Welcome back to SG Protocol.
Today we build a roster focused around the upcoming character Shadow King.
My initial reaction to the character wasn’t very high to be honest but as I’ve come back to him I think there is something there (even though Astral Fiend remains a waste of power sadly in my opinion). Also, and that’s the real reason here: his model immediately makes top 5 in the game so he has to see the table!
I have limited myself to 5 affiliations for the year so I’ll only consider those for this post.
Thors leadership doesn’t seem to have the best synergy with Shadow King but he has the two power per power phase to be using it constantly. However Shadow King doesn’t play to well into Asgard’s game plan. His Pay to Flip stats are OK and he could maybe help with the awkward 17 threat on Meteors. But it’s not the route we’ll take today.
Red Skull (RS1):
Red Skull can help the bad mobility of SK with his Cube placing and the leadership can help fund Immortal Essence and Nightmare Visions. Definitely one to keep in mind.
Red Skull, Master of the World (RS3):
Where RS1 rewards you for doing damage RS3 helps you get that damage in the first place. Very relevant on SKs builder (which is the best thing on his card) as the important advance trigger is dealing damage to the target. Shadow King should also always be able to pay for the leadership (and since you’ll most likely use it on his builder the tax isn’t that high). Like his first version Red Skull 3 can place Shadow King to help him get around the table, but RS3 takes a lot longer to have the necessary power. It is a Range 3 place instead of RS1s Range 2 though. And Shadow King can help pay for it.
Between the two Cabal Red Skulls this leadership is more appealing for Shadow King as the added reliability of the builder probably weighs higher than he extra power he could generate under RS1.
Malekiths leadership is a reward style one for murdering your opponent. Shadow King would be a very good user of it but isn’t great at triggering it for the rest of the team. I don’t think he’s the 5 you’d want with Murder Kitty Darf Elf Messiah.
Farouk does play into the control style team Sin is aiming for but in the end the leadership is far to unreliable to build around… It could have used a rewrite in the recent updates for sure.
Shadow King is a slow and potentially tough character that is nice to count as two on secures. But with Kingpin already being as slow you want your 5 there to be more proactive and able to to go deep into enemy territory (so Ulik for example) which isn’t what Shadow King can do at all.
You certainly can overexpose Farouk to have him daze or KO so Klaw gets to move but that isn’t the wisest use of 5 threat I’d say. In general having two 5s as your core isn’t the best idea here.
MODOK, Scientist Supreme (Nudok):
Nudok is very interesting as he can help getting the damage through on SKs builder and also helps him out defensively. The biggest issue here is, that Nudok is already a slow long range attacker. The leadership is definitely one of the better ones for Shadow King though.
Shadowland Daredevil (SLDD):
Murder Matt Murdock once again has a very good leadership for a model you want to be able to attack with as much as possible. The question here is which trigger is more likely? Shadow King will often hold a secure or maybe even an extract. His first attack will often be against a target on a secure but of all goes well he will advance it off of it. Both are good options I think.
Red Skull, Master of Hydra (RS2):
Power generation isn’t the biggest issue for Shadow King and the double 5 core is once again difficult to build around. Not one for today.
Strucker helps keep unwanted special conditions off of SK while providing a bit of healing. There aren’t root immune characters in the game at the top of my head so he’ll be able to trigger the leadership relatively regularly. But as much as I love the leadership I don’t think pure Strucker is a worthwhile list when so many popular models have ways to no sell the leadership. Shadow King also isn’t great at running around and scoring.
Baron Helmut Zemo:
Getting power back for tactics cards is nice. But that’s really it. So no thanks.
Green Goblin (GG):
Rerolling enemies defense dice is great when you have a damage based trigger as you’ll have all the information you need when you use it. It still has a chance of 3/8 to be rolled back into a defensive success (or if you’re me it is like 10/8…). It is the leadership with the latest attack sequence step reroll where only ASM and Crimson Dynamo have effects that occur later. Shadow King can also contribute to the classic trap house style Spider -Foes and even adds a second TTC in the style of Sinister Traps:
Doc Ock, Sinister Scientist (Ock):
Getting rid of status conditions is always nice but as we’ve said before getting extra power isn’t really SKs biggest concern. Overall I think Ock is the stronger Foes leader but not what we’re looking at today.
So that means we have 5 candidates to pick from:
Eliminated since over the course of the article it became more and more clear extra power isn’t what I was looking for in the leadership today. RS1 being able to teleport Shadow King in Turn 1 is cute not enough to go that way today.
As much as I love the faction and do think that it is a good fit I just don’t think building a Foes roster is super interesting.
Rerolling Skulls on most attacks is a very very good leadership for 6 dice builder attacks (that also have a trigger on damage). He has close but he wants to play kind of a wide attrition game plan that isn’t the best fit for Farouk.
Runner up here and close to making it. In the end having both Nudok and SK being slow turrets has given the win to:
The added reliability on the builder that the leadership brings plus the huge character pool with some decent control characters is what gave them the edge in the end.
So we start the Roster with Shadow King and Red Skull, Master of the World. Next we pick affiliated models:
I started with 4 3 threats seeing as our minimum threat with RS3 and SK is already 9. I want this roster to be focused around control more than anything else and Baron Mordo is great at taxing your opponent with very harsh conditions while having a bit of control with a push trigger and fantastic movement with a medium base, medium move and flight (he is an under played character overall in my opinion and I love an excuse to bring him to the table). Mystique is a fantastic character from her stat card alone but the brings potentially another source of heavy control with Deception if we are willing to give up a restricted slot for it (and spoilers, we very well might be).
Mysterio is probably the weirdest character in this game and can very often have games where he feels like 3 wasted threat. But he can also rule the board sometimes, too. The Grand Illusion is also a fantastic TTC.
And lastly Baron Zemo doesn’t need a lot of explanations and reasoning. He remains one of the very best 3 threats in the game.
We fill out the roster with four more affiliated pieces in Enchantress (the queen of control), Loki who coupled with the Root that Shadow King hands out can completely cripple an opponents ability to use any superpowers at all, Ultron Metal Tyrant, who is pretty much the most well rounded 5 threat in the game and a control machine himself and finally Bullseye because an affiliated 2 is just very helpful here with a 5 threat splash.
Usually you’d look at splashes here but since the Cabal roster is so deep I didn’t feel the need to look outside and it’s also hard to fit a splash 5 and another splash into a squad.
Next up we have to decide which Crisis cards this roster wants to play. Enchantress, Shadow King and Loki like the E shapes in theory but all absolutely hate incinerate on them so Demons is out of the question.
Gamma isn’t as bad but 15 gets a bit tricky if we want to include Deception as we can’t play Enchantress (who is the queen of this crisis), Mystique and the two locked in character at 15.
It remains a good shape for the list and makes the cut.
It might be a mistake but Scoundrels seems nice with all of the advances with have in the list. We also love the 20 threat.
For the last secure I’m torn between Deadly Meteors and Major Fisk. Neither seems ideal but where our shenanigans could be impactful.
A 17 threat team of Shadow King, RS3, Ultron Metal Tyrant and Mystique sounds nice though. So we’ll go with Meteors first.
In terms of Extracts we start with the (rightfully) hated Researcher.
Next up we take Montesi Formular as we like the shape and have decent to very good Mystic defense. We can also use our leadership on the Beam because we don’t modify the dice but rather count them as (can’t explode the crits of course).
And lastly we go for very much High Risk High Reward in Senators. Having so many advances available we should be able to kidnap enemy models who then can’t get away when they carry a Senator.
Finally: Team Tactics Cards:
We start with character specifics and we’ve already seen Shadow Kings card, which we definitely take.
I ended up with a card for each of Shadow King, Mystique (costing a restricted slot), Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Ultron 2 and Mysterio. Cosmic Obliteration would be the card to cut here if we get to full.
I filled the roster with these cards. Dark Reign and Brace for impact are probably self explanatory. Mission objective is there to not fall too far behind while Kick ’em is here to increase the damage output against a key target with the amount of conditions we can hand out. Like a mini second Dark Reign.
So that is a full roster:
Shadow King (5)
- Red Skull, Master of the World (4)
Baron Mordo (3)
- Mystique (3)
Baron Zemo (3)
Loki, God of Mischief (4)
Ultron, Metal Tyrant (5)
Team Tactics (10)
I Am A Baron, After All
The Age of Ultron
The Grand Illusion
Brace for Impact (R)
Kick ‘em While They‘re Down
Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest (E, 15)
Super-Powered Scoundrels Form Sinister Syndicate (F, 20)
Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians (I, 17)
Research Station Attacked! (E, 15)
The Montesi Formula Found (E, 18)
Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators! (L, 19)
I’ll definitely try it out once I have my hands on Shadow King and have him painted (looking forward to that very much 😁) and let you know how it went.
I hope you enjoyed this article and please let me know if you’d like more of these. It was a pleasure to write it.
Cheers from Germany 🍻
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