There have been a lot of new announcements recently (nothing new there) by AMG, with many models catching the eye of new and old players alike. However, one new character in particular has piqued our interest for all the right reasons. The Scarlet Witch! Not only is the model sculpt amazing, but she possesses almost all of the ingredients that make a high threat model in the game of MCP a dominate force. This article will show not only what we look for in an amazing character, but why characters like Wanda have us so excited.
We get asked a lot here at Strike Better what we look for in a character when building rosters, or who we should build a list around. One method is that we look for a powerful piece that is at the core of the list, our centre of gravity, one that can almost do it all themselves. When we are talking about these characters, they are usually at the 5 or 6 threat range, with certain criteria that we immediately look for when analysing their card:
1. High Stamina (6 or above)
2. Strong Defence (4 or above) or damage reduction
3. Dice Manipulation (re-rolling or changing your dice or your opponents)
4. Movement (above average speed, out of action movement, or innate abilities (wall crawler/flight))
5. Damage Output (zero cost range 3 builder attacks or above, minimum 5 dice, free conditions)
6. Character Displacement (the ability to move yourself or your opponent, which is not an action)
7. Innate Power Generation (gaining more than the usual 1 power during the power phase)
8. Character-Specific Tactics Card (Unaffiliated or Faction Specific)
When you assess any character against these criteria, it becomes easy to see who is worth their point cost, and who doesn’t quite meet expectations. While the lower threat characters don’t hit all of these categories, going through the list when reading a stat card is still an effective way of seeing who can support your big hitters. It also shows why MODOK is such an amazing piece! The big head nails all our criteria with ease. And, so does Wanda…nearly.
High Stamina, Strong Defence and Dice Manipulation
Wanda does well in this category with 6 stamina on both her healthy and injured sides, meaning she will stick around a little longer. Not only is her stamina at a good level, but she is backed up by some commendable defensive stats. 4 against both energy and mystic are up there with some of the best standard defences in the game, with an average 3 against physical.
However, it is her dice manipulation tech that helps her stay around on the board. Scarlet Witch’s Chosen of Chthon means that when she is attacking, defending or dodging, Wanda adds failure results as total successes. Adding another side of the dice to your success pool for zero cost is something that brings Wanda to a higher tier and is a mechanic we haven’t seen AMG introduce in this way before. Altering the probability of success to about 12 percent per die is pretty amazing! We already know how good Corvus Glaive is when he only counts 1 skull as a success when he carries that Reality Gem, so counting all failures as successes as they occur is going to be impactful when playing with Wanda Maximoff.
Whilst Wanda’s movement isn’t game shattering like Angela’s Long Move on a Medium Base, a Medium mover on a small base is fine considering she has a Range 4 builder attack. This means Scarlet Witch is likely to be able to attack someone on most occasions. An advantage she does have over your average medium mover, however, is her innate flight ability. This ability, along with wall crawler, is always something to look for. Being able to disregard obstacles that would normally require template manipulation to go around, or consideration during turn zero placement, means your character becomes more mobile and flexible as a result.
Damage Output and Dice Manipulation
Rolling a lot of dice as often as you can is a good game strategy…just ask Travis. But seriously, Wanda brings the hurt. Not only are her attacks both Mystic, an attack option that is still somewhat rare, and a weakness to most characters, but she has a whopping Range 4 attack for a builder. Moreover, it is 6 dice!! We are now in MODOK territory. Combined with Wanda’s Chosen of Chthon, this 6 dice zero cost attack has more potential to do more damage than the big floating head! But wait, there is still more! For each failure you roll, you may apply one of four special conditions, bleed, hex, poison or incinerate. Did I mention she gets power equal to damage dealt?
Her damage doesn’t stop there. For a hefty 6 power, Wanda throws out the Cruel Twist, with 8 dice at Range 3. In what truly is a cruel attack on your opponent, this attack denies them the ability to add critical results in their defence roll to their total successes and they do not add dice as a result of those critical results. And when you roll in a failure, not only does it count as a success thanks to good ol’ Chosen of Chthon, but it changes your opponents block to a blank. That’s big damage!
Finally for damage output, Wanda has a very decent terrain throw (size 4, range 3, throw M). Range 3 means there should usually always be some terrain nearby to grab and throw in the face of an unsuspecting enemy. The throw costs 3 power, which is above the premium 2 cost for a throw superpower, but moving size 4 terrain around is only something the big dogs can do.
Character-Specific Tactics Cards
Scarlet Witch delivers in this category! With two great Unaffiliated cards in The Whims of Chaos and No More Mutants.
The Whims of Chaos is a great card for helping characters around Scarlet Witch stay alive longer, by removing damage or special conditions depending on the power spent. In the right circumstance, this card could alter the board state significantly, and Range 3 is a decent bubble. Removing something like a stagger or root from one of your allies could be game changing. The best thing about this card is there is no limit on the power spent, meaning a character could be brought back from the brink of defeat! The mechanic to have a condition at the end is also thematically great. No More Mutants, on the other hand, is my personal favourite card. Ebony Maw’s Shhh… is a fantastic card, and seeing this replicated for Wanda, who we predict will be a popular character, is great to see. It is also incredibly fun to see your opponent line up for a game changing superpower play, only to have you throw this card down…
This Tactic Card criteria is a category that you should look for when figuring out the value of characters more broadly during roster creation. These unique cards can bring characters up to another level and can make playing certain pieces more enjoyable. Another example of a character who moves up a tier because of a character-specific card is Mystique. Mystique’s card Deception which allows her to move a character at their speed towards her within Range 4 at zero cost is amazing. This unique card mechanic seems to be appearing more and more with the new reveals by AMG and we are loving it!
Character Displacement and Innate Power Generation
This is the only area where Scarlet Witch doesn’t get the five star rating. Not only does she not generate additional power to the normal 1 in the power phase, but she is missing the ability to move her opponents around the board. As a result, you will not be seeking to employ her in a role that sees her stealing objectives or manipulating the board state on the last activation. That’s ok, just use the above criteria to find a character that can!
Some other great tech she has though is the Curse Superpower, the same as the Judgement ability we have seen on Ronan, to make people think twice about attacking her (She-Hulk hates being Judged BTW). Finally, Wanda’s Hex Field – a range 3 bubble that prevents enemies taking away some of those conditions you threw on for free when you rolled in those failures.
In summary, when using the above criteria, you can see why we are excited about Scarlet Witch’s addition to the game. She is a big damage character, with some new mechanics that make her a piece you can build a roster around. When analysing characters in the future, try using our metric to judge its value. It can be a great way to see if the character you are bringing has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the best in this game. If you have another way of viewing characters, please let us know on our facebook page!