Season 5 top cut rosters: Wakanda

Wakanda rosters are competitive. We know this. But there is some diversity in what goes in to a Wakanda roster. Lets see that by looking at the five rosters that got entered into the top cut:

Joshua Fink (Finkstar)

CharactersTactics CardsSecures
AngelaAdvanced R&DDemons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Black PantherBitter RivalsGamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest
EnchantressClimbing GearS.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area
Ghost SpiderEscort to Safety
KillmongerField Dressing (R)Extracts
M.O.D.O.K.Medpack (R)Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities
OkoyeUsurp the ThroneResearch Station Attacked!
ShuriWakanda ForeverSpider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Toad
Valkyrie

If I sat down to build a pure Wakanda roster, it wold probably look a lot like this. It has the Wakanda Wave core with Valkyrie and Ghost Spider, easy scaling to 16 for Research Station with Enchantress, Angela for with-priority extract plays at 17, Toad for a 5-wide 14 squad, and M.O.D.O.K. for a big beater – arguably the best. Killmonger is there as a fourth Wakandan affiliated character at higher threats: this list couldn’t build an affiliated 20 without him (or Strom or a rogue agent). Every threat value has a compelling build just in the raw characters. For tactics cards, Escort to Safety feels like an anti-Corvus tech card.

For crises it feels to me they are divided in to forces and counters. Wakanda on Gamma is great, but if you win priority, it can be a trap. But the threat of Wakanda without priority on Gamma can force someone pick secures, allowing you to (hopefully) drop Research Station for another secure to play the push-me pull-you game on.

With priority you get a choice of Angela plays: middle spider grabbing or the “Pat Dunford Special” on hammers, where Black Panther grabs a wide hammer and Angela threatens to move, throw a building and attack whoever grabs the other wide hammer, or if they don’t take the bait, gets it herself and runs away. Most characters lack the power Brace the size 3-4 building Angela will throw at them having spent one to grab a hammer and then having to pay the hammer tax on tactics cards. If you haven’t seen this in action, you can see Pat doing it here and here.

Alternatively, you could deny control types like web warriors (or the mirror) from taking the secure they want, and forcing Demons or pay-to-flip against Criminal Syndicate. S.W.O.R.D. at 14 is a difficult build for some affiliations *cough*Black Order*cough*, so serves double roles there.

Without priority, Gamma is great for Wakanda when they don’t have priority, and Research Station adding another secure by any other name are both great plays.

I like this roster a lot, with great team builds, good options with and without priority on both secure and extracts.

Travis Foss

CharactersTactics CardSecures
AngelaAll You’ve Got (R)Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Black PantherBitter RivalsGamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest
EnchantressClimbing GearS.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area
Ghost SpiderEscort to Safety
KillmongerField Dressing (R)Extracts
M.O.D.O.K.No More MutantsDeadly Legacy Virus Cured?
OkoyeUsurp the ThroneResearch Station Attacked!
Scarlet WitchWakanda ForeverSpider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Shuri
Valkyrie

Travis has a variation on a Joshua’s. Toad is out and Scarlet Witch is in. That means he can’t go 5-wide at 14, but he gets a real bruiser of a 19 with the Wakandan core of 9, plus M.O.D.O.K. and Scarlet Witch. On Demons, that’s going to bring some real pain, and Demons is a 19 threat crisis. Adding Scarlet Witch allows No More Mutants, something that is key in certain match ups to turn off Magento’s throw or Corvus’s Glaive’s Edge, but its inclusion pushes out Advanced R&D: a card you always want when you don’t have it. Travis, being a more risk-taking aggressive player prefers All You’ve Got to Med Pack. That can help Wakanda pivot to an attrition focus if they need to, and is a card that can regularly win a game – something I don’t feel can be said as often for Med Pack. Field Dressing and M.O.D.O.K. that just All You’ve Got is a nice play that wins games.

He swaps Hammers for Deadly Legacy Virus, but you can run a similar play with Angela and Panther, and Panther doesn’t have to pay the Hammer tax when he wants to Wakanda Forever, and shakes a status for free. You might not get the middle Virus, but you’ve got a good chance still, and a 2-1 extract lead is decent, if not quite as good as the 3-1 that’s likely on Hammers. It’s a case of swings and roundabouts, and is a fine call either way.

These are all personal choice matters, but the core of the roster remains very similar. This feels slightly more aggressive.

Zach Cohen (MandalorynOranj)

CharactersTactics CardsSecures
AngelaAdvanced R&DGamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest
Black PantherBitter RivalsRiots Spark Over Extremis 3.0
EnchantressBrace for Impact (R)S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area
Ghost SpiderClimbing Gear
KillmongerEscort to SafetyExtracts
MedusaMedpack (R)Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities
OkoyeUsurp the ThroneResearch Station Attacked!
ShuriWakanda ForeverSpider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Toad
Valkyrie

Another variation on a theme. Comparing Joshua’s with M.O.D.O.K. out, Medusa in. Field Dressing out for Brace. Probably the most interesting one is Demons out for Extremis. This feels like swapping a counter for a force. Instead of having Demons for a with priority control match up, Extremis offers a wider shape that focuses more on one-on-one matchups or manoeuvrability. Wakanda are fine at either of those, but this feels a little “third crisis”-y to me: I don’t expect it will picked a lot. I’m struggling to think of a match-up where I feel this will help a lot. Maybe in to Brotherhood, redeploying after Magento has used Asteroid M to try to make him less relevant in the game? Maybe trying to scare people off M.O.D.O.K. to help Panther Survive?

All the Angela extract play is still on the table, but the highest threat here is 18, so dropping a 5 for a 4 seems good, especially as it shores up the line-up on the Hammers. The 9-core, Angela and Medusa feels better on that crisis than using Enchantress. Given you are going to have loads of hammers, stealing extracts seems less valuable, but getting an extra dice on an already heavy hitting Medusa seems like a great plan. More damage. Higher reliability on wild and ‘on damage’ effects. Yep, yep, yep. Medusa also has cute interaction with Toad if you are forced to play in to Wakandan Herbs: sometime seen as a good counter to the fast game Wakanda wants to play. Someone grabs the herb, gets ninja-flipped by Medusa and Toad takes the herb off them and threatens to run away. Not a round one play, but scoring it just once probably wins you the game.

Brace instead of Field Dressing might be anticipating more Brotherhood than we got, but Angela is still a menace, as can Scarlet Witch be and to an extent M.O.D.O.K. There’s a decent chance you’ll see one of these in a game.

Again, very similar in concept, but slight variations.

No More Angela

The last two rosters make a fundamental design decision difference: Angela and all her extract play, out. Wanda and her kit in.

Mike DeLuca

CharactersTactics CardsSecures
Black PantherAdvanced R&DGamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest
Black WidowAll You’ve Got (R)Portals Overrun City with Spider-People!
EnchantressBitter RivalsS.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area
Ghost SpiderEscort to Safety
MedusaField Dressing (R)Extracts
M.O.D.O.K.No More MutantsMutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!
OkoyeSacrificeSpider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Scarlet WitchWakanda ForeverStruggle for the Cube Continues
Shuri
Valkyrie

At first glance this looks similar: Wakanda Wave is still an option, no huge surprises in the characters selection (Black Widow over Toad as a 2-threat extract runner is a fine choice, and down to personal preference). But with two pay-to-flip secures and two 5 VP extracts, this roster can be sure of getting one of those if it wants it. The 5 extracts allows fast scoring, but without the ‘All Eggs’ feel Angela can bring. The counterpoint is getting an early extract advantage is harder Spider Portals is one of the Crises that Black Order tends not to like as much. You can move off points and still score them, so they can’t guarantee you are going to be in range. Senators is another surprise as it leaves Research Station at home, which seems really good for Wakanda’s game plan.

Not having Angela included changes the whole shape of the turn zero process. It’s not a roster I understand yet, but there are some parallels with Travis’s roster. M.O.D.O.K. and Scarlet Witch. All you’ve got. This has the feel of a more aggressive build but there’s one thing missing: Killmonger.

Without Killmonger (or at least another Wakandan/Rogue Agent) this can’t be built affiliated at 20. Maybe you aren’t too sad about that, as you can run two mystic gun turrets, but play a threat down and that might well work out just fine. Maybe it’s a calculated risk that 20 will never come up?

I’m not sure I fully understand this roster, but it does feel like it’s trying to do something different to the others. It feels like it won’t play the traditional game plan all the time, instead leaning more heavily in to the attrition benefit rerolls will bring.

Matthew Kreiner (Shadow Marvel)

CharactersTactics CardSecures
Black PantherAdvanced R&DGamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest
DominoAll You’ve Got (R)Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnessess
EnchantressBitter RivalsS.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area
KillmongerBrace for Impact (R)
OkoyeClimbing GearExtracts
Scarlet WitchNo More MutantsResearch Station Attacked!
ShuriUsurp the ThroneSpider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Spider-Man (Miles Morales)Wakanda ForeverStruggle for the Cube Continues
Toad
Valkyrie

Some new faces in Wakanda: Domino and Miles appearing. Miles over Gwen in Wakanda Wave is much debated, and there probably isn’t that much to choose between them. But Domino with rerolls? That sounds like a lot of pain in a three threat package. Research Station seems more like the traditional game plan, but Mayor Fisk adds an element we haven’t seen before. Trying to push people off both might work out: Shuri will almost definitely have a good Panther Gauntlets target in round one, but timing it to before they can get backstopped by another character limits the window of it use in the first round.

5 VP extracts without Angela shenanigans again puts them trying to play a ‘fairer’ game, but maybe leads again to more attrition style, again with All You’ve Got and Field Dressing.

There’s an interesting mix. I have to say I much prefer the rosters with Angela to those without, but I do favour bold round one plays, and there is a probably a lot to be said for more considered conservative plays.

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