As we all know, I have been trying to get somewhere with X-Force for quite some time and advocating certain playstyles, ideas, combinations, thinking one way for so long and hoping something sticks or clicks. I had thought that this previous roster was gold the one that I had taken into the TTS Season 7 League.
|X-Force||Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?, Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest, Infinity Formula Goes Missing!||Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!, Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities, Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!||Baron Zemo, Bullseye, Cable, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Voodoo, Domino, Honey Badger, Medusa, Shuri, X23||Advanced R&D, Bitter Rivals (R), Blind Obsession, Cat and Mouse, Field Dressing (R), Indomitable, Jonathan the Unstoppable, Marked for Death, No Matter the Cost, X-Ceptional Healing|
I ended up going 1-2 in the first three games and there were some holes I had found with more reps and into the more competitive environment that the Leagues end up being. So about game 2 I had started toying with it some more ended up dropping Shuri for Winter Soldier, dropped gamma for cosmic, and really doubled down on the tactic card Jonathan the Unstoppable plays. Then I lost my round 3 game and was out so I had a real just man I let the X-Force fans down moment. I got really down and thought what’s the use it just isn’t going to work. So for the rest of the season I just ran an Xforcemen type list where I thought X-Men shore up the hard points for X-Force. It worked I ended up finishing the season going 3-3 with my last game going into Web Warriors and Mando winning getting him into the tournament portion of the Season 7 League.
However, I want to give a big shout out to the X-Force people on the fan-server discord. We have a little X-Force community there that is constantly working and discussing on what we can do to really make this affiliation click. These folks are my inspiration to keep driving with this team. Even with the loss and me feeling down about it they were there! Words of encouragement to not give up, keep pushing and that these articles, and how I talk about X-Force encourages them. So I got back on this horse and got right back to the drawing board after about a week of thinking I was done with X-Force. (I will put a link below to the discord if you are interested in the fan server and do not have it yet)
I had guested on Omnus Protocol and we discussed the team and he had brought up some interesting picks in our discussion. Some of which, ideas that had been brought up in the fan server before. I had tested and just thought no this doesn’t work it isn’t what the team is doing. Boy was I wrong…. We will get to this discovery shortly. After Omnus, I also got invited to the Gamer’s Guild Podcast to where we discussed a more straightforward approach of what is X-Force what they do who they want etc… Right around this time is when I created this list. so about 3 or so weeks prior to now. I took pieces from both of these conversations, as well as conversations we were having on the discord and came up with this magnificent little gem that as to this date has yet to receive a loss as the list is currently. Sure it’ll happen but it truly is exciting. 100% win rate with an X-Force list sitting at 13 games. Sure it isn’t a big amount of games but still people like numbers.
Contributors to the List
So before we get into the list itself some key people I really want to shout out to helping create this thing are: Omnus from Omnus Protocols, Sooner and Nate from the Gamer’s Guild, Jacob, Sploosh, and Mike from the Danger Room of course. Then the big aha! moment people. Ryan E and AGoose (discord names) These two really got the brain ticking. Ryan especially I swear, they are always in my corner pushing me to try more and more and whacky things that just end up working! They were the one who initially asked me to try Ronan and I tested it didn’t like it and moved on. ( I wish I tested it more!) Then AGoose, I think their suggestion is what sent the list really into its home. One day on the fan server discord I see a comment from them. Have you thought about Seeing Red? I thought what the heck is Seeing Red and why would I think of that. So I looked it up.
HOLY SHNICKIES! why have I not thought of this card before. Let’s think on this for a minute. X-Force typically across their games really are fairly close together in little power squads. Whether that be 23 and Badger, Medusa, Bucky, Cable, Zemo, whoever! You really run in duos or trios while you’re playing your game. So the possibilities for this card to meet requirements are extremely high. Next, you are playing with characters who REALLY hit hard typically speaking. Whether you’re stacking pierce attacks or just heavy hitting attacks it is just punishing. Next X-Force Leadership! What a way to really make it shine, as the Leadership works in this situation. So let me lay something down for you here. Your opponent attacks 23, Badger uses Too Difficult to ignore, they hit Badger ending up dazing her. 23 then can use Seeing Red, do a builder or EVEN a SPENDER! This card does not limit you to a 0 cost attack! so you can easily Spender off it or do whatever attack you wish! Then to top it off sprinkle in a little X-Force love with that “awful” leadership that is a reroll and boom who knows maybe you just stopped someone in the middle of an activation. So thank you AGoose for this little gem. It truly has become a staple to my X-Force list building cards.
Alright the moment you all have been waiting for. If you have not seen this list yet you may scratch your head or wonder huh? These characters are typically sub par to others? I don’t get it? Well here we go!
The Clap Back Squad
[Characters] – Baron Zemo: 3 – Cable: 5 – Domino: 3 – Honey Badger: 2 – Hood: 3 – Ronan the Accuser: 4 – Sabretooth: 4 – Thanos, the Mad Titan: 6 — Infinity Gem: Mind: 1 – Winter Soldier: 3 – X-23: 3
[Team Tactics] – Advanced R&D – Brace for Impact – Cat and Mouse – Field Dressing – Jonathan the Unstoppable – Mission Objective – No Matter the Cost – Sacrifice – Seeing Red – X-Ceptional Healing
[Extract Crises] – Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown! [C]: 20 – Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities [D]: 18 – Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership [C]: 17
[Secure Crises] – Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? [E]: 19 – Infinity Formula Goes Missing [B]: 17 – Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0 [D]: 17
Alright let’s break this down. Your affiliated characters are as follows: Cable, Domino, Badger, 23, and SABRETOOTH ( wait what?) Let me explain before you just stop reading this as I recommend Sabre.
1: He is affiliated
2: He has a counter attack
3: Long Mover
4: X-Ceptional Healing target
5: People underestimate him
Sabretooth has done nothing but work for me within this list. The initial thought came from me throwing Thanos in here and thinking well what do I do when I cant play Thanos, I need a scenario element that can still play to this theme. So I went with Sabre. He actually rather performs, I have seen a few people say well he dies too easy or he doesnt hit hard enough, why bring him when you can bring 23. I say to this let us look at Sabretooth as he is thematically. He is a bully he hunts people he knows he can pick on and when he does it on someone who can fight back Sabre is typically punished for it in the comics. So lets apply this to the game and WOW it works exactly the same. Use Sabretooth as an objective piece, utilize your matchmaking pieces to give him the most optimal and efficient actions. Use cards like Sacrifice to make people attack him and then boom! Clap Back.
The next big interesting piece of course is Thanos. I had these thoughts of cool with Ronan, Sacrifice, Seeing Red, 23, and Bucky I have all these things that are great into Attrition or killing style teams. So how can I shore up the scenario game with one piece. I ultimately came across that answer being Thanos and with the Mind due to how much this could impact board state more so than Space or Power. With Thanos you have the ability to impact what matchups are happening, bring someone in who grabbed an Extract and nuke them to steal an extract from your opponent or move them off a Secure! Which this has me asking, if there is a hole in your roster do you just put a Thanos of some variety? Anyways, as you can see the roster is definitely changed up quite a bit over time and it is in my opinion the best I have ever had XForce at personally. I will say others may find success in other builds but this by far has been my favorite and most successful.
The other interesting bit I think here is Hood. So for me Hood could be Deadpool but I decided to go with good ol’ demon boy. The reasoning here is they both are good defensively into mystic, Hood brings a lot of scenario aspects as well as killing same with Deadpool. Also Deadpool is extremely tempting here especially with Thanos. The thought being you run Cable DP Thanos then whatever else fits, in all reality you could just drop cable and run a death machine of Thanos, DP, 23, Badger, and build from there if you wanted it is an option. Anyways, DP wants to be on his injured side, so bang, you hopefully trigger with his reroll maybe XForce reroll and then Death’s Decree from Thanos the second shot upping your odds of bulling off a triple bang. That would be 16 dice, 3 rerolls from DP and 1 from X-Force, even more if you can squeeze Baron Zemo in here all for one action. It is pretty nutty I would say. However, Hood brings mystic attacks, and we have a list that is completely void of anything mystic related for offense, so we slot Hood in over Deadpool.
Alright so the meat and potatoes, as I mentioned earlier I felt that the Clap Back Squad is great against attrition teams so its as simple as that. Facing an attrition team or the scenario leans more towards dazes and KO being more important? Play some form of the list that involves Bucky, Ronan, or Sabretooth. If you can fit all three even better! The wildest interaction I have had is probably opponent targeting Ronan, Ronan then gets to Kree Justice (as well as put Judgement out) Ronan doesn’t daze the character however, Sabre is nearby who pops Seeing Red, which he uses to use a Spender, which again does not quite kill the model who so aggressively attacked poor Ronan, but then triggers his Finisher ability to make a second attack reroll any into any target within range 2 of Sabretooth. Who then proceeds to smack someone else and dazing them. Finally Bucky uses Got your Back and proceeds to finish the original character off with an assault rifle attack. So let us look at this situation, sure it costs a lot of power and the likelihood of being able to pull this off is not very high however, the potential of this happening is insane. You just dazed or KO’d two models on your opponents activation more than likely in the middle of the activation. Now let us talk more realistic. Opponent targets X-23, we sacrifice over to Ronan or Sabretooth either works, it really just depends if we think they will kill Ronan or if Sabretooth will live. Then we go from there with very similar sequence of events. With this squad you should be triggering anywhere from 2-3 counter attacks if they are hitting Ronan or Sabretooth. Then the fun part is if they don’t attack them well they’re just going to do what they want. This is as I am calling it “The ClapBack Squad”
Next we have our attrition plan set, what about Web Warriors or Wakanda they don’t want to attack me? Well here comes Thanos with this list you can get Thanos in an Affiliated X-Force with Cable at the cheapest 17 threat, even less if you decide to go leaderless. Thanos shores up our scenario by the amount of movements he is bringing to the team. That really is it, Thanos brings so much game state changing possibilities it lets you keep up with those scenario teams, either you will bring in their extract holder to nuke them with your killers, any of them you’re bringing as this whole list is full of them. Maybe you want to throw Dormamu even as Thanos has a wild no size limited throw on his attack. Anyways I don’t think I need to go too deep into Thanos most people by this time know what he does and how he does it! He also is just super annoying to deal with and I definitely think he is a solid choice here to shore up our scenario weaknesses.
Thirdly we have the mixture of the two. When you can run Cable Sabretooth, Thanos and either Bucky or Domino or 23 now you have a really solid combination I really like this 19 and is can play exceptionally well. Another split is if you are going into a spammy list you have a plethora of 3’s that are affiliated or make affiliation (Bucky) that allow you to not be overwhelmed by numbers. So again I truly think this is a very well rounded out list.
So let us start with Extracts, I have really grown away from the multi-extract game, one X-Force really isn’t that great with it unless you run wide, which as we can see I don’t. Cubes is cool with Healing Factor people but I truly am not a fan and don’t think it actually has a benefit as the Cube damage and Healing Factor timing really don’t line up, if your opponent has Priority, that Cube damage is still a big factor. Then Spider Infected, ew spiders, we don’t want to be getting moved around. Positioning is really key to a good X-Force game especially when you are trying to keep in ranges to do things like Badger Too Difficult to Ignore or pop off Seeing Red, or now using Thanos, Death’s Decree. So it kinda is like we really don’t want to be imparting anymore movements against us then we have to. Montesi used to be really good for us but the only time it is good is when we have Prio, for Cable to Body Slide up shoot someone, then walk back to safety. This isn’t a guarantee anymore so I don’t really care to take it. Senators? Well I guess it is alright if you want to take a 5 threat leader at 14 or play leaderless, I was banking on this one for awhile but the real thing is, that one off-chance I run into someone playing SWORD, and now I am forced to play at 14. Not so ideal… Legacy Virus? Unless you have a game plan to play Legacy and WIN on it don’t take it, there are too many teams that have Legacy Virus Shenanigans that we don’t have so why give your opponent the win at turn zero. Then Research Station and Herbs are kind of the same thing here in my opinion. So that leaves us with Skrulls, Hammers, and Kree core.
Skrulls and Kree Core are essentially the same mission just different threat value and different things happen while you hold the Objective. Key thing here is DON’T ROLL FOR THE THINGY. Let your opponent find it, if you are going with a Thanos build then you just go fishing reel them in kill them and take it. The only time you should be rolling for the Thingy is when it would be extremely bad for it to be in the other spots and extremely good for you if you picked it up there. For instance Miles is on your LEFT Kree core, along with Black Cat, and let’s say venom. 23 is on your Right Kree Core with Thanos and Cable. In this instance YOU ROLL FOR THE KREE CORE. As it would be very bad if your opponent was able to get it on the other side and you are now working to get across the board before they just zip away. Luckily Thanos is there to get some teleport shenanigans going so it is not as bad. Then if you get the Kree Core on your side? Oh that is just money, you end up just holding the fort down let them come to you, focus down Cat or a Voodoo so they cant steal it and boom it is pretty much a sealed fate at that point minus some crazy things happening.
Hammers, this one you should typically be able to go 2-2 for round 1 if you didn’t either your opponent has some crazy jank or you messed up. But never fear THANOS IS HERE! again if something happens or even if it doesn’t, Thanos can move Cosmic Portal, Mind Stone someone in and now you have 3 hammers round one! If you are not running Thanos you will typically go to parity and its down to the secure on who is scoring more.
As for the Secures. I still truly believe Infinity to be a staple for X-Force as Cat and mouse just plays so well on it and boy does everyone love some power. Not to mention the shape is just good for the team. I love me a good B Shape for X-Force. Ones that I would rule out instantly are going to be: Terrigan, I used to love running this with X-Force because the poison immunity, its spread, better fights happen whatever you want to say. So it isn’t terrible but what is terrible is it never really plays out how you expect. You might as well call this mission where is the Extract. Mostly because in this world of MCP we currently live in it is mostly Single Extracts. This makes things like Terrigan and Fisk feel really bad when the Extract is found my the opponent ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOARD. So now you have a decision. Do I sacrifice this point to go all the way over there or do I just leave a 5 threat or whatever threat character completely out of the game now. Just my two cents on these style missions. Not to mention your opponent will just move the thing farther away to remove you further from the fight. Gamma? it is alright for us just the threat value is eh, I wouldnt play it unless you build planning on it like you are bringing a Shuri or something. Cosmic Portal isn’t bad only because of Jonathan, you can place him down round 1 with Advanced RND and not worry too much about being pushed off the points. Spider portals I despise, it really can hurt when you miss the claim and get placed away from where you want to be I would highly recommend not taking this. Scoundrels, I think helps our opponent too much against us, we really don’t want to be giving our opponent free cover. This is not a terrible scenario for us but it really isn’t one I want to be bringing myself. Intrusions, I love the C shape and I love the teleport, especially with Healing Factor Characters. I think this one is actually a solid option to bring I just don’t because I like to leave Jonathan as an option for me. Meteors, I like it especially with bringing in Ronan. I was running this for a bit my biggest issue was the all or none style scenario, one bad turn and you start falling really behind, and you really can’t bank on winning it every turn when you’re asking for your characters to get hit. SWORD: HAHAHAHAHA NO. 14 threat, all or nothing winner gets to move opponents models. Just no….. X-Force is not bad at this but at 14 it is rough, I really don’t want to be providing an option for the game to be at 14 if I can avoid it.
So that leaves us with Demon’s Downtown, Extremis, and Infinity Formula as our choices. Again you could run Intrusions or Meteors if you like or even Cosmic Invasion. To me the staple is Demon’s and Infinity then I still am not sold on Extremis. I am floating on this one. As I said I like to play Jonathan when I can so Extremis fits this, it also makes your build look very Scenario focused especially when you have Jonathan in your line up. So you could end up tricking someone while you are in Turn Zero to think you’re going scenario X-Force when in reality you are going complete annihilation. So I like that, Plus the heal is really cool, and we really are not bad at D Shapes. Demon’s seems obvious to me, Jonathan your back Demon portal and push hard your opponent won’t be able to remove Jonathan and you are being aggressive so you just scoop up the other points and it becomes a struggle for your opponent to keep up as you aren’t worried about that back point whatsoever.
Advanced R&D – Brace for Impact – Cat and Mouse – Field Dressing – Jonathan the Unstoppable – Mission Objective – No Matter the Cost – Sacrifice – Seeing Red – X-Ceptional Healing
This Article has gone on quite long so I will keep this portion short. I already discussed Seeing Red, RND, Jonathan, Cat and Mouse, and Sacrifice. (side note its also good to trigger round 1 23 movements if your opponent won’t attack Badger) We should also all know why I play No Matter the cost and X-Ceptional Healing. The big ones to hit on are Brace ( I almost feel like dropping this just as it never gets played anymore.) Really this is only here for Brotherhood or big throwing teams. Field Dressing, well we want our people to get hit, they’re gonna get Dazed so we bring this to keep them in longer. PLUS Ronan getting Field Dressed after doing an accuser and then doing another one in the same turn is quite good. Then we get Mission Objective. We are playing the Single extracts here so it could be quite handy to have if you do go Thanos Build more scenario focused. I have yet to actually use this card so it could be a flex spot similar to Brace.
Finally, we are here what a long article my apologies, but as we all know by now I truly am a fan of this Affiliation and just want to share my thoughts with the community. I would really like to see X-Force climb the competitive ladder and be at the top! As well I truly enjoy sharing my findings and seeing others have success with it. As well we gotta show all the people who say X-Force are bad wrong right?! We are all in this together and I really hope you enjoyed this read even though it was lengthy! If you have any questions you can always find me on the various discords as Dyzard! Until next time…. After publishing I realized I forgot Ronan breakdown, so we will cover this in the next article!
X-Force Fan server discord: https://discord.gg/c2abTDjHPN
If you have not checked out the other X-Force articles here they are! https://acrossthebifrost.com/category/blogarticles/articles-from-the-danger-room/
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Also if you haven’t, check out The Danger Room Podcast on your favorite podcast app or however you listen to them, we put out weekly content with a competitive focus with topics ranging from meta picks, to understanding competitive concepts, and pretty much anything under the sun that could be looked at in a competitive mindset! We also have a discord that you can join, chat and ask anything you like https://discord.gg/ZXnTbxQ468