Character review – Hulkbuster
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Yesterday we had a bunch of cool reveals from Atomic Mass Games in their long awaited Ministravaganza! We finally saw the Character cards for both Ms. Marvel and the Hulkbuster, as well as a bunch of funky new tactics cards to go with them – Which I’ll be talking about in another article. The Ministravaganza isn’t over yet though, and I’m sure there is going to be plenty more for them to show us!
Today I’m going to be jumping straight in with a First impressions character review for the Hulkbuster! Unlike most other characters, the Hulkbuster has two sides to his character card that are both healthy. This is quite interesting and a nice little bonus for securing objectives, and keeps with the theme that the other ‘Hulk’ models have of always being healthy.
With the Hulkbuster we now have a third Avengers leadership, simply called Hulkbusters. This is a really straightforward leadership ability, as it just means when an allied character would suffer damage from a collision, you can reduce the amount suffered by one. The nice thing here is that it doesn’t say to a minimum of one, so you can quite easily take no damage from collisions with a couple of blocks and this leadership. Sadly though I don’t think this ability can really contest with the other Avenger leaderships, but if we see some Hulkbusters specific tactics cards then that might change.
As I said, the Hulkbuster has two healthy character sides, although they are both very different. He has his side where he is wearing the Hulkbuster Armor, and he he has his side where he is in his secondary support suit. I’m going to format this as two character reviews, starting with the big guy himself, and then talking about the character overall at the end. This is going to be a Hulk sized article!
So starting off with the stats for the Hulkbuster, he really is an absolute unit. With a health pool of thirteen, this puts him at the very top with Dormammu, outside of the Hulks. He has a medium move, which is still pretty quick on his huge base size, and is a whopping size four. He is a six threat character, and his defences feel slightly under whelming as a result. With 4/3/3, the Hulkbuster has pretty average defences for if he was a four threat character, but this is helped by the fact that he is built to take it, which we will talk about shortly.
Hulkbusters first attack Heavy Repulsor Blast is a range three builder, that throws six energy dice for zero power cost. After the attack is resolved, you gain power equal to the damage dealt. There is a nice little bonus here that means even if you didn’t deal any damage, you still gain one power. Also built into this attack s an automatic push, regardless of size. This is a pretty solid basic attack, and if your ever short one power you know you’ll be able to get it. The push is great, as you’ll be able to push back any model regardless of size, which Dormammu is going to really hate.
His big attack really does pack a punch – A Meteor punch, to be exact. For only three power, Meteor Punch is a range three Physical attack, that rolls eight dice. The target doesn’t gain power for the damage dealt by this attack, and if the attack deals damage and the target character is size four or less, after the attack is resolved they may be thrown away Medium. This is really going to mess with models like MODOK and Angela, as it’s able to target them from far away, and then throw them even further away. The last part of this attack is Explosive, which means that on a trigger of a Wild, before damage is dealt, other enemy characters within two of the target suffer one damage. Overall I think this is a really great attack, the fact the target doesn’t gain power to bounce back with and the throw just making for a great spender.
The Hulkbuster has four superpowers, and as we’ve already talked about his leadership we’re gonna dive straight into them. His first Superpower is Hit and Run, which is almost like a reverse version of the Charge superpower. As an active superpower, For two power and an action, this character may immediately make an attack action followed by a move action. This will be a great way to put the pressure on the opponent, using the Heavy Repulsor Blast or Meteor Punch to push and throw the enemy back, before menacingly following up for a second strike.
Now I’m mad is the Hulkbusters second Superpower. For three power, he can choose an interactive terrain feature of size four or less within two and throw it Medium. This means he’ll really be able to tear up the battlefield, and throw some serious damage into unsuspecting foes. A size four building being thrown gives the target five damage to try and dodge, so if they don’t have brace then that can leave a serious mark.
The Hulkbuster has a single reactive superpower – Built to Take it. For one power, when this character is targeted by an attack it may use this superpower. You can then reduce the amount of damage dealt by this attack by one, to no minimum. It also means that this character can not be pushed as a result of Special rules during this attack. There aren’t many attacks that will be able to push the size four Hulkbuster around, and the fact that this lets him ignore them is great as it means he will rarely be moved out of position. The damage reduction with no minimum is Phenomenal, and with a huge pool of thirteen health, it is going to be a really struggle to put the Iron Giant down. The only thing to remember is that you do need to use this Superpower when Hulkbuster is targeted, and not after the attack. This means their might be situations where you waste the power as your enemy doesn’t roll any successes anyway, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
The final superpower for the Hulkbuster is Enhanced Support Systems. This is an Innate Superpower, so it’s always active. If the Hulkbuster would flip it’s stat card to the Injured side, you place Iron Man (Hulkbuster) within two of it, then remove this character from the battlefield. Iron Man (Hulkbuster) has no damage, power, special conditions, or effects and is now part of your squad.
This is quite a mouthful, but it basically means that when the Hulkbuster is dazed, when he flips his character card he turns into his smaller version with a clean slate for power, damage and all other effects. This is pretty interesting as it is slightly different to a normal transform, and lets him be placed within two rather than the normal one.
The second part of this ability is simply that the Hulkbuster gains one additional power in the Power Phase. This is always great, as it means he can do multiple interacts turn one. He should always have the power he needs for his superpowers, or for a devastating Meteor Punch when needs be.
Overall the Hulkbuster is an absolute monster. Sadly he has no immunities, so will still fall victim to Stagger and other conditions that could hinder him. I found it really odd that he doesn’t have the Flight superpower, but he will be able to move freely over all but the biggest terrain anyway.
Iron Man (Hulkbuster) – Secondary Support Suit
So once the Hulkbuster flips and the dust settles, we are left with this version of Iron Man. I don’t really understand why, but this Iron Man is super fragile – Like very, very much made of glass. He has five health and a medium move, but with his reduced defences of 2/2/3 and the loss of Built to take it, this Iron Man could go down to just a couple of basic strikes. I think this is to represent Iron Man in a vulnerable stage once knocked out f his Hulkbuster suit, but this still feels like a seriously low set of stats. If your Iron Man gets knocked out of Veronica, your gonna have to be very careful to keep him alive.
This Iron Man only has one attack, and it is the Rapid Repulsor Blast. This is a range four, four dice energy attack that costs zero power. After the attack is resolved, Iron Man gains one power, and you can push the target character away small – Once more, regardless of size. On a Wild you get the Rapid fire trigger, which means Iron Man can make an additional attack targeting the original target. I’m pretty sure that this means you can stack the push, similar to how Medusa does with her Braid Bash. I’m really not a fan of how the stacking works, but it basically means you would be able to attack the target, and if you get the Rapid fire, attack again, before doing both pushes one after another.
If this is how it works, it will let Iron Man seriously push enemy models out of position. If he gets the Rapid Fire, he is essentially getting the guaranteed two power.
Once more I’m not going to go back over his leadership, instead diving into his Superpowers. The first Superpower on Iron Mans card is Always Have a Backup. This is the most expensive Superpower in the game – And rightly so. For ten power, you can place a Hulkbuster within one of this character. It has a clean slate, and gains an activated token. It is now part of your squad, and you remove this Iron Man from the game.
This sort of justifies just why this Iron Man is so squishy. The ability to bring back an unscathed Hulkbuster is crazy, but this is what your really paying for when paying the six threat for this model. Your opponent will want to put down Iron Man as quickly as possible, save having to deal with yet another Veronica.
Iron Mans second Superpower is New Plan. After an attack targeting this character is resolved, if this character is damaged by the attack it can use this Superpower. Iron Man can then advance Medium. This should stop anyone from being able to double tap Iron Man, and help mitigate his week defences, but it doesn’t mean he might not just be KO’d by the initial attack.
Iron Mans first Innate Superpower is Secondary Support Suit. This means that whenever this character would be Dazed, it is KO’d instead. This character cannot be included in rosters, is never deployed at the start of a game and can only be put into play as a result of the Enhanced Support Systems superpower. This all makes sense, and it makes me think that we might actually get two character cards in this box, rather than just one double sided one.
To round out this character, Iron Man has Flight. This will let him fly away to safety, over terrain, whilst he frantically tries to build the power for a new suit. This is a nice superpower to have, and it stops Iron Man being hindered by terrain. I do think the Hulkbuster should have it too, but we can’t have it all!
As I said earlier, I get why this Iron Man is squishy. It will be interesting to see if you ever get chance to turn back into the Hulkbuster, and it will definitely be very frustrating for your opponent if you do.
This character might just be one of the most unique in the game. For six threat you are getting a very unusual package, but I think he definitely has the potential to be great. I’m not sure how often you will see him in Sam Spam or Steve Avengers, and I don’t really think his own leadership is that great. I do think he has a space in a Sam Spam roster at higher threat values. At twenty threat you could take him alongside Sam, War Machine, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and OG Black Widow. Being able to heal, move and remove a special condition from the Hulkbuster every time another model is Dazed or KO’d would be phenomenal, and I think it could be very hard to deal with.
If you can find space for him in a Brotherhood roster, I think the extra power gain will help you to try and quickly put him back in his big suit. At Seventeen threat, Magneto, Scarlet Witch and the Hulkbuster are going to be a really difficult team to deal with. He might like the extra power he can get from being in Inhumans, but I think we will have to wait and see which affiliation he suits best. Nevertheless, the Hulkbuster is one of the coolest characters for me, and it is gonna be great to see him absolutely smashing up the table top!
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