Ever since Secret Wars came out, I’ve made nasty team after nasty team, but there is one really obvious big bad I’ve yet to use. And trust me, in this build, it became…
A Team Fit For Kings
The Team: Finally we have a good Black Panther!
Ok, if you paid attention to Secret Wars, you probably heard of this Black Panther. His “While active” effect means that when your opponent fields anything, you get to reroll one of their characters. This makes it really hard for them to keep characters on the board. In turn, my objective is to use Front Line and take advantage of my opponent having limited board presence to charge in and win. (Spoiler alert: things didn’t end up quite according to plan)
Since Panther is the main card I’m building around, I want to force my opponent to field characters. First up, Falcon. With this global, both players have to field a sidekick if able. If I have Panther able, that means I get to reroll another character. Then, Namor (aka Instant War on legs) can force both players to field up to 3 sidekicks from their bag. More guaranteed Black Panther triggers. And then, there’s The Siege Perilous. This one doesn’t force my opponent to field, but it’s all or nothing. Either field everything you roll and allow me a bunch of Black Panther triggers, or don’t field any and let me field my characters (which I would anyway), giving me a significant advantage. Bad choices all around!
Now, to get to Black Panther, I need some ramp. Enter Apocalypse and Wolverine for their globals (and handy removal in a pinch), and…Beast. It’s an odd pick (and admittedly one where I’m not optimizing the team fully), but he gives me cheap ramp and a good cheap body to have multiple copies of with Siege Perilous.
The last two cards are additional removal and damage. Harley fills both roles quite nicely, and since Namor fields sidekicks galore, her “When fielded” triggers should happen quite often if she hits the field. And Spider-Gwen needs no introduction at this point. Great removal, handy global in a pinch, amazing with self-KO abilities like Dark Phoenix and Apocalypse.
And with all that said, on to the games!
So first up, against a 2-cost Goddess of Thunder + Thor team. I went for Beast ramp, followed by Harley, and Namor…and eventually Panther. Yes, it took a while for him to get purchased. In the meantime, my opponent charged in with Goddess dice, emptying my field reliably. Thankfully when Namor and Black Panther hit the table, the dynamic changed. All of a sudden my opponent’s field emptied and mine filled up. Plus, whatever wasn’t gone with Panther’s rerolls was gone with Harley’s damage. I kept building that advantage and eventually had enough damage to charge in for the win.
Next up, a Terrax + Deathbird + nasty removal team. This one could have been rough, but I chose to field few characters early, until Panther showed up. When he did, and the rerolls started, my opponent had a hard time keeping characters active (even though one of his Gwen dice would just not roll energy!). I got Harley active, missed Front Line but used Namor, shenanigans ensued with Panther and Harley (rerolls + damage), and with the mountain of characters I had active, he didn’t have enough characters to stop me. I won. (Fun fact: if I had rolled Front Line I would’ve dealt 47 damage!)
My last match of the night was against Spider-Friends. This is a team that builds a very large board, so in theory I’m a horrible matchup with all my rerolls. But he gave me a rougher time than the others. He would field multiple removal dice (e.g. 2 Spider-Gwens the same turn) to get Panther off the board. But since he focused on Panther, he didn’t focus on the rest. So I did get Harley and Namor set up again, and despite being the focus of my opponent’s wrath, Panther did do a lot of work still to reroll his stuff off the board. You know the drill by now. Empty the board, charge in, win.
-So in a plot twist I should’ve seen coming, I never even needed Front Line. Panther + Namor + Harley = win. Harley in particular did a ton of work, more than I envisioned. But I should expect no less at this point.
-Panther is gross in so many ways, but don’t forget that you’re rerolling your opponent’s characters on their turn most of the time. So even if they land on energy, those dice can be spent for purchases and such. Yes, he’s hugely powerful, but you are giving resources to your opponent. If you’re trying to optimize him, you may want some way to minimize the advantage you’re giving your opponent.
-Namor was key to this team working well. He is preferable to Instant War (when possible) because you can KO and re-field him easily (whereas with Instant War, you have to wait for it to come back). Plus, his stats are decent, which will contribute to getting the damage you need to win.
-The more I put Epic Basic Actions in my team, the more I realize I have a hard time getting them to trigger. The purchase timing is really awkward, meaning that action must be a finisher. I purchased Siege Perilous twice but never got to use it because I just won before it would roll. The only way to get epic BACs to work is literally to base your entire team around them (see my Cosmic Cube team).
-I did get a few Falcon triggers using his global, but the timing’s a bit awkward. It can only be used during my turn, which is a shame; to fully optimize it, I must time having dice in my Used Pile on my turn (to get both a Harley and Panther trigger). But when it works, it’s awesome. Still, Namor was more useful overall.
And there you have it. I figured Black Panther would be really rough to play against, and that was right (but really not a tough prediction). I still prefer Terrax because his triggers are more predictable than a 50/50 reroll. Which do you prefer? R Black Panther or R Terrax?
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