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Off the Meta | To Jug or Juggernaut?

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Hello and welcome everybody! It's the dawn of a new week and a return to form as well. We've had our fill of Justice League, so now it's time to get back to our roots before War of Light comes out. Not quite all the way back, however, but back to the start of UXM at least with Juggernaut and his Cyttorak given powers.

Juggernaut is an absolute beatstick with incredibly offensive stats and a villainous persuasion. He thrives by picking on the weak and simpering sidekicks and maintaining decent board control. Despite his painful TFC-6, he also has one of the most reliably offensive statlines in the game with a whopping 6/7/7, offering big damage with barely any variance in his strength. In fact, he's the only character in the game with a level 1 attack of 6+ that isn't either a hulk or a mythically powerful monster. Because of his staggering base stats, he is a fantastic choice for polymorphing in and also makes a great level donor for your other characters that could use them better. Since he is a character, he has natural synergy with the Transfer Power global and can be used to devastating effect alongside protection and swarming like the strategy @IsaacBV took to qualify for the competition at World's.

Juggernaut - Cain Marko
Weighing in at a reasonable 6- purchase, Cain Marko allows you to spend your sidekicks in order to prevent 3 damage to him per sidekick sent to the used pile. This can act as a bit of anti-Hulk tech, letting your big beatstick weather Hulk's AoE, but it's quite pricey. Alternatively, this could be a decent way to send sidekicks to your used pile if you're trying to quickly fill your used pile with them on your own turn. With the rise of Prismatic Spray as a counter to opposing Professor X's (hallelujah), being able to use his global on your own turn can be quite valuable in the right circumstances and matchups. Considering the time it takes to build up and get Prismatic Spray running, it's quite a viable option as well and can be procced for the price of a single . Other than this utility, Cain Marko is somewhat overcost and unless you can make use of his big stats or at least his villain affiliation, he's not going to be a particularly efficient inclusion.

Juggernaut - Unstoppable
Cost at a massive 7- purchase, Unstoppable allows you to similarly spend a single sidekick in order to gain +4/+4 for the turn. This fits something of the same role as that of Silver Surfer in that he can become a massive wall of stats. However, he includes a price to this ability in order to make up for his more utilitarian on-demand nature. There's definitely a place in the game for a character that can be polymorphed in on an unblocked sidekick for a "free" 10 damage, but for his cost there is almost certainly a better option in Hulk - Anger Issues who can be buffed multiple times, has stronger stats across the board, and can be bought with Kobold ramp. The only advantage that Juggernaut has in this matchup is his 4:1 sidekicks:damage ratio and his villain affiliation replacing Hulk's Avengers affiliation that has become something of a liability in the face of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents. Take him as a sneaky Polymorph target in a budget game and you'll be able to chunk your opponent for half his life, just make sure there isn't a better option for your team. (also, any time you're able to deal 10 combat damage near guaranteed, you should always be looking for the Patch/Infiltrate combo, so keep that in the back of your mind)

Juggernaut - Archvillain
Returning to the price of yester-character, here we see the first iteration of the Archvillain mechanic within the set. While your opponent has no villain characters active, you have the option to spend a sidekick and steal a life from your opponent whenever you field Juggernaut. Now, this is pretty much the definition of incidental lifegain and it definitely has some measure of utility. Games have been won and lost over a single life being burned away at the right time and Juggernaut allows you tilt those odds in your favor. That said, there are much better options for lifegain and much better options for burn. Juggernaut isn't going to carry your game with his effect alone, but with his stats. Accordingly, it's important to place him in a team that still makes use of his beatstick nature, but can also take advantage of his burn/sustain facets. The Archvillain mechanic itself isn't all that difficult to proc if you run him along any sort of removal, the biggest issue you'll face is going to be if you happen to come up against an opposing villain team. Against stacked odds like that, you'll be hard pressed to get this ability to proc a single time since he costs so much to pick up in the first place.

Juggernaut - Kuurth
The strongest Juggernaut in my opinion, Kuurth is the cheapest of his brothers. For a single 5- purchase, you're getting a monster of stats that puts even Wolverine to shame. He is one of the most efficiently offensive character in the game and can be a monster in the right situations. His ability though... well, it's only decent. He keeps the Archvillain mechanic in all but name, though all he gets is the ability to block an extra die. This is worthwhile insofar as it can act as double removal against lightweight characters and it can prove absolutely silly alongside Villainous Pact if your opponent made the mistake of not bringing villains to the field. That all said, his real utility is in his villainously high stats on his low cost. You can pick him up on turn 2 without even bringing PXG to the table and have him on board for the entire game. Toss in a bit of overcrush and some polymorph shenanigans and you're going to have a very powerful and cheap character that's going to be the core of your aggression throughout the game. Due to his relatively low cost, it's his fielding cost that's going to be your biggest problem so bringing along the right ways of mitigating this can be quite useful. We've already acknowledged Polymorph as a fantastic option, but there are others. Transfer Power's global is great for abusing his stats, but it's also wonderful for bringing him right out of the used pile and possibly onto the field. There's also the oft-overlooked Atomica who is incredibly strong when paired with the slightest bit of protection, effectively cutting Juggernaut's fielding cost by half. Once you have Juggernaut on the field, the hard work is done and you can get to swinging while letting your momentum carry you through.

Juggernaut may be a massive offensive bruiser, but he's not built to take a big punch. This is a big deal since his greatest weakness is his fielding cost. As such, if you can keep him getting sent off the field, you're going to be costing your opponent quite a lot over the course of a game. This can be tricky if your opponent is attacking in at every opportunity, but in such cases you should try to get knockouts on Juggernaut through combat. If your opponent is using overcrush, this will be a simple matter, though it may still leave you open to Juggernauts allies. If you can remove him during the attack step, you'll be better able to cope with his onslaught. However, you can also attack your opponent's methods of getting Juggernaut onto the field. Bringing along anti-action characters like Constantine or Doomcaliber Knight can shut down the cost mitigation your opponent may be employing. Keeping those dice from performing efficiently can be a great way to swing the momentum back in your favor. Atomica on the other hand, is a little more difficult to deal with. If your opponent is running global protection, you're going to have a lot of trouble getting her off the field, but they've likely overinvested, so trying to rush your opponent can be a reasonable transition. Finally, while Takedown is normally a great counter to offensive villains, being a shield character protects Juggernaut himself, meaning that it's only a viable option against Atomica herself and thus a mediocre decision.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Juggernaut is a beatstick. He's got a few trick up his sleeve, but his biggest advantage is that he's got a big body that hurts things when he runs into them. Use this to your advantage and keep shoving him into your opponent's face. Juggernaut may not be the brightest bulb, but that's why you're the mastermind. It's up to you to use your combat tricks, action dice, and support characters effectively in order to make Juggernaut work for you. He's not going to do all the work by himself, but if you can guide him, he has the momentum to carry you through to the other side no matter what's standing in your way (exempting Egyptian gods). If your opponent is able to keep Juggernaut controlled either locked on the field or constantly sent off, he's not going to be of any use. He constantly needs to be moving and attacking into your opponent in order to be useful and building accordingly is going to put you a long way ahead of your opponent. If you are unfortunate enough to have him sent off the pitch other than by smashing through your opponent's face, then it's important to get him back out quickly and keep the pressure on. Your opponent will have to devote a lot of resources to defense if you have any sort of combat trick, so they will multiply Juggernaut's efficacy tenfold. Keep all this in mind and keep your momentum going.

It took us a while to get through Justice League and when War of Light releases, we're going to have a time spent on Age of Ultron. I never intend to limit myself exclusively to whichever set is next in line, but I think it's worthwhile to cover the influx of new characters as we get a really good feel for them and the meta settles down. Hopefully you feel the same and I'll see you later in the week for Make it Meta and how Juggernaut works best on a team.
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  1. Meatman's Avatar
    Thanks Necro. Juggs has always been a favourite character of mine from back in my old comic collecting days...and the 90s Xmen cartoon show...but I've always found him somewhat disappointing in Dice Masters. I think I'll take another crack at adding him to a team...the uncommon definitely feels usable from your assessment of things.
  2. Randy's Avatar
    Just going to leave this here, maybe it will contribute to some conversations.