We have seen a glut of characters releasing recently with a damage reduction power: Drax, Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight and Black Dwarf. They all mimic Iron Man’s Invincible Iron Man power – reducing damage by one to a minimum of one. Though there are specific differences, I broadly refer to this group of power as Invulnerability or Invun for short – probably a hangover from my 40k days.
Spot the difference
There are a few notable differences within this group of powers.
Iron Man’s power is worded slightly differently to Drax’s (above) and he other newer releases. Most of the time they are functionally identical. Even in the case of carrying two or more Cosmic Cube fragments, they are treated as separate instances of damage, so Iron Man can’t reduce that damage. The only place this really matters are if your own tactics cards deal damage to you, such No Matter the Cost, or if you choose to throw an enemy in to your own Invun character – maybe there are no other characters or terrain around and you really need that one damage!In both those cases Iron Man will reduce the damage, where the others won’t – that’s actually a minor downside for Iron Man as due to the wording of No Matter the Cost, Iron Man can only get a reduction of 2 power on his superpowers.
Another thing to note is the different name of the abilities:
- Iron Man – Invincible Iron Man
- Drax – I Can Take It
- Corvus Glaive – Glaive of Immortality
- Proxima Midnight – Invulnerability
- Black Dwarf – Invulnerable Skin
The only reason this matters, is if you happen to be playing in Wakanda, and so have access to Vibranium Shielding, which grants this ability:
As this has the same name as Proxima Midnight’s ability, she can’t get the benefit from both of them:
But all the others can!
Valuing the Invaluable
This ability is good. Like, really good. Personally I’d put it just behind throwing characters as the best superpowers in the game. Let’s dig in to why.
With 3 defence dice and Invun you are more likely to take one damage than if you had 4 dice, but less likely for every other amount of damage.
Every attack – well, every big attack – removing one damage is sort of equivalent to adding one health. Typically it may take two to three attacks to daze a 6 health character, making them more like an 8-9 health character. The more times you get attacked, the better this power is, and it makes you more likely to need to be attacked more times!
There’s a really interesting thing I’ve noticed about the maths surrounding Invun. This shows the odds of taking exactly one damage from attacks when you have Invun:
There are a lot of cases where there is around a 40% chance of taking exactly one damage. That really makes me want to include Invun characters with regular access to healing.
The Asgardian leadership on Thor is exactly that sort of situation.
Healing one damage that you just got, using the power you got from that attack feels great. It is sort of a retroactive stagger – that activation was just wasted. And that happens on ~40% of all attacks. That’s a lot of pseudo-stagger across a game.
You can get a similar effect from the Extremis Console secures. That little healing using the power from the attack to heal undoes their activation.
In either case, healing is more effective on these characters as it is harder to put damage on them, so each health almost counts for more on them.
Power to the people
This effect has a weird impact on your power generation. Tougher characters tend to generate less power, as the take less damage. That’s not necessarily a problem – look at Black Dwarf with his 6 dice strike – but if you are including expensive team tactics cards like Follow Me, be aware that your characters with Invun will typically generate less power. An affiliation like Black Order that can include three Invun characters might not lend itself to those big flashy cards – just something to have in mind.