AFFILIATION DISCUSSION: Cabal

Loki cometh! The last member of the current Cabal team is here and as such we can now take a good look at how the Cabal team works together.

We have 7 characters and a total of 27 points to choose from. So how do the Cabal team members work together, what are the strengths of the affiliation, and what other characters work well within the team? Let’s see.

AFFILIATION LEADERSHIP ABILITY

The Cabal affiliation ability is called Master of Evil (are you picturing Dr. Evil from Austin Powers?), and is on the Red Skull character card. This ability states that each time an allied character damages an enemy character with an attack, after the attack is resolved the allied character gains 1 power.

As we will go on to see, the Cabal characters are very focused on dealing damage, so this ability fires off very regularly in play. It is good to remember that this ability only counts for damage dealt through attacks, throws and certain superpowers won’t cut it. Still, over the course of a game there will be plenty of attacks going on, and this ability will net you a serious amount of power.

CHARACTERS

As mentioned before, the Cabal’s team list contains a total of 7 characters. Let’s take a very brief look at each characters main points, and then briefly discuss.

Red Skull – The Crimson-Craniumed Cabal leader has a nice way of stealing power from opposing characters, and an attack that deals a nifty throw that also stuns nearby characters. He also has some very exciting abilities – he can “teleport” a nearby character to within range 2 of its current position, and also risk a little damage from his cosmic cube to gain extra power. Coincidentally, enough power to “teleport” an allied character…

Baron Zemo – Oh Zemo, you magnificent devil! A long move – tick. Action advantage – tick. Bleed upon bleed upon bleed – tick. A couter-strike – tick. Rerolls for himself and allies — tick. Zemo, we all love you, and we always will.

Ultron – Decently-ranged energy and physical attacks, a good throw, some nice immunities, oh, and the possibility to, you know, RESURRECT!

Crossbones – Ah Punch Punch McPunchyton, so divise in the community. Some love him, some hate him. Whichever way you look at him, Crossbones has the ability to roll big dice and deal out some serious damage. Additionally he can reduce the amount of damage he takes, and zoom about the board after taking damage.

Killmonger – Also a somewhat divisive character. Has the ability to do serious damage, especially when focused on one particular character. With his team tactics card he can also potentially get you 2 victory points. He can often be the main target of attacks, and so can often get taken out quickly.

Loki, God of Mischief – PAIN. IN. THE. BUM. Can deal out slow to characters, control other characters movement, sneak out of the way of an incoming attack, bear an infinity gem, and make opponents superpowers cost more.

M.O.D.O.K – A nice mystic attack that can steal power from your opponent, a big attack that does double attacks, a nifty throw, control of another characters movement and inbuilt rerolls. Strong on his main side, much weaker on his injured side.

For more in depth discussions of the individual characters click on the links in the characters page in the menu (or here).

Unlike Captain America, who you park next to someone you want to protect, Red Skull can be tricky to play. He wants to be near to his allies so they can take attacks for him, but he also wants to be out of the fighting. Still, taking the chance and rolling dice to use to cube and get power at the risk of taking damage is fun to do, just don’t do it once he flips or, like me, you may end up killing him all on your own…

Baron Zemo fits in most places. His long move makes him absolutely invaluable, and pulling off a Counter-Strike against an incoming attack always feels glorious. His built in rerolls are so valuable as well, and mean that Zemo definitely has some staying power on the board.

Ultron is a great attacker in his own right, but is almghty when teamed up with his eamtactics card (more on that shortly). That feeling you get when he is about to go down but then resurrects back to his healthy side just can’t be beaten, and it is always a joy to see your opponents face drop when they realise what you just did.

Crossbones is tricky. I really want to like him and use him, but his attacks are just too swingy and sometimes he just feels too slow movement-wise. Still, I will keep fielding him every now and then to see if my opinion of him changes. When he hits, he hits hard, but with the way my dice rolls go that is very rare in deed.

I do like Killmonger. Regardless of whether you run his teeam tactics card or not, it cannot be denied that he has a high damage output. I especially like to use him in the Ultron Ultimate Encounter because he can just pump out such huge amounts of damage once he has a few kills under his belt, plus he has reroll power too!

I haven’t had much experience in playing Loki yet, but from my plays so far he is really gret to have just for access to a beam attack, a mystic attack, and to make an opponents superpowers cost more on characters within range 4 of Loki. power is the currency fo this game, so making things cost an opponent more is limiting what they can do each turn.

Lastly, M.O.D.O.K is just so great. He is a commanding presence on the board, moving enemies about and jumping in which his Doomsday Chair to double-attack everybody. I love him and I need to play with him more. plus, who doesn’t love that mini?!

TEAM TACTICS CARDS

There are a number of Cabal-specific team tactics cards which we have to discuss, as well as a few character-specific cards.

Cosmic Invigoration is the big daddy card of the Cabal affiliation. You will always have to be running Red Skull when running a Cabal team as he is the team leader, and this card works off Red Skull. If Senor Skullington is within range 2 of of an allied character with an activated token then he and the activated character can spend 2 power each. If they do so then the activated token can be removed from the character and 3 dice are rolled, the character suffers 1 damage for each critical hit, wild and hit in the dice roll. This is a pretty amazing card, allowing a whole extra activation of an already activated character. This can be put to good use to shenaniganise with priority, pull off a few moves to control an objective and garner yourself those precious victory points, or to swing in with a big attack to take out an enemy character. The risk of potentially getting 3 damage on your character is a cost to take into account, especially if they are already damaged – you don’t want to take out your character before they get to do anything!

Dark Reign is the Second Wind of the Cabal world in that it doesn’t quite live up to the flagship card Cosmic Invigoration. Still, it can be used to good effect and therefore should not be overlooked. This card allows any Cabal character to spend 3 power. If they do so then you may choose an enemy character, all allied Cabal characters can reroll any number of attack dice when attacking the chosen character this round. This is very handy when trying to take down some of the bigger characters like Hulk, Thor or M.O.D.O.K, and helps to smooth out your attack rolls. As this card only applies to allied Cabal characters, having a team of just Cabal allies is obviously going to get you more value out of this card than a team that is, say, 3 Cabal and 2 non-affiliated characters.

M.O.D.O.K has our first character-specific card which comes to us in he rectangular form of A.I.M Lackeys. This card allows M.O.D.O.K to spend 3 power to give an allied character an additional movement action during its next activation this round. 3 power is costly, but if you are running M.O.D.O.K why not give it a try, an additional move action can get a character into position onto an obejctive, or get them into position for a double attack. Bear in mind also that this card has no range limit, M.O.D.O.K can play this on any allied character anywhere on the board. Tasty.

Psychic Fortress is our next card and is also a M.O.D.O.K-related card. If Mo’ spends 3 power then he gains cover this round, as does every allied character within range 4 of M.O.D.O.K for the rest of the round. Cover can be the difference between life and death in this game. There is a reason we like to cower around the corner of the nearest terrain, and to give every character within range 4 of M.O.D.O.K at least 1 defence (barring any enemy effects that prevent dice modification of course) for a round is no small matter.

The Age of Ultron sheds the M.O.D.O.K theme and draws our gaze Ultron-wards. If Ultron is K.O’d then he may spend 8 power to play this card. If he does so then he removes all of his special condtions, flips his character card to his healthy side, removes all damage, drops all objective tokens, and can be placed within range 3 of his current postiion. Just re-read that and let it settle in for a bit… All done now? Good. 8 power is costly indeed, but not undoable if you are conservative with your power for a feww rounds. But for 8 power you get a whole character back. Instead of a dead character you get a full refreshed and healthy Ultron, ready to go through the dazed/K.O’d cycle all over again! Utterly amazing. Plus you can just include it in your hand as a deterrant to stop your opponent focus-firing on Ultron. This card is definitely one to consider if you are running Ultron in a Cabal (or any) team.

Usurp the Throne is our last card and is Killmonger-specific. Killmonger can spend 3 power to add 2 dice to his attack rolls when attacking the enemy character with the highest threat value. If Killmonger manages to daze or K.O the character this round then you get to score yourself 2 victory points. This is a very interesting card and has been quite divisive in the community. The restriction that the target must be the highest threat enemy character on the board is something that must be taken into consideration. But on the bright side, Killmongers sole job is to throw out damage, and the more take-downs he does of characters the more dice he gains and the more re-rolls he has access to. Timing is everything when playing this card – ideally you want Killmonger to have a few kill count tokens already for re-rolls to ensure that your damage gets through, and you want to ensure that you can almost definitely take the big threat character down successfully by the end of Killmonger’s activation.

DISCUSSION

The Cabal team is an interesting one in that, whilst all of the listed characters have their own unique ablities, the majority of them are very focused on one thing – damage dealing. Which is a good job really as that is what the leadership ability is all about!

Out of the 7 characters listed, only 2 of them are 3 threat, 4 are 4 threat, and 1 is 5 threat. This can mean that when looking to fill out a roster you may have have to be looking elsewhere for more 3 threat and some 2 threat characters.

That being said, the team is fun to play, and throwing down big attacks is always satisfying, especially when they actually hit (which I don’t think has ever happened to anyone who has ever attacked with Crossbones).

As is nice and thematic many of these chracters work apart really well. Baron Zemo is the only long moving character, and Ultron is the only flying character – this is something to bear in mind when deciding on who to field for particular objectives, as mobility could become an issue. They are weak when it comes to rerolls (with teh exception of Baron Zemo), and their defences aren’t as strong as those of the Avengers, but they can certianly hold their own on the battlefield.

CHARACTER PAIRINGS

When it comes to non-Cabal characters to pair with the team it obviously depends on the crisis being played. Still, there are a few characters that stand out as running well in a Cabal affiliated team.

Shuri comes to mind straight away. She is an excellent control piece and her Panther Gauntlets have a long range and an automatic push which can be used to shift enemies around the battlefield and setup for your next activation. She also gives the team access to rerolls using her Upgrades ability, and she can use the Advanced R&D team tactics card to shift her power onto her allies. Really, Shuri works anywhere, and at 3 threat she is a bit easier to fit into a squad than some of the higher threat characters.

Black Panther is a great all-round character, and so slots nicely into a Cabal team as he can do a bit of everything. He has built in rerolls for his attacks as well which provides a little smoothing to ensure that power is gained from attack damage getting through.

Captain Marvel is all about the big attacks, and so the Cabal leadership ability works well with her as it will keep gaining her that extra power needed to pay for her costly Binary Form superpower which you really want to be triggering as much as humanly (or meta-humanly) possible.a.

Doctor Ocotpus cakn be under used, but he wors quite well in a Cabal team as his big attack negates cover and line of sight, and it can pierce enemy defences, ensuring that that damage gets through and power is gained.

Groot has a mega big attack and has built-in healing. His cycle of taking damage and healing will net him lots of power, and so he should be able to trigger his big attack quite often, netting him even more power from the Cabal ability. This attack allows him to do a medium throw and stagger the target character which is great.

Hela is also a great Cabal character as she has multiple attacks, one of which is a range 4, 6 dice mystic attack for a cost of 2 power – there is no way this doesn’t do damage (slight over-exaggeration)! Plus, as she is Asgardian she generates 2 power each round and so she can do one of these attacks each activation! Her ability to use captured souls to resurrect once dazed is amazing. She is a commanding presence on the board and works really well in a Cabal team.

Okoye is also a good option to consider as she is 2 threat and has mini-Cap bodyguard abilities, meaning that you can use her to protect your more easily damage characters like an injured M.O.D.O.K. As we discussed earlier, the Cabal team is lcking in 2 threat characters, so Okoye makes for a good gap-filler when trying to get your threat level up to par.

Rocket Raccoon is also worthy of consideration – he is all about the attacks, and so the Cabal ability will net him lots of lovely power. On the topic of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord is also worthy thinking about, as he has 2 good attacks, and if he is holding the power gem he can fire off one of his big attacks every single round. That is potentially a lot of damage output and a lot of special conditions getting thrown about.

Thor is a high threat character, but he has great attacks, action advantage and good throws, ideal if playing against a Hulk, and is just generrally great for throwing lots of damage around the board – just what Cabal wants! Valkyrie is also big on attacks, especially chaining them, and has a basic throw and some action advantage which plays nicely into the Cabal theme.

Venom has good attacks, a nice bit of in-built healing and great board control for shoving enemy characters off ojectives and getting them into range of upcoming attacks. Plus Venom is just generally awesome and we all love him DON’T WE!

It would also be good to consider Vision as he has a free beam attack that can hit multiple targets and net him 1 power, but also gain him extra power for each target damaged, yum! Plus he is very defensive, which is something which the Cabal team is somewhat lacking.

Lastly, Winter Soldier is big on attacking, plus he gets to count as an affiliated character when roster building, so definitely keep him in mind when building your team.

SPLASH CHARACTERS

When it comes to using Cabal characters in other affiliations there are a few good candidates.

Red Skull is a powerful character, and can definitely do some work on the board when played correctly. Playing him in an Asgard team could be good, as it would allow removal of a damage or special condition over the course of a round, thereby adding to his longevity. And running him in a Guardians of the Galaxy affialition would allow him access to rerolls of his defences, attacks and dodges, meaning he gets to stick around for a little bit longer.

Baron Zemo just fits in anywhere you want him to, he really is just super versatile. Wakanda is great for him as he already has reroll access, and the Wakandan ability just doubles-down on this.

Ultron is another nicely self-contained character who fits in most places. He is a good turret who can sit back a little and throw out damage, and his abilit to resurrect makes him really valuable in any team.

Killmonger, naturally, works well in a Wakanda team, but also fits nicely into a Guardians of the Galaxy team too.

Loki works in the Asgard affilaition as one would expect, but is actually a really good Avenger, with the superpower discount giving access to all manner of tasty superpowers each round.

And lastly, M.O.D.O.K is another character who, like Baron Zemo, fits nicely anywhere you want him to.

And that’s it for the Cabal team. How have you been finding them? And what characters have you enjoyed teaming up with them? Comment below!