Card draw simulator
|None. Self-made deck here.|
bsj06a · 200
I had finished beating every scenario and playing every hero, and was deciding what I wanted to do next with Champions. The possibilities are endless, but the decision I came to was to take my two favorite heroes, Star-Lord and Venom, and bring them through every villain on expert (because I hadn't played most on expert), using the recommended modular sets. The goal was to try to hone my favorite decks to be able to take on all comers, while not being able to specifically build towards any scenario. I've never liked the idea of "silver bullet" cards, as I feel like sometimes they take away from the game. If there was a 0 cost event that said "deal 20 damage to Ronan the Accuser", that card would be great against him but terrible against everybody else, so I'd never include it. I took down all the villains, found the two decks complimented each other greatly, but I do feel like both decks can also fully excel solo (with maybe a tweak or two). I will give my strategies below, and eventually will go over my experiences through the gauntlet (mainly how I lost the scenarios I lost) if you would be interested in reading those. It was an exciting journey, and I hope you enjoy the decks! And don't judge these decks for not being 40 cards, 45 was a solid number for wanting to deal with anything that came my way.
Companion Deck Link
(Note to true solo players: if you're playing this deck solo, take out something for Mockingbird, probably Major Victory. In true solo she fits into this deck amazingly, she just isn't as needed in multiplayer)
Star-Lord is the classic risk-reward hero. Everything you do is very powerful, but in exchange you're allowing the villain to be more powerful. The trick is to make sure what you're doing is more powerful than what they are doing. Our power comes in the form of massive card and board advantage. Nick Fury, Gamora, Ironheart, Kaluu, Maria Hill, White Tiger, Daring Escape, Star-Lord's Helmet, Beast and Knowhere. What do all of these cards have in common? They are cards that grant you card advantage. It is not uncommon to at times have 10+ cards in your hand while playing this deck, which helps deal with whatever comes your way. Whether it's using cards to remove attachments from the villain, having cards to use for Element Gun, or most importantly for this deck, setting up for a burst damage combo to wipe out the villain.
But taking all these encounter cards is risky. What is often the biggest risk of having multiple encounter cards? For me it's always been getting attacked multiple times in a turn. We've all taken the beatings of flipping 3 cards and having them be Assault, Assault, Gang-Up. Advance of course can also be rough, but luckily this deck doesn't flip to alter ego too often (Helmet is too good), and has massive thwarting capabilities to keep the main scheme healthy most of the time. But what about attacks against you? Star-Lord isn't exactly the healthiest and most resilient hero. He's only human after all (well, partially).
Enter the star of the deck: Regroup. This card is so made for Star-Lord he's even on the art. Rapid Response has long been the star of leadership ally decks, and it's an incredible card in general, and is very good in this deck too). But Regroup works so well with Star-Lord because it bounces allies back to your hand so you can play them again. Turns out Star-Lord likes playing things from his hand. Rapid Response is more of an offensive tool in this deck, bringing back allies who are defeated by consequential damage to do more, whether it's Goliath making huge attacks or Gamora for more card searching, or an extra resource with Beast. Regroup is our power card. It allows multiple chump blocks per turn without losing the value of the ally. It brings them back into our hand so we can play them for cheap or free with Star-Lord's hero ability, retriggering great cards like Nick Fury, Professor X, and White Tiger.
Think about it this way. You have 5 cards. You take a facedown encounter card and discard down to 4 to play Nick Fury. You draw 3, up to 7. You play Maria Hill, go back up to 5. You've now drawn Knowhere. You discard 2 to play Knowhere, then discard 1 to play Regroup. 9 resources worth of cards on the table when you started with 5, 4 threat removed. Nick blocks the villain, bounces back to hand (hopefully bringing you to 7 cards if you were lucky to have Star-Lord's Helmet). Maria Hill can block for a friend or take a minions hit or hold out for a treachery attack. She bounces as well. You discard your Regroup at the end of the turn (if you get really lucky it can eat a Caught Off Guard before it leaves). You enter your next hero turn with 8 cards in your hand, and you start all over. You even get an extra card draw from Knowhere at this point. You just keep doing this over and over. With 3 copies of Regroup in the deck and the amount of cards we see we can have one in play almost every turn. This card is staggeringly good for Star-Lord.
An important note from a Star-Lord player: PLAY YOUR ELEMENT GUN. If possible, get it into play turn one. You will never regret having it in play (other than the classic play it turn one and get Caught Off Guard as your first encounter card). If there was a competition for what cards are the most better than they seem, Element Gun would place high. The up front cost is steep, but the value you can get through the game with it is amazing. Early scenarios it kills so many minions in one shot. As the game has progressed Toughness has been thrown onto more and more cards to fight hero decks getting stronger. 3 damage and piercing for a single resource every turn does so much work. Especially in multiplayer where you can shoot the tough off someone on another persons turn. Combat math is so much easier, and don't forget you cannot play Sliding Shot without an Element Gun in play. When it comes to your big turn you really want to have a gun in play, when you play Blaze of Glory you don't want to waste 3-4 damage hitting a tough status, and often on those last turns your Sliding Shots will be doing 11-13 damage.
So about those big turns. Star-Lord is probably the hero most famous for putting up ridiculous damage turns, and Blaze of Glory is our key win condition. It gives EVERY Guardian +2/+2 until the end of the phase, and Star-Lord makes everyone you control a Guardian. This is how you get turns of the Star-Lord deck by itself dealing 50+ damage on the regular. Some cards are key for this. Goliath can already boost himself for a mightly 5 damage swing, 7 with Blaze of Glory. He can be readied with Command Team, Get Ready, and Major Victory. He can be brought back with Rapid Response. You can even leave Call for Backup in play to clear after Goliath has gotten discarded to bring him back for another 7-14 damage. The same goes for Spider-Man, who can go to 6 damage and can even be readied an extra time.
Daring Escape is amazing on these turns. As far as just pure power it's hard to beat 0 cost to draw a card and ready your hero, and when you don't plan to ever resolve those facedown encounter cards they can actually be good for you with Sliding Shot. Often you don't even need to be readying Goliath or Miles, readying Gamora to find more Daring Escapes or Sliding Shot and the cards to pay for them is enough. Even without your allies Star-Lord alone often does 20+ damage on these turns between readying and Element Gun and Sliding Shot. Often I would say "I think I can maybe win this turn" and then the Star-Lord deck would deal 65 damage before Venom even got a chance to go.
So basic strategy: Get your Element Gun into play. You can take an early hit, but it's best to get some chump allies out so get deeper into your deck. Set up your powerful ally loop with Regroup, if you're playing two handed or with friends Regroup also works on their allies, keep that in mind. Use your massive card advantage to set up your combo pieces, stay alive. You can use Blaze of Glory aggressively if you start your turn in hero, because you can always flip down to prevent your allies from taking the damage, Gamora and Major Victory are the only true Guardian allies we have so you can have a big turn of taking care of a lot of problems and flip down, but on those turns don't take more than 1 encounter card, especially because you won't get the extra cards from Star-Lord's Helmet. Also sometimes it's right to Blaze of Glory just to clear a ton of threat from the table, since you get +2 to all thwarting, it's not just a one turn kill card, it can do it all. If you feel like you can win, you probably can.
In conclusion, this deck is very powerful. 2 player is probably ideal for it, because it makes Star-Lord's extra card not as impactful, but keeps the villain health pool low enough for you to obliterate it single handedly. This is a very viable solo deck as well, especially if you swap in Mockingbird, she shines in solo in this deck because she stuns (at 0 cost with Star-Lord's ability) and gives you a whole extra turn to find another Regroup or Rapid Response so she can chump and do it all over again. You actually don't often play Mockingbird in multiplayer, but she can save you in a pinch if you really want to include her. Against decks that punish allies, you still have outs. Regroup lets you have multiple blocks against Collector 1 without the allies going to the collection because they don't get discarded (you will lose your Regroup). Against Juggernaut you have so much card advantage that you can generally just take his helmet off so you can chump block again, and if not you can just play one of your 3 health allies and not do anything with them so they absorb a fair amount of damage for the overkill. (Also worth noting Next Evolution was hilarious because of the interaction of Hope Summers and Blaze of Glory, she becomes a 4 attack because of Star-Lord and then gets the extra 2 attack for being a Guardian, making her a 6 attack with no consequential damage). Against Ronan with Fanaticism? You're pretty much on your own, although that's a situation where Bad Boy comes in clutch.
Star-Lord is my favorite hero to play in the game. It's always exciting, he's super powerful but with an element of risk, and I think playing Star-Lord will make you a better player overall. You'll learn more about threat assessment, calculating risk, and how it feels to have turns where you play 9 cards. It'll be weird to go back to playing games where I only get 1 encounter card per turn, but I think I'll manage.
Cards I Tried And Cut
The Triskelion - This deck has 13 allies, so you'd think it could want The Triskelion, but I found myself never playing it. The allies come in and out of play so much as part of the strategy of the deck, so I just never found myself needing a fifth ally spot, especially since Knowhere already gives you the fourth.
Band Together - I tried this at 1x with the thought that Beast could fetch it, and it's fine, it can give you a big burst on your combo turn, but it ended up just not being the most impactful card. It's reasonable to include it.
"Welcome Aboard" - This is one I want to try more for sure. You have a lot of expensive allies, and this card can be gotten with Gamora and Kaluu. One copy instead of the Clarity of Purpose could be good, I just like that Clarity of Purpose is a permanent resource that pairs with Star-Lords ability to play a 4 cost card for nothing.
Snowguard - I really like this card, and she actually fits this deck well, since you can constantly reset her with Regroup or Rapid Response. Against decks that punish allies leaving play having her as an 8 health blocker with retaliate is pretty good. Even just writing this I'm feeling like I should make space for her and honestly Beast might be the cut, I wouldn't want to cut a cheaper ally
Avengers Mansion and Helicarrier - For a long time I considered these must haves in Star-Lord, and they definitely are fine, but I ended up liking Clarity of Purpose more as a cheaper economy engine. You don't want every card in your Star-Lord deck to be expensive, and since these don't attack or block or thwart directly it was easy to say goodbye.
Build Support and Superpower Training - These were okay, especially Superpower Training. I tried the whole Build Support to get Quincarrier thing but really don't like the inconsistency of it, I hate having a card in my deck I can't just play. Superpower Training is nice because Star-Lord is heavy on expensive upgrades. Leader of the Guardians is very good in multiplayer, getting a free Element Gun is nice, and to be honest if I don't have Star-Lord's Helmet yet I would just get that. They fell into the same category as Mansion and Helicarrier, they're fine but other things outperformed them.
Black Panther - I tried Black Panther to store a Blaze of Glory for when I needed it, but it was just too inconsistent. Since he has 4 health and takes 2 consequential per activation it just wasn't worth it. If I wanted him I would also want Team Training, which I also tried and it just didn't really pay off, it's okay to give your weenie allies an extra turn of activations if you haven't gotten to reset them with Regroup, but not impactful enough to stay.
Make the Call - This card is just pretty meh in Star-Lord. You can't reduce costs on the things you play, it doesn't trigger Knowhere, it was often a dud hit with Gamora. It just did absolutely no work, and a lot of your allies end up back into your hand anyway with Regroup. It's a classically good Leadership card, it's just not good here.
The Expert Challenge
It was fascinating seeing how different some villains are in expert. Some are just tougher, some completely change how you have to approach them. Of the 41 expert scenarios I beat 34 of them on the first attempt. The closest calls of the ones I beat on the first attempt were Loki and Stryfe. Loki I wasn't going to be able to finish off the next turn and survive his retaliate, but he got the treachery to change his form into a version without it and was able to kill him. Stryfe was tough because of stage 2B of his scenario increasing the cost of every card by one. At my decks heart they are building up to a combo final turn, and that was very slowed down by Stryfe. For that one I pinged the final damage off him by using Energy Barrier to deflect the damage to Venom from Blaze of Glory!
Ultron (1 loss) - I came to the end of the game saying I just needed to survive one more turn and fade a few bad encounter cards to finish Ultron off. Multi-Gun was there to wipe out the drones that would prevent Ultron from taking damage, I had a massive damage setup..... and then I revealed both copies of Upgraded Drones, putting an end to those hopes. I still went for it, but fell short and threated out. If I had been patient and just removed threat to try again next turn I could have won, so that one is my fault.
Drang (1 loss) - After one shotting the Rise of Red Skull box and feeling good I knew I was jumping into the fire of Galaxy's Most Wanted. I knew I wouldn't have a perfect record against this box, but I wasn't expecting a loss to Drang. This was just a freak loss, Star-Lord had a horrible opening hand and mulligan, not seeing a single ally in 13 cards (including his alter ego swap). I said I'd play it safe, not get an extra card, take a hit and prepare, remove Drang's Spear to help in the long term. I get hit, get my one encounter card, it's Under Fire which then reveals Assault and Gang-Up, Star-Lord dies turn one. Sometimes the game just gets you.
Collector (3 losses) - Ahhhh, everybody's favorite scenario. When you don't build for him he can be a bigger problem. Luckily the Venom deck in theory is very good against him. The one MAJOR downside is what happened in all 4 losses: Shadow of the Past. When the collection is a thing and Shadows brings in 4 copies of Enraged Symbiote that you have to get rid of before doing anything, it's pretty much a scoop at that point. Was happy to be done with this one.
Nebula (2 losses) - Maybe my least favorite scenario in the game? Nebula is wildly swingy, surges you all day, and can throw any of your plans out the window with random techniques at the drop of a hat. If you falter for one turn her ship gets out of hand, letting her get to 2B is a nightmare. Space Pirates is a horrifying modular set. I think Nebula is one of the villains that jumps the most from standard to expert.
Ronan the Accuser (3 losses) - You knew he'd be here. Ronan has a reputation for being the hardest villain in the game, and while I'm not sure that's true, he definitely gets the crown for most unfair. He just hits so hard and so often, and you have to deal with the Ship Command nightmare again. Kree Militants is also just a brutal modular set, minions with that much health shouldn't be allowed to have those keywords. Aggressively removing Universal Weapon was key, although we all know when you shuffle it in it's somehow going to be back next turn. Starhawk was key to fighting stage 3 Ronan with Retaliate, since he'd bounce back to hand every time he attacked while boosted with Blaze of Glory.
Venom Goblin (3 losses) - I think Venom Goblin is the true most difficult villain in general on expert. While Ronan spikes you out, Venom Goblin is like quicksand. You'll feel like you have things in hand, but it slowly sneaks away as you see the threat piling up and minions starting to swarm and you suddenly look and realize you've only dealt 4 damage to Venom Goblin. You get hit with several encounter cards turn one, and I think you have to build to flip him to stage 3 and kill stage 3 in one turn, because at that point in the game the extra encounter cards stage 3 brings are untenable. Luckily they do power up Sliding Shot very well, which was key to victory. Black Widow had one job in this scenario. Keep Advanced Glider off of Venom Goblin or die trying.
Magneto II (4 losses) - The villain that gave me the most losses surprisingly was my favorite villain in the entire game, Magneto. Expert Magneto is in the top tier of difficulty, but he does it in a fair way. Even as difficult as it is, I think it's still the best and most epic feeling scenario in the game, and really tells a story. But he just hits you from every angle. He goes through his deck quick with the magnetic counters, the schemes move pretty quickly, and your actions can sometimes be taxed by having to fight off the Acolytes, because if they get their Teamwork triggered that's so hard to come back from. Acolytes are a big reason Magneto is tough. Electromagnetic Blast wrecks Venom, Metal Shards wrecks Star-Lord, he's just tough. But I'd do it again tomorrow, I love that scenario so much.
This was a really fun thing to do, I had a lot of time off work and was able to play a ton of games, and it was enlightening to learn more about my favorite heroes and how to approach them while running them through the full gauntlet of all the expert villains. Maybe someday I'll do it again with some other heroes I love (Maybe Rogue and Domino?). I hope this was enjoyable to read, I know it was a lot of writing. If you have more questions on either of these decks, throw it in the comments and I'll happily answer any. I'd love for people to give these decks a shot, I worked hard on them and think they're both strong and fun.