New Core Set hot takes part 11, Winter Soldier, Operative

So we’ve reached the 11th and final part of the series and as a first have to use the old character art as there isn’t a clean shot of the new one anywhere to be found at the moment.

Bucky is kind of both the most and least exciting character in Earth’s mightiest core set. He is the only addition to the original cast of 10 characters aside from Ultron gaining Drone Grunts and Carol being an actual transformation character now. Will Shick said they specifically added him in to give players that little Roster building feeling right out of the core set in having to choose one character to stay out of the roster. Bucky was a pretty fitting character to be that 11th person in the box as he can be very well explained on every inch of the ultimate hero to ultimate villain spectrum. He faces a big problem though in competing with his on other version, who might be the most splashed 3 threat, if not overall character, in the game.

Let’s look at his new card:

From Jarvis Protocol

This version of Bucky has some big differences to his other self: His builder has 5 dice but no rapid fire and more importantly he now has Stealth and hit and run. He also isn’t a Rogue Agent this time around.

Concussion grenade is really the most interesting thing he does with a guaranteed Stun and the potential for an AoE Shock. I feel like this the thing you take him for. Sure he can hang back and shoot people from stealth range but do you want to spent 4 threat for that? For me that’s a no but your mileage may vary. We haven’t seen the backside of his card yet but overall he has a really hard time to sell himself for me personally. His spender is great if you get the triggers and Kill box is fantastic in concept and rarely relevant in actual games. I know how often I got to play Trick or Treat with Goblin which is the same superpower. You kind of never have the power to actually do it.

I think he may be fine with Mighty Cap to help with the AoEs on his two spenders but outside of that I don’t think he edges out any other 4 threats. Even Avengers themselves have no shortage of great 4 threats either.

I’m sorry to end the series on such a negative note but I think Winter Soldier, Operative is the clear cut worst character in the new box. So that will of course mean he will be vital in all future big tournament wins 😅

We do get a tactics card though that is interesting in two ways:

From Jarvis Protocol

First it has an interesting distinction as it specifies a James “Bucky” Barnes with the Spetsnaz training superpowers leaving room for AMG to create for example a WW2 Bucky that wouldn’t have the superpower and couldn’t play the card as it would make no sense for him to be able to.

Also interesting is the card itself. It might give a hint at where WSO might be affiliated but I wouldn’t take that as confirmation.

The effect seems extremely powerful on first look. Where it’s undoubtedly strong effect begins to mild down a bit is who the actual current leaders are that would be the counter part to it. We’ll go over them one by one and generally assume the card is played by old Winter Soldier who I think will remain a lot more common than 4 threat version.

Criminal Syndicate:

Kingpin: Mayor Fisk doesn’t present a favourable target for your opponent on the best of days making cover and the shoot back attack rarely relevant.

Shadowlands Daredevil: Bucky is a staple on SLDD teams but with Radar Sense and Stealth Possessed Matt is also rather defensible in his own right. Might sometimes be worth it but having to keep Bucky in 2 hurts his attack economy most likely.

M.O.D.O.K Scientist Supreme: Could work out OK but has active anti-synergy with Nudoks “Genius requires sacrifice, YOUR sacrifice to be exact”. As you change the target character with it. Probably still the best use of the card in CS.

Klaw: would be more interesting if you’d actually consider making Klaw your leader. May be helpful when your for example versatile strategy into Klaw from SLDD.


Baron Helmut Zemo: it’s a tactics card that doesn’t cost power so you’re wasting your leadership! Also Zemo himself needs to move around the board a lot to be worth his threat and it can get hard for Bucky to keep up.

Baron Strucker: honestly a pretty good fit. But how often won’t there be a better target for your opponent than Strucker? You’d also have to decide whether to have Bucky join the Baron in close quarter fights, if you’d want Strucker to hang back with Bucky or if you break them up and basically loose a tactics card.

Red Skull, Master of Hydra: This can help mitigate Red Skull 2s only weakness in not being able to change his armour reactively. Sure, cover won’t also save him but will make a difference overall. For him you also feel a lot less bad to have Bucky waddle around after him to keep him in range 2.


Red Skull: could form a decent back of the table tag team with Bucky and be annoying. But how often would you ever be able to trigger the superpower?

Sin: If you ever bring Sin to be your leader she has a giant target on her face. So bringing in Bucky with the card for her doesn’t seem outlandish. But honestly while Sin is much better than people give her credit for she is still not a good leader.

Red Skull, Master of the World: Similar problems as with RS1. Add to that, that he wants some power battery characters whose power he can spend near him rather than someone who uses power reactively. It has synergy with the leadership though as it is in a turn.

Malekith: oh boy. If the game didn’t need anything it was a buff to Malekiths durability. Sure everything I said above about WS not being able to keep up is amplified here by Mal being amongst the fastest models in the game. But on the flipside Range 2 of the giant base is a lot more area of the table than Range 2 of a 35mm base. Also getting punished for trying to damage Mal which is hard enough as it is will turn up the bad feelings in a big way. And don’t forget it is a turn so you might even trigger that beyond ridiculous leadership of Mal should Bucky daze or KO the person dumb enough to attack Mal. Will this combo replace Mystique and deception? Probably not but it will be a very annoying thing some more conservative Mal players adept I’m sure.

So a long one to close out the series. Blog rate will definitely slow down somewhat but theres a lot of ideas already in the pipeline. Tomorrow will cover the question of which version of a character should you choose if you just want to play that character anywhere.

See you then and Cheers from Germany 🍻

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