Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Marvel Universe Miniatures Game (Mutants)

As part of our series on the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the factions and their available models.  Last week we covered the new releases (including the Dark Avengers, Dr. Doom, and the Thing). Today we’re going to cover the mutants, and it’s a good starting point for a new player, for a couple of reasons.  There are two starter boxes for the mutant faction, allowing you to pursue either the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or the X-men.  In addition to the starter boxes, both groups have additional blisters you can pick up.  On top of that are a group of neutral mutants that you can use to flesh out either side.  With 14 total models, this is probably the largest group available that has both good guys and bad guys in it.  


Let’s go ahead and break down the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants starter, and their additional blister, Sabertooth.  Magneto, Pyro, Toad, and Lady Mastermind come in the starter set, and you can pick up Sabertooth all by himself.  Magneto is actually a neutral mutant, meaning he can roll with any group of mutants, but the other four are firmly in the villain side of the mutant faction.  The starter set comprises 30 levels of characters, Sabertooth adds an additional 7.  


Magneto is the star of the starter set, and is a powerhouse.  He’s got a level cost of 12, and is probably worth every level.  With 8 power, and a plethora of skills and powers, Magneto is very much the centerpiece model you want to build a team around.  He’s got one major offensive attack that’s usable once per round, but it hits hard for 3 power, and when overloaded it has pierce/2.  His special powers give him options to restrict and restrain enemy character movements.   Magneto is a toolbox of solutions to enemy characters, but you’re going to need to play with him a few times to get used to him.  


Pyro is your primary ranged attack character for the brotherhood, and he’s chock full of offensive attacks.  With a level cost of 5, He’s extremely inexpensive compared to other characters we’ve seen so far.  He’s only got six power, so if you plan on moving him, you’re probably going to end up moving him 4 inches, setting off either pyroblast or pyrotechnic burst, and keeping the last point for defensive boosting.  Keeping him fighting shape and away from enemy models is going to enable you to get the best bang for your buck.  


Toad complements Pyro very well.  As your melee character in the starter set, he is going to be the character that keeps other characters away from Pyro and Magneto.  He’s got a level cost of 5.  He’s got both stealth and wall crawler, so he’s got plenty of ways to get into position to either do some damage, or to aggravate your opponent.  Toad’s Dodge ability gives him extra staying power in a long fight since he can keep passing agility tests to negate ranged attacks.  Should someone close to melee with him, he has regeneration to heal back damage taken.  He doesn’t want to actually be in melee, as both of his attacks are short ranged, so keep him close enough to tongue lash but away from claws and punches.


The last model in the starter set is Lady Mastermind.  With a level cost of 8, she represents a nice mid-range between Magneto’s power level and Pyro and Toad.  She is primarily a mental character who has a couple of interesting tricks.  Other than her physical strike, her offensive powers are both reasonably long ranged, and only usable once per turn (each).  Her other abilities are interesting.  They all target the willpower characteristic, and are capable of reducing defenses and abilities depending on which power you use.  Her once per game ability prevents the target from moving, so she can lock down and reduce the effectiveness of an enemy character.  


As a group, they are 30 points of mischief.  Magneto is probably your heavy lifting character in this team but don’t overlook synergies where Lady Mastermind reduces agility for things Pyro is going to burn.  They have some interesting tactical options, which can be improved by adding some people.  Sabertooth is the obvious addition, since he shares the alignment and provides some needed melee stopping power, but Gambit and Emma Frost can both add some interesting decisions.  Oddly enough, Deadpool is aligned with the X-men and not a neutral party.  


Sabertooth is a welcome addition to this team, and provides something they are decidedly lacking.  He is the only character in this grouping that has more than one melee attack.  With three different options to choose from, and a pounce ability that can move him an extra time per turn, Sabertooth can cover 13 inches of table space (14 if he isn’t hurt) and still have enough energy to swing at someone.  If you activate him first, and use his Feral attack, you can make things easier to hit with the rest of your energy blasters.  For a level cost of 7, he’s a steal, and might be an auto include in a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants team.  


There are some other fine folks who could be added to the Brotherhood of evil mutants team, and some other evil mutants who could be added to improve options in this team.  We think Blob, Juggernaut, Black Tom, and Mystique would make excellent additions, and if you wanted to really expand the team options, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, and the four horsemen would add a different team dynamic and give you new interesting choices for playing evil mutants.  We think a Hellfire Club could also be neat


The neutral mutants that are currently available are Emma Frost and Gambit.  They add some options and versatility to either the Brotherhood or the X-men, but there are some other independents that would be nice to see added.  Cable seems like an easily included option, and we would like to see a neutral stat card for Deadpool.  The Morlocks would also be an interesting neutral group to add to the game.  The Hellions would also be a neat idea to add some new folks to the mix.


Emma Frost is a level cost 10 neutral mutant.  She basically has two game modes, and they are both kind of interesting.  If you activate her once per game Diamond Form ability, she turns into a serious melee brick.  Diamond Form improves her strength to 3, increases all of her defenses by 2, and adds a point of damage to unarmed strike attack.  With an attack value of 6, and enough power to swing 3 or 4 times per combat, she can put some serious hurt on one of the other characters that don’t like melee or speed bump a serious beatstick.  Using her in her other mode is a different tactical situation.  


Her Psi-bolt attack can cover a lot of ground but it isn’t going to hit very hard.  Her special powers open up several interesting options.  The one that we like the best out of this situation is Drain Psyche, which lowers the target’s willpower.  This makes her other offensive powers harder to resist, and if you’re playing her with Lady Mastermind, both of them better.  Lowering the resistance stat for the majority of their powers makes both of them much more effective at managing the opposition.  


Gambit adds a different sort of flexibility to the teams he joins.  He’s a level cost 7 character that fills a mid-range combat role.  He can engage in melee and short to mid-range (8 inches) firefights.  His kinetic control ability can shift the balance of a melee fight, as he will get past high physical defense characters by shifting it to an energy based attack.  The major limitation to Gambit’s play style is that he has a fairly lower Power stat, and wants to overload all of his attack actions.  That means he’s going to be stationary and shooting, or moving, swinging once and powering up his defenses.  He’s got a once per game cheat death reaction that will cancel an attack that targets him, so you can dodge a killing shot once.


The X-men are the good guy faction for the mutants, and they’ve got some interesting options available.  The starter set comes with Rogue, Colossus, Cyclops and Wolverine, and Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Deadpool are available in blisters.  The starter set group has a combined level cost of 30, Nightcrawler clocks in at 5, Jean Grey is the heavy hitter of the bunch with a level cost of 9, and Deadpool rounds out at a level cost of 6.


Colossus is a supremely solid melee character for the team.  With the combination of his defenses and resistances, he’s hard to injure.  Couple that with the bodyguard ability and he can safely protect softer and squishier teammates.  He also has the potential to hit hard and control the area around him (between a once per turn push, and the once per game slam attack, he can declare an area his and do a fair job of protecting it).  He’s a supremely efficient use of 7 levels, and we like him a lot.


Cyclops is very efficient for his level cost of 7.  We really wish he was Power 8 or 9, because it would trigger his leadership ability more effectively.  As it stands, the only people who actually benefit from it are Nightcrawler and Deadpool (And Gambit, thanks for the correction).  He brings Master Tactician to the table as well, which can allow you to activate characters in succession.  With 7 power, he can move around the table and activate his optic beams twice per turn (If you’re going for targets in a line, you can overload Focused Beam twice on a single move, if you want to blow up a cluster, Optic Devastation has a blast radius of 3 inches).  He’s a little light on the defenses, so keep him around Colossus to maximize his staying power.


Rogue weighs in at a level cost of 8, but has something no one else on the team does, the Fly ability.  She’s quick, with three speed ratings (meaning you can burn 3 of her 7 starting power to move 14 inches).  Once per game she can use power drain ability to steal an attribute, skill, or power from a target.  This can lead to some interesting options.  Even moving full speed she’s got enough power for two normal swings, or she can go for an overloaded Superstrike.  Rogue’s major upside is her flexibility.  With the Fly ability and her Power Drain attack, she can get where she needs to be, and can pick up a specific ability for the situation.  


Wolverine rounds out the starter set team of X-men.  Wolverine is actually Dual Affiliated for the X-Men and the Avengers, so he can pull double duty.  He’s a character that’s built to be around a stronger character, (the fastball special allows him to take a free attack once per game after he’s thrown at someone) and then he can successfully tie up and deal with other characters in melee.  With Rage and Regeneration, he can recover from injury capably, and he’s a character that wants to be in the red endurance zone.  His attacks are irresistible which gives him a way to put damage on the tougher characters in the game.  With a level cost of 8, he’s capable of getting a lot of work done.  


Each of the other three characters adds a different dimension to the team.


Jean Grey is the highest level costed character for the X-men.  With a cost of 9, Jean is a support piece that gives you a lot of tactical options for the X-men.  She’s got the fly ability, and with 8 power, she can do a lot of things.  With four attack options and five special powers, Jean can both protect her allies and impair her enemies.  Psychic Shield and Motivate Mind both buff allies, and Telekinesis gives her a free throw action when she activates it.  Her once per game special abilities allow her to buff resistances for her friends and make her mental attacks irresistible for the turn. With an attack for any situation, Jean can lend ranged combat support while buffing her friends.  


Deadpool (like his buddy Wolverine) is dual affiliated with the Avengers.  He comes in at a level cost of 6, and he fills a different role on the battlefield than most pieces (other than Nightcrawler) with his Body Slide ability, once per game he can teleport anywhere on the map.  This lets him set up in a position to seriously threaten weaker characters and harass other people.  6 power is a problem, but Cyclops can actually help him out with that.  He’s an excellent piece to threaten other similarly costed characters and can do some damage especially when you remember that assassin doubles base damage on double 8s, and Master Fighter lets him re-roll one of his dice.  


Nightcrawler comes in at level cost 5, and he might be a little underpriced.  With his teleportation abilities and Stealth, you can move him around the board with relative impunity.  Unless your opponent dedicates at least one character (and probably two) to track him down, Kurt’s going to do what he wants.  His once per game ability to bring someone along for the ride can put the right person in the right spot to do some serious mischief.  


If we were going to add some X-men we are spoilt for choices.  Iceman, Storm, Beast, and Psylocke would make excellent starting additions to the team (Kitty Pryde would be acceptable if she brought Lockheed).  The mutants of X-Factor and the New Mutants would also be potentially interesting additions to the X- Family.  We need a Professor X while we’re at it.  


That’s our look at the Mutant faction for the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game, and we hope this helps you make some decisions about picking up some new folks.  


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Game on, Game Fans



  1. Nicely done article.

    One comment: Leadership is based on power, not level, so Cyclops can boost Nightcrawler, Gambit and Deadpool. It would have been nice if he was power 8, so that he could actually use Leadership on the characters that come in the starter box with him.

  2. Good Catch, and we've corrected the article to reflect that