Now that we’ve rolled in to 2020 New Game+, the doctor is back! For those of you who want a refresher on last year’s puzzle:
The Danger Room weighed in with the prevailing opinion that the flank of Magneto + Mystique vs Wolverine + Cyclops was where you should focus. As Brotherhood, using Magneto to KO Wolverine makes dazing Mystique an expensive proposition for Cyclops. Inversely, being able to daze Mystique top of 2 with Wolverine and threaten the enemy’s trap would be a real coup for X-Men if they had priority. There was some consideration for Asteroid M-ing Magneto to the other flank to fight for the Senator, but the attritional advantage of finishing off Wolverine and saving Mystique is probably too attractive to pass up.
But enough about that old drab 2020 puzzle, you’re here for the new shiny – 2021 puzzles! Without further ado, here’s this week’s move puzzle:
This is a likely scene in the early 2021 meta, Dashgard versus A-Force on Evac + Gamma. Dashguard has priority and has opened with Loki using Hired Muscle to steal your evacuee. They have Odin’s Blessing, Rainbow Bridge, Brace for Impact, and Advanced R&D left. It’s your move, with all of your tactics remaining – Special Delivery, Hired Muscle, Climbing Gear, Stalwart Determination, and Medpack.
Some of you might recognize a similarity to the original puzzle asking whether it was better to counter-HM or go after Loki. However in this scenario due to all the cool tools A-Force has access to (in conjunction with having the last 2 activations), you can threaten to use Special Delivery to put 2 (2!) characters on their home Gamma Shelter and possibly scoring 7 to their 3 round 1 if you play your cards right. Admittedly this play comes with a lot of risks. You’ve just put 2 characters (11 of your 19 threat) in the belly of the beast when your opponent has priority to assault with Thor, Angela, Enchantress or Loki, whomever is best situated to do the most work. And while you can use Stalwart Determination to limit Thor’s ability to throw them around, Enchantress and Loki’s Mind Gem will allow them to pick you apart.
This also has a counter-HM play on the opposing flank, but is very exposed to Enchantress shutting it down so probably is going to be the first play turned down. That leaves us with a Special Delivery play of some flavor, either hunting Loki or the enemy shelter. Personally I’m a fan of going for the throat here – special delivery is likely to give She-Hulk enough power to throw on her next activation, and even if the Dashgard player hits the emergency button on a Loki-only Rainbow Bridge, you should have enough speed to run the trickster god down and clear his court.
But, even if you take down Loki, you’re probably getting a 5-3 split on scenario points round 1, potentially 3-3 or 3-5 if Enchantress gets a bit lucky. And if they reclaim the citizens before you cash them in, they’ll be exerting constant pressure to end the game unexpectedly from round 3 on. On the bright side though, She-Hulk holding a citizen is the perfect place for it to be as even Thor and Angela combined will struggle to reliably taking She-Hulk out, especially with a patch up or an okoye bodyguard in the middle, and if they try you can try to find a window to activate Ms. Walters and cash it out to remove the temptation.
So, to close out the first puzzle of 2021 I ask you the reader: do you try to hunt down the treacherous Loki or set your eyes on the enemy Gamma shelter for an early scenario lead? Or perhaps you have another line not covered in this article? Let us know in the comments here or on Facebook!