Off the Meta | Hawkeye and Fury, Sittin' in a Tree, S-N-I-P-I-N-G!
by, 06-22-2015 at 12:30 PM (2235 Views)
Hello and welcome back once again everyone. While the title for this week may be a bit ambiguous, rest assured we've only one character on display. Nick Fury has already been well recognized in the meta for his astounding damage potential and cost mitigation. No, we're looking into the astoundingly accurate and arrow diverse character, Hawykeye! (I also wanted to talk about him before we were granted an entirely new version of him with AoU since I'm not a fan of any of those iterations)
Hawkeye is an extremely cheap Avenger with a penchant for high attack and heavy removal. As you may have guessed by the title, this combo's incredibly well with Nick Fury's rarer two versions that will directly augment Hawkeye's offensive nature. Nick Fury - WWII Veteran in particular will double Hawkeye's defense on 2 of his faces, covering Hawkeye's great weakness to damage removal effects like Magic Missile. With that in mind, Hawkeye naturally fits into Avengers teams since he's going to be relying on Nick Fury and you may as well get more bang for your buck. His statline means that you're not worried about refielding him, so you're more than happy to throw him into combat whenever you have the chance. He's very likely to knock out his opponent and chances are the your opponent is going to have to pay more to refield than you are, assuming you're not dealing with a sidekick wall and just feeding him energy. Hawkeye is also a , so he can work extremely well alongside burn teams as a source of removal to clear off counter threats or simply add to the onslaught of weenie characters parading their way into your opponent's face. Characters like Firestorm - Jason and Ronnie or Cyclops - Field Leader make for great supports to Hawkeye's aggro nature. Once you have him purchased, he becomes a prime target for BEWD since his fielding is cheap and powerful.
Hawkeye - Longbow
We start off with the most expensive Hawkeye at a 4- purchase. He is able to deal his attack's worth of damage to an opposing character whenever he is fielded. This is a very strong ability and is a lot more consistent than that of Green Arrow - Former Mayor who shares his purchase cost. Considering that similarity, it's fair to compare their other aspects as well. Hawkeye is 4-times cheaper to field and only loses out on a single attack across the board and a single defense on his level 2 and 3 faces. While that small difference in stats is something, the incredibly lower fielding cost more than makes up for that difference, and when taken alongside Nick Fury - WWII Veteran, Hawkeye wins hands down. That all said, the two characters work in a very similar way. They are meant to be fielded often to make good use of their effect and constantly attacking in order to be re-fielded faster or deal their high damage directly to your opponent. This is devastatingly effective against teams that are built around control and building up and is always useful, regardless of the format since removal is always important and he can even be found with relative consistency in the ultimate inconsistency of draft.
Hawkeye - Br'er Hawkeye
Here we hit upon the cheaper versions of Hawkeye with a more subtly useful effect. Characters damage by this Hawkeye are spun down to level 1 when damage is dealt. It's important to remember that this effect procs before combat damage clears, so you're essentially matching his attack with your opponents level 1 defense when resolving damage. That doesn't sound too good until you take it in context of pairing him with my returning favorite: Nick Fury - WWII Veteran who's going to bump his level 2 and 3 attack up to 5. Why is that impressive you may ask? It's impressive because there are only 10 characters in the entire game with a defense of 6+ on their level 1 face. This effectively turns Hawkeye into a deathouch machine who can annihilate anyone foolish enough to block or attack into him. With the addition of a burst face Toad - Tongue Lashing, there isn't a single character in the game with stats enough to survive our little Hawkeye excluding buff effects/damage mitigation. Now, you're not always going to be able to set up a combo like this in draft, but in constructed, you're guaranteed to have this at your disposal. If you toss in a force to attack/block global like Phoenix or Goblin Attack Force, you're going to be able to deal with any character on your opponent's board with relative ease and pay almost nothing for the privilege.
Hawkeye - Robin Hood
Our final Hawkeye is just as cheap as before and functions as the first character in the game to take on the effect of first strike. This allows him to deal his damage to his engaged foes first, possibly denying them a chance to retaliate and knock Hawkeye himself out. This is powerful when applied properly, but can also work to your disadvantage. You want to use this ability to attack mercilessly and without fear. This will allow Hawkeye to circumvent his normally low defenses and gain a bit of survivability (offense is the best defense here). Because of that, you need to be constantly attacking in order to deal the most damage possible to your opponent before all of these knockouts can fuel your opponent's win condition and you find you've dug your own grave. If you're not looking for an early and heavy attacking option, This is not the Hawkeye for you. However, if you're looking to field a bunch of small characters and punch your opponent into the ground, then you want this Hawkeye, any of the offensive Nick Fury's, and Black Widow to team up for the ultimate weenie Avenger beatdown (I don't ever recommend playing Tsarina, but she would make this teamup all the more powerful.)
The big issue Hawkeye runs into is his very low defensive stats. He's not going to be able to take much of a punch and can be shoved out of the way by even the weakest AoE abilities, let alone the all to common Hulk. This strategy is less effective against his common since he actually wants to be refielded, but otherwise it will make sure you don't have to worry about Hawkeye too much. A particularly nasty way to AoE Hawkeye down is to use his buddy, Toad - Tongue Lashing to make sure Nick Fury is never out long enough to buff him and that he dies every turn. That all said, you also have the option of shutting down his strongest advantage with Cerebro - Supercomputer. The only reason Hawkeye works is because of his crazy low TFC. If you can make your opponent pay through the nose to play him, your opponent is going to have to dedicate him to energy or risk burning too much energy on inefficient characters in order to keep playing, putting you at a distinct advantage. Imprisoned will also do the job quite nicely for a control team since you only need to scoop him up once and then initiate your all at once AoE of death/deathswing. If you're dedicated to burn teams, you really don't have a lot of options. Hawkeye is going to pick apart your field turn after turn if you try to stop him or fill you more full of arrows than Boromir if you don't. responding with character that have useful when fielded abilities of your own is a much better idea, though I wouldn't try to aggro race a streamlined Hawkeye team. Instead, soak the knockouts and use that energy to put you far enough ahead to crush him turns down the line.
Hawkeye is the essence of aggro and works by removing your opponents field in order to swing in for heavy damage. He's never going to pose a problem to field, but your opponent can set up some sort of AoE, he's going to have a hard time sticking to the field. This isn't much of an issue, but that means your energy isn't being put to best use, so beware what your opponent has up his sleeve before dedicating to Hawkeye as a field-swarm win condition. You're definitely going to want to put Hawkeye's affiliation to good use and bring him alongside an Avengers team with on of the non-common Nick Fury's since their effects are too valuable to pass-up with Hawkeye and if you are already bringing them, you may as well use them to their best effect. To that end, you will want to bring characters that cover Hawkeye' weaknesses and can help him deal his damage effectively. It would be wise to include some sort of global protection since Magic Missile is always a threat, and be sure to make allowances for if you come up against AoE such as breath weapons or Hulk.
Thank you all for following along. I'm a big fan of any character with TFC-1 or less (Pepper Potts is looking fantastic), so Hawkeye has always been on my radar as a character to look into. I'll be sure to get his team write-up out on Thursday, but until then, have a great week everybody!