Welcome back! Today we’re going to dig into something a little different and delve into what’s been popularised as X-Men Red.
X-Men Red is very different from its namesake team in the comics, this version is named after its two main splashes; Red Skull, Master of Hydra and Red Guardian. The main idea is to leverage Red Skull’s Grunts, which are on a 50mm base, to give him the opportunity to attack twice almost every turn because, with his empowered gauntlets, he can deal a frightening amount of damage.
Core: Storm, Colossus, Honey Badger, Red Skull, Red Guardian, Cable
Storm: Her job is similar to the one she has in X-Men Gold. Move around the board and try to score points away from the action, while throwing a model off points once in a while.
Red Skull, Master of Hydra: Red Skull is the centerpiece of this roster and most of it is designed around enabling him as much as possible. Having a 6 dice attack at R3 that can count blanks is very strong and can go through a significant amount of models. Having a 50mm base, with grunts that also have a 50mm base makes Red Skull reliably able to use the X-Men Jump to be where he needs to be and make sure he attacks twice (counting blanks) every turn as much as possible.
Colossus: Colossus is the first and prime defensive layer for the roster. His first and most important job is to protect Red Skull. With his defensive stats, the Cover provided by X-Men Gold and innate damage reduction, Colossus is one of the most resilient bodyguards in the game. On his healthy side, he can boost his defense dice against physical and energy attacks and on his injured side, he counts blanks against the same attack types. Being able to throw size 3 terrain is also relevant, as it can help chip in some damage if needed.
Honey Badger: The second defensive layer to help protect and enable Red Skull. With the combination of Too Dangerous to Ignore and Anklebiter, she can both protect Red Skull and help him hit harder. The combination of Colossus’s Bodyguard and Badger’s taunt creates a pretty effective protection shell around Red Skull and because she has access to X-Ceptional Healing, Badger gains a lot of resiliency.
Red Guardian: The second character, giving this roster its namesake, Red Guardian is there to add another layer of control on top of those the team already has. With his Tactic Card Comrade’s Keeper, he can protect Red Skull when Colossus and Badger can’t, use the R2 place on the card to set up a future X-Men jump and hopefully throw the model that attacked. Worth noting, since the place is R2, it’s pretty easy to give Red Guardian cover under Storm’s leadership, which you can choose to selectively apply to make sure you take as few points of damage as possible while still getting to throw the attacking model. Finally, because he is able to push size 3 on his builder and throw them on his spender, he offers a solid and reliable source of control which the rest of the team lacks.
Cable: The last piece that I would consider a core of this build and the most arguable one. Cable acts as a second 5 threat in a roster that is already centered around one, so the opportunities to make him shine are fewer but it’s still worth mentioning. He can incinerate models from pretty far away, which, when combined with Anklebiter, can melt opposing characters. He also brings another 50mm base and very importantly, the ability to throw terrain up to size 4, which is something the rest of the roster wants.
As for scenarios, I would tend to gravitate towards single extracts like Alien Ship or Skrull in order to slow the game down and give the team time to work. As for Secures, Demons, Intrusions and other B, C and E shaped scenarios are the ones I would lean on again for a slower game where Red Skull doesn’t have to be mobile and can use the X-Men jump as his only movement.
Overall, I think X-Men Red has competitive legs in (at the time of writing) the meta. I don’t think it is as good as a classic X-Men Gold list, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it have decent tournament results and it gives a very different option to build and X-Men roster. If you want to learn more about X-Men Red, you can listen to this episode of Omnus Protocol where Charles and I discuss our own takes and experimentations with the roster in more detail.
Thanks and as always, don’t forget to have fun!