Breaking the wave

I’ve been trying lots of different teams to try and find one that I feel can stop Wakanda Wave from steamrolling the game by turn 3. I’ve been chatting a lot with Morgan Reid on discord and together we’ve tried a lot of things that don’t work. I even approached game designer Will Pagani for some tips and he kindly shared his thoughts which helped us reach these conclusion about a few things that do work. Here’s a quick guide.

Pick your battles

If you win priority, choosing secures to deny them gamma wave. Don’t let them play their game. Choosing a higher threat value can help too, as the team is particularly tuned at 15.

But let’s assume they get priority, choose secures and get gamma at 15. You’re pretty sure they are going to choose a Wakanda Wave team.

Numbers

One thing that is very effective is field a 5 character team. Given that they have priority, denying them the last activation of round one is really good against them.

Typically the last activation is either Valkyrie walking in to the centre and throwing the last character there (occasionally followed by a Wakanda Forever if they have Avengers Assembled/Tactical Analysis/Dropped Off a second body there) or Shuri pushing someone off. More often Valkyrie.

Having another activation to run in and contest or even push/throw her out of it can stop them scoring the centre. That really sets back their scoring and means the game is much more likely to go in to round 4+ where the lower durability of the non-Panther characters really comes in to play.

Vision

The team is mostly physical attacks. Shuri has energy, but is limited to 1 damage. Ock and Panther have energy Spender attacks, and Okoye has a 4-reroll-1 range 4, but most attacks that the team makes are physical. Couple that with his inability to be pushed, and you remove half of their control elements and remove Wakanda Forever as a way of controlling at least one of your pieces. Add in his cheap throw and he’s great against them. Oh and he flies.

Shuri

Fight fire with fire. Wakanda Wave uses Shuri as a great controller of those valuable secures. Use her against them. She is particularly good if dropped off (see Vision, above) as she can make three pushes from range 5. Playing them at their own game is very strong, espeically in conjunction with equalling them on numbers so your Shuri can act last.

Slow it down

If you can limit the team to 3 or even fewer VP on turn one the game is a lot easier as you have the round count to take the team apart. If the VP clock is against you, they have a significant advantage. As such bringing Wakandan Herb, Fact or Fiction? as your Third Crisis is a good idea. They don’t have a way to score it round one or even two. Round three is the earliest they can score it. To do that, they have to send Black Panther wide round one, have him centrally round two and play Tactical Analysis at some point. Not only is this easy for you to disrupt with a single push or throw on Panther, but one of their key pieces is not playing the secure game. Finally a well placed Shuri (see above) can make sure it doesn’t get scored by pushing Panther off the Altar.

More likely, they ignore it and try extra hard on secures, but you have probably limited them to at most 3VPs in the first turn. Be aware that Panther or Valkyrie could threaten your “home” shelter turn one if Tactical Analysis is used to move them forward, but you can see this coming as it must be played in the activation of the character with the power. Having two people on your home shelter should be sufficient counter-play.

A second extract crisis that is decent against them is Fear Grips World As “Worthy” Terrorize Cities – known as “hammers”. This does give them typically 2 VP a turn that they really like, but it can make their team tactics cards more expensive to play, and they are typically a bit tight on power. It also give you extra dice to bring the pain on their not-very-resilient characters.

Make them pay

I wouldn’t be tempted to go heavily after the hammers – using Ultron drop off tech, for instance – that would take too much away from the secures and make it easier for the Wakandans to dominate them.

I don’t like this crisis as much as Wakandan Herb against them, but sometimes you don’t draw the Herb!

Remove a key piece

When I’m playing the team, people really worry about Valkyrie. They focus on her a lot as they are worried about her damage dealing potential. They aren’t wrong about that, but it isn’t this team’s path to victory. The character you should be focussing on is Shuri.

She can move two characters from range 5. In a game of area control, that’s huge. Her Upgrades rerolls can also help the team survive the pounding it typically takes.

Having a fast melee beater – Zemo springs to mind – or reliable ranged blaster to target her from range can make a big difference to what the team is able to do.

Immovable objects

Whilst Vision can prevent pushes, size 3 or larger characters are immune to Valkyrie and Ock’s throws. If you can remove Shuri you control where Panther has to be to push these characters around. That shifts to size 4 when Drax is released.

But there are further in-game tactics you can use to prevent the effect of pushes, especially Shuri’s. Both Shuri and Panther must push away. Panther has a bit more control of the push direction because he is up close, so you can position him to push a direction that works for you. But Shuri nearly always pushes towards your board edge from her central position. You can ‘backstop’ a character with another character, or ideally a piece of terrain. That will prevent the push as they stop immediately.

Normally a character can be targeted through the character in front, but this is where Rocket’s Personal Bodyguard comes in:

Putting Groot directly in front of Rocket means that if Shuri tries to push Groot, Rocket keep him in place. If she tries to shoot Rocket, she ends up shooting Groot, who doesn’t get pushed. Black Panther positioned to the side on at least a 45° angle will be able to push him, but this tactic provides some protection from Shuri. Just watch out when Drax is released – Rocket doesn’t fare well if Groot is thrown in to him!

Regular Bodyguard works too, but you have to be sure the character with Bodyguard is in the front.

Teams we like

Putting all this together, Morgan and I have a couple of teams we think make the game a close run thing.

  • Star-Lord
  • Rocket
  • Groot
  • Vision
  • Shuri

This has 5 characters, Vision and Shuri, hitting all three of the first points. Vision or Star-Lord can drop off your Shuri. You’ve got the Rocket/Groot plan and Deadly Duo to dish out some pain to the clumped up centre.

  • Captain America
  • Vision
  • Black Widow (core set)
  • Shuri
  • Okoye/Rocket

Again, 5 characters, Vision and Shuri. You have Cap’s Bodyguard to redirect pushes from Shuri. You choice of Okoye for more bodyguard or Rocket for more damage is up to personal choice and what the rest of your roster looks like. Nebula not contesting rules her out immediately.

These teams are not slam-dunks in to it, but it makes it much more of a game of reaction, dice and not making mistakes – a fair game!

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