Oh look! It’s the evil doppelganger trope. Reverse Flash, where do I start. Despite the fact that he’s just hell-bent on systematically destroying the life of Barry Allen, he’s actually responsible for a ton of great content produced by DC. If you’re a fan of the current Doomsday Clock run, you’ll know that The Button was the primer for what is happening currently. There’s also Flashpoint & Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay that was brought on by the devious motivations of Thawne. Whatever your poison might be, I figured we could sit down and look at this time-traveling bully and what he brings to a crew.
If you’re looking to take a speedster in your villain crew, this is the one you’re going to be looking at. Thawne is coming in at 110 rep and no cost to your funding. 110 is steep and this is going to be the main reason you undergo heavy consideration when putting him into your crew, or choose to completely gloss over him every time. He has great stats, and when you couple his stats with his speedforce powers he can do some pretty cool things. The first thing that will jump out to you is that he’s movement 5, making him able to move incredibly far across the table and Dodge with near certainty, on top of that, being defense 5 makes Thawne tough to deal with regardless, and because of his speed it’ll be difficult to outnumber him or catch up well enough to increase his ability to be hit. The likelihood that movement 2 henchmen are going to have the opportunity to outnumber Thawne is slim to none, it would really only apply with unfavorable activation orders or poor planning. Let’s go a bit further into what Thawne actually does in a crew.
At 110 rep you’re going to need to play Reverse Flash so that he’s making a large enough impact to make him worth his cost. Now, he has a lot of tools at his disposal, but I think we should talk about the speedforce first since it will apply before either you or your opponent activates.
I purposefully cropped the chart to display the powers you’ll be using most often. Do keep in mind that because Thawne has I Know I’m Doing that he’ll be able to at least shrug off any adverse effects from the paradox table, should he fail to succeed. A rule of thumb for speedsters in general is to stick to what is consistent and what isn’t going to be detrimental to your game. The only reason you should ever risk using a power that can paradox is if it means the difference between you winning/losing the game. Besides healing every once and while if need be, you’re going to be hitting the same speedforce power combination every turn. At Speedster: 5 that combination will be Muscle Growth, Fast Combo, Super Speed Lvl 1 and Super Speed Lvl 2. This will allow you to move Reverse Flash 12″ before he activates, and if your unfamiliar with speedsters and speedforce powers, this does not count as Reverse Flash’s movement and happens before any model activates. This effectively means you could move into combat, out of combat, into an objective, out of an objective or anything else you can think of with an additional 12″ before activations begin. With Muscle Growth Thawne is effectively at strength 3+ when you decide you want him to beat someone up, with Fast Combo you’re throwing out twice as many attacks for each assigned counter. IF (and that’s a big if) you decide to dump all your attacks into an enemy, that is potentially 8 stun which is good, but keep in mind he does not have any inherit re-roll to hits or damage so he is susceptible to whiffing in combat. Kinetic Tornado is unique to Reverse Flash and it can be very useful given the circumstance. It will Paradox on a 6+, but because he has I Know What I’m Doing he can do it with a bit of a safety net, but because it costs 2 of his speedforce counters, you’ll have to determine what you’ll be giving up for the round. What’s nice about Kinetic Tornado is that it occurs before activations so if you have a small opening to push someone off a building before they activate, or disrupt a henchmen ball then its definitely worth its use. I’d even go so far to say that this is something you could generally use on turns that you don’t need Thawne to go in and punch it out with another model; however, still assess whether or not the paradox effect is worth the associated risk, especially if you’ve already used up I Know What I’m Doing.
His Role/General Strategy
Reverse Flash is a nuisance, much like any other speedster in the game. Their ability to move across the board and disrupting activations and outcomes is key. Because speedsters have the ability to basically move at two different times during the game round, you’ll want to focus that on achieving goals related to movement and positioning. For example, a bread and butter trick is starting the round on a controlled objective, and using the speedforce to walk Reverse flash into combat with an enemy. After he is successful or unsuccessful at knocking out the enemy model, he can then use his basic movement (8″ from base of 4″ plus another 4″ from Fast and Speedster: 5) to move back into another objective or the same objective. In addition at movement 5, he can move a total of 18″ if needed. This something I like to do if a model is close enough to do a hit and run. The example is as follows: Reverse Flash who had scored by controlling a Medical Supplies objective in the round previous uses his speedforce powers to travel 12″ to Bouffon who is ready to unload his nail gun into Grotti who is already injured. Reverse Flash assigns 3 counters into attack and with Muscle Growth and Fast Combo Thawne is dishing out 6 unblockable attacks (speedsters can only be blocked by other speedsters), 4 of which are successful knocking out Bouffon. Reverse Flash then uses 2 movement counters to return to the Medical Supplies and scores it again when the round ends. Maybe in this scenario you’ve assigned another into movement and 1 into defense, for the chance to Dodge a ranged attack or to attempt to block an attack. Speedsters are also great at producing a threat. By this I mean that I can essentially lumber up the board with a henchmen ball while Reverse Flash heads up the other side of the board to score an objective, or maybe two with Change of Plans. This makes it so my opponent has to make a decision to stop Reverse Flash from scoring, or deal with my threat that will soon be at his doorstep. I would argue that a successful tactic in tabletop miniatures games usually involves creating problems that your opponent needs to solve; furthermore, the tougher that decision is for your opponent the more successful you’ll be. This brings me to my main argument with speedsters and Reverse Flash they/he are a nuisance and cause issues for your opponent, which can be incredibly valuable. I would say that a more skilled opponent will render Reverse Flash as not nearly of a threat than the havoc he can wreak on a newer opponent, since the veteran player will understand the long term effects of his/her choices more so than the newer player. Speedsters can also prove to a be a great resource to help take out a tough opponent should you need to change the balance of the game drastically. Speedsters are unblockable by other models without the speedster trait, therefore if you’re dealing with a meat-shield who has high defense and assigned defense counters you may be able to strip some of those counters or finish a model who is looking to hang-on by the skin of their teeth. This is especially effective if you’re able to enter combat with Reverse Flash in a preexisting combat between two other models. For example, Reverse Flash enters combat with AA Batman who is injured and failed to put High Security Henchman down at the end of the last round. Now that Batman is outnumbered he will be hit on 4+ instead of 5+ and though he has 3 counters in defense to block, he will be unable to block Reverse Flash’s incoming hits due to the speedster trait. If the result is at least 2 or 4 stun and Batman is not KO’d, he has now lost counters and may make it easier for another melee model to come in and get the damage through. Finally, any model in any miniatures game that has the ability to travel the board efficiently is a good model by default, greatness is when that ability is coupled by other powerful traits.
Further Card Evaluation
We know what Speedster: 5, Fast and I Know What I’m Doing does from what was discussed previously. Dodge simply allows for Reverse flash to dodge ranged attacks without having it built in through the Acrobat trait. Scientific gives him +1 special and he awards 1 more VP when he is casualty’d; however, due to Survivor, on a 5+ Thawne can continue to prevent himself from dying, therefore the drawbacks of scientific will be slightly less regular. Tachyon Device is worthless unless you’re playing in a game with another speedster, friend or foe.
Overall I think he’s solid, he’s incredibly fun to play with, but he’s expensive and that’s why you may hear that speedsters in general are not worth taking in your lists. He may not be an easy choice to make and he’s definitely not a key component when min/max’ing, but I think he has his place and can be very impactful. Tell me what you think when you give this angst-filled butt-hurt ginger a whirl.