Luke: As with any card game, there are cards that will come out of the meta being heralded as the mandatory inclusion to any deck and the cards that are spoken in hushed tones, banished to the box, never to be seen again. Lockjaw kinda sits in the middle of this divide, unsure of which side to teleport over to.
Phil: He’s certainly a more complex card than your average ally, requiring a bit more consideration when adding him to a deck.
Luke: Today, we’re going to take a look at what makes him the best, what makes him the worst, and where we stand on the topic.
Luke: Alright, let’s go over the specifics of the card out of the way.
Phil: A 4-cost basic ally with 4 health is a pretty healthy card in its own right, and being able to attack or thwart for 2 is pretty standard for a card this expensive, but Lockjaw takes 2 consequential damage every time he acts, making him just as quick to disappear as he was to show up.
Luke: However, what makes him unique is his ability to be played from the discard pile rather than from your hand. This effectively makes him a 3-cost ally the first time you play him, as you were able to use Lockjaw as a resource for another card prior to playing him. You can also resummon him repeatedly, so long as you can afford the hefty cost.
Phil: He also produces a physical resource when discarded to pay for other cards, something that I’ve found to be somewhat rare in the game up until this point outside of specific characters, like Captain America.
Luke: Generally speaking, it’s hard to stomach 4-cost cards unless they are really integral to your deck. Cards like Gamma Smash and Avengers Assemble! have been criticized for being too expensive for the effects they provide, and with good reason.
Phil: A player will often have to dump an entire hand to get one of these heavy hitters into play, meaning they need to be very useful to make that worthwhile.
Luke: At first glance, Lockjaw can not live up to that expectation, requiring you to pay those 4 resources whenever he comes into play for a couple of activations before he goes away again. He has competitive stats and a lot of health, but he takes more damage as well.
Phil: The other big thing is that Lockjaw’s ability can be underwhelming to most. Being able to pull him from the discard pile isn’t as immediately helpful as dealing extra damage, having a tough status card, or being able to cancel treachery effects.
Luke: I know I’ve forgotten on occasion that he was in my discard pile at all until it was too late and I was reshuffling my deck. This can make it harder to effectively use him, as it’s easier to remember to use a card when it’s still in your hand.
Phil: Lockjaw rewards 2 things; multiple uses and maximizing his health.
Luke: Unlike other allies, Lockjaw keeps coming back, meaning you always have a powerful ally at your disposal. This gives you flexibility in tighter situations and makes sure you never have a dead hand.
Phil: Heroes like Peter Parker and Steve Rodgers can use their resource discounts to get Lockjaw onto the field for cheaper, making it that much easier to bring him in to play again and again.
Luke: It’s also important to pay attention to when you’ll have to reshuffle your deck. Just before this happens, getting Lockjaw into play is crucial, as he’ll land in the new discard pile when he runs out of health, leaving him at your disposal.
Phil: The other thing is, while Lockjaw does take 2 damage per use, his large health cap gives him a lot of flexibility.
Luke: Using him in a Protection deck? Heal him for 1 HP and get 3 uses out of him instead of 2. Using him in an Aggression deck? Attached Enraged to him and attack twice for 4 damage per swing instead of 2.
Phil: Plus, Lockjaw can small pings of 1 damage here and there for you and still deliver just as much help as he would normally, providing you with a small buffer if need be.
Luke: And since he comes back into play so quickly, sacrificing him to a big attack can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Phil: While Lockjaw has his pros and cons, what’s perhaps just as important is considering the alternative options of what allys to add to a deck.
Luke: Lockjaw has the immediate bonus of being a basic ally, meaning he can go into just about any deck in theory. The only other basic ally, Nick Fury, is largely considered one of the best in the game, and is a pretty obvious addition to many decks.
Phil: Not including the Iron Man-specific War Machine (which is a pretty underwhelming card if you ask me), each faction has had at least one 4-cost card revealed, with Aggression being the exception, although I’d consider Hercules to be a pretty close equivalent.
Luke: Leadership, unsurprisingly, has the most of these, with Vision, Falcon, and the ally version of Iron Man as potential options. Vision is a very strong card if you have the energy resources to spend, Falcon has an effect with a rather random outcome but can be used 3 times to the same effect as Lockjaw, and Iron Man could be useful assuming we see more ally upgrades down the road.
Phil: In Protection, Luke Cage can take a lot of punishment and dish out a significant amount of damage, and Nova has a lot of potential, again assuming you have the energy resources to pay for his effect.
Luke: In Justice, Daredevil dishes damage even when he’s not fighting, allowing you to get a lot of value from this card.
Phil: And Hercules, while he can be hard to get to the table, can deal a whopping 12 damage, which can be an insane swing in your favor.
Luke: So yes, 4-cost allys are strong resources that can have some crazy effects, and in comparison, Lockjaw can seem kind of okay in comparison.
Phil: However, Lockjaw can help out in any of these decks, meaning he’s a great addition to Aggression and Justice decks right now, as there are fewer heavy hitters to choose from there, and can be a solid replacement for Vision or Nova if you don’t have a deck built around energy resources.
Luke: In my experience, Lockjaw is most helpful in Aggression decks, as he provides the rarer physical resource, can use Enraged very effectively, and can always return to the field to put some pressure on the villain.
Phil: It’s hard to argue that Vision and Nova are some very powerful allys to have in your deck, even if they cost some extra resources. And even Falcon and Luke Cage have some pretty effective abilities that can make it hard to rationalize using other expensive characters in your deck.
Luke: But one of the biggest problems in a game like this is drawing into them.
Phil: Not just drawing into them; drawing into them when you have a hand of resources that can pay for them effectively.
Luke: Lockjaw gives you the option of summoning him nearly whenever you want, no questions asked.
Phil: Wait for a bunk hand of junk and replace it with a strong ally that can take damage or dish it, depending on your needs.
Luke: He’s not perfect and benefits from the effects of certain heroes to really pop off, but he’s one of my favorite allys to add to any Aggression deck.
Phil: But what are your thoughts on Lockjaw? Did we miss anything that could be important when adding him to your deck? Let us know your thoughts below, and we’ll see you tomorrow with our Wrecking Crew review!