THEME TEAM: Raining Blood

In the “Theme Team” series of articles this competitive-phobic player will do the unthinkable and (shock, horror) create a roster. Not just any roster though, each new roster will be based on a specific theme. Will the rosters be thematic? Heck yes. Will they be playable? Yep. Will they leave your opponent weeping on the ground in the wake of the trail of devestation that you leave behind… probably not – it’ll be fun though!

The last “Theme Team” was entitled “Mystical Machine Gun” which is, of course, a song by Kula Shaker (here’s a link to it if you’re interested), and it focused on pulling together an all mystic team. This roster is going to be all about the feeding off of the bleed special condition. However, I don’t want to just gather together a bunch of characters that dole out bleed – there’s far too many of them for that. No, to get this team together I have a few criteria that need to be hit:

  1. I want to gather together characters that will automatically deal out bleed. I don’t want to rely on having to roll wilds. Paying power is fine though.
  2. I don’t want to use characters who can only give out bleed on their big attacks. If a character can bleed on a basic attack then all the better.
  3. Lastly, I want characters to get bonuses if they are interacting with an enemy character that has the bleed special condition.

So, with these criteria in mind let’s start off by getting some characters together.

CHARACTERS

Straight away 2 characters immediately spring to mind – Hela and Blade. Ah the halcyon days when we only had the core set and the Wakandans – do you remember it? How we longed for the month to pass so that we could get our hands on the Asgardians. Anyway, let’s start with Hela. Immediately I am about to break one of my own rules as her free range 2 strength 5 Hel Forged Blade attack requires a wild to trigger bleed, however she gets an exemption because of her Army of Hel ability which allows her to discard captured soul tokens to add dice to her attacking dice pool which both increases the odds of rolling a wild anyway but more notably automatically gives out the bleed special condition if utilised. This is particularly nice on her Claim Soul attack which is range 4, strength 6 and costs 2 power – spend a claimed soul, do damage, claim a soul back and automatically give out bleed. AND, for her big Rain of Hel attack (range 3, strength 7, 4 power) if the target character has the bleed special condition then it does not count wilds as successes when defending her attack. Hela is all about the bleed which makes her a no-brainer for this roster.

Blade is similarly bleed-focused and perfect for this team. For starters his free Katana attack automatically gives out bleed. His second free attack (Throwing Glaives) gives out bleed on a wild but you only get to roll 4 dice – not consistent but at least it gets you an automatic power if needed. His big attack, Night of the Dhampir, again automatically gives out bleed, plus if the target character already has the bleed special condition then you get to reroll any number of attack dice. Best of all Blade has the innate superpower Vampiric Immortality which, at the end of his activation, lets him gain 1 power and remove 1 damage from himself for each other character within range 2 that has the bleed special condition. Considering the objective of this team is to throw bleed out left, right and centre this should hopefully mean that Blade will stick around for a good long while.

So that’s 2 characters down so far for a total of 8 threat:

CharacterThreat Level
Hela, Queen of Hel4
Blade4

That’s 8 slots left so who else can we use? I think we have to talk about Carnage here. Both of his attacks give out bleed autoamtically which is bang on theme. Yes, he has garbage energy and mystic defences but if we can get a few decent attacks out of him he could set Blade and Hela’s turns up nicely, especially when you consider that his big Maximum Carnage attack has a range of A2 and will give bleed out to each character it hits.

Next up let’s give Gamora a shot. Her basic God Slayer attack is free and has a strength of 6 (always nice to see) and gives out bleed if the attack deals damage. Good enough I think! Best of all she is mobile, strong and has Stealth – I think she will place nicely with the rest of the team.

That’s 4 and we’re up to 16 threat. Let’s head into the Spider-Verse and take a look at Kraven. His basic Kukri Strike attack gives out an automatic bleed, gets him some power and on a wild roll lets him advance short – pretty on theme. Thats his only bleed synergy but the rest of his attacks and superpowers look pretty good for helping his teammates out so let’s throw him in the list. That’s 5 now – halfway there.

I think we may need to break free from criteria number 1 now and start looking at characters who give out bleed on a wild roll. That’s fine – we’ve got 5 characters with automatic bleed who can form the backbone of our team. I’m quite drawn to Lockjaw. So far we have been in threat 4 territory with the exception of Kraven so it would be good to get some lower threat values in the mix. Lockjaw is 3 threat and can give out bleed on a wild roll in his Bite attack which, granted, only rolls 4 dice; however, he brings some additional mobility to the team and helps increase the attack dice pools for his teammates – sounds good, in he goes.

For character number 7 my eye is being turned by Taskmaster. His basic attack at 5 strength will deal a bleed on a wild roll which is about where our bleed synergy ends, however he is defencive as heck and has the Rogue Agent superpower which may help us out when choosing an affiliation later on. Plus he’s 3 threat which helps.

Let’s now go old school and pull Baron Zemo out of the drawer. You remember Zemo don’t you? Both of his attacks give out bleed on a wild roll plus, he’s Zemo! You remember how bonkers good he is don’t you?! Threat 3, long move – he can be on hand for some tasty objective play.

Just 2 to go now. And shame on me how could I forget about Venom?! His basic Symbiote Tendrils attack has an auto-bleed and let’s face it, who doesn’t like running Venom in a team?! Plus you may get to field him with Carnage – symbiotic funsies!

For our final character it’s really a case of preference I think as there are plenty of characters who will give you a bleed in exchange for a wild roll. Clea, Drax, Hawkeye, Sabretooth, Star-Lord and X-23 are all options, but I think that for slot 10 I am going to go with Honey Badger because I have just remembered that she’s 2 threat and can give out bleed on both of her attacks; on a wild roll for Claw Slash and automatically on Hamstring. Plus she has Healing Factor and can lessen defences on enemy characters – nifty.

This gets us up to 10 characters with Hela, Blade and Carnage taking the lead and the rest following:

CharacterThreat Level
Baron Zemo3
Blade4
Carnage4
Gamora4
Hela4
Honey Badger2
Kraven3
Lockjaw3
Taskmaster3
Venom4

Now let’s talk affiliation. I think we’re going to have to go (gasp) unaffiliated on this one guys, even with Taskmaster’s Rogue Agent superpower. Ah well, at least we have a theme. You could always make up your own affilaition and see if your opponent falls for it. Affiliation: Bleed – after the end of the first round the player with the highest number of characters with the bleed special conditions immediately loses. That’s feasible, right…?

Next let’s choose some crises.

CRISES

We’ve got a good mix of character abilities in our team – lots of damage potential and a bit of mobility thrown in to boot. As we are planning on using Hela, Blade and Carnage as the foundation of our team I think we want to aim for crises that bunch enemy characters together a bit. This will let Carnage get the maximum use out of his area attack and will let Blade get the most out of his ability to heal and gain power; and let’s not forget that Hela’s big attack can also damage nearby enemy characters thanks to explosive. As such I am thinking we focus on C and F shape crises, with maybe a little bit of E thrown in if we find something thematic.

Most of our characters either are or were human with the exception of Hela, Gamora and Lockjaw so let’s go with a city/earth theme for our crises. We’ve got a Carnage, a Venom and a Kraven so for extraction crises let’s choose Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan to start with. As we’re in a city let’s also choose Mutant Extremists Taregt U.S. Senators! and then finish off with Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? Legacy virus could be good for Blade as you have to pay power depending on how many viruses (virii?)you hold. If we can get enough bleed out then Blade can be claiming power (and health) back each turn and using this to hold the Legacy Virus. Then, if you get to a point where you only need 8 points to win you can have him grab the third, get K.O’d and then win the game.

For secure crises let’s stick with a human/city theme and choose Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians, Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse and Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City. This gives us a nice bit of varierty in gameplay which a nice thematic thread running through it.

This gives us a good spread of threat levels to play to as well – 14, 16 and 17 for extractions and 17, 19 and 20 for secures.

Let’s lastly pick out a few team tactics cards. Remember, we can have 10 in a roster now instead of 8.

TEAM TACTICS CARDS

Did you know that there are now 10,000,000 team tactics cards in the game? It feels that way at least.

We’re not running an affiliated team so straight away that’s a good few cards out of the pool. Let’s start with some character-focused cards before we move on to some general ones. I think that there are 3 character cards which make sense to include based on our team. Carnage Rules lets Carnage pay 4 power during his activation to choose an enemy within a hefty range 4 and advance it short towards him, then he gets to do a basic attack on it which, as we all know by now, WILL MAKE THEM BLEED! Whilst we’re on symbiotes Venom’s Lethal Protector is a classic and all round useful card in a pinch so let’s throw it in there. Lastly Lockjaw’s Last-Minute Save is pretty mega – it helps avoid a character being K.O’d and gets to teleport them across the table a bit.

So that’s 3, let’s now look to the unaffiliated and non-character-specific cards to get our remaining 7. Advanced R&D has some nice synergy with Lockjaw – he gets 3 power if he is within range 2 of an allied character which using this card he can then redistribute to help pay for attacks etc. Obviously i’m going to talk about Battle Lust– move then add dice equal to your size to your next attack with the potential to push your target away short? Yes please! Disarm is another classic that just diminishes enemy attacks so let’s throw that in. While we’re at it let’s throw in a Field Dressing for Carnage as well, and a Trip Up too, why not. That leaves us 2 spaces so let’s get funky. Indomitable lets you pay 2 power to prevent being thrown or pushed, very handy in a tight spot. Lastly lets talk about Kick ‘Em While They’re Down. Any character can spend 2 power to play it, and when targeting a chosen enemy character with attacks this round allied characters may reroll 1 attack die for each special condition the chosen character has. Bleed is a special condition isn’t it? You’d pay a power to use this ability each activation in some affiliations so to get it for your whole team for a turn for a mere 2 power is pretty great in my opinion, especially if you can get Carnage’s area attack off then follow up with your other characters.

So, here’s our 10 team tactics cards:

Card
Adavnced R&D
Battle Lust
Carnage Rules
Disarm
Field Dressing
Indomitable
Kick ‘Em While They’re Down
Last-Minute Save
Lethal Protector
Trip Up

And that’s it! Let’s put it all together and bask in the warm glow of collated jpeg’s:

And that about does it!

If you decide to give this team a go let me know how you get on. Who would you pick for each crisis threat level? What different team tactics cards would you put in your roster? Have I missed something so blindingly obvious that you’re shouting at your screen? Mail me directly or comment below.

Before I head off to rest my wrists from the epic amount of typing that I have just undertaken I want to leave a little plug for the EU’s very own Blackgate Games. You want MCP, they stock MCP. You want MCP as cheaply as possible because you’ve got mouths to feed and bills to pay, they stock MCP as cheap as you can get it.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

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