When bad things turn out to be good

This article is about some cute and possibly very strong turn one (yes, turn one, not round one) plays on the crisis Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? that comes with the Mister Sinister box, but it’s also a ode to Atomic Mass Games clever design.

So this crisis is pretty cool. You have three extracts on the E shape. They score a VP and get rid of status conditions: pretty cool. But if you get all three on one character, immediately KO them and score 8VP. The slight catch: you have to pay an extra power for each cure you already have. The idea of it is to have some back an forth and exciting rolls that end in a big VP splurge that wins the game. It’s a really cool design. But there are ways to play it to swing a game in a big way.

The Formula

So how can one character collect all three Legacy Cure assets on turn one? Well they need 6 power (1, then 2, then 3), and they need a bit of mobility: getting to all three isn’t trivially easy.

So here’s the first way. Thanos. Thanos with a time gem is already great centrepiece for a number of viable builds (often with reality), but that gives him the mobility he needs. He can take three moves and end up by a Cure each time. So that just leaves the power. Well, he already has the time gem, so adding the power gem goes a long way, starting him on 4 power (the power gem only gives itself one extra power, not the time gem as well). Now we only need to find him two more. Advanced R&D is an obvious choice here, but that gets him to 5. Leaderships can distribute power, but the best one here for an unanswerable play is the Inhumans or Mystique’s leadership:

That gets him to 6, and he can just just walk three times, grabbing cures. But that’s a 9 threat piece you are sacrificing. Isn’t there a less impactful way?

Why, yes; yes there is.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hulk jank is best jank. It has become somewhat of a hobby of mine to find odd teams to play Hulk, be it in Defenders with portals or in Brotherhood throwing a old guy around. And this is another spot for Hulk to shine.

He starts with an mobility advantage, in that he can deploy within 1 of the close cure, so he can pick it up without moving.

He also has 3 power innate, so we only have to find him 3 power. Advanced R&D seems like a good idea here too, but that leaves him 2 power short. He’s a bit short in another department too:

So what we need, is a way to get Hulk some more power and ideally a little bit further forward. Enter the Avengers.

Avengers have two cards that help here. Firstly, the much lauded Avengers Assemble. You know how good Climbing Gear is? Well this is mass Climbing Gear for you team for 1 power each. But here it gives Hulk another S move:

But that raises a bigger problem: we now need to get Hulk to 7 power! Luckily, there is a much overlooked card that can help. Anger Management. You probably need to go look it up to see what it does. Go do that now.

Done? Grand. So what we need is an Avenger that has 3 power on them to give to Hulk. Thor is almost there, as he is and Avenger with 2 power. All you need to tie it all together is another character with 2 power. When you use R&D you give one to Hulk and one to Thor, then Thor uses Anger Management to give Hulk 3 power and off he goes.

Enchantress is an obvious pick, as Cap, Hulk, Thor, Enchantress gets to the 19 threat of the crisis (though I guess Hela works too, and is maybe more survivable), but with the lead this gives you, maybe you are better going leaderless Avengers: Hulk, Thor, A.N.Other 2 or 3 threat avenger (survivability as a preference), Valkyrie to hand out power and whatever ballast you need to make the points work. That might allow 4 characters to run around on secures after Hulk’s noble sacrifice.

And that brings me to the second part of the article: a bit of praise for AMG. For a long time Anger Management has languished in the card box of obscurity, but all it takes is one release, and it has a place. It also explains why it was restricted to Avengers only: X-men would have been able to pull this off with Storm’s ninja flip and maybe there are other affiliations down the line that could do similar things. But a card – that has been listed by some as the worst card in the game – suddenly has a role and a place with just one release. Maybe it’s a small niche, but with over 100 cards in the game, we need more small niche cards and fewer Medpacks. Good job AMG. More of this please.

So is it good?

Well, maybe.

It costs you a 6 threat character and three tactics cards, but 8VP is huge advantage. Realistically, you need to score 2 VPs per round from secures to win at the end of round 4. You might also turtle down on one secure and ride out a win after round 6 – maybe on a slower secure like Demons Downtown. Grabbing control of the Deadly Meteors just once should win you the game unless you lose all your characters.

But on a typical 4 secure crisis, there is definitely a route to victory for the opponent: 2 secures on round one and 3 secures from there will end the game on 15-17 at the end of round 6. You can even afford to lose one secure once to go to 16-16 and trigger round 7. It’s a tough ask, but with clever play it is possible. And on Gamma its probably easier still, though you have to watch out for sneaky points the Hulk-less player may grab.

So I haven’t tested this yet, and even if it is really really good (entirely possible), it only comes up 33% of the time (win priority, choose extracts, don’t discard it), and gives a bump to an affiliation widely regarded as a bit below the curve. It also brings a very niche tactics card that is going to be pretty dead on every other crisis.

So is it meta-bending? Only time will tell, but I suspect it’s fine.

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