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Red Skull Rising

Posted March 29th, 2011 at 01:36 PM by Filthy the Clown
As of late, I have been including Marvel heroes in my casual games. Of the Marvel heroes, the one that adds the most enjoyment to my games is the Red Skull. His ability to dictate Order Marker management allows a lot of the less-used 'filler' heroes to see the light of day in roles other than end-game filler. Generally speaking, they usually only come into play when they can have all OMs thrown their way. Since they are fragile, it usually pays to play them until they fall. With the Red Skull, this is easily possible. Plus, if the Skull is threatened, he can rely on his strong, ranged attack to thin out the approaching ranks. There are plenty of noteworthy posts on this site that discuss successful uses of Marvel Heroes in mixed-HS games. However, is it possible to use heroes such as the Red Skull in lower-point games, where the Skull, and one other strong hero, can act as the bulk of your army? With that in mind, I have been striving for a 450-475 point build that allows one to incorporate the Skull. Sure, the Skull eats of roughly half of your allocated points, but when coupled with a healer, he can fend off attacks and even deal a bit of death.

Speaking of healers, Ana Karithon is a perfect companion for the Skull. The trade-off for using Ana is that
  1. there are generally not enough points left for Raelin;
  2. she can only heal the Skull, [passively] after each OM (which does not help out the other heroes in your army, unless they are the recipients of an OM).
At the specified point range, you are going to have to rely on her participation in the battle, so her ranged attack, as well as her ability to Turn Undead (which could come in handy against Phantom Knights or Zombies) stand a good chance of seeing some use; her Protection from Evil aura protects the Skull, and other heroes, from Utgar-spawned threats.

Taeblewalker's excellent Strategy Guide for the Red Skull discusses some valid points for using the Skull effectively; namely, the inclusion of clearly defined roles for your support heros: the bruiser, the squad clearer, and the bonding hero. At lower point totals, how can you effectively include all 3 support options in your army?

One method is to include utilitarian heroes, such as Kaemon Awa, who can perform multiple roles. Kaemon, can tackle both heroes and squads, and he is an excellent option for either an aggressive brute or body guard for the Skull. The Q brothers can also play both roles (although Q10 is preferred in this scenario, as he is more apt to tackle heroes with his Wrist Rocket Special Attack,
and his reduced cost will come in handy). A Fen Hydra can also thin out any approaching threats. Note that Kaemon is the only [mentioned] utilitarian hero who can benefit from Ana's defensive boosts.

Regardless of which hero you choose to use, you will need to rely on them for a majority of your offensive punch. What other heroes come to mind?

After the inclusion of the Skull, Ana, and a utilitarion hero, you will only be left with a handful of points in a 450 - 475 point game. Who do you choose? Naturally, the best (and sometimes only!) options are the lower-point heroes that the Skull can manipulate: Isamu, Otonashi, Marcu (since you are revealing your OMs on the Skull, you don't need to fear Eternal Hatred), Guilty McCreech (an excellent option due to his double attack), and Theracus. Me-Burq-Sa is another worthy option, as he can bypass the defense of beefier heroes from range. Including a screen or blockers of sorts, such as a squad or two of Deathreavers, can also assist in obtaining glyphs, channeling the enemy, and protecting the Skull from highly mobile threats such as Cyprien. However, this will require some OM juggling, and you will really want to keep all OMs on the Skull.

Possible builds:

Red Skull 190
Ana 100
Kaemon Awa 120
Guilty 30
Marcu 20
460 points, 5 spaces
~Set the Skull and Ana on a good vantage point (ideally in your start zone on your initial
placement), then send out Marcu for glyphs or Kaemon to blast away. Guilty is pretty much just ranged filler, and Ana/Skull should survive to the end game, where they will play an active role.

Skull 190
Ana 100
Q10 150
Marcu 20
Isamu 10
470 points, 6 spaces

~Q10 is your go-to guy, as he can whittle down either squads or heroes. He is another excellent substitute for Kaemon/Guilty, although Kaemon's Counterstrike can come in handy against swarming melee.

Non-Ana builds:

Skull 190
Kelda 80
Hydra 120
Zetacron 60
Marcu 20
470 points, 6 spaces
~Kelda can keep everyone alive, and you should be able to deal with a lot of approaching threats. Zetacon helps to discourage a turtling opponent.

Skull 190
Rats x2 80
MBS 50
Syvarris 100
Guilty 30
450, 13 spaces
~Release your rats early, then snipe away with your low-life ranged heroes.

Skull 190
Brunak 110
Kaemon 120
Rats x1 40
Isamu 10
470 points, 9 spaces
~Send out the rats, then use Kaemon to pick away at the enemy. An occasional OM on Brunak can carry the Skull to safety; if Brunak gets surrounded and falls, you always have the option to Dust swarming units.

Pending luck of the dice, expect to use the Red Skull often. However, if the dice roll your way, your utilitarian hero will hopefully thin out the enemy ranks in order to give the Skull a chance to use his Dust and/or ranged attack in the end game.

I would love to hear about any strategies or tournament successes that you have had with the Skull, especially with lower point totals.
Total Comments 3


Kaiser Cat's Avatar
No Theracus/Brunak builds?

Also, Iskra. Just Iskra.
Posted March 29th, 2011 at 03:06 PM by Kaiser Cat Kaiser Cat is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
The last build mentioned incorporates Brunak. I really don't like using either if I am also including Ana, mainly because of the point restrictions and the fact that I will be camping the Skull next to Ana throughout the game. A Brave Arrow/Theracus combo could work, provided that you can maintain clear sight from Skull to your opponent's start zone.

In regards to Iskra, Marcu performs essentially the same role for 20 points less. I guess that it really comes down to a premium on points, as there are not a lot of options in games involving the Red Skull and <500 point totals.

I have seen a cowboy build mentioned in quite a few places:

Red Skull 190
James Murphy 75
Johnnie Shotgun 65
DED 60
Guilty 30
420 points

At 500, Raelin is the usual option. At 450, though, you are going to be hurting without some sort of defensive boost.
Posted March 29th, 2011 at 04:18 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Updated March 29th, 2011 at 04:55 PM by Filthy the Clown (Cowboys = another Taeblewalker especial)
Ana's great, but Kelda is a cheaper and more useful option for the Red Skull, since she can be used in a more mobile fashion-- she can heal any of his heroes, not just ones that are standing next to her. He also solves the order marker problem for Kelda. I like using the Ogre Warhulk with the Red Skull, since he's good in three ways, as an anti-squad unit, anti-hero unit, or as a meat shield. The Hydra-Kelda combo is especially good, too.

Red Skull - 190
Warhulk - 150
Syvarris - 100
Kelda - 80
Marcu - 20
Isamu - 10
Total = 550 pts

Red skull - 190
Hydra - 120
Kelda - 80
Syvarris - 100
Shiori - 60 (Shiori's works well with the Red Skull)
Total = 550 pts
Posted March 30th, 2011 at 11:12 AM by Elginb Elginb is offline
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