X-Con Security Consultants | Ant-Man/Justice v1.0

Card draw simulator

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Derived from
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ImpossibleGerman · 1031

TINY DUDE IS BIG NOW

I don’t want to bury the headline too much here- in hundreds of games of Champions, Scott Lang is the character who has surprised me the most in the past year.

It’s not that I haven’t been having fun playing with the new stuff lately, but not since Black Widow’s release has something hit the table that made me giggle as I tested it quite like Ant-Man has this week. I think what’s really special about him is that he isn’t just providing you with a lot of different lines of play on any given turn, but that those lines of play are often simultaneously potent and exciting.

Like with every Hero, I do usually end my turn wondering about other choices I could have made- but with Ant-Man, when I look at the overall impact that my turn had on the board I don’t often feel a pressing need to think too hard about whether I played optimally. This is because Ant-Man does a really good job of filling every form change, every draw, every card played with incremental value that makes him feel pretty spectacular to play.

This deck is my attempt to capitalize on those strengths. Before we get into why I’ve chosen Justice to do so, let’s quickly take a look at why Ant-Man has great synergies with the other aspects as well-

  • Aggression’s riding a high in the meta right now, and Giant form gives us all the tools we need to capitalize on red’s toolkit. It almost writes itself- strong allies, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Toe to Toe, you know the drill. We’ve even got native AOE with Giant Stomp. When you go big, Ant-Man is very good at making the Villain go home so, you know, go stomp some bad guys.
  • Protection also leans on our dope Giant form. In case you got distracted by all that DAMAGE, I’ll take a moment to remind you that Giant form is packing a beefy 3 DEF, a respectable 12 HP, and lots of drip healing from all across the deck. I didn’t really conceptualize how impactful those heals would be until I started my testing, but it’s actually kind of hilarious how little Ant-Man cares about taking hits.
  • Leadership’s primary synergy is that you get to use the Leadership cards, and you’re probably already painfully aware of how that’s good enough by itself to make a solid deck. I don’t see anything in this set of Hero cards that jazzes me up about Leadership more than our other options, but I also feel confident that blue junkies across the playerbase won’t find anything here to complain about either.

Which brings us to Justice, which works for us on a number of levels. It covers a potential weak point in our armor- if there’s a gap in Ant-Man’s capabilities, it’s probably thwarting, where he’s not exactly bad but can be prone to losing the board. Tiny form is solid, but our two other cards that deal with threat only have single copies, so a few unlucky side schemes can quickly get overwhelming. Justice makes that a non-issue.

For solo players, yellow provides a lot of insurance against threat, which is inherently swingy in solo play. I also love the flavor of having your ex-convict buddies rolling around in the van keeping things Under Surveillance and giving you Counterintelligence on those nasty villains while you’re out doing Ant Things. Beyond the amusing theme and the solo benefits, we also get a lot of small synergies with Ant-Man’s mechanics that really up the fun factor.

It’s a blast to pilot- let’s talk about how to do that.

GROWING AND SHRINKING

Each of our three forms is offering a distinct advantage, and they’re all solid.

  • Giant form gives us damage and resiliency. It’s tempting to stay here a lot, but you’ll need to make sure you aren’t losing too much tempo with that lower hand size.
  • Tiny form helps us deal with schemes and draw more cards, the latter of which can greatly extend the life of your turn. Going Tiny has a solid chance of getting you out of a jam.
  • While it might seem unforgivably boring to spend any of your time as a normal sized dude, it’s important to note that Scott Lang gives us an automatic heal and a sweet 6 hand size.

Notch another success in the design column for FFG- it was crucial for the Hero built around flips as their gameplay hook to have good reasons to be in all of their forms at various points in every game, and this deck certainly does. Which form takes priority at a given time is a question that rarely has a truly wrong answer. It does depends on the board state, of course, but you’ll also make those decisions based on what order your supports and upgrades come out of the deck and hit the table.

  • By far our most important card is Ant-Man's Helmet, a knockout upgrade that really makes the whole Hero sing. Don’t even blink at the cost- this card is just a couple of Resize or Swarm Tactics draws away from more than paying for itself, and barring a disaster of epic proportions laying total waste to your tempo you should virtually always play it immediately upon finding it. Being able to count on Helmet’s drip of benefits is a huge part of the flexibility upside to playing Ant-Man.
  • Wrist Gauntlets gives us an easily accessible, and even better, reusable control option, so getting it down is important. It’s also why we’re one of the best characters to run Quincarrier, and having both of those down at once gives us the kind of consistent status application most characters can only dream of. Quincarrier + a wild/energy/physical gets us a status effect (which happens to be why we’re running both copies of Power of Justice).
  • The damage supports- Army of Ants and Giant Strength- are also high on our priority list, and especially in solo play they help keep the board clear and get the Villain down faster than you might think. Army of Ants in particular is sneakily potent, buffing Hive Mind and helping to close the gap in stats between Tiny and Giant forms. It reminds me a bit of Superhuman Law Division, in that part of it’s strength is that it’s giving us a benefit that doesn’t totally align with the form we’re in. Superhuman is good because you get to deal with threat in Alter-Ego, a rare ability, and Army of Ants is good because it gives us steady damage in Tiny form, which is otherwise focused on dealing with schemes and drawing cards.
  • Speaking of drawing cards, the single copy of Skilled Investigator and our playset of Clear the Area are going to combo with our other sources of draw to give us lots of ways to gain resources mid-turn and keep making moves.

This deck has a habit of dramatically expanding your options as you play out your turn, and this also happens to be is the trickiest part of how to play it. You’ve gotta make sure you think ahead- that if Clear The Area draws you a Resize or Pym Particles, you’re ready to capitalize on it because you kept your lines of play open. It proves important to remember some of the fundamentals of card games, like playing cards that draw more cards as early as you can in the turn, and prioritizing permanent upgrades over events in the early game. Ant-Man will reward strong fundamentals better than most heroes.

YELLOW WITHOUT THE JACKET

Rise of Red Skull quietly turned Justice into a pretty reliable source of card draw, and the potential drip of cards pairs beautifully with Ant-Man’s kit. The aforementioned Clear The Area and Skilled Investigator are very reliable triggers in Tiny form, which can remove 3 threat upon flipping from the very first turn and sees that number steadily rise with Heroic Intuition down, or with Wasp or Hive Mind in hand.

Agent Coulson and Counterintelligence remains a value-packed combo, and we’re playing 2 Counterintelligence so that Coulson still draws us one even if the other is already on the table. Our other friends Nick Fury and War Machine earn slots because they give us resource sinks, round out our defensive options, and are both mental resources.

Ah, mentals. We’d love to have more of those, and that’s one of the primary considerations for swapping cards into this deck in the coming months. Mentals have always been important in this aspect, given the ubiquity of For Justice!, but they’ve gained further utility thanks to Lay Down the Law. That one’s gonna be a solid card for everybody I think, with how aggressively cheap it is, but Ant-Man uniquely can flip from one Hero form to another, meaning it loses it’s downside and never has a chance to be clunky. It’s a total powerhouse.

Quincarrier is also here as insurance for these cards, although frankly the kickers on FJ and LDTL are often not strictly necessary. In a multiplayer game with someone who really needs specific resources, you could swap it for Helicarrier. Just beware the loss of consistent Wrist Gauntlet fuel.

FOLLOW YOUR HUNCH

Justice is really coming into it’s own. I’m excited to see how this deck might change over time as the aspect continues to expand, but frankly, it’s likely to just be icing on the cake at that point. Even as it stands right now, with the Justice cardpool being fairly slim, I’d be willing to bet this deck can hit most of the pitches Champions can throw. It was tested on Expert, with a couple Heroic solo games in there too, and it performed to a very high standard.

And I want to be clear that I think this deck’s power is rooted in just how much Ant-Man brings to the table just with his 15 cards. Like all of my builds, my highest priority as I chose my aspect and tested the deck was to accentuate the character’s strengths; to really maximize the experience of playing them.

Ant-Man made that process a real joy, some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing Champions. I don’t think we’ve had a character quite this versatile since Captain America, and the fact that this versatility is so exciting to navigate has cemented him as one of my favorite Heroes, despite my having very little real attachment to the character himself. I hope this deck helps you experience that fun factor the way I did- tiny dude is big now, and I think it’s very possible you’ll come away feeling the same way I do about him.

19 comments

Nov 07, 2020 amustoe · 1

Great write up!

Nov 07, 2020 SC0E · 188

Awesome write-up, can't wait to get Scott to the table! The list looks very potent, and I'm glad to hear it's so fun to pilot. will definitely give this a go!

Nov 07, 2020 Schmendrix · 330

Great deck and analysis. Thank you!

Nov 07, 2020 Game it all · 1

This deck is crazy I can not wait to get my hero pack in the mail!

Nov 07, 2020 Designhacker · 7

This is phenomenal. I have only played the starter deck and this one with Ant-Man so far, but even with the inherent strengths of Leadership, this deck performed better than the starter deck! Lots of fun, too. The only change I made was swapping a Power of Justice out for Team Building Exercise, since it pays off in a big way with Ant-Man’s kit, and the number of 2+ cost Justice cards in the deck is right at my cutoff for a second Power of.

Nov 07, 2020 ImpossibleGerman · 1031

@Designhacker I totally get it, and TBE was a narrow cut here. Ultimately I kept The Power of Justice at 2x because of Wrist Gauntlets

Nov 08, 2020 dr00 · 3684

good write-up!

i'm still waiting on my pack, so a lot of this is just theory, but i think you're so right on his sustainability in hero mode. once you have his helmet, he heals roughly 1 HP per turn and even more on turns when you have Resize, and of course when to use Pym Particles is an interesting decision. of course if you're safe on HP, just go for the extra cards, but that ever-present option is going to provide so much economy for scott to swap every turn to deal with threat, extra dmg, heal, draw cards, and stay in hero mode as much as possible and actively work on your wincon. can't wait for my pack to try this out.

Nov 08, 2020 ImpossibleGerman · 1031

@dr00 I massively underestimated how resilient this Hero is. I can’t wait to see your first Ant-Man build dude!

Nov 08, 2020 dr00 · 3684

@ImpossibleGerman justice ant-man so hot right now! lol

i think maybe i'll try protection first, but i'm having so many ideas about all the aspects

Nov 08, 2020 M3t4lB0x (TLM) · 337

Every time I think, I should really try a different aspect, another great Justice build comes along and keeps me playing my favorite of the 4. Great write up! Gonna give this a whirl tonight!

Nov 09, 2020 sc00ter1979 · 1

looking forward to trying this, since with his basic leadership deck i managed to lose almost every game I tried in standard :-/

Nov 11, 2020 SprengerMon · 8

Another deck that allows me to say "You lookin for this BOOM!" I approve!

Nov 11, 2020 Novawyrm · 29

You don't even have a Beat Cop or three, patrolling the streets. True, they might be looking for Scott Lang but they do inhibit the villains schemes just with the increased police presence.

I liked your write up and can't wait to play Ant-Man. I really like the Justice aspect, it gives the hero flexibility to do whatever is needed. Makes sense that a flexible hero would do will with Justice.

Sounds like Ant-Man is another thematic win by FFG.

Nov 11, 2020 ImpossibleGerman · 1031

@Novawyrmshhhhhh you weren't supposed to notice that

I'm probably less enthused by Beat Cop than basically anyone in the entire Champions community. I have mathematical issues with it, namely that most games don't last as many rounds as you might think, and that the minion damage is kind of a trap in scenarios without Guard. I also find that the nature of thwarting in Champions I think is slightly preferential to bursty threat solutions than slow and steady ones.

All that to say- I rarely slot it, and I don't think Ant-Man misses it here one bit! If I were to put it in, I'd probably run it at 2x in place of Swarm Tactics and a Counterintelligence. It will definitely be a blow to the theme of the deck though ;)

Nov 13, 2020 Balsak40 · 1

I've tried this with Rhino Std and Expert. Wow. You gotta flip heroes all the time. Helmet is critical too! I'll mulligan just to get a shot at the helmet. Not once in my games I went to Alter Ego! Awesome deck @ImpossibleGerman!!! THUMBS UP!

Nov 13, 2020 Prowl · 1

Totally going to give this a try! I kept having trouble with Solo Ant-Man Leadership due to threat getting out of control. Thanks for the cool deck list and thoughtful write up.

Nov 15, 2020 Pickles · 13

I've been playing my own take on Ant Man Justice. It is immense fun with the dynamic play style you mention completely contrasting to say Iron Man with his "do nothing then win" MO as my buddy puts it. The card draw within turns can be nuts. I played two Clear the Area on Captured by Hydra, one using Pym Particles the other a Quincarrier; they both cleared the areas so adding Skilled Investigator I drew 4 cards and 2 bonus allies. I had already got 8 cards - 7 from last turn Assess the Situation in alter ego plus one from flipping into tiny form with the helmet so that left me with 11. Needless to say as Zola was on stage III I won that turn.

My version is trying out Assess the Situation, Resourceful and Team-Building Exercise so it cuts the fat cards you have :) For Justice!, The Power of Justice. I have Beat Cop but would probably rather have an ally. He did arrest Madam Hydra one time though :)

Nov 17, 2020 mistergross · 1

Thank you for the great writeup. I'm looking forward to trying this, now that I'm finally done with my (shameless plug) aggro build: marvelcdb.com Feedback appreciated!

Nov 20, 2020 Incredibul · 572

Fantastic Deck and I agree that Ant-Man is spectacular design. And yeah, don't put Beat Cop into it, it's heavily overrated. I have a hunch people play it in games that are easy anyway. It's too slow and return of investment comes after 3 turns, so it competes with cards like Avengers Mansion or Hellicarrier, which are more flexible.