Marvel: Crisis Protocol currently has 18 affiliations available to players, but the Cabal has stayed relevant and competitive since its introduction as one of the two affiliations in the original core set. The Cabal also has the second-largest roster of affiliated characters (behind only the Avengers) in the Marvel board game.
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While this breadth of options is exciting, it can also make roster-building an intimidating endeavor. While the group once needed to focus on damage-dealers to take advantage of the Cabal’s single leadership ability, the addition of an additional leader has given the Cabal multiple playstyles that can take advantage of both aggressive and defensive strategies.
10 Bob, Agent of Hydra
Bob, Agent of Hydra’s humorous persona is represented in Marvel: Crisis Protocol with a few interesting gimmicks. First, Bob has a giant rocket launcher that rolls a massive nine dice, but it also deals enough damage to Bob to daze him and can usually be used only once. This downside may seem significant, but Bob also has the unique ability to survive any hit as long as he hasn’t yet activated in the given round. His other selling point is that he’s the only two-threat character in Cabal, making him an excellent roster option to round out squads in certain crises.
Just like this villain’s role in the MCU, Crossbones used to be considered a disappointment in Crisis Protocol. While he can hit hard and has solid staying power, his small base and short move meant that he had difficulty getting to and staying in the action. Luckily the Cabal’s second leader, Sin, breathed new life into Brock Rumlow. While his short move is still less than ideal, Crossbones loves the objective-focused playstyle that Sin brings to the affiliation. He’s perfect for moving to an objective token and laying hits on anyone that gets too close. The only thing that players need to be careful of is Crossbones’ fragile mystic and energy defenses. While he’s great at soaking physical hits, having to deal with a big attack of the wrong type can result in a stun before he can get to his desired place on the map.
Marvel Comics fans know Mysterio is a special effects whiz, and his penchant for trickery is represented well in Marvel: Crisis Protocol. His oddly spread defenses of one physical, one energy, and five mystic may seem like a deal-breaker, but Mysterio has several ways of staying alive through a game. First, Mysterio’s stealth means that nobody outside of range three can even attempt to attack him. Those who do close will trigger his Tricks and Traps, which damages enemies and moves them short. Also, Mysterio can use his mystic defense against any attack unless the opponent pays two energy. Beck synergizes well with Red Skull’s leadership ability. With it, he always has the energy he needs to use Tricks and Traps.
Sabertooth may be most famous as a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, but his suite of attacks and abilities makes him a great fit in the Cabal as well. Victor Creed is an excellent single-target assassin capable of chasing characters down with his long move and dishing out damage with his strong basic and builder.
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Aggressive lets Sabretooth move after he’s attacked, which can get him into position to attack twice in one turn instead of having to advance. On top of his solid stats and damage, Sabertooth can make a free attack after an enemy attacks him. This extra Claw Slash lets him take double advantage of Red Skull’s “energy for attack damage” leadership ability.
6 Omega Red
Arkady Rossovich, aka Omega Red, is the only mutant currently in Marvel: Crisis Protocol who isn’t a member of the X-Men, X-Force, or Brotherhood of Mutants affiliations. Omega Red is one of the best area denial tools in the game, and his kit is packed with powers and attacks that keep him alive and punish enemies for getting close.
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Omega Red automatically ignores one wound any time it’s dealt from an enemy effect, and his Carbonadium Coils heals him if it does damage. Furthermore, any character within range two at the end of its or Omega Red’s turn becomes poisoned. This effect synergizes well with his Death Factor, which damages all poisoned enemies within the same range.
5 Red Skull
Red Skull is one of Marvel’s best villains and his reputation is honored in Marvel: Crisis Protocol. Despite being an original core box character, Johann Schmidt still sees a good amount of play. His most obvious selling point is his leadership ability, Master of Evil. If Red Skull is on the field in a Cabal-affiliated squad, every friendly character gains one power whenever they damage an enemy with an attack. Since this effect is not limited to once per turn, it allows characters with beams, area attacks, or rapid-fire to gain energy incredibly quickly. Red Skull’s Master of the Cube power also helps slower Cabal members by moving them range two for three power.
4 Baron Zemo
Helmut Zemo was released with the Marvel: Crisis Protocol core set, and he’s still a staple competitive character today. Zemo is a well-rounded villain who is effective both as an offensive threat and a supporting character for his teammates. Both his free Sword Strike and two-cost Steel Rush automatically cause bleed whether they do damage or not, and the latter increases Zemo’s mobility by letting him advance medium after the attacks. Additionally, he’s one of few characters with a long movement range, so he’s great for quickly getting to objectives and assets on turn one. Even when he’s not directly involved in combat, Helmut also grants himself and every other character within range two a free reroll on any attack or defense rolls.
Many affiliations in Marvel: Crisis Protocol have received a second leader, and, in the Cabal, leadership stayed in the Schmidt family. Sin, aka Sinthea Schmidt, is the daughter of the Red Skull, and she brings a new leadership ability to her faction. Instead of her father’s energy generation, Sin’s Red Mayhem power lets her team push enemies away from objectives and force opponents to drop Asset Tokens between rounds.
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This ability opens up an entirely new playstyle for her team that focuses on area control and denial instead of pure offense. Sin synergizes particularly well with characters like Omega Red and Crossbones that don’t like to move around the board more than they have to.
Enchantress is expensive at four threat, but her attacks and powers offer unprecedented board control to her player. Her basic attack is a beam, which is rare, and it drains power tokens from each enemy it hits if a wild is rolled. Amora’s Kiss is also incredibly powerful. It is currently the only power capable of stripping an Asset or Civilian token from an enemy, after which Enchantress gains it. It works only at range one, but Siren’s Call lets Enchantress move any enemy within range three short.
M.O.D.O.K. may not be as well-known as other Cabal members, but he’s arguably the best five-threat character in Marvel: Crisis Protocol. M.O.D.O.K. has just about everything that players could want in a character: His basic attack drains power, he has a long throw, he can move enemies with Bow to the Will of M.O.D.O.K., he can buy dice rerolls, and he changes wilds to blanks on defense. In fact, he’s so good that he’ll be one of the very few characters to receive a slight nerf when Atomic Mass Games release their updated set of character cards in late 2021. Even with this nerf, he’ll still be an extremely strong character that can single-handedly carry matches.
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