Greetings HeroClix Fans!
Today we have a team building and strategy article featuring villains with the Sinister Syndicate keyword from the new Marvel HeroClix: Superior Foes of Spider-Man set.
The recent trend in set and figure design has been to create more figures with character-specific utility at lower point costs to give players greater options in standard 300 point format games. This creates an endless array of combinations even if we stick to certain well represented keywords for team building. The Sinister Syndicate keyword is one such example.
There are 20 figures in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man set alone that have the Sinister Syndicate keyword. Here we’ll highlight some of those figures to build a team that uses those numbers to its advantage, demonstrates the value of the strategic use of supportive powers, and highlights the fun of powers that give characters a certain comic-accurate flavor.
First, here is what the team build looks like, point values listed before the character:
80 Doctor Octopus 65 Stilt-Man (with 4 total leg extensions) 50 Scorpion 50 Norman Osborn 35 Overdrive 10 Thug 10 Thug
Sideline- (65 Green Goblin)
300 Total points +7 to Initiative Map Roll, 3 uses of Themed Team Probability Control
Right away we see that 7 characters is a huge force to be fielding. With an initiative bonus of +7 you should be picking the map in most games. For this team you’ll want a map that keeps things close together and limits long range fire, as most of these characters will do their best work if you can keep opposing figures within 5 squares of them. In a 300 point game you should almost always be making the most of your 3 actions per turn; whether that means using Overdrive and his Charged Up vehicle to move around 4 teammates or making use of the smartest Thugs ever (more on those later). You should have enough options available to overwhelm even the toughest opponents with sheer numbers. Also note that one of the features that helps this team work so well together is that most of them have the Sinister Syndicate team ability, which lets you share an unmodified attack value between adjacent friendly characters, if they both have the ability. You can even have a chain of friendly characters with the ability and share the same value among all of them. Don’t forget to share Doctor Octopus’ starting 11 attack value with the likes of Stilt-Man or Scorpion or evenNorman Osborn!
Let’s get to the strategy.
Starting with the most basic of building blocks, let’s take a look at the pair of lowly Thugs. We see their traitAlways For Hire lets this team qualify as a Themed Team, even though they lack the Sinister Syndicatekeyword on their card. The only benefit they do not receive is that they cannot be given action tokens to use the Themed Team Probability Control. The fact that they each have four clicks of life for 10 points, however, makes our team leader much more interesting, and threatening!
The Many-Armed Menace Doctor Octopus, using his attack special Mentally-Controlled Tentacles, can stand right behind his two Thug bodyguards and still make close attacks using Giant Reach: 3. He can ignore any character bases for line of fire, softening the target up so the Thugs can have a better chance of hitting something or he can stand in front and block for his teammates, with a solid 18 defense value with Energy Shield/Deflection, while making use of his Sinister Mastermind special on damage that gives him Leadership and Outwit. Additionally, up to two friendly adjacent characters can use Outwit as a power action. With up to 3 Outwits, you can lock down quite a few nasty powers your opponent is throwing at you.
Shifting gears to talk about team mobility, positioning on the battlefield is paramount when running so many figures. Overdrive’s trait The World Is My Getaway Vehicle allows him to turn a standard object into a vehicle that can carry 4 friendly characters as a free action, as referenced on the bottom of his card. On turn one you can get your team into position, then place an object right in front of your starting area and be sure Overdriveis close to it. Give him a free action to turn the object into a Charged Up vehicle and then you can use an action to become its pilot. The new vehicle can now carry up to 4 friendly characters 11 squares, ignoring hindering terrain as vehicles inherently do, and Sidestep an additional 2. Don’t forget the other updated rules for vehicles: you can give the vehicle a free action to copy the attack and damage values of its pilot and a free action to copy one of the pilot’s attack or damage powers. In the case of Overdrive, that means making use of Empower so Doc Ock, Stilt-Man, and Scorpion make the most out of Giant Reach. You can have the Doc and his Thugs and either Scorpion or Norman all along for the ride. Stilt-Man is too big to fit in the passenger seat however. Speaking of Stilt-Man….
With the few extra attachments for an additional 15 points, giving a total of 4 Leg Extensions, Stilt-Man will have the Colossal damage symbol. The Colossal symbol offers up several advantages like Giant Reach: 3, bonuses for breakaway rolls, but especially his special damage power Colossal Retaliation: Hydraulic Leg Smash. Stilt-Man has the potential for a free attack when a friendly character is damaged by an opponent’s attack. When you do use it, do your best to place him next to Overdrive to benefit from Empower and/or a chain of characters connecting him to Doctor Octopus to borrow his 11 attack value. What more can you ask for from your secondary attacker?
With our next Sinister Syndicate attack piece, you might be noticing a theme within a theme that is using nimble positioning to take excessive advantage of Giant Reach: 3. Scorpion emphasizes that mobility with his Scorpion Suit movement special, giving him the use of Leap/Climb and Sidestep. His damage special Tail Whip really makes him a close combat threat with the aforementioned Giant Reach: 3 and Close Combat Expert. Again, with the right teamwork, Overdrive’s Empower and the Octopus’ sharable 11 attack put Scorpion over the edge. We have one more supporting role figure bankrolling this team to wrap it all up, Norman Osborn.
Keep Norman in the shadows and you’ll have another source of Outwit, a sneaky ranged attack harasser, and your best option for using your 3 Themed Team Probability Controls. Going beyond the obvious, we can make use of his trait, Still Wearing The Mask Underneath, that lets him choose a power possessed by a Green Goblin figure on your sideline. So for reference….
You have two excellent options for Norman to copy just with his alter ego’s two specials on defense and damage. You could pick Everyone’s A Pawn giving him Mastermind and Toughness and allowing you to dump the damage he receives onto your Thugs to keep him around. You could also pick A Team…Of Incompetents I Have To Show The Way giving him Enhancement and Perplex, both of which could help your Octopus and his pair of Thugs land some ranged attack damage if the opponent is happening to stay out of your (Giant) reach.
Old Webhead and his friends have their work cut out for them if they want to stop whatever evil plans this Sinister Syndicate team is hatching. Boosted attacks and damage, long close combat reaches, convenient mobility options, a possible 4 Outwits, extra metal appendages all over the place, and just the fun factor of unleashing this much chaos on the map in a 300 point game.
The Marvel HeroClix: Superior Foes of Spider-Man set is now available at your FLGS so be sure to pick up your boosters today!
Until next time, outwit the defense and put it all into damage!