Personal Armory: Building a Modern Punisher Van Theme Team

It’s been a while since a good old fashioned team build, so I thought we’d get back to it. Today I want to talk about the super cool Punisher Van Con Exclusive and it’s owner. Sometimes the enemy team deserves a little punishment.

When The Punisher Van was announced, I was pretty ecstatic. Although I’m not the biggest Punisher fan, you have to admit that the idea of running a van chalk-full of weapons is pretty freaking cool. Unlike other resources that have come along and spit on the idea of balance, The Punisher Van feels a bit more like a fun game element. That’s not to say this thing can’t do some amazing thing and I want to prove it.

The van clocks in at three point values; 125, 100, and 75 points. Obviously, the more points you pour into this thing the better it’s going to be. When you pay the higher point costs of 125 or 100, you get a click of Running Shot whereas the 75 point starting line gets a single click of Sidestep before dropping all movement abilities. Defensively, the van does pretty well depending on how many points you sink. At 125, you get a single click of Invincible which leads into Impervious (100 points buys you the last click of Impervious), and if you go with the 75 point line, you get two clicks of Invulnerable before running into Toughness for the rest of the dial, sans last click, which is a super-cool stop click that reveals the booby traps Frank set. It’s got some decent movement, never dropping below an 8, but it can only carry 1 passenger due to all the artillery in the back.

What makes The Punisher Van a unique vehicle is that, like The Quinjet, it has a resource dial. Unlike The Quinjet, The Punisher Van’s resource isn’t nearly as frustrating to play against or powerful. Instead, you get to pick whether you pay 5 or 10 points (which determines how many weapons you get during the course of the game) and gradually burn what it provides. When you play the Weapons Dial, you get to choose four Weapon Objects and three 3D Weapon Objects (all of which come with the van) and assign them to your van. When these weapons are KO’d, they aren’t scored and instead are assigned back to the van. Think of these like Lantern Constructs as it’s essentially the same mechanic. These weapons do everything from small ranged attacks to large hits to granting some support. Each time you take a weapon from the van, it clicks the Weapons Dial equal to the weapons point cost and once you cross the red line, you essentially run out of your armory.

Much like other ‘personal’ vehicles, The Punisher Van doesn’t count against theme team bonuses if you have The Punisher on your force, but the van takes this one step further. If you want it to work the way it’s intended, you really have to have The Punisher on your force. If you don’t, the entire mechanic of dropping weapons is clunky and takes up a lot of time. See, when you bring in a weapon from the van, it goes in an adjacent square and becomes a special item that requires picking up (meaning using a Power Action) and they’re single-use (meaning they’re KO’d after just one use). That means that you have to A) put a pilot in the van, B) give the van an action to pop out a weapon, C) get a character to that square if someone isn’t already there, and D) use a power action to equip the weapon, all for a single-use. Now if you have The Punisher piloting the van, he automatically pops out with the weapon, and all the weapons say that The Punisher can pick them up as a free action. That means you’re cutting out at least an entire turn worth of leg-work.

Before we dig into the team builds, let’s take a look at which Punisher’s we have to choose from in modern:

M15-015 Punisher LE – This Punisher is cheap at 45 points, and he’s got a gimmick where he starts off pretty poorly with bystander-like stats and has to retrieve his guns in order to become a decent piece. This obviously isn’t going to work because it slows down our team. In fact, I really don’t care for this Frank.

M16-005 Punisher LE – Ah, the Punisher that comes with the van. He’s not bad; 60 points with the potential to deal 4 damage from range and he can always make ranged attacks means he can really dish some damage. A solid piece for the points.

 

CWSOP 103 Punisher LE – Stealth-suit Frank is also 60 points, but his values are pretty poor. I like that he’s tough to hit in that his Stealth can’t be busted and he has an Outwit on crack, but not a very good pilot for our van.

CWSOP 025 Punisher Rare – Oh yeah, here we go! 80 points, good stats, wildcard, and really great traits. He’s a little low on clicks and with nothing but Willpower on his defense, he’s a somewhat risky 80 points in a 300 match. Still, the ability to roll any number of dice on his attacks or make multiple attacks is just too good. He’s our guy.

I want to cover one last thing before getting into the builds. I just mentioned that the rare Punisher is a bit risky for the points because of his lacking defensive powers. This is easily solvable with a possessor like Brainiac (and Frankly Brainiac is really great on him…. see what I did there?), however, because we’re looking to load Frank into his van a possessor is actually a waste of points. You always trigger the benefits of possession at the beginning of the turn, or whenever the dial is turned, and when a character is off the map, these benefits won’t have any effect. I looked around a bit online and couldn’t find an exact ruling on this, but based on the wordings I believe that if you did possess Frank, the effect would essentially cease to benefit him and once you pop him out of the van (when he’s most vulnerable) he wouldn’t be able to pickup anything from his equipment. Even if I’m wrong, it doesn’t matter much because the weapons that Frank picks up are equipment, so he wouldn’t be able to use both anyway. Because of this, we have to look to something else to protect our investment. That’s where theme comes in. Onto the builds!

300 Point Punisher Van Build – Soldier Theme Team

  • CWSOP 025 Punisher (80 Points) + Marvel Knights ATA (10 Points) | 90 Points
  • WKMP16-004R The Punisher Van (75 Points) + Weapons Dial (10 Points) | 85 points
  • CWSOP 101 Captain America | 80 Points
  • CACW 007 Redwing | 20 Points
  • SMWW G001P The Atom | 15 Points
  • NFAoS A001 Hulkbuster Torso – OR – 2 ID Cards of choice | 10 Points
  • Build Total: 300 Points

Let’s face it, at 75 points, with 9 clicks of health with 18 Invulnerable on top, we really don’t need to sink any more points into our vehicle at this point level. I’d rather pay a little bit more for our resource dial and make it truly worthwhile.

For The Punisher, I went with a Soldier theme team which allowed me the ability to pick up the Marvel Knights ATA which grants Frank Stealth. Since we get to pick where these objects come out, we can easily choose a square of hindering terrain and just plop Frank into that valuable square. That should help protect him, and with a +5 to map roll, you should be able to pick something with plenty of hindering (remember that vehicles don’t care about hindering for movement).

I knew I wanted a good damage soaking piece to ride shotgun, and looking through the available Soldiers in modern, I came across my good buddy CWSOP LE Cap with his awesome triple stop clicks. What better way to tank damage than using someone who is really tough to put down? Cap is just gravy when you give him permanent Invulnerable thanks to the Hulkbuster Torso which can easily be equipped on turn 2 with some Sidestep/Carry action. If cap gets too low in health, Frank can always take the First-Aid Kit from the van and heal him up.

Redwing serves two purposes on this team; the first is his great ability to reduce defense and the second is to grant Frank the Avengers Initiative team ability so he can see through hindering terrain (hello Stealth busting!). The fact that he’s tiny is just icing on our bullet-filled cake. Of course, you can’t pass up The Atom on a Soldier theme team!

In terms of which weapons you bring with you to the fight, here’s what I recommend. For Standard weapons, I would go with the First-Aid Kit, Sniper Rifle, Flash Bomb, and Frag Grenade. For 3D weapons, I would go with BFG, Gatling Gun, and of course the Rocket Launcher. This gives you a great mix of control, support, damage, and crowd control. In most games, you’ll probably end up continually using the Rocket Launcher for the insane damage, but it’s nice to have options.

400 Point Punisher Van Build – Soldier Theme Team

  • WKMP16-004R The Punisher Van (100 Points) + Weapons Dial (10 Points) | 110 points
  • WKM16-004 Red Hulk | 100 Points
  • NFAoS 024 Winter Soldier | 95 points
  • CWSOP 025 Punisher (80 Points) + Marvel Knights ATA (10 Points) | 90 Points
  • AVAS S100 Pym Particles | 2 Points
  • Build Total: 397 Points

In a 400 point game, I think it’s worth it to throw some more points into our van. We pick up Impervious and Running Shot which changes it from a tough taxi to a nice attacker. Punisher sticks around with the same build since he’s the best option and the ATA grants us protection.

For the newer units, I really wanted to keep Captain America, but for the sake of diversity, I went with a different tank in the form of Red Hulk. The great thing about Red Hulk as our tank is he really is quite the tank. With 11 Super Strength, 18 Invincible/Willpower, and 4 damage, he can really put the hurt on the enemy team. Traited Colossal Stamina also makes him a constant threat and once you get passed his 4th click, you’ll start to have some real fun heating people up with his super-heated gamma blood.

I figured a dedicated sniper would be a great addition since Frank is more of a in-the-trenches sort of ranged attacker, and there’s no one out there like Winter Solider. Able to use Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert with a range of 10 means he can pick off even the biggest targets and neutralize Stealth so Frank can get the job done. Plus, he ignores characters so he can shoot through your own figures meaning the large van won’t get in your way. With Prob at the end of his dial, Bucky is worth way more than his points suggest.

Pym Particles are a nice filler, and can either make Red Hulk bigger so he can hit from farther away, or Bucky smaller so he’s even harder to pick off. Heck, you can even make Red Hulk smaller if you want so he doesn’t get decimated from an opposing sniper.

Regarding items from the van, I would stick with pretty much the same setup. I think it’s the best mix-up you can get while providing plenty of offense. If you’re worried about ranged attackers, you can pick up the Riot Shield instead of the Gatling Gun. Just remember that as long as Frank has one of his weapons, he can’t equip another, so the shield will diminish your build.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the return of Team Build; I think The Punisher Van is a really great piece and can be fun without being overpowered. Do you have other ideas on what to run with the Van? Maybe a different theme or support pieces? Personally in 400 points, I think AoA Magneto would be great bringing Frank into the X-Men, able to throw some mutant support on to the team.

See you Thursday!

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