An Opening Gammabit

Gamma shelters is a popular crisis and this is a play I’m always looking out to pull off and looking to protect against. The far gamma shelter is worth 3 VPs, and whilst any of the shelters offer a 4VP swing, the far one ends the game the fastest.

Why, yes I do…

The great thing – wait, scratch that: one of the great things about Black Panther is that his strike auto pushes. No need for damage or wilds, it just pushes. If you can get him to make an attack, he will push an opponent off a gamma shelter. An opponent who only leaves one character on that defensive secure point could easily be pushed off it for a big early lead. That’s a really powerful turn one play.

But how do you get there and still be able to attack and claim it?

Things that won’t work

A short move or range 2 place is not enough distance. It puts you significantly short of where Panther need to be. That rules out Panther’s pounce (which would need Advanced R&D or Avengers to turn it on), Red Skull’s Master of the Cube, Avengers Assemble or Tactical Analysis by themselves.

Things that might work

Drop off is a great team tactics card. A small based medium move flyer can drop Panther off, then an L move puts him in range 2 of anyone who is contesting that defensive, but – importantly – not within range 1 of the shelter. The closest he can get is 0.1” outside of range 1 of it. So close but yet so far! Pushing the opponent off of it will deny them their 1 VP, but not score you your 3VPs.

But good news! You haven’t used your pounce yet. That’s conditional on getting power off your strike though. The chances of that depend on your opponent. If they are a vanilla 3 physical defense, you have a 51% chance of getting two damage and therefore the two power you need to activate pounce. If they have better defenses, the odds go down. A 4 vanilla would be 42%, and someone like an opposing Panther it drops to 20%. That’s not a basis for a key use of tactics cards, especially considering you are not getting use out of the attack from drop off.

Avengers improves the odds, as you only need one power to pounce, making it 73% vs 3 vanilla, 64% vs 4 vanilla, and 39% vs another Panther. Better, but still not great.

Another similar situations is a double L move with Black Panther, and then using Wakanda Forever. This also put Panther very slightly short of being within range 1 of the shelter, so relies on generating the power to pounce in. It has the advantage though that Shuri is quite likely to be included in the team. If she has advanced far enough, that another push to move a second character off that shelter.

Relying on the Pounce brings up another complication: with a throw like Pounce, the character must move the full length of the movement of a straight tool. That can easily put Panther outside of range 1. Clever use of colliding with terrain or other characters is going to be required – further adding to the ‘might’ work.

Things that will work

A 50mm based flier like Ultron could drop Panther off. The larger base of the dropper means that Panther is now within a single L move of contesting the shelter, allowing him to attack.

There are other ways of edging him further forwards to enable a double L move then Wakanda Forever, as mentioned above. Red Skull can Master of the Cube him forwards – Panther wants to be going last so having Red Skull activate before him doesn’t cause a problem. Tactical Analysis can be played turn one by a number of characters, but my favourite is Valkyrie, as her damage output and throws are exactly what you want on this crisis. Avenger Assemble isn’t available to you as this requires that you be in Wakandan affiliation, but A.I.M. lackeys is another possibility, but is hard to get online turn one.

Gamma Launch easily gets you within range of an L move of the far shelter, allowing that attack to push them off. But maybe you don’t want Hulk and Panther on a 15 threat crisis, though Okoye and Shuri might round out the team well.

This play takes a bit of planning, but the lead it can generate in turn one can be substantial and set you up well for the rest of the game.

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