He’s the best at what he does, and blah blah blah blah blah – you know the score! Like Star Wars, clickbait and coffee shops, Wolverine is everywhere; but does he justify his place on the gaming table? Let’s see…
STAMINA – Wolverine starts off strong with a whopping 7 stamina which, considering his threat value, is pretty magnificent. The only other 7 stamina characters we have at the moment are Ghost Rider and Ebony Maw, both of whom are 5 threat.. Wolverine is not 5 threat, but more on that shortly (4, hes 4!).
MOVEMENT – Medium.
SIZE – 2, but given how short he is meant to be AMG could have gotten away with 1 if they were feeling a bit tongue in cheek.
THREAT – 4, meaning his stamina is way above average – fitting, considering his character from the comics.
DEFENCES – Wolverine has a varied defensive lineup comprising 4 physical defence, 3 energy defence and a miserable 2 mystic defence. 2 always hurts to see.
ATTACKS – Wolverine’s first attack is physical and is called Adamantium Slash. This attack has a range of 2, strength of 5 and power cost of 0. After the attack resolves Wolverine gains power equal to the damage dealt, and roll a wild and you can both give the target character the Bleed special condition and trigger Pierce which lets you change one of the defending character’s critical hit, wild or block results to a blank. This is a pretty good attack, even though you need to be very close to pull it off. Pierce certainly helps with getting damage through, and I fully expect anyone to be left bleeding after a violent encounter with Wolverine – it’s a thematic win.
Wolverine’s second attack is also physical and is called Berserker Barrage. This attack has a range of 3, strength of 7 and a power cost of 3. Before damage is dealt from this attack you must place Wolverine within rand 1 of the target character. And, if the attack deals damage then after it is resolved the target character is thrown short, if it is size 3 or less. This attack is a bit cheaper than the other “big” attacks we have seen on X-folk so far, and 7 dice is strong. Placing within range 1 is a double-edged sword in that it can be helpful in getting Wolverine into position, or you could end up somewhere you don’t want to be. Still, out of range movement is always something nice to have access to, even if it is mandatory, you just have to factor it into any decisions you make. And a built in guaranteed throw is just the cherry on the cake.
SUPERPOWERS – Wolverine is very thin on the ground when it comes to superpowers. His only costed superpower is active and is called The Best at What I Do… This superpower costs 3 power to us and also costs an action. If you decide to use it then Wolverine immediately makes a move action followed by an Adamantium Slash attack action. When he makes this attack each wild in the attack roll counts as 2 successes, and this superpower can be used only once per turn. So all in all this is a variation on Charge and Hit and Run; with the limitation that you only get to use a specific attack. Still, a medium move combined with a 5 dice attack with wilds counting as 2 hits, all for 3 power is pretty mean. And who’s to say you can’t slip a certain team tactics card we all know that I love between the move and attack action to give you a few more dice to play with…
Next up is an innate superpower called Adamantium Skeleton. This superpower states that if Wolverine is thrown or pushed by an effect or special rule, or when he is colliding with another character or terrain feature, he counts as being size 3 rather than size 2. Boo, no one likes to see a negative superpower on a card, but it is flavourful and thematic so AMG are forgiven and may go in peace. Certainly this is something to keep in mind when positioning Wolverine, and certainly this is something which you may not want to keep reminding your opponent of…
Lastly, we have another innate superpower – Healing Factor , and Immunity [Stun]. Immunity to Stun is nice, as it means Wolverine will not be denied the power gain that he so very much desires. But what, pray tell, does Healing Factor mean I hear you cry? You’ve checked the back of your box, you’ve checked the leaflet that came with your mini’s – nothing. Seek ye page 28 of the rulebook – Appendix E: Keywords where it states simply that “at the end of this characters activations it may remove X damage from itself.” X in Wolverine’s case being 2. I will gladly remove 2 damage from character for free at the end of my turn, thanks very much. Considering Wolverine’s high starting stamina and this superpower, Wolvie is going to be tough to remove unless you can one-shot him.
INJURED SIDE – First, Wolverine’s stamina drops from 7 to 5 – the man just can’t keep it together like he used to. He also gains a new innate superpower called Wild Rage. This lets you add 1 die to his attack rolls for each damage token he has, but as a downside he cannot interact with or hold objective tokens. This is going to be a bit of a balancing act – extra dice on attacks are good, but you don’t want to get Wolverine so damaged that he just drops on his next attack. Plus, the mileage you get out of this will vary a lot, as Healing Factor  will still be triggering at the end of each of his activations. I love the theme of Wolverine going nuts and ignoring objectives so he can focus on damage though!
Lastly, Wolverine gains a new immunity – you can no longer Stagger the man. Stagger is poop (unless you’re giving it to an enemy), so Wolverine being immune to it is very nice to see.
SUMMARY – I like it! I really like how attack focused Wolverine is, but that he also has some movement tricks up his sleeve. He reminds me a little of Drax, but a bit better because I have found that Drax can sometimes just be moving around the board not really getting his attacks off because he has no out of activation movement (but then it is entirely possible that I am doing a bad job playing Drax). I love the healing at the end of each activation, and I absolutely intend to do this as slow motion as possible whilst holding my opponents gaze. Pulling off a The Best at What I Do… into a juiced up Adamantium Slash whilst damaged and using Wild Rage is the dream – that would be 9 dice (if Wolverine was 1 damage off being K.O’d) on a 0 power cost attack, with wilds counting as 2 successes, plus Bleed and Pierce – all for the trifling cost of 3 power. Drool.
AFFILIATIONS – From what I can gather from my comic reading, Wolverine has been in every team at some point; but it seems AMG have wisely restricted him to but 3, namely Avengers, Defenders and Uncanny X-Men.
In an Avengers team Wolverine’s only costed superpower would be reduced from 3 power to 2 which is nice, but I think the main benefit is that you get a character who can hit very hard indeed without having to spend additional threat on Hulk or Thor.
In Defenders (you know it’s the best affiliation!) you would get to switch Wolverine’s physical attacks to any other attack type you like, which Wolverine should be able to afford as he should be getting lots of power from his Adamantium Slash. Plus you would also be giving out the Hex special condition (no exploding criticals) which helps everyone on your team out. The Defenders leadership ability is just goo for everyone, but i particularly like it with Wolverine. Plus, you know having Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Valkyrie and Wolverine out on the board is going to be great.
In the Uncanny X-Men affiliations Storm would give him access to even more out of activation movement, especially if he is on his injured side and can no longer interact with objectives, plus he would also get cover if being attacked outside of range 2; and with Cyclops’ ability he could contribute towards/have allied characters contribute to his attacks. Personally, at the moment I think he synergises best with Storm’s leadership ability.
Considering how much damage Wolverine has the potential the throw out I think you could consider him in both a Cabal team for additional power gain, and a Black Order team to earn those sweet victory points.
Re-rolls from a Wakandan or Guardians of the Galaxy team would be nice for his attacks and defences, and removing damage and special conditions in an Asgard team would be quite fun too. Oh no, WE’RE GOING FULL MARVEL AND PUTTING HIM EVERYWHERE! Let’s balance it out – I don’t think he is particularly great in the objective play that the Criminal Syndicate want to do, and I think Spider-Foes and Web Warriors would be just fine. But, your opinion may differ massively – who am I to dictate who you play and where. Go, be free like Spartacus.
TEAM TACTICS CARDS – As a listed member of 3 affiliations Wolverine has access to many affiliated team tactics cards, so let’s pick out some good ones for hims first.
When it comes to Avengers Avengers Assemble would grant Wolverine an out of turn short advance for 1 power, and Second Wind would allow him to pay 1 power to remove the Stunspecial condition (which he is immune to anyway) and 1 damage.
If running Wolvie in Defenders you could use some Vapors of Valtorr on him, especially if Wolverine is on his injured. This would allow you to reroll some of the attack dice being rolled against him and hopefully contribute towards his longevity so you can get a few more attacks off before he goes down.
Along with all the new X-Men releases we also have a batch of X-affiliated cards. First up we have Children of the Atom which any Uncanny X-Men character can play. This card simply states that the character removes all special conditions from itself, and gains 1 power for each special condition removed in this way. This seems like a really great card – so many characters now throw out special conditions. It seems more likely than not that over the course of any game you will be able to play this card. Look at it this way – would you play a team tactics card that just said “immediately gain 1 power? Or 2? 3? I can’t really see myself not ever taking this card in an Uncanny X-Men team. Any power gained can go right back into Wolverines attacks, meaning your opponent has basically shot him or herself in the foot.
Next up we have First Class which can be played by an allied Uncanny X-Men character at the start of the Activation Phase. Once played, each allied Uncanny X-Men character does not have to spend power the first time they interact with an objective this round. Again, another really great card, perfect for those turn 1 plays where you don’t have much power but you are within reach of a few objectives. You can wander over to an extract objective, pick it up for free, and then saunter on over to squat on a secure. Lovely stuff! Especially nice for when trying to find that pesky Kree power core. Bear in mind this is restricted to only allied Uncanny X-Men characters, so any allied but unaffiliated characters on your squad won’t be able to make sue of this. Bear in mind that once Wolverine is on his injured side he won’t be able to take advantage of this, as he cannot hold or interact with objective tokens.
We also have To Me, My X-Men which can only be played by an Uncanny X-Men character with a leadership ability (so currently Storm or Cyclops). This character may spend any number of power to play this card. Then, for each power spent 1 allied Uncanny X-Men character may advance short towards the leader. This is very reminiscent of Avengers Assemble, but is flipped a bit in that only 1 character is paying for everyone to move. Still, very handy to have in a pinch, and could get you some serious points if used to play the objectives. In Wolverine’s case this could get him where he wants to be – close to an enemy target that he can attack next activation.
There is but 1 single Wolverine-specific card and it is named Weapon X Program. Wolverine can pay 3 power to throw himself short, and does not suffer any collision damage if he hits another character or some terrain. Quite similar to Thor and Loki’s Sibling Rivalry then, except it requires only 1 character to trigger rather than 2.
And on the topic of cards “borrowed” from Asgard,X-Ceptional Healing can be played by any character with the Healing Factor superpower (currently only Wolverine and Sabretooth, but i’m sure we can include the upcoming Deadpool in this too). X-Ceptional Healing is a reactive team tactics card which states that when a character with the Healing Factor superpower would be damaged by an enemy effect it may spend 3 power to reduce the amount of damage suffered to 1. So, basically an unaffiliated Odin’s Blessing – no bad thing! Great card, and definitely one to give serious consideration if you are running Wolverine.
As for other team tactics cards you could consider All You’ve Got which would allow Wolverine to do a double activation then get dazed or K.O’d. This would allow for some pretty serious attacking on Wolverine’s part. It seems like I am talking about this card more and more lately, perhaps I have overlooked it in the past.
At this juncture you know I have to talk about Battle Lust. Get Wolverine onto his injured side and pay 3 power to trigger The Best at What I Do… Take your move action, then pay 2 power for Battle Lust to add 2 dice to Wolverine’s next attack. Then, do a 7 dice Adamantium Slash remembering to add 1 die for each damage Wolverine has (in a dream world he would be on 4) – that’s 11 dice total with Pierce and wilds counting as 2 successes! Oh, and a short push away of the target character. PLUS you will gain power from the damage dealt which you could then use to pay for other cards – maybe some healing or, as mentioned earlier All You’ve Got which will let you activate again, maybe laying down some Berserker Barrage. Absolutely disgustingly delicious.
Doomed Prophecy could be good on Wolverine. He will lose his 4 physical defence dice, but gets to add these to his physical attacks for the duration of his activation. That’s a 9 dice Adamantium Slash and an 11 dice Berserker Barrage!
As Wolverine has built-in healing you might consider running No Matter the Cost which allows a character to take 1 to 3 damage to gain an equivalent discount on the power cost of their next attack. This means that you could do a free Berserker Barrage, then heal 2 out of 3 of that damage back at the end of Wolverine’s activation – not too shabby.
Lastly, I think that any of the dice adding cards would be worth of consideration on Wolverine, but I think Unearthly Rage in particular works well on him. It costs 2 power to play during a characters activation and requires that Wolverine be within range 2 of 2 or more enemy characters, which seems pretty likely given Wolverine’s skill set. If these requirements are met then Wolverine gets to add 2 dice to his next attack roll.
Now I would just like to give a little plug for Blackgate Games, a UK-based MCP stockist. They sell Star Wars stuff too, but don’t hold that against them. They sell MCP products at a great discount and shipping is really quick. Maybe give the a once over if you are in the market for some MCP stuff.
So what do you make of Wolverine? Will he make it into your list? Comment below!