The Rare Wakandan Herbs: fact people fiction extract crisis card that comes with Black Panther and Killmonger is one that has some really powerful aspects to it. You score 4VPs – yes, 4 – if you get a character carrying the herb to your own vessel. As you can’t interact with your opponents herb, it’s a race to get your herb back.
The difficult factor is that you can only take a move action once per turn while holding the herb. Clearly, your best bet is to have an L move character fetch your herb.
Even if they do, let’s pay it out. Round 1, they double move to get within 1” of the herb, and use their one power to grab it. Round 2, you move L. Round 3 you can move another L. That still leaves you short.
So if you don’t have some tricks up your sleeve, the earliest you can score your own herb is turn 4.
Turn 3 scoring
There are a number of ways to get you to score your herb on turn 3.
Red Skull: including Red Skull gives you access to Master of the Cube. Adding a range 2 place means you can make it with your two long moves.
There are a couple of characters that can do it by themselves.
Black Panther’s pounce allows a short advance, which is again enough to get to your vessel. This has the big advantage that it doesn’t require any input from external sources. Turn one’s power is spent to pick up the herb after moving twice. By turn three he has enough power to pounce.
Zemo can also do it, by virtue of the M move he gets from Steel Rush. For this to work though he must have a target in range 3 of him, but given that he is moving through the middle of the board, it’s likely there will someone he can target.
By using the team tactics card mission objective, you can also pull off a turn 3 herb score. By turn three you’ll have the two power the card requires to pass it off to another character than can then move itself to the vessel.
Good old Red Skull. He brings another way to get you there faster. You can only move once per turn whilst holding the herb, but by removing your activated token you can have another turn, and this another move. Remember – turns are a character’s activation; rounds are the set of activations.
Avengers Assemble also gives you the extra move you need to get to your vessel.
For the sake of completeness, this is here, but it seems a little optimistic. It needs the right set up and having 3 power on the right character. Not recommended.
But the really big deal is getting to your vessel turn 2. If you can do that it can be game-endingly powerful. The VP advantage you generate can win it quickly. It can also cause your opponent to divert a lot of resources to solve that problem, allowing you to gain on the secure scenario. So how can you do it?
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the absence of this card. It doesn’t even require particularly accurate positioning – there is quite a bit of tolerance for playing around other models or terrain.
For me, this is best way. It only uses one team tactic card, works with a wide range of characters (any L mover and any flier) and doesn’t require any additional power that isn’t generated from the one free per round. The free attack is a nice bonus, but not the reason you’ve pursued this line of play.
Counter play, is of course there. Pushing the herb character or the flier so they aren’t within 2 of each other is probably the simplest thing to do. Dazing or stealing power before they activate may be possibilities too.
The other way to do it is a bit all in. Unlike most S move characters, Hulk can get to the herb turn one. And that’s without gamma leaping. He would be about 1” off a double move and gamma leap to get to the vessel. Any additional movement shenanigans (Master of the cube and Avengers Assemble spring readily to mind, though Mission Objevtive would work well too) means you can get there.
That’s a big commitment: having your 6 threat beat-stick baby sitting an objective but he is getting you 4 VPs per turn. Makes Mission Objective look pretty attractive.
There are a range of other turn 2 plays, but most of them involve having more than the one power you can guarantee having. For example, combinations of the above, like a Mission Objective hand off that would require you to have two power (having spent one already on interacting with the Herb).
Arguably your best option is to deny power to the herb gatherer by not attacking them, or giving them any attacks that can generate themselves power. That brings its own risks, but may be your best shot to prevent it.