Rather than trying to brawl my way to control, I want to push/throw people out of contesting the shelters, with the added bonus of some free damage.
The list I’ve been using is:
- Black Panther
- Doctor Octopus
- Wakanda Forever
- Vibranium Shielding
- Tactical Analysis
- Brace for impact
- Patch Up
Two characters have auto-pushes on their attacks and two characters have size 2 throws. Valkyrie’s is online turn one. Charles, from Omnus Protocol, has dubbed this “Wakanda Wave”.
It depends on the exact extract crisis, but typically Ock and Okoye will be deployed wider, threatening the extracts. They will grab an extract and move as close to the near or central shelter as they can. Normally they can get in the ‘safety’ of range 2 , but not contesting. I’m expecting to grab one wide extract, probably with Ock.
Shuri, Panther and Valkyrie go central, near the line of gamma shelters.
The plan for round one is to grab some extracts – probably 2 – score my closest shelter and throw/push opponents off the central one to score 5 VPs.
Doc Ock probably activates ufirst, grabbing an extract and moving back to the centre. Okoye typically goes second, probably moving back to centre as the other wide extract is likely to be gone. Maybe she grabs it, but I’m not banking on it. She goes to either the centre or closest shelter, depending on how able to reach out your opponents team is. Typically I have her in the closest shelter as it gives more flexibility with Shuri.
That leaves three characters with pushes/throws going last. I tend to want to go last with Shuri, partly to keep her safer for longer, and partly to have her range 5 push available to react to whatever my opponent does.
So third and fourth Panther and Valkyrie act. Ideally they are pushing/ throwing a character that has already moved on to the central shelter off it. If there are no targets yet, Panther goes there, as he is more survivable.
Valkyrie goes next so I have two characters contesting the central shelter.
Finally Shuri secures the close shelter and pushes someone off the central one. Maybe I need Shuri to move up more to claim the middle one, but with 5 characters, Shuri normally gets to act last even if you started with priority.
I always consider using Wakanda forever turn one. If it means scoring 2 more VP on the central shelter it’s probably worth it, even if you only attack with Shuri – Panther might have grabbed a central extract and not have the power to play it. But that’s still a good use of it: attrition is not the plan.
The plan for round 2 is to score all three shelters. Lacking priority, I can react after each activation of my opponent to push/throw them away from a shelter. If I get pushed, tactical analysis can help get back. If a big attack turn is in the offing, moving Okoye early and/or playing Vibranium shielding – even for 3 – can really help with that. Brace prevents more damage. If I didn’t use Wakanda Forever round 1 it might get played here, toward the end of the round for even more pushes.
Scoring 6 moves me to 11, and that assumes I don’t score any extracts. Scoring 8 is very possible and happens quite often. 13 points on turn 2 is very hard to lose from.
If I am forced to choose between protecting my shelter and attacking theirs, I want to attack theirs. If I’m ahead already, I want to end the game as quickly as possible.
Wakandan rerolls and Shuri Upgrades are best used defensively. They appear less valuable there, but remember, attrition is not the plan. But dazed characters makes it harder for you to execute your plan.
Rinse. Repeat. Same plan. You will be down characters here as their opponent’s attacks start to weigh down on you, but you only need 3-5 points to win. Focus on where those points are coming from – which secures and extracts are available – and adapt your plans based on where your opponent is focussing. The 3 point shelter is especially helpful in tipping you over the top. If your opponent defends that heavily, grabbing the two is nearly as good. You force your opponent in to very hard choices.
Ideally you get to 16 this round. There is a chance your opponent starts coming back and scoring mor points than you, but that early lead is really hard to overcome with a 4- character team, let alone a 3-character team.
It’s a great team with a great plan. It’s almost impossible to fully counter what it wants to do, but here are some things that may help:
- Vision and Crossbones are immune to the pushes and Black Widow is practically immune to Shuri’s. It they can be thrown.
- Size three or bigger characters are immune to the throws. But they can be pushed.
- Till the end of the line is a very strong plan, especially around the middle shelter. It stops both pushes and throws.
- Out of activation movement like Gamma Launch, Tactical Analysis, Avengers Assemble and Master of the Cosmic Cube can be good for getting back in to contest, but watch out for a final activation Wakanda Forever countering those plays. Or just Shuri activating last.
- The team isn’t super durable. Panther is above average and Ock has decent physical defence, but only 5 stamina on his healthy side. Dazing or removing key characters can work. Which characters are most key to remove depends on who you brought that provides immunities. Vision and Crossbones? Target Valkyrie and Doc Ock. Groot and Venom? Target Shuri and Black Panther.
- This team really wants not to have priority so it can push you away and score. Playing 5 characters yourself make it harder for them to be controlled as there are more of them to push/throw away. It also can deny them the final activation of the turn, often with Shuri. Taking your own Shuri and acting last with her is a great counter. But she needs to be part of a team of 5 for that to work.
In the process of writing this I’ve come realise that Field Dressing is probably a lot more valuable than Patch Up. My characters are going to get dazed to my disadvantage, so that extra activation is even more key. That’s a switch I’ll be looking to make.
This doesn’t make for a fun back and forth game. This is a laser focussed competitive list designed for tournament play. In Warmachine there is a saying: “Friends don’t Rahn friends” – Rahn moves your guys around for passive aggressive scenario play, just like this does. If you are playing this casually or in practise games to learn how to play it, warn your opponent, and be prepared to play something else if that’s not the experience they are looking for.