Thursday, December 9, 2021

Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends - Finding Strength In Numbers

In my last blog I teased that I'd finally found the solution to my Spider-Man woes.  For those who didn't read it, I bemoaned the fact that Spidey was my favourite superhero as a kid but I just hadn't been able to find a deck that I enjoyed playing with him.

My three criteria for enjoying a deck were...

  • I LIKE being proactive, doing lots of stuff and drawing lots of cards
  • I LIKE having heroes whose abilities are unusual or unpredictable
  • I LIKE beating the villain as quickly and effectively as possible

I'd tried several times but found that Spider-Man leaned so heavily into Protection and defensive play being his natural home that I just hadn't found a dynamic Spidey deck that I liked.  And then, with my last desperate roll of the dice before putting Spidey away for good, I found a deck I had fun with.  

It turns out that the missing ingredient... was friendship!



I've already written about the Leadership event Strength In Numbers a couple of times.  I find it an interesting one because it so often divides opinion with many players not really understanding the point of it (I was one of these people once) and other players who think it's completely amazing (I'm one of those people now).

My personal journey with Strength In Numbers began when I used it to solve my problem with Black Panther not being able to find both his suit pieces and Wakanda Forever quickly enough.  After that I switched Wakanda Forever for Blaze of Glory and it became the engine behind my Ronan-beating Star-Lord rush deck.

Since then I've continued using Strength In Numbers in several decks, most notably in creating a Hulk deck that could actually smash things reliably, and then once we had the latest wave of Leadership cards I revisited the Black Panther deck and used it to fly through the Mad Titan's Shadow campaign unbeaten.

In short, I think Strength In Numbers is one of the strongest strategies in the game.  I don't think it naturally suits every hero, but when your hero has the necessary ingredients you will struggle make a better deck through any other strategy, and even if your hero isn't a great fit for Strength In Numbers you can probably make it work.  I've also found that heroes can fit into Strength In Numbers for different reasons - what Hulk or Spider-Man bring to the table is different to what Star-Lord or Black Panther bring, for instance.  Better in some ways, worse in others, I've already been surprised a couple of times by how well Strength In Numbers works with somebody and I'm sure I've got more suprises ahead of me.

I think it's also very true that recent expansions have worked so well with Strength In Numbers that the archetype - which was already powerful before - has become INCREDIBLE.  Compared to six months ago we've got some fantastic new allies who are cheap but help us draw more cards, more powerful resource generation and we even got some great new top-end toys that synergise with what we're already planning to do!

If you've not tried Strength In Numbers yet then I think the best way I can explain it to you is that it's a powerful engine that drives your deck forwards and accelerates everything you're doing.  But like all engines it needs fuel to pump into it, and it also needs all that extra power it generates to be connected to something on the other end.

You want to play multiple allies as quickly as possible, so a Strength In Numbers deck should prioritise 1 and 2-cost allies, and should also pack a good number of allies so that you can see multiples as quickly as possible.  I aim for 10-12 allies in any Strength In Numbers deck.

You want plenty of card draw effects too, not just Strength In Numbers itself but supporting it with things like Nick Fury is important as it all shrinks your deck and means you see more of the fuel and Strength In Numbers that you really want to draw.  Some players are afraid of drawing through their deck too quickly and dealing themselves more encounter cards... don't be, you're going to be getting much stronger by moving quickly than the villain will by seeing an extra encounter card every few turns.

Ultimately you want some big hit to tag on the end of it, but while that's a key requirement I've found it's actually less important than just having lots of burst economy in your deck.  If Strength In Numbers is your engine then burst economy is the oil that keeps it all moving smoothly and easily.  Power of Leadership, Power In All Of Us, Band Together...things like this are your friends, while cards like Quincarrier or Helicarrier that you might be used to using are geared to longer slower strategies.  Playing those type of cards alongside Strength In Numbers is literally pouring diesel fuel into your brand new Porsche and you'll bring it to a shuddering halt.


As much as I'm a massive fan of Strength In Numbers I don't think it's for everyone - not every hero fits the mold particularly easily.  Through using Strength In Numbers across several different heroes I think I've come up with a good idea of the desirable traits a hero should look to have:

  • Economy to play multiple allies quickly
  • Able to keep allies alive
  • Cost-effective big finishing blow
  • Be an Avenger

It's not essential to have all of those traits, indeed arguably very few if any heroes have all of them, but the more your hero can lay claim to the better fit you're going to be for Strength In Numbers

Economy to play multiple allies quickly - Strength In Numbers works best when you've got 3+ allies in play so you need to be able to get to that point as quickly as possible.  To me this makes burst economy like Vibranium, Limitless Strength or Star-Lord's What Could Go Wrong? ability much more valuable than the slow & steady economy you get from cards like Super-Soldier Serum, Helicarrier etc.

Able to keep allies alive - allies aren't cheap and you want lots of them in play.  The best way to develop having 4 allies on the table instead of 2 is to avoid them dying all the time!  This can take multiple forms: either having a hero who can useful defend villain attacks himself so he doesn't need allies to block for him, having effects that heal your allies so that they don't keep dying to consequential damage, or even giving your allies Tough if they're going to be fighting on your behalf. 

Cost-effective big finishing blow - those first two points get you through the early game and into midgame, but for the endgame you really want something that is the reason why we're trying to draw lots of cards and get loads of resources for in the first place.  You need the payoff!  Wakanda Forever, Blaze of Glory, Avenger's Assemble, Hulk Smash... these are the big hits that are going to put the villain into the ground.

Be an Avenger - if you're not an Avenger this one is kind of a bummer, but there's no denying that it all gets a lot easier if you know the right people.  Most of the best allies for Strength In Numbers are Avengers, and specifically in cards like Stinger, Avenger's Tower, Captain America (ally version) and Avengers Assemble there's extra support if you're part of the right team.

You *DON'T* have to tick all of these boxes, but the more you tick the better it gets I think, and there's some really good heroes that Strength In Numbers doesn't really help out at all.


I want to leave you by showing the four Strength In Numbers decks I'm actively using an explaining how they're each a little bit different...

You've already seen my Spider-Man version, and to an extent I think this one lies at one end of the Strength In Numbers spectrum because of the nature of what Spider-Man brings to the game.  One of the biggest things Spidey brings to the deck is that he's good at defending his allies with his high DEF and he also draws a lot of cards naturally thanks to his Spider-Sense.  The *downside* of this approach is that his damage output is actually pretty low as he's very often exhausted on his turn because he defended a villain's attack.  Spidey is therefore quite a slow & steady version of the deck that's trying to keep a team of solid heroes in play for a longer period and really sweat them to do all the work with Mighty Avengers and Avengers Assemble.  This actually also suits Spidey because part of his big output for Band Together is used Webbed Up to tie the villain down, or drawing cards to see Enhanced Spider-Sense as often as possible and control what is coming at you.

Interestingly, I think my Hulk deck is actually the one that's closest to Spider-Man in playstyle.  Hulk was the hero who proved to me the value of having the hero do the hard defensive work and giving your allies time and space to build up, as with DEF 3 and a whopping health total Hulk can easily eat a bunch of villain attacks to the face.  This means that Hulk is more interested than anyone else in getting the maximum 6 allies out at once (3 + Stinger + Triskelion + Avengers Tower) simply because he can actually soak the damage that lets you get there.  However, unlike Spider-Man, Hulk doesn't have the control tools so he tends to do some pummelling along the way and eat into the villain's health total.  He's not using Avenger's Assemble as a common play, he's really looking to get the villain into range for a massive 'Hulk Smash & Avengers Assemble' turn where you just obliterate the villain at once.

The latest version of my Black Panther deck switches roles a little bit - Black Panther *could* defend his allies if he wanted to, but he's not as good at it as either Hulk or Spidey so instead he lets his allies defend him a lot of the time.  The big pivot here comes in bringing cards like Ready for Action and Rapid Response to keep allies on the table in a cost-effective way.  What's missing, compared to Hulk & Spidey, is the need to really pump the allies up because once T'Challa gets his Black Panther suit rolling he can be drawing through his whole deck every couple of turns and shouting Wakanda Forever twice per turn tends to be all you really need out of life.  The allies mix is a lot more defensive as a result - Mockingbird, Ironheart - as they're just buying you time to become the true king of Wakanda.

And finally, Star-Lord has been sitting on the naughty step ever since I decided he was just far too good to actually be fun, but he was one of my seminal Strength In Numbers decks.  More than any of my other options, Star-Lord just brute forces the whole thing with his sickeningly powerful hero ability to reduce the cost of cards by 3, and a stack of amazingly good cards in his hero pool like Daring Escape, Star-Lord's Helmet and Sliding Shot.  Oh, and Blaze of Glory as the kicker at the end.  Star-Lord doesn't care about defending his allies, or even about keeping them alive... there's always going to be another one along next turn to replace them and they're basically all free because your hero effect is busted.  None of the other Strength In Numbers decks can match Star-Lord for the raw economic power he brings to the table, and that means he can just plough into the villain head-on.  It'll be ugly, but it'll also be over in three turns so who's counting?


So there you have it, if you've never really felt like you understood what Strength In Numbers is for I hope I've inspired you enough to step into the adrenaline-fuelled sugar rush of drawing your whole deck every three turns and just playing Marvel Champions on fast forward for a change.  And if you're already been loving some Strength In Numbers action then I'd love to hear the heroes that have worked for you... I'm always on the lookout for new Strength In Numbers fun!

Monday, November 29, 2021


December is nearly upon us and it's been a whole month or more since my last Marvel Champions blog, and the truth is that I've just gotten a bit distracted.  Marvel Champions isn't the only game I play and in the last month I've not only been tag-teaming it with the X-Wing Miniatures Game but I've also been sucked into playing Star Wars Legion as well.  I, too, now know the joy of painting an entire army of white Stormtrooper armour.

I've not been completely ignoring Marvel Champions, indeed I've got a couple of decks I really like that I want to share with you at some point, but that won't be today.  Today I want to share you with you The Most Important Marvel Champions Tier List In The World.  You heard me right, and that means it can only be...


You see, lots of people have done tier lists of heroes and which they think are the best heroes or the worst heroes, or the nearly-best or nearly-worst, and the trouble with all of those tier lists is twofold, really:

  1. Tier order depends a lot on loads of factors that might change for different players - how many heroes are in a group, is it a solo tier list or a 4-man vs Thanos tier list?  Is it a tier list against particular villains?  Is it a tier list for Standard, or Heroic, or for Preconstructed decks, or what?  It's all a bit subjective even if it might appear to be objective.

  2. None of this tells me the most important thing about the hero: am I having fun with them?
So yeah, lots of people have done tier lists.  Over on The Side Scheme BananaCrapshoot keeps his updated pretty regularly, for instance.  And that's fine, better than fine it's great, but it's not my tier list... because my tier list is for me and me alone.

These aren't the heroes who are the most powerful, because to be honest I find the most powerful heroes are also mostly a bit boring and shitty to play with.  These are the heroes that I like, and because I'm the one writing this list I can guarantee that this tier list of my own opinions is 100% accurate.  For now.  Until I change my mind about something.

Let's get started!

My tongue has been pretty close to my cheek so far, but to be serious for a minute I think making this tier list has actually been pretty helpful for me.  The list has evolved a bit from my first version and that's largely because laying my preferences out like that helped me to see where there were similarities between things I liked/didn't like.  That new awarneess in turn then guided me in which heroes or strategy I might want to try next.

There was originally a lot more heroes in the "I Don't Get The Appeal" box and I was treating it kind of like a holding pen for heroes that I didn't want to condemn without giving them a proper try first.  This tier list helped me to understand what I might be able to do with them in order to shuffle those heroes higher and find a reason to like them, but it also helped me to be clear that I probably wasn't going to be able to find a way to enjoy them so I could stop killing myself trying loads of options and hoping for them to click.

I'll go through each hero a bit in more detail, but what I learned about my preferences in general was this:
  • I LIKE being proactive, doing lots of stuff and drawing lots of cards
  • I DISLIKE being too passive, waiting to respond and counter the villain's moves 
  • I LIKE having heroes whose abilities are unusual or unpredictable
  • I DISLIKE heroes whose abilities are pretty vanilla like "do an attack" or "do a thwart"
  • I LIKE beating the villain as quickly and effectively as possible
  • I DISLIKE playing with my food or dragging the game out just to make something cool happen
That self-reflection was brought into focus by making this tier list, and it became quite a clear guide to how I could sort potential future heroes and strategies to find things I would be likely to enjoy playing.

Let's have a look at each hero in turn, though, and let's go right to where I feel like you might be grabbing your torches and pitchforks and tackle the heroes that I DON'T like first...


This is a group for heroes that I've borderline given up on because I just don't think they're for me.  I could spend hours trying to hone a new deck for these guys (and in the past I have done exactly that on many occasions) only to find that in the end I still don't like themv and the time was wasted.  So now I try to save myself the bother of even looking at them.

Adam Warlock - one of the newest heroes and one with a unique deckbuilding ability... that I hate.  It seems difficult to form a coherent strategy from Adam Warlock that isn't just 'put some good things in a deck and hope you draw the right one at the right time'.  And if there IS a coherent strategy it's probably a 'Voltron' one of finding a big ally and stacking loads of attachments onto them to make them a supercharged hitting stick.  I hate Voltron, I simply can't shake all the lessons about Creature Enchantments being crap that I learned from Magic The Gathering in 1995... I didn't want to play Rabid Wombat then and I don't want to play Yondu now.

Thor - I've tried so, so hard to get a Thor deck that I like because he *should* be proactive and smiting people with a big hammer, which is my kind of thing, but I can never shake the fact that Thor's hero pool is full of cards I have to draw and put into play just to get to the normal starting base of Hand Size and resources that other heroes start at anyway.  Asgard, the Helmet, the Hammer, the God of Thunders... it all slows you down from getting to the good bits.  And you never hit a minion when you need one, either.


Black Widow - prime candidate for the 'being too passive and waiting to counter the villain' playstyle.  Black Widow has a lot of fans and I can understand why, but she's not for me.  See also: Nebula.

Groot - when I first tried out Groot I fell into the trap of making a defensive and passive deck and I hated him.  Once I learned that I didn't like defensive and passive decks I returned with new eyes and tried to make an aggressive deck that traded on Groot's toughness to keep allies alive and let them do the work for you.  Which was a Voltron deck.  Which I don't like.  And then when I looked at everything else in his card pool I realised it was among the most boring "do an attack" and "do a thwart" effects you could possibly have.  Groot is a triple nope from me: I Am Not Groot.

Rocket Raccoon - just, really boring.  And he shouldn't be, Rocket should be exciting and tinkering and experimenting and getting into everything and playing tricks and stuff... instead he's squishy and has boring cards that are just 'do an attack' or 'do a slightly different attack unless you don't have any batteries left' or 'do a thwart after you do a thwart'.  The wasted potential in Rocket being a mad inventor of gadgets and gizmos makes me sad.

Quicksilver - in the Venn diagram of things I don't like I think Quicksilver commits two sins: he's guilty of having a card pool almost entirely dedicated to saying "do an attack" or "do a thwart" multiple times in a turn, and he seems to be mostly loved by players who enjoy spending an hour revving up their engines to try and do 80 damage in one turn, or something like that.  That's what I class as playing with my food and means Quicksilver isn't for me.

Drax - I think Drax sits a bit uncomfortably between Thor and Black Widow for me, as his card pool is both quite reactive (you need the villain to be hitting you to power up) and you need a few key upgrades in play to really start being able to motor through your deck and make things happen - most notably his Dwi Thweet Mastery.  He just seemed like a guy I would have to work really hard to turn into a style I would want to play so I haven't actually even tried him very much, I bounced off him pretty hard after just a couple of attempts at making a deck I liked and haven't wanted to go back.


This is where I stick the heroes that I just... like... meh.  You know?  Like, I don't hate them or want to avoid playing them, but I also don't really have any compelling reasons TO play them.  Most of the time I feel like I've given them plenty of opportunities to win me round and it just hasn't clicked.

Ms Marvel - in theory I should like Ms Marvel more than I do because she's all about flipping each turn and I like that mechanic and she can recur cards back into your hand which should be good for shenanigans.  And, somehow, I'm still just a bit bored whenever I play her.  I think it's that she's so hooked into her "do an attack but with +2" or "do a thwart but with +2" playstyle.  Gamora hits a similar problem for me, I think - a mechanic based around Attack and Thwart events is less fun than I want it to be because the Attack and Thwart events themselves aren't doing very much that's interesting.

Captain Marvel - Captain Marvel is more like Captain Vanilla, to me.  Aside from Energy Channel her hero pool is pretty underwhelming because it doesn't actually *do* much.  With all her card drawing and resource generation Captain Marvel is so good at being unobtrusrive and getting out of the way of the other 25 cards in your deck that I feel like she becomes almost invisible herself.  If heroes were potato chips she'd be Lightly Salted.

Hawkeye - Hawkeye is a really great proactive hero who deals loads of damage and has some cool arrows, and to be honest this group's title doesn't really suit him because in Hawkeye's case I *do* see the appeal.  It's just that his flaws are also very apparent and mean I can't really enjoy playing him as much as I'd like to because I always feel like I'm battling uphill just to keep Barton from getting squished flat.  And, ultimately, even if you do make him work his arrows are really just another form of 'do an attack' or 'do a thwart'.

Wasp - like Captain Marvel another super-vanilla hero whose abilities are very dull attacks and thwarts.  The only thing keeping Wasp from dropping into the 'active dislike' category is that she flips form from Giant to Tiny and I like that mechanic a lot.  But why play her at all when Ant-Man and Spectrum exist?  Answer: you don't.


An interesting category - in here are basically two different types of hero: on the one hand there's heroes who might be exciting or interesting but I think are so overpowered that they basically devalue the game (Dr Strange, Star-Lord) and there's other heroes who aren't quite so bonkers overpowered but their abilities are just really about being mathematical and efficient (Venom, Gamora) rather than doing anything unusual.

Venom - I feel like Venom merges a couple of things I dislike from other heroes in this category.  The ultra-efficient events in his pool like Grasping Tendrils and Behind Enemy Lines are incredibly good, but I don't personally like having too many effects that strip villains of their activations and Venom strays a bit close to the Captain America stunlock style.  On the other hand, with his Venom's Pistols and Multi-Gun I think Venom takes on a lot of Gamora's ability to just generate numbers and throw them at other numbers.  It feesls to me like you do a lot of scorekeeping when you play with Venom, rather than actually doing anything very exciting.

Gamora - ah Gamora, my beautiful green calculator.  Do 1 to this then 1 to that.  Do 3 to that then 1 to this.  Then prevent 3 of that and do 1 to that and 1 to the other thing, and then you can also do another 1 to this thing and 1 more to something else.  Jesus fucking christ, playing Gamora just feels like you're standing on a big hill throwing numbers at anything that walks past.  She's undeniably efficient and undeniably effective (she was in the first team that I ever took Ronan down with) but she's also SO FUCKING DULL.  She's just an exercise in moving counters around and in the end you win because you moved more counters around than you could with almost any other hero.  Yay.

Star-Lord - I've written about Star-Lord at length.  I think if you play Star-Lord 'properly' he devalues the entire concept of Marvel Champions and reduces even the toughest villains to just a modest speedbump.  Roadrunner doesn't care what devious tricks Wile E Coyote has this week because he's Roadrunner and he beats all of them by just running really, really quickly.  Same energy.

Doctor Strange - confession time: Doctor Strange is the only hero on this list that I've never played even once.  I didn't need to - everyone told me he was broken and I looked at his card pool and saw that they were clearly right about him.  It's not fun to play the game when the deck is stacked so heavily in your favour.

Captain America - it pains me to put Cap in this category because he's my boy.  I love the character, I love him in the MCU, he was one of the very first heroes I played in Marvel Champions, he was the hero I first ran through the Red Skull campaign with and then moved onto into Galaxy's Most Wanted with him.  He's really good... but is he fun?  I don't like stunning things a lot, I don't like "just do an attack" or "just do a thwart" which is basically what his hero ability does, and I don't like passive defensive decks.  I've feeling Cap may move out of here at some point if I find a deck that does something exciting with him, but for now I have to admit that he's fallen out of favour for good reason... other heroes are more fun.


In a lot of ways this category is the antithesis of 'Good But Not Fun' - this is heroes who I know have problems but the challenge of trying to think and design my way around those problems sees me keeping coming back to play them anyway.  A lot of these heroes could easily have wound up in the 'I Actively Dislike Them' category, too, if it weren't for there being something in their card pool that is interesting and/or exciting to play with.  

She-Hulk - one of the heroes for whom flipping between Hero and Alter-Ego is a regular occurence, She-Hulk is a hero I rarely actually play but often *think* about playing.  A lot of her card pool is garbage but in Split Personality and Gamma Slam there's two of the most satisfying events in the game to play, and I like the challenge of keeping your head above water with bouncing from Superhuman Law Division to Do You Even Lift?

Iron Man - it took me many false starts to finally get an Iron Man deck I liked, the Hulkbuster, but now that I know Iron Man's key attribute isn't that he slowly develops his Tech but the opposite - he has to draw lots of cards to *quickly* develop his Tech - I find him an exciting hero to play with.  Iron Man always has to hit the ground running, and once you're drawing lots of cards and shooting seven things a turn... yeah that feels pretty good.

Hulk - without a doubt the worst hero in the game, but that itself is part of the challenge and the appeal of Hulk.  And also, when you do finally get him to work, he's really proactive and just runs about smashing stuff and taking loads of damage and creating big splashy effects on the board state.  He's big and dumb and not very good, but he's also fun.

Spider-Woman - where Adam Warlock's unique deckbuilding ability winds up cutting off possible strategies and lines of play I think Spider-Woman still sits in a sweet spot where she's often the only hero capable of putting a lot of unusual and unexpected combinations of cards together in one deck.  She's a deckbuilder's hero in most ways and a fun one to return to whenever a few new heroes have dropped into the card pool to see just what new things you can make.  Her own card pool abilities are about as vanilla as they come, but it's really about the joy of what you can do from two aspects.

Spider-Man - if Captain America is unlucky to find himself down in the 'good but not fun' bracket then Spidey should be counting his blessings that I hauled him out of 'I Actively Dislike Them' at the 11th hour.  I've been a Spider-Man fan since I was five years old and there's no hero in this game that I've tried harder to enjoy... and pretty much entirely failed because he always fell back into being really defensive and reactive.  Then about two weeks ago I finally cracked it and I have a Spider-Man deck I like and enjoy, so I've shoved him up the table a bunch of places.


And now, the end is near...

These are the characters who I *want* to play.  The ones who I sit down with an hour left in an evening and just think "hell yeah, let's try and beat up Loki with Nebula and... uh... Black Panther, that'll be fun!"  And it invariably is fun.  Most of the time these heroes embody most or all of the things that I like in a Marvel Champions hero:
  • I LIKEbeing proactive, doing lots of stuff and drawing lots of cards
  • I LIKE having heroes whose abilities are unusual or unpredictable
  • I LIKE beating the villain as quickly and effectively as possible
Spectrum - is there a hero in the game who is more proactive and does more stuff than Spectrum?  My 'Living Light' deck, with it's 3 copies of One Way Or Another just BLAZES through its 40 cards with multiple form changes every turn, blasting out attacks and thwarts in every direction.  Spectrum ticks all three of my boxes - proactive and draws lots of cards, with her form-shifting reliant on events she has abilities that are unusual AND unpredictable, and she's completely capable of beating villains without wasting too much energy on setting up.  I don't want to have to pick a favourite from my favourites, but if I did it might well be Spectrum.

Black Panther - long ago there was a time when I didn't like Black Panther at all.  You always seemed to either draw Black Panther suit pieces or Wakanda Forever, but never both.  Strength In Numbers showed me the error of my ways - I simply wasn't drawing cards fast enough - and ever since then Black Panther has gone from strength to strength in my eyes.  It certainly helps that Strength In Numbers is an archetype that has received lots of great cards recently and now if Black Panther faces any dangers at all in my tier list it's that he's close to overstepping the mark into being too powerful for his own good.  But for now I still just love spamming out Wakanda Forever multiple times each turn!

Ant-Man - back when I really started to get to grips with Marvel Champions deckbuilding it was Ant-Man who defeated the Red Skull campaign alongside Captain America and even though I don't play Ant-Man much any more he's still one of my favourites.  I love the flipping mechanic between Tiny and Giant form, I love that his gear gives you great ulitity and more cards to draw, I love the long term effectiveness of Army of Ants.  I think if he didn't have the Tiny/Giant mechanic then I'd feel very differently about Ant-Man, but as it is he does just enough to keep me thinking each turn instead of just mindlessly throwing numbers around like it feels I do with Venom or Gamora.

Scarlet Witch - proactive, do lots of stuff, draw lots of cards with unusual and unpredictable effects.  Sound like anyone you know?  Scarlet Witch's chaos magic sits right in my wheelhouse and I love virtually all of her card pool, from spamming Hex Blasts to countering cards with Warp Reality or cheating big allies into play with Chaos Magic.  That she also powers through her own deck super-fast AND churns the villain's deck to raise the stakes with acceleration tokens and extra encounter cards is just icing on the cake.

Nebula - the most recent entrant to my fave characters list, for me I think Nebula is the antidote to Black Widow's passive playstyle and I'm hooked on her techniques.  Nebula is a hero who flips between Hero and Alter-Ego all the time, she draws lots of cards, virtually all her Techniques produce unique or interesting effects, and she wastes little time in bringing the villain to their knees.  In short she's almost the perfect hero for me and since I created my Aggression deck for her I think she's been pretty much ever-present in every game I play, it's just a question of which hero I play alongside her.

So that's my Tier list - the heroes I like and don't like.  If you've made it this far through one person's opinions then you have my sincere thanks for staying with me this far, and you deserve a reward.  Here's my Nebula deck that I'm enjoying so much... 

I think Nebula is one of those heroes whose core 15 cards is so good and interesting that whatever aspect you put her in is always likely to take a back seat to just letting you draw and play more Technique upgrades. Here I've gone for Aggression but it's only a handful of red cards, mainly dedicated to making her basic attacks much more dangerous.

If all the stars align Nebula can basic attack for 8 damage!
2 basic ATK + Combat Training + Unyielding Persistence + Hand Cannon + Godslayer

Most of the rest of the deck is dedicated to helping you draw and play Techniques and in showcasing the fantastic Guardian allies.

The cost curve in this deck is extremely low - the only 4-cost card in Nick Fury and there's very little 3-cost cards. This has made me think about the gearing of my economy a bit and it became one of the hardest parts to get right. The Power in All of Us is a great addition when you're running all the basic Guardian allies and Knowhere, but with most of the rest of the deck costing only 1 resource it could be tricky to get maximum value from TPIAOU, and it was only when I added in the Helicarrier and Enhanced Physiques as ways of converting that 2-resource burst from TPIAOU into multiple benefits of 1 resource that it really clicked properly. Enhanced Physique is also useful as a resource for the Surprise Attacks.

It does all fit together around the edges, but the core is just being a really strong hero with incredible effects in her hero pool. Right now I'd say this deck is up there as both one of the strongest I've got but also... more importantly... one of the ones I have the most fun with.

And that's what we're all here for, right?