Scott Summers is now out over here in the UK, and we’ve been looking forward to him, as building decks for the leader of the X-Men is bound to be be very interesting. In this article we will cover Cyclops’ strengths and weaknesses, and his potential with different aspects, based on our two-player experience so far.
- Can add any X-Men ally to his deck, ignoring the aspect restriction.
- Can fetch any tactical upgrades from the deck.
- Almost always has 3 damage available.
- Can go first without being the first player.
Being able to add any X-Men ally, regardless of aspect, opens up for a lot of possibilities now and in the future. After all this is just the start of the X-Men expansions, and every release of an X-Men character is just going to make him stronger.
Optic Blast allows you to spend a single resource to do 3 damage once per turn. Sure, you may need to have an upgrade attached to the enemy, but that also includes upgrades from other sources, not just his own. Ruby Quartz Visor comes very handy because not only does it essentially make your Optic Blast free, but it also gives it piercing and range. Perfect for killing the more annoying minions and to ping tough off the villain.
With the Constant Training ability you can always start your opening hand in alter-ego not only with effectively 7 cards, but also more specifically with an upgrade you need (e.g. Practised Defence or Danger Room Training), which gives his Optic Blast a lot more consistency and reliability.
Field Commander is a near-essential upgrade for Scott, allowing you to go first every turn! Importantly, that doesn’t make you the first player for the purposes of everything else, like getting attacked first, but it is perfect when you want to play non-event cards that benefit everyone, such as Maria Hill or attaching upgrades to enemies before the team has a chance to kill them all. Removing the temporary keyword from the upgrade when attached to minions is perhaps even better, allowing you to use your upgrades in advance to set up massive turns worthy of one of the Marvel universe’s greatest tacticians.
- All of his attachments are temporary.
- Not very good at thwarting.
- Not much card draw or resource generation.
When it comes to Cyclops’ weaknesses we have to nit-pick a bit here, as he’s generally pretty powerful, if not quite S-Tier (but it’s close). His upgrades are cheap and strong, and he still has good hand size, health, basic stats and events.
That being said, his threat-management skills are next to non-existent – you’ll want to either rush down the villain, or bring a Justice teammate with you to deal with that problem.
Temporary is one of the new keywords, and features heavily on Cyclops’ tactical attachments, meaning that they are removed at the end of the round. They are really good upgrades, but not as strong if only you and your allies can use their effects. However, once Field Command is on the field they lose the temporary keyword when attached to minions, so this is generally not as much as a downside as Ghost-Spider relying on George Stacy or Doctor Strange and his Cloak of Levitation.
Lastly, Cyclops just doesn’t have much in the way of card draw unless there’s a minion to kill, which is very conditional. He also has no built-in resource generation or conditions like Stun or Confuse, and while we love how this hero plays, that’s enough to keep him out of our S-Tier.
Aspect Pairings for Cyclops
Cyclops fits Leadership decks like a glove, and he was clearly designed with Leadership in mind as a core aspect. Because you can add any X-Men ally to your deck, leadership lets you lean into that part of his identity. We wavered on whether to put Leadership in the top spot, but ended up putting it second purely because there are many other characters who can do a “tribal”-style Leadership build, and it’s honestly not anything new or interesting to us at this point.
Protection is a bit of an unnatural pick for Cyclops, as someone who doesn’t have a lot of ready up options or tons of health. Despite all this, Protection shines on Cyclops for one reason alone – Mutant Protection. For 1 resource you can throw out every X-Men ally you draw to block almost every villain attack so long as it’s in your hand. Having access to every X-Men ally means that Cyclops is inherently better at this strategy than anyone else. That being said, this strategy gets weaker and weaker the more players are in the game, so if you’re looking to play 4-player, this combo isn’t quite what you need.
Despite being low down the list, Aggression is so far one of the most fun ways to build Cyclops that we’ve experimented with so far. Boot Camp can increase the attack of all the allies you bring in with Cyclops’ deck building ability, and Aggression can ensure that you always have minions in play to attach your upgrades and chain together kills. If you want to focus on his optic blasts, Aggression is the way to go.
Building Justice Cyclops is not bad by all means, mostly if you pick some events, tactics and allies from Phoenix’s Hero Pack. Befuddle is a wonderful tactic for tables with a few Justice players. With a lot of X-Men allies a card like Mutant Peacekeepers works great with him. But there’s no other inherent synergy with Cyclops besides the fact that his innate thwarting ability is pretty weak, so there’s definitely better options for Justice decks.
Overall, Cyclops is a fun-feeling bag of synergy and damage that was clearly built to excel as the leader of a rag-tag band of mutants. Fantasy Flight Games have once again done a great job of translating the character’s strengths into gameplay, and whether you’re slinging optic blasts around the battlefield, or commanding a close-knit squad of the finest mutants around, Cyclops is a great hero to have on your team, especially for taking down the new Mutant Genesis campaign!
- Great damage output
- Fun deckbuilding flexibility
- Great-feeling gameplay
- Bad threat-management
- Reliant on having enemies to attach upgrades to