Welcome back to Odin’s Vault! Our ongoing series where we aim to deep dive into the meta and take a look at an aspect of the game up close. This week we focus on Rapid Response, a new 2 cost leadership upgrade that was recently released in the well received Black Widow Hero Pack.
The hero pack introduces players to what preparation cards are all about. Which is committing resources to the table for abilities/effects that as player’s we can trigger at the time of our choosing. Think of them like ‘controlled events’, you are simply investing in delayed effects for future value. This has opened a lot of doors for players to both experiment and engage with the exciting new mechanic.
The Value Proposition
Enter Rapid Response.
This preparation is based in the leadership aspect. The card hopes to extend value from your allies which you can choose to include in your deck. If you choose to play an ally like Falcon, Heimdall or Nick Fury as part of your strategy, Rapid Response can be a nice way to stretch the value you obtain from these cards in almost any hero shell which can utilise leadership appropriately.
It is important to note the card is balanced by the fact it’s restriction of ‘max 1 per player’ preventing players from accumulating 3 of them. This stops overly strong turns and asks us the deck building question of exactly how many copies we would like to run in a list.
Rapid response reads, hero response: “After an ally you control is defeated, discard Rapid Response → put that ally into play from your discard pile and deal 1 damage to it.” Note this means you need to be in hero form to trigger it and therefore if you plan to use the ally to defend first, it’s important you also end your turn in hero form.
Essentially the card is asking us to commit 3 cards from hand now (2 plus the card itself) to bring back an ally into play later. The bonus here is that some allies have triggered abilities which are timed off “enters play” and can be re-used for their ability.
Take Falcon who classically allows you to resolve his enters play ability, use him twice for 4 threat removal and then a defense as well. With Rapid Response we can stretch that value further, bringing him back from the discard after he is defeated from defending the attack. This would allow him to look at the top 3 cards, remove some more threat and repeat the loop again.
Important things to note is that he would come back ready, with 1 damage on him and his enters play effect would fire, informing us of what to expect from the encounter deck following that. Not bad value for 3 cards from hand (0-5 threat removal + a block is quite good for the investment).
Hall of Heroes
Thus the best value from a deck building perspective is to pair this with allies that have ‘enters play‘ abilities. Below is the current list of hero allies that have this effect. It’s also important to note that playing Make the Call on another player’s ally won’t trigger Rapid Response as the ally upon defeat will return to the original player’s discard pile (you can of course use your own allies from your own discard pile however).
We will not address Black Widow outside of that her gauntlets allow you to effectively lower the cost of rapid response to 1 card from hand in the late game which offers even greater value with the allies we’ll discuss later. Alongside the 1 damage from Widowmaker she has a good case for making a Rapid Response deck quite well and can more consistently get rapid response in play on the table for use.
With that out of the way let’s discuss the value for each of these starting with which heroes already have synergy with this card.
Thor offers an interesting combination with Lady Sif as a juicy target for our preparation. This is because we can use Lady Sif to attack, defend or Thwart and bring her back and ready our exhausted Thor which we’ve already used that turn. Resetting a hero was at a baseline from core set 4 resources of investment. So Rapid Response offers us a 1 resource discount for both a ready and an ally that is a 2/2 with 2 uses remaining.
Black Panther allows us to reuse the flexible Shuri to fish for specific upgrades within our build. In combination with his Vibranium resource cards, he makes a prime candidate to make the most out of this preparation while enabling a further game plan. Perhaps in the future you can use this combination to help create a stronger ally Iron Man with Shuri digging for ally upgrades such as inspired or others in the future.
Captain Marvel offers us the opportunity to invest 3 resources to get back Spider-Woman who can confuse the villain. Typically within justice 3 cards from hand can get us about 3 thwart sometimes 4 thwart of value. In expert form and depending on the villain bringing back Spider-Woman probably saves us an equivalent value of threat plus we get a blocker. Given Rapid Response is a physical resource card we might be less inclined at present to run the card due to it’s lack of synergy with our other abilities but you can feel comfortable knowing if you do build around the card it still can offer value here.
Last but not least we get to Captain America who brings with him, Agent 13. Rapid response here gives us a total of 4 thwart and an enemy defend action. This is great value for cost and the Cap’s alter-ego ability helps further with creating more layers of value for us to utilise.
The award for most deaths goes too…
So let’s now take a look at the leadership and basic allies. Below is the list that you can fit currently in a list. At the end of the article we will look briefly at the value a hero such as Spider-Woman can obtain from this card utilising some of the allies from other aspects. But for now here are the power players.
Squirrel Girl: A fan favourite particularly into scenarios such as Mutagen or Ultron where you can more efficiently clear the board. As she is two cost you are essentially breaking even on resource investment but don’t have to worry about holding onto a card like Make the Call for an extended time to trigger this combination.
Mocking Bird: Defending with Mocking Bird after her using her twice and then bringing her back to stun the villain again sounds like great value and guess what it is! It’s awesome how flexible this preparation can be, and this is a great use of this card.
Falcon: 5 cards to get down initially and then a maintenance cost of 3 to keep him in play keeping the threat down low seems like a good value proposition. The additional ability to see the top 3 cards of the encounter deck can be very instructive in multiplayer if you either A. Choose to defend first and then tell everyone else what boost they’ll be getting or defending last and informing the team of what encounter cards to expect that turn.
Hawkeye: A fan favourite and a hero that in some contexts use all his arrows before you’ve exhausted him once. Been able to bring him back fully loaded is a nice play that saves you one resource. Consider in scenarios where you want greater minion control.
Maria Hill: The MVP of the group. You can do some insanely strong things with her and this card. Imagine she already has 1 damage on her and you have rapid response on the table. In a four player game, if you thwart with her and then use rapid response for your 3 cost investment you get another 2 thwart opportunity and 4 cards drawn at the table. You might even draw a second response which you could then play and loop it again, drawing 8 cards total at the table. If you are super lucky you then can play the third and final Rapid Response for a whopping 12 cards drawn around the table that turn. Wow! 8 thwart and 12 cards for 9 cards from hand (gross) is most likely to happen with Black Widow but also possible in other heroes for some memorable plays. I call this play the “Friends for life play.” You’ll always get people coming back to play with you if you can pull this off!
Nick Fury: The selfish equivalent of Maria Hill. Spending 5 from hand to then get 3 pack is ok, but to then use him for 2 thwart or 2 attack and a defense is great value. If you add on top of that a rapid response play where you can draw 3 more cards and have another blocker ready then you’ve gotten your salary plus a bonus! It’s also easier to justify dealing 4 damage off the rapid response than drawing cards as you’ve only paid 3 for the rapid response. It is important that you can only trigger Rapid Response if he is in fact defeated and not discarded from his ability.
Heimdall: Control players meet your new best friend. Costing a giant 6 cards to get on the table requires a large commitment. However once he is down. A maintenance cost of 3 cards to control the encounter deck every 2-3 turns along side thwarting for 4 and a block or attacking for 3 and a block is a nice trade off in value.
Days of Future Past: A Look Ahead
As the game expands heroes such as Spider-Woman open up a deeper opportunity to find interesting and fun interactions. Below are just some of the possibilities you’ll be able to do with her in the very near future by picking leadership and another aspect.
You could use Rapid Response to bring back your key ‘stun’ ally with Iron Fist. Accelerate your damage with Valkyrie or more thematically, dig for more of those spy only preparation cards to be played with her using Agent Coulson. There will most likely be more heroes that be used in this way as the game goes on in the years to come. So it’ll be exciting to see what players can come up with!
Preparing while deck building.
What does this mean for leadership decks and where you might want to run these allies? Well, you might have noticed that some of the allies that generate the most value are not avengers. This might mean you would want to focus a deck more so on the rapid response potential rather than avenger synergies and cards like Avengers Assemble.
Obviously Black Widow is a great starting point as she doesn’t need to commit to the avenger trait and has ways of recurring the preparation back to hand (safe house #49) along side discounting the preparation card from her gauntlets.
In summary Rapid Response is a very efficient 2 cost card that opens up leadership a bit more broadly than their recently focused Avenger theme. The ability to thin your deck, obtain additional value out of your larger allies and the potential in the future to push the card even further allows players to really enjoy the card to it’s full potential.
Thanks for reading and hope you found this article useful. Feel free to contact us with any feedback or suggestions and please share below what your favourite moments have been with this card! Check out our podcast and other articles across the site!
‘Keep flipping those forms!’ – Remedy