WHYP: Mystique The…Avenger?

This week, I decided to take a recent card, take what we understand about her and try to flip it on its head. Specifically, SR Mystique. After all, sure, she works with Brotherhood, she works with Villains, and she even works with X-men (thanks Radicalization!). But what about…

Mystique The…Avenger?

The Team:  Who gave HER an ID Card?

Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)

Ok. There’s a lot to break down here. The team was actually built around its removal engine first. Mystique is there for her Teamwatch ability, which allows me to spin characters to energy reliably so long as I field characters that share an affiliation with her. To make this easier, I included Avengers ID Card, for its global; that way, I can make Mystique an Avenger and trigger her ability off of Avenger character dice. It also helps that Avengers ID Card is also a built-in ramp engine (on burst/double burst) and that it buffs all of my Avengers.

So at this point, I knew I wanted Avengers to be my win condition, in order for Mystique to trigger. What’s a Modern win condition that relies on fielding an Avenger multiple times and dealing combat damage? Ant-Man, of course! Which means I need a way to spin him up reliably to make him unblockable. So I included Mutation for its global. The action also serves as backup removal if Mystique is neutralized in some way.

With that said, if I’m using Avengers, I want other Avengers available. I included two others: Black Widow for her ability (I avoided the 2-cost Widow’s Bite from the campaign box because Mystique is vulnerable to force attack globals), and Wasp (since I’ll already be using Avengers ID Card, which will trigger her Attune damage).

Now, while I already have some ramp with the ID card, I want something to fix my bag in the early game. I included Iron Lad for this purpose. While he’s an Avenger, I don’t expect to purchase him, but I’ll be able to reliably trigger his ramp and churn in the early game with another inclusion I’ll explain later. Also on the subject of ramp, I included Thrown Brick. It’s useful ramp, will get me Attune triggers, and it will serve as a funny trap with another card I’ll also discuss in a moment. But back to Iron Lad, seeing as his global triggers off of any source of damage, I should be able to easily trigger his global off of using a Brick, or any Attune triggers.

Ok. You may have noticed: lots of ramp, some good removal, a decent win condition…but everything’s cheap. 2, 3 energy purchase cost. That’s not a BAD thing; after all, I need all of that churn to keep getting Ant-Man and my ID Cards back. But it’s not great. You want something to aim for with all of those extra dice you get. So I included two 5-costs, and both are excellent fits.

First up, The Collector. His global allows me to field a sidekick T2 (and attack with it to trigger Iron Lad reliably, allowing me to fix my bag for T3, much like the old Ring/Resurrection combo), and he can help me thin my bag in the longer game. However, the character’s no slouch either. I already included Mutation to trigger Ant-Man’s Awaken ability. This also allows me to trigger Collector and field a 3-cost character on my turn (or my opponent’s). I can field an Ant-Man that I can spin up and attack with, or even a Mystique to get some removal going. Heck, if I have Mystique active, I can field another Mystique on my opponent’s turn and take out their biggest threat before the attack step. He’s all around great on this team.

As for the last card, time to play with a recent acquisition (thanks for the trade Ronathanpxpx!). SR Lilandra will punish my opponent for using any globals…or actions. If my opponent intends to use my Thrown Brick, it’ll cost 2 life per trigger. That is going to add up extremely quickly. And with the amount of ramp on this team, I should get the 5 energy to purchase Lilandra easily.

Now, this isn’t going to be the fastest team, but by establishing my removal early with Mystique and my ramp early with ID Card, I should be able to slow down the pace enough to get my own win condition going. At least that’s the plan.

And with all of that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

This was against a 4-cost Becky team with Hope Summers/Cable to double her attack and Parasite to buff Becky further. Not nice (but then again, I ran Becky/Hope recently too). This game was weird. I was unable to purchase characters early on, but that gave me some ID cards which were very useful for ramp. While I ended up taking a LOT of early damage (was down to 5 life and stayed there the rest of the game), Mystique and Collector (both of him) eventually hit the field, and that’s where things got crazy. I triggered Collector’s Awaken consistently before my opponent’s attack step to get a Mystique on the field to trigger Mystique’s Teamwatch, taking out a Becky here, a Hope Summers there…it was extremely aggravating for my opponent. He generally couldn’t get two Becky’s on the board at once, and even when he did, my Collector dice had enough D to absorb the Overcrush damage of the one not buffed by Parasite.

Offensively, I chipped away with a mix of Wasp’s Attune damage, and unblockable Ant-Men buffed by ID Cards. The game went very long and eventually to time. On the last turn, I managed to empty his field enough to finally go wide and barely win this one.

1-0

Game 2:

This was another 4-cost Becky matchup, but it went very differently. To be honest, my opponent didn’t roll Becky much at all this time. I never got around to Collector this time around. But due to my Mystique’s ability and my opponent using the Dark Phoenix global, she had a lean field. What ended up happening is that I fielded Wasp, and thanks to some ID Cards and Bricks, she got huge and led the charge alongside Ant-Man as I swung in for the win.

 2-0

Game 3:

This was an interesting one. C Lilandra with U Gladiator, using Dark Phoenix’s global on Lilandra to give Loyalty counters to Gladiator. Now, the crux of his strategy means he keeps a lean field in the early game, and that worked quite well for me. I did some removal going with Mystique to take out whatever he had left, and Wasp came out to play with ID Cards and Brick (with a Collector that I used to bring out another Wasp die). A couple of swings like that was all I needed to win.

3-0

Post-Mortem:

-I should point out that I didn’t create the Collector/Iron Lad combo. Shadowmeld pointed it out to me some time ago, so full credit to him. It has the advantage of guaranteeing your draw T3, but the disadvantage that you restrict what you purchase to a 2-cost and a 3 or 4-cost in your first 2 turns (since you’re tying up 2 energy on T2 to get the ramp going).

-Mystique obviously was completely gross removal, but I made life much harder for myself by giving my opponent a chance to spin their sidekicks to masks…and to get to field another sidekick as a result. That was unfortunate. But Mystique was still amazing at keeping non-sidekicks off the field (especially in my first game!). Collector/Awaken shenanigans on the opponent’s turn are just not nice. At all.

-With that said, this is far from the best use of Mystique. Collector/Awaken is definitely promising, but I feel she could definitely be better in a pure Brotherhood team, or a pure Villain team. I tried her once with X-men (in a Hope/Colossus build – sorry, never got to do an article on that one), and it was nasty, but a bit too slow compared to the Master Mold nastiness. Wonder if a pure Modern Villains team could do some damage.

-Wasp is always good, but she really shone here. Attune plus her buff when triggering Attune was amazing with both Thrown Brick and ID Card. Even with no other Attune characters, she got to 6-7A reliably. I used to think you needed two Attune characters (her plus another) for her to work well, but she can still deal decent damage on her own.

-This is going to sound weird, but I really wished I had a 4-cost at times. It felt weird that so many times I’d buy a 3-cost and have that dangling energy left over. Thankfully it was usually a mask or a bolt so I’d field a sidekick or ramp with Iron Lad.

-Lilandra wasn’t relevant most of the evening. The one time I fielded her (late in game 2), we both completely forgot she was active. Didn’t ultimately impact the result. This wasn’t the right team to show her off.

-The team felt a bit too unfocused. I was trying to do a bit of this, a bit of that…but it was too scatterbrained of an approach, and that led to the team feeling very slow. Even though I won, it didn’t feel right. But that came from me wanting to make a Mystique/Avengers build, where we have limited options in Modern. 

And there you have it. Was definitely a good concept to try out, but not a Modern-slaying demon by any stretch. But what do you think, dear readers^ Have you tried the SR Mystique? Are there any better Avengers I could’ve put here?

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