Single Affiliation Build – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

We’ve been playing a few limited themed night down the FLGS lately. With all the intensity that surrounds competitive play it’s nice to take a break and cleanse the palette with some more light-weight team builds.

We’re big fans of mixing it up with team building challenges and one theme we repeatedly find ourselves returning to time & time again is ‘Single Affiliation’.

The rules we play for ‘Single Affiliation’ nights are pretty straight forward: all of your characters must share the same Affiliation symbol.

There are a few additional house rules we use too. They are:

  • We allow Affiliation- free actions, however, they must have a thematic connection to your team i.e. you can have a ‘Batarang’ on a Bat-Family build, or a ‘Vibranium Shield’ if ‘Captain America’ is one of your chosen Avengers;
  • Any Basic Action is permitted;
  • ‘Villains’ are separated into two different affiliations – red ‘V’ and ‘Hydra’.

In preparation for a recent ‘Single Affiliation’ night I wanted to play an Affiliation that isn’t often used: S.H.I.E.L.D.

I’ve had my eye on trying a S.H.I.E.L.D. build for quite some time – it started playing on my mind when I first received a ‘Melinda May’ participation card & dice at last year’s UK Nats, and sat as a little seed that grew into something more significant when the S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliation got a little boost to its ranks when the Civil War set came out.

Here’s the list I developed:

  • Superhero Registration Act (CW) – Basic Action Card
  • Cone of Cold (FUS) – Basic Action Card

  • Melinda May (MP) – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., 2
  • Phil Coulson (AOU) – Inspirational Leader, 2
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent (AOU) – Need to Know Basis, 4
  • Taskmaster (CW) – Photographic Reflexes, 2
  • Deathlok (CW) – Death Machine, 3
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier (AOU) – Argonaut, 3
  • Howard Stark (IMW) – Expert Businessman, 2
  • Agent Carter (DP) – Behind Enemy Lines, 2

It’s a typically “Johnnie” team with lots of little combos to have fun with. Here’s a few of the fun little plays I thought I might try with it…

Melinda May

The ‘Melinda May’ teamwatch game-text reads:

“Teamwatch – Deal 1 damage to target character die or opponent.”

This means that every time a S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliated dice is fielded she can deal a damage to your opponent or a character.

I’ve loaded up on 2 cost affiliated characters  (S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and Phil Coulson) to create a steady stream of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters to drive some of that damage across.

There’s a couple of sweet, cheeky little combos to pull here. The ‘S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent’ re-roll game-text would allow for the re-cycling of the dice – the aim would be to roll them to energy to get them back to Used with a view for them to come back around for re-fielding. It’s not as efficient as, say, using a BEWD, but it’s a fun little workaround in the Single Affiliation format. Plus, it has the added advantage of helping ramp to build up some purchasing power.

We can also use the ‘Sacrifice’ game-text on ‘Howard Stark’ to keep re-cycling yet another S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliated character, who would also contribute to another character’s strategy. (More on that in a sec…)

I also like the idea of pairing up ‘Melinda May’s’ ping damage with the game-text on ‘Agent Carter’. Her game-text reads:

“While Agent Carter is active, when a Sidekick character die is KO’d, place it in its owner’s bag.”

It’s just an annoying little combo that fills up my opponent’s bag with sidekicks, and could be a handy little go to move to slow down the arrival of that newly purchased die you don’t want them to have.

Back to ‘Howard Stark’ and…


With the ground softened on the way to a win with ‘Melinda May’s’ direct damage, we’ve got some scary muscle coming up the rear to do some heavy face stomping: in ‘Deathlok’ we have a beastly Overcrush-er to deliver some good old-fashioned battle damage.

Ramp’s a problem to get him out, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliation only doesn’t have great tribal ramp solutions, which is why I’ve gone for the Basic Action ‘Superhero Registration Act’, but if he hits  the table he’s a terrifying bit of muscle for my opponent to deal with.

Pair him up with the handful of attack boosting options (‘Howard Stark’, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier’ and ‘Cone of Cold’) we have here and there’s the potential to drive A LOT of damage through.


Yet another character that comes at a high cost, but with a game-text as curious as that, how could I not include him.

Between ‘Melinda May’, ‘Howard Stark’ and ‘Deathlok’ and their Keywords; ‘Taskmaster’ could very well become an Iron Willed, Teamwatching Ally with Overcrush. Phew. That’s quite the pumped up dude, and that’s before we take a look at what Keyword characters your opponent has in the field zone.

He’s expensive, sure, but can be a lot of fun to play and he’s definitely a big helper on the way to delivering lethal. Doubling up ‘Melinda May’s’ Teamwatch Keyword for example, means you can double up the ping damage from fielding S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliation die, or with Ally he gets ‘Phil Coulson’s’ little attack boost (which goes quite nicely with ‘Deathlok’s’ Overcrush too.) So he come with a lot of damage potential for sure. Lots and lots of fun to be had.


So there we are folks – something a little more on the lighter side of Dice Masters now all the competitive intensity of the 2017 WKO season comes to an end in the UK. We’ll be keeping it light down my FLGS for a short while before we hold our Prime event and the 2017/2018 Modern  competitive season kicks off, as well as watching with interest what goes down on the world stage.

What do you think of my S.H.I.E.L.D. Affiliation team? Fancy giving it a go? Does it hold a candle to more prominent affiliations like Avengers or Villains? Let me know in the comments below…

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