Decksplaining Captain Marvel

This is a series intended to help people with deckbuildung. I’ll analyze the kit of a hero, suggest an aspect and finally build one deck. I will try to categorize every card into 4 groups (thwart, offense, defense and resources), if a card fits more than one group (like most allies), I’ll try to find the most fitting one. First off is Captain Marvel (CM):

Thwart

1x Spider Woman
3x Crisis Interdiction

Startig with a base thwart of 2, followed by 2 thwart on Spider-Woman (SW) and finally 2 (times 2) threat removal on Crisis Interdiction (CI), one could say that Captain Marvel is actually the „Master of 2“ in disguise. These cards while solid make her a somewhat inefficient thwarter, giving you trouble on side schemes with odd threat. Trouble might be a hard word, but clearing 3 threat from a side scheme kind of feels bad with Captain Marvel. Additionally I’m not a big fan of CI in general, in theory you can remove the same number of threat (in total) as For Justice!,which is a great card, but you need to be Aerial (which is expensive) and there actually needs to be a side scheme in play. When multiple side schemes start piling up, I’d rather clear the most threatening one than remove some here some there. Worth noting however is that SW is the only player card so far that can confuse the villain, which is highly valuable.

Offense

3x Photonic Blast
2x Energy Channel

Photonic Blast (PB) gives us a strong 5 damage for a reasonable cost, but make sure to pack enough energy resources to pay for it, as this card needs the extra draw to be effective. Not much to say here except that this card fits into CM theme of cycling through her deck quickly which we’ll see later in more detail. Energy Channel (EC) on the other hand is not really efficient, but it makes up for that in flexibility. Being able to hit for 4, 6, 8 or 10 on demand is pretty good and lines up nicely with the 5 damage from PB. I think that two things are important to play EC to great effect. First you should recognize your „target number“ for EC. Is Madame Hydra bothering you? Aim for 6 damage. MODOK looming aroubd the corner? Charge up to 8 and so on and so forth. Second now that you got your target number, don’t forget that Energy Absorption is in your deck. You don’t need to charge EC with that, but keep in mind that you might want to. Basically I’m trying to avoid situation where I need 8 damage againt MODOK, have 3 counters on EC already and my only option to kill him is to overpay resources. While this is all fine and dandy for single minions, CM has problems (aka no way) to multi-target enemies. Hit a big minion? Fine. Need to deal with 5 Ultron drones? Ugh! Last but not least an empty EC might be the best card to chuck into Caught Off Guard (besides Mjolnir probably), so keep in mind whether that card is still in the encounter deck or not.

Defense

2x Cosmic Flight
1x Captain Marvel’s Helmet

Captain Marvel’s Helmet (CMH) is a rather simple card. You get +1 DEF or +2 DEF if you are Aerial. Since you only start at 1 that’s a big increase. Worth noting is that this card is a tech upgrade and Tony Stark can fetch that for you with his Stark Tower. This is the second time we need Aerial, but how do we actually get Aerial? This brings us to Cosmic Flight (CF). This card gives you Aerial. What else? You can prevent 3 damage with it. But then you lose Aerial… See, I don’t like this card. Three total resources (2 resources + 1 card) just for Aerial feels pricey, so does three resources for 3 hit points and you can only have one or the other. I get it that you pay for this flexibility, but I rarely find myself with resources to spare to actually put CF into play. Overall I’m not impressed with her Aerial kit and feel like Captain Marvel doesn’t care about defending. One reason for this is her recovery value of 4 coupled with the fact that she has a pretty strong alter-ego ability. With such an ability I fell like CM should flip her identity often and you end up with equal or better results with recovering insted of blocking (imagine you’re at 10 hit points and Rhino attack for 6 damage, if you have CMH, CF and Armored Vest you can block 4 of that damage going to 8 hp. Taking the attack undefended puts you at 4 hp, but then you flip and recover back to 8. One option costs a lot, the other is free). Finally her Rechannel helps to mitigate some damage while cycling through your deck.

Resources

2x Energy Absorption
1x Alpha Flight Station

This is where CM really shines in my opinion as her resouce game is top notch. First off we have Commander which is excellent. Drawing cards is almost always king in card games and Marvel Champions is no exception. You can even let your buddies draw starting from turn one, making you the most popular player before the villain even took a step. Next we have Energy Absorption (EA) which not only fits like a glove for her stronger cards like SW or PB, but also let’s her play expensive cards like Avengers Mansion at ease. Basically you are never ever sad to draw this card. Finally we are looking at Alpha Flight Station (AFS) which gives insane value on your alter-ego side. While AFS nets you one extra card just like Avengers Mansion, it actually does it better since you’ll be discarding single resource cards and might draw into a double or triple resource. And it’s even 3 resources cheaper. AFS is probably CMs best card and is a very good reason to flip into alter-ego often if not every other turn. Between AFS and an identity flip CM sees 4 new cards from her deck, which means that she can cycle faster than Tony Stark with his Futurist ability. Nothing to sneeza at indeed! This makes her a solid pick to find high quality singletons other heroes may fail to find in time. Finally her resource split is 4 physical, 3 mental, 11 energy and 1 wild. This fits her energy needs and gives a good base to work with (unlike Iron Man for example, who gets a more even distribution).

Conclusion

When looking at Captain Marvel I see a moderate thwarting capacity, highly effective single-target damage, a lackluster defense kit and a stellar resource game. In order to round out that character I suggest building a Leadership deck with her. This way she get’s access to:

  • options to thwart at 1 or 3 rounding out her kit
  • pseudo multi-target via multiple allies
  • circumventing her subpar defense by body-blocking with said allies
  • and abusing Spider-Womans unique effect with Make the Call

Notes on the deck

The main premise of the deck is to cycle quickly and be as resource dense as possible. For that reason I trimmed the deck down to 40 cards. With only the starter set to choose from I picked every ally the game has to offer and while there’s a lot cycling on the ally slots (Spider-Woman, Maria Hill and Nick Fury usually only last one turn), there’s one ally (Vision) that I try to keep around the whole game. Cards like Inspired, First Aid and <Get Ready are meant for him (Get Ready is pretty good on Fury too). However this Vision package is usually only coming into play on the 2nd run through your deck. The first run should focus on your support cards (Triskelion not required) and key allies for the particular villain (say Hawkeye vs Ultron for example). On the very first turn I usually flip into hero mode and take the villain attack undefended in order to activate Rechannel. From there I tend to flip every turn maximizing my deck digging capabilities.

In the future I’m looking for cards like Falcon (who would replace Vision, he’s a bit clunky) and think that Avengers Tower coupled with Strength in Numbers will turn Captain Marvel into a real power house. The deck also wants a bit more energy resources, but for now I’m more interested in card quality.

Final thoughts

Starting with Captain Marvel I feel like I’ll really (really really) miss Energy Absorption when I play other heroes, this card is so good. Probably should do Panther next, his Vibranium might ease the pain.

Deckbuilding resources

If you want to build your own Captain Marvel deck in the future, here are some useful links with pre-set search criteria:

Cards with energy (Aggression, Justice, Leadership, Protection)
Stuff to do with the Avenger trait
Stuff to do with the Aerial trait

Read you next time!

Sebastian

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