Wish-List: Vanguard (v1.3)

Vanguard. A Marvel supervillain that first appeared in the 1978, in Iron Man #109. We were still well into the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. “American Capitalism versus Russian Communism” was a deep well to draw supervillain concepts from. (Kinda miss that.)

So conceptually, the character “shows his age”. I contend that comics both old and new help propel the game of HeroClix, and that’s not a bad thing. And as someone who doesn’t buy much in the way of comics anymore, seeing older concepts duke it out with newer concepts at least gets me interested in buying product. That supports the game. Makes me willing to circulate some of my money, get it back into our capitalist system, where it will hopefully help grow the economy. 🙂 See how that works?

It also prompted me to at least read the Wiki on Vanguard. Nikolai Krylenko here has changed with the times a little bit.

He started out as Vanguard. Nothing like being born a mutant in Soviet Russia. As soon as he and his sister’s mutant powers manifested, they were taken from their parents by the KGB for training as weapons of the state. Nikolai generates a force field at all times, one that allows him to repel, absorb, and/or redirect various forms of energy. To redirect energy, he uses two pieces of teched-up tools, a stylized hammer-and-sickle combo. As the laws of “slapping the reader in the face with symbolism” requires in comics, he has to cross the two devices in order to channel all that energy into blasts or beams.

As Vanguard is a trained combatant, he is supposedly an above-average hand-to-hand fighter, with special skill in using his hammer and sickle. The hammer also has a “laser gyroscope” that somehow allows it to return to him after being thrown. Kinda wonder why the same wasn’t done for the sickle, assuming the sickle’s cutting edge in on the outside curve as well as the inside curve (since the thing is made for combat, not just to harvest crops).

Just as the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” has turned into the “Russian Federation”, Nikolai has gone from being Vanguard of the Soviet Super-Soldiers to the latest Red Guardian of the Winter Guard. Didn’t know that until I read the Wiki. Which sounds like an opportunity for WizKids to give this old villain a “Battlefield Promotion” Trait ability or special power, from Vanguard into Red Guardian.

I assume he still has the same powers. Since the Red Guardian has always been the KGB’s symbolic counter to Captain America, I assume Nikolai has swapped is hammer and sickle for a teched-up energy focusing shield? Don’t know; the Wiki doesn’t say. Will have to read-up elsewhere a bit later.

But, let’s focus on Vanguard for now: Keywords can include the names of the teams, obviously, plus “soldier”. Too bad WizKids dropped the “Mutant” keyword. I wouldn’t include “Martial Artist”, as he doesn’t seem *that* good as a hand to hand fighter.

Fo his energy powers, and aside from the “usual ways” they can be represented (boring!), we have two characters already in the game to draw inspiration from: Unus the Untouchable (MUTATIONS & MONSTERS) and the various versions of Ms. Marvel/Binary from the  CHAOS WAR and SECRET INVASION releases.

I’m also wondering if there might be a potential “token-counting” mechanic special power in there somewhere, he doesn’t have to release/focus energy as it comes in; he can “store” it for a time before he has to cross his “worker’s tools” to form a blast or beam. It could be combined with a damage reducer, so that every time he’s hit, he gets a token, and can then choose to use either Pulse Wave or an amped-up Penetrating/Psychic Blast as if he “had a range of (x)”. It would be interesting to give him some knockback immunity as well and give him a token for it. Of course, now that we’re relying on him to get hit, he’s going to have to have a longer-than-normal-life-for a modern era HeroClix character. Or really good or specially tweaked damage reducers.

Of course, some have been calling for Vanguard since we got most of the Winter Guard in the 2011 CAPTAIN AMERICA set. He may have been designed already and is just waiting for a slot in the set rotations.