Like Britney Spears there is something which “I must confess.” Unlike Britney Spears my confession is not that “my loneliness is killing me”, but rather that Taskmaster is not a character with whom I am particularly familiar; all I know is that he can watch someone do something and then mimic it. This makes me feel like his time is wasted in supervillainy. He could, for example, obtain the skills to make the perfect cup of tea (very important), weave a basket (less important), and even paint minis professionally – the guy would make a killing doing crafts. Alas he has stuck to being villainous and so we are denied crafting wonders. But how have AMG translated into the game a character who can learn to do anything? Let’s see.
STAMINA – Tasky comes out of the gate with a most respectable 6 stamina, not bad for a character at his threat level.
MOVEMENT – An entirely middle-of-the-road medium.
SIZE – A thoroughly human size 2.
THREAT – 3, lovely.
DEFENCES – In a feat of superhuman averageness Tasky has a defensive lineup of 3, 3, 3.
ATTACKS – Taskmaster has 3 attacks, all of which are physical. His first attack is called Sword Strike and appears to be representative of striking someone with a sword. This attack has a range of 2, strength of 5 and power cost of 0. Power is gained equal to the damage dealt, and rolling a wild will let you give the target character the Bleed special condition (they take a damage at the end of their activation) – basic but nice.
Next up is Shield Throw which we have seen waaaaaay back in the old days with our core set Captain America (oh yes, Cap had attacks too). This attack has a range of 4, strength of 4 and power cost of 0. It ignores line of sight and the target character does not benefit from cover. Roll a wild and you can trigger Ricochet which let’s you do another Shield Throw attack against another character within range 3 of the original target character. Running him alongside Cap will be great fun – pinball shield mode activated!
Last up is Mnemonic Technique a range 2 attack with a strength of 4 and power cost of 2. “Why would I waste 2 power on a strength 4 attack when I could do the same for free with Shield Throw?!” I hear you cry! Well, because for this attack you get to add dice to the attack roll equal to the target characters physical defence, and the target character cannot modify or reroll dice in their defence roll for this attack. Let the thematic bells ring – Tasky sees what you’re doing, matches it and then strikes, glorious! I particularly like the denial of dice modifications and rerolls for the defending character, as this shuts down affiliation bonuses from Web Warriors and Wakanda nicely, as well as many superpowers. Powerful, and for only 2 power.
SUPERPOWERS – First up is a reactive superpower called Photographic Reflexes which costs 2 power. Tasky can use this superpower after being targeted by another character. If the attacker is within range 3 you get to roll 4 dice and deal a damage to the attacker for each critical hit and wild in the roll. If the attacker has already targeted Taskmaster with an attack this turn you get to roll 6 dice instead. Again, I love the theme on this, Taskmaster sees what you’re up to and counters it. How much damage this is likely to pump out I don’t know, but Tasky is going to get attacked anyway so if you have the power spare why not get your Photographic Reflexes on?
Next is an innate superpower called Intuitive Pattern Recognition. This superpower states that if a character targets Taskmaster with an attack and has already targeted Taskmaster with an attack this turn then you add 2 dice to his defence roll, making him effectively a 5, 5, 5 defender. Dang! That this costs 0 power is crazy powerful. One thing is for sure – you don’t attack Taskmaster twice with the same character in a round unless you’re sure you’re going to daze him!
Next is another familiar innate superpower called Martial Artist. When Taskmaster is defending against a physical or energy attack within range 2 he adds blanks in his dice rolls to his successes. As if Taskmaster wasn’t already defensive enough!
Last of all we have the innate superpower Rogue Agent which states that one character with this superpower counts as an affiliated character during squad building. This adds a nice bit of flexibility to where Taskmaster can fit which, combined with his 3 threat, makes him really flexible when roster building.
INJURED SIDE – The only change is that Tasky’s stamina drops from 6 to 5.
SUMMARY – I really like Taskmasters balance between offence and defence, and I think that having him as a Rogue Agent and at 3 threat means he will show up in lots of lists. Although he has no throws or out of action movement I think he fills some gaps in rosters rather nicely. I definitely need to experiment with him some more.
AFFILIATIONS – Man, these affiliation sections are getting longer and longer! I think I will have to switch to just talking about the affiliations which I think each character fits into rather than all the affiliations – let me know via a comment or email which you would prefer.
Running Taskmaster in an Avengers squad would reduce Photographic Reflexes to a mere 1 power, meaning it could be triggered from turn 1. And Cap and Tasky both doing Shield Throw‘s could really do some work, and be way fun. But who are you losing to include Taskmaster? Certainly not Hawkeye in all his glory. Maybe he can take up an unaffiliated slot (if there even are unaffiliated slots in an Avengers team anymore).
Cabal could be good as Shield Throw has the potential to gain Taskmaster 2 power, paying for Photographic Reflexes nicely, and the fact that Mnenomic Technique‘s attack pool scales with the target characters defence and denies defence dice modifications and rerolls means damage is pretty likely to get through, gaining Tasky power. Plus, this attack is way cheap meaning he will be able to trigger it more often.
Tasky would certainly add to the damage that Black Order desire, with potentially 4 attacks coming off the back of an activations worth of Shield Throw‘s, but you may be pushed for space to fit an unaffiliated character into the team.
Taskmasters attacks and superpowers are cheap, so it seems reasonable that he will have a decent amount of power on him over the course of a game. This could feed into the Spider-Foes affiliation, allowing him to pay to reroll 1 opposing defence die and hopefully getting that little extra damage through. Not amazing, but also not the worst.
Defenders would allow Taskmaster to change his attack types from physical to energy, as well as throw out the Hex special condition (the character does not roll additional dice for critical hits in its attack, defence or dodge dice). Being able to change his attacks to the defenders weakest attack and then add dice equal to their defence to his Mnenomic Technique attack could be really great.
Taskmaster is affiliated to the Criminal Syndicate, meaning he can palm off asset or civilian tokens to allied characters within range 3 at the cost of 2 power, and count as 2 characters when securing objectives too. Taskmaster having good defence abilities means he will be able to get through to fray to get into position to pass objectives around, very nice indeed.
TEAM TACTICS CARDS – The Extreme Conditioning team tactics card comes in the Taskmaster & Punisher box and could be good to play on Taskmaster. He would get to pay 2 power to move long instead of medium on one of his move actions. This could get him in place to secure an objective, or if running a Criminal Syndicate affiliation could get him into position to pick up or pass off a civilian or asset token.
As Taskmaster is affiliated to the Criminal Syndicate he can play all the Criminal Synducate cards. All According to Plan allows a player to pay 10 or more power in the power phase to take the objective token. If Taskmaster is in amongst the fray I can see him having spare power, so he could contribute a decent amount to this. To be honest I can’t see myself ever playing this card, it feels like one for the tactical/tournament players. That being said I will certainly give it a try in a few games with friends if I am feeling in a particularly gittish mood.
Cruelty is another Criminal Syndicate card, and allows a character to pay 2 power after damaging an enemy with an attack. The character then immediately performs the Twist the Knife attack on the card (a range 5 strength 5 0 power cost attack) targeting the damaged character. Dice can only be added to this attack from critical hits and the attack dice cannot be modified. This is a pretty amazing card, giving access to a third in-activation attack for a low power cost. It seems to me that Taskmaster would be a good candidate for this card as he will likely have the power to pay for it and be doing the damage required to trigger it.
Shadow Organisation is the last Criminal Syndicate card (for now) and allows Criminal Syndicate characters to spend 2 power in the power phase. If they do so then characters must be within range 2 to target them with attacks this round. This combos nicely with Tasky’s Martial Artist superpower, meaning he will get to add blanks as successes in his defence rolls for all attacks within range 2.
If in your games you are finding that Taskmaster does have spare power on him from time to time you could consider running Advanced R&D to shift some of that power off onto other allied characters.
All You’ve Got could be good too, allowing Taskmaster a whole additional activation before becoming either dazed or K.O’d. That’s a whole lot of attacks, especially if using Shield Throw, and then Taskmaster can just sit back and get his defence on.
Battle Lust seems like it will also be good for Tasmaster. Ad 2 dice to his attack after a move action, then push the target character away short if damage is dealt. Nice and simple, but a nice bit of board control.
Climbing Gear would grant Taskmaster Wall Crawler for the round, meaning terrain wouldn’t be an issue for him, but also grants an immediate short advance, great for positioning. Along a similar vein would be Tactical Analysis which is slightly cheaper and grants a short advance.
Face Me could be interesting with Taskmaster. He could spend 3 power to advance an enemy character its speed towards him, then that character gets to make a free attack. You could set this up so that the target character can only reach Taskmaster, and then you can use all his defensive abilities to keep him standing, and maybe even do damage back with his Photofraphic Reflexes superpower.
Hired Muscle is a fun new card which would allow Taskmaster to spend 1 power to place a civilian token located within range 3 of him to within range 2 of him, very nice if playing a Criminal Synducate affiliation. And just very nice in general actually.
Lastly, Unearthly Rage plays nicely into Taskmasters attacks. 2 out of 3 of his attacks are range 2, so he could spend 2 power to play this card to add 2 dice to his next attack, as long as he is within range 2 of 2 or more enemy characters. Now do a shot for every time I wrote “2”.
So what do you make of Taskmaster? Will he make it into your list? Comment below!