Showdown #5 – Mutagen Formula

Welcome to the second Showdown of our Season #1.  Last time we took on Absorbing Man, but now it’s time to face Mutagen Formula, a much more difficult scenario.  We decided to stick with the default encounter module this time (Goblin Gimmicks).

THE HEROES

Against Mutagen Formula will be the following Heroes:

  • Aggression – Captain Marvel [James]
  • Justice – Thor [James]
  • Leadership – Black Panther [Tim]
  • Protection – Iron Man [Tim]

Just a reminder of the format, we play the scenario five times with each character that we have drafted and then report our results.


AGGRESSION – CAPTAIN MARVEL

[James] For this Showdown I’ll be using the same aggressive stunlock deck that I used to good effect against Ultron. The core of the deck revolves around using Drop Kick and Mockingbird to keep the villain locked down whilst I gradually charge up Energy Channel for a big finish. 

In order to buy the time to do this I’ll be using the usual allies to help keep threat under control. Brawn and Sentry are pretty much Aggression staples at the moment, and I also included She-Hulk again due to her 2 thwart. I considered dropping her for Spider-Girl or Tigra to help lower the cost curve, but decided against it due to her providing a much needed physical resource. Additionally, “You’ll Pay for That!” also makes the cut again in order to maintain the same level of threat control.

Rounding out the allies is Valkyrie, who not only provides a potential energy resource for Captain Marvel’s Rechannel or Energy Channel, but can also be used to deal with one of Green Goblin’s many minions. Relentless Assault adds even more minion control to the deck.

Since there’s going to be plenty of minions to defeat, Battle Fury has been included to help get more hero activations and Hall of Heroes as it offers nice card draw in minion heavy scenarios. 

Once again Helicarrier, Quincarrier, Martial Prowess and The Power of Aggression are all here to help out with the cost of paying for so many expensive allies, or fulfilling the physical resource requirement of Drop Kick and Relentless Assault..

Results

  1. WIN, 8 rounds
  2. WIN, 7 rounds
  3. WIN, 6 rounds
  4. WIN, 6 rounds
  5. WIN, 7 rounds

Captain Marvel pulls off a clean sweep, and demonstrates why she will most likely be joining the Heroic tier next season. Despite the impressive results a couple of the games were very close. Game 5 actually ended with Captain Marvel only having 1 health remaining, and Mutagen Cloud was on 10/11 threat.

The deck felt very strong to play, and the high number of allies and stun effects left me feeling well protected even when Captain Marvel’s health was getting dangerously low. Green Goblin (III)’s high health rarely proved an issue thanks to Energy Channel. Aggression is just in a very good place at the moment, and the ability to cycle through your deck with Alpha Flight Station and Rechannel, whilst drawing additional cards off Drop Kick and Photonic Blast, just gives it a very high level of consistency.


JUSTICE – THOR

[James] Thor remains one of the most maligned characters in Marvel Champions, but he’s one I’ve always wanted to make work. After Tim’s recent success pairing him with the Justice aspect I decided to give it a try myself. The deck I settled on is very similar to the deck Tim used against Taskmaster, but there are a couple of changes. 

For starters I decided to ignore my own advice and run For Justice! instead of Clear the Area. Due to how quickly Green Goblin’s minions can swarm you I wanted to make any potential Lightning Strikes more consistent by increasing the amount of energy resources Thor has available. Additionally, due to the high starting threat of Mutagen Cloud, and how quickly it can ramp up due to the minion swarms, I thought For Justice’s higher threat removal would be more important.

The second change was swapping Helicarrier for Heroic Intuition. This was done partly due to the need for more Lightning Strike energy as discussed above, but also to lower the cost curve slightly by removing one of the deck’s many 3-costers. This change has the added benefit of allowing Thor to potentially thwart himself in dire circumstances, whilst maintaining the possibility of deck thinning to make finding those all important Hammer Throws easier on the second pass through the deck.

The rest of the deck is identical, and pretty much what you’d expect to see from the current pool of Justice cards. Stealth Strike is solid minion and threat removal, and Beat Cop performs the same function only slower. Counterintelligence helps mitigate bursts of threat from Advance, or if you’re forced to flip back to Alter-Ego to heal, and Under Surveillance is a fantastic card for true solo that gives you a little more breathing room when needed.

Results

  1. LOSS, 6 rounds (Threat)
  2. LOSS, 9 rounds (Threat)
  3. LOSS, 11 rounds (Threat)
  4. LOSS, 11 rounds (Damage)
  5. LOSS, 6 rounds (Threat)

An absolutely brutal defeat. Stings all the more because 4 of the losses were to threat, which the Justice aspect really should have prevented.

I knew going into this Showdown that it was going to be a tough match up, but I was expecting a slightly better result than this. Regardless of what strategy I tried Thor always ended up being outpaced by the encounter deck. There were occasions where I would reveal a minion whilst in alter-ego, completely mitigating Thor’s ability, or be engaged by multiple minions in a single villain phase. A couple of the games were quite close though, and I thought I was going to win game 4 but the tempo just fizzled away right at the end.

In regards to the deck I think it needed more allies, which Justice is just lacking at the moment. Concussive Blow might have been a better fit than Stealth Strike too, as it would have made flipping to Odinson safer. Justice remains Thor’s best aspect whilst playing true solo though, and others have had more success with it than I have.


LEADERSHIP – BLACK PANTHER

[Tim] Black Panther was my 4th pick in the draft (I was hoping to get Thor as my 4th pick!) and it’s been a while since I used him.  He’s definitely a good character, just not one of my favourites.

I’ve assigned him Leadership and placed him against Mutagen Formula because I thought that he’d be able to deal with the swarms of minions reasonably well, with cards like Energy Daggers, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), and Squirrel Girl.

I didn’t include The Power of Leadership because of Panther’s three copies of Vibranium.  I included Avengers Mansion, Helicarrier, and Quincarrier because I reasoned that he’d be able to easily afford them.

The rest of the deck is the fairly standard ally spam list.  I tried Black Knight and U.S. Agent even though they have no particular synergy in this matchup.  So how did I get on?

Results

  1. WIN, 9 rounds
  2. LOSS, 3 rounds (Threat)
  3. LOSS, 4 rounds (Threat)
  4. WIN, 10 rounds
  5. WIN, 10 rounds

Three wins and two losses is not quite what I was hoping for, but I’ll take it.  The couple of losses were to threat, but were mostly due to not being able to deal with the swarm of minions quickly enough.

If I were to make changes to the deck, I’d probably remove Avengers Mansion, Helicarrier, and Quincarrier as I didn’t always need them.  I’d probably replace them with three copies of Strength in Numbers, as this would help cycle through my deck a little bit quicker in order to dig for Wakanda Forever!


PROTECTION – IRON MAN

[Tim] I wanted Iron Man as part of my team this season because of my recent success with my Protection deck versus Taskmaster.  However, I probably could have picked him later than 2nd pick, especially as it turns out that James isn’t fond of him!  Definitely overbid on that one.

This deck is going to be very similar to the one that I used against Taskmaster as it seemed to work very well.  The only change was to remove the three copies of Emergency and replace them with Momentum Shift.  This was because I wanted a little bit extra damage to help deal with all of the goblin minions that would be in this scenario.

The general strategy would be to stay in Alter-Ego form for the first round while I get enough Tech upgrades into play to make it worthwhile flipping to Hero form.  Not really much else to say about the deck; how did I get on?

Results

  1. LOSS, 3 rounds (Threat)
  2. WIN, 8 rounds
  3. WIN, 9 rounds
  4. WIN, 9 rounds
  5. LOSS, 3 rounds (Damage)

Not quite as good as my record versus Taskmaster, but Mutagen Formula is a much tougher scenario, so I’m pleased with the result.

Some highlights include pulling off a 13-damage Repulsor Blast in the second game, blasting through Green Goblin’s stage 3 very quickly.  In game 5 I was overwhelmed by minions, despite using a couple of Repulsor Blasts on minions (desperate times call for desperate measures!).

I didn’t get loads of use out of Nova or Luke Cage and they could be replaced.  However, I’d only swap them out for other cards that have an energy resource, as I don’t want to dilute my Repulsor Blasts too much.

Overall, I quite like this deck and would definitely consider drafting Iron Man again in the future as he works pretty well with Protection (my worst aspect and one that is generally difficult to do well with in solo).


SUMMARY

[Tim] Captain Marvel wins the second Showdown of season 1 with a perfect record!  I expected her to do well and it was nice to see James get 5 wins with her (particularly as she was representing Aggression, my favourite aspect).  As James mentioned above, Captain Marvel is probably good enough to be playing these on Heroic difficulty, but that’ll be something to discuss in our end of season review.

In joint second place were my two characters this time, Black Panther and Iron Man.  I was happy enough with the Iron Man result, but was hoping for one more win with Black Panther.  Oh well, three wins isn’t awful though.

Speaking of awful, Thor crashed into fourth place.  Unlucky, James!  Thor is my favourite Marvel Champions character but I do appreciate that he is quite challenging to play solo (and Mutagen Formula is one of the toughest scenarios).  This might mean that James doesn’t want to draft him next season, so it’s not all bad.

These are the current season standings.  I’ve got a three point lead but I’m not getting ahead of myself, I’ve got some tough games coming up and I’ve used both of my Leadership characters this season already.

Next week it’s Klaw’s turn in the Showdown series with one of the new encounter modules from Kang, Anachronauts.  It should be an interesting fight!  That article will be published on Wednesday 4th November, so return then to see how we get on against Klaw.

Cheers,

Tim & James

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