Articles From The Danger Room: Where to start when building an X-Force roster Part 2

Welcome back to my article series focusing on X-Force! Our last article in this series we went in depth with our affiliated character. This time we will be diving deep into out of affiliation and what we really want to look for with this.

BUT FIRST! AMG has said on stream that Badger will be affiliated Xforce! So I reckon we can take this as gospel until we are shown otherwise. With that being said let’s take a look at our favorite two threat.


So I say HoneyBadger is our new favorite two threat, you may ask why? Plain and simple core of 10! You may not think that 1 threat value is a major difference but it most certainly is. Plus she’s incredibly annoying on the game table. Badger ( as I will refer to her from now on) is actually really stout for a two. Sure she has 3-2-2 defenses but shes there to get beat up. Due to Anklebiter, which is enemies within range 1 of her suffer -1 Defense die, is incredibly annoying especially in a team that has multiple access to incinerate. So let’s say Domino goes, plops a grenade in, get incinerate. Cool Badger gets in now this model is -2 defense. Add in a bitter rivals if you please and now a -3 defense? I don’t really see this happening all too often but when it does oh boy, lets make Hulk a 1 def sure go ahead and re-roll! However, make sure you read the whole ability as Badger can not benefit from her own anklebiter rule!

With how cool and annoying anklebiter will be your opponent will either ignore her and suffer the -1, try to move her, or hit her which will bring 23 into play with big sis lil sis abilities. So needless to say shes going to be an annoying little 2 threat that your opponent is going to have to work around. Not to mention her having a 5 die builder with bleed, and a spender that puts bleed and slow with a M move evasive trigger just really solid attacks for a 2 threat.

I thought at first that you could run 23 by herself but I have grown to just love this combination. The mobility between the two bouncing around if your opponent hits them, also being able to run Field Dressing and being able to set up the revive on 23 during your opponents activation after they take her out oh man that’s a spicy meatball. Needless to say Badger being affiliated is probably the best thing to X-Force with 23 and really opens our list building up and our effectiveness. Which is why I go with the core of Cable, X-23, and Badger, it makes list building very easy and actually rather effective.


There are a couple of ways of building your X-Force roster that I mentioned in the previous article. We will be starting with my preferred style utilizing a more narrow list with niche picks, and aggressive characters.

I have come to a few realizations when looking at what to bring with X-Force as your unaffiliated characters. Let’s start with the biggest one of all, Re-roll abuse. When we look at characters to bring we should look to who can absolutely abuse the re-roll from the leadership, things like Medusa, Zemo, Black Panther, even Ms. Marvel or my current favorite out of affiliation (OOA) for the team Sorcerer Supreme Dr.Strange. Simply put look at characters that have an innate re-roll and pack a punch. Don’t forget we are leaning aggro heavy with our list and thoughts.

Let me give a quick example, Dr. Strange SS has a re-roll all. So, he rolls a basic builder attack and gets 2 crits and blanks everything else. Cool my 5 die builder just became a 7 die re-roll all, now we roll hit hit wild blank crit skull skull. Because it is Dr. Strange SS he can now use X-Force re-roll to potentially change that skull! It has been quite crazy how efficient of a damage dealer this character has been in this list. Not to mention changing damage types on his daggers attack. Plus he brings some utility that we lack with control to help us with target prioritization or just keeping someone we don’t want to deal with quite just yet away. I am a strong advocate for Dr. Strange SS in this list. (thanks UtilityCookie)

Realization 2:

My second realization, after running badger and 23 in the team for awhile now, is that maybe instead of a 3 threat being your flex pieces, let’s look to 5 threats. If we look at all the 5 threats in the game they are typically power houses, do a lot of damage, and have plenty of utility to mess around with. So we have a core of 10, add strange and we’re at 15 with 4 characters. Now 18 I can add Domino or a flex 3 (would highly recommend Domino) or at 19 I go my core, add a 5 threat that appeals to the match-up or scenario, and then add a 4 threat that I believe works well with the team. This could be Venom, Medusa, or Rogue (who I am currently using) or even if you enjoy Sabre and Wolverine, really this is insert the 4 threat you enjoy playing here that has a purpose.

Realization 3:

Tying into point 2, after your core and let’s say your favorite 5 threat, the rest of the team is really niche picks. That being something for a specific scenario or a bad match-up. If I go with Cable, Domino, X-23, Badger, Dr.Strange SS, and a 4 threat I now have 4 picks that I can use to my advantage to plug holes. Then tying back to point 2, I am strongly leaning towards more 5’s for this, or even a 6.

So… Who Do I Bring?

It’s incredibly hard not to look at the core of Cable, Badger, 23 , Dom, so keep that in mind here. My best advice is follow these realizations that I have IF you are planning on going mono X-Force. Sure you can go super wide and glass cannon aggro gunline, rapid fire for days type of list. This can work, but to be honest this is where I have found the most success with X-Force. Going more narrow, towing the line of attrition with fairly aggressive fast characters. Bring the damage, deny your opponent VP while you’re scoring them! That being said, I can’t really give specific character on what you should bring I don’t think there really is one true answer as there are many builds that you can do. I do think there are guidelines though as I have listed above. Abuse re-roll’s, niche characters that either bring aggro and utility or just aggro, and then go from there.

Some things I would avoid is throwing in too much support. Sure Mordo sounds cool, let’s add more dice, but other than that he isn’t doing a whole lot. We don’t need someone to sit on a back point Cable can do that and shoot the whole map essentially. Okay what about Lockjaw, he can teleport and add dice. We come to again what else is he doing. I truly think if we bring a support piece it needs to be a character that is adding to the aggro. A great example of this is Baron Zemo. He brings great aggro, re-rolls, and movement to fly around the board and score points for us. The thing to think about is Cable is our support piece. Adding too much support really brings down our aggressiveness when we look at these other characters.

What I would look at is character’s that can hit decently enough, impact the play field to support target prioritization (Sam is kinda cool here, or Hulk Buster) or counter control, since this tends to be a weak-spot. This is what lead me to more 5’s in the list is actually good! For instance, we mentioned what strange does, well what if I’m facing a team that is control heavy. Let’s bring in Juggernaut he can’t be controlled quite as much, plus he hits hard, and his Tactic Card that let’s him throw size 4 can help with target prioritization or even pushing a character way out into left field! Take that Hulk! Some other example’s could be Scarlet Witch, she loves the re-roll with her count skulls.

There really is a lot to consider when it comes to picking characters here and believe me I have by no means solved this puzzle. I am constantly changing and reworking this roster to what I am expecting in the meta but this kind of gives you an idea of where I am at and what I look for with my OOA for this build.

Summary of Narrow Build

To wrap up our narrow build considerations, I acknowledge the fact I didn’t really answer anything here besides a few examples and recommendations. I also showed my thought process when looking at characters here. We want that re-roll abuse, characters that can be beneficial in many ways, ( IE Dr. Strange SS) and really look to plug holes with your OOA. With this build the focus is primarily looking at Cable sitting back throwing a shield up for someone who needs it, getting incinerate out. X-23 and Badger will be running a flank typically with someone or straight up the middle depending on scenario. Then you get Strange doing his thing somewhere else. This team is great at 1v1 and lining up your matchups just right in the deployment phase. This can be a great detriment while learning the list as it is IMPORTANT to know your target prioritization. Who can 23 take out easily, who should strange go after. When do I send Badger in, and who is Cable targeting with incinerate. Then your OOA or other characters will be there to support really that aggressive game plan and you should be putting out some serious damage with simple attacks. I mentioned in the last article that VP really isn’t the goal here. VP hunting really should only happen when you realize you are no longer the “beatdown” and you will lose if you don’t. Being able to realize this switch in the tempo of the game is another pivotal aspect to this playstyle as it can happen quite often and find yourself scoring instead of taking models out. We will cover more direct playstyles later when we get into crisis and more specifically your team selection before a game.

Gunline/Wide X-Force

This is your typical X-Force list you will see. More often then not it will be dual affiliated (usually with an X-Men list since there is so much overlap) but the goal will be kill them with rapid fire or multiple actions. It really isn’t a swarm list since you do have a 5 threat leader you are working with but, it is about having efficient activation’s that get you somewhere. For this type of list you will typically see a core of Cable Domino X-23 and Badger going forward I am assuming. Some might disagree with me here, but I truly believe 23 and Badger should go in every X-Force list due to the strain they take off Cable. With this we are looking at a 13 point core at 4 models. 16 we add probably another rapid fire or re-roll abuse model for example Baron Zemo, and you really don’t toe that much into 5 threats and 4 threats nearly as much.

My recommendation would be your core, one 5 threat, and one 4 threat then the rest are filled with 3 threats that can abuse the re-roll, are aggressive damage dealers, or rapid fire style attacks. A big model that is great for this is more likely Winter Soldier. He used to be pivotal to this list to play and now that he’s even better I would still highly recommend him. Another good example to name a few will be Hood, mystic rapid fire, little heal on his kit and actually rather stout when it comes down to it. Mystique, bringing deception could quite possible enable X-23 to start doing things round-1 if your opponent is trying to work around your shenanigans plus rapid fire. She also has some weird jank with wolverine and fastball special or weapon X program that is kinda neat where if you play it during her turn your opponent can’t brace it. One final one I rather enjoyed in this type of build would be gambit. He doesn’t necessarily have rapid fire or craziness. What he does have is a size 3 push on his builder, and 52 pickup plus another great target to No matter the cost if X-23 doesn’t need it.

For your 4 threats that you look to I believe the same rules apply. You can stay in affiliation for flexibility but it isn’t necessary with Badger and X-23. I think the same rules apply though when you’re looking at who to bring here. As for your 5 threat, this one is a little different. You aren’t bringing a bunch of 5’s for niche roles, so you kinda want someone that will give you the most impact. One’s I would strongly consider would be Dr. Strange SS again, Reality Gem Corvus, Ghost Rider ( the thought here is he is extremely mobile and hex + incinerate is really dirty) or maybe even consider going up to a 6 if you choose. The 5 is not necessary by any means, and typically you’re going to be going wider with a bunch of 3 threats and maybe a 4 threat that is more of the goal, drown them with bullets gun-line.

Summary of Gun-line

Again this is your flooded 3 roster, potentially paired with X-Men to fix some games that it can struggle on, and is just kill your opponent with multiple attacks over an activation. A lot of people really double down with the rapid fire attackers and it does work, nothing wrong with a 3 threat taking down a 5 threat because its getting 4 attacks in an activation. This list is also a little flexible in what you’re bringing since you can use your 5 threat slot as a counter slot same with your 4. The bread and butter is straight in your 3’s.

Dual VS. Mono

Currently, I am running Mono X-Force and I think you can run both of these styles with either dual or Mono. It really just is easier to build as mono. However, either is fine, if you feel you are lacking somewhere and X affiliation could help you out then go for it! By far the easiest team to dual with will be X-Men as half our picks are already X-Men affiliated. Plus this can help out with our lower threat options which can really be an issue. I wouldn’t really focus on starting your roster build dual but more so build mono then look if you can dual or if it is even necessary and use what characters you have chosen to choose what your dual affiliation will be. The biggest things to consider is knowing when you’re playing what. I have seen countless times across discords and Facebook posts of people trying to fit dual affiliated with something like Avengers. My reply is typically okay when are you actually playing X-Force because most threat values or scenarios you would honestly be better off just playing Avengers. This is due to the list sacrifices you are making to go dual hence the recommendation to think mono then look at dual after your roster of characters is fairly built.

Closing Thoughts:

I feel like this might have been a harder read then the previous article. I contribute this to trying to wrap my thoughts on this up neatly but it really is not easy by any means. X-Force for me is always the faction of changing my list daily trying this character out or that character and just seeing what feels right and works the best. Then something will come up where it didn’t work how I thought it would or I thought of something different, or even someone brings up have you considered this? I don’t think there really is a one size fits all for this team as there are multiple ways to build and various characters you can be using to fill the holes and shortcomings. That is half the fun though isn’t it? Creating what is yours and seeing how it performs. Hopefully these tips can assist you with picking your OOA and even your in affiliation characters to up your games or make the roster creating process slightly easier. Or I made it more confusing by opening up options you had not quite considered. Either way, I do hope you enjoyed this roster talk and the next article we will be moving into the crisis to consider when looking at X-Force!

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