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Old March 28th, 2021, 03:04 PM
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Re: C3G Faction Strategy Guides

Helmut Zemo's Thunderbolts Faction Strategy

Important Links
Overview
Helmut Zemo's Thunderbolts can be a little tricky to pick up; they don't work off a traditional Order Marker hub, and they've got a lot of passive powers that require attention to placement to leverage. They've got a lot of tricks up their sleeves, though.

Key Synergy Pieces
These are the engines that drive the Charlatan ship. Songbird is essential in almost any Charlatan build, but Citizen V can be foregone in smaller games (<800 points or so). As the Thunderbolts are rooted in the Charlatan class, Songbird's Thunderbolt Redemption special power is necessarily not used in Thunderbolts builds. You'll find her quite worthwhile without it, though.
  • Songbird (180) - Mel bonds with other Charlatans and also boosts their defense. She's no great shakes as an attacker, but a ranged attack of 4 is nothing to sneeze at either. She's best played conservatively - the enemy is probably coming to her, so don't overextend her for the sake of getting an attack in. You want to make sure you're keeping her close to the rest of the gang for the sake of her support powers anyway. Keep her in the middle or back of the group, and put her on whatever high ground (or other advantageous terrain) is available.
  • Citizen V (Helmut Zemo) (190) - Zemo is the leader of the Thunderbolts, and the second-most important source of Charlatan synergy. Zemo's leadership style is limited, but comes with a bundle of tricks. His "Justice, Like Lightning..." special power lets him activate two Charlatans, instead of whatever figure you actually revealed an Order Marker on. Getting two turns once a round may not seem like outstanding leadership, but there are some significant upsides. One is that he's providing flexibility for a faction without an Order Marker hub. The second is that you're still revealing an Order Marker on the first figure. There a couple figures in-faction that can leverage this (Techno and Jolt, primarily), but it also allows him to incorporate 'guest stars' that work off of revealed Order Marker mechanics into a Charlatan build. As a f'rinstance, Captain America's stat-boosting works off of having a revealed Order Marker on his card. You can reveal an Order Marker on Captain America to boost your Avenger-Thunderbolts, then use Zemo to give two of those figures turns instead of taking the turn with Captain America. This ability to rope non-Charlatans into the build makes him helpful for building big armies around the T-Bolts. Less significantly, he also provides +/-1 to Charlatan d20 rolls, as a minor perk for the Charlatans that use the d20.

    Leadership aside, Zemo is packing impressive attack power, as a 5 Attack figure with Swordplay. However, he is a bit defensively fragile and leans on the other Thunderbolts to keep him alive. Using him offensively is high-risk, high-reward. You'll likely want to keep him in the back of your army at first, and only come out swinging once your army is depleted.

Important Thunderbolts
  • Meteorite (210) - Karla is one of the nastiest, most disruptive figures in the game. As a ranged flier with Intangiblity, she's already solid at kiting. Manipulation is a nasty trick for killing enemy Order Markers, and Blinding Light, by denying enemy clear sight, straight up shuts off a lot of enemy special powers if they get too close to her. Nasty. A lot of enemies will target her early for this reason, needing to take her off the board in order to access their full skillsets. Make sure to keep her in range of Songbird's defense boost, and consider her positioning carefully. She's one of the Thunderbolts' best attackers, and likely to be an early target, so you may want to move her to high ground to boost her attack/defense. On the other hand, a lot of enemies will have to engage her in order to deal with her (unless they have ways of wounding her from range that don't rely on clear sight), so you may want to use her to lure enemies to low ground.
  • Jolt (80) - Hallie is fragile, but a cheap auto-wounder, and also boosts the Move of other Charlatans (plus a d20 boost for Atlas and MACH-I). Her boost works off of a revealed Order Marker, so she's a decent candidate for getting Order Markers that Citizen V diverts to other Charlatans with Justice Like Lightning. She can survive in a scrap for a while, largely by virtue of not being a priority target (generally - be careful against enemies that pick on weak figures). Having her close to the action makes it much easier to sneak in an auto-wound here or there.
  • MACH-I (200) - Abe offers some auto-wound potential with Support Fire, but it's not something you can count on. It does benefit from the d20 boosts that Jolt and Citizen V provide, as well as Meteorite's ability to force engagements. He's a solid normal attacker, and Evasive Flying gives him a lot of ability to choose who he goes after. He benefits from being unengaged to get Support Fire rolls, but often the value of tying someone down on the front line will be higher. His special attack is handy for providing a little movement for the other Thunderbolts and keeping their various aura effects properly layered. It also lets him move Jolt to trigger her auto-wound power.
  • Atlas (270) - Erik is the big front-line brawler of the group: defensively stalwart, with a big normal attack. The main thing to keep an eye on is managing his placement to score potential Ionic Imbalance wounds. Keep him away from your own guys (but not too far away) and engage key enemy pieces with him. He's a bit slow-moving, and doesn't like LEAs, so he enjoys the movement from MACH-I's SA as well as the move boost from Jolt. Ionic Imbalance is also the most potent d20 effect for Citizen V and Jolt to boost, and the one where they're most likely to make a difference (with its multiple thresholds).
  • Techno (150) - Norbert is the second-cheapest Charlatan. He's a bit of a swiss army knife. He doesn't look like a huge threat, but Reckless Engagement can beef up his Attack number if you're willing to play risky with him and let him rely on Meteorite and Songbird to stay alive. Like Jolt, he also has a good trick for interacting with Citizen V's Justice Like Lightning: you choose his Tech-Pac effects when you reveal the Order Marker on him, regardless of whether or not you take a turn with him. Most of the effects don't matter when he doesn't take a turn, but the defense subtraction does. So if he's engaged, you can dock the defense of figures he's engaged with, then use Zemo to bounce your turn to more potent attackers.
  • Hawkeye (Avengers) (220) - What's this Avenger doing here? I'll have you know Clint took over leadership of the Thunderbolts after they turned on Zemo, and this guy is also perfectly suited as a fallback leader in-game. He's not a Charlatan, so he doesn't benefit from the hard Charlatan synergies that Citizen V, Songbird and Jolt provide. But he does actually work on a mechanic that's similar to Citizen V's - you can reveal your Order Marker in one place, but then take your turn with Hawkeye. Hawkeye's version is more limited in who you get the turn with (just Hawkeye), but actually a bit more generous in that the figure who got the Order Marker still gets its full turn, just not its attack. This means that Jolt and Techno's tricks that they can pull with Justice, Like Lightning still apply here. But, even better, figures still get their not-attacking tricks on their turns, and Hawkeye can cut through a lot of defensive powers the T-Bolts can't deal with on their attacks anyway. So MACH-I or Atlas could reposition on their turn (to set up placements for their passive powers) and then let Hawkeye attack. More nastily, Meteorite or Jolt could do the same thing, but they also both have offensive powers they could use on a turn they gave their attack to Hawkeye (Meteorite's Manipulation and Jolt's Hyperkinetic Blitz). Also consider that he can still replace a figure's attack on a turn they bond with Songbird, and Citizen V can use Justice Like Lightning to get around the Order Marker requirement on Hawkeye's leadership power. Hawkeye doesn't have enough Avenger Markers to go around, but he's still a solid add-on to a Thunderbolts army, providing some additional flexibility once some of your key pieces have started to drop.

Currently Charlatans don't have other options outside the core thematic group. It's a class that's looking to expand, though!

Army Build Examples:

600 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno

800 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, MACH-I

900 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, Jolt, Hawkeye (Avengers)

1000 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, Meteorite, Citizen V

1200 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, Meteorite, Citizen V, MACH-I

1300 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, Meteorite, Citizen V, Jolt, Hawkeye (Avengers)
  • Songbird, Atlas, MACH-I, Captain America, Citizen V, Hawkeye (Avengers)

1500 Points
  • Songbird, Atlas, Techno, Meteorite, Citizen V, MACH-I, Jolt, Hawkeye (Avengers)

Last edited by Ronin; June 5th, 2021 at 10:14 PM.
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