This week we take a look at the aspect and basic cards from the Black Widow Hero Pack. In this article, Tim and James will rate all eleven cards from that pack.
We are going to be rating cards between 1-5 using the system below. Our ratings are an overall score taking into account True Solo and Two-Handed/Multiplayer.
This time we are going to be rating the eleven cards from the Black Widow Hero Pack. If you’d like to rate the cards yourselves to see if our opinions match up, here’s a link to marveldb for a visual reminder of the cards we are rating.
[Tim] (5/5) In my opinion, an average 3-cost ally is 2 Attack, 1 Thwart, and 3 HP. Agent Coulson is slightly above that, as 2 Thwart is generally more useful than 2 Attack, but it’s his ability that really lifts him up. Being able to find a specific preparation card and add it to your hand means that at the very least, you’re getting a partial refund on the resources that you paid for Agent Coulson. However, there are several useful preparation cards that you can go and find, such as Counterintelligence, Spycraft, and Target Acquired. All of these can be handy to varying degrees. Agent Coulson isn’t flashy, but in my opinion he is an absolute auto-include in Justice decks at the moment.
[James] (4/5) Coulson may not be as flashy as some other allies but he remains a strong play that offers tremendous value. Coulson can remove as much threat as For Justice! whilst also providing a chump block for essentially the same cost if you factor in the preparation tutor. The most likely target for that tutor is Counterintelligence, enabling a relatively safe flip back to alter-ego if you need to heal, but there are a number of options you could include depending on what you want from it.
[Tim] (3/5) She’s a cheap ally with an ability that you’ll probably never use but that’s not why you’ll include her; two-cost allies are great for throwing under the bus.
[James] (3/5) Quake’s low cost makes up for her situational ability and ensures that she will always be considered for decks even if she ultimately does not make the cut. Dealing 2 damage to scheming minions can be useful, particularly in multiplayer where it is more likely to trigger, but most of the time you’re just going to attack with Quake and then chump block. Overall a good ally, but one that is likely going to get pushed out of decks in the not so distant future.
[Tim] (3/5) This card adds some much-needed damage-dealing capability to the Justice aspect. To get the most out of it you are probably going to be using it on a minion (as things need to line up pretty well for you to be able to use it to finish off the first stage of the villain), but that’s okay as it’ll help serve as your minion control. It doesn’t belong in every Justice deck (someone like Ms. Marvel is probably okay with just Big Hands), but if the hero doesn’t have much damage-dealing in their 15 cards, then it’s worth a consideration.
[James] (3/5) Stealth Strike is a card I like a lot despite its shortcomings because it offers Justice some much needed minion control. Its damage is pretty inefficient cost wise, and the threat removal option can feel a little redundant at times if you’re keeping up with the one thing Justice does well. However, having access to a secondary attack to help keep your board-state clear of minions can free up your hero specific attacks for the villain though, which is well worth considering. Not a card I would usually take into a multiplayer game, but it’s definitely worth considering in true solo.
[Tim] (3/5) I like this card as it provides a small safety net against some of the unexpected things that can happen during the villain phase. Most of the time, this will probably sit in play and do nothing, which means that you’re probably doing okay. If you’re playing Agent Coulson in your deck (and you should be!) then I think you should probably include one copy of this.
[James] (3/5) Counterintelligence offers some much needed threat protection if you’re the type of true solo player that occasionally likes to flip back to alter-ego. In multiplayer games it can prevent/reduce the threat being placed at the start of the villain phase, which has the added benefit of stopping Ultron’s Assault on Norad from triggering if playing that scenario. Just a boringly good card, and the best preparation to grab with Coulson in most situations.
[Tim] (3/5) Another safety net card, but this time you can only play it if you control a spy character. Well, since the main hero that is going to be using preparation cards is a spy and Justice decks can (and should!) include Agent Coulson, that requirement isn’t going to be too hard to get around. Spycraft basically gives you a re-roll on an encounter card, allowing you another chance to avoid a game-ending situation.
[James] (2/5) Spycraft is a hard card for me to rate because I’ve never felt tempted to actually run it. Although I’ve seen it crop up on numerous heroic lists, and can understand why someone would like it, I’m just not personally a fan of spending resources to change a bad thing to a potentially slightly less bad, bad thing. There are situations when changing the encounter card you flipped for a different one will buy you another turn, so that’s something to consider I guess. That being said if you really care about controlling the more problematic cards in the encounter deck you could just play one of the heroes that actually cancel them instead of gambling on the second flip.
[Tim] (5/5) Generating a wild resource is incredibly useful for a lot of cards to gain their additional effect. The Avengers-only restriction will be more of an issue going forwards (we’re getting Guardians characters at the moment, for instance), but will offset the card’s other downside which is the uniqueness. If several players are using Avengers characters, you might have a small argument discussion as to who gets to use it. There aren’t many heroes that wouldn’t want to include Quincarrier if they could, which is why I’ve rated it so highly.
[James] (5/5) Quincarrier is just a fantastic resource generator. If you’re playing an Avenger, and at this point in the game you likely are, then it really should be in your deck (obviously this gets more complicated in multiplayer). Helps smooth out turns and fulfil specific resource requirements on either your cards or villain attachments. Requiring the Avengers trait to play means it can’t be played in alter-ego mode, which is unfortunate but not deal breaking.
[Tim] (2/5) Target Acquired has quite a niche effect but it will prove useful on occasion. I think that it will be a card that you will include if you know for sure that the scenario you are playing against has a lot of boost effects, rather than in a general-purpose deck. Still handy though, and definitely another worthy target for Agent Coulson.
[James] (3/5) Target Acquired is one of those cards that many people in the community, myself included, simply overlook. Boost effects are not only becoming more prevalent but they’re getting nastier too, and I expect that soon we will all be slotting in at least one copy of Target Acquired into our decks to help combat them.
[Tim] (2/5) To make this worthwhile using, you are going to want to hit them for at least three damage, probably more. This means that I think that this card will only really be useful on characters that have a lot of Hit Points, such as the Hulks or Thor. It’s probably worth including at least one copy in decks for characters like that, but I’m not convinced about including it with more fragile heroes.
[James] (2/5) While being one of the worst preparation cards we currently have access to, Counterattack can still be useful in certain situations. If timed right it can deliver some excellent value damage depending on the particular villain you are fighting. Taking a huge attack to the face can leave you vulnerable if you flip an encounter card that lets the villain attack again though. Especially if you have no defences in play. When you consider the hoops you have to jump through to make Counterattack consistently worth it you will probably be better off simply using another method of damaging the villain.
[Tim] (5/5) A key part of the ally spam Leadership build (arguably the most effective build in the game, as you just plug your hero into the deck and use the allies as cannon fodder), and works even better on expensive allies with enter play abilities (such as Heimdall). Not an awful lot to say about it; it helps keep allies in play, it’s great!
[James] (5/5) Not convinced that Leadership really needed more ally recursion but here we are. Rapid Response is not quite as broken as Make The Call but it’s still a very strong card that ranks amongst the reasons to even play Leadership. Excels at recurring 3+ costed allies without losing value, especially if those allies have enters play abilities like Mockingbird and Nick Fury. Can also be used to refill Hawkeye (Clint Barton)’s quiver if playing a minion heavy scenario, or saving Goliath after you use his ability assuming he dies to the consequential damage. Overall just a very strong card, and one that contributes to ally swarm being the dominant deck that it is. Just do yourself a favour and don’t try to use it whilst infiltrating any museums.
[Tim] (2/5) On paper, this doesn’t look too bad, and it’s not, but I just don’t know what deck could really make great use out of it. Protection has a lot of options for damage prevention now, although they all live in the shadow of Energy Barrier, the king of Protection. Defensive Stance may find itself in some decks at one copy, but I can’t ever see it being a key card for any build.
[James] (2/5) Defensive Stance is another situational preparation card that struggles to find space in decks despite its usefulness. Damage mitigation not only keeps you alive but it also acts as pseudo-threat control by allowing you to stay in hero mode, which cuts down on how often the villain schemes. Protection has a fair amount of damage mitigation available now, with Energy Barrier in particular outshining Defensive Stance with its versatility. Worth trying to squeeze a single copy in when playing certain heroes but generally speaking this card does not make the cut all too often.
[Tim] (1/5) The spy requirement isn’t too big of an issue for the same reasons listed in Spycraft (Black Widow / Agent Coulson), it’s the effect that is the problem; it’s not good. Unlike the excellent card cycling effect of Spiritual Meditation that happens immediately, Espionage requires that you invest in it with the hope that a Surge card appears from the encounter deck at some point. Even Black Widow probably doesn’t want to use this card, and she loves preparation cards!
[James] (1/5) Paying two resources to draw two cards after a specific triggering condition is pretty bad value, especially if you factor in how infrequent surge can actually be. This preparation has a little more synergy with Black Widow, who also gets a damage ping from the effect, and it can be used to make Winter Soldier cheaper, but overall Espionage is just a terrible card.
Quite a lot of agreement this time, as well as a generally high rating overall. Depending on your opinion of the Black Widow hero (Tim doesn’t like her at all while James does), this is a good pack to get for the cards.
Tim & James
Huh. I’ve actually gotten quite a lot of use out of Espionage with widow but I flip a lot. Use a gauntlet to play it in Alter-ego then draw a card and it’s basically free. Plus as you mentioned it’s a Winter Soldier discount.
Also I find surge triggers a lot in alter-ego and since I spend so much time with Widow in that form my espionages basically always trigger. Granted I’m not getting the +1 damage but it’s a small price to pay for those turns where I get to draw up to a 12 card hand size.
Still it’s a card I’d only use with Widow justice (though I always use it) so it’s probably a 2/5.
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We’ve noticed that Espionage has quite a few fans out there, so you’re not alone! If you’re getting good use with it in a Black Widow deck, that’s great. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
I used Espionage in a netdecked She Hulk deck that was built around them. Even so I gradually tuned them out – I would rather use Resourceful for a guaranteed resource at some point than a possible 2 cards.
I also disagree with Rapid Response. It is not that good with 2 cost allies which are the ones I swarm with. I would rather play an ally or of course Make the Call. With expensive allies you do get a good rebate but even so you want to play the allies first and it’s harder to play Rapid Response if you have to find the resources for Goliath. Still a good 4 but not an auto-include. It does feel great with Nick Fury even if that is just breaking even solo a lot of the time.
Ms Marvel needs more than 3 attack events but I prefer Concussive Blow with her. Well with anyone really. She does get better value out of Stealth Strike, with Embiggen and Mutagenesis it’s sort 6 for 3 total resources (quietly ignoring opportunity costs).
I’m still enjoying these but I’m looking forward to some Most Wanted stuff!
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Thanks for leaving a comment, Jonathan! We’re slowly but surely getting through all of the released product so far. It’s tempting to skip ahead to The Galaxy’s Most Wanted cards, but I think we still need more game time with them before rating the cards.