At long last we come inexorably to the last of the 2020 Brotherhood releases, Toad. How to translate Magneto’s loyal lackey into the game? How to make someone dressed like a medieval court jester a desirable model to reach for? Let’s see.
STAMINA – 5, decent enough.
MOVEMENT – Medium, surprising given that he is toadish in nature.
SIZE – 2, as expected.
THREAT – 2, always a welcome sight. I am a big fan of 2-threat characters. Let’s hope that he brings something new to the game that we haven’t seen yet in the other 2-threaters.
DEFENCES – 3’s right across the board, which puts him up there with Okoye as all the other 2 threat characters have at least 1 lower defence statistic.
ATTACKS – Toad’s first attack is physical and is called Tongue Lash. It has a range of 3, strength of 4 and power cost of 0 and states that after the attack is resolved Toad gains power equal to the damage dealt. Roll a wild and you can trigger Push which lets you… wait for it… push the target character away short if it is size 2 or less. I’m not a fan of 4 strength attacks, even though every now and then they can go off like Krakatoa. The odds of getting the wild push here are pretty low, but it will happen in time. It’s nice to have and anyway, I imagine that Toad isn’t a particularly combat focused person.
Attack number 2 is an energy attack and is called Spit Acid. It has a range of 2, strength of 5 and power cost of 2. After this attack resolves the target character gains the Incinerate special condition. Heck yes – even though this attack is only short range and has a basic strength, getting an automatic Incinerate on the target character is great. Incinerate is a git of a condition (the target character removes 1 die from their defence rolls) – so being able to throw it out at will could really help the rest of your team out with making their attacks land.
SUPERPOWERS – Toad’s first superpower is active, costs 2 power and is called Finders Keepers. As an action you may choose an allied character within range 2 of Toad and move 1 asset or civilian token from that character and onto Toad (but not exceeding the limitations outlined on the crisis card). We are slowly starting to see more and more ways for characters to interact with objectives beyond the basic pick up and secure. I am sure that many tactical players out there will be able to milk this superpower for all it is worth, but as has become abundantly clear to me in all the games of MCP that I have played, a master tactician I am not. Let’s just say that this is a really great way of being able to shift around your objectives. Be wary though, so far Toad doesn’t have the strongest defences so could become an easy target for your opponent if he is loaded up with objectives. Still, loading Toad up with 4 celestial hammers does hold a certain appeal…
Next is another active superpower that costs 2 power, this time called Hop. See if you can guess what it does… You get to place Toad within range 2 of his current position once per turn. I have said it before and I will say it again, out of action movement is a great thing to have, and Toad being able to Hop means he can get into position to transfer or secure an objective, or get away from a character who is chasing him down. Nice.
Next up is a reactive superpower called Slippery. This costs 2 power and states that after an attack targeting Toad is resolved, if he is damaged by the attack then he may advance medium. Yet more movement shenanigans, I love it! As long as Toad is still standing he will be off, hopefully with some objectives. Fun!
Last of all we have 2 innate superpowers – Prehensile Tongue states that Toad may interact with objective tokens within range 2 instead of range 1, and Wall Crawler means that terrain isn’t going to be an issue for Toad. Prehensile Tongue is a pretty big deal, and given Toad’s mobility means that he should be able to do a fair bit of work over the course of a game.
INJURED SIDE – Sadly, Toad’s stamina drops from 5 to 3 on his injured side, meaning he will drop like a sack of spuds once dazed.
SUMMARY – Toad is all about that objective game. I love his mobility and how he can interact with various objectives in different ways. He strikes me as a really fun character to have out on the board, and a source of frustration to your opponent.
AFFILIATIONS – Toad is a listed of member of only 1 affiliation, namely the Brotherhood of Mutants. Although Toad doesn’t play directly into Magneto’s desire to destroy terrain, having no throws, he does benefit from the power gain. All of his superpowers cost 2 power to use, so as long as at least 1 piece of terrain is destroyed in a round Toad will have 2 power to use. I think he plays more into Mystique’s objective-focused leadership ability. When he interacts with an extract objective he gains a power, and as he is so mobile and low threat he would be a good character to utilise the ability to secure an objective with a token.
Outside of his home affiliation I think Toad would work as a 2-threat splash character in most teams, but notably he would get to trigger all of his superpowers for a mere 1 power in an Avengers, and as he has a mix of active and reactive superpowers he would get a decent amount of benefit from this ability.
I quite like the idea of Toad in a Defenders team. He can run around throwing out Incinerate and Hex, which really helps his allies with taking characters down. As the Defenders team likes to be a bit more clumped up, Toad could be the one running around claiming objectives whilst the rest of the team does its thing.
Storm’s X-Men Gold affiliation ability would help out with additional movement shenanigans, you could use Toad as a sort of teleport platform to move other characters around, and as an additional benefit Toad would get access to some more cover, helping out with his longevity a bit.
TEAM TACTICS CARDS – If running Toad in a Magneto Brotherhood team then you could consider Magnetic Refraction which costs Magneto 2 power to play. Magneto gains cover this round, and allied characters gain cover whilst within range 3 of Magneto this round. And, if you are using the Brotherhood of Mutants affiliation, you can return this card to your available team tactics cards during the cleanup phase, it can be played again this game. So, our first recyclable team tactics card – nice. Cover is something which I am too prone to overlook in this game, but cover saves lives. Having this card in hand is no bad thing in my eyes given how weak Toad is stamina and defence-wise.
Onto the more general Brotherhood of Mutants affiliation cards now – Asteroid M is active and requires 2 Brotherhood of mutants characters to spend 2 power each. Once paid for you get to place one of the two characters not holding an objective within range 1 of the other character. A nifty way of shifting Toad’s location a little, or teleporting right across the board if you find that he is away from the action a bit – great for getting him into position. Perfect for setting up for a Finders Keepers objective token swap-over!
The next Brotherhood of Mutants card is called The Books of Truth and is reactive. It states that when an allied Brotherhood of Mutants character is attacking or defending, at the end of the modify dice step of the attack, before the calculate success or failure step, it may spend 2 power. This character rerolls all of their attack or defence dice, including failures (skulls). I really like this – you can see the results of both rolls, and then decide to redo yours. One caveat however, you won’t get to explode criticals from the new roll or modify your dice in any way, because that step has passed – what you roll is what you’re stuck with. Still, if you’re about to lose a critical character and you whiff the defence roll it is a good card to have.
Onto more general team tactics cards now. Advanced R&D could be good for some early game shenanigans. An additional power would open up access to all of Toad’s costed superpowers, meaning movement galore! Great for some early game objective play.
It would be tricky to pull off and I haven’t tried it myself, but my brain is telling me that All You’ve Got on Toad could be a surprising move. It costs 4 power, but you could get to activate Toad twice back to back. Toad could cover a lot of ground and score a few points from objectives with 2 consecutive turns, especially if done at the end of the round. If you played this whilst he was on his injured side he would get K.O’d once done, so that is something to be wary of.
It’s a card I haven’t talked about on this blog in a long time, but Escort to Safety could be good if you are wanting to keep Toad around for longer. It costs 3 power, but basically lets you move him away short from an incoming attack. Handy for Toad-preservation, but also handy for extra movement.
If you are running Toad in a Magneto Brotherhood team and want him to contribute to the terrain destruction and subsequent power gain, you could play Heave Ho – it gives you a range 2, size 2 medium throw for 2 power spread across 2 characters. You would gain some power back from Magneto’s leadership ability, so not too bad overall.
Hired Muscle is a bonkers card with Toad. We have already seen how objective focused he is. Well, spend a power and suddenly each civilian token within range 3 of Toad is now within range 2 of him. Crazy. Note that this is civilian tokens only, so won’t work with cosmic cube fragments or hammers. Imagine this combined with All You’ve Got, hmmm, experimentation needed.
Lastly, if you want to lean further into Toad’s objective play, you could dust off Mission Objective. This gives you another way to pass off objective tokens, meaning you could “daisy chain” objectives onto Toad is setup and executed at the right moment. Fun!
That’s it for my thoughts on Toad – what do you think of him?
Before signing off I would like to throw out a mention of Black Gates Games who are based in the UK. They sell MCP at a great, as well as stuff from A Song of Ice and Fire, or even Start Wars if that’s how you like to live your life. If you are in the market for newness it would be worth checking them out.