Game Mobalytics

Tabletop Moments of Immersion

Welcome to the Start of Season 1!

In our previous article, we carefully crafted a schedule of Villains to challenge for the season and skillfully drafted our Heroes. For our inaugural event, we take on the formidable Absorbing Man with the daring encounter module, Legions of Hydra.

Meet Our Heroes

Prepare to witness the prowess of the following Heroes as they face Absorbing Man:

  • Aggression – Hulk (Standard) [Tim]
  • Justice – She-Hulk [James]
  • Leadership – Spider-Man [Tim]
  • Protection – Captain America (Heroic) [James]

Just a friendly reminder of the format: we play the scenario five times, with each drafted character, and then generously share our results.

Aggression – Hulk (Standard) – Tim’s Perspective

Hulk

Overall, my experience with Hulk during our showdown against Ultron on Expert difficulty wasn’t very successful. However, this time, facing a less challenging opponent on Standard difficulty, I had higher hopes for Hulk’s performance.

Hulk was my final draft pick, and neither James nor I were particularly confident in his abilities. Nevertheless, I assigned him to confront Absorbing Man and utilized the Aggression aspect (my personal favorite!). If the cards played out well, Hulk had the potential to impress.

When it came to deck-building, I loaded it with cards containing physical resources. The only exceptions were Brawn and Sentry, as they are essential in Aggression decks. I also included cards like Drop Kick, Skilled Strike, Counterattack, and Jarnbjorn, which I believed would greatly benefit this deck. So, how did it go?

Results

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

Three wins and two losses, not too shabby! I focused less on the main scheme’s threat buildup, which led to my defeats, primarily due to Stall Tactics. However, even if I had removed some threat the following round, I probably would have lost to threat regardless.

As for the deck itself, Counterattack proved to be exceptional, and I would increase it to three copies, although you can only have one in play at a time. Helicarrier and Enhanced Physique are replaceable, and I would likely swap them out for Resourceful.

Although I’m satisfied with three wins (a significant improvement from my Ultron battle!), Hulk still doesn’t impress me. His vulnerability to stun and exhaust effects makes him a rather unpredictable Hero.

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Justice – She-Hulk – James’s Perspective

She-Hulk

In this Justice deck featuring She-Hulk, not much has changed from my previous list in the first Showdown. I utilize cards like Clear the Area and Stealth Strike to maintain control of the board state. These cards also provide the added benefit of mental resources, which can be used to fuel Superhuman Law Division when drawn during Alter-Ego.

Beat Cop aids in gradual threat control and can also handle problematic minions. Given the presence of Hydra Soldiers in the encounter deck, Stealth Strike is my go-to card, but I rely on Beat Cop to keep them in check as well.

To manage threat, Counterintelligence and Under Surveillance are included, although I reduced them to one copy each to avoid duplicates if I already have them in play.

The ally lineup remains unchanged. Although I wished to include Daredevil and Nick Fury, She-Hulk’s limited Hand Size makes it challenging to accommodate 4-cost cards. Justice’s ally lineup is holding the aspect back in my opinion. While not necessarily bad, the lack of variety pales in comparison to Aggression and Leadership.

The only new addition to the list is Great Responsibility, which I felt could be valuable against Absorbing Man’s threat-manipulating cards like Stall Tactics, as well as Advance and Legions of Hydra. It’s not an outstanding card, particularly in solo play, but it serves its purpose.

Results

  1. WIN, 7 rounds
  2. LOSS, 4 rounds (Threat)
  3. WIN, 11 rounds
  4. WIN, 9 rounds
  5. WIN, 7 rounds

A strong performance from She-Hulk! Despite her limitations, she remains an enjoyable Hero to play with the Justice aspect. My standout moment came in the fifth game. By playing Split Personality, I emptied my hand and transformed back into Jennifer Walters. With only five cards left in my deck, I shuffled and drew Gamma Slam for the ultimate victory.

Overall, the deck performed admirably. Clear the Area, especially when paired with Skilled Investigator, proved to be a game-changer in solo play. Despite previous disappointments, Beat Cop proved its worth in these games. However, I still don’t believe it’s as overpowered as some in the community claim.

If I were to make changes, I would include a third copy of Stealth Strike, replacing one Great Responsibility, and remove a copy of Beat Cop to make room for Interrogation Room.

Leadership – Spider-Man – Tim’s Perspective

Spider-Man

As Spider-Man has proven to be a successful choice in my Leadership decks, I made him an early draft pick (my third overall). Spider-Man excels in multiple areas, but thwarting remains his weakness. That’s where Leadership comes to the rescue.

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With access to incredible threat-handling allies such as Maria Hill, Falcon, and Goliath, I had high hopes for a favorable outcome. Speaking of Goliath, while many focus on his +4 Attack ability, my plan was to utilize him for thwarting until he’s only one Hit Point away from defeat, and then unleash his might in combat.

I opted for an ally-heavy deck, including The Triskelion to support the swarm of allies I enlisted. Although not particularly useful in this scenario, I added allies like Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Squirrel Girl, and Wonder Man to be sacrificed if necessary, as Absorbing Man gains bonus effects from undefended attacks.

My deck also includes the customary one copy of Inspired, which works wonders with Black Cat. I considered using the Iron Man ally and incorporating more attachments (an extra copy of Inspired and Sky Cycle), but I’ll wait for the Ant-Man pack and the Reinforced Suit attachment to expand my options. So, how did it fare?

Results

  1. WIN, 6 rounds
  2. WIN, 7 rounds
  3. WIN, 7 rounds
  4. WIN, 5 rounds
  5. WIN, 8 rounds

Spider-Man does it again, a flawless sweep! Admittedly, Absorbing Man is a more manageable opponent, but I can’t complain about a perfect 5-0 victory.

Make the Call and Rapid Response were instrumental, and Nick Fury deserves mention for his invaluable assistance. Goliath performed admirably, solidifying his position as a constant companion in my Spider-Man decks.

Even when faced with challenging situations, I always felt in control. In one game, I drew Legions of Hydra during the first Villain phase. Through a combination of Maria Hill, Make the Call, and Spider-Man’s basic thwart, I eliminated the side scheme in the next round and used Swinging Web Kick to dispatch Madame Hydra. Problem solved! Other characters would have struggled in that situation, but not Spider-Man with Leadership!

Protection – Captain America (Heroic) – James’s Perspective

Captain America

For Heroic Absorbing Man, I grappled with two different versions of this list before settling on the Indomitable build.

At its core, the deck revolves around stun-locking, making it the most effective way to play Captain America Protection for the foreseeable future. The key component is Iron Fist, the aspect’s best card. I also included 2x Tackle to complement Heroic Strike and the ever-dependable Mockingbird.

In addition, I enlisted Black Widow, Brother Voodoo, and Clea as Protection allies. Clea acts as a cheap blocker, while the other two contribute their 2 thwart value. Given the absence of thwart events, I deemed it necessary to include as much ally threat control as possible.

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Momentum Shift, another favorite of mine, made its way into the deck, allowing for maintaining health while dealing some damage. This versatility proves useful, especially at higher difficulty levels. Although the deck aims to minimize enemy attacks, the treachery cards that grant additional attacks and indirect damage still necessitate some healing.

The deck’s final touches include Electrostatic Armor for additional damage during defense, Energy Barrier for damage mitigation, and Indomitable to defend without sacrificing a hero activation in the following round.

I did consider an alternative build that focused more on defense, utilizing Armored Vest, Unflappable, and Down Time. However, I deemed it too slow for Heroic difficulty.

Results

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

To be honest, after losing both practice games, I didn’t enter the Showdown with high expectations. After the initial two defeats, I anticipated another 0-5 setback. Given that, I’m actually quite pleased to have secured two wins.

I underestimated the combination of Heroic mode and Legions of Hydra, which proved to be more formidable than I anticipated (hindsight is 20/20). The hazard icons, along with the extra card when forced to defeat a Hydra Soldier, posed a significant obstacle in the early rounds. Absorbing Man would have provided a thrilling challenge with his recommended module set or perhaps even Under Attack.

Nevertheless, the deck felt robust during play, and Iron Fist played a crucial role in my victories. The only card I would consider changing is Tackle, as it felt redundant with access to Heroic Strike.

Summary

Summary

In this first fixture of Showdown Season 1, Spider-Man (or perhaps Leadership) emerges victorious. While I initially harbored concerns about using one of my two Leadership picks early on, I’m content with the maximum number of wins achieved.

She-Hulk secured second place with a commendable four wins. Personally, I haven’t had much success with her, but James excels in pairing her with Justice.

Hulk claims the third spot with three wins. Although Aggression is my preferred aspect, I question whether drafting Hulk was a wise choice. Nonetheless, three wins are acceptable.

Captain America faced a tough battle and only managed to secure two wins, placing him fourth this time. Our experiment with different difficulties for certain Heroes appears to have yielded positive results in balancing characters to some extent. The Legions of Hydra encounter module choice was undoubtedly brutal!

Looking at the overall standings, it’s still early in the season, yet I won’t complain about my two-point lead!

Join us for our next Showdown against Mutagen Formula, a considerably more challenging scenario than Absorbing Man. The article will be published on Wednesday, 28th October. Return then to witness the progression of the season.

Cheers,
Tim & James

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