Hey folk! On this week’s article we’re going to be discussing everyone’s favorite “Living Plant”, the newly released Groot.
Groot is a low-cost, close range, defensive character that specializes in heighted resiliency with a powerful control element. With a high stamina of 7 on both healthy and injured sides and a physical defense of 4, most heroes are going to have some issues chopping down this tree in a single activation. If they do not, Groot can activate and use his “Living Plant” superpower to heal 3 damage for 2 power as many times as he likes. (Remember, an active superpower can be used as many times as a player likes during that character’s activation, as long as a character has enough power to use it, unless the text on the super power says otherwise!)
On the Offensive!
Groot can make a fairly standard range 2, 5-dice physical strike that gains him power per damage dealt. Alternatively, for a costly 6 power, Groot can unleash his “I AM Groot!” attack to throw a character of any size medium (before damage is dealt and not away from Groot) and stagger them — assuming the 8-dice physical attack does not daze or KO them. While Groot is likely going to be burning through power to keep himself standing (especially if he is on guard duty, soaking up attacks meant for Rocket Raccoon), look for opportunities to really control what your opponents wants to activate with this attack, as it has the potential to displace, stagger, damage, AND potentially throw a larger enemy character at another one of your opponent’s characters.
Overgrowth and Choking Spikes: The Root Special Condition
“Tangling Vines” is likely one of the biggest assets everyone’s happy tree friend brings to the table, allowing Groot to inflict the new special condition “Root” on an enemy character within Range 3. This condition forces the emery character afflicted by this status to spend one additional power when using an active or reactive power. Fans or foes of Loki may well have seen how frustrating it can be to be a single power short of using a key superpower when the Trickster God is near, and this status mirrors that effect. (As well as stacking with it, increasing the cost of all active and reactive super powers by 2!)
Keeping aware of your opponents superpowers and their associated costs can let you complicate an enemy character’s activation significantly, limiting how they can respond to Groot and his teammates. This status can be used to prevent reactive super powers, such as Bodyguard or Vibranium Shield, from being used if your opponent was camping just enough power to prevent Groot from “I AM Groot” attacking and throwing a Hulk into the Captain America trying to defend him. Applying Root onto a low-power Baron Zemo or Valkyrie can stop them from using their Charge super power, forcing them to waste an activation walking into position and then attacking you, radically changing their offensive capabilities, as both of those characters typically enjoy using as many of their low cost super powers a turn as they have the power to spend for. In many cases, root might be as effective as stagger and will remain on an enemy character until they can remove it.
Plodding Advance of the Highly Flammable!
Now onto the negatives, the largest of which is Groot short movement stat. This makes him among the slowest characters in the game, alongside Venom and Crossbones. As with all low-mobility characters, make sure to plan ahead on where you want Groot heading to as a misplacement could lead on a very long and tedious walk to get into position. If you want Groot to sit on a middle line secure objective, you will need to position him almost straight behind it in order to make it their in 2 short moves and will need to be clear of interactive terrain where his base will end up. This low mobility, in conjunction with only having access to Range 2 attacks, means Groot will be most at home sitting on a secure point and letting his enemy’s come to him.
Tactical Tip: Movement. Given the nature of movement in this game and as a curiosity, I sat down to go over ranges in this game. I measured out exactly how far, in inches, each range tool and movement tool is, and then did the math for how far each base size moves as a result of using each movement tool, for both a single movement and double move. Importantly, all ranges are rounded down.
|Measurement for Range, Movement Tools and Bases|
|Tool/Base||Length||Base Size Movement||Single||Double|
|Range 1||1″||Short (35 mm)||6.0″||10.6″|
|Range 2||3″||Medium (35 mm)||7.7″||14.1″|
|Range 3||6″||Long (35 mm)||9.8″||18.3″|
|Range 4||8″||Short (50 mm)||7.1″||12.4″|
|Range 5||10″||Medium (50 mm)||8.9″||16.9″|
|Short||~3.25″||Long (50 mm)||11.0″||20.1″|
|Medium||~5″||Short (65 mm)||8.3″||14.1″|
|Long||~7.125″||Medium (65 mm)||10.1″||17.6″|
|35 mm||1.37″||Long (65 mm)||12.2″||21.9″|
With only 2-energy defense, characters like Killmonger, Captain Marvel, or even a traitorous enemy Rocket can burn Groot’s health to ash with only a few decent rolls, potentially negating his regenerative advantage by dazing or KO-ing Groot in a single activation. Be aware of your opponent’s energy attacks, and ideally position Groot to not have to fight those types of characters head on. Unfortunately, due to his large size, finding cover against enemy attacks will also be a bit of issue, as Groot will need to locate a size 3 or more interactive terrain piece (ideally situated near a secure objective).
As a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot is solid bruiser for those teams, likely using the “Winging It” Leadership to stay in one piece for a critical turn of holding a point, potentially allowing him to hold his activation for later in the turn by minimizing the amount of damage taken. Similarly, the Asgard affiliation will allow Groot to heal out of activation and shake off stun, which can limit his healing. Finally, Avengers affiliations is quite the boon to Groot, offering him a 1-cost use of either of his superpowers a turn, ensuring that Groot will almost always have the power to complicate his opponents activations or heal.
As alluded to, Groot will be frequently finding his way to the middle line of the table to sit on a point for the rest of the game. As such, bodyguard or similar abilities will be quite helpful in giving Groot the time he needs to avoid taking Dazing or lethal damage before activating to heal, especially to avoid high damage energy attacks. Capitan America (or Okoye) and Groot center table should be quite the durable, if not especially lethal, pair to hold the most contested secure objective. Cards like “Patch up” or “We are Groot” can allow Groot to heal outside of activating, allowing him to soak up abuse while more offensive characters can blast away. They can also allow him to use “Tangling Vines” more aggressively. “Field Dressing” also seems like quite the incredible combo, allowing Groot be undazed and ideally heal to full HP. Friendly characters with throws or other ways to move enemy models can help Groot to clear a point without needed to Daze of KO them.
Choose a secure objective and have Groot lay down deep roots, soaking up point after point as you fend off attackers and root them to the Earth!
About the Writer Section
Ian Usie has spent a lifetime gaming, dabbling in everything from many of the highlights of video gaming (Starting with the Super Nintendo and Atari 2600) to a more recent decade of Tabletop Wargaming. Ian has played Privateer Press’ Warmachine and Hordes games for around 7 years competitively, and has more recently taken a strong interest in Atomic Mass Games’ Marvel: Crisis Protocol tabletop hobby miniatures game. You can commonly find him playing and teaching others to play a variety of tabletop games multiple nights of the week, as well as painting miniatures associated with those games.