Character Focus – Black Widow

I used Black Widow back in May in a Deck Development article, but since then I have played a LOT of games and have learned a thing or two about Champions.  Does this mean that I can build better decks than before?  Hopefully!  Anyway, in this article we are going to be taking a closer look at Black Widow and all of her cards.

Hand Size 6 is average, 9 Hit Points and 3 Recover are the lowest in the game.  However, both of those are easily mitigated by Endurance and Down Time, as well as her Synth-Suit (more on that later).

As you’ll see throughout her cards, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is all about Preparation cards.  These are upgrades that can be discarded for one-use effects.

Natasha’s Mission Prep ability allows you to draw a card when you play a Preparation card (limit once per phase).  Preparation cards are generally cheap and she’ll want to play a lot of them, so this is a nice little card draw ability that rewards you for playing things you’d want to play anyway.  When combined with Black Widow’s Gauntlet it turns into ‘free’ card draw.


With Hand Size 5 and main stats of 2 across the board, Black Widow is average, but in a good way.  With these stats she is able to thwart, attack, or defend equally well, depending on what the situation requires.

Her Widowmaker ability deals one damage to an enemy every time you trigger the ability of a Preparation card.  An important thing to note is that this isn’t an attack, so gets around Guard and Retaliate.

This ability means that you’ll want to get as many relevant Preparation cards in play as possible so that you can start pinging enemies, possibly defeating them before they get to attack (particularly handy in the Ultron scenario).

I like this ability but it does restrict your deckbuilding options as you’ll want to take full advantage of it.


Winter Soldier, one of people’s favourite MCU films and also one of their least-favourite art in Marvel Champions (I don’t think it’s too bad…).

Four resources for an ally with 2/2 and 4 Hit Points is a bit expensive, but thankfully you’ll almost never pay the full price for him.  Realistically, the most I could see you paying for him would be two, and that’s only if you were impatient.  Playing him for zero is a great feeling!

Overall, I’d say that he was a very useful ally as long as you don’t pay full price for him.


There are two copies of this in her hero cards and it’s noteworthy because it can be used in either form.  Removing four threat and confusing the Villain for three resources is definitely worth it, particularly if you are flipping back to Alter Ego or are worried about the Advance (or similar) encounter card.  Not much else to say about it other than it’s a great card!


There are two copies of this in her hero cards and it’s her big attack event.  While it does only total six damage, rather than the always-compared-to Swinging Web Kick’s eight damage, the ability to spread that damage out makes it more versatile.

Because it does three attacks in order, you can use the first one to get rid of a Tough status, then start hitting the previously-Tough minion (looking at you, Armored Guard!).  Or you could use it to hit three low Hit Point targets such as Ultron drones, or finish off some previously-wounded minions.  All in all, a great card!  The only downside, and this is really nitpicky, but since it does count as three attacks, you will trigger Retaliate three times (assuming your targets have it).  Worth noting before you decide to hit Klaw with all of it when he’s got a Solid-Sound Body attachment.


Nice and simple, while in Alter Ego return a Preparation card from your discard pile to your hand.  It triggers Natasha’s Mission Prep ability and also gets you back a card that you’d want to play anyway, or at the very least use as a resource.  Good card that you’ll want to get into play as soon as you can.


There are two copies of this in her hero cards and it’s the Preparation card that gives you the confidence to dare the Villain to hit you as hard as they can (especially if you have Synth-Suit in play), although it becomes completely useless whenever you are engaged with Guard minions (because using this counts as an attack and you can’t attack the Villain whilst engaged with a Guard minion).

I like this card a lot as it allows Black Widow to stay in Hero form reasonably confident that she knows how much incoming damage there will be.  It also helps damage the Villain, which is always helpful.


There are two copies of this in her hero cards and it’s a simple one that provides a wild resource for Preparation cards only.  But since they’re the cards you’ll be wanting to play a lot of, this works out nicely.  Put them into play as quickly as you can!


There are two copies of this in her hero cards and they give Black Widow an immense amount of control over the encounter deck while she is in Hero form.  Being able to cancel a Treachery card can mean the difference between winning and losing (I’m looking at you, Advance!).  It can also stop cards like Shadow of the Past, which is almost always an annoying card.

It’s definitely worth noting that this card says when you reveal a treachery, not when a player reveals a treachery, meaning that in multiplayer it can’t cancel the cards that your team-mates draw.  However, this slight limitation doesn’t diminish what is to me another great card.


I’ve mentioned this card twice already in this article and that’s because it’s probably her best card!  The +1 Defence puts her at a respectable three but it’s the other ability that you’ll want this for.

After you use a Preparation card you can exhaust Synth-Suit to ready Black Widow.  What this means is that you could defend against the Villain’s attack, reducing the damage you take by three, and as long as you could trigger a Preparation card you can have Black Widow ready for your next Hero Phase.  Repeatedly defending in this manner somewhat makes up for her poor Hit Points total, and also allows you to stay in Hero form a lot longer.  In my opinion, this is a card that is worth mulliganing for.


There are two copies of this card in her hero cards and it’s a good one for controlling minions.  The two damage will defeat weaker ones, particularly when combined with her Widowmaker ability, and the stun will help keep particularly vicious minions like Tiger Shark under control.  If you know that there are beefier minions in the encounter deck (such as the aforementioned Masters of Evil), then these are probably best kept for handling them.  In scenarios like Ultron, use it to ruthlessly smash drones.


SUMMARY

  • Balanced stats means that she can deal with a variety of situations.
  • Low Hit Points and Recover means that she needs to be careful, at least until she gets Synth-Suit into play.
  • Requires a good amount of setup to get going.

I think that Black Widow is a moderately-powerful character but she doesn’t suit my playstyle.  I also think that she is going to be held back by her reliance on Preparation cards, particularly if there are no plans to print any more.

Fantasy Flight Games have done this kind of thing in the past with characters like Urien Rakarth in the Warhammer 40,000 Conquest LCG, where they are tied into one type of card often at the expense of others.  It restricts that character and makes for less interesting deckbuilding choices.

Hopefully they’ll print even Preparation cards to make this a moot point, but I’m not optimistic.  To finish on a positive note, deckbuilding for Black Widow in the future will be quite easy as you’ll almost never change any cards!  So there’s that…

Cheers,

Tim

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