The Marvel: Avengers Alliance hero Shanna feels almost like a version of Tigra that uses poison attacks instead of bleeding attacks. There are other differences between the two characters, but they definitely have a similar play style. Shanna is a tad bit more durable and has much better support powers, which helps make up for the fact that poison is generally a weaker ongoing damage type than bleeding damage. Furthermore, she is one of the very few infiltrators in the game that is actually decent when facing off against a scrapper. This makes her much less of a liability than most infiltrators, especially in PvP, where she is decent, if not spectacular.
Acquisition – To acquire Shanna you need to complete the Call of the Wild Covert Op and then spend 90 Command Points.
Special Ability (Hunter-Gatherer) – Hunter-Gatherer is both an offensive and defensive special ability at the same time. When Shanna attacks a poisoned enemy, she automatically follows up that attack. Additionally, when a poisoned enemy attacks her, she reduces the damage from that attack by 20%. Shanna can poison enemies, but if you really want to take advantage of this ability, and you should, it is best to team her with an ally like Omega Sentinel who can poison all enemies with a single attack.
Special Ability (Spirit of the Savage Land) – This ability can save this hero when she is reduced to 0 health. There is a chance when Shanna would be reduced to 0 health that she is instead reduced to 1% of her health. Since she has a healing power, this is actually potentially very useful, though like all powers of this sort, it can only possibly activate once per round.
Level 1 Power, Spear Vault (One Enemy, Unarmed Melee, 6.66% Stamina Cost) – Spear Vault only deals modest damage, but you rarely want to attack with this anyway. The main value of this attack is that it is used as a follow-up or counterattack. When this attack hits, the target is afflicted by winded, cornered, and hobbled. The winded status effect is the reason that this hero can actually hold her own against scrappers. Cornered is also generally useful, especially in PvP and some boss battles. Hobbled will generally only be useful when she attacks an infiltrator and only if this attack is the follow-up to the Serpent’s Strike option of Savage Toxins.
Level 2 Power, Savage Toxins: Scorpion’s Sting (One Enemy, Melee Slashing, 8.3% Stamina Cost) – Like all of the Savage Toxins options, Scorpion’s Sting inflicts poisoned on the target. Additionally, Scorpion’s Sting deals slightly less damage than Spear Vault. This low damage is augmented with two extra status effects. First, the enemy is neutralized. Second, Shanna gains the Tiger’s Fury buff that Tigra can get. This increases her attack and defense and continues to renew itself as long as she is attacked at least once every other round. This is one of two powers that you should seriously consider starting every battle with. This is the best opening when facing multiple opponents, since she is more likely to be attacked when facing multiple enemies.
Level 2 Power, Savage Toxins: Serpent Strike (One Enemy, Melee Slashing, 8.3% Stamina Cost) – Serpent Strike is the only choice of attacks to open a battle with if the enemy has an ability to counter attack. The attack delivers the off-balance status effect. Additionally, Shanna gains the Berserker buff which lets her follow-up when allies attack or are attacked. This benefit is rather exceptional, especially when facing a single enemy like a boss. It is particularly nasty in PvP against enemies that rely on counterattacks, like the Rogue variant Horseman of Famine. Since the damage of this attack is identical to Scorpion’s Sting and the offensive benefits are roughly similar in value, you should generally base which one you use on which negative status effect you need to inflict more.
Level 2 Power, Savage Toxins: Pinning Prick (One Enemy, Melee Slashing, 8.3% Stamina Cost) – Pinning Prick does the most damage of all three Savage Toxins powers, but is also the least effective. It applies the mostly useless staggered condition to the enemy and grants this hero the nimble buff. If the enemy delivers really nasty status effects or if you are fighting multiple tacticians, this is a good choice. Otherwise, either of the other Savage Toxins is better.
Level 6 Power, Nature’s Bounty (One Ally, Buff Heal, 12.5% Stamina Cost) – Nature’s Bounty represents something almost entirely brand new for an infiltrator. It is a buffing and healing power. When used, the target is healed for a considerable amount and all negative status effects are removed. Then, in the following round, Shanna takes two actions instead of just one. Essentially, this is a delayed quick action heal. Since the primary benefit of the power is the heal effect, you should not use it until you need the healing or the debuff removal.
Level 9 Power, Off the Vine (One Enemy, Melee Slashing, 20.8% Stamina Cost) – Off the Vine is an unusual power. It deals roughly twice the damage of Spear Vault, which is respectable, if not amazing damage and it also applies the flanked and disoriented status effects. Due to how Hunter-Gatherer works, flanked really only helps this hero’s allies. Disoriented is a mediocre status effect, but not great. The strangest thing is that this attack is stealthy. That isn’t really that useful for adding flanked, because unless your other characters also have stealthy attacks, they can’t take advantage. It really only helps in the odd case where you need to bypass protection and really want to disorient an enemy, which is pretty corner case. If all enemies are poisoned, use this to grant follow-up attacks to allies, but otherwise this is mostly worthless.
ISOs – Shanna has terrible defense, low hit points, and more stamina than she would ever need. Her defense is basically too low to even bother supporting and her stamina is already too high. She pretty much only needs attack and health.
Teammates – Omega Sentinel is clearly the best teammate for this hero. She can poison all enemies with a single attack and none of her three classes is infiltrator. Furthermore, she can grant Shanna buffs that all stack with the buffs that this hero grants herself. It almost seems like the two heroes were designed to be paired. There is some slight justification to pairing her with Ghost Rider as well, because Ghost Rider can take advantage of her poisoning enemies with his Damnation Chains power.
PvP – Shanna is slightly above average in PvP. She has all the major tools that you want in a PvP character, with the exception of a power that prevents resurrection. She can potentially make multiple attacks per round, heal herself or an ally of nasty status effects, gain extra actions, and gain an avoidance effect. She also can apply off-balance, neutralized, winded, hobbled, and cornered, some of the most useful status effects in PvP. Her major flaw is that all of her attacks are single target, so she applies most of these effects slowly. She pretty desperately needs someone else to give her extra actions to really hold her own in this environment, which basically requires your agent to be very support oriented. Since Omega Sentinel is her best teammate and she is already an excellent PvP character, this hero does have at least moderate potential. She is roughly as useful on a defensive team as on an offensive team, since she has a power set that is hard for the AI to screw up.