Welcome back to SGP where we continue our Which… series where we compare different versions of a character and see which version is the right one for you if you want to play the character in every game.
Todays star: Tony Stark.
As an original core set character Tony has been in the game since day one and recently got his third incarnation in the new core set.
If we talk about Tony Stark, we have to talk about two team tactics cards first, because they both greatly influence your choice of Tony:
The classic. If you have a team that can generate a decent amount of power it can act basically as a point and click card to get something off of the board. And “there’s no kill like overkill” should be your attitude if you play this card.
The new hotness. This also increases your overall offensive power but instead of deleting a target with one giant attack this increases your overall damage output over the round.
Now let’s look at the different Tony Stark stat cards in order of threat (you have a 3, 4 and 6 threat version to chose from):
Classic 3 threat Iron Man remains a competitive staple and one of the best overall 3 threats in the game. Without Friday AI his builder isn’t exciting but it’s long range, energy type and size unrestricted push make it a very good attack nonetheless. Homing Rockets are a nice tool to have if there are enemy characters with 1 health left around.
Iron Man has above average 4/3/3 defense for a 3 threat and while his 5/5 stamina doesn’t look very impressive it is deceptive due to his damage reduction.
And if Tony 1 here gets flipped and has 6 power to spare you better watch out:
Since Friday AI increases the attack dice for the next “attack action” it works for every attack of a beam and Unibeam is already a good attack without it.
Tony 1 here is a fantastic user of Helios Laser because he doesn’t have a lot of ways to spend his power especially on his front side.
He can play Stark Amory but it might not be as impactful as you’d like as he will often stay on a back point.
Iron Man is affiliated in Avengers and SHIELD.
Sculpt: C. Static but decent enough.
iTony is the newest version of the character out of core box 2.
His attacks are a bit better, he has two extra points of stamina and his damage reduction changes to being pay to reduce which has advantages and disadvantages. He gets the worse version of it where it’s only enemy effects so he can’t negate damage taken from the crisis of allied effects.
But his real difference is his SHIELD leadership and even more so his JARVIS superpower. It is a strictly worse version of the famous Shuri rerolls (because Shuri can reroll defense and dodge rolls to) but it’s still a good damage upgrade for your team if iTony has the power to spent for it.
And unlike Iron Man iTony always has something to spent his power on but you mostly want to spend it outside of his own activation for JARVIS and his damage reduction. His spenders are OK and can help in a pinch.
Being as power starved as he is Helios doesn’t feel as much of a sure thing with him than it does with 3 threat Tony. Stark Amory has a similar problem here but feels more fitting for this version of Tony that’s focused around making the team around him better.
Invincible Iron Man is affiliated in SHIELD (leader) and Avengers.
Sculpt: D. It just looks really awkward. Which is especially sad considering our next candidate:
Hulkbuster is awesome. The entire concept just rules both from fluff and from a game play perspective. Big ol’ Busty is pretty much a control god. The automatic push on his builder-gainer (the only character with his awesome mechanic until iTony dropped) is great for secure control and his spender is fantastic. He has extremely awkward timing on his pay to reduce as he has to do it before any dice are rolled meaning you sometimes spend for nothing in either taking no damage anyway or taking so much, that the reduction didn’t help and you only lost your power. Really hope they change that if they ever update his card.
Hulkbusters biggest weakness is that his defensive statline is unchanged from his 3 threat version and he can be focused down quite easily.
It’s great that you get Tiny Tony out of your dazed Hulkbuster so there is at least something that you can still do with your 6 threat investment if Busty is brought down early. And I think you have to have a plan for Tiny Tony to do something if you include Hulkbuster in your squad. Helios and Stark Armoury can both be played by Iron Man (Hulkbuster) but he starts with 0 power. Since you can spent anyone’s power on Helios that’s probably more at what I would look at.
Stark Armory on the other hand has its best user in Hulkbuster. With his 65mm base Range 1-5 around him is just much more of the board. He is also much more mobile than his other versions and can’t be displaced as easily.
Hulkbuster is only affiliated in Avengers where he even is a leader. His leadership is very niche but can be backbreaking for some opponents. It’s value being completely dependent on your opponents squad all the while facing the competition of three extremely strong alternatives in Avengers leaderships means it’s hardly a build around though.
Hulkbuster: A+. Competing with Lizard for titel of best looking mini in the game.
Tiny Tony: A. By far and large the best looking “normal” Iron Man and having me baffled by iTonys awkward pose since they have done a so much better one already.
But which Tony Stark should you use if you want to put him on the table in every game?
Sadly it’s really only a fight between 3 and 4 threat Iron Man. I love Hulkbuster but he is a giant investment with his 6 threat and often is to easy to take care off to be really worth it sadly.
Iron Man and Invincible Iron Man are both fantastic on the other hand. It comes down to personal preference and how your points work out in the rest of your roster. iTony fights for what is probably the most hotly contested threat level of 4 while Iron Man is one of the premiere 3 threats edging out a lot of competition there.
iTony is the more proactive version of the character however and probably feels more like you want Iron Man to feel.
That’s it for today. Next time we’ll cover the guy who made both the Hulkbuster and the Helios Laser necessary: Bruce Banner.