Surrounded By Willing Victims: Building a Modern Purple Man Team

One of the more exciting rares to come out of Avengers Defenders War was the villain Purple Man and his insanely strong Mind Control powers. What can be done with this guy to really push him over the edge?

I haven’t talked too much about Avengers Defenders War due to all the craziness lately, and wouldn’t you know it, What If… is already out! We also have Elseworlds coming out next month followed by The Mighty Thor and Undead in August, so it’s safe to say that things are going to be a little behind for a while, but that will give us plenty to talk about whereas in the Winter, I was scrapping the bottom of the barrel for content. I still have a decent amount of stuff from ADW that I’d like to talk about, so it’s probably safe to assume that I’ll be jumping around from set to set for a little while. Oh, and if you didn’t know, my set review for What If… is live on Two Clicks From KO, and you can find it right here.

Anyway, Purple Man is a fantastic candidate for a team build because he meets a lot of criteria that I like to build around and folks like to see. Those would be A) he’s only a rare, so he’s easy to get, B) he’s only 70 points making him easy to work with, and C) he isn’t just a plug-n-play figure like a big brick. No, Killgrave actually requires a lot of careful planning if you want to maximize his potential (or even play him correctly at all). Purple Man has some serious bite to him if you can maximize his potential, and there are a few different ways to play him. Before we get into all of that though, let’s take a look at the figure in question.

Purple Man has 5 clicks of health for his 70 points, which is a little expensive. He’s got 6 range with two targets, standard combat symbols, and the Minions of Doom team ability, making him a wild card. He has just two keywords with Spy and Thunderbolts. A single lonesome trait and two special abilities is practically all Purple Man has, but we’ll get to those in a little bit.

His dial at first glance seems absolutely horrible in that he has virtually no abilities and pretty much god awful stats. Movement starts at a 7, drops to a 6 on his third click, and finishes out with a 5, with his Special Movement in every slot. For attack, things are pretty bad with a 9 up front that immediately drops to an 8 on click two, and falls to an abysmal 7 on click four. He’s also got no abilities on his attack. Things aren’t much better in defense with 16 for his first three clicks, dropping to a 15 on his last two clicks, again with his Special Defense in every slot. Damage is the only area Killgrave gets some help; although he only has a paltry 1 damage on the whole dial, he does pick up two clicks of Perplex on clicks two and three (although shouldn’t a character like Killgrave have it on every click?).

So if you aren’t familiar with what Purple Man does/what his Special powers and Trait do, you’re probably thinking “why the heck are you highlighting a junk rare?” and I wouldn’t blame you. But before you go that route, let’s look at his trait and special powers so that we know why he’s a really neat figure. Up first is the trait:

ONCE A VICTIM, ALWAYS MINE TO CONTROL: Purple Man considers opposing characters with Pheromone tokens to be adjacent and have a 0 point value for Mastermind purposes.

Oooookay, that doesn’t really tell us something, except that he somehow works with Pheromone tokens and has Mastermind in some way, shape, or form. Let’s move on so we get a better idea. Let’s see his Movement power.

MAKE YOU DO WHATEVER I WANT: Purple Man can use Mind Control. When he does, modify his attack value by +3, he doesn’t take feedback damage for using it and hit characters are given a Pheromone token.

Mind Control is absolutely necessary on Killgrave, so that’s good. OH, he gets a +3 to his attack for Mind Control! Wow, now those values aren’t so bad. Ah, and there’s the Pheromone mechanic there. Let’s see his special defense to get an idea of the full kit.

SURROUNDED BY WILLING VICTIMS: Purple Man can use Mastermind. When he does, he may remove a Pheromone token from an opposing character to transfer damage to that character.

Now he doesn’t look so terrible with Mastermind on the entire dial. Even better, once he hits you with Mind Control, you’re his puppet and he’ll have no problems reflecting damage back at you regardless of where you are on the map.

These three abilities take a very terrible dial and turns it into gold. Purple Man is probably the best Mind Control piece we’ve seen in quite some time, and with the rules change coming in Summer, he’ll be even stronger. Let’s take a look at the Positive VS. Negative analysis on Mr. Killgrave.

Positive: Big attack on Mind Control. Two targets. Wild Card. Mastermind to completely avoid damage. Cheap enough to build around. Can neutralize opposing pieces when damaged. Mastermind and Mind Control get a large buff with the new rules.

Negative: Currently, Precision Strike completely guts him. Low health. Low defense. No Stealth or protection other than Mastermind. Poor keywords in terms of variety. Have to position him well.

Purple Man absolutely has a ton of flaws, but that’s what makes him neat. Again, he isn’t a plug-n-play figure; you really have to play him carefully or you’re going to get demolished and lose the main portion of your team. Completely destroyed by Outwit.

So what do we need in order to make him succeed and actually become a threat? TK is 100% necessary here. Purple Man is all about landing the first strike, and because he has no Running Shot, you’re going to have to get him into place without taking a chance at a Precision Strike or Outwit piece coming in and one-shotting him. We don’t really need Perplex because we’re working with a 12 attack for Mind Control, and a 16 defense is going to require a max of 3 Perplex to make it worthwhile. Purple Man also needs some goons to absorb hits, or at least figures that can survive after a large assault. Team abilities are an area he can greatly benefit from. JSA or Defenders can pump his defense up, Batman Ally can keep him hidden, and Superman Ally/Avengers Initiative will allow him to break Stealth. These are all very valid options, but the sky is the limit.

For the build today, I’m going back to what I used to do: 300 Modern with no resources. I like this format because it’s what most LGS events are, and I don’t really think Purple Man is meta material as he has too many short comings to be uber effective.

Let’s jump into our first build and see what we can do.

300 Point Modern Purple Man Team – No Resources

7 characters is a lot, but they all serve a very important purpose. Let’s run through the list in order of importance.

Mobility is the biggest issue for Purple Man, and since he relies on Mastermind for defense, he 100% needs to be next to someone to survive. That means we need to be able to carry a lot of people, so Overdrive wins the competition. With 4 passengers, he can carry almost our entire team. While Vanisher would be better since we have no initiative bonus (that way we can phase through terrain), he can only carry 3 people and he can’t go as far as Overdrive can. But if you want to use him, you have 5 extra points, so go for it!

For TK, I opted for Jean Grey for two reasons; she can yo-yo Purple Man if need be, and she can TK as a free action so if we need to get Killgrave into a spot after being carried, we can do that. Between Jean and Overdrive, we have a lot of options on mobility, and this pretty much closes the loop that we have. She also brings the X-Men team ability meaning she can heal Purple Man if he happens to take some extra damage (or she loses her free action TK and he can heal her back up). Mercury is a good option if you want to save some points.

I knew I wanted to add some cheap attackers as well to take advantage of the double target Mind Control since you don’t have to use your opponent’s pieces to attack; you can simply bring them closer to you. Because of this, I invested in cheap pieces with Flurry that have are costed lower due to a lack of move and attack. This brought me to Lady Shiva and the new What If… starter Spider-Man on lower points.

Lady Shiva has a huge 12 attack value with Exploit Weakness, Precision Strike, and Flurry, so she’s 100% going to deal damage no matter what the opposition is rocking on defense. She also serves double duty by providing the Batman Enemy team ability, meaning that if she’s next to Purple Man, he can copy her team ability, then copy her attack value. That makes his base value replace to a 12, which then increases to a 15. That’s a 15 attack value for Mind Control for 70 pointsThere’s simply no reason to not run her.

Spider-Man is the second string melee attacker with Flurry as well. He’s also a Wild Card along with Purple Man, so he can borrow that 12 attack from Lady Shiva and use his Perplex to increase his damage value to a 3 so that he can hit for 6 in a turn.

Foggy Nelson was added to the team as a fantastic way to protect Purple Man from the dreaded Outwit. As long as he’s hanging out next to our main guy, we’re safe from any power countering, and if the enemy team has no Outwit, just use Foggy as Mastermind fodder.

Lastly, I went with Iron Heart because I needed another way of carrying people around as I was a little short on moving the team. Between her and Overdive, we can effectively move our entire force with just two actions. She’s also brilliant Mastermind fodder as she can’t die in a single hit, and comes with Outwit top click so you can take out problematic powers that might stand in our way (like Battle Fury or Energy Shield/Deflection).

This team is risky as it puts all your eggs in one basket with that basket being Killgrave with only Mastermind to save him, but if you manage to get that first Mind Control off, you pretty much destroy them. It takes some setting up, but it can really escalate quickly once you’re in position.

Because Purple Man is so unique in what he does, it’s tough to say what you should build around him, so I’m going to leave it at just one build for today. If you’re looking for other pieces to help him out, Bizarro Green Arrow is a huge player as he’ll both eat ranged attacks completely and is a wonderful Mastermind target with his two stop clicks and reducers for only 50 points.

If you’re really looking to boost Purple Man, I think team abilities are going to be your best friend. He could be particularly nasty on S.H.I.E.L.D. team that can buff his range up to a 9 and maybe adding someone like Redwing so he can grab the Avengers Initiative team ability to bust Stealth. There’s a lot of options with him and I feel like I can’t cover them all.

I hope you enjoyed this article and you’re not too bummed I only did one build for today. What are your thoughts on Purple Man? Is there a piece that’s terribly efficient with him? Or is there a certain build you’ve been running that’s done some work for you? I would really like to hear about what other people are doing with this really intricate dude.

That’ll wrap up Clix Fix for this week. If you haven’t already, be sure to tune in on Thursday on Two Clicks From KO where you’ll get your second weekly dose of my writing! See ya next week!


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