Character Focus – Hawkeye

Normally we’d wait a little bit longer to do a Character Focus article on a new character, but after having played through The Rise of Red Skull campaign with Hawkeye (here’s a link to our First Impressions article), I’m quite confident that he isn’t a character that’s going to need a lot of careful playtesting in order to get the most out of him.  Spoiler alert; he’s pretty good!

Okay, well maybe not his Alter-Ego!  Hand Size 6 is average, but 3 Recover and 9 Hit Points are the lowest in the game.  I mean, he is just a guy with a bow after all.

Speaking of his bow, his Weapon of Choice ability allows you to spend a resource to go and find Hawkeye’s Bow, which as we’ll see is essential to Hawkeye’s gameplan.

Unless your bow has been discarded by an effect like Caught Off Guard, there isn’t really anything to recommend about his Alter-Ego form and you’ll only be flipping back to it when you really need to Recover.


His stats definitely point him in a specific direction!  With 1 Thwart and Defence, you aren’t likely to be wanting to use them outside of desperation.  He has 2 Attack, which is average, but this is easily increased by his bow (see below).

Hawkeye has the Quick Draw ability, allowing you to exhaust Hawkeye in order to ready his bow (EVERYTHING is about his bow!).  This means that whatever you are readying his bow for needs to be better than dealing three damage or removing one threat, otherwise it’s likely better to use one of those basic actions.

Overall I’d say his Hero form is a bit poor, as his statline is nearly as bad as Ms. Marvel’s.  Thankfully, he has arrows to make up for this.  Anyway, let’s take a look at his bow.


This is what makes the magic happen!  This is a weapon (enabling Mean Swing, despite how improbable that may seem) that gives +1 Attack and gives your Arrow attacks Ranged.

For zero cost you’d play it for the +1 Attack alone, but the main thing about the bow is that you have to exhaust it whenever you play an Arrow attack.  We’ll get to these arrows soon, but first we have to look at another one of his key cards, Hawkeye’s Quiver.


This card is quite frankly, bonkers!  Hawkeye has ten Arrow events in his deck and this card allows you to search the top five cards of your deck for one of them and attach it to his quiver.  Attached cards can then be played as if they were in your hand.  What this means is that you can build a stockpile of arrows and fire them off in exactly the right situation.

This is a card that is worth aggressively mulliganing (is that a word?) for, as it makes your turns far more consistent as you will be less reliant on the luck of the draw each round.  Great card, get it into play as quickly as you can.


Hawkeye’s Mockingbird has the same cost and Hit Points as the basic one, but with an extra Attack and Thwart.  This makes her pretty good value for three resources.  The main difference between this Mockingbird and the one that the Team Covenant guys refer to as ‘Blockingbird’ is the ability.

While the other one simply stuns an enemy, this Mockingbird can prevent all damage from an attack at the cost of one resource, which then returns her to your hand.  This is especially good as Hawkeye is quite fragile.

The way to get the most value out of her is to use her for basic actions twice (so that she has two damage on her), then use her ability to prevent all damage from an attack, which returns her to your hand (effectively healing her).  You could then play her again on the following round and repeat the cycle.

Mockingbird is an excellent ally and is likely to be a significant part of Hawkeye’s gameplan, particularly in solo.


Finally onto the arrows!  There are five different ones and there are two copies of each.  Every arrow requires that you exhaust Hawkeye’s Bow as part of the cost, which means that you’ll only be firing one per round unless you exhaust Hawkeye to ready your bow.  His bow also gives your Arrow attacks Ranged, which makes it great against enemies with Retaliate.

For two resources, Sonic Arrow does three damage and confuses an enemy (or five damage if it was already Confused).  Confusing an enemy is great as you’ll need to flip to Alter-Ego form at some point and this will stop the Villain scheming.  It could also be handy as a safeguard against encounter cards like Advance, as these can often be a source of defeat.

I don’t think that you’ll be able to get the five damage effect out of it very often in solo, but it’s definitely possible in multiplayer.  Overall I think Sonic Arrow is very good just because confusing an enemy (most likely the Villain) is so valuable.


If you thought Energy Daggers was a bit tame, Explosive Arrow has got you covered!  For only one resource this event can dish out some serious damage.  It’s great in encounters with lots of minions (I can’t wait to try this against Ultron!) and even if you only hit one, you’re still doing six damage for one resource (basically a cheaper Melee).  Great card that can really dig you out of a hole if you’re getting swamped.


Very similar to Sonic Arrow, but this time it stuns rather than confuses.  Since Hawkeye can’t really take a proper punch to the face, he’s definitely going to appreciate a Stunned Villain.  Status effects are always quite powerful and this is no exception.  Good card!


Removing three threat for one resource is very good anyway, but the fact that you can ignore crisis icons when doing so is potentially game-saving.  Side schemes like Under Attack can sometimes lose you the game because they take a reasonable investment of threat removal just so that you can go back to dealing with the main scheme.  The Ultron scenario (in which Under Attack is the recommended module) has some quite precarious main schemes, and if it moves onto Countdown to Oblivion before you are ready then you’ve probably lost.

I like Cable Arrow and would probably try and keep one stored in Hawkeye’s Quiver as an emergency button.


The hardest-hitting of Hawkeye’s arrows and also with the new piercing keyword.  Piercing is nice if the scenario has Tough enemies as it saves you using an attack to get rid of their Tough status first.  Even if you’re not using the piercing element of this attack, it’s still six damage for two resources.  Not only is that a lot of damage, but six is also the Hit Points of some of the beefier minions, such as Madame Hydra or Tiger Shark, both of whom you’d be glad to take out in one shot.  Another good arrow!


You know how I’ve been talking about how Hawkeye’s arrows are good?  This cheap upgrade helps you pay for them.  If you get both copies in play then you are effectively playing an arrow for free every round.  These will be priorities to get into play, because if you’re not firing arrows with Hawkeye why did you even bring him?


SUMMARY

  • Is quite fragile with only 9 Hit Points, so will almost certainly want to take Endurance and have plenty of cheap allies to take hits for him (Mockingbird might not be enough!).
  • Can deal out a lot of damage as well as apply status conditions.  This gives him a lot of control over the Villain and their minions.
  • Cable Arrow and Mockingbird can make up for his Thwart value of one, but it might be worth adding something that helps with removing threat (particularly as he’s got the damage side of things covered).

Overall I’d say that Hawkeye is definitely a strong character.  The variety of effects that his arrows have mean that he can control the board very well.

His fragility is easily mitigated by allies, so you might want to consider ones like Hulk or U.S. Agent for their high number of Hit Points (you might even want to consider Lockjaw!) just to use for blocking attacks with.

In terms of effectiveness, I’d put Hawkeye in the top half of characters at the moment.  He’s been a lot of fun to use and that’s probably the most important thing to remember.

Cheers,

Tim

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