The black-tongued villainous traitor known as Ebony Maw has at long last been spoiled, and what a treat he is! Enough with introductory waffle – let’s get straight to the biscuits!
STAMINA – Maw has 7 stamina, a most welcome sight to behold indeed!
MOVEMENT – A movement of medium puts Maw firmly in the “entirely average in the movement department” category.
SIZE – 2, which is entirely fair enough.
THREAT – Maw has a threat of 5, which puts him in company with Thor and M.O.D.O.K. With a threat level this high we can expect Maw to be doing some serious work on the battlefield.
DEFENCES – Maw has a defensive lineup of 2 physical, 2 energy and an absolutely whopping 6 mystic! The super-high mystic defence is nice and thematic, considering the character as he is in the comics, but those physical and energy defences are miserably low for a 5 threat character, but more on that later.
ATTACKS – Ebony Maw has 2 attacks, both of which are mystic, a first for the game. Maw’s first attack is called Black Tongue and has a range of 4, strength of 5 and power cost of 0. This attack has a wild ability called Sinister Influence which, when triggered, allows Maw to advance the target character short after the attack is resolved. Very nice indeed, but pretty useless against M.O.D.O.K! Lastly, after this attack is resolved Ebony Maw gains 1 power. This attack has good range and strength, and the advance on the wild roll is nice; but what is concerning is that this attack only ever gains 1 power. The only other way for Maw to gain power is to take damage or use one of his superpowers (more on that later). First though, let’s talk about his other abilities and then come back to that.
Maw’s second attack is mystic as we already mentioned and is called Herald of Doom which, quite coincidentally, is what I call my wife come chore time. This attack also has a range of 4, but a strength of 8 and power cost of 4. This attack states that the target character does not gain power for any damage taken by this attack, and roll a wild and you can trigger Throw which let’s you… wait for it… throw the target character short after the attack resolves, if it is size 2 or less. This is a costly attack, but a big one with 8 dice being rolled. The denial of power to the target character is absolutely crippling though. Imagine taking an 8 dice attack, taking a chunk of damage but then getting nothing for it! An attack this big could easily take a character out, imagine flipping to your injured side but then having very little power to fight back with – ouch! This attack will be especially good against characters that need power to boost their stats, like Captain Marvel who is power hungry to pay for Binary Form.
SUPERPOWERS – Maw’s first superpower is active, costs 3 power and is called Telekinetic Powerhouse. This superpower allows you to choose a terrain feature of size 4 or less within range 3 of Maw and throw it long once per round. This is very reminiscent of M.O.D.O.K’s throw, although this superpower costs 1 power more than M.O.D.O.K’s and can throw size 4 terrain rather than size 3. If you have played with M.O.D.O.K before then you know how mega his long throw is. It being range 3, you can advance him and pull terrain from behind to throw forwards, meaning that when he next advances he has more terrain near him to throw. Amazing, and I can see this superpower being used a lot if fielding Ebony Maw (if you can afford it of course).
Next up we have a reactive superpower called Mind Over Matter which has a power cost of 2. This superpower states that when Maw is targeted by an attack or would make a dodge roll he may use this superpower to use his mystic defence to defend or dodge. WHAT?! This is an incredible power, and there is no turn limit on it. And best of all it counts for dodge rolls as well as defences! Any incoming damage from terrain, no no no – ditch 2 power and away we go! But there’s the rub, it costs 2 power and the only way Maw has to generate power is his 1 power per round and any damage he receives. He has 7 stamina on his healthy side so you can maybe afford to take a smaller attack or two to take some damage and power up a little, but it will be somewhat of a balancing act. If only there was another way he could gain power…
A way like Incredible Psionic Potential, Maw’s next superpower which is innate. This states simply that during the power phase Maw gains 2 additional power. So, 3 power per round for Maw, that’s enough to pay for Telekinetic Powerhouse or Mind Over Matter once. Although both are powerful abilities, that’s not a great deal that he is getting done. It looks like it is going to be a case of use 1 of these abilities per round and rely on steady generation of power from his basic attack, using any power gain from damage to pay for a bigger attack and his reactive defence abilities.
Last we have the innate ability Gem Bearer [Mind, Space]. AMG have kindly spoiled the Space Gem for us, and we can see that for the cost of 2 threat (making Maw a whopping 7 threat character) he has access to a 2 cost superpower that let’s you choose either Maw himself or an allied character within range 3 and place it within range 2 of it’s current position. For those who have played Red Skull, this is the same as his Master of the Cube superpower, albeit at a slightly closer range. On the plus side this is a very powerful and useful ability, and wielding an Infinity Gem will give Maw an additional power per round, however as previously stated it makes him a 7 threat character. Worth it? I guess we will have to try it and see. The Mind Gem we have seen before with Loki – for 1 threat you have access to a 2 cost superpower that allows you to choose an enemy character within range 3 and advance it short. Again, a very nice ability to have access to, but worth the threat cost? Hmmm, a quandary. Let’s give it a try and see how it goes.
INJURED SIDE – Once injured Maw’s stamina drops from 7 to 4, making him squishy and making Mind Over Matter even more valuable. Speaking of which, Mind Over Matter changes from reactive to active, however I believe that that is a typo and hopefully it will be fixed before Maw’s release next month.
SUMMARY – Well, what an interesting character Maw is. It seems like he is going to be hungry for power, but when he has it he has good ways of spending it. It will be interesting to play him with an Infinity Gem to see if it is worth the threat cost. It seems to me that AMG have done a spot on job of making sure that how he plays in game is true to the character in the comics, and I love that.
Maw is a listed member of the Black Order, with Thanos in place as the affiliations leader. The Black Order leadership ability is two-fold. On Thanos’ healthy side whenever an enemy character is K.O’d you score 1 victory point, then on Thanos’ injured side an allied character may take up to 3 damage to allow them to reroll one attack die for each damage taken. Maw will fit fine enough in a Black Order team, but I don’t think it is the best of the affiliations for him. It really makes sense to run Maw in an Avengers list, thematically painful as that may be for some. There is just no denying how advantageous that 1 power cost discount is on Maw’s costed superpowers. Getting to roll 6 defence dice for the cost of 1 power is no small thing!
As his only way of generating power beyond his innate ability to get 2 additional per round is his basic Black Tongue attack, it seems like this will be being triggered quite often, and as such he could be good in a Cabal list. The extra power gained by dealing attack damage can then feed into his superpowers, but also his big Herald of Doom attack.
Wakanda, Asgard and Guardians of the Galaxy affiliations will all help keep Maw around longer, be that through dice consistency via rerolls, or straight up removal of damage or special conditions. Black Maw is a listed Black Order character, but we don’t know know what the Black Order leadership ability is so I can’t comment on that, but I will make sure to update this article once we know.
Onto team tactics cards now, and there are quite a few Black Order ones to get through before we even get to general ones. First off, let’s look at the ones we already have – Blood to Spare and Price of Failure. Blood to Spare allows a Black Order character to spend 3 power and perform an attack, if it would be dazed by an enemy effect. If the attack results in the character removing damage then it is not dazed. We don’t yet know what the Black Order leadership ability is, but I am guessing that it will involve damage removal when attacks hit. In which case this makes playing this card on Maw viable, but I am sure that this would also apply to the other Black Order characters as well. Still, a handy card to have when in a spot of bother. Price of Failure is very interesting in that you may choose and injured allied character to play it, and you K.O that character to give other allied characters 3 power each. Would you sacrifice Maw? Probably not. But would you sacrifice a 2 threat character to power up all your other characters? Possibly. Especially when it is looking like Maw is going to be hungry for as much power as you can get onto him. The fact that this card works for not only affiliated characters but allied characters is superb, and I am really looking forward to running a Black Order affiliation.
Mothership is a new Black Order card which comes in the Ebony Maw/Black Dwarf pack and states that 2 Black Order characters may spend 2 power each to play it. If you do so then you may place one of the characters not holding an objective token within range 1 of the other. A powerful card indeed. There is no limit to the range that the moving character can travel, as long as they end up within range 1 of the other character. Got Maw over the opposite end of the board from where he needs to be? Mothership has got you covered. This will also be a handy way of working around any terrain which may be causing you problems, and a nice way of giving Maw a bit of teammate backup if he should find himself in need.
SHHH… is another new card which comes in the Maw pack and is Maw-specific. It states that when an enemy character within range 5 of an allied Maw spends 1 or more power to use an active or reactive superpower, Maw may spend 3 power to play it. The enemy superpower has no effect and the superpower cannot be used again for the rest of the turn, but the character still spends the power for it and the superpower is considered to have been used. Dang! This is going to be an amazing card to counter abilities which do not have a once per turn restriction, and so could target multiple of your allies. It will also be a really great way of countering enemy buffing abilities like Vision’s Rapid Phasing and Captain America’s Bodyguard and Vibranium Shield etc. Basically, any non-attack costed ability that your opponent uses you can counter just once. Oh Thor, M.O.D.O.K and Hulk, your throws are no more. Well, for a turn anyway. Awesome card. Love it, love it, love it!
So now let’s talk about some non affiliation or character-specific cards. Put away your Doomed Prophecy for there are no physical attacks here. No Matter the Cost is a new card which comes in the Ronan/Drax pack that states that when a character declares an attack action during their activation it may suffer 1 to 3 damage to play it. If it does so then you may reduce the cost of the attack by the amount of damage suffered. This card is very much my cup of tea, and I think it could be great on Maw because it has no power cost whatsoever. He could take 3 damage to make his Herald of Doom attack cost a mere 1 power. That’s huge. Timing would have to be carefully determined, perhaps a late in the round play that way there is (hopefully) less risk of Maw being taken out when his health is reduced. But, there is plenty of healing in the game now, and this combo’s nicely with Medpack which allows a character to spend 2 power to remove up to 3 damage from itself or an allied character within range 3. So, Maw could play this on himself when he next powers up (or straight away if he can afford it), or a more power flush allied character could foot the bill for him. Awesome!
As I have mentioned a few times in this article, I believe Maw will be hungry for power, and as such cards which benefit Maw but which can be paid for by other characters are ones which stand out to me. On the topic of healing, Patch Up and Field Dressing are both ways of removing damage which can be paid for by allied characters. Inspiring Monologue (woop woop) can be paid for by an ally to allow Maw to reroll any number of his defence dice for the round, and Advanced R&D let’s you move power from one character to another, hopefully just when you need it.
So, what do you make of Ebony Maw? Will he make your roster? Comment below!