Thanos! Initial thoughts.

The inevitable has happened; Thanos has finally arrived. His card has been spoiled here. I’ve managed get a few quick games in with him proxied (Doc Ock has delusions of grandeur) and I’ve got some preliminary conclusions and observations.

I’ve only run him without gems, so I’m going to sidestep that whole question for now – more thoughts another time.

Tough cookie

The first thing that required a double take was his damage reduction. Unlike the other Invun style abilities, this one doesn’t have a “minimum one clause”!

His high levels of stamina (8&9) make him really tough to take down. I reckon that Black Dwarf is tougher than Hulk, and Thanos is even tougher!

Leadership

Thanos is odd in that his leadership changes when dazed. His healthy leadership looks amazing on paper:

Extra ways to score VPs are just great. On reading it, I imagine a low character count team making up for losing out on secures and extracts by KOing characters. But it didn’t play how I expected.

First, it’s only on KOs. The way the game is built, it’s really difficult to KO a character before round 3 – even someone super squishy like Rocket. Team tactics cards that heal (Patch Up, Medpac, Field Dressing) or prevent damage (Brace for Impact, Odin’s Blessing) can really hamper getting to this point and those cards are very popular and often make the 5 being played. That gives your opponent time to get to and daze Thanos.

That being said, if you wanted to pursue this line of play, maximising his healthy leadership, taking those cards yourself if a really good idea – especially Field Dressing. Played late in the round, it can extend his leadership in to the next round.

That may allow characters to act early and KO for VPs. The obvious fit in that role are Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight. They are affiliated characters, and on the cheaper end of threat available in Black Order. The ability to chain activations helps the Black Order maintain priority – which I think they really want – and are great at getting KOs after a late Field Dressing keeps Thanos healthy in to a new round. That double activation really hurts.

However, with focus from your opponent, Thanos is dazeable in the sort of time frame we are talking – by the end of round 3. That puts him in to his injured leadership:

This is real double edged sword. Damage for rerolls is a high price, but this can be clutch at the end of the game when victory is on the line. When you know it’s the last turn of the game, this leadership really shines. Being able to decide after you see the dice fall and having control over how many you reroll really raises the tension you feel. But it can win you games you would otherwise lose to a few bad dice in the last round. It feels amazing using it as you only ever use it when the stakes are really high.

His best ability

Free gem use is going to be fun , but the thing that really stands out on his card after some play is this:

Moving anyone, friend or enemy, is just so good. Early game it can make up for Black Dwarf’s slow movement or Corvus and Promixa’s lack of charge or needing to be within 4 of each other to double activate. Taking opponents off secures, out of bodyguard range or outside effect bubbles is huge, and late round move in to secures can swing games.

I know I said I wouldn’t talk gems, but one thing I really want to try is the mind gem. Walking a character away and then Cosmic Portalling them further away puts them really far out of position. Those on 50mm or 65mm bases even more so.

The fact he only has this on his healthy side further adds to the incentive to your opponent to daze Thanos as soon as they can.

How many dice?

The thing likely to catch most people’s eyes is his ability to empower other characters’ attacks:

There are so many good targets for it – it would honestly be easier to list those who don’t want it. It does seem especially good with those with strong wild effects, as more dice does mean more chance of a wild.

This is a really good ability, but it’s impact varies hugely depending on the shape of the game, which is largely determined by the secure crisis.

On Gamma Shelters and Deadly Meteors, having him central helps everyone. These are where this really shines, and I can see denying those secures to a roster with Thanos in being a big deal in the meta that will emerge.

By contrast, on Infinity formula, Thanos can only really buff the one (realistically) character that is on the same side of the board as him. And in Extremis, you tend to be so spread out that only characters competing for the same secure as him are likely to be able to benefit from his boosts.

Mothership – a Black Order affiliated team tactics card that allows one Black Order model to be placed near another – can help with that, but often you have characters where you want them to be already: pulling them across the board can disrupt your plans for secures on the side they are leaving.

Attacks

His strike is really good – it’s like Thor’s , but without a size restriction, so if we ever get size 5 characters (Sentinels?) it will work on them, but is currently functionally identical to it. Thor has a really good strike, but Thanos lacks the move-and-attack ability of Thor and can’t use Cosmic Portal in himself, so he feels a little less offensive than Thor. He also can’t buff himself with Death’s Decree.

His Spender is decent, giving an additional type of damage and a power outlet if you find yourself with more power than you can use – again the scenario dictates how much he can spend in buffing others’ attacks. But I see myself using his Strike more often than not.

Overall impression

Thanos is a force multiplier – he won’t do the work that Thor does, for one less threat, but his support abilities really turn other characters up. To that end, he will want crises and threat levels that allow him to field a decent range of hard hitters relatively close together.

It’s seems a cliche of talking heads in M:CP, but he also seems to be a really good Avenger. His durability plays to their play style and he has an excellent reactive ability that you can control triggering to get maximum value out of the leadership. There are loads of characters in affiliation that love his buff. That’ll be my next avenue of exploration. I’m excited to see what I find out.

Oh, and he really, really loves the hammer crisis.

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