Showdown #6 – Klaw

Klaw is the third villain that we will be facing this season.  A veteran from the core set, Klaw is probably one of the best-designed scenarios in the game so far, with a good mix of attacking and scheming.  To add to this, we replaced the default encounter module (Masters of Evil) with a new one from the Kang pack, Anachronauts.  This would be a challenging set full of powerful minions, so this is all set to be a tough fight!

THE HEROES

Against Klaw will be the following Heroes:

  • Aggression – Hawkeye [James[
  • Justice – Ms. Marvel [Tim]
  • Leadership – Spider-Woman [James]
  • Protection – Doctor Strange [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 – HAWKEYE

[James] Hawkeye was pretty much left with Aggression by default after I had finished assigning all my other draft picks, but it is still a deck I was eager to try out. I’ve had success with a Leadership Hawkeye deck in the past, and will be trying a similar approach with Aggression.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes offers a cheap ready effect for Avenger characters. Not only is this good for Hawkeye, but it can be used with Aggression’s glut of good allies too. Getting multiple activations out of Sentry and She-Hulk in a single turn will result in strong burst damage or threat removal. In addition to these two heavy hitters I also included three other allies that help enable EMH. These are Hulk, Spider-Girl and Valkyrie.

Relentless Assault is pretty much an auto-include when taking Aggression against any minion heavy scenario, as it enables you to deal with them whilst still potentially doing some damage to the villain. I also included two copies of the less commonly played Piercing Strike in order to deal with Klaw’s Armored Guards without having to use multiple attacks.

I decided against running Drop Kick in this list because not only do Electric Arrow and Sonic Arrow already offer a nice amount of villain control, but the deck is also pretty expensive as is. 

Results

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

In hindsight Hawkeye should have been paired with Leadership. The EMH Aggression deck is fun to play, but takes too long to gain momentum in true solo. Klaw and the Anachronauts simply crushed me before I could even get into the game.

Game 3 proved to be the exception as I was able to keep Klaw locked down with Electric Arrows and hide behind allies in the first couple of turns. This gave me enough time to stabilise and gain control of the board. 

Getting rid of Defense Network proved difficult in most games too, which is a problem I clearly overlooked when putting the deck together. This likely stems from my performance with Captain Marvel Aggression in the last showdown leaving me complacent about the aspect’s power. I simply forgot that not all heroes are created equal.

The EMH list is likely fine as is for multiplayer, but if I were to pilot Hawkeye Aggression in true solo again I would drop EMH in favour of more threat control.


JUSTICE – MS. MARVEL

[Tim] Ms. Marvel was my first pick in the draft because not only is she a powerful character, she’s also incredibly fun to use!

Ms. Marvel’s whole playstyle is around events.  She can return an event to hand after using it via her Morphogenetics ability and she can boost the potency of events with Embiggen! and Shrink.  She already has some useful events for dealing damage (Big Hands) and removing threat (Sneak By), but Justice also has some good ones.

Stealth Strike and Concussive Blow have been around for a while now, and both of them would be auto-includes in this deck.  I went for the maximum number of copies of Stealth Strike due to the amount of higher Hit Point minions present in this scenario (thanks to Anachronauts).  A new event that I was very keen to use with Ms. Marvel is Clear the Area.  I think that this will be a very efficient threat removal tool for her.

I included two copies of Followed to help with minion clearance.  I don’t always include this card but with two side schemes being in the encounter module as well as the ones from Klaw’s cards, I thought that I’d be able to get enough use out of them.

Target Acquired looked like it would be very handy in this scenario due to the high number of boost abilities.

The rest of the deck was fairly standard stuff.  Justice doesn’t have a lot of choice in allies at the moment so I just went with the cheap ones (although I do think that Agent Coulson and Jessica Jones are legitimately good, it’s just Quake that I’m a bit lukewarm on).

Results

  1. WIN, 14 rounds
  2. WIN, 21 rounds
  3. WIN, 14 rounds
  4. WIN, 20 rounds
  5. WIN, 22 rounds

Well, I won all five games but it took a long time!  A total of 91 rounds across five games…it was definitely a slog!

It took every trick at my disposal to keep my head above water.  Embiggen! was a very important card, turning every Stealth Strike and Big Hands into a minion kill.  Clear the Area worked great with Shrink which was nice to see.

As my games were taking this long, perhaps including some Beat Cops might have been a good idea, but it’s difficult to know what to take out for them.  Perhaps Followed?  At the end of the day, the deck won all of its games so I can’t complain too much (just would have been nice if they didn’t take so many rounds!).


LEADERSHIP – SPIDER-WOMAN

[James] Spider-Woman was paired with Leadership for this Showdown, however, due to her deck-building rules I was able to choose another aspect to include. I chose Justice to help get Klaw’s starting side schemes under control quickly.

Starting with the Justice cards I included Agent Coulson for his two thwart and ability to grab preparation cards, and Quake to use as a cheap blocker. Clear the Area and Stealth Strike were included to help manage threat and deal with minions respectively. Finally we have the Justice upgrade package of Counterintelligence, Skilled Investigator and Under Surveillance. The threat controlling upgrades are here to give Spider-Woman a little more time to get set up, and the potential card draw of Skilled Investigator will allow her to maintain tempo.

As for the Leadership cards I decided to include Maria Hill for her two thwart and card draw ability, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) to help deal with Klaw’s many minions, and Goliath as a source of burst damage to close out games. Team Training is here in order to get another activation out of Captain Marvel and the two thwart allies. Finally I added the standard two copies of Make the Call and Rapid Response, because recurring the strongest card type in the game is the reason you play Leadership in the first place.

I opted for Nick Fury over another basic like Helicarrier or Quincarrier because I felt like the deck needed another source of damage. His card draw ability is almost always the best option, but the ability to deal four damage, especially when paired with Rapid Response to trigger it twice in a round, can really help close out games. The deck is a little light on the damage front so I felt like this was a worthwhile addition to the deck.

Results

  1. WIN, 11 rounds
  2. WIN, 19 rounds
  3. WIN, 18 rounds
  4. LOSS, 8 rounds (Damage)
  5. WIN, 12 rounds

A very strong showing, but the games were also incredibly long for the most part. This was due to the deck’s low damage output, and time it took to stabilise and get set up. Once Jessica Drew’s Apartment and both copies of Finesse were in play I felt pretty secure, however, it was still a struggle to get damage through to Klaw whilst also keeping the Anachronauts at bay. 

Game 2 was particularly rough as I went from having three Anachronauts in play around turn 6 (I almost just gave up to be honest) to having all three Armored Guards in play in the final 6 rounds or so of the game. 

The deck was ultimately able to hold its own though and there’s nothing that I would change about it. I would probably just refrain from playing five games in a row with it again.


PROTECTION – DOCTOR STRANGE

[Tim] Doctor Strange had been my 5th pick in the draft.  The reason he was so low was because I’d have to use him on Heroic 1 difficulty.  On Expert difficulty I’d say that he was pretty much an auto-win, but Heroic is a totally different ball game.

Doctor Strange likes to have a decent amount of allies so that he can maximise his Seven Rings of Raggadorr and let them take hits for him, as he’s a bit squishy himself.

Klaw is a bit of a schemer so I wanted to stay in Hero form as long as possible.  To that end, I included the maximum number of copies of Energy Barrier and Momentum Shift.

Even though expensive, I included Luke Cage to help dish out some damage as it would be needed in this scenario.  Iron Fist it too good to skip so he went in as well.  Clea and Brother Voodoo are generally useful allies so made the cut also.

The rest of the deck choices were fairly standard stuff.  When playing a Mystic you obviously have to include The Sorcerer Supreme though!

Results

  1. LOSS, 3 rounds (Damage)
  2. WIN, 12 rounds
  3. LOSS, 4 rounds (Damage)
  4. LOSS, 2 rounds (Damage)
  5. LOSS, 4 rounds (Threat)

I got battered!  It’s been widely stated that Doctor Strange’s main weakness is dealing with minions and that was painfully apparent in this scenario.  Although it’s perhaps unfair to judge him for that when using Protection as dealing damage isn’t that aspect’s strong suit.

I could be tempted to take out the copies of Med Team for more copies of Haymaker (it’s not a great card but it does damage), but I’m not sure how much that would have helped.

I think that I may have bitten off more than I can chew when assigning Doctor Strange to using Protection versus Klaw with Anachronauts.  Doctor Strange absolutely smashes on Expert difficulty but struggles a bit on Heroic as he needs a little bit of time to get set up, something that Heroic does not give you.  If I draft Doctor Strange in a future season I’d probably just pair him with Leadership and against a less minion-intensive scenario.


SUMMARY

[Tim] Ms. Marvel wins the third Showdown of the season with 5 wins.  I was pleased with her performance even if it was slow going.  Ms. Marvel is a very fun character to use and I would recommend giving her a try if you haven’t already.

In second place was Spider-Woman with a good performance, getting 4 wins.  With her ability to cherry pick the best cards from two aspects at once I think she’s always going to be a strong choice.

In joint third place this week were Doctor Strange and Hawkeye.  Both of us expected better results from these two but that’s because we both severely underestimated how difficult Kang + Anachronauts was going to be!

These are the current standings after three Showdowns.  I’ve got a four-point lead which is definitely going to help going into our last Showdown.

Next week in our last Showdown of Season 1 we take on Zola.  Touted as possibly the toughest scenario currently printed, it’s definitely going to be difficult!  That article will be published on Sunday 15th November.  See you then!

Cheers,

Tim & James

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