Greetings HeroClix fans!

Welcome back as we continue our look into the upcoming Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War set!  Today, we are continuing our exploration of characters in this set with a Shifting Focus trait.  These traits have created an interesting design space where certain characters, who have a wide array of at times incongruent powers and abilities, can be represented as strategically useful pieces at a more sensible point cost than if they had everything all at once.  Rather than containing just one or two characters with this feature, the Avengers/Defenders War set has six!  In the Shifting Focus Part I article, we dug into Vision, Wasp, and Dr. Strange; this round, we are looking at the Punisher, Elektra, and Black Panther.

At 50 points, Marvel’s foremost vigilante Frank Castle, more commonly known as the Punisher, either announces his presence on the map with a big boom or silently skulks in the shadows with his combat knife ready so not to lose his cover.  Either way works for his plans.  With Shifting Focus, you can take a free action if he began the turn on your force and replace him with another figure with the same trait on the same click number; this means that the Punisher is always ready to either pull the knife, pull the launch trigger, or pull the pin.

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The Common Punisher wakes up the neighborhood with an 8 range single target and a special attack power, Rocket-Propelled Grenade. This special attack power states that instead of doing normal damage when he hits a single opposing character with a range attack, you deal 4 damage to the target and 3 to each character adjacent to the target.  While he has the RPG, he also has Toughness.  Since one can only carry so much ammunition for such a weapon, it’s lucky Punisher can throw as well as he can aim.  Once he runs out of rockets, he switches over to tossing grenades with Sidestep, Energy Explosion, and Energy Shield/Deflection.

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Sometimes the Punisher just can’t line up that long ranged shot or prefers not to get shot at on sight.  That means it’s time for the knife in the dark as Frank holsters his guns (0 range value) and steels his Indomitable motivation to avenge his family.  With a full dial of Stealth, a steady 3 damage, and the special attack power So, I Guess It’s Gonna Be The “Up Close And Personal” Route, he can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. When he does, you may instead deal 1 penetrating damage if the D6 roll is less than 3.  With a smattering of Combat Reflexes and Toughness, the Punisher won’t go down without a hard fight.

Both versions of Punisher have the Marvel Knights and Soldier keywords. At the beginning of the game, you can choose for all the characters with the Marvel Knights trait between having a minimum attack value of 10 for the entire game or being ‘wild cards’, which means they are able to copy team abilities from friendly characters.  Speaking of Marvel Knights, we have another member with a Shifting Focus trait, Elektra.

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Both versions of the ninja assassin resurrected by the Hand are strongly close combat focused, but there is more than one way to skin a cat and Elektra knows them all.  Both 50 point versions have the Marvel Knights, The Hand, Assassin, and Martial Artist keywords, Improved Movement:  Ignore Elevated and Ignore Hindering Terrain, the Marvel Knights trait (same as the Punisher).  The Common Elektra focuses on a singular target and sneaks up on them while Effortlessly Moving Across The Battlefield, a special power on movement for her entire dial that lets her use Sidestep and Stealth.  She has Combat Reflexes to keep her safe between rounds and Exploit Weakness to make her effective against armored opponents, which also applies to her whole dial.  However, sometimes your cover is blown, they know you are coming for them, and you find yourself surrounded in a hallway full of goons and bodyguards.  That is when it’s time to Shift Focus to dual – wielding, sai spin attack.

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The Uncommon Elektra has a full dial of Blades/Claws/Fangs and Super Senses, and she can make multiple attacks in a single turn either with Flurry on her last two clicks or her special speed power, Dance Of Death, on her first three clicks.  Dance Of Death lets you give Elektra a close combat action to make any number of close combat attacks, each targeting an adjacent opposing character that was not already targeted by this action.  That’s a potential of 8 attacks if she is completely surrounded. Additionally, because it is a close combat action, she can roll for Blades/Claws/Fangs damage with each attack.

Finishing up our Shifting Focus series we have the king and protector of Wakanda, Black Panther.

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Here is a piece that long time HeroClix players will enjoy playing with a hint of nostalgia for the ‘old days’ of Marvel’s Infinity Challenge (who can believe that was 15 years ago!).  For 30 points, Black Panther has the Avengers, Wakanda, and Scientist keywords and a dial that is as simple as can be; Stealth turns into Leap/Climb with movement that doesn’t count against your action total thanks to the Avengers team ability and a full four clicks of Outwit. Park him in hindering terrain and cancel opposing powers with Outwit.  Back in the day, the 27 point Rookie Black Panther, with about the exact same starting powers and stat line, was likely the most played piece because his versatility made him a great fit on almost any team build.  The game has grown so much since then, with figures numbering in the thousands by now, and it is heartening to know that something so easy and straight forward can still take such a prominent place in today’s game.  Welcome back, Black Panther.

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Once you’ve taken in your fill of nostalgia, you’ll remember that the kitty has claws.  When Black Panther needs to do his own fighting, he has Charge, Blades/Claws/Fangs, and Combat Reflexes to help him do it on his first two clicks. He finishes up with Sidestep, Combat Reflexes, and Exploit Weakness on his last two.  Covering his keywords, he has Avengers, Wakanda, and Warrior.

Thanks for reading!  Join us next time as we reveal more exciting characters and highlight strategies and team builds from the Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War set and visit the WizKids Info Network to find  Pre-Release Events near you!

Until next time, cheap Outwit for the win!