The Brawny Braintrust

Card draw simulator

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AncientEpithet · 649

This deck is all about building the Braintrust, well, more specifically the Brawntrust. There are a lot of geniuses in the Marvel comics and I built this deck to highlight the Incredibly Awesome Hulk, friend to Bruce Banner, traveling companion of Hercules, and one of the smartest people on Earth - Amadeus Cho (aka Brawn). Of course it's not all about Brawn because this is an Ironheart deck, and Ironheart will need the help of all the geniuses she can find to refine her suit and defeat the villains. Whether it's the tactical brilliance of Nick Fury and Black Panther, the mind of Professor X, the Scientific Prowess of Beast, the Guidance of Tony Stark (as a V.I., of course), or even the mechanical brilliance of her friend (or more than friend?) Vivian. This deck packs a LOT of mental power, so building Riri Williams's suit should always be an option.

Big Picture Breakdown:

If you're new to Ironheart, she, much like Iron Man, has a suit that you will need to build and upgrade over the course of the game. Unlike Iron Man, this doesn't happen through putting a ton of upgrades on the board (she just has the two - Photon Blasters and Propulsion Jets). Instead, you will build up progress counters and then turn in those counters while in Hero form to switch to the upgraded version of the suit/Riri. In her crudest suit, Ironheart has a lot of defense, but very little thwart. By the time you hit Version 3, Ironheart has better raw stats than any other hero in the game (3, 2, 3). Oh, and her upgrades (and several of her other cards) get better as you level her suit, too, so she really incentivizes getting those progress counters built up quickly. On the other hand, the quickest way to do that is to flip down and use Riri's ability or Ronnie Williams, to add counters - but all that time in Alter Ego is only going to give the Villain time to scheme out, especially in Solo. So how to make the best use of Ironheart?

First and foremost, you have Stroke of Genius, which draws you a card and gives you a progress counter, just for spending it. This one is a no brainer, and Beast should grab this whenever you play him. Next, Ironheart is a build hero, so you need to stay alive in Hero form while you build, so use your defense. Your basic thwart and attack aren't that important, but Ironheart has a smaller health pool (10), and you don't want to find yourself too short on health too soon. In the meantime, use your Photon Beam and Fly Over to add progress counters. If you put a progress counter on Riri your first turn before you flip up, use a Stroke of Genius, and play a Fly Over to remove all the threat on a scheme (even the Main Scheme), you are already up to 4 progress counters. Another Fly Over or a successful Photon Beam will get you to the 6 you need to flip to Version 2 and boost your hand size. Version 3 should come a couple of turns later, but Version 2 is pretty sustainable at a 5-card hand size and 2, 2, 3 stat line. Later - once you are built up, cards like Sector Scan and New and Improved are very high impact. I recommend playing them whenever you can once you hit Version 3 (a 3-cost ready, gain a tough status, and draw any one Ironheart Card is incredibly good). Once you are Version 3, keep piling on the progress counters, because once she's finalized her suit, those counters can be turned into damage (Its not even an attack, so it can bypass stun and retaliate).

How is this Deck Different?

What makes this deck different is Teamwork and First Aid - which are both in the deck to support Brawn. Brawn's response is to generate a mental resource, but he can only do it if he's exhausted and he has a pretty small health pool of 3. Conversely, he has great stats - He's a smart Hulk. So our goal is to get out Brawn and keep him out, using him every turn, either through Teamwork, to prevent the damage, or healing him with First Aid. Once we have Brawn and our Ingenuity in play, Ironheart will have two mental resources available each turn, with minimal cost to build. Brawn is a basically a Quincarrier that hits for 3 and thwarts for 2. He can attack and then use his own mental resource to play your First Aid and heal him back up (or pay for a Reinforced Suit to boost his health pool), so once he is out, he sustains himself fairly easily through the cards in this deck.

Why No Helicarrier and Avengers Mansion? Long Story Short - she doesn't need them, and she doesn't have time to play them early to get the most out of using them (it takes Avenger's Mansion 5 turns to pay for itself, and Helicarrier 4 turns). What's more is that Ironheart has a lot of upgrades and other cards that you need to play early to get her progress counters built. You don't want to spend your early turns on supports that aren't your key hero cards, in my opinion. Upgrading your version is essentially the same as playing Avengers Mansion, and Brawn will help you just as much as the Helicarrier while also hitting really hard and thwarting pretty well. Tony Stark A.I. is also a 2-cost draw a card (and what's better, you get to pick one from the top two) - way better than Avenger's Mansion.

What's with the One-ofs? There are a handful of cards that I've included only one copy of - Make the Call, Rapid Response, Reinforced Suit, and Inspired. Make the Call and Rapid Response are for either Beast or Professor X, optimally, to give you a confuse when you need it or to pull back your Stroke of Genius from the Discard Pile to your hand. Because you need to flip down to use Ronnie Williams and build your progress counters, Xavier's ability to confuse the villain is enormously helpful. Use them in a pinch if you need them, but don't be afraid to spend them for their mental resources, too. I've only included one copy of these, as I want to see Ironheart's cards as much as possible to maximize my progress counters.

Key Cards - Prioritize Playing these when you draw them: Ingenuity and Brawn, of course. Tony Stark A.I. Moon Girl (you should always have 3 mental resources to spend). Beast (Stroke of Genius is just sooo goood). "Go for Champions" - This card is bonkers good. It effectively negates the villain turn if you are in Hero form, and it gives your allies a free attack the turn you play it, since they can't take consequential damage.

Honorable Mentions: Assess the Situation - It's a mental resource if you need one or you can play it and draw what you need next turn (the faster you get through her cards to the ones that build progress counters, the better). First Aid - There are three of each of these, which might seem excessive, but they are almost always nice to have in hand, either because an ally needs a heal (it's a 1 cost thwart for 4 or deal 4 damage at worst if used on Beast or Brawn), or because you need to spend a mental resource.

Notable Exclusion: Snowguard - Really she should be in the deck, but she's not a genius, so she didn't fit the theme! But you could add her and she would be an excellent target for First Aid or Reinforced Suit.

Why Should you Play This Variant -When There are SO MANY Great Ironheart Decks?

Play this if you love Brawn and you Love Ironheart. This deck really plays to Ironheart's cards, and I've found it very enjoyable having a reason to play both Teamwork, which doesn't get a lot of love, and Brawn, who often seems to get skipped since he's so expensive and has so little health.

Let me know what you think if you give it a try, or if you have ideas for making the deck better! I've had an absolute blast with this, and I hope you enjoy it, too!

2 comments

Feb 03, 2023 DAVEzilla · 9

How about a "Side Arm" for Brawn also?

(basic upgrade... ally gets +1ATK & ranged)

Mar 07, 2024 Leo_the_wookiee · 1

Great concept! Age of Apocalypse offers some great new tech for this strategy. What would you remove to add Sidekick and some copies of "Side by Side"?