By Phillip Melvin
Once, Nathaniel Essex was a biologist in Victorian London. Realizing that an increasing number of human mutations signaled the beginning of a new evolution, Essex put aside morality in his pursuit of perfecting the human race. A long road of unethical experiments on unwilling subjects eventually led him to incredible discoveries and even greater personal power. Becoming something far more than human, Nathaniel transformed himself into the nearly immortal being known as Mister Sinister.
At 4 Threat, Sinister brings a rather average 11 Health with his only above average Stat being Mystic. Luckily he has damage reduction later on in the card so in game he will feel like he has more Health than printed. A 50mm base combined with a Medium move is pretty nice mobility and can takes advantage of any characters who can Place him.
Sinister has 3 different attack options, with his basic attack being a 5 dice Energy Builder. Above average Range 3 means he doesn’t need to get up close if its unsafe to do so.
Genetic Splicing is the real money maker, being both a Beam attack and having RNG 4. Despite being a Spender, it only Costing 1 means you can easily double beam on most Turns. While it doesn’t build Power, it does give you Genetic Sample Tokens which are for the most part the true resource Sinister wants to collect (more on that in a bit).
Recombinant Disintegration, his big 6 Cost spender, is unfortunately a bit of a let down. It only has 1 more attack die than the Beam attack and probably will hit an equal amount of targets. A hard to pull off special effect requiring Crit, Wild, and Hit isn’t a big sell either as it just does an extra point of damage. While the potential for A3 is nice, its not worth him banking 3 Genetic Samples to attempt.
Genetic Sample Superpowers
3 of his 4 Superpowers require Genetic Sample Tokens to use, but as an upside cost 0 or only 1 Power.
Engineered Perfection lets him trade Genetic Samples to get rid of pesky Conditions that try to limit his output.
Genetic Negation, at the low Cost of 1 Power and 1 Genetic Sample, gives him some enemy control via the Root Condition. Its always useful being able to apply a Condition without rolling dice.
Molecular Regeneration is likely the most common power you’ll use and is a different form of damage reduction. This ability doesn’t have the typical damage reduction clause of Minimum of 1 so he can completely negate damage with enough tokens. Over the course of the game this makes his 11 Health pool closer to 13-14.
His only non-Genetic Sample power is quite the powerhouse ability and a great way to spend his Power. For only Cost 2 he can advance any enemy Character Short if they are within RNG 3. This is a great dice free way to move someone off of a Scenario element or even just out of retaliation range to Sinister.
The cap of 3 Genetic Samples mean Sinister cant just build up a giant stockpile and must spend them freely by using Superpowers. Flight of course is always nice to have, and the mobility will help him get the best angles for that Beam attack.
Character Specific Tactic Cards
Cloning Banks is definitely the more thematic of the two cards, but is sadly a bit of a trap. In order to save up enough Genetic Sample Tokens to create even a 2 Cost character, Sinister has to avoid using most of his kit including the damage reduction one. Take for fun casual games, but otherwise best leave at home.
On the opposite side is the much more useful Forced Extraction. Potentially starting the game with a full stack of 3 Genetic Samples is pretty great and unlocks his full kit from the start. The health loss is a bit rough, but can be offset by a variety of Healing Factor Characters that are in affiliation. When taking Sinister, this card is a strong contender for being part of your 5.
What makes Mister Sinister a good inclusion in a list is his ability to fill multiple roles on the table. 11 Health and his damage reduction ability means he is tough enough to hold a flank on his own. In addition he can control would be attackers with using his Superpowers to Advance him away or apply the Root Condition to hinder them.
Offensively he brings a long Range 4 Beam with a damage type of Mystic that will be useful against most targets (watch out for those high Mystic Wizards). If you are just trying to build Power, then you can still do so from the relative safety of Range 3 with 5 dice.
Of course every character has a downside and his is an overestimation of durability. Since his damage reduction isn’t a flat -1 damage, he can use all of his Genetic Samples to negate most of a single big attack, but then will be empty against followup attacks. A player who dedicates 1 or more attackers to hunt him down can often find success.
Another slight concern for him is his Power Economy. While the Beam attack feels like his basic attack, it does Cost 1 and will act as a tax each time you use it. In addition he will want to leverage Such Fun Little Playthings most Turns for another 2 Power. Unless you are playing in an affiliation to give him extra Power, you are reliant on his Builder which while solid doesn’t give the output most expect from a 4 Threat inclusion.
Sinister’s only current affiliation is with Cabal. Despite being a mutant he is far too evil to play nice with Magneto or Mystique’s crew, so he landed in the generic bad guy affiliation. He works quite well with 2 out of 3 Cabal leaders and even has splash potential in the new Hydra Faction
Core Box Red Skull (Cabal) – Leadership ability provides Sinister with a Power for every enemy damaged by his Beam. Effectively turns this Spender attack into a Gainer. In addition Core Skull has a Range 2 Place Superpower to potentially let Sinister double tap with his long range attack.
Malekith (Cabal) – Brings a leadership that lets an ally Heal, gain Power, and make a small move whenever an enemy is Dazed/KO’d. This synergizes quite well with Sinister’s gameplan by making him more tanky and allowing for positioning to gain optimal Beam lanes. His Black Bifrost Tactics Card also can provide Sinister with a Teleport Movement that preserves his Action economy.
Baron Strucker (Hydra) – Leadership grants Healing when an ally applies a Condition to an enemy model, which helps increases Sinister’s durability. Sinister can easily hand out the Root Condition with his Superpower so could activate this Leadership every Turn pretty reliably. Strucker is also a Healing Factor character so has good synergy with the Forced Extraction Tactic card. Sinister would be unaffiliated in Hydra, but Strucker being a 3 Cost leader allows room for splash characters.
Largely due to his single affiliation status, Mister Sinister has often been an overlooked character. However, the future is bright for him with the addition of a new Cabal Leader and the release of Hydra as a Faction. Sinister’s unique toolset will make for a fun inclusion in your list that will pleasantly surprise those who have never put him on the table.
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2 thoughts on “Character Focus: Mister Sinister”
Sinister’s AoE has an approx. 8% chance of triggering on each attack. If it triggers it does an extra damage to EACH enemy character in range. Range 3 off of a M base is a large area and potentially a large number of enemies. Don’t write it off.
Fair point, the chance for large scale auto damage shouldnt be ignored. Giving him offensive re-rolls, perhaps by splashing him into other affiliations, might be the key to making this attack shine.