Showdown #11 – Ultron

It’s the final Showdown of our second season and we’re returning to a villain that we faced back in Showdown #2, Ultron!  With seemingly endless waves of drones, Ultron can quickly overwhelm the unprepared.  How did we get on this time?

THE HEROES

Against Ultron will be the following Heroes:

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

EDIT: For this scenario we used the Master of Time encounter module.


AGGRESSION – BLACK PANTHER

[James] The aim of this deck is to control the villain with Drop Kick and Mockingbird whilst using the other allies to keep the board state in check as I build up Black Panther’s suit. Once everything is in place I can Wakanda Forever! my way to victory.

Brawn and She-Hulk are included to help deal with threat. Spider-Girl and Valkyrie offer some much needed minion control with Kang (Master of Time) being their primary target. I opted for She-Hulk over Sentry due to the physical resource in order to make Drop Kick as consistent as possible.

The last time I ran this character/aspect combination I had issues keeping threat under control, so I decided to try running both “You’ll Pay For That” and Chase Them Down (it’s a minion heavy scenario after all) this time. Both cards are at 2x in order to diversify my threat control. Relentless Assault offers some excellent minion control/villain damage in a scenario where 1-2 health minions are so prevalent.

I decided to go all in on Aggression’s “Revenge” archetype and throw in Counterattack for those turns when Ultron lands an attack. Finally I added the usual economy package of Hall of Heroes (great site by the way!), Helicarrier, Martial Prowess and Quincarrier. These cards enable you to thin your deck whilst smoothing out playing multiple cards in future turns. Ultimately this deck wants as many cards out of it as possible to enable multiple Wakanda Forever!’s in a single turn.

Results

  1. LOSS, 7 rounds (Damage)
  2. WIN, 9 rounds
  3. LOSS, 5 rounds (Damage)
  4. LOSS, 7 rounds (Damage)
  5. LOSS, 7 rounds (Threat)

Another fairly resounding defeat. Not even sure where these games went wrong, but I was just consistently finding myself being swarmed by Ultron’s drones. Drawing Shadow of the Past in every single game certainly did not help matters much either.

Game 2 was the only one I ever got fully set up in, and once I was I felt in control for the reminder of the game. Ended it with three separate Wakanda Forever!, which certainly felt good. 

The combination is fun to play, but the more I play it the more I suspect it will fair a lot better in multiplayer games.


JUSTICE – THOR

[Tim] I’m not a big fan of the Justice aspect, but I am a big fan of Thor which balances things out a bit!  Ultron is a tough fight, but with a couple of Lightning Strikes in his deck I thought that Thor would be able to deal with the minion swarms that would appear.  With that card in mind, I tried to make sure that I included as many cards with energy resources on them as reasonably possible.

For Justice! was my threat removal card of choice, as it removes more than other similar cards, and Thor needs as much threat removal as possible because his own methods of doing so are a bit lacking (Defender of the Nine Realms is a great card for sure, but not so great with Ultron’s relative lack of minions in his encounter deck).  I also included a couple of copies of Beat Cop and one copy of Interrogation Room to the deck for some slower but more sustained threat removal.

I added two copies of Concussive Blow mainly for the Confuse effect, as it would lessen the impact of flipping back to Alter Ego to recover.

For allies I put nearly all of the Justice ones in (I only excluded Spider-Man) as there really isn’t much choice at the moment anyway.  Nick Fury and Mockingbird were both included as they are always useful.  The rest of the deck was the usual staples.

Results

  1. WIN, 15 rounds
  2. LOSS, 3 rounds (Damage)
  3. LOSS, 8 rounds (Damage)
  4. LOSS, 7 rounds (Threat)
  5. LOSS, 9 rounds (Damage)

Ouch, that didn’t go well!  I guess that I should have got the idea that it was going to be tough going when my first game took 15 rounds.  In the past I’ve had some success with Thor versus Ultron, but I think the Master of Time module made things that little bit tougher.  It didn’t help that I had Shadow of the Past show up in four out of my five games.

In game 2 there were simply too many drones and a Gang Up sealed the deal.  In game three I defeated Loki three times only to have him survive each time (I didn’t go too far out of my way to specficially defeat him; twice was part of a big Lightning Strike and the other time was with a Hammer Throw so at least some damage went to Ultron).

So overall not as well as I would have liked, but sometimes that’s how it goes.


LEADERSHIP – ANT-MAN

[Tim] I’d used Ant-Man earlier in the season (with Justice) and knew that he was quite strong.  He has some cards that are going to be very useful against Ultron, such as Army of Ants and Giant Stomp.  Combined with Leadership for cards like Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and Squirrel Girl, I was quite confident that this was an excellent pairing.

This was going to be the classic Leadership ally spam build, so allies were chosen based on cheapness and effectiveness.  Other than the ubiquitous Mr Fury, Falcon was the most expensive ally I chose and that’s because I rate him quite highly.  Decent stats along with an interesting and helpful ability meant that he got the nod ahead of the other four-costers.

For events I included the maximum number of copies of Make the Call as its an essential part of the ally spam build.  It also meant that I could drag poor old Hawkeye out of the discard pile over and over so that he could keep spamming those arrows (he’s SO GOOD against Ultron it feels like cheating).  I also included a copy of Swarm Tactics.  It requires some very specific circumstances for it to be useable, but I viewed it as a less-good third copy of Resize.

Even though Ant-Man has two copies of a resource card among his 15 (Pym Particles), I still opted to include two copies of The Power of Leadership along with the usual basic double resources, as the little bit of extra resource generation would probably help for the times when I ended the round in Giant form (and had a smaller Hand Size).

For support cards, Quincarrier, Team Training, and The Triskelion were easy choices to make.  Finally, for upgrades I went for Down Time and two Rapid Response.  Good, solid cards.

Results

  1. WIN, 9 rounds
  2. WIN, 12 rounds
  3. WIN, 12 rounds
  4. WIN, 8 rounds
  5. WIN, 12 rounds

A clean sweep!  I was expecting to do quite well, but I didn’t think that I’d win all of them.  However, the aforementioned cards for dealing with Ultron’s drone swarms all proved more than equal to the task, and in the end these games were relatively straightforward.

Leadership is undoubtedly the strongest aspect in true solo, but Ant-Man worked really well with that aspect.  I suppose it’s somewhat fitting that his precon aspect is Leadership then.

I don’t think Ant-Man is as good as Doctor Strange, but he is definitely up there with Captain America and Captain Marvel in terms of power, and Ms. Marvel in terms of fun.


PROTECTION – CAPTAIN MARVEL

[James] With this list I’m aiming to keep the villain stunlocked, and mitigate any damage that does get through, whilst I gradually wear Ultron down with Photonic Blasts. Once everything is in place Energy Channel will quickly burn through his remaining health.

The difference between this stunlock list and most others that Protection can field is Captain Marvel is very hungry for Energy resources, which makes running Nova a more tempting prospect. With his ability I can ping off drones even if Ultron (III) is in play, which makes keeping them in check easier.

As for the other allies, I included Iron Fist for obvious reasons, Clea to use as a cheap blocker and Brother Voodoo because of his 2 THW. The ability to search for an event is nice, but Protection needs all the help it can get with threat control so that was my primary reason for including him. 

With the events I opted for Tackle to round out the stunlock package, Preemptive Strike to mitigate damage and use as an energy resource, and Muster Courage to help give my board some extra survivability. Running a different module encounter set meant I did not have to consider Under Attack’s Concussive Blast pinging off the Tough status cards before I could block with them.

Finally I added Energy Barrier to complete the damage mitigation package, which is also great for dealing with the drones, and Enhanced Reflexes to turn my non-Energy resources into Energy if I needed to.

Captain Marvel remains one of my favourite heroes to play, and she’s one I often do quite well with against the tougher scenarios.

Results

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

Well, that definitely did not go as expected. Similar situation that I had with Black Panther, in that I was flipping to Ultron (III) and then just losing all tempo to his drones swarming me (with help from Kang). In a slight change of pace I actually drew Under Fire every game in this series (as opposed to Shadow of the Past).

Nova and Premptive Strike were the wild cards in this deck and they both worked pretty well when I used them. I was happy with the deck overall, and despite this performance it remains one of the few Protection lists I actually enjoy playing.


SUMMARY

[Tim] Ant-Man clearly took this Showdown with a 100% record versus Ultron.  The rest of the characters struggled against the drone swarms (and Kang sauntering in every so often).

[James] Another pretty rough week for me. Ultron can be a tough scenario but it’s been a while since I struggled this badly against it. With hindsight I think I should have switched the aspects around. Black Panther Protection likely wouldn’t have faired any better, but my Captain Marvel Aggression list usually does pretty well against this scenario. It’s nice to try different things that I suppose.

[Tim] These are the final standings for season 2.  Only two characters managed a 100% record this season.  James and I will go over these standings in some detail in our end of season review, but Spider-Man and Ant-Man are the winners this season (or maybe just Justice and Leadership?).

Anyway, we hope you enjoyed us revisiting Ultron.

Cheers,

Tim & James

4 thoughts on “Showdown #11 – Ultron

    • Mean Swing was in the deck the first time I ran it (against Taskmaster), but was cut on this occasion to make space for Relentless Assault.

      I found that Black Panther was thwarting most turns anyway, so likely would not have played Mean Swing much even if it was in the deck.

      Like

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