With the Hulkbuster released for Marvel Crisis Protocol, the superhero skirmish wargame from Atomic Mass Games, we wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the Hulkbuster versus the opponent it was created for, the Hulk, and also compare against She-Hulk, an equal threat level hero.
For this article, we’ll be using the current stat cards for both Hulk, She-Hulk and Hulkbuster. Hulk’s card is due to change in the future with AMG’s localization layout change and balance changes for currently available characters.
We’ll start with the Hulk himself, a huge size four, threat six character. As you would expect, Hulk isn’t a complex character to use. He doesn’t have a great defense stat line, and also has a move of S, but that’s where his limitations end. Hulk gains an extra two power tokens per turn, enough to pay for most of his abilities without looking to build further power. Hulk has access to Gamma Leap for three power, which can move him range two once per turn, or he can throw a terrain piece or character of size four or less M for two power.
If you’re already within striking distance of an enemy, Hulk’s basic attack is a range two, six dice attack that pushes the target on a wild, or you’ve got a beam three, five dice attack for three power, or if you really want to spoil their day, Hulk has a range two, eight dice attack for four power that can stagger and throw the target for four power.
But Hulk doesn’t stop there. For every three damage Hulk has, he rolls an extra dice in attack, and with twenty stamina, he could throw in an extra six dice on each attack, but that would leave him dangerously close to being taken out. Hulk doesn’t have an injured side and is KO’d after taking twenty damage, so finding a balance of extra dice in attack, and not leaving him open to being removed is key. Hulk is powerful, but without some healing or extra protection, his weak defenses do leave him open, if he hasn’t smashed his way through all enemies.
The Hulkbuster was designed to restrain Hulk, but how does it stack up against him in MCP? It comes in at size four and six threat, the same as Hulk, which means he can still be thrown by Hulk’s Strongest One There Is ability. The Hulkbuster has thirteen stamina against Hulk’s twenty but does have an injured side, which is an advantage over Hulk.
The Hulkbuster’s injured side is Tony Stark out of the Hulkbuster suit and is represented by the additional Iron Man in the pack. The Iron Man (Hulkbuster) card is a lot less durable than the Hulkbuster but can spend ten power to flip back over to the Hulkbuster side, and replace the Hulkbuster miniature on the table. Iron Man can gain power using his basic attack, a range four, four dice attack that gains a power token after resolution and can attack again on a wild. It can take a couple of rounds with successful attacks to get the ten power required to bring back the Hulkbuster, so some additional ways to gain power, or prioritizing protecting the Hulkbuster before becoming injured, is required.
On the Hulkbuster's main side, he generates one additional power each turn, which is great for powering the Built To Take It superpower, which costs one, and reduces any damage by one. He also has Hit and Run, which for two power, he can make an attack and move action, with his M move putting some distance for any possible follow-up attack. Once per turn, the Hulkbuster can also throw a size four or less terrain feature M for three power.
In offense, the Hulkbuster has a range three, six dice attack that gains power for the damage dealt, but also gains one if it deals no damage and also pushes the target S. The Hulkbuster's power attack is a range three, eight dice attack for three power, that stops the target gaining power for damage dealt. If the attack deals damage to a size four or less, it’s also thrown M. It can also become explosive on a wild to damage nearby enemies as well.
It’s also worth noting that the Hulkbuster has an Avengers leadership ability that reduces all damage suffered from collisions by one. It’s not a huge ability, but it’s thematic with fighting against the hulk, where he could be throwing your characters into other characters.
One on One, it’s an interesting match-up. The Hulkbuster is more mobile and has better defense stats, but if the Hulk can deal enough damage to flip the Hulkbusters card, Iron Man has to stay very mobile in order to build power to flip the card back, pinging off range four attacks to build power. Hulk gets more powerful with each damage, so if he can stay toe-to-toe with the Hulkbuster, he can really drive it into the ground with the sheer number of dice he can generate. If backed up with the right support pieces, it can be very match dependent.
AMG has done a great job capturing the themes of both characters with the mechanics, and it’s always an interesting game whenever these two face off. If they both hit the table against each other, it’s a sure thing they’ll head straight for each other.
We couldn’t talk about Hulk vs Hulkbuster without looking at She-Hulk as well. She’s also a threat six-character, and while has some similarities to Hulk, does operate differently.
She-Hulk also has twenty stamina and no injured side. She generates an additional power each turn and has access to the same throw ability as Hulk, but for a slightly higher cost. And that’s where the similarities end. She-Hulk doesn’t have the damage to dice builder that Hulk has, instead, she’s a lot more mobile, and has some very powerful attacks outright.
If She-Hulk suffers damage from an attack, she can move S towards the attacker. She can also take a hit for a character within range two for two power with a fantastically named, Legal Defense superpower, and for three power, she can add dice to an attack equal to the size of the target.
Her basic attack is a range two, seven dice attack. It gains She-Hulk power per damage dealt as standard and also gives the target slow, which reduces their ability to get away from She Hulk's beat down. Her power attack is a range three, nine dice attack that costs five power. If damage is dealt by the attack, the target gains slow and stun, and if they already have slow, they gain stagger instead, which will even further reduce their chances of getting out of She Hulk’s range.
She-Hulk has a few more tools to deal with the Hulkbuster, she’s better at locking the Hulk Buster in place, reducing his capacity to deal damage at range, but she doesn’t have the huge dice numbers that Hulk can reach, with which to beat the Hulkbuster into the ground. Her innate ability to follow a target dealing damage to her means that she can follow as the Hulkbuster hits and runs, which is a very effective way to keep him in range.
The copies of Marvel Crisis Protocol, Hulk, Hulkbuster, and She-Hulk used to produce this preview were provided by Asmodee UK.