A new week, a new puzzle!
Before we get into this week’s puzzle, I want to go over last week’s puzzle. If you missed it you can check it out here:
Now, obviously there’s no right answers to any of these puzzles, I just find them a helpful decision making exercise to understand which factors to take into account in actual games. That said, I think these are the key factors that have to be considered:
- With Advanced R&D, the opposing side can use Hired Muscle themselves which means if you delay your Hired Muscle play they will put the pressure on you to equalize
- Unlike you, all of your opponent’s characters do not generate multiple power in the power step so they will not be able to run away and cash in the stolen citizens before the games end
- Mystique threatens to use Deception to pull in whatever character you put forwards unless your opening move is to post up on your home Gamma Shelter
That leads to one of three obvious moves: set rocket up on the home shelter, or do a Hired Muscle play on one of the flanks with either Loki or Hela.
Personally I like opening with Loki here – if they fail to daze him with their first attack, he threatens to use either I Am A God! or Trickster, or even Odin’s Blessing in a pinch. He also generates power incredibly fast due to the mind gem in this scenario so once he gets away on round 2, it will be VERY hard to pin him down.
Hela, on the other hand, can be seen as a bit of a lower risk option. Like Loki, she has 4 mystic defense herself and has an additional stamina to boot. It also leaves Loki open to attempt a mind gem play to expose a citizen grabber on the other flank for some round 2 beatdown, or clear someone off the center shelter to win 2 extra points in the first round.
Last but not least is the choice to go with Rocket. This is an INCREDIBLY passive move, essentially just passing to see what your opponent does and allowing you to react accordingly. I don’t love this but the opposing team is stretching their resources thin by needing Advanced R&D to Hired Muscle round 1, and you can attempt to get a better picture before responding. Usually holding Rocket last can threaten some free damage on anyone attempting to grab the center so you are giving that up as well. But if you’re really scared of the 1-2 punch of Mystique using Deception to pull your HM player in and giving M.O.D.O.K. a free double attack activation (due to the size of his base he is holding the home Gamma Shelter from deployment) to possibly send your game plan off the rails.
No matter the choice, understanding your opening move and why you’re doing it will help you make choices that are in alignment with that game plan, and ideally give you a stronger position going into round 2 and beyond.
And with that it brings us to our new puzzle this week. I’ve used the TTS Top Down mode to show portraits next to characters for easier readability. The two unmarked bases (next to the fountain in the center, and to the right of the police car) are Magneto’s metal constructs.
You are playing Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators! and Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park. It is the power phase of round 2, with the score being 4-2 X-men’s favor. The top 2 traps are held by the X-men. The bottom 2 traps are held by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Beast is holding the Senator.
Your team is the following:
Magneto (leader) – 3 power, 0 damage
Mystique – 5 power, 4 damage
Sabretooth – 4 power, 3 damage
Toad – 1 power, 0 damage
Ghost-spider – 1 power, 0 damage
Tactics Cards Unused;
Their team is the following:
Storm (leader) – 4 power, 2 damage
Wolverine (injured side) – 1 power, 0 damage
Cyclops – 1 power, 0 damage
Beast – 1 power, 0 damage
Vision (enhanced density) – 2 power, 0 damage
Tactics Cards Unused:
Brace for Impact
To Me, My X-men!
You have priority, what is your move – who do you activate and what do you do?
And as a twist here, let’s ask the inverse. Suppose you are now representing the Uncanny X-men in this position but now they have priority rather than the brotherhood. Which Mutant (or Vision!) do you activate first and what do you do with them?