Another Monday, another First Impressions! This time we’ll be covering the long awaited rules update that AMG just put out this morning. So we’ll be doing some quick first impressions of characters and new tactics as well as discussing the Banned & Restricted list update. And to kick things off we’ll be looking at everyone’s FAVORITE 2 threat, Okoye!
TBH this is a very light touch but I think it’s going to bring her in line. For those of you who are struggling to spot the differences, her Vibranium Spear Blast no longer generates power, and her reroll is defensive. Gone are the days of Okoye being a quiet murderbot and keeping Bodyguard up at all times from spamming Vibranium Spear Blast. She is now a purely defensive piece, which really helps complete the picture of 2 threats and their niche. Want a melee blender? Grab Nebula. Want a ranged backline piece? Look at Rocket or Bullseye. Want a bodyguard? Okoye.
Hoo boy. I did not expect them to go so hard on rehabilitating Bucky. Rapid Fire on his Assault Rifle makes Winter Soldier arguably the highest r5 dice output you’ll see on the table in most games. And if you can find him bonus dice from your Tactics cards he will be an un-evadable r5 blender. As a bit of a concession to his newfound damage output / power generation, Got Your Back now costs 3. I fully expect Bucky to find a place in Sam/Steve Avengers rosters now, and be a serious splash consideration in a ton of places without being an oppressive list building option. Big props!
A quick minor note on Hulk, they quietly nerfed Hulk Not Puny Banner by bumping its cost to 4. I am a HUGE fan of this as Hulk is the number 1 character I was afraid of in the announced changes. Hitting his defensive tools just a bit brings him more in line with what is reasonable to deal with on the table but he’s still going to be an incredibly strong centerpiece.Which brings us to the tactics changes:
Gamma Launch (along with Advanced R&D) must now be played by the active character. No more Turn 1 abuse is HUGE. Also pictured, Rainbow Bridge now no longer allows you to hold extracts to help curb random objective runaway lines. A big part of why I was so worried for new Hulk was Gamma Launch being stapled to a 6 threat that was actually good, so nerfing both the card and new Hulk is nice to see.
Advanced R&D changing probably requires an article into itself but the tempo change is massive. It’s no longer auto-include but if you need to pass power around and don’t mind waiting it’ll still be situationally worth it. Which, to be honest is where you want a universal tactic card to be.
The next big changes – Doomed Prophecy and Pentagram. DP is now an Asgard specific card that only Asgardians can play. Pentagram now costs 3 to play so cannot be played on round 1. Doomed Prophecy I’m stoked on despite it basically killing off Carnage rosters right now, it helps create a compelling niche for Asgardians. Pentagram I’m… less sold on. Yes, it basically removes the threat of turn 1 extract abuse with them, but that was like the only thing going for Defenders teams. The roster building considerations they have to make are not worth the leadership alone. But in general both these changes help remove abusive patterns for the game so I’m quite pleased!
Finally, Ricochet Blast and Thunderwave go down from 2 power/character to play to 1 power/character to play. Considering these cards were largely considered unplayable before I’m glad to see this open up some big combo moves that will feel thematic on the board. I am a BIT worried about Ricochet Blast with new Iron Man but only time will tell.
And finally we come to the B&R list update which we’ve been anticipating for what feels like months at this point:
AYG and Panic banned, Bitter Rivals restricted. Thank GOD. This is going to be a big breath of fresh air for everyone duking it out in AYG blender battles, though I would have liked to see Field Dressing get the boot as well. Doomed Prophecy still being restricted seems a bit odd considering its now an Affiliated tactic, hopefully thats in error.
I now expect to see Sam Spam go Field Dressing + Bitter Rivals or Field Dressing + Brace for Impact going forwards, and that will be the default for most teams with situational value for Medpack + Patch Up in narrow teams like A-Force. But thats still more restricted card diversity than before so more big props to AMG!
All in all I am super pleased with everything we got this morning. Nerf on the biggest remaining outlier, buff for one of the most maligned 3 threats, and a rework of tactics + the B&R that significantly reduces abuse cases. Every move paints the picture that AMG is paying attention and is making efforts to round off the edges to the game. Will it be enough? We’ll see how much we’re complaining at the next B&R update in ~6 months. But for now it’s a big breath of fresh air and I am so excited to tinker with this new meta. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get some updates ready in Assemble 😉
Edit: Some minor details missed caught by readers (thanks Norbert!) – Ultron’s Analyze and Annihilate has returned to normal reroll timing from his revealed card (no more rerolling into crits you can explode unfortunately!), and Black Panther has returned to his Leadership’s original reroll timing + his push is size limited to size 3.
That will wrap us up for this First Impressions article here on acrossthebifrost.com, make sure to check out the Roster Doctor on Facebook, Youtube and Twitch.TV!