Publishing note from Morgan Reid: I’ve spoken a bit about Sin on recent podcasts and have received a lot of questions around Sin rosters on both Facebook and Discord. This led me to ask my regular sparring partner, (and good mate) Phil, to write a guest article to give people some insight into how he has been traumatising me with his Sin roster in preparation for TTS Season 6!
Red Mayhem ‘SIN’OPSIS’ by Phil Wager (Reath)
The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance with how to get the most out of Sin’s leadership. This is a subjective assessment and is based on my playing experience with a number of games using Cabal’s second leader. I hope this article will see more players leverage the leadership to get the most out of your gaming experience when putting Sinthea Schmidt and her band of villains on the table.
Sin Leadership – Red Mayhem
There are two parts to Red Mayhem. Prior to going into what the leadership can do, it is important to understand how the leadership fits into the timing of the clean up phase. Breakdown is as follows:
1. Score Victory Points
2. Players effects – this includes Sin’s leadership
3. Crisis effects – such as Gamma Damage, moving Mayor Fisk token
It is also important to remember that the extract steal component of the leadership occurs after the push. This can result in a situation where you are pushing a character out of range 2 and will not get to roll for their extract. See example below:
It is also worth noting that it is all objective tokens, not just secures that activate the first component of the leadership. An example being an un-flipped Alien Ship or Skrull token. When this is placed over a secure objective such as Gamma, you roll twice (once for each token) for the first part of the leadership.
The extract steal portion of the leadership also works if your characters are dazed while within 2 of an opponent, although the push component does not work while dazed as you are not considered to be contesting in this circumstance during the clean-up phase.
What Crisis selection does Sin enjoy?
Sin’s leadership really shines when both parts of her leadership are in play. This occurs when assets are in play and the Cabal player can leverage that devilish extract steal. I personally enjoy assets which give more opportunities to trigger the extract portion of the leadership, examples include: Fear Grips World as Worthy Terrorize Cities (Hammers), The Montesi Formula (Montesi), and Deadly Legacy Virus. Hammers and Montesi also provide a double advantage once you are ahead on extracts as they provide an offensive bonus to the character holding the extract.
Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown (Alien Ship) can also be a good choice. The leadership can feel very strong if you are in a position to steal the Kree Power Core. Alien Ship also has the advantage mentioned earlier of providing an additional Objective Token prior to a successful interact to trigger the push part of the leadership. There will be occasions though where that single extract roll is missed and it can feel really bad, I view this as the E.E.E. all in Crisis approach option.
Struggle for the Cube (Cubes) is another viable choice, but not one that I prefer due to the extract steal occurring in the clean up phase (prior to next turns damage). Cubes also has the added downside that when you are ahead on extracts, you are taking more damage with the inbuilt comeback mechanic. This can be something of benefit though, particularly if running characters with healing factor such as Cassandra Nova, Sabretooth or out of affiliation picks like Lizard.
The first portion of Sin’s leadership really shines on pay to flip secures where the push can clear secure objectives to enable an uncontested interact. Infinity Formula can also be a great secure crisis as the push from the leadership can deny the extra power to your opponent provided in the following power phase.
Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest can be an excellent secure choice as the push occurs prior to the crisis damage. This is a crisis that the right Sin roster can really leverage to an advantage, particularly if you are getting the extra roll for the centre push from an Objective token such as Alien Ship. Be aware of those Big Hitting lists that may prefer the fight though, as there is not much space to run if things go badly.
Sin Playstyle – Wide or Narrow
There is a common view expressed that Sin Spam is the way to go. Playing wide offers some benefits, including last activation to gain points advantage on secures or setting up for an extract steal. However, playing without priority has always felt counter-intuitive to me with the extract component of the leadership especially as you are unlikely to reliably get more than one opposing player extract drop per turn with the leadership. This can result in a situation where your opponent drops an asset token and then picks it up again at the beginning of the next round. This can be turned to an advantage by forcing difficult decision choices for an opponent if another character elsewhere on the board is at risk, but is very situation dependent.
My preference, has always been to play either equal character count or one below the opposing player to ensure that priority is maintained. Having priority facilitates a situation where the asset is dropped within range 1 of the Sin player’s character and they can then activate at the beginning of the next round to either re-position to a safe location, or to use the additional advantage that the extract may have provided (Hammer or Montesi) to wreak havoc. The underlying aim of this narrow approach is to gradually force an extract disadvantage for your opponent over the course of the game. It is feasible to have a 3-1 or 3-0 extract advantage at the top of Turn 2 if you are positioning a long mover within 2 of an opponent at the back of T1 and make the 50/50 extract roll. This involves some risk by putting one of your characters out of position and potentially in your opponent’s back line, but is mitigated if you have priority at the beginning of the next round and can move away. If you can maintain this points advantage, if can be very difficult for your opponent to come back from.
I also recommend that you do not rely solely on the leadership to provide you with an extract advantage, this can be dicey and can backfire. I would recommend looking at other things to help double down on the extract plays, examples include: Enchantress, Black Cat, Doctor Voodoo, Mission Objective, Can I Borrow That, or mid line extract grabs such as Amazing Spider Man, Angela or Toad.
Why is Partners in Crime Good?
Partners in crime enables the Sin player to steal priority if playing with an equal model count when playing Sin and Crossbones. With priority, Sin and Crossbones can do some heavy lifting with a double activation able to reliably deal with an opposing player’s heavy hitter or to steal a couple of extracts that may have dropped. It is also useful to understand that if you daze models using partners in crime that you are less likely to flip priority back. This can provide a strong attrition advantage over the course of a game through denial of activations to your opponent and early game K.Os (round 2 or 3).
Cabal has an impressive depth and abundance of choice with over 20 characters in affiliation. This provides significant flexibility in roster construction, but can also make it hard to know what to play. When playing with Sin, I look for a few things in my roster construction: manoeuvrability, defensive tech, and synergy.
Having a long move can really assist with getting your characters in and out of the fight and will help position to maximise extract steals. In affiliation characters include Baron Zemo, Mystique, Viper and Sabretooth. Baron Zemo and Mystique remain my favourite picks due to Zemo’s offensive output and reposition with Steel Rush, and Mystique’s Deception which can facilitate ideal positioning for an extract steal and can situationally score you a secure at the same time.
Defensive tech is useful as it keeps your team alive, and can prevent your extract holders being focused. Some examples include Sin (Stealth), Crossbones (-1 dmg), Mystique (Martial Artist and Stealth), Viper (Stealth), Kingpin (-1 dmg), Omega Red (-1 dmg), Mysterio (Tricks and Traps, and Smoke and Mirrors), and Loki (Trickster and I am a God). My favourites here are Mystique, Sin and Crossbones, however there are no bad choices and all will perform a slightly unique role that can be optimised based on your individual play style. It is also worth considering out of affiliation picks like Okoye for Bodyguard.
Synergy is a really important thing to consider when putting together your roster. Sin and Crossbones are an obvious example, but it is also important to consider synergy when looking at your roster more holistically. The example being that you do not want a whole list filled with slow movers who cannot position optimally to maximise extracts steals, or a whole list of more fragile long moving characters who will quickly daze or K.O. if the opponent brings the fight to you (which is likely if you are ahead of extracts). Personally, I prefer to have at least one heavy hitter in the roster such as MODOK or Magneto to provide some deterrence and safety for my extract holders to run back to. I also try and include as many Cabal affiliated characters as I can to maximise options for Dark Reign. When timed well, Dark Reign can be an incredibly powerful card that provides a response option to an enemy big hitter such as She-Hulk. Dark Reign is also doubly effective with pistol attackers such as Sin, Mystique and Hood due to the extra number of attacks they generate per turn.
Weaknesses and Affiliation Synergies
The obvious weakness for Sin lists is a Civilians Crisis where the extract steal portion of the leadership cannot be utilised. This results in a situation where Sin is only fighting with one half of her leadership online and is a place where she can feel a little less impressive. It is important to consider having a plan to deal with these situations, this could include playing Gamma or SWORD where you can outscore your opponent and can leverage the push component of the leadership to its fullest potential.
Another alternative, is dual affiliation. This can allow you to build for your worst-case match ups, or with a specific plan in mind if your opponent wins priority and chooses a Civilian Extract. Affiliation synergies with at least two characters crossing over into Cabal are Criminal Syndicate, Brotherhood, Spider Foes and Asgard.
The last alternative, is to lock down your Cabal choice and play with Red Skull as a second leader. I find the play styles of Sin and Red Skull work well to provide great flexibility to almost any crisis. Playing a second leader also provides list efficiency in Character and Tactics Cards slots which can free some room up to tech for bad match ups.
I hope this article has provided some useful tips to players interested in developing their Sin play or exploring Sin as a leader. She can be great fun to play, and also provides a viable alternative to Red Skull as a second leader to Cabal. I encourage you to test out some of the above strategies and share your thoughts with the community.
If you have any comments, alternative views or questions. Please get in contact with me via my Discord at Reath#8386.