Edit: there has been an announcement from Atomic Mass Games:
We’ve had the Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? crisis out for a really short amount of time, but sadly I have some serious concerns about the effect it will have on the competitive game.
Firstly, I want to say I really like the crisis: it tells a great story on the table in most games, with a big climax and really cool tension in how commit your extract holders and hunters. I also enjoyed the puzzle of thinking about ways to score it on the top of round 1. But in early testing it is proving very problematic for a competitive player.
I want to really stress this – please play this crisis: it’s really fun. So long as you don’t set out to do some of the things I’ll outline below. This is problem for the competitive community and if that isn’t you and your opponent, it’s a great crisis.
The big issue is that it is possible – and not that hard – to score all 3 cures. That gives you 3-0 lead on extracts round 1. That’s a good lead, but not one that’s unique: setting up a 4-1 lead on extracts is a game plan executed quite often in competitive games. The issue comes that it’s only on two characters (as detailed below) who can run away, and score them again on round two and finally use Mission Objective to transfer the last one to the character holding two as the first action of round 3. That’s 14 VPs scored from extracts in 2.1 rounds. You only need to score 2 VPs from secures in 2 rounds to win.
Now this only works if you can get the cures in the first place, and then hold on to them without getting dazed or kissed by enchantress (or other similar effect). That’s actually easier than it sounds. There are a few ways to do it, but let’s take what is probably the best way to do it. You need Thanos with a time gem and either one other (mind or reality both have appeal here) or advanced R&D, Hulk, Gamma Launch and Mission Objective.
As the first activation of the game, Hulk can Gamma Launch Thanos, who can grab the centre Cure, move – or climb as an S move (pictured in red) is enough – to the far cure, grab it (he has three power from the two gems) and then move twice back towards your own deployment, ending up base to base with Hulk.
That’s ludicrously far back. How far back? Well Angela is pretty fast, and she has a range 4 attack. Surely that’s in range?
Now as a second activation, the Thanos player uses another character (it’s a 19 threat crisis and you have priority to choose it, so you have 4 threat left to play with) to grab the close cure. And then move back towards their own board edge. Even safer. So if you want to stop a 3-0 extract score you need a plan.
As far as I see there are four options:
- Go grab the last cure with your action. But there’s a mean looking Hulk and another 4-threat character staring you down. Plus with only three characters, the Thanos/Hulk player will almost certainly have priority into round 2, so even more chance to get that third extract.
- Make someone drop a secure or steal one. Effects like Enchantress’s kiss or Miles’ No Matter the Cost Venom blast can mess around Thanos. But Enchantress can’t reach to get within 1 without help (Tactical analysis, Lockjaw, Storm leadership etc), and neither can Miles even with a web swing as he needs an action
Even if you get the extra distance, your character is still standing next to a 3-action Titan who will activate first in round 2.
Quicksilver can do it, if you get him two power so he can pay for speedster, and then do damage with a 4 dice attack to the Titan (37% chance, assuming Thanos doesn’t have the reality gem; 27% with it) in order to trigger his tactics card Can I Borrow That? Not great odds. And he’s standing near to Thanos who will reel him in and whack him.
3. Daze Thanos. From miles away, through 8 stamina and damage reduction and maybe the reality gem too. That doesn’t seem that easy. The best shot at it is probably sending a lot of hard hitters through a Pentagrams of Farallah portal, or sending Corvus in via Mothership or Magneto via Asteroid M. What if you tried to pull him closer? He’s safe from Deception. Web Line from Ghost Spider needs a double move, so also needs Advanced R&D, and then you are only moving him S.
4. Daze the other cure carrier. Even further away, so even harder. This will likely be a 4-threat character if Thanos has two gems, or 5-threat if you choose Advanced R&D instead. So that could be Black Dwarf, Reality Corvus or even Cap or Black Panther to make it an Avengers team. There’s loads of options if you are happy going unaffiliated, which isn’t a bad option at all to get the character you want. So these can be really hard to daze, especially given how far away they can be.
So you’ve gone 3-0 down round one. They’ve still got priority and Thanos cosmic portals a key character away and then triple moves to the corner (probably not needed, but you take the point), soon to be joined by whichever character grabbed the other cure. It’s really hard to stop them scoring 3 again in round two, and then 8 on the first activation of round three thanks to Mission Objective.
Even if you managed to stop Hulk scoring any secures in rounds one and two, Hulk plus his 4-5 threat friend only need two VPs for the rest of the game to win it. It’s very hard to claw back that, especially when there are no extracts to help! You also have the added issue of Thanos’ leadership possibly adding a VP by KOing a character you’ve sent to try and deal with this problem, meaning even if you stop them scoring secures they can get the VPs they need.
There are other versions of this archetype: Hulk jumps through a pentagram portal with R&D; Any two power character (ideally with a 50mm base) with R&D gets Gamma Launched (Angela gets the furthest back), but these are squishier characters closer to the middle line than Thanos gets.
So maybe this is hard to fit in a roster? Black order are already taking Thanos and a suite of gems, so finding space for Hulk isn’t that hard. Tactics cards are a little harder, but its still doable – Mission Objective is good on other crises too! Hulk is an Avenger, so can find a home there without oom much trouble, and Thanos is a great Avenger, turning one power into a Cosmic Portal or Death’s Decree. Hulk was already a great choice in a Pentagrams roster, so one card is all you need space for.
I’m not normally prone to hyperbole, but this feels like a worse situation than the Hired Muscle one, which lead to it getting banned. There is less counter play, and that counterplay is less effective. At the very least, you need to be aware of this line of play and have a plan for it. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Atomic Mass Games disrupt this set-up somehow via the Banned and Restricted list. Watch this space.