Welcome back to another edition of Strategic Initiative! This time, I’ll be going over some of the turn 1 extract options that are available to the Uncanny X-Men, under Storm’s leadership, X-Men Gold. As a quick reminder, here’s what it does:
The Storm hop let’s one of your characters, within R2 of another, place themselves within R1 of the other character, provided they’re not holding an objective token. This ability is what lets X-Men have a wide array of «safe» extract plays, meaning that they end their activation behind the central line after picking an extract that was placed in the middle. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the options of F (Cubes and Spider-Infected) and J shapes (Skrull), but they both apply to any scenarios that have 1 or more extracts on the central line.
Before we begin, let’s look at the rest of what we need in order to achieve those safe extract plays.
To Me, My X-Men, combined with the X-Men jump, lets the affiliation threaten to safely grab multiple extracts provided the models were deployed correctly. Let’s look at the options it opens up on an F shaped map (Cubes and Spider-Infected). First Class also lets Storm interact on round 1 even if she plays To Me, My X-Men, so it’s worth taking into consideration.
If Storm is deployed relatively centrally, a character with a long move (or a 50mm base character with a medium move) deployed directly across an F extract token and Beast deployed further to the side of the map, you can have Storm spend a power to play To Me, My X-Men on Beast, have him move short and within R2 of your long mover, then choose to activate that character, have them hop over Beast, then they can grab either the token on your opponent’s side of the board or the central one if it’s still available then have your long mover get back to safety.
There is another available alternative, in affiliation, that you can use to safely grab either the central extract or the opposing one, without overexposing your character. With Magik, provided the Team Tactics Card First Class is played, you can have a similar set up with Beast and Storm and have her jump over Beast, use Limbo Step for 1 power to place within R1 of her current position, then go to either grab the token on your opponent’s side or the central one the move back. Doing it with Magik leaves her further exposed than with a long mover but still behind the central line and relatively safe.
I would advise grabbing your opponent’s token only when you don’t have the first activation of a round as your opponent is likely to grab the central one with their safe extract play if they have one, especially if they have priority. Since X-Men is an affiliation that tends to want to pick their Secures during crisis selection, if you don’t have priority, you can make sure to take the best board edge and choose the left or right side of the board that is least impacted by terrain. The advantage of this trick is that it can let you get ahead 3-2 on extracts regardless of who has priority without overexposing your characters.
Next, we get to the J shape (Skrull) which is one of the scenarios where X-Men can threaten to safely grab the most extracts and we’ll see exactly how.
The first one is available to most X-Men characters as it requires being affiliated and at least a 35mm base with a medium movement to execute. Just like Beast in the previous example, you want to deploy your model a bit offset to the actual token you want to go for, as the 90° is permissive but you still want to give yourself some margin to manoeuvre effectively. Here’s what it looks like in practice.
First, we have Storm play To Me, My X-Men! on Magik which has her move short towards Storm, then take a medium move to get to the central objective, letting her move back to safety. Since the requirement for this setup is relatively minimalistic, you can deploy a character in a similar fashion to Magik on both sides of the board to threaten multiple points and adjust your strategy with your opponent’s (this setup also works great on C shaped scenairons). Combined with the X-Men jump, it let’s the X-Men player grab 2 extracts from the central line and still have the characters holding them be safe from most things in MCP.
Next for the two central tokens, we have something that’s close to a classic X-Men central grab but has some key differences.
As we can see here, since the two central tokens are a little behind the midline, a character with a 35mm base and a long move (or a character with a 50mm base and a medium move like Beast) can simply move and grab the token and have another action left. Once again Magik offers a similar option with First Class and Limbo Step. But why threaten to grab only 3 points when you can do 4? If you have a character on a 50mm base and either another 50mm base character or a long mover, you can even threaten to grab the extract on your opponent’s side of the board.
By having both a long mover or two 50mm base characters, you can get to any of the 4 extracts tokens and bring them back to your side of the board with little fear of retaliation. As with the F extract setup, I would advise to not take any necessary risks and avoid grabbing your opponent’s token unless it’s necessary to maintain parity of extracts.
This gives an idea of just what the Uncanny X-Men are capable of when lead by Storm. As usual, I encourage everyone to try these set ups for themselves and to not be afraid of experimenting and coming up with strategies on your own.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and as always, don’t forget to have fun!