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C3G Strategy - September 2017

Posted September 19th, 2017 at 12:42 PM by HS Codex
Updated September 26th, 2017 at 03:27 AM by HS Codex

C3G Strategy Guide
Echo (Maya Lopez)
Author: Lazy Orang



Echo is often overlooked in favour of newer, flashier, more exciting cards which might also seem stronger. However, with a little analysis, I think I can demonstrate that Maya can be as strong and as exciting to play as some of the best units out there.

Analyzed Statistics

Left Box Breakdown
Species – Human (Slight synergy in a few areas, such as civvies, Rover, Alfred and cloning. It is also worth noting that being human also has something of a downside in C3G—as the most common species in the game, including a human such as Echo in a Star-Lord build curtails your options more than almost any other figure. It should be noted, however, that vigilantes gain more from being human than a number of other figures, since being a vigilante makes it more likely that Alfred can heal them.)
Uniqueness – Unique Hero
Class – Vigilante (Significant synergy, allowing her to bond with vigilante sidekicks [and Nite Owl], be extracted by Alfred, move with Gordon’s Bat-Signal, encourage Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) to move with Shadow of the Bat, have her attacks supported by Catgirl, be inspired by Kick-Ass and have order markers on her card contribute to Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)’s Vigilante Rivalry. It also allows her to provide a Justice League marker to Superman (III) or Martian Manhunter (II). Plus, vigilantes can be recruited by Lady Shiva to become assassins, opening up a whole new set of synergy. They do have some small weaknesses in Hugo Strange’s Vigilantes Unmasked and Lieutenant Stone’s Preserving the Law, but nothing major—primarily, it’s a very beneficial class to have.)
Personality – Perceptive (Irrelevant.)
Size/Height – Medium 5 (Manoeuverable, can use ladders, and can be affected by a number of beneficial powers such as Carry, but also vulnerable to a number of enemy powers, like Magneto’s throws.)

The major point of relevance here is her status as a vigilante, which provides some notable synergy; being human is also worth bearing in mind when constructing an army with her.

Statistics Breakdown
Life – 4 (Average, especially for a human.)
Move – 5 (Average.)
Range – 1 (Melee.)
Attack – 4 (Average.)
Defence – 4 (Average.)
Points – 130 (Pretty damn cheap for a unique hero in Superscape.)

Her stats are the very definition of mediocrity, with none of them being in any way exceptional or notable, but none seeming like a glaring weakness at her cost either. Her price is really low, and she’s tied for the second cheapest vigilante in the game alongside the Batgirls (Stephanie Brown and Barbara Gordon)—only Silk Spectre manages to be cheaper. But we should expect her powers to be doing something notable at that point cost to make up for her unremarkable stat box.

Powers Breakdown

Mimic
After moving and before attacking, you may choose the Move, Range, Attack, or Defense number on the Army Card of one Unique Hero figure within 4 clear sight spaces of Echo to Mimic. Echo may use the Mimicked number in place of her own until she mimics a different number. Echo cannot mimic a number that is higher than 7.

All right, this is her primary power—no question. The ability to boost a single stat to as high as 7 at any one time is a massive deal, particularly at her point cost, though there does need to be someone nearby for her to Mimic to do this. The attack boost is particularly important: being by far the cheapest figure to be able to muster an attack of 7 without outside boosts (the closest contender being the unreliable Molly Hayes, at 180 Points) is extremely significant. Tactical Advantage: Extremely High.

Mirrored Counter Strike
When rolling defense dice against an adjacent normal attack, if you roll the same number of shields as the attacker rolls skulls, the attacking figure receives one wound.

This isn’t a great power: needing to roll an exact and shifting number of shields to trigger, it won’t come up often, and since it is an exact number, boosting her defence with Mimic won’t really help with it, as it would if this were regular Counter Strike. Now, that’s not to say this is useless—when it comes up, that’s a free wound, and you’ll be happy about it—but it may not come up at all, and it’s not really something you’ll need to worry about or plan around on either side of the table much of the time, in my experience. Tactical Advantage: Low.


In Depth Analysis

For the purposes of this strategy article, I will be using a slight variation on Agatagary’s chess-based unit evaluation system; for those unfamiliar, it goes as follows:
  • Pawn Class (expendable: units that can be useful, but are not worth enormous trouble to protect; examples include: Fire Ant swarms, Street Thugs and Bucky)
  • Bishop Class (more useful than a pawn, but still somewhat expendable; examples include: Iceman, Firestar and Crimson Dynamo)
  • Knight Class (units that are interestingly powerful and can have a significant impact on the game in and of themselves; it is advisable that they be kept alive, but if absolutely necessary they may be sacrificed; examples include: Red Skull (C3G), Doctor Octopus and Hawkgirl)
  • Rook Class (units that almost inevitably have a significant impact on the game, and whose death should be avoided as much as possible; examples include: Captain America (C3G), Wonder Woman (I) and Deadpool)
  • Queen Class (devastatingly powerful or important units that should be protected at all costs; examples include: Magneto (II), Silver Surfer (C3G) and Darkseid)
  • King Class (my addition: fundamentally important units whose leadership or synergy is necessary to the cohesion of your army, and who should be protected at all costs; examples include: Professor X, Baron Heinrich Zemo and Nick Fury)

Echo can be useful and viable when used as a bishop: just use her to get a couple of big attacks in, and that in and of itself makes her worth her 130 points. In fact, I’ve used her like this a lot, and it works; however, to make the most out of her despite her low cost, it’s worth trying to protect her a bit more and think of her as a knight.

Making the Most of Mimicry
I’ll be honest here: while the other options for Mimic are nice, you’ll generally want to focus on attack. The reason for this is quite simple: the object of the game is to kill the enemy, and while defending against them, outranging them and moving faster can all help this cause, in the end, you’re going to want to strike as hard as you can. Don’t waste her potential as the cheapest figure in the game with a (possible) attack of 7 by using her for range instead (even if that is nice at times).

That’s not to say that using other options for Mimic isn’t a good idea sometimes—her versatility is an asset, even if it isn’t her primary one. For example, when moving her up, giving her a defence of 7 will be a massive help to make sure that, when you engage with her, you can make use of her big attack and she won’t be picked off or weakened on her way in. Boosting her defence is also a good idea if you’re clearing out weak squaddies, like Street Thugs or Hydra Agents; her base attack of 4 should be able to deal with them effectively enough (bringing it up to 7 is generally overkill here), and it’s better in this situation to give her the defence to stonewall any reprisal they attempt. Against frustrating dodgers, such as Spider-Man or Harley Quinn (I), defence may again be the way to go, as the strength of her attack doesn’t affect the odds of Spidey-Sense(s) or Acrobatic Maneuver working, and it’s probably better to give her more chances to strike by keeping her alive longer. Range can also be helpful: if you have a sniper’s perch against slower, ground-pounding units, for example, or if you’re trying to outrange a defensive special such as Counter Strike, Gorgon’s Precognitive Strike or Batman (I)’s Evasive Strike. Boosting her move isn’t really something I can see much point in doing—certainly, moving faster is always nice, but if I’m advancing with her I’d rather have her defence boosted so she can absorb attacks coming her way, rather than having her get there more quickly without the stats to either defend against an attack or achieve anything meaningful. It could be useful when making a tactical retreat—for example in order to get healed by Alfred—but that’s about all. In the end though, when you’re trying to kill or maim an enemy hero (which, in Superscape, you’re likely to be doing most of the time), that 7 attack is invaluable, and the primary use of Mimic.

There’s also the matter of actually being able to use Mimic in the first place: there needs to be someone whose stats Echo is able to Mimic, and, ideally, they’ll have those stats at maximum. You could theoretically rely on enemy figures to Mimic, but that depends on Echo being able to pick fights near them, and on your opponent drafting figures with that kind of statistic in the first place. Really, you’re probably best off taking her alongside someone like Hercules or Superman (I): you’ll want to have someone to Mimic in your army who has an attack of 7, and ideally a defence of 7 as well. Note also that 7 is the highest number Echo is able to Mimic, so someone with stats higher than that (such as Thor) isn’t going to help you here. An interesting bit of trivia is that Doctor Manhattan is the only figure in the game with 7 stats across the board, making him ideal for Mimic. This makes Echo a nice, cheap addition if you’re taking Dr. Osterman anyway, but he’s not required to make effective use of her; someone like Hercules is sufficient, and don’t forget the existence of Molly Hayes with her 7/7 for attack and defence at 180 if you want a budget option.

The other thing to remain cognizant of when playing her, especially when thinking of her as a knight, is keeping her alive—you’ll be wanting to use her to make those attacks of 7, as I said, but while doing that, she’s going to have a life and defence of 4 each, which isn’t that hard to crack through. It’s imperative to keep her safe moving up, both by using Mimic to get a defence of 7 and keeping the heat off her, and it’s a decent idea to try to keep her protected while engaged as well. I’ll get into options for doing that later on.

Shadow of an Echo
As a vigilante, Echo gets some notable synergies—most significantly, sidekicks! For most armies you’ll be using her with, it’s probably a good idea to pair her with a sidekick for the extra activation to make the most out of each turn. However, with Catgirl, Nite Owl and four different varieties of Robin on offer, which sidekick is the best pick for Echo? For a lot of figures, this question is more a matter of personal preference, the other needs of the battlefield or armies, and what fits best into your budget. But, with Echo, I’ll argue that there’s a clear winner among them: Robin (Dick Grayson). Why, you may ask? Well, it’s quite simple: you know what I said earlier about Echo needing to be protected while she delivers the big hits? Well, who better for that job than a bonding sidekick who can draw away attacks with Daring Decoy and avoid being killed thanks to the super-annoying Acrobatic Maneuver? It doesn’t matter how heavy the attack is, if Robin can keep rolling just one shield, he can keep dodging—it’s one of the most infamously frustrating abilities to deal with in the game, and when you pair that with Daring Decoy to make him take the heat instead of Echo, this should give her the time she needs to make full use of that 7 attack and make the target they’ve engaged pay.

Now, this can be countered by bringing in range to snipe Echo, or by using auto-wounds to circumnavigate both Acrobatic Maneuver and Daring Decoy, but either of those should be predictable before entering that situation, and, as such, reliable auto-wounders should be avoided, and you should use supporting forces to harass or annihilate any ranged opponents when trying to use Echo as a knight. Your opponent, depending on terrain or figure placement, could still try to get around Daring Decoy by disengaging from Robin and striking Echo, but, again depending on terrain and figure placement, they’ll then be taking a minimum of one leaving engagement attack from Robin per turn in order to attack Echo ... unless they have a way of avoiding leaving engagement attacks, which is the other thing Echo needs to worry about before charging into a situation like this. While attacking the likes of Silver Surfer, Scarlet Spider (Kaine Parker), or anyone backed up by a strong sniper with this strike force is a bad plan, even high-level titans should be scared of such an attack unless they have the means to deal with it. Lanterns should be particularly terrified, as, while they can try to kite and snipe Echo on her way in, if they find themselves engaged with Dick and Maya, then trying to disengage from Robin could be very painful for figures with such a skewed point-per-life ratio. Even if Echo doesn’t survive too long, she’s probably done enough damage to any titan she engages for your own titan (the target of Echo’s Mimic) to be able to clean up without too much trouble; alternatively, she could be cleaning up the pickings that your own titan couldn’t quite finish off before dropping. Either way, Dick Grayson should be able to keep her alive a bit longer while making his own attacks, and every moment Echo survives at full attack power is one her opponent should be worried.

A possible alternative to Dick, and, indeed, to vigilante sidekicks in general, comes in the form of Rover, thanks to Echo being human. Rover provides a similar ability to protect her, but against range as well as melee, with an additional ability to hurt the attacker when doing so. He also has a stronger ranged attack, flies, and can carry another ally with him. These bonuses are balanced out by the fact that he’s 60 points more expensive than Dick and will die a lot more quickly most of the time, so Mr. Grayson is still probably the best shot here. Still, an Echo/Rover combo should be pretty nice.

Now, let’s look at what army builds Echo works well in!

Avenging Echo
As tempted as I may be to pair Maya with Tony Stark for the sake of a lazy “Echo and Narcissus” joke (mythological humour for the win!), I will refrain from such temptation and speak only of combinations that actually work well for her. One of the first of this type for her and many other heroes happens to be Captain America (C3G). The stat boost provided by Avengers Assemble is a massive boon and, while she may lack a normal multi-attack to inflate the effects of an attack boost, bonding with a sidekick is really just as good on that account. Star-Lord provides a similar stat boost, but, since Echo and all vigilante sidekicks in the game are human, he also negates that synergy, so Steve’s the better choice, unless you’re pairing her with Rover. When inspired by Captain America and using Mimic to get an attack of 7, Echo is hitting with a titanic 8 and defending with a tough and respectable 5—not half bad for a 130 point character! Pair her with Dick Grayson, and while he’s adjacent to her and attacking adjacent figures he’ll also be hitting with a pretty damn scary 5 in the same turn that Echo’s hitting with 8; plus, his defence is going up to 4, which, when paired with Acrobatic Maneuver and Daring Decoy, will make him even more of a pain in the arse to deal with. That’s a combined assault capable of bringing almost anyone to their knees. A good Avengers army core with Echo would be:
  • Captain America (C3G) – 240
  • Hercules – 360
  • Echo – 130
  • Robin (Dick Grayson) – 100
  • Bucky – 60
  • Total: 890 Points

Hercules specifically isn’t necessary—any big hitter with a base attack (and, ideally, defence) of 7 would work here—but Hercules fits the bill and is really strong himself. Note that the previously mentioned Doctor Manhattan would be a poor fit here, since being an event hero disqualifies him from being an Avenger. One (more expensive) potential alternative to Hercules would be Superman (I), who could make use of Heroic Duty to keep Echo (and perhaps Cap) alive even longer. With Hercules, though, this build gives you two strong sidekick combos and a nice powerful heavy hitter, with between 110 and 310 points left in a standard 1,000 to 1,200 point game, and an Avengers marker to spare. In a 1,000 point game, I’d suggest filling out with support, specifically looking at Alfred Pennyworth (can potentially extract and heal Echo), Angel (can fly Maya, Steve or anyone else out of a potentially dangerous situation or to a better position with Guardian Angel) or Oracle (a good way to preserve your order markers if Echo suddenly gets killed, and Secret Attack Plan can make Ms. Lopez’s devastating attacks—as well as Hercules’s—even more terrifying); also, since none of these are combat figures, they don’t necessarily need Avengers markers, making them viable in higher points games as well. If playing at 1,200, I’d suggest bringing in some ranged, potentially multi-hitting support, since that’s one of the few remaining areas where this army is a tad weak (Cap’s Shield Throw Special Attack notwithstanding). Particularly, I’d look at Punisher (cheap, so leaves room for Alfred, Angel or Oracle; is a vigilante to bond with Robin; has a strong, once per round special attack and a multi-hitting normal that combines well with Cap), Deadpool (heals, Double Attack combines well with Steve, can potentially protect Echo from ranged attacks if you set him up to do so and remember that Wisecrack exists) and Magneto (I) (long-ranged flier with a multi-hitting, figure moving, auto-wounding special).

Echoing Justice
The other build that Echo works really well in would be a Justice League build. Well, build isn’t quite correct ... builds is more accurate. As a cheap vigilante, she’s a strong, inexpensive way to provide a Justice League marker to Martian Manhunter (II) or Superman (Kal-El) (III), and, on top of that, since both J’onn and Kal have an attack and defence of 7, Echo can Mimic them perfectly without you having to worry about adding anyone else with those sorts of stats to your army. It’s a fairly symbiotic relationship. (No, not in that way ... put your sonic weapons down!)

With J’onn J’onzz, it’s fairly simple: Echo is probably the best figure to pair with him in terms of value , being a cheap source for a Justice League marker (always helpful). In fact, there are only three figures he could acquire a marker from which are as cheap or cheaper than Echo, and I feel like she provides far more for a Justice League build than Silk Spectre or a Batgirl would. Plus, when you consider that J’onn can, once per round, activate two figures in a turn (one of which may be himself) by burning a Justice League marker, then you’re easily capable of being able to deliver two attacks of 7 in one turn. While Echo is far from unique in providing this capacity to a Justice League army, most other figures with that attack potential are over 300 points, making Echo a bargain pick. That low cost comes due to her far lower durability, however, and in this sort of build you’re not likely to be as capable of protecting her as in a number of others: you should be able to get her into the fray, as she can Mimic the Martian’s defence while advancing and then Mimic his attack before striking, but once she has been deployed in combat, there’s little in this sort of build to help her stick around. You could bring in Dick Grayson, but he’s not going to be able to bond with her once per round when J’onn doles out his double turn, and, besides: you want everyone you can to be contributing markers to J’onn; with Dick Grayson not doing it, you’re essentially negating Echo’s big advantage of providing a marker and a big attack at a bargain price. The one way of keeping her protected I can think of in this build is, again, bringing in Superman (I) to protect her with Heroic Duty, but that’s a big investment (with only one Justice League marker for your 400 points) and he’s not even needed to give her stats to Mimic with J’onn around. In the end, in this sort of build, you’re likely best off thinking of Maya as an expendable bishop rather than a knight, and that’s okay.

Now, let’s move on to the other Justice League option, which is, in a way, the complete opposite of the J’onn build: rather than accepting Echo’s frailty with Superman (III), the whole point is keeping her alive as long as possible, since, thanks to Symbol of Hope, someone else can jump in to take a blow for her (with +2 defence, three times per game), giving her ample opportunity to bring her attack of 7 to bear. Now, since Superman has a max of 3 Justice League markers, we need only bring in one more, and then the army may be built freely. My recommendation? Huntress: another cheap, powerful vigilante who pairs brilliantly with Superman. While you can use her to protect Echo versus range via Symbol of Hope, I’d suggest saving those markers, when you can, to have her defend Echo in melee; with Symbol of Hope’s defensive bonus, she’ll be defending at 7, and thanks to Ruthless Counter Strike, unless she’s killed, each skull she rolls on that will inflict an unblockable wound on the attacking figure. That’s some insane passive auto-wounding potential! With Echo’s attack backing her up, this combo, especially if supported by a vigilante sidekick, can wreck most heroes out there. As far as sidekicks go, I’d still recommend Dick Grayson, as more protection for Echo is never a bad thing. Now, your opponent may wish to try targeting Huntress to avoid letting her have the Symbol of Hope defensive bonus, but that still inherently keeps Echo safe and puts the attacker in danger, and you can even get around that by having Dick engage the attacker, drawing the attacks to him and then having Huntress leap in to protect him. This whole pod comes in at 840, and gives you a terrifying vigilante assault force, with the Man of Steel in the back for cleanup. If playing over 1,000, try throwing our old friend Steve Rogers in there—not only will he boost Echo and Grayson, as explained before, but he’ll make Huntress stronger as well ... on the defensive particularly, as Ruthless Counter Strike on someone defending with 6 or 8 is bloody terrifying.

Faded Echo
I’d like to wrap this up by talking about some of the more obviously synergistic armies for Echo that, despite their synergy, I don’t feel work terribly well for her. The first is a vigilante build, typically consisting of multiple vigilantes, multiple sidekicks for them, and Alfred at the back to heal any who can make a tactical retreat. The second would be an assassin build, where she’d be recruited by Lady Shiva, bond with Hand ninja, and then there would be numerous other ninja and assassins and maybe Masahiro Arashi at the back to provide Ruthless Command and late game bonding. The problem with both of these is that neither are conducive to having anyone with 7/7 stats for Echo to Mimic: there just isn’t anyone synergistically valuable to those builds with that kind of stat box. You may be thinking that having Lady Shiva recruit her into a Kingpin build could work, since there are a few beefy criminals out there, but the highest natural attack for a criminal at present is 6, which is still sub-optimal, and Kingpin as a bonding option doesn’t really support Maya that well at all. Now, that’s not to say she’s a bad pick in any of these builds—she’s cheap, flexible and a good counter if the enemy has someone with an attack of 7 she can engage—but those aren’t builds where she can reliably achieve her full potential. If we ever see a vigilante, assassin, ninja, criminal or crime lord with a base attack of 7, this may change, but I’m not exactly holding my breath; besides, it’s not as though she’s lacking in good uses as it is!

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, this article will help you appreciate an often overlooked vigilante; one who, if played correctly, can, in her own way, be every bit as good as the most highly regarded ones out there, such as Batman and Punisher. Until next time, may the dice gods bless you with victory!


For additional information see the Book of Echo.
Total Comments 4

Comments

Old
HS Codex's Avatar
Lazy Orang has kindly agreed to temporarily take over the department of C3G Strategy while Ronin is on break.
Posted September 19th, 2017 at 12:44 PM by HS Codex HS Codex is offline
Old
Tornado's Avatar
Great article L_O.

Some great build options in there!

She may be as good as Batman but I am not sure anyone has the value of Punisher in C3G.
Posted September 20th, 2017 at 11:13 AM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Old
Lazy Orang's Avatar
Small addendum here, a silly mistake I made that my brother noticed - ignore everything I said about Doctor Manhattan, as an Event Hero he is unable to be Mimicked. Can't believe I never caught that before.
Posted September 28th, 2017 at 08:41 PM by Lazy Orang Lazy Orang is offline
Old
Yodaking's Avatar
Great article Lazy. Makes me want to play a Justice League army with her in tow.
Posted November 30th, 2017 at 05:31 PM by Yodaking Yodaking is offline
 
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