Character Focus – Black Panther

Black Panther is a character that I played quite a bit during the core set era because I was lending out decks for most of the other characters (everyone wanted to play Iron Man!).  Even though he was foisted upon me, I ended up enjoying his versatility and unique playstyle.  Anyway, let’s dive into the cards!

His Hand Size, Recover, and Hit Points are all average, and this is going to be a recurring theme amongst his cards.

His Foresight ability is nice because you can go and fetch the Black Panther upgrade that you think you’ll most need for the scenario (hence the name, I guess).  Worst case scenario, you use it to grab an upgrade that you don’t need and then chuck it as a resource on the first round (although having all four of Black Panther’s upgrades in play is definitely good).

If there was one word to sum up his Alter Ego form it would be ‘meh’.  You’ll pretty much only want to flip back to recover and/or activate The Golden City.


His stats are two across the board (i.e. average) which means that he can be quite flexible in his response to developing situations.

Retaliate 1 is very good and insanely strong in scenarios with lots of minions such as Ultron (where the drones will literally destroy themselves as they attack you).  You are going to get attacked by villains and their minions a lot during scenarios, so doing a point of damage each time this happens is fantastic.

Having Retaliate is likely to lead to you wanting to take more hits with your Hero rather than your allies, meaning that you will probably want to take some cards that help you stay alive.  Cards like Endurance, Down Time, and First Aid are all worthy considerations.  The Protection aspect also has plenty of cards that help your characters stay alive.

As a primarily solo player, I would rate Black Panther’s Hero form quite highly.


1 Thwart, 1 Attack, and 3 Hit Points for two resources is pretty reasonable, but her enter play effect is the main reason you’ll play her.  Shuri’s ability allows you to search you deck for an upgrade and put it into your hand.

Unlike T’challa’s setup ability (Foresight), the upgrade that you get doesn’t have to be a Black Panther one.  This means you can go and fetch your one copy of Down Time just before you are about to recover, or your single copy of Under Surveillance so you can play it to stop the scheme from progressing, etc.  This makes her extremely versatile.

The only downside to her ability is that you can only search your deck for an upgrade; she cannot retrieve cards from your discard pile.  This means that some consideration should be made for when you play her, but honestly this isn’t too big of a negative.  Overall, she’s probably one of the best allies in the game.


At first glance you might think, “Great!  I can shuffle back three copies of Wakanda Forever into my deck!”, but even though most of them have different resource symbols on them, they still count as the same card.  Hall of Heroes (a great site by the way!) has a handy link to the FAQ ruling, so you don’t need to take my word for it!

So even though you can’t shuffle back a triple Wakanda, you could put back an upgrade card for Shuri to fetch (since she’s limited to cards in deck only), or if your deck is running low you could setup a good round for yourself next round.  In a long-winded way, Brother Voodoo could try and snag one of the events you’ve just shuffled back.

However, most of the time you will find yourself using this card as a resource, especially since it’s an Alter Ego action.  If you could shuffle three copies of Wakanda Forever back into your deck, this would be a useful card, but as it is I think it’s a bit too narrow in its ability.


There are five (yes, FIVE!) copies of this in his hero cards.  Between them, they have all the different resource symbols (one energy, one physical, one mental, and two wild).

At its worst, it does absolutely nothing.  At its best, it’s borderline broken.  It’s effectiveness is solely tied to how many Black Panther upgrades you have in play and the order that you use them (more on these below) and this is where Black Panther gets his unique playstyle from.

Early on in the game you’ll likely be discarding these for resources, but later on in the game you’ll be pleased every time you draw one.


Black Panther has three of these in his hero cards and is the main reason why he can get away with playing a lot of expensive cards in his deck.  The double wild resources also help greatly with annoying Villain attachments, such as Hysteria, Sonic Converters, or Vibranium Armor (ironically).

Just like in the Black Panther film, Vibranium seems to be the answer for nearly every problem!  In Marvel Champions, Vibranium will help greatly with triggering the additional effects of cards such as For Justice!, Tackle, or Relentless Assault.  Simply a great card!


For a cost of two, being able to draw two cards every time you are in Alter Ego form is great.

Not much else to say about it other than you’ll probably want to put it into play as quickly as possible, will almost never discard it for a resource, and is likely to be the deciding factor as to whether or not you flip back to Alter Ego form.


This upgrade can do either one or two damage to all minions and the Villain in front of one player (in solo this will just be all enemies).  In some scenarios it will be nearly worthless and in others it will be a lifesaver (Ultron/Mutagen Formula).

I think that out of the four Black Panther upgrades this will often be lowest priority (except on the aforementioned swarm scenarios), as you’ll generally be facing minions with more Hit Points that this can defeat in one go and you’d probably prefer to have the Panther Claws.

In multiplayer this generally isn’t going to be quite as good as something like Squirrel Girl, as the damage it deals is limited to what is in front of one player.  If there were more cards that allowed you to engage enemies from in front of other players (such as Get Over Here!) then I would rate it higher in multiplayer.

One other thing worth noting is that it has the weapon trait, meaning that it can be used with Mean Swing (something that Black Panther Aggression decks will almost certainly be playing), increasing its usefulness somewhat.


No-nonsense damage-dealing upgrade, either dishing out two or four damage depending on when you activate it in the Wakanda Forever! chain.

This is probably the first or second priority Black Panther upgrades as it will help you keep control of the minions on the board and can also just be used to smash the Villain a bit.  Obviously, it will depend on which aspect you are playing, but Protection and Justice in particular will appreciate the extra damage.

Like Energy Daggers, this is also a weapon so also useful for Mean Swing.


Similar to the upgrade above, but this time removing threat.  If using Aggression or Protection, you’ll definitely appreciate the extra threat removal.

I think that most of the time you will be using the one threat removal ability of this card, but it’s nice to have that extra bit of removal if you need it.

I think that in general this will be the third priority Black Panther upgrade, but it obviously depends on the scenario.  One that has a lot of side schemes will definitely bump this to top of the list.


The last of the Black Panther upgrades and probably my favourite as it will allow you to stay in your Hero form a lot longer.

Damage and healing in one go is great.  The only downside is that you must have damage to heal in order dish out some damage (not much of a downside, but worth noting).

I think that this will be first or second priority of the Black Panther upgrades most of the time and will most likely be the last upgrade you are using in a Wakanda Forever chain in order to get the boosted effect.


SUMMARY

  • With stats of two across the board and the ability to pick one of his upgrades to begin in his hand, Black Panther is very flexible.
  • Mediocre Alter Ego means that you’ll want to spend most of your time in Hero form (although The Golden City will tempt you back on occasion).
  • With three copies of Vibranium in his hero cards, Black Panther can often afford to play some of the more expensive cards.

I’ve always enjoyed using Black Panther and I think that he will perform well in most aspects and scenarios.  I hope you have enjoyed this look at his cards!

Cheers,

Tim

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