Busting Hulk

Last week I shone a light on a tactic for using Hulk. So this week I wanted to think about counter play to having a Hulk in your face turn one holding an extract objective.

Really, you have two options:

  • Take hulk out as quickly as you can
  • Ignore him and try to keep him out of the fight

If you try and take Hulk on piecemeal, he’ll absolutely wreck whatever you’ve put near him. The power you give him will be enough to pay for leaps throes and big attacks, now with extra dice from the damage you’ve done to him. If you don’t have a plan for him, you are in for a shock.

Take him down!

That’s a lot easier said than done. 20 health is a lot. I ran some numbers assuming that Killmonger and Zemo – two of the higher output characters on turn one – were trying to take down a Hulk on turn one.

The chance of doing it by themselves (even with Zemo’s reroll) was 1.44%. The average was 13 damage. That gives Hulk a full stack of power and an extra 4 dice on his attacks. Two thunderclaps later, they are probably going to be dazed. On turn three maybe they’ll manage it, but it’s not certain and is a high risk plan. This assumes they’ll be able to charge or get moved/placed and get two attacks, and generate enough power from their first attack to fully power their bigger attack. That’s a few ifs in there.

A way of stacking the odds in your favour is Dark Reign. Both these characters get the benefit as they are Cabal members. Red Skull can get the power from the Cube and play it on turn one. He can then get more power to Master of the Cube one of them forward. But that would mean needing another way to get the second character in there somehow. Losing an attack really lowers the odds.

“That’s fine,” I hear you say, “I’ll just throw another character at him”. That might work. But you’ve already used up Killmonger, Zemo, and Red Skull to get them there. One more and it’s pretty much your whole team dealing with one charcater. That might set up the rest of the Hulk player’s team to start some runaway scoring on the scenario on the other side of the table.

One thing that will change this a lot is Thor. Bringing a stagger on his ‘charge’ and a throw for an extra attack that doesn’t use an activation really increases the damage you are dealing and limits reprisals. To pull it off turn 1, you need either to in Avengers or use something like Advanced R&D to get another power on him, but he’s a great foil to Hulk.

A tactics card that can help is Drop Off. The movement gets you to Hulk so you can make two attacks on your activation and the extra attack ups the damage you are doing to hulk without having to commit another character. Thor is a great drop off target, especially for someone like Vision who can drop off Thor, generate some power with an attack and then throw some terrain at Hulk.

This changes hugely if Captain America is around. His ability to bodyguard hits off the Hulk really hampers attempts to take him down, and is great at denying dice from Killmonger’s attacks. If Cap is standing near hulk you really need a push on Cap or a pull on Hulk to separate them so they are out of Cap’s range 2 bodyguard.

One thing you can do is to feint towards taking Hulk out, make them commit Cap to defending Hulk, then leave that 10 threat in one quarter of the board and use the rest of your team to win the other three quarters of the board.

Push off!

By far the easier method is to try to control Hulk. Yes, Hulk will be scoring the VP from the asset he picked up, but you will be bringing your force against 6 threat lower team in the rest of the board.

By far the best character for this is Shuri. For 3 threat you can push Hulk twice, only give him 2 power and push him so he doesn’t have any targets he can get to.

Positioning is key with Shuri in this role. The perfect place for her is like this:

Using the S movement tool to see where Hulk will end up after the first push and the 5 range tool to check you can get a second push off. The rules say you can only use one movement and one range tool at a time, so once you have set up the above, pick up your S move tool and use then use the M tool to move Shuri to the end of the 5. Or if shunting Shuri with, say, Master of the Cube, use the S move tool to mark where the end of the 5 is, then use the 2 to place Shuri.

Conditions are great on Hulk too. Stun is a premium, as Hulk doesn’t have a power generating attack: he relies on taking damage to get high levels of power. The Hulk Missile works best in Avengers though, so expect them to be packing Second Wind, which removes stun as well as healing one.

Any staggers are great on Hulk, but there isn’t a cheap reliable way to ensure you get them. Bleed is another great status to get on Hulk as it lowers his health me without giving him power. Winter Soldier has a great way of applying it at range, and is making a lot of rosters due to his Rogue Agent ability.

Hulk can be taken down, but the resources required might lose you the game elsewhere. It a high risk, high reward strategy. Do it, and you’ll probably win the game. Fail and you’ve almost certainly lost. My preferred strategy is to task Shuri with taking him out of the game for as long as possible, and let the rest of the team with a 3 threat advantage win on the other side. That seems like it will be able to make up the 1 VP deficit that Hulk will gain them.

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