With a couple of new characters on the way with the release of The Rise of Red Skull, I thought that now would be a good time to review Hulk’s cards. I was invited onto Alter-Egos podcast to do a Hulk pack review (thanks guys!), so you can also hear some of my thoughts there as well.
Hand Size 5 is below average and unlike Thor he doesn’t have an ability that basically generates a resource to compensate. 4 Recover is average but 18 Hit Points is the highest in the game so far.
His Experimental Research ability allows you to draw a card and then discard any card from your hand. This could allow you to make your hand a bit better, but it’s pretty low impact.
Overall I’d say that his Alter-Ego form was on the weaker side. His ability doesn’t make up for that reduction in Hand Size.
Hulk is the first hero to have 0 Thwart, but this isn’t too big of an issue. 3 Attack and 3 Defence are both the joint-highest printed for any hero.
Enraged is a purely negative ability, forcing you to discard your hand when your turns ends. This also means that you cannot hold onto something and then play it during your team-mate’s turn.
Hulk’s Hero form is a bit disappointing to be honest. His Attack value is the same as She-Hulk’s, but she gets the additional two damage from her ability when you flip to Hero form and doesn’t have to discard her hand at the end of her turn. His Defence value is the highest in the game, tied with Spider-Man, but I’m not convinced that he wants to actually be defending.
However, you need to evaluate a character as a whole, so let’s take a look at his hero cards.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it allows you to deal damage equal to your Attack to an enemy. It has the added restriction that you can only spend physical resources to pay for it, but that shouldn’t be an issue in a Hulk deck.
At the very least this is going to be a cheaper version of Haymaker, but if you are able to boost Hulk’s Attack value (with cards like Boundless Rage or Combat Training), then it’s a little bit better.
This event is okay. It’s something that you can play while exhausted and it’s cheap enough that you could even use it to clear a Stunned status if you were desperate.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it’s the reason you’ll want to give Hulk a try! You can use this when you are making a basic attack to increase your Attack by ten and if you pay with only physical resources, it gains Overkill (which can be useful if there are Guard minions around).
Using this means that Hulk’s Attack will become 13 without any other buffs, which is the majority of most Villain’s Hit Points. Hulk Smash is a very powerful card and one that you’ll always be looking to play if you draw it.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it’s the only way of dealing with threat that he has. It removes three threat from a scheme or five threat if you only used physical resources to pay for it.
Removing three threat for three resources isn’t very good in my opinion, but if you can pay the kicker and remove five threat instead then it’s okay. The main issue that I have with this card is timing due to his Enraged ability.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it deals damage without being an attack (thereby getting around Guard and Retaliate). This will be a helpful card in minion-heavy scenarios (or the Wrecking Crew, but you don’t really need any help with that) and is good value if hitting three targets, but quickly becomes over-costed if there are two or fewer targets. I like this card even in solo, and I don’t think that you’ll have trouble getting the most out of it in multiplayer.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards (are you spotting a theme here?). This can ready Hulk and if you paid only using physical resources you can draw a card. While you can use this to have a basic attack, I think that the best use for it will be to ready Hulk so that you can flip back to Alter-Ego and perform a Recover action. With that use in mind, I think that this card is fairly decent.
There are two copies of this in his hero cards and what can you really say about it? It’s a triple resource, but unlike Captain Marvel’s Energy Absorption this has to be used in Hero form, but that’s only a minor gripe. It’ll help you play Hulk Smash and all that other good stuff, so it gets a thumbs up from me.
Just like Down Time, the +2 Recover is very welcome. I think that any other character would really welcome to Alter-Ego resource that it can provide, but it’s a struggle for Hulk to make use of it as the only card amongst his hero cards that he can play with it is Immovable Object.
This means that to get the most out of it you’d need to include cards that can be played in Alter-Ego. Obviously, this isn’t too hard to do, as they are plenty of worthwhile supports and upgrades that you can include, but it’s worth noting anyway.
Overall I think that this card is okay as when combined with Down Time means that you can have a Recover value of 8.
You have to jump through a lot of hoops just to get +1 Attack. Hero form only and having to discard it when changing form means that you’ll probably only play this if you really need to get to 4 Attack for some reason (such as an annoying Guard minion having 4 Hit Points). When it comes to choosing which cards to play during a turn, this is definitely low priority.
Hulk’s second-best card and one that I’d prioritise getting into play as quickly as you can. The extra 4 Hit Points are nice but really aren’t that important, it’s the Retaliate 1 that makes this card shine. Great card, might even be worth trying to mulligan for!
- Has almost no ability to remove threat, so you’ll need to take cards to make up for it, particularly allies (especially since he has no signature ally).
- Will want a decent amount of physical resources in the deck in order to hit some of his kicker effects. It’s tempting to go nearly full-physical resources, but that isn’t necessary (and will actually greatly hinder your ability to remove Villain attachments).
- Hulk Smash is his best card by far and you’ll want to use it whenever possible. This means that you’ll want to have additional ways of readying Hulk or getting rid of a Stunned status. Having to discard a Hulk Smash because of his Enraged ability is not a good feeling.
Overall, I’ve got to say that Hulk is pretty disappointing. The only card that he brings to the table over other characters is Hulk Smash, and I’m not sure that it’s worth all of the drawbacks that he has to endure.
I don’t think that all of it is tied to his poor Hand Size either; Thor and She-Hulk can still produce good results in solo with the right aspect. His Enraged ability is his biggest weakness and I personally don’t think that there are enough positives to make up for that. Attack 3 and 18 Hit Points aren’t worth the harshness of that ability.
The common stance is that he’s ‘better in multiplayer’. Everyone is better in multiplayer! You could have a team-mate feed Hulk cards and resources, but wouldn’t it be better to use a character that wasn’t so reliant on their team-mates to be viable?
One of the main issues that I have with Hulk is that he doesn’t seem like Hulk. He suffers particularly badly against stun and exhaust effects. Where is the whole “the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets”?
I haven’t completely written off Hulk yet. I’ve had some success with a Justice deck, but haven’t been able to beat Ultron on Expert yet (even with Immovable Object in play). I think that an Avengers Leadership deck with Strength in Numbers might be able to mitigate his weaknesses somewhat, but I’m going to wait until the Ant-Man hero pack has been released to revisit Hulk.
If you have been having some success or enjoyment with Hulk, fair play to you. If nothing else, people should buy the Hulk pack for the excellent aspect cards that are in it.