Welcome back to SG Protocol.
Today we take a look at two team tactics cards that basically do the same thing in:
The effect is obviously fantastic and it’s important to note that it isn’t just working on attacks. You’ll use it to turn an enemy spike into a single damage about 95% of the time but you can also use it against a throw or damaging superpower if it helps you save an activation. But more on that a bit later.
Let’s first look at who can use either card.
For Odin’s Blessing its pretty easy. You have to be Asgard affiliated to use it. Both as your squad affiliation and the character that uses it. So the candidates in alphabetical order are:
Beta Ray Bill (4)
Heimdall, The All-Seeing (3)
Hela, Queen of Hel (4)
Loki, God of Mischief (4)
Skurge, The Executioner (3)
Thor, Prince of Asgard (5)
All of them love having access to it and I’m basically never playing a game with Asgard without this card in my 5. And it’s the first choice for the 10.
X-Ceptional Healing is more interesting in who can use it and if it makes your Roster and especially your squad. Who are the characters with Healing Factor?
- Baron Strucker (3)
Cassandra Nova (5)
Honey Badger (2)
Logan, the Wolverine (4)
Sabretooth, Apex Predator (4)
Mostly mutants with the two noticeable exceptions of Baron Strucker and Lizard. Psylocke can also gain the superpower with her Crimson Dawn team tactics card:
In Weapon X and X-Force rosters, where you’ll most likely have at least four maybe even five or six of the candidates, X-Ceptional should make your 10 almost always and your 5 pretty often, too.
But what about rosters where you only have one candidate? It highly depends on who your candidate is, how often you expect them to see the table and what your alternatives are for tactics cards in that specific roster:
In my Sinister Six Spider-Foes Lizard is a core piece I expect to use in almost every game. He would be the only candidate for the card so we can treat it as a character specific card. For my game plan of getting extracts and staying alive on secures this does probably more than Lizards own card Monkey Brain is Lizard home:
The argument against it is, that Lizard with his Damage reduction and Healing Factor is already not a good target for my opponents attacks so it’s a card that might never come up in a meaningful way during the course of a game while with Monkey Brain I have more agency about when to use it (but it itself might never come up in a meaningful way either).
It’s a bit of a different story in my last Hellfire Club roster where I planned to play both Lizard and Apex Predator in almost every game, giving me two candidates for X-Ceptional. HFC is more and less strained on tactics cards as other rosters at the same time. You are limited to 4 available cards in the game because one is used up by your leadership but you have no affiliated cards so generic and character specific are the only ones you need to care about. Brace and Sacrifice are the usual suspects for 1 and 2 and Eyes on the Prize will probably number 3. Here I would definitely include X-Ceptional Healing in the roster but only in the squad if Apex and Lizard are on the board.
While a character with Healing Factor I usually don’t think of Baron Strucker as a meaningful target for the card. He often is my least important character in my Hydra games often times not contributing much of anything to be honest. He may be a worthwhile target for your opponent if he’s leading the squad to get rid of the leadership but I feel like Hydra can often project enough threat to make it less of an ideal play for your opponent.
It’s a bit different in any roster running Cassandra Nova (more about her and her piers in my last article). Cassandra is a big investment at 5 threat and keeping her on the board for longer may be worth the tactics card. But there’s two reasons against doing that if she’s your only possible target. Firstly Cassandra can spend her power very well and might not often enough find herself at 3 power during your opponents turn. And secondly if you play her chances are very high you also play Mental Domination, having two character specific cards for the same character is only ever worth it if you’ll play that character in 100% of your games:
It’s a different story if you have multiple targets for the card of course.
And finally every roster that uses Wolverine (which are a lot nowadays) has to think about X-Ceptional Healing. I think if you have any more of the Healing Factor characters it’s an auto include but what about the rosters that probably don’t like Marvel Knights Defenders or Avengers? It depends on what you value more for your Wolverine I think. There’s quite a few cards you could have in your roster specifically for him like Fastball Special if you also run Colossus (which I also have an entire article about), Weapon X Program or No Matter the Cost:
But lets assume you’ve taken X-Ceptional healing for your one Healing Factor character. How to play it?
First off 3 power is a lot. Characters like Wolverine or even Lizard can always do something useful with their power and holding back the 3 for the card might hurt you more than playing the card helps you. I would also consider it less for characters that already activated in favour of saving them an activation. If it is clear cut that if you play the card it keeps your character alive to use in your next turn don’t think twice about it. But be aware of secondary sources of damage your opponent might have like throws. Try not to only save the last point of damage before dazing/ KO’ing with the card which would leave you very vulnerable to any throws or AoE damage effects.
This creates another difficult decision in do you use it to turn off a potential spike in your opponents first attack or do you always save it for last? You’ll have to calculate exactly how much health your character would have left after the first attack and bear those secondary damage sources in mind, too. Don’t create a situation for yourself where the reduce to 1 damage would still be enough to daze/KO your model. If that isn’t the case I would always try to use it as late as possible in an opponent’s activation.
How to play against a squad with a single target for X-Ceptional? Easy: just spike on all your attacks.
More seriously: be very aware of the power status of the target. And don’t use “pling shots” (4 maybe even 5 dice attacks with no realistic chance of dazing the model). You’ll power up the target with it possible getting X-Ceptional online. Also remember that every user has at least Healing Factor 1 some even Factor 2 rendering little plings of damage basically useless. Giving them Bleed can help mitigate their Healing Factor advantage. And depending on the user you can also try to basically ignore the model. Easier done with Lizard than with Wolverine probably.
If you have the resources to do it it’s probably best to focus down the target as much as possible in a single round, trying to get X-Ceptional out of the way as fast as possible.
How does all this change with two or more targets for the targets and Odin’s Blessing which can usually target the majority of the characters in the squad?
As the player using the card:
Try to not be baited into using it prematurely but also don’t hold onto it for too long. Both obviously easier said than done. Keep a very close eye on the power across your squad. Especially in Asgard think about whether you want to spend a power to heal / remove a condition with the leadership if it brings you under 3 power.
And don’t hold it back for your “better” / “best” target. If it saves an activation you would have lost otherwise it’s always worth it. And don’t shy away from using it as a sort of emergency Brace for Impact, if you’ve used that card already or didn’t bring it in the first place.
Don’t waste a thought about how X-Ceptional Healing/ Odin’s Blessing could have saved you from a potential future spike attack. If it saved you an activation it has done its job no matter if it stopped one or ten points of damage.
As the opponent of the card:
Try to do the stuff your opponent wouldn’t want you to do. Try to focus down a single target whenever possible. If it means your opponent uses the card early it can only be good for you as you don’t have to worry about it anymore then.
In general all the points for playing against a single target remain valid but you’ll have to be even more aware about the amount of power all your opponents models have.
That’s it for today. See you next time and cheers from Germany 🍻
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