A lot of rosters have really good plans for Gamma Wave, Infinity Formula and increasingly, Deadly Meteors, but they also often want to dodge Extremis. The shape of the D deployment map creates really tough choices of where to commit your characters, as they are often operating in isolation from each other due to the distances between the secures. Building you roster specifically towards that suits certain affiliations and can lead to a significant competitive advantage. Especially as we have another D shape secure coming with Thanos. That allows you to guarantee a D shape secure if you are picking secures. I’m calling this strategy “D-ploy” (thanks to Pat from Across the Bifrost for help with naming it).
There are number of common characters who don’t really want to be playing on a D-shaped secure crisis. Shuri is a great example.
If Shuri is contesting one of the secures, she is out of range of using her Panther Gauntlets to push someone off any of the other secures – and her upgrades are way out of range. She has to choose whether to get the VPs or to contribute to the wider fight. By choosing the secures you target to go after, you can largely negate Shuri. Just ignoring the she is focussed on reduces her impact on the game hugely.
Thanos is another character who doesn’t want to see D secures. His ability to buff his allies is limited to range 4. There’s a really strong incentive to ignore wherever Thanos is. By isolating and ignoring 6 threat, you will definitely have a threat advantage in all the other arenas of engagement.
M.O.D.O.K. with his Range 4 attack is another candidate for isolating and ignoring and making him reposition to become relevant is like a pseudo-stagger. This is a soft counter to Corvus with the reality gem. Corvus’ big issue is a lack of move-and-attack. You can build your team to abandon any one secure and contest the other three. You start by de-prioritising the secures you think Gem Corvus is going for. When Corvus redeploys to become relevant, abandon that secure in favour of the one he just left – kind of like a Fast Break defense in Lacrosse: but in reverse!
This can apply to any big threat, but works particularly well with Corvus as even with his larger base, the distance from one secure to another is big enough that you can be contesting the far side and out of his range 2 strike:
If he gets the attack off, he won’t be contesting, unless he has the four power for Death Blow. Even then, you are severely limiting his output. Thanos also suffers in the same way.
Even if you aren’t constantly shifting to negate threats, there are some characters that will help you get an advantage on this secure.
Hawkeye: Hawkeye is the only character that can camp a secure and impact an other one. By moving, shooting and Hook Arrowing back he can make a meaningful attack and still score his own secure.
Black Widow: both versions have stealth, but at 2 threat core Widow is cheap, and pretty safe from attack. In order to contest the secure she is on, they need to be within 2, triggering her Martial Artist.
By only committing 2 threat to camping your home secure, you are likely to have a threat advantage elsewhere. Often a 3 or even 4 threat character ends up on a secure by themselves. The L move on Widow makes her great at grabbing an extract first, before running to that secure.
Okoye: almost as well protected as Widow, but more vulnerable from range. But the chances are your opponent is using more that 2- threat to deal with her, allowing a threat advantage elsewhere.
Rocket Racoon: again, only 2 threat, but he has the highest chance of impacting the rest of the game due to his big range on his attacks. Sometimes it may be worth moving off the secure to take the attack to finish a failed daze/ KO.
Black Panther: fast enough to move between secures, pushes to move opponents off secures and durability. Plus he can turn on the damage dealing if he needs to.
There are some affialtions I think will benefit from the D-ploy more than others.
Avengers: three of the characters listed above are Avengers – Hawkeye, Black Widow and Black Panther. This was my first thought for an affialtion that can take advantage of this ploy.
Guardians of the galaxy: Rocket in affialtion and lots of low threat options to flood the secures you are targeting.
Wakanda: Black Panther and Okoye are on the list, but Shuri might get left out. Luckily Killmonger is a great character.
This is something I feel a lot of rosters haven’t prepared for. Cabal, Black Order and to an extent Asgard, don’t have great plans for a D-Ploy strategy.