Rhino’s Revenge

Rhino…this poor fella gets used as a training exercise by nearly all Marvel Champions heroes.  By now, you’ve probably beaten him more times than he ever was in the comics.  That’s got to give him some self-esteem issues, so I decided that it was time for Rhino to get some revenge by facing him on the higher difficulties and give him a better chance at winning.

My plan was to make a deck specifically for this scenario and then run it through ever-increasing difficulties.  I would also be using three different encounter modules for this gauntlet; Bomb Scare (the recommended one), Running Interference, then Doomsday Chair.  Starting on Expert with Bomb Scare, after each win I would increase the difficulty, initially upgrading the encounter module then once all of them have been defeated, change to Heroic 1 (then Heroic 2, and so on).

The first deck that I have decided to take on Rhino’s Revenge with is a Captain America Protection deck, aimed around inflicting as many stuns as possible (‘stunlock’).

I’ve been pretty much exclusively playing Marvel Champions on Expert mode since shortly after release, but have only had a few goes at Heroic mode since FFG announced it and I can confidently say that it’s no joke.  Cards that you would quite rightly rate as pretty good in Standard or Expert might be seen as frivolous in Heroic because you don’t have enough time to setup your board state like you’d normally do.

What this means is that this gauntlet is going to be something of a learning experience for me as well.  Unlike my previous articles about developing an all-purpose deck for specific characters, in this one I will be making changes to my deck specifically for this scenario.  Anyway, let’s get started!

Difficulty Module Result Rounds Rhino Stuns
Expert Bomb Scare WIN 9 5
Expert Running Interference WIN 6 4
Expert Doomsday Chair WIN 7 5

A fairly straightforward run through Expert difficulty which is to be expected considering the scenario and the hero used (Captain America is VERY good!).  I made one change to the deck, removing all three copies of Get Behind Me! for three copies of Energy Barrier.  I never found myself using Get Behind Me! and I don’t think that it’s good enough of a card that you’d want to hold onto it for the Villain Phase, unlike something like Shield Block.

Next up was Heroic 1.  Just to recap, Heroic 1 means that you play with the same setup as Expert mode, but you deal each hero one additional encounter card during the Villain Phase.  This would mean that if you didn’t get rid of Rhino’s Breakin’ & Takin’ side scheme in the first round, you’d be getting three encounter cards in the Villain Phase.  Thankfully, Captain America can easily get rid of that side scheme either via Fearless Determination or simply by using his “I Can Do This All Day” action.

Difficulty Module Result Rounds Rhino Stuns
Heroic 1 Bomb Scare WIN 10 5
Heroic 1 Running Interference LOSS 10 3
Heroic 1 Running Interference LOSS 9 4
Heroic 1 Running Interference WIN 10 4
Heroic 1 Doomsday Chair LOSS 7 2
Heroic 1 Doomsday Chair LOSS 5 1
Heroic 1 Doomsday Chair WIN 7 5

As anticipated, Heroic was a lot tougher!  I came close to ending my run twice there (I said to myself if that I lost three times in a row I’d end it).  In the last game against Doomsday Chair everything just fell into place and the encounter deck wasn’t too unkind to me.  A first round Iron Fist also helped a lot!

I made a few more changes heading into Heroic 2.  During the majority of Heroic 1 I pretty much never played Helicarrier, Quincarrier, or Down Time.  Having the extra resource from Helicarrier and Quincarrier would be nice, but as they cost three resources it often meant that I couldn’t play anything else significant the round that I played them, and as stated above you don’t have time to mess around.  I cut them for three copies of Enhanced Physique, as the cost of two meant that I could usually still play something good (i.e. a stun card of some kind) the same round.

Difficulty Module Result Rounds Rhino Stuns
Heroic 2 Bomb Scare LOSS 6 4
Heroic 2 Bomb Scare LOSS 3 2
Heroic 2 Bomb Scare LOSS 5 2

Destroyed, I got destroyed!  In the first game I was feeling fairly confident, particularly with the amount of stuns that I was able to deal out, but Rhino has a lot of attack again cards in his encounter deck.  This sometimes led to him attacking three times in a phase!  Even Captain America finds it hard to stay alive under that onslaught.

The picture above was from my final game at the end of the fourth Villain Phase.  Needless to say, I was stomped into the ground the following round!

I’d definitely be tempted to make some changes to my deck.  Firstly, I think I’d like to find room for Haymaker, as it deals with the Hydra Mercenary perfectly.  Guard is a very strong ability for minions to have and dealing with them can sometimes waste the best part of a Hero Phase.

Even though my deck had practically no encounter deck control, I think that I’d still take Black Widow out of it.  I always found myself preferring cards with an immediate impact rather than the safety net that she can maybe provide (you need to have access to a mental resource to use her ability).

Laugh all you like, but I’d probably prefer to have another copy of Invulnerability for those turns where I haven’t managed to stun Rhino.  Between that and Shield Block, I was quite happy to have Rhino attack me with a Charge attached.  Charge is a card that you definitely need a plan for in this scenario, as the usual method of throwing an ally under the bus won’t work due to Overkill, unless that ally is Luke Cage…hmm, maybe I should try him instead (or as well as?).

Summary

Overall the score was Captain America 6-7 Rhino, so Rhino ended up ‘winning’ and got some small measure of revenge for all the times that he’s been beaten (I also can’t imagine that he’s beaten Captain America too many times!).

I found Heroic mode quite challenging, which is great because it’s supposed to be!  Of course, it could just have been poor deck construction or suboptimal play on my part, I’m not ruling it out!

However, this has made me want to play more Heroic mode and try to unlock the secrets to beating it.  With that in mind, I’m going to use Doctor Strange next and see just how “broken” he is.  I’m going to take my Leadership deck that I was working on and make some adjustments based on my experiences in this article.  Until next week!

Cheers,

Tim

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