Card draw simulator
|None. Self-made deck here.|
Schmendrix · 1195
"... What is this place, Natasha?" Angela's face was grim.
"And -tik- why did you bring us -tik- here?"
"Welcome to the red room."
Nobody like Natasha
Eighteen months or so into Marvel Champions' life, Black Widow remains one of the premier engine-building heroes. The combination of resource generators, card draw, ready effects, and AE-playable Thwart with Confuse invites building decks with a high degree of synergy. In Protection, Attacrobatics and Defensive Stance enable her to defend multiple times each Villain phase. In Leadership, she gets exceptional value when abusing the most busted of combos - Rapid Response Nick Fury and Maria Hill - during both the Villain phase or the Player phase. Triggering preps during the Player phase delivers extra value as it enables use of the Synth Suit for extra Attack or Thwart activations (or a timely recover when flipping down to AE).
But until recently, Aggression has been a difficult fit for Black Widow. The only Aggression prep, Counterattack, requires the player to take damage, and Black Widow's 9 health offers precious little room for error. But that changed with the release of two cards: Lie in Wait and Looking for Trouble.
What we've been waiting for
Played together, Lie in Wait and Looking for Trouble provide Black Widow easy access to Player phase readies in Aggression without taking damage. Play Lie in Wait essentially for free from AE with the gauntlets and her built-in card draw, then Thwart or Attack, pull a minion with Looking for Trouble, pop it with Lie in Wait (or Widow's Bite), deal a damage to the villain or a minion, ready, Attack or Thwart again. It's a powerful combo that, thanks to the power of preps, requires just one card in hand. The fact that Lie in Wait is Max 1 per player hardly matters either, since Black Widow's onboard Thwart and access to Confuse means you can flip down and pull Lie in Wait with Safe House #29 if you find yourself wanting.
What makes this engine really hum, though, are Overkill effects, especially Hand Cannon (with honorable mention to Relentless Assault). With a pair of Hand Cannons on the table, Black Widow can convert her prep damage to minions into Overkill damage to the Villain. With Combat Training and Skilled Strike, Black Widow can deal 7-9 damage with Overkill, and her free activation before a Synth Suit ready can deal with Villain Tough status.
And along came Angela
Though only a one-of, it's hard to overstate how powerful dropping Angela into this mix is. Suddenly, not only can you pull minions out of the Encounter deck to generate extra activations for Black Widow, but you also get a high degree of control AND you don't accelerate the Encounter deck to an Acceleration token.
Piloting experiences and tips
I've played this deck true solo in Expert against the minion-heavy scenarios - Klaw + Masters of Evil, Green Goblin Mutagen Formula, Drang + Badoon, Crossbones + Hydra Assault - and it handled them all admirably. The general experience is as you would expect with any engine-building deck - you're generally ignoring Looking for Trouble early game as you prioritize Synth Suit, Gauntlets, and Safe House (in that order). If resource flooding enables you to play Hall of Heroes, Mansion or Helicarrier, that's gravy. Covert Ops should be used aggressively to provide more access to AE and concomitant card draw.
Once you have one Hand Cannon down, Combat Training in place, and the Suit out, you likely have enough board control to start playing Looking for Trouble and Angela when you find them. I often found there was a spot in the game when the board was mostly clear, I had 1-2 allies, and like 5-7 preps in place, with a hand of ~9 cards (thanks to Hall) and just ~18 cards in the deck/discard. At that point, go! The deck is capable of big burst damage, and is hardly slowed down by Guard if you get an unlucky pull late in the game. I had several 15+ damage turns late game to one-shot second stages of villains with resources to spare.
I've been playing Hulk Protection with Earth's Mightiest A-holes in The Quantum Realm's Galaxy's Most Wanted campaign with the four heroes voted worst by Facebook (Hulk, She-Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye, in that order). I can't tell you how pleasurable it is to play this deck after piloting Hulk. THIS is what this game should feel like (and no surprise, given MJ Newman's design credits on Black Widow). Black Widow feels powerful and unique - no one does anything quite like her, and she does it exceptionally well. Unlike Thor or Rocket, minions aren't economy generators as you're getting set up - they're the closers. And you're not focused on events, but building an inevitable board state that powers you to victory. I'm a big fan, and am excited to continue exploring how the Guardians wave opens up powerful new possibilities for old favorites.