S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Hydra—
In our debut article of Design Insight, we are taking a look at the thought process used to bring the strategies and philosophies of the government and government-toppling organizations— S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra— to the HeroClix table in the upcoming set— Marvel HeroClix: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Taking a looking back at the previews for Contessa Valentina/Madame Hydra, we see examples of the shared special powers that can be found on the leaders and other high ranking agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Hydra— Changing the World and Hydra’s Reach.
S.H.I.E.L.D.’s strategy is to track down and contain terrorists and other threats. The Changing the World shared trait triggers when you are able to get two or more of your S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (read: characters with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword) adjacent to an opposing character— if so, that character will be prevented from using Willpower and one other power or ability. In the case of Contessa Valentina, her Changing the World: Superior Espionage trait will prevent opposing characters from using Willpower or Outwit when they are adjacent to two characters with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword.
Hydra, on the other hand, employs a strategy of disrupting and fracturing the governments and organizations that stand in its way. Contessa Valentina’s Madame Hydra guise shows us an example of the Hydra’s Reach shared special trait. All Hydra’s Reach shared traits trigger when a character with the trait/special power takes damage and will have some effect for a character or characters adjacent to the attacker (spoiler: it’s usually one that is not good for them).
Madame Hydra’s Hydra’s Reach is Never-Ending trait allows her to deal 1 penetrating damage to a chosen character adjacent to an attacker that just damaged her and also give them an action token. The perfect counter to clusters of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are trying to change the world or buff each other’s ranged attacks!
Now that we have seen what the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra can do… let’s take a look at the shared traits that can be found on the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra generics.
One of the challenges of playing a swarm team is having more figures on your team than you have available actions for your turn— meaning that often times some figures get left behind in your starting area early on and perhaps never even have an impact on the game. The Rally shared special power found on the S.H.I.E.L.D. generic figures is specifically designed to help mobilize your S.H.I.E.L.D. team and even give you the opportunity to pile on additional attacks when needed— each time a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with the Rally shared special power makes a successful attack, you add one action to your action pool. One important note here is that this ability triggers off of a successful hit… this does not require that the target took damage from the attack.
The forces of Hydra have a shared special power that is also designed to allow your Hydra agents to mobilize and make more attacks—but Hydra often approaches things a bit differently than S.H.I.E.L.D.… With the Cut Off One Head shared special power, when a Hydra agent with this trait is KO’d, you may remove an action token from up to two friendly characters with the Hydra keyword. One important note here is that there is no point restriction to this ability so the tokens may be removed from higher point characters— a noble sacrifice for the cause if it will allow your esteemed leader or fellow Hydra agents to strike down another enemy.
Put all this together and you have two forces on the HeroClix map that are diametrically opposed in their play style— your S.H.I.E.L.D. team is designed to stay together to not only make use of their S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability and most importantly to team up on opposing characters in order to trigger their leader’s Changing the World shared trait. However, if you play as Hydra, you will likely seek to break up the formation of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents through the use of powers like Poison and your Hydra’s Reach shared trait.
Design Insight is an article series that provides an inside look into the thought process behind the design of the HeroClix dials, special powers and abilities.