Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy (MUMG)

Continuing our series on the teams for the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game, we’re going to take a closer look at the Guardians of the Galaxy team.  Currently the smallest team, it has the core members of the team from the movie, Nova, the Thing, and Dr. Doom.  There are several potentially fun additions that Knight Models can make to the team, and the Guardians have a surprisingly deep bench of potential team members.  Now we’ve all ready covered the Thing and Dr. Doom with our feature on new releases, so if you’re interested, dig back through the archive on the right hand side of the screen and take a look. Let’s take a closer look at the starter set then and see what sort of trouble we can get into.

The starter set for the Guardians of the Galaxy contains Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket Raccoon.  Taken as a group, they are a 30 level team with a variety of options and potential strategies for a new player to get involved.  Let’s take a closer look at the individual members and see what we see.  

Star Lord is a 7 level character with the Cosmic affiliation and the Hero alignment.  He’s got the Total Vision skill, which lets him ignore stealth, invisibility and other environmental conditions that would obscure enemy characters.  He also has the Fly ability, letting him criss-cross the battlefield, and with his 3 power options for speed (4/8/12) lets him be in the spot he needs to be to take shots at the other teams.  His last ability is Perfect Plan, which lets you basically pick who goes first once per game.  

Stat Wise, Star Lord is what you expect for a character of his Level cost.  While he’s healthy, he has an extra two points of Agility, and he has respectable defenses with 14s down the board except for his mental defenses which are a massive 17.  He’s got 7 power, which means he can move his full distance and have enough power left over to either take a pair of shots with his attack powers, or take a boosted shoot and use his Trick ability.   In addition, he has a once per game energy field ability that gives Resistance 2 to both physical and energy damage types until the end of the round.

Ideally, Star Lord is probably a mid range distraction piece.  His attacks aren’t super powerful, compared to other things, but they’re both ranged attacks with a 12 inch range.  Couple that with his 3 power movement speed and fly, and you have a character who reliable threatens anything with 24 inches.  The other primary use you can get out of Star Lord is an objective grabber.  With his speed + Fly, and Total Vision, he can find and acquire relics and other objectives during the game.  

Gamora is a level cost 9 character with the same affiliation and alignment as Star Lord.  She’s got the Stealth ability to keep her out of harm’s way, Master Tactician, to allow her to activate another of her team mates (the chain activation gambit can be really rewarding if you set it up to take advantage), Acrobat to re-roll failed agility tests, and the Assassin ability, which if you roll double 8’s on an attack roll, doubles the base damage.  

Gamora has 8 power, and better defenses than Star Lord, with 15’s down the line until Mental, which has a very respectable 16.  Like most of the Guardians, Gamora has a ranged attack energy pistol, but she’s going to want to get up close and personal.  With a base attack of 7 (and a healthy bonus of +1), and eight power, Gamora can reasonably expect to move 9 inches and either take 3 blade swing attacks and hope for the double 8’s, or take two boosted blade swings to maximize the potential of her Assassin ability.  Once per game, she can activate “Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe” to turn up her Defenses by 1 point, and increase the Damage of all of her attacks by 1.  In the right place in a melee heavy environment, she can stab the crap out of a lot of people, and leave them in a pool of their own blood.  

Rocket Raccoon is a level cost 7 character with the same affiliation as the rest of the Guardians team.  He’s got the Wall Crawler ability which lets him basically treat terrain as an optional thing, and he can hang off of buildings, upside down, and do a whole bunch of other ridiculous stunts.  He also has the Agile ability which lets him take an extra move action per turn.  If he really needs to, he can spend 4 energy to move 12 inches per turn and have enough energy left over to take a shot at something.  

Rocket has a bajillion combat options.  With a variety of attack types, ranges, availabilities and energy costs, Rocket should always have at least one attack that he can use in a given situation.  Unlike Star Lord, Rocket even has a melee attack of his own.  Rocket has enough options that you can put him in most situations and he’ll still contribute to the team, which is very handy.  

Drax rounds out the starter set team, and comes in at a level cost of 8.  Like the rest of the starter set, he’s got the same alignment and affiliation as Star Lord.  He fills a similar role to Gamora, but rather than being a headhunting character, Drax is much better as a bodyguard piece to Rocket and Star Lord.  He’s the only member of the starter team that doesn’t have a ranged attack.  

Drax has three abilities that make him extra dangerous in close combat situations.  Brutal allows Drax to push an enemy away from him on a successful critical Hit.  Cruel gives him the ability to so extra damage when he’s hurt, and Rage 3 gives him 3 extra power tokens every time he recovers from being KO’ed.  Drax also has the Bodyguard passive ability to soak up hits for other members of his team.  So Drax will just keep taking hits to keep Rocket and Star Lord from getting damaged while he moves closer to his red zone and full tilt Berserker mayhem.  He also has the born to kill Thanos ability that gives him attack and damage bonuses against Thanos, but he doesn’t have a model yet.  

Drax’s only attack form is “Dual knives” which do a respectable 2 damage in melee.  Again, Drax isn’t a character that’s going to be doing a massive amount of damage on his own, but he’s going to more than make up for that by keeping the squishier members of his team alive.  

That’s the Starter set team, with it’s complete 30 levels.  
Let’s take a look at Nova and Groot, the other two members of the team we haven’t talked about all ready.  

Groot is a level 9 character that shares alignment with the rest of the Guardians team.  He has the Wall Crawler ability like his good friend Rocket, and has the weakness to Fire ability, meaning he takes double damage from fire based attacks.  Groot is a support piece that excels at controlling the field around him.  His defenses are 16 across the board, and he’s attack 5, with 7 power.  While he’s healthy, both of those values go up by one.  

Groots abilities and attacks encourage Groot to be in the thick of the action.  He’s got a ranged melee attack, and an AoE with the ensnare property.  Groot also has a bodyguard ability, (though his has a range of 4), a healing ability (himself only), an ability to shut down an enemy character’s movement, and has an improved defense against being grabbed.  Groot also has a pile of Endurance, so you can feel free to bodyguard, and ensnare bad guys.  With his once per turn healing ability, Groot can be reliably expected to go the distance in a fight situation.  

Nova is a very different character, but he contributes a lot to the Guardians.  At a level cost of 8, and with the Guardians affiliation, Nova is the fastest character on the team, and also possesses the fly special ability.  He also has resistance to both physical and energy attacks, making him hard to damage even if something gets past his defenses.  

For special powers and attacks, Nova has Energy Absorption, which can be situationally amazing.  For 2 energy, and the use of a once per turn reaction, Nova can cancel an energy based attack that targets him.  If he does, his Nova Pulse attack does 2 extra damage.  Nova has 7 power, and with his speed, you can spend up to 3 of those moving him around the table.  Or, you can spend 2 power to fly 10 inches, fire off a nova pulse at something within 8 inches, and have two energy left to activate energy absorption.  

Against opponents that aren’t packing energy attacks, it isn’t helpful, but should you run into an energy intensive group, this can be helpful.  The other thing to keep in mind is that Nova has both an energy defense of 18, and energy resistance 1, so other players may not be so keen to target Nova with energy attacks.  

Nova Pulse is a 1/turn ranged energy attack that can’t have its damage reduced.  Blast off is a melee attack that can be used whenever, and Supermassive Pulsar is a 1/game attack action that does 2 damage at a range of 10 and has the explosive 6 property.  If your opponent has bunched up, it may be time to drop the Pulsar.  

Noca seems like he’s missing one power to be able to do a lot of cool things, and that may be why he’s only cost 8.  As it stands, he can burn 3 power to move 15 inches with fly, but then his options for combat are a little limited.  You could hold the other four power to activate energy absorption and to power up his defenses, and that may be the thing to do when you’re securing objectives and relics.  
So Nova is 8, and Groot is 9, with the starter set, you’ve got 47 levels of Guardians.  Thing adds 7 more so you’ve got the potential for 54 levels of straight hero Guardians, with an option for 11 more neutral levels with Dr. Doom.

Guardians have a lot of variety and options with their existing group of characters, and adding more members of the team from a variety of comic source material would certainly be feasible.  The thing that the Guardians are missing the most of in my opinion is a bad guy starter set and a few bad guy models.  The Guardians portion of the marvel universe is full of potential choices and i think the fine folks at Knight Models could add a lot of interesting options and combinations from that portion of the Marvel Universe.  

All right folks, that’s our review for the week, Next time we’ll tackle the Avengers.

Game on, Game Fans

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