Black Panther: only one attack

If you only get one attack with Black Panther, which should you do? There are a lot of ways to spend power on Black Panther, just on attacks: one reroll, reroll any, using kinetic burst, and powering it up even higher. I’m going to dig in to the maths to make some suggestions for which ways might be better to maximise damage dealt.

2 power

With two power available, you have two options: Mantle of the Black Panther and Strike or Pounce and Strike.

Pounce will deal damage if you collide with the opponent. That might be before or after your Strike. Ending you move base-to-base is generally the best rule of thumb with Panther if you want to Strike first, though be aware that will only work against other 35mm based characters; see The maths of pouncing for more details.

Pouncing has a higher chance of dealing more damage than using Mantle, and that remains true against any physical defense. This does assume you haven’t had to Pounce to get in range of the character, as you can only Pounce once per turn.

But you do have another option. Striking generates power. If you get two damage through, you will then have enough power to Pounce and collide. Using Mantle increases the chance of getting those two through, so is it worth paying for Mantle and gambling on getting enough to Pounce, or guaranteeing the pounce and accepting an unbuffed Strike?

The answer is: it depends. It depends on their defense and how bold you wish to play it. Against 4 physical defense, there are better odds if you want/need up to 3 damage, but if you really need that spike, betting on the combo is better. It comes down to the 66% chance of scoring the two damage you need to power the pounce. Beware damage reducing characters like Iron Man and Crossbones however as you’ll need to get three damage before reduction: only a 44% chance.

Against a 3 defense character it becomes much more appealing. You have a 75% chance of getting the two damage you need to power your Pounce.

Ultimately, it depends on the game state as to whether one to two damage is more important or 3+. And of course your attitude to risk.

Remember, to get the collision after the push from a Strike, you need to be basically base-to-base with a 35mm charcater, or use terrain to halt the push off your strike against bigger bases.

Rule of thumb: Mantle first to power a Pounce against low-mid physical defense. Pounce against high physical defense characters.

3 power

Black Panther also has a more powerful attack that costs power to fuel. Let’s say you have 3 power: which should you choose to use – a Strike and pounce, or a Kinetic Burst?

Even with this new attack with additional damage possible from a wild Explosive Force, Pouncing still comes out on top, even vs a heavily skewed defense like Venom or Crossbones:

But what if you needed to Pounce for positioning, so don’t have it available for dealing damage?

This does depend a little bit on the defences of your opponent, so as an illustrative example, I’m assuming you are attacking a 4 physical, 3 energy defense character: that seems a typical stat line.

The extra damage from a wild Explosive Force puts the Kinetic Burst over the top in terms of damage, but remember that it does cost one extra power. If you have parity between Energy and Physical defenses, the scales tip slightly toward the cheaper Mantle option:

So your best choice will vary depending on the stats of your target. Strike looks better against Captain Marvel, Shuri, Spider-Man, Baron Zemo or Captain America (to name just a few) due to higher energy, lower physical (compared to our first 4 physical 3 energy character) or both. Kinetic Burst will be better against Crossbones and Venom especially, but also Red Skull, Killmonger, Iron Man and Ultron (to name a few), due to their lower energy defense, but still having 4 physical.

Starting on three power skews the maths of the Mantle then Strike to get power to Pounce plan, because you only need to get one damage through to now have enough to Pounce and collide.

Against a 4 physical, 3 energy defense character, there is a huge upside to Mantle Strike then Pounce and collide, with only a 6% higher chance of doing no damage. I think that’s a risk worth taking – unless you only need one damage to daze/KO.

Even against characters like Crossbones or Venom, the upside of the higher damage is attractive enough to outweigh the 10% increased chance of no damage. You may evaluate it differently depending on your situation in the game.

Rule of thumb: pounce to collide if you can. If not, Mantle and Strike unless Energy defense is lower than physical.

4 power

You get even more options at four power. You can Mantle, and Pounce but can’t afford to Kinetic Burst if you do either by themselves. Alternatively, you can throw a 7 dice Energy Kinetic Burst.

Even against a target like Venom who you’d expect energy to be significantly better than physical, the physical route nets higher chances of damage across the board, and will probably leave you with more power thanks to gaining power off the strike.

Only if you have already Pounced so it’s not available to you is it better to Kinetic Burst, though even then, as their defences approach parity, you may think the extra damage potential is not worth the extra two power and not generating power from the strike:

Rule of thumb: Mantle and Pounce is better in all cases

5 power

If you find yourself in the fortunate position to have 5 power to spend, you face the choice of Mantling for an unboosted Kinetic Burst, or going for that 8 dice attack. Mantle and Pounce is still an option.

In this example (4 physical, 3 energy defense), using Mantle is a better use of two power than pumping up Kinetic Burst: it has higher chances of damage up to 5, and only slightly lower beyond that. However, a Pounce and Manteled Strike does more damage across the board, costs one less power and generates power. No brainier, right? And it gets even better if they have lower physical or higher energy defense. But what about Venom and Crossbones?

Although a Mantled Kinetic Burst does outperform a Mantled Strike and colliding Pounce between 2-4 damage, it is a small gain for one more power and not generating any power. Maybe it’s worth it, but often the extra power will matter more.

Rule of thumb: Pouncing and Mantled Strike is still better, unless they have high Physical and low Energy.

6 power

To those of you who have been paying attention, it will come as no surprise to you that the most damage comes from pouncing to Collide as well attacking. But with 4 power left, should you Mantle Strike or boosted Kinetic Burst?

The much bigger attack does more damage. Normally a 5 rerolling any is better than 7 vanilla dice, but the extra wild damage pushes it over.

Pretty much, Captain Marvel is the only exception.

Rule of thumb: Pounce. Then boost Kinetic Burst

7 power

Stripped of the competitive advantage of being able to afford Pounce, Mantled Strikes fall away compared to more dice against a typically lower defense stat. As we’ve already seen, getting rerolls is better than two more dice. So Pounce, Mantle, Kinetic Burst is the right call.

8+ power

Having established that at seven power you are already better putting up all your superpowers and paying for the attack before boosting it, we can finally get to pumping extra dice in to Kinetic Burst. Huzzah for rolling lots of dice!

In summary

Well done for making it to the end. To recap:

  • Pouncing to collide really skews the maths up and should always be your priority, as this second source of damage really amps up the damage dealt.
  • Striking with Mantle up to get the power to Pounce is often the right choice if low on power.
  • Kinetic Burst only becomes worth it if you have Mantle of the Black Panther up already – except in the case of 6 power
  • Putting extra dice into Kinetic Burst is only worth it if you have nothing else to spend the power on

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