Showdown #7 – Zola

Zola is the final villain that we will be facing this season and he’s almost certainly going to be the toughest!  With his Retaliate ability and relentless swarms of often powered-up minions, Zola definitely provides a challenge.  We would be going with the default encounter module for this fight (Under Attack).

THE HEROES

Against Zola will be the following Heroes:

  • Aggression – Ms. Marvel [Tim]
  • Justice – Black Panther [Tim]
  • Leadership – Captain Marvel [James]
  • Protection – Spider-Woman [James]

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 – MS. MARVEL

[Tim] Ms. Marvel is one of my favourite characters in Marvel Champions and I was pleased to be able to use her again this season, this time with what is probably her best aspect, Aggression.

The decklist that I would be using against Zola would be a lot different from the one I used against Crossbones in Showdown #1; Zola has a lot more minions to deal with!  To that end, I have included three copies of Relentless Assault, Melee, and Piercing Strike.  Combined with Embiggen!, these would all be powerful tools to help stymie the swarm of minions.

Against Crossbones I included To the Rescue! to help with threat.  I’ll be honest, it isn’t a great card, but with few other options it’s what you’ve got.  For this scenario though, I opted for Chase Them Down, as there are enough minions to easily justify its inclusion.  Also, with this deck I am less concerned about including more physical resources because I am not playing Drop Kick this time.

My ally lineup was pretty much the same, but I chose to include Tigra as well, again because of the increased number of minions.  Due to Zola’s Retaliate, my allies would instead be focussing on the minions and the schemes rather than doing damage to him directly.  I reckoned that I’d be able to get a lot of value from Tigra in this instance.

You may also have noticed that my deck is 41 cards.  I wouldn’t normally go over 40, but for this scenario Hydra Prison takes away your signature ally and I didn’t mind having Red Dagger gone for the whole game, so my deck was basically 40 cards.  Having Hydra Prison in play the whole time also trivialised Masterplan, so I was okay with that.

Results

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

3-2 is not a bad record against Zola.  The games were intense!  Even though I had loads of minion removal, sometimes I still found myself being overwhelmed.  Both of my losses were due to threat, but that’s only because I had to go to Alter-Ego form to heal up from the beating I was receiving.

Having the maximum number of copies of Melee, Piercing Strike, and Relentless Assault was definitely a good choice.  James talked me into maxing out all of them, so thanks James!

If I were to make any changes to the deck, I’d probably remove Sentry just because I never really found myself having the opportunity to play him.  I know that Nick Fury costs the same number of resources, but you would usually just draw three cards with him, effectively making him cheaper.  For this scenario, perhaps Hall of Heroes would have been a better choice.  Ms. Marvel likes to flip between forms a lot so activating the card draw wouldn’t be an issue, and in this scenario she is taking out a lot of minions herself.

Other than that one change though, the deck performed admirably!  If you’re having a hard time against Zola, I would consider giving this a try.


JUSTICE – BLACK PANTHER

[Tim] This is the second time I’d be using Black Panther this season.  Last time was with Leadership versus Mutagen Formula.

Since Black Panther has three copies of Vibranium amongst his hero cards, I decided to go for a quick expensive deck, reasoning that he’d be able to afford them.

Allies like Daredevil and Spider-Man were included, as well as three copies of Beat Cop and Stealth Strike, then two copies of Concussive Blow.

I didn’t include For Justice! or Clear the Area, which might be considered controversial (James was definitely surprised by that), but with Beat Cops, decent allies, and Tactical Genius I thought that I’d have threat under control.  The main thing I was worried about in this scenario would be dealing with minions, so getting cards like Energy Daggers and Panther Claws into play as quickly as possible would be the priority.

Results

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

Whoops!  I was completely overwhelmed every time.  It’s very possible that my decklist was complete rubbish, but it never felt like I had the time to get reasonably set up.  Any card that didn’t immediately impact the board state felt like a luxury that I couldn’t afford in this scenario.

I don’t think that Black Panther is one of the characters that I’ve figured out yet and I’ve definitely done him a disservice this season.  Hopefully James will draft him next season and get better use out of him!


LEADERSHIP – CAPTAIN MARVEL

[James] Originally I toyed around with the idea of running an Avengers themed deck using cards like Avengers Assemble, Strength in Numbers and Avengers Tower. However, during the test games I had with that deck I was not happy with its performance so switched to a more traditional “good stuff” deck.

I included Black Knight for his ability to pierce toughness, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) for his minion control, and Squirrel Girl primarily as a cheap blocker. Maria Hill is a strong thwarter and can help you maintain tempo with her enters play ability. Goliath and Vision are both here for the potential burst damage they offer. Finally, I decided to break my deck building rules and go to 41 cards by including Nick Fury. This was solely because of how this particular scenario works in regards to Hydra Prison. 

To help get the most out of these allies I included Get Ready, Lead from the Front and Team Training. A fairly standard package that enables boosting my allies stats and activating them multiple times in a single round to help keep the board state under control. Speaking of standard I also included my typical ally recursion package of 2x Make the Call and 2x Rapid Response. Finally, because I was running so many allies I decided to include The Triskelion for the extra ally slot it offers, or to use as an energy resource in a pinch.

Results

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

A very strong performance, but given the hero and aspect combination being played I expected to do better. In game 1 I was just swamped early by minions that I couldn’t clear fast enough, and took an extra attack thanks to the utterly annoying Mind Ray. Game 4 I was posed to win but drew double Advance… frustrating, but that’s just how true solo goes sometimes.

The games were very challenging, but the deck performed well. The one change I would make would be to replace Vision for another cheap blocker like Hawkeye (Kate Bishop).


PROTECTION – SPIDER-WOMAN

[James] This Spider-Woman deck was paired with Protection, and I decided to use Aggression as the second aspect in order to go all in on stun effects. If I could stop Zola from attacking as much as possible that might buy me the time I need to get Spider-Woman set up enough to eventually pull off at least a couple of wins.

Starting with the Aggression cards I included Brawn to help manage threat, and Spider-Girl for the minion control she offers. Zola’s creations can get out of hand quickly so being able to fully lock one down can come in handy. I added 2x Drop Kick for the stun and card draw, and a full set of Relentless Assault to also help with minions.

For Protection I included Brother Voodoo for his 2 thwart and ability to dig for an event, Clea as a cheap blocker and Iron Fist as a source of damage and stun. The only Protection event I included was Tackle for obvious reasons. The Night Nurse was included to help deal with the pesky status conditions that Zola can inflict with his Mind Ray.

Not only did both sets of aspect cards end up being fairly expensive, but Spider-Woman’s signature Contaminant Immunity and Venom Blast both also cost 2 to play. For this reason I included two copies of each aspect’s Power of card to help smooth out my turns.

As for basic cards I rounded out the stun effects with Mockingbird, included Quincarrier to help with resource generation, and added the Down Time plus Endurance combo to help keep Spider-Woman healthy. Finally I included Nick Fury as the 41st card for the same reason he was included in the Captain Marvel list.

Results

  1. LOSS, 4 rounds (Damage)
  2. LOSS, 6 rounds (Threat)
  3. LOSS, 7 rounds (Damage)
  4. LOSS, 4 rounds (Damage)
  5. LOSS, 5 rounds (Damage)

Did everything I could to give Spider-Woman a fighting chance but to no avail, and she simply got absolutely mauled. Other aspect pairings might fair better but I felt the Protection side of the deck slowed it down so much that it just could not keep pace with Zola’s sheer silliness.

Momentum Shift could work as a replacement for Tackle. Reduces the stun effects but increase Spider-Woman’s survivability whilst providing another attack event to help keep the minions in check. Based on how badly these five games went though I doubt it would have changed too much.


SUMMARY

[Tim] Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel are joint winners this time, but with only 3 wins.  This is the first scenario this season that a character did not manage 5 wins and I think that is a testament to how tough Zola is to beat.

Speaking of which, both Black Panther and Spider-Woman failed to get any wins.  Both James and I will both have to go back to the drawing board with those characters!

These are the final standings after all four Showdowns.  Some good results and some less-than-stellar ones as well!  I won the series, 23-19, but since those totals are out of 40, we’ve both got a lot of room for improvement!

We are going to do a full analysis of this season in our next article, which will also include lots of stats; hero win rates, villain win rates, aspect win rates, etc.  James and I will also talk about what we learned in this season as well as review if any of the heroes or villains need to move categories.  We hope you have enjoyed this season so far!

Cheers,

Tim & James

2 thoughts on “Showdown #7 – Zola

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