This week we are continuing to look at the Defenders affiliation and how they match up against the other affiliations in Marvel: Crisis Protocol. Check out the team we’re working with here.
I want scenarios that maximize Doctor Strange’s defensive buff and Soul Gem ability, Ghost Rider to gain maximum power if not attacked, and Wong to heal and give out power. All while Daredevil, Valkyrie, and Hawkeye deal damage. Shuri gives important rerolls to Strange and Valkyrie and their big attacks while pushing models off Secures.
I think Avengers is one of the better matchups for Defenders. Avengers need their superpowers to be successful and Strange thrives with a lot of power. He is able to use Oshtur’s Refuge pretty much at will to help keep the rest of the team up and fighting. Many Avengers, like Captain America and Black Panther that are typically tough to deal with because of their strong physical and energy defenses, fall to mystic attacks, which we use frequently with Mystic Empowerment. Others, like Hawkeye, Black Widow 1, and Antman, have terrible energy defenses that Defenders can exploit.
Cabal is one of the more difficult matchups for my Defenders squad as it contains two of the hardest characters for Defenders to handle.
MODOK is an absolute beast everywhere he goes. A long-range attack, Psionic Blast, an attack that targets multiple characters, Doomsday Chair, Bow to the Will of MODOK moving my characters around, and lastly his Psionic Force field turning off wilds make him a tough out for Defenders. With Defenders’ lack of throws, only Valkyrie, the typical way to deal with MODOK isn’t as readily available, so Shuri and Strange need to use their respective push attacks. Don’t forget to change them to physical type with Mystic Empowerment to keep MODOK out of double-tap range and force him to spend one action to move.
Killmonger with Usurp the Throne is brutal. With Strange being at least a 5 threat, usually 6, and Ghost Rider a 5 that punishes your opponent for not attacking him. Typically, if Strange is at 6 threat, I’ll send Valkyrie backed up by Hawkeye or Ghost Rider to try and deal with Killmonger before he can reach his high-value target. Deployment is significantly more important when facing Killmonger, try to wait until Killmonger is deployed to put down the Usurp target.
Wakanda is a strong controlling affiliation with solid hitting power with Killmonger. Black Panther is susceptible to mystic attacks, outlined in the Avenger section above. Killmonger is also discussed in the Cabal section, but he gets even more powerful with Wakanda Forever TT card. I try to deal with Shuri quickly as rerolls are huge and a round of shots from Hawkeye should be able to soften her up. Okoye’s bodyguard superpower requires range 2, so utilizing Strange and our own Shuri to make that more difficult is imperative.
Wakandans tend to be power hungry, especially Killmonger, so I like to try for Hammers Extract scenario to make those incredibly strong Wakanda specific TT cards cost more power and harder to pull off.
As one of my favorite affiliations, I do not like seeing Asgardians across the table from me. Thor is simply a beater/thrower unrivaled in the game. Hela can drop some long-range Claim Soul bombs that can reach ridiculous quantities of dice with her Army of Hel superpower. Loki making superpowers cost more with God of Mischief makes Strange’s ability to buff defenses harder to consistently use. Lastly, Valkyrie doing her face punch thing is a challenge.
The pushes from Strange and Shuri are vital to try and keep some of the Asgardians out of range for charges, Thor and Valkyrie, or range 4 Claim Souls. As the Asgardians are a bit more expensive threat value wise, a well timed Crimson Bands from Strange is devastating. It may seem counterintuitive, but pouring out as many status effects from Hawkeye, Ghost Rider and Mystic Empowerment forces the opponent into a tough choice, to heal or remove a status with Prince of Asgard affiliation bonus.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians tend to go with many characters, due to their lower threat level for each, and generally want a more spread out scenario. Ronin, Rocket, and Gamora are the biggest concerns for Defenders because they can get multiple big attacks off during their activations. Gamora Cosmic Assassin can devastate a tightly grouped squad. Rocket with the Deadly Duo TT card can get 5 attacks during his turn and Ronin’s Judgement superpower can make gathering power challenging. His The Accuser superpower is also great as it gives him one last punch in the face before Dazing/KOed.
Gamora is a glass canon and needs to be dealt with from range 2 plus to mitigate her Martial Prowess superpower. Rocket is a bit harder to do that to because of Groot. The range for their bodyguard shenanigans is only 1, so a push from Strange and/or Shuri can slow down the barrage from Rocket. Ronin will definitely need a Penance from Ghost Rider to remove power to prevent The Accuser from utilizing his Kree Justice attack.
Another difficult matchup for Defender, in my opinion. Thanos, Proxima and Corvus hit so hard and fast. Black Dwarf packs a punch as well, but is slow to get in the fight, so easier to frustrate with a push or two. It is difficult to prioritize targets in BO, as Thanos needs to be flipped to turn off his Death’s Agenda affiliation and Proxima and Corvus’s wife/husband ability gives them Follow Me each turn.
I usually focus on either Proxima or Corvus first, then it is all out on Thanos. Shuri is still great for the pushes and rerolls, but she won’t be contributing much to damage, as Thanos shunts her single point whimsically. Typically, BO lists are low model count, which means priority will almost always be your opponents. While this can be frustrating, just accept that he may daze a character or two before you get to react. Keep power on Strange to buff as many allies as possible but don’t be afraid to throw a Crimson Bands at Thanos. A stagger on him is brutal and taking away his entire activation is brutal. Thanos’s Cosmic Portal superpower can devastate my carefully maneuvered characters, but remember, once he flips to his injured side it disappears.
The strengths of the WW is their mobility and push/pull abilities. Their defenses are average, with 3s across the board except for Venom, who is very weak to energy. So, Mystic Empowerment will mostly be passing out hex, which is still solid, but not as vital. Between Strange and Hawkeye’s long range energy attacks, Venom should be an early target because if he gets within range 3, he is incredibly hard to handle. Keep and eye out for Gwen’s Life Savor ability as it can ruin the best laid plans. Single token Extraction scenarios are frightening when facing WW as Miles can, and will, Venom Blast it out of your hands. They also tend to prefer spread out Secures that they can push opponents off.
The remaining 6 or 7 characters in the opponent’s roster determine a lot with WW. Those specific characters are discussed with their respective affiliations.
The Spider Foes, while not yet complete, offer a challenge to Defenders because of the affiliation bonus, Oscorp Weaponry. Forcing a reroll, after all possible attacker rerolls puts a damper in Strange’s Crimson Bands and Valkyrie’s Dragon Fang attacks. More than that tidbit, the rest is hard to speculate on without more information.
Mirror matches are not always the most enjoyable matches around, but they will occur, thankfully less and less as more affiliations are added. The main character to look for in a Defenders on Defenders match is Ghost Rider. If he is available to my opponent, I figure out a way to get him on my board. Presently, the only counter to Ghost Rider is Ghost Rider. A carefully timed Pennace on the opponents Ghost Rider prevents the TT Deal with the Devil and his return.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my thoughts on Defenders and how they match up against the released affiliations. As more affiliations hit the board, I will add sections for those!