I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s possible to score the Wakandan Herb extract on turn 1. Turns out someone else beat me to figuring it out. Raymond, from Columbus Ohio, explained to me how to achieve it, as well as providing the photos.
One of the issues with planning a turn one herb route is having enough power turn 1 to perform the combination of powers of team tactics cards that you would need in order to put together the chain of things required to get the herb where it needs to be. The Asgardians really help with that, as they start with two power, but you’ve got to consider that you may be limited to a 15 point roster when playing the Herb crisis, so your team needs to fit that. This one does:
Thor, Hela, Hulk
To pull this off you also need two team tactics cards: Gamma Launch and Drop Off.
Luckily these are pretty versatile cards and are likely to in contention for your roster anyway, especially if you are including Hulk – Gamma Launch is a big piece of what he brings to a roster.
Setup and Execution
Hela should be deployed slightly offset to the herb she is going to collect. Hulk should be deployed within 2 of Hela. Thor should be deployed relatively centrally.
First activation, Hela activates and is Gamma Launched to be within range 1 to the herb and as far to the right as possible whilst staying within 1. Pay a power to interact with the herb. Now move directly towards the vessel. Her 50mm base makes that quite a decent move. She will waste an action, unless someone has been moved to within Range 2 of where she lands, but that is a small price to pay.
Next, activate Thor. Move up to within Range 2 of Hela and spend one power from each of them for Thor to Drop Off Hela. This should put her within Range 1 of the Vessel.
Then you can do whatever you like with the Hulk.
Well, apart from scoring 4 VPs on round 1, the team has good affiliation, and includes Hulk with a built in healing and status-removing mechanism from the Asgardian leadership. Thor ends up in a great place to For Asgard on turn two against their herb carrier. Hela has decent defenses and good ranged abilities, so is a good candidate to sit on the vessel. It’s a pretty good team by itself at 15 points, and you still have 3 tactics card slots left with access to Odin’s Blessing to protect Hela.
Fortunately, there is some counterplay to this, but you need either a push or throw that is towards or omnidirectional you can use turn 1, or a very long range push.
After Hela’s first activation she is sitting roughly in the middle of the table. Characters like Valkyrie, Hulk or Loki with a Mind Gem can move twice and throw/advance her to a point where Thor won’t be in range to use Drop Off. Others that might do it are Vision, Venom, Modok and Spider-Man, though they need either a power discount from something like Avengers leadership or Advanced R&D to get enough power turn one to use their push/throw. If you have priority you might have a set-up activation for someone like Red Skull to Master of the Cube someone forward. A sap power attack might work, but requires a wild with no damage dealt – pretty dicey.
There are other options: Avengers Assemble might get Black Panther in position to move then Strike to push away; a charging character (with suitable discount or free power) might do enough damage to daze Hela (though the odds aren’t good – 26% for Baron Zemo for example).
Finally you can try and push Hela off the Vessel once Thor has dropped her off. Turn one, only really Shuri has any chance of that. If the Hela player lines everything up perfectly, they can be out of range of Shuri but in range of the Vessel behind it, but a small mistake in deployment, launching, movement or drop off will put them in her sights.
All of this has been ignoring terrain. Hela doesn’t fly or wall-crawl, so anything size 3 in her advance part will slow her enough to prevent it. Hela or Thor might not be able to be placed exactly where they need to be due to the rule about bases not overhanging terrain – but that should be calculable when looking at the terrain before choosing crisis teams.
You could consider including Rocket Boots?! in your roster to enable Hela to fly, but you may feel that is too niche (it does have other uses, but that’s for another article).
But overall this seems like a very strong Turn 1 play that will catch an unaware opponent very off guard, in a team that then has two bruisers to get to work on the rest of the game.