Which of Carol Danver’s two zero power moves is better? You would rightly think it made a difference on situation, but there are some important caveats to understand.
An easy one: strike is range 2 where energy blast is range 4. If you are far away, use energy blast. If you are within range 2, still use energy blast 95% of the time.
Energy blast is unsurprisingly an energy attack, whereas strike is physical. Most characters have at best the same energy defense as physical, and lots have higher physical defense. Going against lower defenses results in more damage.
There are exceptions – Carol her self being one of them. If you want to rough up an opponent’s Carol, punching is the right way to do it. But that’s probably best left to other melee specialists anyway.
One thing that might make you think of striking is that extra dice. 5 dice is better than 4, right? Well unless you can reroll all of those 4 dice. It’s taken me a while to get my head the maths involved, but you can see below how different attacks compare:
This isn’t super understandable as raw probabilities, so I reworked it to make this:
What this means is that Energy Blast, on average generates more hits. It also has a higher chance or generating everything up to at least 5 hits than 5 dice. Energy blast will on average, result in more damage.
So this is where you really want strike, right? It generates more power than energy blast. Except energy blast guarantees one power even if they take no damage. So strike is only superior if you do two damage or more. The chance of that depends on their defence. Assuming a vanilla 3 or 4 defense, the chance of doing at least two damage is 51% and 42% respectively. So close to a coin toss. But the chance of doing no damage and therefore getting no power is 27% and 36%. Energy blast guarantees you one.
Whether you think that is worth it depends. Do you need to generate two power to fuel a rocket punch or Danvers special to gain a VP advantage somehow? Would one be enough? Can you afford to get zero?
These questions will determine when you need to strike, but being aware of the odds will allow you to make informed choices with her.
But if in doubt, use Energy Blast.