Black Widow: Mission Budapest

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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Black Widow: Mission Budapest - Leadership Lee 0 0 0 1.0

Pojopembo · 202

Overview:

Black Widow is quite possibly one of the most versatile heroes we have access to in the game at this moment. Part draw engine, park machine gun, Natasha excells in a variety of situations. From removing Threat, to gunning down minions, removing Tough statuses or countering the villain's deck, Black Widow has a great all-around kit that allows her to fill a utility role in any team.

I've chosen to pair her with the Leadership aspect for this build, for two reasons: 1, I feel that the power level of the Ally cards at our disposal is incredibly high and 2, Getting to access to Rapid Response to re-use these allies alongside a highly beneficial effect on her Hero side pushes Black Widow over the top.

We’re playing quite low to the ground, with only 11 of our 40 cards costing more than 2 resources to play (and one of those is questionable), with the intention of playing as many cheap, threatening cards as we can every turn.

Character Analysis:

Natasha Romanoff has average stats on her Alter-Ego form. She begins the game with a Hand Size of 6 cards, 9 Hit Points, and a Recovery of 3. She looks uniform on paper. However, her ability is where she really shines: Once per phase, after you play a Preparation card, you immediately draw a card. This is an ability we will use to great effect, as many of our Preparation cards only cost 1 Resource to play. This can easily fuel our early turns, ensuring we can play 3 or 4 cards a turn and get into Hero mode as quickly as possible.

Speaking of which, Hero mode is where we really want to look. Black Widow again looks average, with 2s across the board in Thwart, Attack and Defence. However, her Hero ability is where she really shines: Every time a Preparation card triggers, you deal 1 damage to an enemy. This is direct damage, meaning you can get around annoying Guard cards, finish off Minions, or ping off Tough status cards where necessary. The best part is that the ability isn’t limited. As long as we can trigger a Preparation card, we’re going to have the ability happens as much as we like. This is an insane ability, and we want to use it to the fullest here.

Card Analysis - Upgrades:

Preparation cards- The meat of Black Widow's kit focuses around cards with the Preparation trait. These cards are Upgrades with triggered effects that allow her to deal with a variety of problems, from reducing damage, to stopping pesky effects from going off when you least want them to. This is especially important in Heroic mode, where having multiple encounter cards coming at you in a single turn can lead to a sudden downfall if you aren’t careful.

Attacrobatics and Widow's Bite serve as our damage-dealing elements. Either by dealing with the Villain or his Minions, these cards are influential in getting our engine up and running. They’re a cheap and effective part of Widow’s kit.

Similarly, Espionage serves as our draw engine of choice. Another cheap Preparation card, this one has the potential to draw us into some ridiculous turns if we have a few Surges come up. The easiest way I’ve found to trigger is to be in Alter-Ego form: A lot of Standard cards surge if you’re not in Hero form. There are plenty of ways to trigger this in Hero form as well, and this is often the card that triggers the most in my games.

Grappling Hook and Target Acquired serve as our control cards, stopping us from hitting annoying Boost abilities, or giving us a counter to the deadlier Treachery cards such as Masterplan or Shadow of the Past.

Our final Preparation card is the build-around for the deck. Rapid Response allows us to recur our suite of Ally cards. This card is the reason we run Leadership. With an army of useful ‘enters play’ effects, this card not only gives us the opportunity to recycle our Allies, but it also triggers our Hero ability. It is also one of the few Preparations that can trigger during our turn, making it invaluable for some ridiculous plays. Recycling a spent Hawkeye, removing Threat with Maria Hill or Nick Fury, or controlling enemies with Squirrel Girl or Mockingbird, this card does it all. Its only downside is that it is limited to one per player, meaning we can’t pay in advance for several copies ahead of time.

To round out her kit we have two cards that aren’t Preparations themselves but offer some utility for having them in our deck. Black Widow's Gauntlet generates a wild Resource for a preparation card, making it essential to get into play as soon as possible. We have 14 Preparation cards in the deck, so being able to play as many as we can every turn is going to help us cover multiple bases in the long run.

Finally, Synth-Suit is quite possibly the most important card in Natasha’s kit. Not only does it grant +1 Defence, it also has the potential to ready Black Widow by exhausting it when a Preparation card has been triggered. This gives us plenty of ammunition for defending during the Villain phase, but with Rapid Response we also have the potential for turns where we can Attack or Thwart several times in a row. If you can get it out early, Synth-Suit can open up a world of possibilities for her.

Card Analysis – Allies:

Next, we come to the secondary engine of the deck: Ally filtering. We’re using only Allies with ‘enters play’ effects to get the most out of our recursion package (sans one card we’ll discuss shortly).

Falcon and Maria Hill serve as our default Threat-removers for the deck. Getting either into play means we have very little concern over removing annoying Side Schemes or keeping our Main Scheme in check. Maria also has the bonus of drawing a card, meaning we can fuel long chains of drawing cards, if we’re fortunate enough.

Hawkeye and Squirrel Girl serve as our Minion removal from the deck. Being able to deal 8 damage to Minions via Hawkeye is wonderful against some Villains (here’s looking at you, Ultron ), and having Squirrel girl come in and wreak havoc can really put the screws in on a Villain’s strategy. Similarly, Mockingbird helps us keep the Villain in check, and with five ways to recur her, Stun-locking a Villain isn’t out of the question.

We round out our Ally suite with copies of Nick Fury and Winter Soldier. Nick is an all-around fantastic ally to have around for his versatility. We can make the best use of him before he disappears, either drawing a whole mess of cards, removing multiple side schemes, or just dealing a flat 8 damage to our enemy. Not to mention, we can pick different abilities each time he comes in, making him extremely useful to have access to. Note though, that he will not trigger Rapid Response if he leaves play by his own ability (he is discarded, not defeated), so be sure to use him to defend an enemy attack if you want to trigger his effect twice before he leaves.

Bucky is kind of the odd man out as he doesn’t have an ‘enters play effect’. However, his raw stats make up for it, letting him stick around to Thwart or Attack several times before he’s defeated. With 14 Preparations, don’t be surprised if you get to play him for 1 resource, or even free. Arguably, he is only second to Nick in this deck.

Card Analysis - Events:

Events aren’t really a focus in Black Widow’s kit, but we do get access to two very powerful (albeit expensive) effects.

Covert Ops gives us another good method of removing Threat without needing to play with the Justice aspect. We remove 4 threat at a slightly more expensive rate than For Justice!, but in exchange, we also get to Confuse our Villain. This card can effectively buy you a turn (or more in some cases) to reset your Preparations when they’re getting low, especially because you can use this in both Hero and Alter-Ego forms.

Dance of Death is another exciting part of her kit. It does end up being one of our most expensive cards, but in exchange, we can pick off up to three Minions in one shot, or deal 6 to our Villain, or any derivative in between. It’s slightly lower than the curve when you compare it to other hero attacks like Swinging Web Kick or Heroic Strike, but the ability to shoot down multiple threats more than makes up for the reduction in damage or loss of an effect.

Two copies of Make the Call rounds out our recursion suite. The ability to refresh an Ally into a Rapid Response is ideal, and allows us to get back some key pieces of our engine when we’ve had to discard them earlier in the game to get our Preparation engine going.

We round out with two copies of Lead from the Front. It’s not often you’ll have enough allies in play to justify it in the early game (You’ll often be cycling between 1-2 Allies with the recursion engine). However, if you find yourself in a spot with an embarrassment or riches (either by triggering Espionage or Nick Fury ), this can be a great way to end a game in a hurry.

Card Analysis - Support:

Only three cards to discuss here. Safe House #29 is another way to generate resources, usually by discarding a Preparation to pay the cost of another card and then returning it to your hand. It is also the 2nd most important card in our deck after Synth-Suit, allowing us access to Preparations that fill gaps in our kit at different times in the game, or extra copies of Rapid Response once you’re covered for most eventualities.

Quincarrier is a little iffy for us, as we can effectively only use it as a Hero resource (Natasha Romanoff only has the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Spy traits). However, it’s generally worth it to play the cards we want to be playing in Hero form, such as Dance of Death. EDIT: I'm going to keep the previous text in for posterity, but I 100% misread this card. You can only play this card if you're in hero form, but the resource it generates can be used in any form. The play limitation is somewhat concerning, but frankly, we'll be spending most of our time in Hero form anyway. It will only be an issue if you end up drawing it on those off turns when you need to flip back to heal up.

Finally, Avengers Tower is our designated ‘40th card’. The cost reduction is handy, but we won’t be making use of the first ability too often as we only have 4 Avengers in the deck, and we’re not running Honorary Avenger to mitigate that.

Card Analysis - Resources:

We’re using the usual spread of resources here: Two copies of The Power of Leadership and the trifecta of Energy, Genius and Strength.

Strategy:

Early game, you want to be focused on generating your resource engines. We want to get Synth-Suit and Safe House #29 into play at the earliest opportunity, or if not, a Black Widow's Gauntlet engine with a 1-cost Preparation card that you can use to cycle with Natasha Romanoff’s ability.

Generally, I will mulligan aggressively, removing any of my late-game cards and expensive Allies to get an engine going. Similar to Iron Man, I will sometimes stay in Alter-Ego form a turn longer to ensure I can build an effective engine before considering going to Hero mode. This can be a little sketchy, especially when your Villain comes in with a side scheme ala Breakin' & Takin'.

Mid-game, you’re going to want to flip to Black Widow and start taking advantage of Preparation triggers. Hopefully you will have a field of 2-3 Preparations, some of your engine cards, and perhaps an Ally if you got lucky in drawing some of the double resource cards. Don’t focus so much on the Villain for the early parts of the game. Focus instead on clearing the board of pesky Minions and Side Schemes to ensure you last until the late game.

Late-game, your engine should be in full swing, allowing you to cycle Allies with both Rapid Response and Make the Call, while drawing enough Preparation cards to keep adding into play at a low resource cost. You should now focus on dealing the essential damage to the Villain, using your Allies as necessary to defend and Thwart/Attack, especially if backed up by Lead from the Front.

Other card considerations:

Avengers Mansion – A bit too costly for our curve, and we usually draw plenty through Natasha Romanoff and Espionage to not require such a cost-heavy card. Similarly, we’re not keeping enough Allies in play to benefit from Strength In Numbers.

Endurance / Down Time – Definitely ones to consider. Will be revising the list once my copy of the Ms Marvel Hero deck arrives.

First Aid / Honorary Avenger – They have marginal uses, but we’re looking for Allies to leave play regularly so that we can recur them, not keep them in play for prolonged periods. HA has edge cases for our Avengers Tower, but not enough to warrant considering.

Lockjaw, Heimdall, Vision, Wonder Man – We can potentially substitute a few of these Allies in if required. Wonder Man isn’t anything more than a cheap blocker, and both Squirrel Girl and Maria Hill do that job better and give you great abilities in return. Vision could potentially replace Falcon, but the constant resource upkeep to improve his stats didn’t feel worth it to me. Lockjaw is potentially neat, but without the health-boosting cards we’re only getting two uses out of him. Heimdall is the most interesting Ally of the bunch, but I think his cost is just too prohibitive for this build.

Quinjet – I’m not a fan of cards that sit in play and do nothing for a while on the vain hope that they do something after 2/3/4 turns. Not to mention this only works on half of our current Allies. I think our resources can be better spent elsewhere.

Get Ready – Cute, but I think we do a good enough job of getting Allies used up without needing this. EDIT: This does open us up to have some ridiculous turns, so I might have been a bit hasty here. Having a fresh Winter Soldier headed up with a Lead from the Front makes this really feasible, or just getting an extra Thwart or Attack out of a departing Nick Fury might make this worth running.

Helicarrier – This can easily replace Quincarrier if you’re worried about the restrictions on it. I’m considering running one copy of this in addition to Quincarrier.

The Triskelion – This would be our Avengers Tower replacement. Not likely we will want to (or be able to) have 4 Allies in play at once, so not a huge dealbreaker for us.

Thank you for your attention, and I hope you enjoy the deck!

5 comments

Jun 11, 2020 chainsawash · 1

Nice writeup, love leadership and just got Black Widow so will give this a try! I am wondering about your Quincarrier comment that it can only be used as a Hero resource. I missed that her Alter-ego side doesn't have the Avengers trait so agree it can only be played when in Hero form, but not sure why you wouldn't be able to use it's ability in either form once it is in play?

Jun 11, 2020 Pojopembo · 202

Apologies, @chainsawash, you are quite correct on this, and I'll be re-writing that section today. I think I got confused with the Avengers keywords and just assumed you can only use it in Hero form for BW. It's the first content I've written for the game, and even 30 games in I'm still learning some of the cards ^^;

Jun 12, 2020 FadeXIII · 21

Great write up and I can't wait to give this a go this weekend.

I agree with your edit that it is probably worth trying to fit in Get Ready . Particularly because you can also use it to defeat and recur Maria Hill and Squirrel Girl on the turn they enter play.

Perhaps drop an Espionage and perhaps the Avengers Tower?

I'm think I still prefer Helicarrier over Quincarrier and Helicarrier; I play most multiplayer though so tend to find it more useful even though it cannot be used with Make the Call

How have you found Make the Call?

Jun 12, 2020 FadeXIII · 21

Typed the above on mobile , noticed some typos and cannot find an edit :/

The last two paragraphs should have read:

"I think I still prefer Helicarrier over Quincarrier; I play mostly multiplayer though so tend to find it more useful even though it cannot be used with Make the Call

How have you found Lead from the Front?

Jun 13, 2020 Pojopembo · 202

Thank you for the comments, @FadeXIII. I appreciate the feedback.

I play mostly solo myself, but I think this is really a corner case scenario. Helicarrier is absolutely fine and is interchangeable if you only have access to one of the two. Hovever, I did also decide to cut the Avengers Tower in the end to use both. At leas that way, I can use the resource/cost reduction on any cards, and a little additional redundancy is normally helpful.

I'm currently testing 2x Get Ready in place of the Target Acquired, and I've enjoyed it so far. As you said, getting Maria and SG into the bin early and often was more useful than a situational saving of some damage.

Lead from the Front is useful for the end game, but it's not essential. Sometimes you'll get into a situation where you can get an extra 4-5 damage/thwart out of it if you're in the middle of a Rapid Response chain, but it is absolutely a win-more kind of card, and may well see the chopping block if/when we get a valid option as a replacement.