This article is intended as an introduction to this character. In the future I plan to write articles with tips on how to play each character, and what to do if you see them across the table. For now though, read on for a discussion of the character statistics and a brief chat about their abilities.
And finally we get to Red Skull. As wielder of the Cosmic Cube and leader of the Cabal, Old Johey has got to be powerful, right? Let’s see.
STAMINA – At 6 stamina Johann has some lasting power on the battlefield.
MOVEMENT – Medium, making him entirely average in the moving department.
SIZE – He is human and therefore size 2.
THREAT – 4, pretty considering what follows…
DEFENCES – Red Skull’s strongest defences are physical, with 4 dice available to him. Energy and mystic defences are both 3 which is average for the game so far.
ATTACKS – In terms of attacks Red Skull has 3, the first of which is a physical strike called… Strike. As is usual for a standard strike Red Skull will gain power equal to the damage dealt after the attack resolves, and can do this attack over range 2. With zero power cost and a strength of 5, this attack is no slouch in the damage department. As an added bonus, roll a wild and before damage is dealt Johann can push the target character away short. Nice for a bit of “get out of my face” on Red Skull’s part, and handy when trying to secure objectives.
Next up is an energy attack called Cosmic Blast. This is a range 4, strength 5, 1 power cost attack. A twist to this attack is the wild roll which lets you trigger Sap Power, which allows you to make the target character lose 1 power for each wild in the attack roll, and give that power to Red Skull. This is a great skill to have as it will be a constant nuisance to the opposing player every time it goes off, and could absolutely scupper their plans for their next turn. Use it on Ultron and keep denying him the power that he needs to trigger the Age of Ultron card and resurrect once KO’d.
Last up we have Unleash the Cube, another energy attack but this time of range 4, strength 7 and power cost of 4. This is the big one people – roll a big pool of dice, resolve the attack, then throw the target character short. Roll a wild and you get to trigger Reality Warp. What does this do, I hear you cry? Well, after the attack resolves and this effect triggers, the target character and characters within range 1 of the target character are now all stunned. Red Skull is not affected by Reality Warp. This so thematic that it hurts! Red Skull fires off the cosmic cube, does a powerful attack and then everyone around him is stunned. Note that Reality Warp affects all characters within range 1 of the target, so this would also affect allied characters (I think), so bear that in mind when setting up to do this attack.
LEADERSHIP ABILITY – Red Skull is keeper of the Cabal affiliation, wondrously named Master of Evil. This states that each time an allied character damages an enemy character with an attack, after the attack is resolved the attacking character gains 1 power. This is power ramp, pure and simple. Get an attack through, gain 1 power (on top of any other abilities your character has – looking at you Doc Ock), do another attack, gain 1 power. This is going to get your characters to their big abilities much sooner than they would by taking damage and firing off their normal strikes.
But what supowerpowers does the red-headed leather-donning mastermind possess? Read on!
SUPERPOWERS – First up we have the active superpower Cosmic Cube. This costs zero power but does count as one of your actions to use. Trigger it and straight away Red Skull gins 3 power, but as a cost for this sudden ramp in power you must roll 5 dice and take damage for each failure (skull – not red) rolled. Power is the currency of the game, and anything that lets you gain power is going to gain you advantage as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with firing this off turn 1 to gain some power, hopefully dodging most, if not all, of the damage from rolling failures, and then using the power to trigger some of Johann’s other abilities. Plus it is just so thematic – I can just picture Red Skull harnessing the power of the cube to get stronger, but it battering his body as he does so. Mmmmmm, delicious!
Next up is Master of the Cube which is an active superpower with a power cost of 3. This lets you choose Red Skull or an allied character within range 4 of him and place it within range 2 of its current position. 3 cost, if only there was a way to quickly get 3 power so that you can fire this ablity on turn 1. Hmmm… Yep, that’s right – Cosmic Cube will net you 3 power which you can then use to fire off Master of the Cube and move yourself or perhaps a slow-moving character (Crossbones is an obvious candidate) to witihn range 2 of their current position. Do all that and you still have an action left to advance or maye even attack if an enemy character is within range.
Last up we have the reactive superpower Hail Hydra which has a power cost of 2. This states that when Red Skull is targeted by an attack he can choose another allied character within range 2 to become the new target of the attack regardless of range or line of sight. It sucks to be one of Red Skull’s teammates, that’s for sure! But if you have a character who can take the damage or who has great defences, or maybe even someone who benefits from damage (such as Hulk), then why not fire this off to keep Johann alive a little longer. This ability makes Johann good at holding some extraction objectives, as long as you keep him within sufficient range of an allied character to allow this ability to trigger.
INJURED SIDE – The only change is a subtle one. Johann now takes damage on failures and blanks when using the Cosmic Cube superpower, meaning it becomes more risky to hurt him to gain power once he has been dazed.
SUMMARY – Red Skull is so thematic! The Cabal affiliation is great for ramping up into power quickly once you can get some attacks firing, and his strikes are great for stealing power and stunning. It is his abilities with the cosmic cube that make for great fun though, damaging himself to get more powerful, and re-directing attacks onto his allies so as to preserve his health. Ah, so much fun! Firing off Cosmic Cube straight into Master of the Cube on turn 1 and then moving Crossbones is just so great and sets the tone for Red Skull’s turns to come.
Team tactics cards-wise Recalibration Matrix is an obvious candidate as it allows rerolls of attack and defence dice. Inspiring Monologue (wahey) could be another good one as it allows Red Skull to reroll any number of defence dice this round, potentially keeping him in the game and doing his thing for longer.
As he is a good candidate for holding certain kinds of objectives Mission Objective is another good one to consider, so that when/if he eventually gets dazed/KO’d he can pass his objectives off to another character instead of dropping them. Follow Me could be good too, if you can afford the high cost, as it would allow Red Skull a second activation.
And last of all there is Cosmic Invigoration which allows Red Skull to remove an activated token from a character within range 2, and they have to suffer 1 damage for each critical, wild or hit rolled on a 3 dice roll, allowing them to activate again this turn. Played at the right time this could swing the game considerably in your favour.
How have you found Red Skull to be? What cinematic moments have you had with him? Comment below!