Welcome to the first team build for Avengers Defenders War where I’m not covering either team! Instead, I want to look at the super cool, super rare Ghost Rider. I played him for the first time this week, and that inspired me.
It seems WizKids wants to include at least one super-gorgeous, non-chase sculpt in each set moving forward, and I’m certainly not going to complain. Like Iceman in Uncanny X-Force who continues to be among my top 5 sculpts of all-time, Johnny Blaze got the treatment in the newest set, and man is he gorgeous.
Normally I would start off a set with something that is part of the main theme, so for this set, it would be an Avenger or a Defender. The rider is neither of these, although he is a Marvel Knight, the biggest sub-theme from this set. I felt he’s cool enough that I wanted to do a build around him before getting into some of the more blatant pieces. Also, much of this set is relatively easy to build around whereas things like the Deadpool chases and Mistress Death really required careful consideration. Much of the good pieces in this set are incredibly strong, so they don’t need a specific supporting cast.
Ghost Rider is kind of an exception to that rule. He does something really well that two other super rares from the same set do, but other than that, he’s a tad difficult to figure out how to maximize his effectiveness.
Coming in at three different point levels, Johnny has a lot of options on how you play him. He’s got 4 range, standard combat symbols with Indomitable, and ignores hindering, elevated, and characters for movement. He’s also a peanut base which means he can’t be carried or TK’d. In terms of clicks, it depends on how much you pay. At 100 points, he’s 8 clicks long, 75 points gives you 6 clicks, and 50 points gives you just 4 clicks. While I would almost never play his 50 point line, his 75 and 100 point dials are both very strong. He’s also got some great keywords with Marvel Knights, Midnight Sons, and the every popular and ultra-strong Mystical.
His dial is fairly straight forward. Movement consists of a Special Power until his sixth click which gives way to Charge, and is relatively high with 11’s, 10’s, 9’s and ending on a couple 8’s. His attack is vanilla with decent values depending on where you start. Defense starts out with a 17 Invulnerable for two clicks, peaks at 18 Invulnerable (which you start on at 75 points), and drops down to some Toughness on click four, dropping to a 16 on click six. Damage is vanilla as well with three clicks of 3, four clicks of 2, and a single 1 damage on the end, while Exploit Weakness pops up on the last three clicks.
So what gives? He’s got a pretty vanilla dial for quite a large sum of points. Well, all of the rider’s power comes from his trait and Special Movement Power. Let’s see the trait first.
MARVEL KNIGHTS: At the beginning of the game, for all characters with this trait, choose one: Characters using this trait have a minimum attack value of 10 or characters using this trait are wild cards.
Like all the Marvel Knights characters in this set, Ghost Rider gets the new ‘alternative’ to ATA’s included in his kit. For all characters on your force with this trait, you choose one ability at the beginning of the game; either 10 attack or wild card, and they all gain that benefit. In case you weren’t sure, you don’t pick for each individual; you pick for the entire lot. 9/10 times, you’re going to want to pick Wild Card. If you stick with a 10 attack minimum, Johnny is only seeing a benefit on his last two clicks, where he’s got weak defenses anyways. It’s much more valuable to assign him a team ability like Justice Society or Mystics to help his kit out, much like all the other Defenders. Basically, this trait makes him a Wild Card.
His Movement Power is really what makes him good.
VENGEANCE WILL NOT BE DENIED: Ghost Rider can use Sidestep. Give Ghost Rider a power action to move up to his speed value in a direct path. After actions resolve, choose: 3 damage or 2 penetrating damage, then make a close attack targeting all characters he moved through. Hit characters are dealt the chosen damage instead of normal damage and placed into a square that Ghost Rider did not move through adjacent to their current square.
Sidestep is really nice here, and helps Ghost Rider position to move through as many characters as he can. Since he ignores everything but blocking terrain for movement, there’s very little chance you escape his attack. There are some plus a minuses to how this power works. On the plus side, you can hit multiple people and you get to choose how much damage you’re going to assign to them and how it’s done. If multiple potential targets are rocking Invincible but one has no reducer, go for 3 damage. If multiple have Invulnerable or Impervious, go for the 2 penetrating damage. On the down side, he has to move through them to hit, meaning he’s going to most likely end up in opposing territory, ripe for picking. It will take careful consideration as to when the Rider hits and who he guns for because you won’t be able to get him out of harms way thanks to his peanut base.
One last thing to note about this special power for Ghost Rider, as well as Black Knight and Valkyrie who also share a similar effect; as they’re double bases, you move them as though they are a single-based character. That means you don’t get to count double-wide squares and hit people along two different paths. You basically count from one square and anything in that line of movement is then attacked. So no, you can’t set him up with both bases adjacent on two different columns and hit a ton of characters who are all next to each other.
Let’s take a look at his Positive VS. Negative analysis, as I really liked this during the Deadpool Chase Series.
Positives: Ignores almost everything for movement. Wild Card gives him versatility and can be built around. Mystical keyword. Deep dial. Indom can get him out of trouble the following turn after an attack. Can choose how he deals damage. Reducers all the way through.
Negatives: Peanut base makes him impossible to shuttle. Sub-par defense value at 100 points. Has to risk himself to deal damage. Back portion of his dial is very lackluster.
The biggest flaw with Ghost Rider is that again, he has to risk his points to be effective. However, you can easily get around this aspect. With his high movement and elevation advantages, Ghost Rider is an extreme candidate for requiring a theme team and winning map roll. unlike other characters who usually are recommended a taxi or TK to help mobilize, Ghost Rider’s biggest ally is going to be a map that will allow him to move through people and hide either on higher elevation or lower elevation. This in-turn requires your opponent to move out of position to take advantage of the demon that just drove through them and is going to do it again the next turn to drive into safety.
What else does he need to be useful? A few great team abilities are going to be very helpful. Mystics is going to be top so that he can do what most Ghost Riders do and hit people back for touching him. Like I said earlier, there are other great options too like JSA and Defenders to raise his rather low defense value, and things like X-Men and Teen Titans so that other characters can heal him. Batman Ally is wonderful to grant Stealth so that he can ride into hindering and stay relatively safe. Lastly, a good secondary ranged attacker would be fantastic with him so that while he’s causing all the distraction, your team can take pot-shots at the opposition.
Unlike other characters that I’ve built around, map choice is key here. I would recommend any map with lots of elevation and very little blocking terrain, so a lot of maps that Nick Fury likes to play on. The new Wakanda map would be a very good choice as this would bump the Riders’ defense up to a 19 against ranged attacks and if you have a Stealth-granting team ability, it will keep him pretty much protected.
For the builds today, I want to stick with what I normally do which is 300 Modern with no resources. I realize that with World’s coming up next month and ROC Modern coming back into full swing, resources are going to be more of a thing again, but until rotation happens, I don’t really want to go there. Plus, I’ve always tried to make these builds more for LGS play as you can easily adapt builds for resources and their relatively low point costs.
300 Point Modern Ghost Rider Team – No Resources (Mystical)
- ADW 064 Ghost Rider | 100 Points
- SFSM 037 Moon Knight | 90 Points
- WF 046 Klarion the Witch-Boy | 70 Points
- WW 009 Raven | 40 Points
- Mystical Team: +4
- Build Total: 300 Points
I’m playing Ghost Rider at 100 points in this build. While I think his 75 point dial is a little more efficient, for a primary attacker I want a deep dial.
First up is Moon Knight. He’s a Wild Card, just like Ghost Rider, so he can pick up team abilities from the rest of the team, and he’s a fantastic ranged attacker. Also like Ghost Rider, he ignores elevation for movement, so he can easily get to his targets if you win map roll. What I really like about Moon Knight is that he has a chance of resurrecting if he hits enough people and he gets a +1 to his attack value for everyone that can see him when he makes an attack. He’s also got Toughness his entire dial with pretty good numbers and shifts into a pretty good melee piece mid-dial. He’s tough to put down and should be a very beneficial secondary attacker.
Klarion is the next choice and an obvious one at that. For 70 points, there’s just so much value here. Granting Mystics to both Moonie and Johnny, Prob, Phasing to get through your map with all the elevation, and a tertiary attacker with Perplex all rolled into one disgusting little package. There’s just no way I wouldn’t use him as my Mystics choice.
For the last piece on the force, I went with the new rare Raven from the Wonder Woman Gravity Feed set. While we might not be able to carry Ghost Rider or TK him, there’s no rule that says we can’t place him, and Raven does exactly that:
TELEPORTATION: Give Raven a power action and choose an adjacent friendly character with the Mystical keyword up to two adjacent friendly characters with the Teen Titans keyword. Place Raven in a square within 6 squares and line of fire and place the chosen characters adjacent to her.
Raven can move Ghost Rider up 6 squares away and drop him right in front of her, and since he’s a peanut base, you can technically advance him 8 squares which is basically TK. She’s also got Prob on her top dial, pushes into Support, and regen on her last click, and also brings the Teen Titans team ability meaning she can emergency heal Moonie or Johnny if need be. My favorite part about this is that with Ghost Riders’ own Sidestep, it’s supremely harder for your opponent to not have their pieces lined up for every single one to take a hit. This is one 40 point Mystical character that is an absolute must-have for Ghost Rider.
This team doesn’t have too many characters, but it has a lot going on with pretty efficient characters. While Moon Knight is probably the weakest link and the go-to if you want to apply different characters, it’s still pretty aggressive which I really like. You don’t wait for your opponent to come to you; you attack them while they’re sill massed with a 13 attack on Moon Knight, a teleported Ghost Rider, and a weird cat/demon combo that can 1-2 punch people into oblivion.
Let’s try a different route with Marvel Knights.
300 Point Modern Ghost Rider Team – No Resources (Marvel Knights)
- ADW 064e Ghost Rider | 75 Points
- ADW 101 The Man Without Fear | 75 Points
- ADW FF001 Daredevil | 75 Points
- SFSM 036 Cloak | 35 Points
- ADW 027 Karen Page | 20 Points
- CWSOP 105 Night Nurse | 20 Points
- Marvel Knights Team: +6
- Build Total: 300 Points
This time I’ve dropped Ghost Rider down to 75 points to get more value on the team and more moving parts, and it works well. Most of the Marvel Knights are either 50 or 75 points, so it’s nice to shave some points off while still keeping his strengths. While we have no team abilities to copy on this force, it’s almost a guarantee at winning map roll, and you get use of Theme Team Probability Control.
Since we want a map with lots of elevation and hindering terrain, characters that ignore or benefit from these things are best. The LE from the newest set, The Man Without Fear, ignores both so we’re in good hands. He’s also incredibly strong if you can play a map with lots of hindering terrain, like Wakanda. Not only does he have traited Stealth, he gets to heal each turn if he’s in printed hindering terrain, and can also use Hypersonic Speed, but is punished if he doesn’t end in hindering terrain. Shouldn’t be too tough with +6 to map roll. His stats are outstanding too with 11 attack on half his dial, great reducers and defense values, and the longevity thanks to his Stealth and free healing.
Speaking of free healing, how about another attacker that does the same thing? The Fast Forces Daredevil effectively becomes the ‘kill me first or pay’ of the team in that if anyone else on the team is hit for damage, he gets to heal 1 click. He also ignores hindering, elevated, and characters for movement, so he keeps with our theme. Matching The Man Without Fear, he comes with 11 attack on half his dial and traited Stealth, but he’s also got Outwit for half his dial including up front, making him a very crucial asset to the team.
Next up is Cloak as I needed a 35 point MK to round the team out. Cloak is our taxi for the team, plain and simple, but also provides an 18 defense at all times which is very helpful while our team heals back up. Much like the last two characters, he’s got Stealth so he’s relatively safe as well.
Rounding out the last 40 points are two very good support pieces in Karen Page and Night Nurse. Karen is effectively the old Con-Artist and Betty Brant on steroids in that she does push into Perplex, but she has a terrific movement ability up front that says she has Sidestep and if she’s within 3 squares of an opposing character, all friendly characters get a +1 to their attack values. Now Johnny, T’Challa, and Matt all have a 12 attack. She’s also got Super Senses to keep herself out of danger. Night Nurse seems like an auto-include if we’re gunning for lots of hindering terrain, and will be vital at keeping our pieces up while they fight, especially Ghost Rider who is the only one without a way of healing up.
A great tactic with this force would be to use Cloak as Karen’s transport to get her close before the rest of your guys descends on the target and wipes them out in a single turn. This could be an effective strategy that you keep doing over and over again. It doesn’t have the team abilities that the Mystic team does, but it wins map roll more often and is a little more deadly with all the 12 attack values.
That wraps up my first team build for Avengers Defenders War. What do you think of these combinations with Ghost Rider? Is there something I missed that could be very crucial to help him make his mark? I’d love to know!
See you all next week as we wind down May and things officially shift to the new status of once-per-week Clix Fix articles and once-per-week Two Clicks From KO articles! Have a great holiday weekend (if you’re in the U.S. If not, have a great regular weekend)!