Welcome back to SG Protocol. A question about a quick overview of the common play styles of every affiliation I saw on Reddit inspired me to this beginners guide to affiliations.
To understand what I’m saying here it’s important that you have read the article I did about the 4 roster types: https://acrossthebifrost.com/2023/12/20/sgp-the-4-roster-archetypes/
With no less than 24 factions with 1-4 leaders we will split the articles in multiple starting today with the affiliations from A-C.
A-Force offer a so called “ramp” leadership meaning it can help get the power train rolling. Because of this it enables characters that need a lot of power for all their stuff. A-Force have a vast roster of affiliated characters in every threat range and can theoretically go anywhere from a 1 to a 4. Their biggest hindrance to actually going all in on the 1 game plan is their 6 threat leader She-Hulk. While she can be a good extract carrier she is comparatively easy to take out and not super fast (because you don’t really want to have to use move actions with her) outside of the Special Delivery turn. Personally I think they are best as a 3 (attrition focused with the option of shifting to scenario play). Core to playing them is probably to figure out the bodyguard puzzle you can create with She-Hulk and Okoye who will probably be in 95% of your A-Force games.
Asgard is pretty much “throw- the faction” (and tonnes of fun because of it). They don’t have a huge roster but every character offers pretty unique stuff. Because of their two power per turn they are pretty good at pay to flips. They are pretty durable which the currently only leadership on Thor further increases. While they have high damage potential they also are a team of very high variance. They are commonly played as either a 2 or a 3 depending on personal preference.
Captain America (Steve Rogers):
Classic Core Set Steve can have his team, that he discounts superpowers for, go almost any way. But he mostly leans into a type 2 roster game plan.
Captain America (Sam Wilson):
The most consistently well performing Avengers leader likes to play a 2 or even 1 type roster where you focus on outscoring your opponent while the leadership punishes your opponent for trying to stop you trough dazing and KOing your models. A common list style here is the “Sam spam” trying to jam as many characters on the table as possible (and Avengers have a wide range of great 3s available to them) but playing taller and including Hulk for example has also often worked well with Sam on the wheel.
Captain America, First Avenger:
Core set 2 Steve has a pretty different play style in terms of the team you build around him. While Avengers and Steve 3 himself lack the damage potential to go full type 4 he definitely wants more of a type 3 roster than a type 1. If build for it, with lots of characters that have wild throw or push triggers, he can also play a type 2 game plan but you’re probably better of using Sam’s leadership then.
The best looking Avengers leader is rarely seen doing it despite his leadership being situationally great. He makes Asgard and Magneto very sad. He’d probably be more popular in an affiliation where you don’t have as many leaders that also offer build around leaderships on top of that. You can absolutely build a roster of tanky Avengers around good old Busty that plays a 2 or 1 game plan but you might up against teams like SHIELD where your leadership will do absolutely nothing all game. Still I think Hulkbuster should be a secondary plan in more Avengers lists. He himself has extremely tough competition against Hulk for a roster spot as an affiliated 6 threat and that might be the biggest hindrance.
Thanos and Corvus Glaive:
Regardless of leader (you really only choose Corvus for math reasons in squad building) Black Order is pretty one dimensional in their game plan. They are a pure 4 and build around that in every way. Damage output is the name of the game here and both leaderships reward you for taking your opponent out. If you bent your head over backwards you’ll be able to make them into a 3 but a 2 and especially 1 are unreachable for them. Which isn’t inherently a bad thing, it just means they lean all in on being an attrition team and are good at it for that reason.
Brotherhood of Mutants:
Magneto offers another “ramp” leadership but he himself as an extremely slow 6 threat dictates the way the roster plays more than his leadership. He needs central fight where he can attack and of possible throw twice per turn to make his 6 threat investment worth it. He builds a 4 team, maybe a 3 depending on the rest of the list.
Mystique offers a polar opposite way to play to Magneto in being able to go into a full 1 play style with affiliated steal characters like Quicksilver and Pyro and also be a decent choice on Pay to Flips.
The overall strength of the affiliation here lies in the fact, that their roster of affiliated characters is full of people that are very good under either leader. Making it very easy to have both in your roster and adapt the squad to the crisis combination.
The evil Dark Elf who started the War of the Realms rides in on his Bog Tiger at a hefty 7 threat making him the focus and lynchpin of any roster he is leading. He has a reward leadership that gives you a great bonus for dazing and KOing enemy models. He likes to have a “tall” (meaning fewer high threat models) team and picks on wider (fewer lower threat models) teams and out attritions them before they can score out the game. He’s pretty much a leader for a 4 style team but Cabal has such a big and flexible roster of affiliated characters that a 3 style is also possible.
Original Core Set Red Skull has a ramp leadership that is also a reward leadership in giving you power when you manage to damage an opponent with an attack. It’s not really a build around leadership. Depending on who you want to take it’s gonna be a 3 or 4 in terms of play style.
Red Skull, Master of the World:
Red Skull 3 out of core box 2 just has the potential to make one attack you make each turn better. Just like with the two leaders before him he can play a 4 or 3 game plan depending on who you take with him but in difference to Malekith he likes to have a wide team whose damage potential he increases.
The 3 threat leader Cabal has available to them and who, in theory, should provide the faction to lean into a a type 2 game plan. But honestly making it work is a big big headache. And even if you build your entire team around it, it is still dependent on pure dice luck to actually do anything.
The wizards are unique in being able to make any affiliated model their leader and their leadership having to very different sides of the leadership. They can pretty much play however you want them to. Playing a type 1 game plan is difficult but from 2 to even 4 the roster can be tuned to it.
Kingpin is pretty much a pure style 1 team leader. His leadership is focused around scoring out the game as fast as possible. He likes tough characters that can stay on their healthy side for as long as possible.
The highest threat leader for the Syndicate at 5 threat Klaw offers a very different leadership to basically anyone in the game. It only ever affects himself and no one else, giving him a free move whenever an allied character is dazed or KOed. That has a Grunt character basically married to him (Elektra is often the choice here). He likes central fights and the squad has to be build around him. I think he’s more of 3 leader than full on 4 but I might be wrong here.
MODOK, Scientist Supreme:
MODOK gives benefits on offense and defense for your squad if they play the objective game. He’s a 2 style leader for the Criminals and often a good back up leader behind Kingpin when your opponent puts you on pay to flip secures that Kingpin hates (as his leadership is kind of useless on these).
The pure attrition leader of the faction punishing enemy characters for holding or contesting objectives. He likes a team with many and/or strong attacks. Traditionally people have been playing loads of rapid fire characters with Matt here and those are still good but just helping out already good attacks with the reroll of a Skull for every attack shouldn’t be overlooked either. You can try and get into full 4 territory here but I think building the list towards a 3 game plan is better. Especially as SLDD isn’t really a reliable damage dealer himself but more of an objective piece.
That’s it for today’s first part of the series. Next we’ll go through the affiliations from D-S.
See you then and cheers from Germany 🍻