We have…we have some troubling news. The Black Order, lead by Thanos himself, have descended on New York. They have made a list of demands. To be heard, to be feared, to be played. My god, the humanity. These brutes have been making their way into lists left and right and we should all fear their power! What kind of dastardly deeds are these monsters capable of? Why are they so good? Will Thanos ever get the wrinkles out of his chin? Let’s find out!
The Pros of Black Order
The Black Order’s pros cannot be understated. They are unobtrusive in your list, only taking up 3 out of your 10 slots. Each character comes stock standard with DR1 (Thanos even has no minimum of 1 associated with it which is really nice), which makes the group so much more durable than many people think that they may be. Something we have to take into account is that each time you attack with a five dice builder, more often than not you will be gaining three successes and the defense dice of your opponent may be 1 or 2. With DR 1, it always turns that potentially world shattering hit from your opponent into usually something very manageable. Corvus especially loves it because he is rarely seen without the reality stone. With a reality stone, Corvus has a ~56% of suffering 0-1 damage from 5 dice attacks. For reference, that means your opponent has to beat on corvus twice a round with 3 characters to daze him. Next, the squad is an offensive monster, chock full of potential throws (for a small squad that is), damage, and a niche ability to very rarely lose priority. If you are playing Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive, their husband and wife ability creates scenarios that require your opponent to be cognizant of a 1 power Follow Me on two very mobile characters. Speaking of mobility, Proxima has a teleport and Corvus has a medium move built into his spender while both have access to Mothership as a TTC and a potential Space Stone move from Thanos. Finally, Thanos. Thanos in and of himself is a force of nature, sporting a place, increased offensive punch for others, slow, push, throw, and DR1 with no minimum. By the way, this is without gems. Thanos has 2 key features that set him apart from everyone, yes even in addition to his already fantastic slew of abilities. He can take 2 gems and his gems cost nothing to activate. This is massive because it essentially makes him an 8 threat character that you can customize for your murder dreams to come true that gains 3 power a turn. So, to recap:
- Good durability
- Good mobility
- Murder hobos
- Smoll Boiz Squad
- Has a good chance of keeping priority…to do more murder hoboing
- An overabundance of bling
The Cons of Black Order
Black Order isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Spreading them out for scenario play does stop some of their onslaught. Remember, this is a game about scenarios and while murder can help win the scenario game, it is not the end all be all of the win condition. Speaking of murder, the Black Order as a stand alone group loses a lot of punch the moment any of them dies. Take for instance my old go to Roster at 17: Miles, Gwen, (Moon Knight or Black Cat), Corvus Glaive w/ Reality Stone, and Proxima Midnight. 5 characters is a lot to deal with and, to be honest, we can replace Corvus and Proxima here with generic 5 and 3 or 2 4s for the example’s purpose. A 17 Black Order list will generally look like Thanos w/ 2 gems, Corvus w/Reality, Proxima. You automatically play 1 down if you took 2 gems on Thanos and you play a 2 if you play Thanos at 7. So you are almost always down at least a man or 2 versus other rosters. Once you lose one person, the game becomes exponentially harder. In addition, if you murder to much, you will lose priority. A Black Order player is always looking to see where he can or cannot lose priority as it can oftentimes be the difference between winning and losing the game. Speaking of numbers, Black Order traded in flexibility for rigidity and cheaper stones when the update hit. Gone are the days of Gems taking up slots which allowed Black Order to pick and choose based on their scenarios and here are the days where Black Order must stick with its gem choices. So, to recap:
- You are playing an elite army, and elite losses are felt very quickly.
- Your points are rigid.
- To much murder can lose you the game.
- You are selfish with your bling.
Black Order Tactics
Thanos Tractor Beam: The Thanos Tractor Beam is one of my favorite moves to pull on the opposition as your opponents generally have a harder time gauging where R4 is. What you need to pull this off is just the Mind Stone and an opponent willing to get too close to you. Generally, I let my opponent make the first move as I am usually pulling Black Order onto very specific maps (E’s and C’e are the bread and butter with certain B’s doing really well too). All you do is move Thanos up within R4 of the enemy and then Cosmic Portal the target to you and then Mind Stone them Small. If you were able to achieve this R4 pull with only 1 move then you can proceed to punch them and possibly throw them back into a waiting Proxima and Corvus.
Cosmic Tide: Cosmic Tide is very simple, you need a lot of power. To portal an individual Thanos only needs 2 power. Considering he is able to generate up to 3-4 a turn this shouldn’t be too difficult. You are able to portal as many times as you have power, giving Thanos up to 5 places and a possible 1 advance with the Mind Stone. You are able to literally move entire teams off of points from R4 with a fully powered Thanos. The fun doesn’t stop there, if you have the Mind and Space Stone, you can literally drag your own team around and the enemy team together for the ultimate death cage match. Thanos’ ability to control a battlefield is almost obscene and is very much worth the 8 points for two stones he is. All of his attacks and abilities are designed for murder and control, so abuse that aspect of him to get the most bang for your buck.
Husband and Wife: All you need is Proxima and Corvus. Let Thanos go first after passing a few turns to set up the field and start with Proxima. She doesn’t need the power quite as much as Corvus does as her builder is, in my opinion, harder hitting than her spender while Corvus turns into a blender on his spender. I find with Black Order, timing is key and knowing when to pop off and when not to pop off is important. Master this move early for best results.
Instant Insertion: What you need for this is Mothership. Being able to fly a member of the Black Order from across the map is massive and this allows for a rapid insertion that your opponent may not be expecting in order to tip fights very much in your favor. Thanos getting rocked? incoming Corvus. Need a quick husband and wife? Dynamic entry. Need to pick up groceries? You know Mothership is right.
Finish Him!: You need the squad and execute. You need 6 power on Corvus. 2 Power on Thanos. And, finally, you will need to be able to find new friends as you banish some fool to the shadow realm. With an Execute round Thanos empowered Death Blow, you have a better than 40% chance of dealing 6-7 damage to a single character. If you have the power for a Glaive’s Edge empowerment then that total goes up to about 10-11. This is considering Corvus has 9 dice on this attack. Again, use this only if you don’t like friendship or magic.
Should I take Black Dwarf and Ebony Maw
No. Moving On.
Should I really not take Black Dwarf and Ebony Maw?
No, you really shouldn’t. Take any other 4 in the game and Scarlet Witch and save money on the therapy bills you would have had to attend after using these two. In all seriousness, these two aren’t bad persay. They just are overshadowed hard by other characters in the game. If you want a ranged beater then you can always go with Scarlet Witch, Cable, or Jean Grey. If you want a big burly beef cake then you have some solid options in Black Panther, Omega Red, and Colossus. I will say this though for Black Dwarf, he works very well outside of faction, specifically in X-Men and Midnight Sons as a bunny hopper on the cheap. A R1 or more leap is massive on his base. I just don’t think his current iteration is 4 threat worthy in Black Order.
Should you Play Black Order?
Yes. They are a top tier army with a lot of splashability in almost any roster. They are making such an impact that people are bringing specific units to counter their game play. If you like running elite groups that can do almost everything, then they are for you. Stick to slower games where their ability to score VP through murder can be weighted in your favor. Skrulls and Alien Ships are kind of the bread and butter for the team and keeping fights clumped together makes their game plans work wonderfully. Some team tactics cards I would recommend are Execute, Mothership, Medpack, Follow Me, and either Field Dressing or Bitter Rivals. Getting thrown sucks, so you will also want to consider Indomitable and possibly Brace for Impact as one of your 2 Restricted cards. This means you have to choose between Brace, Medpack and Bitter Rivals. Choose wisely.
Black Order plays very well on certain maps and threat limits. 15 (with 1 gem Thanos) 16, 18 and up are all good places for Thanos and Friends to live. You will want to bring a squad like Web Warriors, certain X-Men comps, Guardians of the Galaxy, and maybe even Sam Spam Avengers to partner with the Black Order squad. You will have enough flexibility to bring the three main units of Black Order while having 7 out of affiliation slots to fill in affiliation easily. My favorites are Web Warriors, as they slot in Black Cat easily and play well at almost any threat or Sam Spam Avengers because they slot in Voodoo and can do the same bit as Web Warriors to an extent.
Good luck out there citizens, and let us all welcome our new alien overlords.
Till next time Webslingers