Showdown #3 – Taskmaster

This is our third Showdown and it will complete what we’re referring to as our Season 0.  We will have used each hero at least once, except for Doctor Strange.  In this Showdown we take on Taskmaster!


HOW IT WORKS

  1. We pick a Villain.
  2. We choose which encounter module(s) we will be using.
  3. We pick a character to represent each aspect and construct decks.
  4. We play against the Villain five times with each character (true solo and Expert difficulty).
  5. We present our results!

THE VILLAIN

Taskmaster isn’t too high on the difficulty scale, so we decided to mix things up a bit and change the encounter module from Weapon Master to A Mess of Things.  We’d recently used Weapon Master in Showdown #1 (Crossbones) so wanted something different.  Scorpion is a nasty minion to deal with, so it should be interesting!


THE HEROES

We took turns choosing heroes and aspects, so here’s the lineup:

  • Aggression – Black Panther (James)
  • Justice – Thor (Tim)
  • Leadership – Captain America (James)
  • Protection – Iron Man (Tim)

AGGRESSION – BLACK PANTHER

[James] Aggression is quickly becoming one of my favourite aspects to play. Pairing it with Black Panther gives me the opportunity to use a few different cards that did not make the cut in the previous showdown’s Aggression deck.

Jarnbjorn enables some additional damage pings that can help deal with low health minions, or just burn through the Villain’s health faster. Additionally, it provides the deck with a third weapon, which makes Mean Swing a strong inclusion for more burst damage. I also included Combat Training to boost Black Panther’s damage dealing potential even further. 

Drop Kick makes the cut again due to how strong stun is in True Solo. I also included two copies of “You’ll Pay for That” because not only is threat management always a worry, but also his retaliate means Black Panther won’t mind taking an attack or two.

There’s not a lot more to say about Aggression’s ally selection at the moment. Brawn, Sentry and arguably even She-Hulk are all pretty much staples at this point. Valkyrie is always welcome to help deal with minions too. I also included Spider-Girl for additional minion control.

Vibranium alongside the basic resource cards mitigates the need for The Power of Aggression, so I decided to cut it in favour of Down Time and Endurance. This bulks out the upgrades a little more, which is relevant because Black Panther is a hero who wants to get as many of them into play as possible in order to thin his deck, and make Wakanda Forever easier to find on subsequent passes through his deck.

Results

  1. LOSS, 3 rounds (Threat)
  2. WIN, 8 rounds
  3. LOSS, 10 rounds (Threat)
  4. LOSS, 7 rounds (Damage)
  5. LOSS, 4 rounds (Threat)

A fairly resounding defeat. Despite the grim results I can take some comfort in just how close all four loses were. Two were down to an untimely Advance, one was to drawing two copies of Ritual Combat in a single villain phase whilst in Alter-Ego, and the loss to damage was a misplay trying to play around Advance. I had lethal in hand, but knee-jerked into playing “You’ll Pay for That” meaning I was unable to close the game and then ultimately died to a Gang Up.

In retrospect the deck needed Relentless Assault, and despite having access to Vibranium I struggled to generate the physical resources needed for Drop Kick. The biggest issue with the deck though is likely the playstyle just being one I’m not as comfortable with. That’s two upgrade reliant heroes I’ve under represented now.


JUSTICE – THOR

[Tim] Justice is my least favourite aspect to use but luckily Thor is my favourite Marvel Champions character, so it kinda balances out!

Since I last used Thor Justice there has been several new cards that are worth including.  I usually default to using For Justice! but James suggested that I try Clear the Area instead and that ended up being a good call.  The other new cards were Beat Cop and Skilled Investigator.

The rest of the deck was fairly standard stuff.  Notable exceptions were Avengers Mansion and Nick Fury.  This was another suggestion by James as he thought they might be too expensive.  I agreed and this again proved to be a good choice (thanks, James!).

I think that Under Surveillance is always worth including in solo and I’d be tempted to include one copy of it for each stage of the main scheme.  It’s almost always worth having one in play.

Results

  1. LOSS, 4 rounds (Threat)
  2. WIN, 8 rounds
  3. WIN, 11 rounds
  4. WIN, 10 rounds
  5. WIN, 8 rounds

That went really well!  After losing the first game I decided to stay in Alter-Ego for the duration of the first round in order to build up my board state a bit and this worked loads better.

Justice is the perfect complement to Thor for solo gameplay, making up for his lack of thwarting ability.  The new cards all pulled their weight, particularly Beat Cop.  If you are planning on using Thor in solo, I’d recommend giving this deck a try!


LEADERSHIP – CAPTAIN AMERICA

[James] When it comes to talking about current Leadership decks I feel the most interesting discussion is centred around which of the aspect’s 11 allies made the cut. The star of this particular deck is Goliath, who offers some very solid burst damage. I also included Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Maria Hill and Squirrel Girl to use as low cost blockers to keep Captain America in the fight.

To further increase the value from these low cost allies I included Team Training to keep them around for an extra activation, which is particularly good with Hawkeye’s 2 Attack and Maria Hill’s 2 Thwart.

The infamous Make the Call and Rapid Response are here because abusing strong “when played” effects like Mockingbird, and Nick Fury, is what Leadership does best. 

I finished the deck off with Get Ready, which is here to combo with Goliath, and Lead from the Front, which can be used to set up alpha strikes with the low cost allies whilst boosting Captain America’s basic powers for both his activations.

Results

  1. WIN, 8 rounds
  2. WIN, 8 rounds
  3. WIN, 6 rounds
  4. WIN, 6 rounds
  5. LOSS, 6 rounds (Threat)

Almost managed the expected Leadership clean sweep, but tripped at the final hurdle. Struggled to build a board state with my allies in game 5, which resulted in the threat accumulating until an Advance flip completed the main scheme.

That blip aside the deck performed as expected. Not the most exciting deck out there but it’s certainly powerful. Goliath is satisfying to use, especially if you can pull off multiple activations. He could easily be replaced with Falcon or Vision though, and the deck would still preform equally as well I feel.


PROTECTION – IRON MAN

[Tim] I went through a few deckbuilds for Iron Man Protection before I eventually said, “f*** it!” and then proceeded to put as many cards with energy resources in as reasonably possible.  The result is a deck that is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Iron Man can deal with threat pretty well on his own (via Arc Reactor and Mark V Helmet) so I wasn’t too worried about including Black Widow or Brother Voodoo.  I personally don’t like the Black Widow ally; 2 Hit Points is just too low and I don’t like including Honorary Avenger just to improve it.  You can sometimes also gain temporary use of allies in the Taskmaster scenario thanks to the Captured by Hydra side scheme so I thought that I’d be okay.

Notable by their absence are Avengers Mansion, Helicarrier, and Quincarrier.  My thinking was that I didn’t need them and they’d only slow me down in getting my armour built.

The basic plan was to keep on top of threat and Guard minions whilst unloading every Repulsor Blast and Supersonic Punch straight into Taskmaster’s face.

Results

  1. WIN, 8 rounds
  2. WIN, 5 rounds
  3. WIN, 6 rounds
  4. WIN, 8 rounds
  5. LOSS, 6 rounds (Damage)

So very nearly a clean sweep!  In game 5 an untimely Gang Up took me out.  The deck worked better than I expected and it was quite satisfying to reliably pull of high damage Repulsor Blasts.

Haymaker and Preemptive Strike both got more use than I was expecting.  I think that I only used Emergency once, so that could be easily replaced if anything else suitable was to be released.  Med Team and The Night Nurse should both get a mention, helping Iron Man to stay Iron Man for longer.  Overall, this deck was a nice surprise.


SUMMARY

Rank Aspect Wins
1st Justice 4
Leadership 4
Protection 4
4th Aggression 1

Taskmaster managed seven wins out of twenty, with no hero/aspect getting a clean sweep against him.  While the Captured by Hydra side schemes do grant use of very powerful allies during that game, they still enter play with five threat on them even in solo so it seems a fair reward.

James and I have decided to run the Showdown series in groups forming seasons.  These first three Showdowns we are treating as Season 0.  Here is what are effectively the end of season rankings.

James Tim
Hawkeye (Leadership) 5pts Ms. Marvel (Aggression) 5pts
Captain America (Leadership) 4pts Spider-Man (Leadership) 5pts
She-Hulk (Justice) 4pts Iron Man (Protection) 4pts
Captain Marvel (Aggression) 3pts Thor (Justice) 4pts
Black Panther (Aggression) 1pt Spider-Woman (Protection) 3pts
Black Widow (Protection) 0pts Hulk (Justice) 0pts
TOTAL 17pts TOTAL 21pts
Rank Aspect Wins
1st Leadership 14
2nd Aggression 9
3rd Justice 8
4th Protection 7

It’s no real surprise that Leadership was our most successful aspect.  I think Aggression being in second place is about right as they have received some excellent cards in the Hulk hero pack and The Rise of Red Skull campaign box.

Well that’s all for now.  Expect to see Season 1 kicking off soon.

Cheers,

Tim & James

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