Oh man, the spoiler machine never rests for AMG! After last week’s Sin reveal:
and all the Ministravaganza hype, I expected things to slow down slightly. But NOPE, here I am on a Monday morning to do my sixth (seventh?) First Impressions in two weeks.
Viper, or Ophelia Sarkeesian, is paired with Sin and after doing a quick perusal of her kit it really makes sense. Pretty much every piece of her kit synergizes well with Sin’s leadership / game plan. But without any further ado lets dive into it!
Beginning with the top of the card, we get a lot of “standard 3 threat” – 10 stamina, long movement is a big plus, rounded out with the expected size 2 and 3s all around for defense. Also, I’m much happier with a 5/5 spread than Sin’s 4/6, the extra point is surprisingly relevant for not getting dazed early, which is an extra boon on a long mover like Viper here.
The attacks are where Viper starts to really shine, though. Two builders that are solid options at range 2 and 3 respectively, both triggering statuses that hamper enemy power generation in their own ways. Also in general I’m always a fan of having 2 builders where one is power per damage and the other is flat guaranteed power. Range 3 is also just very solid on a stealth character as unless you’re fighting Medusa or Shuri or someone with push triggers on attack you can always return fire with the pistol to attack twice and get 2 power for other things we’ll get into later on the card. She won’t be killing the world but your opponents WILL feel the effects of these attacks over the course of the game.
Viper Strike, however, becomes the best of both worlds. Combining the pistol and the strike into something stronger, she also gets to teleport onto her target and slow + stun them. Follow it up with a strike to poison them, and a Displacement Ring away and you’ll leave an enemy character on low health with 3 separate debilitating statuses probably out of attack range of you. Sign me up!
The real crown jewel of her card in my eyes. 2 power for a r2 place is essentially a short advance without an action attached. We’ve seen the power of Red Skull and Lockjaw teleporting their buddies around, so its nice to see it on such a compact body. At 2 power that means every round unless poisoned you’re able have the power to Move -> Pistol -> Displacement Ring guaranteed. Round 1, need to get onto a midline objective to contest someone on D/C? Advance long, pop them in the face hoping for the stun trigger, then displacement ring onto the point. Playing on a D shape and need to rotate? Displacement Ring plus double move will get you anywhere. Displacement Ring plus Move->Attack should see you onto any of the adjacent D points.
If you’re with Sin being to contest the midline early and often is HUGE and this really adds to the opening power. There’s also the aforementioned Viper Strike -> Strike -> Displacement Ring combo which doesn’t quite put you out of R3 of the target, but still puts a respectable amount of distance between you and their buddies.
Martial Prowess under a different name. I’m unsure how often she’ll have power for this considering she’ll probably almost always want to Displacement Ring every turn and throw in some Viper Strikes, but if you have some good power economy from good attack rolls or enemies hitting you this will be a nice boon, especially if she’s holding objectives that you don’t want to cede.
The final piece of the puzzle is Stealth. Stealth has gone down in value since the early seasons when the main heavy beater was M.O.D.O.K.. Today, there’s many efficient beaters that fight purely at r3 – Medusa, Enchantress, Domino just to name a few. But it does limit your opponents ability to keep up with her long movement, and makes it more likely that positioning constraints will get them in range of some Coiled Serpent defense.
All in all, I’m pretty whelmed by Viper. She’s not a splashy beater like Domino, but rather a solid core roleplayer. In a lot of ways she reminds me of what I would have expected Core Box Black Widow to turn into if you remade her at 3 threat (Black Widow Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a cool and underrated character but I find her VERY different from her 2 threat counterpart). In particular I like her in a Sin roster where it’s trivial to get your 3 character core to have all stealth – Sin, Viper, Mystique to start and you can round out with even more stealth to annoy your enemies. I’m doubtful of the value of an all or mostly Stealth team in the modern game because if it’s powerful enough, Marked For Death will just make its way into rosters. But as a nice little point of annoyance I’m happy to go that route. The other upside to such a team is extreme mobility between viper and Mystique, and I have a hunch that Sin teams will be a big fan of Baron Zemo as well.
Finally, if you’re looking to play some Cabal with Sin and haven’t preordered this box yet may I point you in the direction of our sponsors:
That will wrap us up for this First Impressions article here on acrossthebifrost.com – let us know in the comments if you like this article format or if there’s something you’d like to see to improve on it!
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