Maybe it’s how it scarred you the first time you played on it. Maybe it’s the biblical descriptor. Maybe you play Web Warriors. Regardless, no Secure conjures up mental imagery of pain and suffering quite like Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Demons Downtown, Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? (AKA, Demons Downtown, or Demons) is a 19 threat, E shaped secure that’s low on points and hands out an incinerate during the power phase to all characters within range one. Simple enough – is there much more to say?
Starting with the most obvious point, points. Demons Downtown puts a minimal three points into play each round. This is the embodiment of a slow scenario. If you’re playing on a “dead” extract, like Wakandan Herbs in a control mirror, or an unlucky stint on an extract that requires you to roll a crit to pick-up, you can easily come to the end of round six without either player hitting 16 points.
Should all three points be scored, someone is ahead – or are they?
Demons punishes characters within range one of the objective during the power phase. Outside of a few edge cases, if you’re securing the objective in scoring, you are going to get incinerated before you get a chance to move away. It also means that if you were dazed, and happened to clear an incinerate in clean-up, you’re going to get it right back. The timing of this incinerate often leads to characters being steamrolled off the play area. In many, if not most cases, the dazing character will still be there to capitalize on that incinerate and grab the easy KO.
As of this writing, Demons is one of two E shaped secures. Two, happens to be the magic number for forcing a shape. By including two of the same shaped Secures in your three, you are guaranteeing access to that shape in crisis selection. You only leave one crisis behind, so you will always have one of them. The other available E, Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest (aka, Gamma Waves, Gamma Shelters or simply Gamma), is a dynamic, high scoring crisis that forces the fight to the center of the board. Gamma puts six points up for grabs, twice as many a round as you’ll find on Demons. They are very different crises.
While Gamma’s points and effects typically force players to fight over the shelters, the punishing nature of Demons Downtown puts more pressure on extract scoring. And, while the lingering psychic pressure from Gamma (Gamma’s release predates Demons by nearly a year) may bleed over into a similar approach of prioritizing the secures on Demons, it isn’t always worth it.
You have to ask yourself, why would I want to incinerate one or more characters to score a single point? In reality, Demons might not actually be worth fighting over. Games of MCP are rarely decided by a single point. Of course it happens, and of course there are times when charging the center early is the best choice, or only choice but dropping a second or even third character on the central objective here, especially on an early round, or even round one is leaving them even more exposed than usual.
Does it go without saying that if you’re going to sit on the point, it is rarely worth shaking the incinerate? Because it is rarely worth shaking the incinerate if you’re going to stay on the point, or move to another.
So who wants to play this trash?
Demons is not just a, but the, go to secure for an attrition squad. Wide, narrow. A-Force, Black Order, Magneto led Brotherhood, Red Skull led Cabal, Defenders, Inhumans, X-Force – and plenty more. Asgard, Avengers, Syndicate all have plays here, and the list goes on. Honestly, who doesn’t like playing on this trash?
Well, to start – there’s a bit of a non-bo (or atleast an anti-synergy) with Sin led Cabal. Because her leadership pushes off in clean-up, you can easily find yourself incinerated and your opponent’s pieces healthy and moist. Though, Sin’s insane and might not care – just don’t even contest the points – because that’s how much she loves incinerated models.
Truly there is one faction that would almost alway sprefer to play on anything else: your fRiEnDlY nEiGhBoRhOod WeB wArRiOrS.
Most Web Warriors shudder at the mention, they have too much control for these points, and considering their preference for defensive rerolls, hate being incinerated. Of course, you could always push your Web Warriors into an attrition build, and then, well, this is fine, right?
So What does a game on Demons look like?
In a word? Brutal.
Demons adds a high threat option into the mix, allowing for upgraded models and a higher character count. The constant incinerates can easily lead to a high body count game.
The low-points and incinerates from Demons also allow for some interesting bodyguard plays – keeping your bodyguard just outside of range one on the objective is usually more valuable than the single point they would otherwise score – especially if you’ve got another body on the objective.
How a game on Demons plays out often depends on the extract. As a low scoring, punishing secure it can easily lead to an extract focused game – especially on a multi-extract crisis. No one is going to keep up with a runaway extract train trying to score three points a turn on Demons. The prevalence of Demons Downtown, may even encourage the grab & run-away strategy in a larger meta environment.
Paired with Spider-Infected or Cubes, the points from Demons Downtown are a pittance, an afterthought, something to round out an advantage or try to stay within striking distance. Paired with Research Station Attacked!, you’re looking at a combat focused game, as that researcher tends to stay close to the portals as it gets shuffled between the two home points.
So how can I get my hands on this Crisis?
Demons is currently only available in the Ghost Rider expansion pack. While Defenders affiliated, Ghost Rider has largely been a model without a home since his arrival – which feels somehow true to his character. An absolutely gorgeous sculpt, with plenty of room for modification and hobbying, Ghost Rider stands alone in a single model box with character specific tactics.
While a Defender by affiliation, Ghost Rider pairs nicely with the core set, easily slotting into Avengers or Cabal. The discount on powers and the bonus power really helps ol’ Johnny Blaze start firing off.
Ghost Rider’s reactive abilities shine under Steve Roger’s Captain America Avengers leadership and with his power spread, he pairs really well with a bodyguard. Ghost Rider has a beam attack that dishes out incinerate, which can make him feel a little redundant on his signature Crisis but if the game gets away from the fiery demon portals being relevant, he will make sure everything stays incinerated.
If you’re anything like me, it might hurt your immersion running Ghost Rider with Red Skull Cabal, but his beam attack and builder both love the extra power from that leadership his Hex and Incinerate triggers can help push damage through powering up your whole team.
Another go-to squad for Ghost Rider is Guardians of the Galaxy, and not just because of the Cosmic Ghost Rider tie-in recommended by my immersion. Between his Deal with the Devil tactic card and his passive abilities, Ghost Rider loves riding with a wide squad full of cheap characters. The more guns you can get on target, the more those incinerates add up. Guardians rosters lend themselves to wider than normal builds and the pieces tend to punch above their threat, making attacking Johnny less appealing.
He’s a whopping five threat, but anywhere he can surround himself with juicier targets, bodyguards, or extra power generation, he’s at home.
And that’s about that
From here, it’s up to you. If you’re looking for a slow scoring, incinerate dealing, high threat value, E shaped Secure – Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Next up, we’ll be looking at a breakdown of a brand-new crisis, SWORD Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area. What’s a blue area? Maybe you’ll find out next week!
Obligatory Thanos pic: