Character review – Iron Man & Helios Laser Bombardment

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Wednesday we had another article from Atomic Mass Games, this time talking all about the upcoming changes, in particular the ones that affected the core box. We had three updated character cards shown to us – Iron Man, Captain Marvel and Ultron, and I’ll be doing reviews for each of them over the next few days. It was quite interesting to read their post, as towards the end AMG stated that this ‘…wraps up all the adjustments to the Marvel: Crisis Protocol Core Set characters.’. This means Baron Zemo, Black Widow, Crossbones, Doc Ock, Spider-Man and Red Skull will all be staying the same, although we already knew from a stream about the new Ock and Spider-Man miniatures that their rules weren’t changing. If you want to check out the AMG article yourself, you can find it here.

Today I’m going to start working through the new character cards we’ve seen – Starting with Iron Man. As with most of the core box characters, Iron Man is instantly recognisable and well known by all Marvel fans. We first saw Iron Man way back in 1963 in Tales of Suspense no. 39, and more recently he became the character with the most screen time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – with a whopping total of over 300 minutes on screen. Needless to say, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man is an absolute icon who will be sorely missed in phase 4 of the MCU, although Iron Man still continues to make hundreds of appearances in the comics.

In Marvel Crisis Protocol, Iron Man was great back when he could drop off Cap and be an annoying ranged tank. Sadly Iron Man was quickly left behind with the surge of three threat characters that were quite frankly better choices, from a pure gameplay perspective. Although he has only had one change on his new character card, it might just be what he needs to pull his weight and stand aside the other three threats – Especially when he gives you access to Helios Laser Bombardment, which I’ll talk about at the end.

Tony Stark – Iron Man

Starting off by looking at his stat line, for three threat you get a size two, medium move model with five stamina. Assuming he still has five on his inured side, he has a total health pool of ten. Iron Man has a slightly above average defence line – Coming in at 4/3/3 – And although he isn’t that tanky when just looking at his basic stats, the Invincible Iron Man superpower helps with that a lot.

Attacks

Iron Man has two attacks on his healthy side, and the first one which is his builder is Repulsor Blast. It’s a range four, four dice energy attack that costs zero power. After the attack is resolved, he gains power equal to the damage dealt. If he rolls a Wild, then before damage is dealt he can push the target character away. I expected to see a size restriction put onto this in the same way Shuri has, but it seems Iron Man is intended to be able to push anyone around – From Kingpin all the way up to Dormammu.

The second attack that Iron Man has is Homing Rockets. For two power, you get a range five, five dice Physical attack that ignores LOS and Cover. If you get the Explosive trigger on a Wild, then before damage is dealt, other enemy characters within two of the target suffer one damage.

During the AMG article they referred to UniBeam, which isn’t an attack on Iron Mans healthy side. It is, however, an attack on his injured side, and assuming that it is still the same as before it is a beam five six dice energy attack. The attack ignores LOS and Cover, but it comes with the pricey cost of four power, but it can be pretty devastating if you can get it off with…

Superpowers

Friday AI is Iron Man’s first superpower – And it is the only thing that has been changed from his old card. Previously this came in with the price tag of three power, which meant it was pretty hard to get it off often enough to be hugely effective. Now for two power, during the next attack action made by this character this turn, you can add two dice to its attack rolls. This does work with UniBeam, so you can pay two power and add two dice to every attack that is part of the beam. Under Steve’s leadership, or in an affiliation like the Inhumans or Brotherhood, Iron Man will be able to use this power a lot more often, which should mean he can combine it with his builder to get the ball rolling with his power gain a lot earlier on. It is only a small and subtle change, but I think it will go along way to improving Iron Man overall.

Iron Man’s second superpower is Invincible Iron Man. This simple innate power means that whenever this character would suffer damage, it reduces the amount suffered by one, to a minimum of one. This is similar to the powers that we have seen on other characters like War Machine and The Lizard, and it goes a long way to adding to the characters durability. With a physical defence of four, Iron Man is suddenly quite a tanky model, and if you sit him in a position where he can gain cover, he becomes very hard to shift – Whilst still being able to let off repulsor blasts at targets.

Iron Mans last superpower is simply Flight – Which makes sense, seen as we see him constantly flying around both on the big screen and in the comics. This helps with his manoeuvrability in game, and stops him from getting stuck behind size three buildings like the Daily Bugle or the the Daily grind.

As I’ve already said, it is still only a small and subtle change that we’ve had. It would of been nice for Iron Man to gain immunities to some conditions, or to see his basic attack bump up to five dice, but I do think the reduction to Friday AI will really help with his power economy.

I don’t think he will see place at the top of the threet threats, but in affiliation as an Avenger he is now very tempting to take due to Helios Laser Bombardment.

It’s going to take up a tactics card slot, but it’s definitely going to be worth it if you set it up properly. During Tony Stark’s activation, which can either be core box Iron Man or the Hulkbuster, any number of allied character may spend power to use this card. Once they have, Tony can use the Helios Laser Bombardment listed on the card one this activation. On the face of it, this is just a Range five, two dice energy attack that ignores LOS and Cover. If you roll a Wild, you get the trigger Sweep and Clear, that means after the attack is resolved enemy characters within range two of the target suffer one damage.

That still isn’t the reason your using Helios Bombardment. The main reason to be doing this attack, is that you add dice to the attack equal to the amount of power spent to play this card. Because any number of allied characters can contribute power – This can quickly become abusrd. At a high threat value in Sam Spam, even just have six characters pay two power each is twelve dice. Three power each? Eighteen dice. If you have a model like Thanos or Dormammu bearing down on your team – You can dump all the power from your characters to use this and almost guarantee their destruction. I know that there are people who have been playing this card on TTS, and have managed to get twenty five dice or more when using it. This is the ultimate, one shot STARK industries attack that will leave a hole in the ground where a previous problem used to be. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Iron Man popping up in lots of affiliations, just so that they are able to bring this card to the table. Let me know what you think of the new Iron Man and Helios Laser Bombardment down in the comments below, and where you might be trying him out!

As always, please leave a thumbs up if you enjoyed reading, or a thumbs down if you didn’t! Please feel free to comment with any thoughts you have! If you’re interested in video content, then check out Wargaming Luke on YouTube as he shares his weekly Marvel videos!

If you’re looking to expand your roster with some new Heroes for Hire, or want to start off and take the dive into Marvel Crisis Protocol – Check out Board in Brums Marvel section here, for all the MCP goodness you need! Thanks again for reading!

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